I have just returned from celebrating the holidays with my friends and family. I love watching everyone open their gifts but I can admit that holiday shopping is not fun. It took dozens of stores/websites to get all my gifts. If you looked at my Christmas shopping lists you would see things like a camera, train, a phone case, sweaters, ties all the usual stuff. You would think by looking at the list that a certain superstore with a bull’s-eye logo would meet my needs but it didn’t and that’s what this week’s blog is about. A single store may meet many of my needs but it certainly does not meet all of my needs. I feel the same way about SAP’s approach to reporting.
During the holidays I happened to read an article titled “The Big Squeeze: How Business Analytics Can Help You Extract Every Ounce of Value from Your Business Information” in Insider Profiles magazine. It was a really great article based on interview with SAP’s Steve Lucas that explains SAP’s focus on the future of reporting. My understanding of the article is that they believe that all reporting information sho
uld be stored and accessed all in one place via a module called Business Analytics.
According to the article “Readers of this publication are certainly familiar with the applications of SAP Business Suite. Financials, HCM, SCM, CRM, and so forth are their “systems of record” where they house their most prized and cherished corporate information. Business analytics solutions are the applications that unleash the value of that information. Such solutions mean that you not only have a place to put your business information, but also a way to actively engage with it and extract every ounce of value therein. That’s what business analytics are all about.” I think the concept is great, like a BW type solution that houses all data so that it can be strategically reported on regardless of the module. It would be a great module to leverage to report on integrated information that includes data from HCM, Finance and Supply Chain for example. There is fantastic value in that. What challenges me though is the one-size-fits all concept. Let’s go back to my holiday shopping analogy. A big superstore is great for many of my holiday gifts and I was able to get a lot of the general gifts without a problem however I still had to go to specialty stores to get the important items on my list. Remember that camera on my list, sure superstores sell cameras but they do not sell the Nikon D7000 which my best friend wanted. I could likely find a train at the superstore but not the POW MIA Express Train Collection that my Uncle Frank wanted and that phone case had to be ordered at a specialty store to fit Laurie’s new IPhone 4S.
What I am trying to say is there is a lot of holiday presents that I could buy at the superstore but there will always be items that I need to get from the specialty stores. I feel the same way about reporting in SAP. Sure there are lots of great reports I could get from the new Business Analytics module but anything very detailed and specific to a module (like payroll and HR) still require the use of reporting tools specific to that module. Additionally the SAP HCM module is largely unique because of the heavy amounts of real-time transactional data that is processed through it and the complex relationship for payroll results etc.
For me this article reiterated the supercenter direction that SAP is moving towards. Business Analytics will certainly play a huge role in organizations and provide a large number of SAP HCM reports that I am excited about however I am still concerned that I will still have to go to a bunch of other places in SAP like Wage Type Reporter, Ad Hoc Query, HIS etc. to get at the detailed specific data I need.
Danielle Larocca, SpinifexIT
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spinifex IT is the creator of Easy Reporter, the only SAP certified solution that runs live inside SAP for real time HR and Payroll reporting. Check it out for yourself online at www.spinifexit.com/easy-reporter/a> or contact me for a live WebEx