Describing Embedded Analytics

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the embedded analytical applications and capabilities

Embedded Analytical Applications and Capabilities

Analytics Architecture in SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Analytics are embedded in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, which means the business data and analytical applications that consume this data live within the same software stack. In addition, SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is the engine running behind the scenes to power several analytical applications through a live connection. This means a customer doesn't need to log into a separate SAC system to view analytical reports; everything is in the SAP Fiori apps in SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Note

An SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) tenant will be visible in a customer's SAP Cloud Identity Services systems (Authentication and Provisioning), because it's required to support the live connection between SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAC. Customers cannot log into the SAC system directly; they access it through the relevant SAP Fiori apps (for example, Manage KPIs and ReportsStories tab).

To understand the architecture of embedded analytics, visualize the SAP HANA database as the foundational layer, where business data lives. Next, think of the top layer as the SAP Fiori analytical applications where end users consume business data. These two layers cannot speak to each other without something in between that's capable of transforming data from the database into different types of analytical structures for the relevant Fiori apps. This middle layer is called the Virtual Data Model (VDM), and is represented by Core Data Services (CDS) views.

Remember that many of SAP's cloud solutions previously existed as independent companies that were acquired. This means the way in which data was structured and the coding language(s) used were different for each solution. We needed a common language that could be used to understand data from any of these solutions, in addition to data from third-party solutions, and bring it into analyses that make sense with SAP S/4HANA Cloud business data.

The answer to this was Core Data Services (CDS), which provide a common set of domain-specific languages and services for defining and consuming semantically rich data models. Essentially, CDS is a universal language to read and process data across different software stacks. The VDM is a structured representation of CDS views and provides direct access to SAP business data by exposing it through a library of predelivered CDS view templates. You can also create your own custom CDS view templates.

This information is relevant to partner LoB configuration experts because many standard business processes have analysis tasks using analytical apps in the test script, or sometimes the entire purpose of a business process test script is to identify and review relevant CDS views for a specific use case (for example, Analytics - Purchase Order Visibility and Procurement Spend (2QU)). During the Fit-to-Standard workshops, you will demonstrate and discuss relevant analytical application(s) with your customer LoB experts to determine if there are requirements you need to implement to make the app(s) work for their needs. For example, if there was a requirement to add a custom field to an app used in the business process flow, you likely need to add that same field to the relevant analytical app or report. Or perhaps you review the predelivered CDS views with your customer experts and none of the templates exactly fit what they need. In this case, you could make a copy of the CDS view that's closest to what they need and add the additional fields, dimensions, or other characteristics required. After creating the CDS view, how should the data be visualized? The CDS view is a data source that can be pulled into different types of reports or a custom analytical query. The analytical query can then be used as a data source for Data Analyzer Reports, Multidimensional Reports, Review Booklets, and SAP Analytical Cloud Stories.

Note

View Browser and Custom CDS Views Fiori Apps

Use the View Browser app to get an overview of all available Core Data Services (CDS) views (released by SAP and customized) and run an analysis with a CDS view. If the existing CDS views don't meet the needs of the customer, use the Custom CDS Views app to copy and customize an existing CDS view, or create your own entirely custom CDS view.

Custom CDS views can be used for different purposes:

  • To create a Cube or Dimension view for use in analytical scenarios. For example, you could create a custom analytical query or a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) analysis from a CDS view.
  • To generate an external API to expose data from the SAP HANA database with an OData service. For example, you could use the OData API to populate your custom selection of data fields in a custom KPI or report. You could also use the OData API to expose a custom selection of data fields to another SAP solution or third-party app for an integration scenario.

Query Browser and Custom Analytical Queries Fiori Apps

Use the Query Browser app to get an overview of all available analytical queries (released by SAP and customized) and run an analysis in the Web Dynpro Grid tool. If the existing analytical queries don't meet the needs of the customer, use the Custom Analytical Queries app to copy and customize an existing analytical query, or create your own entirely custom analytical query.

An analytical query is a collection of one or more fields of business data, with parameters and filters defined to narrow down the data set. Analytical queries are multidimensional models, meaning they combine several data inputs (dimensions) into one analysis, and are often consumed in multidimensional reports, although they can be used as the data source input to generate any of the following:

  • Data Analyzer Reports
  • Multidimensional Reports
  • Review Booklets
  • SAP Analytical Cloud Stories
Note
  • Analytical queries can be based on CDS views.
  • Analytical queries can also be viewed, created, and launched from the View Browser app.
  • Learn how to create a custom analytical query here.

Manage KPIs and Reports Fiori App

Use the Manage KPIs and Reports app to view all SAP-delivered KPIs, Reports, and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) Stories. You can also create your own custom KPIs, Reports, and SAC Stories based on data sources from CDS views or analytical queries.

Note

You cannot edit SAP-delivered KPIs, Reports, and SAC Stories directly - you must first make a copy of the original. However, only KPIs, Reports, and SAC Stories that are based on released CDS views or analytical queries can be copied.

The following analyses can be created from the Manage KPIs and Reports app:

  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
    • KPIs are selected key figures used to evaluate a certain measure of performance toward a goal or target. KPIs are often evaluated against a reference or target value and can be used to:
      • Create a Generic Drilldown report.
      • Create an SAP Fiori app to launch either the Generic Drilldown report or an Analysis Path Framework (APF)-based app where you can drill-down to explore KPIs and their influencing factors with charts and tables.
  • Reports
    • Generic Drilldown, which use charts and tables to visualize data based on a KPI.
    • Analytical List Page, which use KPIs, charts, tables, and visual filters to create a dashboard that allows you to drill down into the data sources.
    • Data Analyzer, which enables you to visualize a report on ad-hoc analytical queries in SAP Analytics Cloud without creating a model.
  • Multidimensional Reports
    • Display data about a focused topic (e.g. Sales Orders) in SAP Web Dynpro apps with a table (grid) or graphical display. Viewing data in an SAP Web Dynpro apps is visually similar to viewing data in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.
  • Review Booklets
    • Review booklets are the next generation of multidimensional analytical applications with a more modern theme compared to the SAP Web Dynpro apps. You can present an aggregated view of business data by combining predefined business pages and analytical components in the same UI5 theme used for SAP Fiori apps.
  • SAC Stories
    • Stories use charts, graphs, text, images, and other elements to visualize data in a way that can help customers find hidden insights and perform in-depth analyses. There are two types of stories:
      • Embedded Stories are powered by the embedded SAP Analytics Cloud and include a variety of predefined stories.
      • Stand-Alone Stories enable you to create custom stories that aggregate data from other SAP Cloud solutions (e.g. SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Fieldglass, etc.). To create stand-alone stories, an Enterprise license to SAP Analytics Cloud is required, and an integration between SAP S/4HANA Cloud and the SAP Analytics Cloud service running on SAP Business Technology Platform must be set up. Learn more here.

Create an SAP Fiori app from your active analysis or report

You can generate an SAP Fiori app to display on the launchpad for permissioned users from KPIs, SAC Stories, and Reports (Generic Drilldown, Analytical List Page, Data Analyzer). Within the Manage KPIs and Reports app, select the custom KPI, Report, or Story, then navigate to the Applications tab to create an application for the launchpad.

Make sure to assign the app to a custom business catalog in the Custom Catalog Extensions app, and assign the catalog to a business role. You'll also need to add the app to a custom launchpad page, or to an existing launchpad page already assigned to the launchpad space mapped to the business role so that it will actually display on the launchpad (instead of just being searchable through the enterprise search). Customizing a launchpad space and page will be covered in a future lesson.

Note
  • Learn how to create an app to launch your analysis or report here.
  • Any custom CDS views, analytical queries, KPIs, Reports, Digital Booklets, SAC Stories, or Fiori apps are built first in the customer's development system (customizing tenant), then transported to the test and production systems following the instructions defined here. Transporting extensions will be covered in a future lesson.

Intelligent Scenario Lifecycle Management (ISLM)

Intelligent Scenario Lifecycle Management (ISLM) is a framework that helps customers manage their machine learning scenarios. You can use the existing embedded scenarios where SAP S/4HANA Cloud is running in the same stack as the SAP HANA Machine Learning functionality using the analytics libraries from SAP HANA Automated Predictive Library (APL) and/or SAP HANA Predictive Analysis Library (PAL). APL exposes the data mining capabilities of an Automated Analytics engine for developing predictive modeling processes targeted to business analysts, while PAL offers advanced analytics algorithms target to data scientists. These machine learning scenarios can be used for forecasting, trending, and other predictive scenarios. For the side-by-side approach, the machine learning provider lives in SAP Business Technology Platform and requires an additional license and set-up activities to subscribe and integrate the service.

As a partner LoB configuration expert, you are responsible for anything that falls within your line of business expertise. This means if a business process is supported by one of the embedded intelligent scenarios, there will likely be set-up instructions in SAP Signavio Process Navigator with prerequisites that must be completed in the customer's development system tenant(s) to make the process function correctly.

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