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How to Increase Business Agility—and Business Decisions—with your SAP Data

November 1, 2022

Successful businesses want to keep growing and improving every year. Savvy businesspeople know they need to be agile to respond to constant change. By extension, data agility allows them to capitalize on the strength of their data quickly and provide lasting value by acting swiftly and decisively. This should happen no matter what condition your data is in. But with good practices (including data governance) in place, you will be better positioned to make the best possible decisions with your data.

Data governance is the process of managing and securing data by implementing processes for the handling of data. When data governance is prioritized, your data will be more complete and accurate. In short, it will be actionable.

If you don’t have adequate IT resources or the time to deal with complex projects, you may experience roadblocks when working with SAP and other top-tier ERP systems. However, even if you do have a strong IT function in your organization, that may not be enough. Let’s explore some of the elements that reinforce sound decision-making beyond good governance and data hygiene.

What you need to know about SAP

According to SAP, SAP BW is a complete solution for company-wide data consolidation and decision-making. The underlying data is the crucial asset that supports data analysis and reporting. As a data warehouse, SAP BW supports many core functional needs and integrates tightly with other SAP applications. Other benefits include good performance, extended capabilities, and reliability—all supported by rock-solid confidence in the lasting value of the warehouse (and of SAP) itself.

Overall, SAP is a widely used system, and leading organizations around the globe rely on it to support essential core business operations. It provides business management on a broad scale, supports all business departments, and processes data for some of the largest companies in the world. They offer many different modules that can be used to create solutions for almost every business need.

In short, SAP is a world-class organization and provides a great product. However, while SAP provides comprehensive solutions for running your business, it may not solve all your challenges.

HANA, SAP’s multimodal (supporting multiple data models) in-memory database, allows users to query directly. Your HANA views can be used as data models. Developers love using it because it’s a fast and efficient database.

However, many organizations face challenges when optimizing the end-user experience with other ERP products, outside data sources, or hybrid deployments. In addition, it’s not fundamentally designed for self-service, and people with technical skills are often needed to build queries and deliver critical reporting to business units.

This often requires enterprise organizations to spend huge amounts of money to either train existing staff or hire expensive talent to do essential work in SAP. And querying data isn’t the only challenge. Manual intervention is also required for the following:

  • Moving data out of SAP and into third-party tools for analysis
  • Replicating business logic from SAP that is needed in other applications
  • Blending data from different sources

To use all your data, no matter where it resides, organizations need analytics solutions that don’t require you to copy data out of SAP BW or HANA or require you to configure elaborate ETL processes to access the core data contained in these foundational systems.

Overcoming challenges with technology

Optimally, you need a low-cost, high-performance analytics solution to maximize your resources and get the most out of your SAP implementation. To overcome these challenges, you need a mature, self-service technology that offers “direct query” and full analytics functionality on SAP, thereby fully leveraging SAP BW and HANA technologies without replacing them.

Analytics technologies must support the following:

  • Creation of robust visualizations fueled by deeper insights
  • The ability to easily conduct analyses on new integrations
  • Large datasets
  • Diverse sources (to name just a few)

You can improve your decision-making and your operational effectiveness by avoiding the impulse to buy a subscription to a cloud service that is interoperable with SAP. You will still be able to execute queries, but that often comes with a lot of pain, including additional costs and time-consuming manual work.

However, to remain agile, organizations must act. Without a highly capable analytics layer, IT backlogs will only grow, and organization-wide decision-making capacities will diminish. The good news is that it is possible to reduce this burden. It is possible for IT to avoid the flood of requests for reports and information. Indeed, it is possible to stay agile.

How Pyramid can help

The Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform can operate in direct query mode on SAP BW and HANA—and countless other data sources—with no limitations or restrictions on analytic sophistication.

How is this possible? In cases where the underlying database has its own semantic model— a core feature of SAP BW, SAP HANA, or Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services—Pyramid’s proprietary PYRANA engine can consume the underlying native semantic mode directly. It uses that core semantic layer to generate MDX, the native querying language of multidimensional analytic databases.

Interested in how the Pyramid Decision Intelligence Platform can help your organization get more value from your SAP investments? First, check out the SAPinsider report Creating Value Through Decision Intelligence in SAP Landscape or SAPinsider’s The Future of Business Intelligence Benchmark Report. Then give us a call or ask us to demonstrate how much you can gain from using Pyramid.

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