SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is SAP's cloud solution for data analysis, corporate planning and reporting. SAC includes a wide range of features and applications, offered to customers as Software-as-a-Service. This means that SAP takes care of the software and hardware administration so that employees can fully concentrate on the analysis applications. Company data can be accessed in real time from the cloud, enabling ad hoc reporting, forecasting, and what-if analyses. This provides quick answers to strategically important company questions. Nicolas Schepp, manager and team lead for SAP Analytics Cloud at INSIRE, explained the advantages and disadvantages of SAC and told us a little about the everyday project life. erp4students: Hi Nicolas! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. How are you and where are you currently, occupational?
Hi Daniel, thank you for the interview. I'm fine. I am currently in a management position for the SAP Analytics Cloud area at INSIRE. There I am responsible for a team of several consultants.
erp4students: Before we get to the core topic of this interview: What was your motivation to deal professionally with the topics of IT, business and specifically SAP and consulting?
The topics of IT and business are very closely intertwined these days. The interaction between IT and business is very important, especially in the specialist areas of the company, such as in controlling. It is always very interesting for me to act as a “translator” between these two areas. Why SAP and Consulting? Good question. After getting to know different solutions for planning and reporting, I put my focus on the SAP Analytics Cloud. I saw huge potential here right from the start. We have already dealt with the topic of SAP. I was already working for a management consultancy during my studies, and I really enjoyed interacting with a wide variety of customers. There was no day like the other and I was always confronted with a wide variety of questions. Exactly this variety that consulting brings with it is my motivation to stay in consulting up to this day.
erp4students: You are a Manager and the Team Lead for SAP Analytics Cloud at INSIRE. In a few words, how would you explain SAC to someone who has never heard of it before? What is SAC and what can SAC do?
The SAP Analytics Cloud combines business intelligence, predictive analysis, and planning in one tool. The focus here is on mapping different areas in one tool instead of using many isolated solutions as it is usually being the case. The SAC is SAP's strategic tool, especially for my areas Planning & Reporting.
erp4students: What are the advantages of SAC over on-premise solutions...?
The SAC can be accessed from anywhere. You can access the SAC directly via the URL. Not only the access is a major advantage, but also the import of updates. The import of updates is carried out by SAP and one has no longer take care of it oneself. This means that you can be sure that you are always automatically up to date with the latest developments.
erp4students: ... and what are the disadvantages?
It is of course important that the internet access is fully available, otherwise a cloud solution cannot be used. In addition, there must be trust in the host and network provider since the data is confidential and in the cloud. erp4students: Is it conceivable that SAC will replace the classic business warehouse in the long term?
The SAC cannot be compared to the classic business warehouse. There are other tools here that are more in competition with the classic business warehouse, e.g., the Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC). Thus, the SAC acts more as a tool that is placed on top of both solutions. It is clear that it always depends on how the current IT architecture of a company is designed and where you want to go in the future.
erp4students: Let's turn to the everyday project work: How can one imagine the flow of an SAC implementation project? What solutions and packages does INSIRE offer?
The most important thing of an implementation project is the recording of the customer's requirements. You should take a lot of time here, because this is where you set the course for the implementation. You can already put together different packages in advance, which are then processed in the further course of the project. As a consultant, the task is then to define the further implementation steps, such as which source systems are to be connected, which connections are required, or what the data models look like. The question of authorization concepts is also part of the implementation process. The creation of input and output reports must also be carried out as part of the implementation. An important approach that INSIRE follows is that we are always also available as coaches during the whole implementation process. This means that we not only hand over a finished product, but also coach the customer during the implementation. The customer creates the first reports together with us or deals with planning functions. After a successful implementation, we continue to be available to the customer as a contact person.
In addition to taking over the complete implementation of the SAC, we also take care of individual components of the overall process. If the customer would like to have support in the area of planning, for example, we are at his disposal as an expert with our specialist knowledge. We also hold workshops for potential customers who first want to exchange information about the SAC functionalities.
erp4students: SAC has its own user interface and thus a corresponding user experience. Self-service also means a lot of personal work in terms of visualizing stories and dashboards. I can imagine that in a company - especially with employees who have been working with an old system for a long time - the potential will not always be exploited to the extent that SAC would make possible. What are your experiences and how do you deal with such problems?
My experiences from projects, especially in the area of reporting, are very positive. One customer
was able to create simple reports himself within just a few weeks. The self-service
is very intuitive, especially when you're dealing with the standard. I think
this is where the SAC stands out clearly from other tools. Therefore, employees
should not worry if the SAC is implemented in the company. erp4students: In your opinion, which (SAP) topics should companies deal with to not fall behind in the coming years?
The SAC, of course. If you look at the development of the SAC through recent years, it becomes clear that this will also be the focus for the coming years. Another tool is the Data Warehouse Cloud I mentioned earlier. Here, a lot will happen in relation with the SAC in the future. In any case, I am very excited to see where the journey will take us.
erp4students: Since you have already been working in the IT and SAP area for several years, what are your tips and tricks for young graduates who also want to work in this area?
Above all, continuously expand your knowledge. erp4students offers an ideal platform to expand your knowledge about SAP. It makes it easier to get started if you deal with SAP topics in advance. This sets you apart from other graduates.
Thank you again for answering the questions and I wish you all the best for the future. Best regards and stay healthy.
More Information: » INSIRE Website