Frank Legel

5 steps to make better use of S/4 Embedded Analytics through focused business analysis

Organizations can get more out of SAP S/4HANA embedded analytics. Especially when you focus on it from the start. A good example we can cite is that of Versuni, a former Philips domestic appliance business that was carved out. Part of this carve-out meant the implementation of a new ERP system, for which Versuni chose SAP S/4HANA. Besides the S/4 implementation, many reporting requirements needed to be covered in a relatively short term (also called exuviate project). How? By using the Fiori app. In this blog I will share how we did that.

Setting up the Fiori app

Last year I worked as a Business Analyst (BA) at Versuni in the field of Embedded Analytics. During the implementation, we investigated the possibility of covering their operational reporting requirements using Fiori apps, which is standard available in SAP S/4HANA.

The operational business had many reporting requirements which needed to be implemented on a relative short term. It was known that the timelines for this were not realistic. But McCoy & Partners had gained a lot of experience in S/4 HANA Embedded Analytics in recent years, and it was clear to us that Versuni could benefit a lot from Embedded Analytics.

The aim was to make better use of the standard S/4 Fiori Apps to decrease the need for costly developments for custom made reports (in Datasphere/SAC). This is also known as the Fit-2-Standard approach which was proposed with SAP Fiori embedded analytics.

Our approach

The first area we discovered which could benefit a lot from Embedded Analytic apps was O2C (Order to Cash). Various sub-domains were investigated for the most suitable Fiori apps. The initial focus was on Order Management, but later also Manufacturing, Inventory Management, Purchase-to-Pay, Quality and Regulatory and Transportation Management were added to the scope.

As a BI Consultant, I do know how the technical part of the apps works but there are limitations to my knowledge. For a successful project it is important to have sufficient functional support from key-users.

Within my approach I used the following steps per subdomain:

  • Requirement gathering

  • Investigate available apps and views

  • Deep dive sessions with key-users

  • Documentation and Hands-on training

Gathering the necessary requirements

When gathering the necessary requirements, the first step is to reach out to the Business Process Expert (BPE). Without the support of the BPE, it will be challenging to fulfill your tasks. The BPE assigned key-user can give you functional support during the assessment of the apps.

An important step is to find the matching apps and views within the functional area. A good starting point is the SAP Fiori Apps Reference Library, a website that basically functions as a database of all available apps. Within this website you can search for apps via different angles such as Line of Business, authorization roles, amongst others. All available apps are listed but key is finding the ones which are relevant and have added value to the business.

A good approach is to create a list of potential apps via filtering on relevant roles (e.g. ‘Sales Manager’ or ‘Inventory Manager’). This can be useful to find additional apps via ‘Line of Business’ and by industry. The list of apps can be downloaded easily and is often a good starting point for discussion with the assigned key-users.

Investigate available apps

The following step is to investigate the list of apps and do a pre-selection. Often the key-users have limited time, therefore it is better to do preliminary work which results in more productive deep dive sessions. We recommended to focus on analytical apps, which are often setup in a dashboard format and enable drill-down into further analytical or transactional apps.

Investigate available views

Besides the available standards apps, it is also best to investigate the availability of the CDS (Core Data Service) views. This can be done with help of the Query Browser which shows the available analytical queries. When using the right key-words the most relevant analytical queries can be found. Opening the query for analysis, a URL will become available which (with small modifications) can also be used for quality and production system for doing deep dives with the key-users. These queries are similar to a ‘flexible analysis app’, which give the user high flexibility for pivoting. The user can easily perform filtering, Slicing and Dicing and drilldowns.

To gain a better understanding of the analytical queries, further analysis can be done via the View Browser in which a detailed level (SAP table) view is available.

In case no relevant analytical queries were found, the View Browser can be used for finding relevant cds views, however these views are non-analytical. For relevant views (with status ‘released’) a custom CDS view and custom analytical query can be developed on top. Also a number of views can be joined together. For example within Q&R the following model was enabled:

Do deep dive sessions

One element to never miss is proper deep dive sessions with the key users to test the functionality of the investigated apps and views. During these sessions the temporary URLs can be used for testing the views. Together with the key users you can decide which apps have added value and which views can be rolled out as potential flexible analysis apps.

Users usually cannot access the query browser. Therefore it is recommended to develop a custom tile on the relevant analytical queries. This results in more user friendly apps and it can be rolled out to production system as flexible analysis apps. The users often find these apps the most enjoyable since they will have a lot of flexibility for creating their own layout.

Don't forget documentation and training

The final step is to create well-documented overviews which describe the relevant apps and views. In addition hands-on trainings are highly recommended based on new created hands-on training documentation per subdomain. Many users are not aware of the possibilities within S/4 Embedded Analytics. These trainings bring additional attention and awareness to the users.

Contact us

Would you like to discuss embedded analytic opportunities within your organization, with McCoy & Partners? We would be happy to visit you and you are of course very welcome at one of our locations in the Netherlands.