Have you experienced difficulties in trying to define reporting requirements at the end of an implementation project? If you thought of reporting at the same time as building the system, you might build it differently.
With embedded analytics in S/4HANA, SAP makes a huge step forwards in the integration of the transactional and analytical world.
What is embedded Analytics?
It is analytical features integrated in SAP S/4HANA that enables users to perform real time analytics on live transactional data. It comes with a set of inbuilt representations of operational data, called VDM (Virtual Data Models), which allows users to arrive at better decisions from the available data. It is part of the SAP S/4HANA system and does not require separate licenses or any separate deployment units or components to be installed. S/4HANA Embedded Analytics comes with its own tools and standard content for ex: Analytical Fiori apps, Smart Business apps, Query browser app, Query designer app etc. The foundation of all these tools and apps are CDS (Core Data Services) views which are the core entities in the S/4HANA system. Customers can extend the existing CDS Views, VDM’s and build new ones.
Please note: S/4HANA has an Embedded Analytical engine, but certain steps/activation needs to be done to make this engine work.
Most operational reporting can be done with S/4HANA Embedded Analytics but BW would be required for EDW, which will help to analyse the historical data/data consolidation from multiple sources.
- Delivers contextualised analytics for SAP S/4HANA embedded within the context of work and tailored to business needs and roles
- Consists of Virtual Data Models (based on CDS Views) covering role based operational reports for lines of business
- Comes with tools for Business Users, Power Users and Developers to analyse data and manage the life-cycle of reports and KPIs
- Is included in the SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management license and does not require a separate installation by customers
- Integrates with SAP BusinessObjects BI, SAP Lumira, and SAP Cloud for Analytics all of which require a separate license
- Does not replace SAP HANA Live, SAP Business Warehouse or any other SAP analytics offering but complements and integrates with them
Key Principles of Analytics in S/4HANA
- Consistent user experience across all analytical use cases
- Seamless integration to other SAP Analytical offerings
- Implementation of embedded analytics a seamless integration of analytical components on the UI
S/4HANA Real Time Analytics Architecture
As you can see in the picture below, in the architecture everything starts with the physical tables in the database. These are the old fashioned tables like VBRK, VBAP, EKPO, EKKO etc.
On top of that, there are Virtual Data Models (VDM’s) built in the Application layer. SAP deploys standard VDM’s out of the box, these can be enriched by customer built specific views. SAP blends transactions and analytics allowing operational reporting on live data. In S/4HANA this concept is supported with CDS for real time operational reporting. The content is represented as VDM’s which is based on transactional and master data tables in S/4HANA.
The development of custom views is more often a technical task for developers. However, in the application layer there is room for Power/Key users to create own Queries and KPI’s. This is done with the help of the KPI Modeller framework and Self-Service Query Designer.
At the top we see the different user interfaces which can consume the VDM’s. The user interface communicates with the application layer through OData Services. The most obvious and out of the box available user interface is Fiori. Next to that we have the other SAP Analytical offerings in the Business Objects suite (Lumira, Excel, Design Studio, etc.). Even 3rd party user interfaces can consume the virtual data models from the SAP application server.