Have you noticed how often you are asked by web sites if it's okay to enable cookies? That is because they would like to capture your clicks as you navigate their pages. Capturing data relating to any aspect of customer behavior has become one of the top priorities for organizations. Capturing data is relatively easy, but knowing what to do with the collected data is a lot harder. Many organization are now reaching the point where they are drowning in the sea of data that they have collected and don't know how to make sense of it. You might just say, well.... just look at it! The problem is the data is usually captured in different formats from a lot of different systems, so its a big old jumbled-up mess that needs sorting out. That's where analytics comes in: turning raw, jumbled-up data into consistent, easy-to-understand information that supports fast decision making. Developing skills in analytics is the key to helping organizations unlock their potential data gold mine. We can help you build those skills, and for free! Interested? Then read on.
First a bit of background on analytics: Turning raw data into meaningful information requires multiple steps. First we need to bring the raw data from multiple systems into a consistent state. For example, let's make sure EUR and EURO come together. What about customer number 00000875 and 875? Let's get them aligned too. Now we have cleaned up the data, it no longer looks like it came from multiple sources. So now we can start to enrich the data with extra information. Let's lookup the location of our customer using a central database, and add it to their browsing activity record. Let's also calculate US dollars from the EUROs so we can report back to the US head office in their currency. Finally, we can then start to summarize the data at various levels so that it is meaningful to managers who really aren't interested in an individual person's browsing activity, but are very interested in a customer type, location higher level summary of what people are looking at and eventually buying.
SAP have a large portfolio of software solutions to help you capture, clean, enrich, summarize and present data. These software solutions fall under the category of analytics, which includes data modeling. In recent years analytics has become incredibly popular because every organization needs analytics. This means as a career choice, analytics is a no-brainer. There is a ton of work out there for those who have the right skills.
We have developed many, free-of-charge Learning Journeys on our learning platform to help you get skilled up. The platform is learning.sap.com
But when you use the search word analytics, on learning.sap.com, the list of learning journeys in the result is pretty long. This is because there are so many solutions to choose from. So as a new learner where do you start? Let me be your guide and help you figure out how to get started.
A great place to start is with SAP Analytics Cloud. This is SAP's flagship, easy-to-use, front-end analytics cloud tool aimed at business users who can explore their data using graphical and tabular layouts. They can easily customize the layouts and create their own. It is a very powerful analysis tool that includes all the important business intelligence capabilities such as analysis, planning and predictive. SAP Analytic Cloud focuses on the front end visualization of data and less on sorting out the jumped-up data. SAP Analytics Cloud is a relatively new solution and is red-hot. It is used by a large number of SAP customers who need skilled people to help them enable their employees.
Although SAP Analytics Cloud can consume basic data directly, often more sophisticated data models are required. This is where SAP Datasphere comes in. SAP Datasphere is SAP's flagship data warehouse in the cloud. It's pretty new, just like SAP Analytics Cloud but is already super-powerful and very popular with customers who are increasingly moving from on-premise to cloud solutions. SAP Datasphere provides tools to extract data from any source, clean it up and get it ready to use in any analysis tool. So SAP Datasphere focusses is on the data preparation part and not on the visualization part.
So SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Datasphere are modern cloud solutions. But not all customers are looking at cloud solutions. On-premise solutions are still very popular and skills are very much in demand and there is a huge existing customer base. So take a look at SAP BW/4HANA. Just like SAP Datasphere, SAP BW/4HANA is a data warehouse but this one is not cloud, but on-premise. This means the customer has to install it, keep it updated, and keep it running optimally. Customers need help with this. Loads of work out there for people who have the skills.
So just like SAP Datasphere, SAP BW/4HANA supports the data preparation part but is not a front-end visualization tool. So what about the visualization tools that run on top of SAP BW/4HANA? Well, that definitely could be SAP Analytics Cloud, but a lot of SAP BW/4HANA customers stick with on-premise reporting tools. These include BusinessObjects Web Intelligence which is a very popular drag-and-drop end-user reporting tool. It's so easy to learn and yet very powerful. Customers need help to get the best out of this solution, especially with the advanced features.
Another favorite is SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office. In fact this is probably the number one reporting tool on top of SAP BW/4HANA so it's worth getting up to speed with this one. Dead-easy to learn if you already know Excel.
We have developed a very short and simple learning journey that provides a great overview of the BI solutions from SAP. It focuses mainly on the on-premise tool but dips into cloud a little too. Worth a look and it won't take much time to complete.
OK, let's cover just one more to help you get started with your learning. We mentioned that turning raw data into meaningful information is the challenging part of analytics. SAP's flagship, lightning-fast, in-memory database is called SAP HANA. It includes tools that collect data from any source. It can also clean the data up. But the part that you might want to look at is the SAP HANA Data Modeling. This is because the data models that you create in SAP HANA are incredibly powerful using a mixture of graphical tools and SQL code. SAP HANA is available in the cloud or on-premise. Again, a very popular solution because just about any reporting tool can consume these powerful data models. Also, SAP HANA skills are in-demand and recruiters like to see this on a resume.
So there are plenty of ways to get started with analytics using SAP solutions. I mentioned just a few of them here. You won't go wrong choosing any of these to get started. You might also ask others on this SAP Community where they think is a good starting point. I'm sure you will get plenty of great advice. Remember, these are ideas for getting started with popular beginner Learning Journeys. But don't stop there. Keep going with the advanced Learning Journeys that will lead to certification. Then you really will stand out from the crowd!
As an SAP instructor, I've been working with analytics for 25 years and I have delivered classes in all of these solutions. So if I were starting out today, which would I chose to begin with? I'd start with, SAP Analytics Cloud and then SAP Datasphere and but I'd be sure to cover the others later to get the full picture.