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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog titled ‘Let’s Put Analysis Back into Analytics.’  The net of the message in that blog was that SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions are not necessarily solutions in and of themselves – it’s what you do with what you learn from the solution that counts.  The old Performance Measurement vs. Performance Management debate.

I wanted to take this storyline one step further. With the release of SAP Visual Intelligence (VI), we have a new tool that allows us to quickly visualize the data that we are collecting in a way that can help us make better decisions.  In short, VI permits you to take almost any source of data (Relational, HANA, CSV, Excel, Universes, etc.) and to quickly create rich visualizations of the data in order to draw important and relevant conclusions easily from the data.

The key word is easily.

To prove this to myself, I decided to take a SAP Rapid Deployment Solution and to build some visualizations on the data that was used to create the rapid-deployment solution.  As the Package Owner (think “product manager”) of one such rapid-deployment solution – Performance Analytics for Engineering Construction and Operations, I decided to start with that.  I did not want to try and recreate the wheel entirely and build an extensive set of visualizations.  Rather, I wanted to start with a very specific use case and see how I might use BI to build on the rapid-deployment solution.

Here’s what I did:

I started from the Business Performance Management / Financial Summary page of Performance Analytics for EC&O and noticed that there is a Web Intelligence “Backlog Report” that can be generated from the dashboard:

A tabular style report is easily selected and generated using the “Get Report” button on the page:

The report is clean and crisp and tells you very clearly what is in your backlog:

If you want a slightly more compelling report, you can either re-design the report, or you can easily build a visualization using SAP Visual Intelligence that perhaps leads you to a clearer set of conclusions.

Check out the video I recorded which demonstrates the process I went through to create the visualization:

Here’s a quick summary of the video:

  1. Open SAP Visual Intelligence and select “New Document”
  2. Select the source of data for the new report as a Universe and select the same Universe that was used to build the Web-I Report
  3. Bring the data into your workspace
  4. Select the style of visualization that you want to use (I selected a 3-D column chart)
  5. Produce and Share

The whole process took – maybe – 10 minutes.

I’m not going to go into a whole lot of detail here about the mechanics of VI – save that for another blog.  The same is true about why I chose this visualization, or that data, or the other report.  My goal was simply to see how complex it would be to move from reporting to analytics using VI.  As you see from this (and also from the video) it’s pretty darn easy!!

What’s more important is what this does:

  1. First, it builds on an already strong base for analytics – the SAP Rapid Deployment Solution.
  2. Second, it starts from the same base of data (can anybody say “Single Source of Truth”?) that my static report starts with and creates a visualization platform that is targeted less at score-carding or record-keeping and more targeted on analyzing the data to find trends, exceptions and variances from a hypothesized standard.
  3. This provides the base for true Performance Management and value added analytics.

Like I said, have a look at the video and send me your comments – I’d like to hear your thoughts on this new tool and how this can really help put a booster on your analytics!!

For more info about rapid-deployment solutions for analytics, check out my other blogs:

Follow SAP Rapid Deployment Solutions on Twitter: @SAPRDS

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