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SAP Analytics Cloud is a SaaS (software as service) solution from SAP that provide BI, planning, predictive, analytical application design and collaboration all under one umbrella. SAP Analytics Cloud is a standalone cloud based analytics application. SAP Analytics Cloud also know as SAC (formerly known as SAP BusinessObjects Cloud ). More on SAC feature and function can be found here


(Now take a portion of features available in SAC and embedded into the Fiori applications available in S/4HANA. What you get is Embedded Analytics)

Embedded Analytics is a version of SAP Analytics that is included in S/4HANA (GA S/4HANA release 1911. Nov 2019) as a standard feature. SAP is offering of embedded analytics out of the box for most of the cloud-based applications (s/4HANA cloud, People Analytics in Success Factors Cloud etc.)


Embedded Analytics let you analyze and visualize the data directly in the source system. It eliminates the need for complicated and time-consuming data preparation steps. Data processing happens directly in the source itself. It comes with prebuilt standard dashboards. Other offerings includes seamless transactions between analytical and transactional apps, integrated in S/4HANA roles and screen variant management. Not to mention in an idle word, this is how all organizations imagine their enterprise solution (transactional application complimented by embedded Analytics).

Functions like automating insight to data and augmented data analysis is what every user can dream about from modern Analytical solution. Using ML to predict pattern and forecast, without the need to involving data scientist is icing on the cake. Embedded analytics is what, makes S/4HANA (and similar applications) an “Intelligent Enterprise” and adds value to overall SAP Business suite portfolio.

What we are planning to do here?

As you can see, we have two products, with seemingly similar functions and capabilities. Wondering how they are different? This is one of the question that arises when we enter into Discovery phase of ECC to S/4HANA conversion.  Can we use Embedded Analytics solution (comes with new S/4HANA suite) to address all or most of organizational analytical needed. These to analytical solutions are very different, when it comes to addressing specific customer requirements and how they fit into enterprise solution architecture, completing other SAP suits (on-prem or cloud based).
This blog post is my effort to compare these to product and show how you can cherry-pick functionalities from each analytical solution to create an ecosystem of data driven, cross application analytical solution. Once you are done reading this blog post, you will be able to answer questions like below-

  • How Embedded Analytics and SAP Analytics Cloud different?

  • When to use what?

  • What are the advantages of each?

  • How they complement underneath solution?

  • S/4HANA comes with Embedded Analytics; do we need another analytics application like SAC?

  • How features and functions of SAP Analytics Cloud makes it an obvious choice over (Embedded Analytics) and when they both complement each other.

For sake of comparison (and for little fun), I will assign points for each category and later evaluate final score to find the winner 🙂


Lets gets started!

Dedicated mobile device app

SAC offers out of the box iOS app for SAC based content. Though Fiori have dedicated app available (on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store), Embedded analytics objects requires workaround to be displayed on Fiori app designed for mobile devices. Hence if your requirement includes mobile device support (not only responsive layout but also dedicated app), SAC is the clear choice.


  • Embedded Analytics: 0 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 1 👍

Data consolidation and cross application reporting

SAC can connect to SAP and non-SAP data sources. Whereas Embedded Analytics is restricted to the underneath application itself. A typical enterprise scenario, where business data distributed between SAP and Non SAP system and even in SAP data may be spread across multiple SAP applications/ suits, SAC becomes an obvious choice. This is due to its ability of data blending from multiple data sources (live or imported; SAP or non-SAP; On-premise or cloud or hybrid).
Scenarios where your S/4HANA system is setup in a way that all business critical process and data points are made available in the system, Embedded Analytics will be sufficient. Although data consolidation activity in S/4HANA may turn out to be a costlier approach, compared to having a SAP BW, BPC or in this case SAP Analytics solution. SAP Analytics Cloud compliments S/4HANA and similar transactional system. Hence SAC comes on top again.

SAC Supported Data Sources listed blow- (as of Nov 19th 2020), File Server, Google BigQuery, Google Drive, MS SQL Server, OData, Oracle 11, Salesforce, SAP BPC MS, SAP BPC NW, SAP Business ByDesign Analytics, SAP BW, SAP Cloud for Customer, SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Concur, SAP ERP, SAP Fieldglass, SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer Analytics, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics, SAP Universe, SQL Databases (JDBC) , APOS Live Data Gateway, SAP BW (live) — Native CORS with Unified Connectivity, SAP BW (live) — CORS with ICM Script, SAP HANA, SAP HANA in SAP Cloud Platform with SSO, SAP Universe)


  • Embedded Analytics: 0 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 2 👍

License Cost

Embedded Analytics do not require any separate license. You existing S/4HANA license will cover for Analytics usage.

Whereas SAC requires separated SAC License to operate and there will be yearly renewal cost to this subscription as well. So if you go with SAC, additional license cost (BI licenses are quite cheap though) need to take into account. Embedded analytics wins this round hands down.


  • Embedded Analytics: 1 👍

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 2 👎

Live Data Access -

Both SAC and Embedded Analytics supports live access to data source. However, embedded analytics can only connect live to underneath environment (S/4HANA) in this case. SAC on the other have a large set of Live Data supported systems. In a realistic Enterprise setup, we can expect heterogeneous systems representing different line of  business and a consolidated view from these systems can only provide holistic overview of current business. Hence, SAC scores big here.

Although as category is only to check "support of live data access", I allocate point to both solution. This round is a tie!


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👍

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 3 👍

Digital Board Room

This is an optional add-on in SAP Analytics Cloud. This add-on help converting executive meeting into integrative discussion on business KPI’s. After using Digital Boardroom on multiple large screens and interacting with it during presentation it will be difficult to go back to PPT's. Digital boardroom offers rich user experience keeping business executives and C level employees in mind. Please keep in mind Digital Boardroom requires additional licenses and this adds up to your yearly SAC subscription cost.
Similar user experience is non existent in Imbedded Analytics. Hence this round goes to SAC.


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 4 👍

Prebuilt business content For Multiple LOB's –

There are many advantages of using prebuilt contents. Couple of the advantages are summarized here. Business Contents can be installed from Content Network library. This includes SAP delivered and third party both. Embedded Analytics support less number of business contents (additional details in reference section below) compared to SAC (Updated SAC Contents list). Contents from SAC are not portable or compatible with Embedded Analytics either. Frequency of new content rollout for SAC is way higher then what is under Embedded Analytes rode map.

As SAC supports more line of businesses, this round goes to SAC again.


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 5 👍

Excel (Add-in) based reporting tool support –

Analysis For Office as well as Analysis for Analytics Cloud Excel based add-in are available. This add-in lets you perform multidimensional analysis on SAC models. This is similar of performing slicing and dicing like an Excel Pivot table. Only difference is that, you will be analyzing data from SAC (as data source) directly. Another advantage is read and write feature on SAC planning models. Business user can use Analysis for Office tool not only for BI reporting but also as input sheet for analyzing and inputting planning data.

Unfortunate Analysis for office cannot connect to Embedded Analytics dashboards. Only supported artifacts are CDS views from S/4HANA side.

Support for multidimensional analysis via Excel add-in makes SAC a clear winner.


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 6 👍

Build custom analytical applications –

SAC supports scripting (java script) based app design for complex custom scenarios (similar to SAP Lumira Designer and discontinued Design Studio). This let you create custom multilayered widgets. Support for standard API are available for custom widget design as well.

Unfortunately, Embedded Analytics do not provide any means to create custom apps. Custom apps are available via Fiori app only. Round goes to SAC again!


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 7 👍

Support of Smart Predict -

SAC offers Smart Predict function on planning models. Write back generates forecast in the planning model, based on Machine Leading. Smart Predict is available out of the box and do not incur any additional cost in terms of license. (Note: Predictive features are not available on NEO tenants. This due to the fact SAP Datacenters do not offer Kubernetes engine API. Cloud Foundry based tenants comes with Predictive functions).  This helps automate data driven business decision. Supported predictive scenarios are – Classification, Regression and Time Series.

Embedded Analytics smart feature are limited and Smart Predict is not available. Hence you cannot automate the forecasting of your planning processes or plan using Embedded Analytics. You should rely on other planning solutions like IBP/ BPC NW/ BPC embedder/ SAP BPC Optimized for S/4HANA/ SAC Planning

Round goes to SAC due to ML based data processing support and out of the box advanced smart functions.


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 8 👍

Support of advanced statistical and analytical analyses–

SAP Analytics Cloud supports R-Visualization. You can try R-Visualization function based on this blog post.

Embedded Analytics do not support any statically based analysis or visualization.


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 9 👍

Supports ML based Analytics (Smart Insight, Smart Discovery and Search to insight) –

Augmented Analytics is big component of SAP Analytics Cloud. These smart Machine learning capabilities and functions are available in SAC (without any additional cost). This is the new generation of augmenting of BI and planning capabilities.

Whether you want your BI system to be smart in terms of presenting insight/ charts/ stories etc. based on the questions you have asked on the fly? You can use natural language statements to interact with SAC and SAC will present you insightful visualization and annotations. This is Search to Insight for you.

What if you want your BI report / analytics explain patterns, trends based on data? SAC offers Smart Insights feature out of the box. Let ML explain data points for you and give the reason of variance. This feature can be included in your charts and stories with any extra work.

What if you do not know what you are looking for in your financial data extract? ML in SAC will create a story for you and highlights various patterns based on selected KPI(s). This is Smart Discover

Best part is that, you do not need to an expert in AI/ML to use these features.

Bonus: You may have seen demos where person can interact with SAC over voice search and SAC creates data driven insights based on the query. As if, you have expert Data Scientist at your disposal. (QRC1 2021update may include this feature out of the box for mobile app). Beat that!

Unfortunately, Embedded Analytics do not support all smart features yet. Without question round goes to SAC.


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 10👍

Create stories and visualization on non-SAP data –

Compared to other products in the SAP ecosystem,  SAC is quite open when it comes to non-SAP connections. It supports a wide array of non-SAC data sources -Dataset, Dow Jones, Google BigQuery, Google Drive, OData Services, Qualtrics, Salesforces, SQL databases are name a few that, are supported out of the box itself. Then comes the SAP Cloud Platform for open connectors for third party cloud applications.

Bonus: we may see support for Amazon S3, Amazon CRM, Box,, Connectwise CRM REST Beta, Dropbox, Egnyte, Infusionsoft REST, Insightly, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft OneDrive, Netsuite CRM 2018 Release 1, SFTP Element …. You may notice these connections greyed out in your SAC (CF) tenant. Though wait for official roadmap from SAP.

Embedded Analytics is limited to the underneath applications only. This means Embedded Analytics on S/4HANA only supports itself as data source. SAC wins again!


  • Embedded Analytics: 2 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 11👍

Create custom stories on embedded app data –

Both SAC and Embedded Analytics support custom story building based on its supported data sources. This round is a tie!


  • Embedded Analytics: 3 👍

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 12👍

Self Service data visualization (no model required) –

SAC supports simple drag-drop of data files and building of explorer view. Later explorer view can be converted into combinations of charts and copied over into canvas for story telling purpose. Point to be noted here is, end user do not need to get into technicalities of building models. In short, end user (with little to no data processing knowledge) can use SAC as self-service visualization (like Tableau).

Embedded Analytics rely completely on data sourced from embedded app (CDS Views) and present a bit of a learning curve for end user. No support for excel/ CSV based Dashboarding.
We noticing a trend of SAC winning most of the bouts 🙂 Round goes to SAC!


  • Embedded Analytics: 3  👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 13 👍

Supports acquired data –

SAC supports wide array of data source (details share above under data consolidation section) on import data setup. Import data is helpful for planning setup, scenarios where you want to blend data from multiple applications, enhance data by merging master data or for story performance on aggregated dataset (compared to transactional data in source system).

Embedded Analytics do not support any data import function.


  • Embedded Analytics: 3 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 14👍

Planning support –

SAC offers full fledge planning functionalities to support organizational operational, strategic and financial planning. Covering different aspects of advance formulas, planning automation, versioning, currency conversion, connecting planner to tasks/ roles/ processes/calendar events, locking rules, Data actions, trigger events, ML based forecasting, value driven tree, bidirectional data planning, data communication with transactional system (S/4HANA - ACDOCP table). Collaboration is the core of any planning process and SAC address this by strong suite of collaborative and commenting functions. Forecasting process is complemented by out of the box ML based predictive features. Tight integration of SAC with other business suits (like S/4HANA) made it possible to show case SAC as complete planning solution.

Embedded Analytics does not support planning processes. Few more rounds to go SAC seems to be the clear winner!


  • Embedded Analytics: 3 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 15👍

Scheduling and publication –

Report scheduling and broadcasting (via email, application inbox, fileserver…) to receiver is one of the go to functionality in BI solutions supporting Financial and operational reports. Goal is to re run the output at regular / predefined interval and distribute the output. Q2 2020 SAP added Scheduling and publication in SAC (NEO tenants are not included due to nonsupport of Docker containers requirement for scheduling). At the time of blog post number of scheduled per hour count limited to 5% of the total license count of a tenant (example: if total license count is 25 license count will allow 5% of 25 = 1.25 ~ 1 publication per hour / 24 per day).

Bonus: Until now, publications emails are restricted to be tagged with sender as “”. Q4 2020 update allow updating of senders email ID (as per organization SMTP setup).

No scheduling of story/ analytics supported on Embedded Analytics.


  • Embedded Analytics: 3 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 16👍

Collaboration Support –

Collaboration is the centerpiece of every organization. SAC offers multiple tools to support collaborative effort and encourage engagement around business processes. Supported Collaborative tools in SAC are –

  • Discussion – Start discussion by adding SAC user and share stories for better insight and feedback.

  • Commenting – this allows feedback and acknowledgement process on story objects. Comments cans be directed to individuals or entire team. Quite helpful during planning process where plan owner, assignee and reviewers need to interact on granular level of planning details.

  • Input task & Calendar– In calendar one can create tasks, assign tasks to users and set due date of completion. This is another way to engage coworkers into process, request and share information.

  • Story Sharing - sharing a story to an existing member of SAC.

  • Team Setup – Teams can be created for better collaboration and asset sharing. This setup is taken care by SAC admin user mostly.

  • Notification – Reminder and system alert both are notified to end users.

Unfortunately most of the above mentioned collaborative functions are not supported by Embedded Analytics. We are seeing similar trend here. SAC again on top.


  • Embedded Analytics: 3 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 17👍

Out of the box integration –

SAC offers out of the box integration to most of the cloud based SAP applications (Concur, SuccessFactor, Fieldglass, OData, SAP Cloud for Customer, SAP Business ByDesign, S/4HANA cloud). With minimum setup steps.

On the other hand, some applications (like SAP BW, ECC, SAP BPC MS, BW/4HANA, SAP HANA, SAP Universe, SQL Databases etc.), need additional setup of Cloud Connector and SAP Analytics Cloud Agent. SAP recently released SAP Analytics Cloud Agent Simple Deployment Kit, in an effort to minimize configuration effort.  In other words, SAC offers a variety of Data Source and with varying level of complexity

Embedded Analytics integration to underneath application (e.g. S/4HANA cloud) is seamless and take couple of activation steps only.


  • Embedded Analytics: 4 👍

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 18👍

Diagram below shows different components/ protocols (CORS) involved with different SAC data sources. Dotted line represent live connection (no data replication) between SAC and Data Source.


Bonus: SAC live connection now supports Smart Insight. This ML based feature was earlier only supported on acquired data sources only. Data never leaves company network still Smart insight gets generated based on metadata (Dimension ID, Cardinality, Dimension type and Member ID) from source model. Here is how it works - Smart Insight on live connection.

Navigation between Analytical and transaction apps/ data –

SAC do not offer any out of the box setup that allow jump to transaction data (at source).

Embedded Analytics on the other hand, allow insight-to-action setup (out of the box). For instance, jump to Fiori app/ reports directly from Analytical reports. End user can analyze dashboard KPI and jump to transaction (S/4HANA) to take necessary action.
Embedder analytics scores in this round.


  • Embedded Analytics: 5 👍

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 18👎

Ease of access via Launchpad –

SAP Analytics Cloud offers “Catalogue” (in addition of Home Screen) function to setup personalized tile based landing page. Stories, Analytic Applications, Digital Boardrooms, charts and external contents can be published. can be added into catalogue and shared across user group.

Embedded analytics tiles can be setup and launched from Fiori launch pad. This setup gives end user hoisting view of the Line-Of-Business in focus.

Seems like we got a tie again.


  • Embedded Analytics: 6 👍

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 19👍

Customized Planning Applications –

SAC supports Analytical Designer and required API (Version management, Enable table for planning, User input and submit, Data action and trigger event) for custom planning application design. SAP recommends using standard widgets unless we want to address complex requirements.

Embedded Analytics does not support planning or planning applications.


  • Embedded Analytics: 6 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 20👍

User rights and setup –

As SAP Analytics Cloud Enterprise version is a standalone system. Separate set of roles and authorization need to be setup in SAC. This is an additional step when it comes to user management in SAC. Although data level security at source system are based on access defined at source (in this case S/4HANA). For instance of live data connection, user access at source (S/4HANA cloud) dictates what is accessible to user. Where as for imported data (into SAC), data as well as object level access need to be setup separately in SAC. This is an additional step.

Embedded Analytics reuses same Fiori based analytical / screen variant access and roles. No need to setup roles separately. Most of the access scenarios can be covered by standard roles.
Seem like Embedded Analytics is not giving up easily and going down fighting! Embedded Analytics wins this round.


  • Embedded Analytics: 7 👍

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 20👎

Access Analytics out side of company network/ firewall-

SAC lets you access Analytical Stories/ apps/ models/ planning objects on the go. You do not need to be under company network/ firewall for certain acquired data objects. Live data connection to on-premise applications, on the other hand designed to work only in company network. If you try to access content (based on live data connection) out side of company firewall, system will throw "SSL Certificate is not trusted" error. This is by design and restriction comes from CORS (Cross Origin Resource Sharing )setup. In case your requirement is to allow SAC live connection  contents out side of company firewall (no VPN), then tunnel connection is the option for setup between on-prem system and SAC. Tunnel connection supports live connectivity to on-prem SAP HANA, SAP BW, BW/4HANA and S/4HANA environments.

SSL Certificate Error, Live Access To On-Prem Data Source (outside of Firewall)

Embedder Analytics on the other hand, do not allow out of network access. With last and final blow , SAC wins the match with its openness and versatility.



  • Embedded Analytics: 7 👎

  • SAP Analytics Cloud: 21👍

Comparison Summary-



In an idle scenario where S/4HANA takes care of all Business functions (planning, purchasing, manufacturing, sales, marketing, and more), Embedded Analytics is sufficient and get the job done. Although we live in a non-idle word and business are not far from it. Business bound to have multiple setups for different business processes; they can be SAP or non-SAP. Application like SAC helps create meaning out of scattered data and provide holistic 360° business view. Based on above comparison it is evident that SAC compliments S/4HANA (even with Embedded Analytics) and similar cloud based systems. Though to be honest, it is not fare to compare Embedded Analytics with SAP Analytics Cloud Enterprise Version, they are two different category of Analytic product. One is catered to provide self-service analytical capabilities out of the box, without any additional licenses and the other (SAC) is designed to offer full blown experience with all the bells and whistles required for complete analytics for enterprise.

Both working together to address enterprise Analytical and self-service need-

Additional References-

Blog posts and official SAP links:

Customer Use Case:

Here is an example of customer use case of embedded analytics, showcasing its use and limitation and workaround to overcome product limitations -

Important thing to note here is, SAC could fit right into the above requirement. This is due the need to data blending.


Please be informed, details shared in this blog post are based on careful observation(s) made and experience gained, around the product(s) involved. This is no way can be considered as directive or recommendation from SAP. For official guidance and instructions, please check SAP documentations. Beside statements/observations (shared), can be time dependent and change over time. This is general behavior of all IT product, as IT solutions changes over time and this product(s), is no exception.
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