Business Intelligence in SAP Environments: Understanding the value of complementary BI Solutions

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    18-Dec-2014
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A white paper sponsored by Business Objects prior to the SAP acquistion to make the business case for complementary third-party BI instead of \'one-stop-shop\' SAP solutions.

Transcript of Business Intelligence in SAP Environments: Understanding the value of complementary BI Solutions

  • 1. BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE IN SAP ENVIRONMENTS:Understanding the value of complementary BI solutionsInforte - A Business & Decision CompanyDavid Dixon
  • 2. WHITE PAPER - Business Intelligence in SAP Environments: Understanding the value of complementary BI solutions TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF COMPLEMENTARY BI SOLUTIONS .....................................1 1.1 White Paper Objective ..............................................................................................................1 1.2 Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................1 1.3 Definition of Terms ....................................................................................................................2 2. WHY NOT SAP? .....................................................................................................................5 2.1 SAP Usability Considerations .....................................................................................................5 2.2 SAP Openness Considerations ...................................................................................................7 3. WHY CONSIDER HYBRIDS? .......................................................................................................9 3.1 One-Stop-Shop Misnomer .......................................................................................................9 3.2 Best-of-Breed Misnomer.........................................................................................................11 4. APPROACHES FOR SAP INTEGRATION ...................................................................................11 4.1 Data Quality Management in SAP ............................................................................................12 4.2 Interface-Based Access Approaches ..........................................................................................13 4.2.1 Open Analysis Interfaces Data Access....................................................................................14 4.2.2 Operations-Based Data Access ..............................................................................................15 4.3 Extraction-Based Data Access Approaches.................................................................................15 4.3.1 SAP Business Suite Data Access.............................................................................................16 4.3.2 SAP BW Data Access...........................................................................................................17 5. EVALUATING RETURN ON INVESTMENT .................................................................................17 6. CONCLUSION............................................................................................................................20 7 APPENDICES..............................................................................................................................21 7.1 Specialist BI Selection Criteria ..................................................................................................21 7.2 SAP Platform Considerations ....................................................................................................21 7.3 SAP Front-End History..............................................................................................................22 7.4 Query Design for Open Analysis Interfaces ...............................................................................24 7.5 Open Analysis Interfaces .........................................................................................................25 7.6 ABAP-Based Data Access .......................................................................................................27 7.7 SAP BW Metadata .................................................................................................................28 7.8 SAP Delta Change Capture for Extraction ..................................................................................30 7.9 Open Hub Services.................................................................................................................32Copyright 2008 Inforte Corp. All Rights Reserved. www.inforte.com
  • 3. WHITE PAPER - Business Intelligence in SAP Environments: Understanding the value of complementary BI solutions 11.1 WHITE PAPER OBJECTIVEThis white paper discusses how complementary Specialist Business Intelligence (BI) solutions can fit within a hybrid architecture strategy, whetheryour organization is an SAP shop, running the majority of their processes on SAP, or has SAP in its shop, with a heterogeneous enterpriseapplication environment that includes SAP solutions.Because of growing IT complexity and the higher stakes involved with enterprise solutions, decision makers increasingly rely on specialists andconstituents for support. When considering such support, decision makers must take into account both immediate, tactical, project-basedconcerns and longer-term strategic implications.Building consensus on support decisions not only distributes political risk and promotes inclusiveness, but also promotes objectivity and thetechnical accuracy of recommendations. But if consensus is split, as is often the case in BI environments consisting of SAP and non-SAPpractitioners, then consensus-building becomes a bottleneck. The explanations proposed in this document can serve as a communication tool tohelp expedite the arbitration of differences.Project teams that face tight timelines to perform high-impact BI evaluations or assessments that need to incorporate how to position SAP andSpecialist BI solution capabilities will also benefit from this white paper.1.2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARYA 2007 Information Week survey found that decision makers ranked BI vendors that can integrate with existing operational applicationsat the top of their strategic-planning wish lists.1Ironically, however, when it comes time to evaluate BI solutions, organizations often divide themselves into product-aligned camps. They debateideological differences that preclude the other camp, when in fact Specialist BI solutions can complement SAP irrespective of footprint size.SAP shops typically put into place governance rules that categorically ask Why not use SAP? failing to understand the hybrid options withinSAP solutions as well as across vendors. Recent SAP acquisitions and tighter partnerships are opening up new hybrid options such as the recentSAP offer to acquire Business Objects.2 This paper shows that there is indeed value that complementary Specialist BI solutions add to customersthat run SAP solutions. The optimal solution isnt an either/or choice, but rather one which incorporates both elements. Assumptions that SAP isa good enough one-stop-shopor on the other hand, that SAP complicates best-of-breed BI environmentsare no longer relevant.One serious perceptual problem involves the misuse of oversimplified labels. Both one-stop-shop and best-of-breed are inappropriatebecause of rapidly-changing industry dynamics. In the first place, SAP one-stop-shop architectures are falling short by sweeping unmetneeds under the carpet. In addition, best-of-breed solutions from Specialist BI providers now offer one-stop-shop BI in their own rightthat can complement rather than complicate SAP deployments. Using inaccurate labels can create impressions that lead decision-makingdown the wrong path. Strategically leveraging the respective strengths of all solution providers make best-of-both-worlds or best-of-hybrid capabilities possible.To be clear, best-of-both-worlds does not mean BI nirvana, but rather an environment that is better than having to pick a vendor-alignedextreme. Achieving a more balanced and optimal state with hybrid architectures has less to do with buying into the the hype around thelatest buzzword technologies and more to do with focusing on established interfaces, maturing technologies and best practice techniquesthat are coming of age. But perhaps the tipping point is not so much technology-driven as knowledge- and experience-driven. After yearsof investment in studying SAP concepts, data and technology nuances, Specialist BI providers have developed proven solutions capableof leveraging preexisting investments in SAP transactional systems. The stabilization of SAP integration touch points, as well as pre-delivered best practices, promises to turn hybrid BI architectures from a legacy landscape problem into a strategic infrastructure asset.Copyright 2008 Inforte Corp. All Rights Reserved. www.inforte.com