SAPinsider Financials 2018 | Key Takeaways from Prague

JS Irick is the head of development at TruQua Enterprises, LLC.

Greetings from Prague, where I just finished presenting at SAPinsider Financials 2018. In between visiting the castle, bridges, and museums, TruQua presented eight sessions, where conference attendees learned more about SAP Central Finance, S/4HANA, SAPAnalytics Cloud, Machine Learning and Driver-Based Planning. Below are my five key takeaways from SAPinsider Financials 2018. 

1)  It’s not Business Planning. It’s Collaborative Enterprise Planning.
I really like this branding decision, as it empowers customers and consultancies with a strong understanding of the enterprise as a whole.“Destroying data silos” sounds great in the abstract, but without the cross-disciplinary skillset necessary to leverage the unified view of your business, you won’t truly seize the value provided. Drill Back has changed from a Finance-to-Finance concept, to a Finance-to-Business one. HR, Supply Chain, Demand Planning, Trade Promotion all have incredibly rich solutions, and theability to integrate these solutions through the planning process providesunparalleled agility through Collaborative Enterprise Planning.

2) Get busy living in S/4 and SAC.
The SAP message is clear: S/4HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud are the future. Even if these technologies are years down your roadmap, there are ways to begin seizing value from these technologies right now. SAP Analytics Cloud, with its strong connectivity, provides carve-out planning and analytics scenarios which provide for exceptionally quick time-to-value. From an  S/4HANA perspective, there is a significantly quicker option for S/4HANA Finance with Central Finance, which significantly cuts both the risk and cost. Even with S/4HANA well down the road, working on an Analytics roadmap in addition to your technical roadmap ensures that your journey to the Digital Core will drive true Financial Transformation.

3) SAPinsider conferences provide tremendous access and value.
Well-prepared and well-informed customers will always get the most from their consulting dollar. Looking at the table next to me during a brief pause in “Ask the Experts,” I saw SAP’s Senior Director of Product Marketing for Planning & Analysis, working with customers to define theirAnalytics roadmap with SAC, and SAP’s Global Solution owner for Central Finance, discussing Central Finance strategy and roadmap. Meanwhile, one ofTruQua’s principal Consultants was walking a customer through the selection criteria for Master Data harmonization in Central Finance. Each of these brief discussions provided value more than worth the price of the event. My recommendation is to attend the conference with key questions/areas of interest, and to take advantage of the access provided during the designated times.

4)  The difference between the “haves” and“have-nots” in Analytics is striking, especially in terms of AI/ML.
As a professional, you must be your own best advocate and as your analytics opportunities grow, you must have a vendor and implementation partner who can pierce the veil and provide you with real insight, real education and real enablement.  There are few things more dangerous to your business than blindly following “black box” statistics or non-describable AI. SAP is doing a great job at bringing in these technologies in an explainable way, but it is up to customers to make sure they are constantly striving for transparency in their processes.

5) The future of SAP remains bright.
Visiting the SAP Analytics booth to discuss the latest SAC, S/4HANA, Central Finance and group reporting reaffirmed that the future of SAP is in great hands. Additionally, walking the conference floor and checking in with strong SAP partners such as Vertex and Tagetik showed the power of SAP HANA as a platform and the rewards that SAP’s dedication to integration brings their customers. Visiting one of the world’s great cities and collaborating with bright, engaged SAP and partner team members was inspiring.  The tools that SAP develops allow TruQua to partner with their customers and solve their biggest business challenges.

For more information about TruQua, fill out the form below and we will contact you soon.

SAP Analytics Cloud & Live Connections | Taking the First Step

By: Josh Jiang – TruQua Intern; Min Su Kim – TruQua Intern; JS Irick, Principal Consultant

In our previous article, Extending the Digital Core with SAP Analytics Cloud | HANA in the Cloud, we demonstrated how customers’ existing investments in SAP HANA can power the latest visualizations and analytics available in SAP Analytics Cloud.

This hybrid planning methodology between SAP HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud answers two of the most common questions TruQua receives regarding the next generation of SAP Planning, which include:

  1. How do we get started with SAP Analytics Cloud?
  2. How do we align with SAP’s strategic roadmap for Planning if we are not yet ready to fully migrate to the Cloud?

The answer to both questions is leveraging Live Data Connections. As illustrated below, when a user is viewing data in SAP Analytics Cloud, through a live data connection, there are two connections at play. A connection to SAP Analytics Cloud, which supplies the Stories, Models and Visualizations, and a connection to the on-premise SAP HANA database, which supplies the data.

sap analytics cloud live connections

Live Data Connections in SAP Analytics Cloud – © TruQua Enterprises

In our previous article, we introduced a HANA native planning model for the manufacturing of a car engine. Here, we have taken that model and created a live data connection to SAP Analytics Cloud which illustrates the total costs and labor hours by Manufacturing Plant:

Total Costs & Labor Hours in SAP Analytics Cloud

Total Costs & Labor Hours in SAP Analytics Cloud – © TruQua Enterprises

As the Live Data Connection write-back capability is still on the SAP Analytics Cloud roadmap, for the purpose of this example, we have leveraged the HANA XS engine to communicate between our Users and SAP HANA. SAP Analytics Cloud allows for the embedding of SAP HANA XS applications, which lets us add rich functionality such as Bill of Materials visualizations and Demand Planning layouts to our forecasts.

Bill of Materials Visualization in SAP Analytics Cloud

Bill of Materials Visualization in SAP Analytics Cloud – © TruQua Enterprises

TruEngine Sales Volume Control - © TruQua Enterprises

TruEngine Sales Volume Control – © TruQua Enterprises

This seamless integration between SAP HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud provides a wealth of new insights into the planning process, such as the ability to immediately view capacity issues associated with a forecast:

SAP Analytics Cloud Production Labor Hours Data - © TruQua Enterprises

SAP Analytics Cloud Production Labor Hours Data – © TruQua Enterprises

We also have access to the complete suite of collaboration tools through SAP Analytics Cloud, which provide users the ability to have a discussion, post comments and assign tasks, all within the user interface.

Ability to Have Discussions, Post Comments & Assign Tasks in User Interface

Ability to Have Discussions, Post Comments & Assign Tasks in User Interface – © TruQua Enterprises

Live Data Connections provides the ability to use the majority of Analytics and Visualization tools without the need for any replication of data:

Live Data Connections with Analytics and Visualization Tools

Live Data Connections with Analytics and Visualization Tools – © TruQua Enterprises

With its powerful array of connectivity features, SAP Analytics Cloud has eliminated the traditional barriers to entry for new planning software. Customers can achieve enormous value without the need to disrupt their current processes, or perform large data migration processes. Now is the perfect time to start your company’s journey to SAP Analytics Cloud.

TruQua provides workshops, pilots, training and delivery to move SAP Analytics Cloud from your roadmap to reality.  Fill out our form below or contact info@truqua.com for more information.


Extending the Digital Core with SAP Analytics Cloud | HANA in the Cloud

Extending the Digital Core with SAP Analytics Cloud | HANA in the Cloud

sap analytics cloud digital core
By: Josh Jiang – TruQua Intern; Min Su Kim – TruQua Intern; JS Irick, Principal Consultant

From the perspective of Financial Planning and Analysis, SAP HANA has led three major revolutions. First was the Sidecar era, where customers realized performance gains on their existing systems via HANA’s in-memory capabilities. We then experienced the Platform era, where business logic was pushed down into the database. This push down provided an explosive increase in functionality, and decoupled business processes from their existing applications, leading to increased reporting and analytics capabilities. Now, we are firmly in the Digital Core era, where traditional data silos are being obliterated and true Enterprise analytics are possible.

By combining the Digital Core era with SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), we now have an unprecedented opportunity to provide context and visibility into our customers’ most challenging business problems. The power of HANA can be combined with the robust visual language of SAP Analytics Cloud to provide a unique avenue for Planning.

SAP HANA planning

In this blog post, we will look at how True Engines (TruQua’s Demo Company for Manufacturing) has improved their planning process to better anticipate the impact that demand changes have on Plant Utilization.  At the beginning of each planning cycle, the Operations team defines a maximum capacity for each plant.  When the Demand Planning Team modifies their forecasts for Finished Goods (Engines) and Semi-Finished Goods (Replacement Parts), they are able to see the amount of Labor Hours required by Plant, thanks to their native SAP HANA calculations.

demand planning process

Currently, both the demand planning process and Labor Hours reporting takes place entirely in Excel. The True Engines SAP team wants to move this process to SAP Analytics Cloud to provide better visibility, and an improved user experience.

labor hours data

The HANA Data you see in this demo is queried using a Live Data Connection to SAP Analytics Cloud. Per the SAP Documentation, this means:

Live Data Connections…

  1. Are available for cloud and on premise data sources
  2. Do not replicate your data in SAP Analytics Cloud
  3. Use existing data models for analysis
  4. Update your data visualizations and stories with new data in real-time

The means that the True Engines team is getting SAP’s latest Analytics Cloud functionality, without putting their data in the cloud.

Once the HANA view for Labor Hours by Plant is configured in SAP Analytics Cloud, the True Engines team can leverage the intuitive SAC Story creation tools in order to create robust visualizations showing the Plant Utilization. Now not only can capacity overages be instantly identified, but underutilized Plants can also be quickly identified, and operational interventions can be performed.

sap analytics cloud heat map
By creating unified reporting scenarios with SAP HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud, the True Engines team has advanced their planning from both a bottom-up (real time calculation of true Labor Utilization) and top-down (powerful visualizations, improved dashboarding, management reporting), all without needing to replicate their sensitive business data.

excel to sap analytics cloud
SAP Analytics Cloud offers a wide range of tools to create data visualizations in ways that traditional software, like Excel, cannot. These set of tools allow for new methods to analyze data that can both improve planning capabilities and reporting efficiency, providing solutions to challenging problems. Furthermore, cloud functionality allows users to access data without the need for on-premise data sources, increasing accessibility of data and reporting.


In our next SAP Analytics Cloud blog post, we will complete the True Engines scenario by writing back to the SAP HANA models from Analytics Cloud. This will allow adjustments to be made from the SAC stories, moving from Analytics to Planning.

This scenario is an example of how organizations can begin to leverage SAP Analytics Cloud without disrupting their existing processes, and without the need for loading data to additional systems.

For more information on how you can begin using SAP Analytics Cloud in your own organization, contact us today at info@truqua.com.

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