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Category: Embedded Analytics

Embedded Analytics in S/4HANA (with demo videos)

Embedded Analytics in S/4HANA (with demo videos)

In previous blogs I have touched upon the embedded analytics functionalities in S/4HANA 1610. In fact in some specific topics I have shown you what you can achieve with HANA Live or tools like Analysis for Office. Specifically in the Attributed Profitability Segments blog I did show some reporting possibilities in S/4HANA. In this blog I aim to give a good overview of the purpose and added value of embedded analytics in S/4HANA. After the overview I will post demo videos per analytical tool at the end of this blog.

In most of the ERP implementations I see that the reporting requirements and workshops are done at the end of the project. It’s like saving the best for last, but in reality business processes cannot be separated from analytics. At least when we talk about operational reporting. Other major issues I see are system design and configuration which at the end does not match the reporting requirements. The system is not designed and configured with the desired output (reports) in mind and you will only find this out during the analytics/reporting workshop which are planned at the end of the project.

With the rich analytics content which comes out of the box with S/4HANA this can be improved significantly when it comes to operational reporting. Reports and dashboard do make more sense for users when it’s visualized in a user friendly interface like Fiori. With embedded analytics in S/4HANA SAP makes a huge step forwards in the integration of the transactional and analytical world.

3 principles of Analytics in S/4HANA

  1. Consistent user experience across all analytical use cases
  2. Seamless integration to other SAP Analytical offerings
  3. Implementation of embedded analytics a seamless integration of analytical components on the UI

Consistent user experience across all analytical use cases

To explain this principles further. With consistent user experience we main to say that even applications with different use cases should work the same way for e.g. filtering, printing, data export, role based access etc.

Seamless integration to other SAP Analytical offerings

Below you will see a simple representation of the embedded analytics architecture in S/4HANA. In the top layer you see the SAP Analytical offerings which are seamlessly integrated to the business suite. This means that there is no data load or ETL processes. Data can be consumed in real time in of the mentioned SAP analytical tools. As mentioned before, in this blog I will give examples of both out of the box reporting possibilities (Smart Business, Fiori etc.) and tools from the SAP BO suite (Lumira, Excel).

S4HANA Embedded Analytics

Implementation of embedded analytics a seamless integration of analytical components on the UI

With the implementation of embedded analytics we mean “really” embedded into the transactional work and the daily processes. Today most often transactions and analytics are handled separately, but in reality business processes are a sequence of transactions, analytics, transactions etc.

S4HANA Embedded Analytics cycle

S/4HANA Real Time Analytics Architecture

As you can see in the picture below in the architecture everything starts with the physical tables in the database. These are the old fashioned tables like VBRK, VBAP, EKPO, EKKO etc.

On top of that there are Virtual Data Models (VDM’s) built in the Application layer. SAP deploys standard VDM’s out of the box, these can be enriched by customer built specific views. SAP blends transactions and analytics allowing operational reporting on live data. In S/4HANA this concept is supported with Core Data Services (CDS) for real time operational reporting. The content is represented as VDM’s which is based on transactional and master data tables in S/4HANA.

The development of custom views is more often a technical task for developers. However in the application layer there is room for Power/Key users to create own Queries and KPI’s. This is done with the help of the KPI Modeller framework and Self-Service Query Designer.

At the top we see the different user interfaces which can consume the VDM’s. the user interface communicates with the application layer through oData Services. The most obvious and out of the box available user interface is Fiori. Next to that we have the other SAP Analytical offerings in the Business Objects suite (Lumira, Excel, Design Studio, etc.). Even 3rd party user interfaces can consume the virtual data models from the SAP application server.

S4HANA Embedded Analytics Architecture

Difference between HANA Live Views and CDS Views

Perhaps some of you have already hands-on experience with HANA live views in the world of Suite on HANA or Simple Finance. I have worked with Live views a lot. In S/4HANA HANA Live Views are still supported, but CDS views are the way forward. There will be no investment in live views from SAP in S/4HANA and everything is built around CDS views. Let me try to explain some differences between these two and let me try to point out the advantages of CDS views. Because HANA Live Views have a couple of major disadvantages.

First of all CDS views are in the application layer while HANA Live views are in the Database layer. What does this mean? Because CDS views are in the application layer we have the following advantages in contrast to HANA Live views:

  • Full ABAP lifecycle integration
  • Part of the General Extensibility concept
  • Supporting ERP Authorizations
  • Supporting ERP Hierarchies

Especially the last two are huge benefits. Authorizations and hierarchies are a pain in the neck in HANA Live. I learned this the hard way.CDS view architecture

Embedded Analytics offerings per type of user

In the below overview you can see the analytical tools available for the type of users. Like in the architecture picture, we start at the bottom where we have the CDS views which are built on top of the database tables.

Let’s read this bottom up:

Embedded Analytics Tools

Available Analytical Apps by Release

Some additional information about the availability of analytical apps per release and module.

Demo per analytical tooling

Now let’s have a look at examples per analytical tooling. I have recorded some demo videos per tool. You can find the links to YouTube below. The number of demo videos will grow in the future so keep checking my YouTube channel and this blog.

Multi Dimensional Reporting:

Incoming Sales Order

 

Analytical Fiori Apps:

Sales order fulfillment issues

Customer 360 with navigation to accounting document, correspondence and sales order fulfillment issue

Display Financial Statement

Production Cost Analysis

Overview Pages with drill down to Analytical Path Framework (APF apps):

Procurement Overview Page

Order to Cash Overview Page

Smart Business Apps:

Overdue Receivables

Analytical Path Framework Apps:

Days Sales Outstanding (dso)

Query Browser:

Query browser with Design Studio

Lumira:

Example Service order reporting

Analysis for Office:

Example Service Order Reporting based on ACDOCA and Maintenance Order tables

Example Maintenance Contract Reporting based on ACDOCA and sales contract tables

Example Revenue and Margin Reporting based on billing document item query

 

Additional

In my blog The SAP GUI menu is back in Fiori 2.0 I explained how to add GUI transaction in the Fiori Launchpad. You can watch a demo of this functionality. It’s nice to see that the SPRO menu can be used as well.

  • GUI menu in Fiori 2.0 (incl. SPRO menu)

Attributed Profitability Segments in S/4HANA 1610

Attributed Profitability Segments in S/4HANA 1610

In S/4HANA 1610 a new functionality called ‘Attributed Profitability Segments’ is introduced. It is now possible to derive a (statistical) profitability segment when there is another real CO object with a settlement rule to COPA.

I was hoping that this would fix some occurring issues with Account Based COPA in S/4HANA. Below, I will explain the scenario I have been dealing with in my example with a revenue bearing time & material service order which is billed with a debit memo. The debit memo request has an account assignment to the service order. The service order has an settlement rule to COPA. In this example I use an S/4HANA Finance 1503 environment.

In my second example I will show you how the Attributed Profitability Segment in S/4HANA 1610 works. See the difference yourself and decide if you can benefit from this new enhancement.

Current issues in Account Based Profitability Analysis

Here I will show you a time & material service order scenario and the reporting issues in Account Based COPA without having attributed profitability segments.

T&M Service Order

As you can see in the settlement rule, the order will be settled to COPA:

Service Order Settlement Rule

The Debit Memo request is created with DP90:

In the account assignment in the sales order line items you can see the assignment to the service order and no assignment to a Profitability Segment.

Debit Memo Request Account Assignment

This means that you cannot report on the Revenu in Profitablity Analsyis untill the Service Order is settled. Even then, you will see the revenue on the settlement cost elements, not on the original revenue cost element.

Reporting

Let’s have a look on the data of this Invoice and service order in the ACDOCA table.

The top rows in the blue rectangular are the actual postings on the service order (e.g. Revenue Accounts). The others are postings resulting from the settlement of service order (settlement cost elements). In this example I have my COPA characteristic Ship to Party and Ship to Country. As you can see these fields are not derived during the daily postings. They are only derived when the service order is settled to COPA.

ACDOCA

The result is that I don’t have my COPA characteristics on my revenue GL accounts. Reporting in COPA with the use of standard ACDOCA reports and KPI Fiori tiles will result in incomplete figures in these cases.

Have a look at the Actual Revenue KPI tiles in Fiori which come with SAP Smart Business as part of Embedded Analytics. The Revenue KPI app is based on Account Based COPA, thus Cost Elements and corresponding profitability characteristics. In this current scenario the profitability characteristics are not assigned to the revenue accounts. What you will see is this:

Revenue KPI tile

The same issues applies on the new ACDOCA report ‘Market Segment Actuals’:

Market Segment Actuals

The only way to overcome this is building your own reports in HANA Live and making reports in one of the SAP Business Object tools available (Lumira, Webi or Analysis for Office). Similar to what I have done for my T&M service order profitability in Analysis for Office:

Service Order Analysis for Office Report

 

Using the attributed Profitability Segments in S/4HANA 1610 

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the new functionality called ‘Attributed Profitability Segments’ has been introduced. If there is a real account assignment to one of the objects below, the system can derive “statistical” (or attributed) COPA segments for reporting purpose:

  • Cost Center
  • Internal Order
  • Project
  • Sales Order
  • Production Order

Unfortunately the service order is not included in this list as object. Thus a direct solution for my scenario explained above has not been provided yet by SAP. I hope the service order will be supported soon as receiving CO object.

However let’s see how this new functionality works with a supported object, the internal order. Technically it’s the same issue we are solving, but instead of the service order we use an internal order as account assignment. In the configuration I have activated the Attributed Profitability Segment for internal Orders only for postings on P&L accounts. As mentioned at the beginning of my post, I will use a S/4HANA 1610 environment in this example.

The below internal order has an settlement rule to COPA.

Fiori Internal Order

Fiori Internal Order Settlement Rule

I create a sales order with assignment to the above internal order in the line item. As you can see there is no assignment to COPA.

Fiori Internal Order Sales Order

Final posting of the invoice:

Final Posting Sales for Internal Order

After posting the invoice you will see the attributed segment in the revenue line item in the ACDOCA table.

The real CO account assignment can be found in field Object Type (ACCTASY) which is the Internal Order in this case. As you can see the COPA characteristics like the Material, Customer, Material Group, Customer Group and Ship to Party are derived as well!

ACDOCA with Attributed Profitability Segments

I see huge benefits in this new functionality for reporting purposes since profitability characteristics are derived directly at the moment of posting even if there is another CO assignment. For me it was a long awaited functionality, however I’m very disappointed that it isn’t working yet in scenarios were the service orders is the receiving cost object. I have addressed this to SAP and waiting for a reply.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and I wonder if you have experienced similar issues with CO objects as well? If you have other thoughts or questions related to this subject, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. If there are any other S/4HANA related cases you would like to see, just let me know and perhaps I can write a future post on the topic.