The need for utilising data increases and that of course includes operational data from ERPs. To serve this basic demand of companies SAP continuously improves their data analysis and data visualisation tools and offers great solutions like SAP BusinessObjects, Lumira, SAP Analytics Cloud or SAP Design Studio. But despite heavy investments, business intelligence still remains a weaker area for SAP, especially compared to great and widely used new-generation BI platforms on the market like Tableau and Spotfire.
It’s not easy to get around SAP’s closed ecosystem and make SAP data available in other platforms, but not impossible. You can even export data from SAP ERP systems with all existing business logic included (not only table level) using Data Unfolder and create magical visualisations in Tableau.
How about the other way around? Wouldn’t it be great if Tableau’s interactive visual analytics could be embedded into SAP?
Now this is not science fiction anymore, due to the recent efforts from VirtDB a technology spin-off of well-known Big Data Consulting company Starschema Ltd. They just released a product called InstantInsights which provides business decision support for SAP users, by embedding responsive Tableau dashboards right into SAP.
First of all, how do we know which dashboards should be displayed in SAP and on which screens? Is it possible to add dashboards to standard SAP screens?
When you launch InstantInsights, it will scan the currently displayed screen and will identify business objects like sales orders, materials, customers, storage locations etc. It will display an assistant bar on the left side, listing everything it has found (for ex. Company code 1000, customer 2503 etc.). For each business object, you can assign any number of Tableau Dashboards and you can display them in SAP by double clicking on it. This can be automated by setting a default dashboard.
Filter the dashboard based on your SAP screen field values
With InstantInsights’s solution, based on SAP field values, your Tableau Dashboard will be filtered automatically. It follows that you can use all the functionalities of Tableau, so you can drill down, filter etc. and you can even edit the dashboard in place.
The solution can utilize your existing BI reports and dashboards in a responsive way: for example when creating a Sales Order in SAP, a contextually filtered credit risk analysis dashboard can be displayed for the particular customer in the SAP Client. This can help the Analyst to assess the related risks before operative decisions taken.
This provides interaction between the systems in one direction. However, we have a bi-directional integration.
If you need some detailed information in a dashboard, you may face a problem that you are not able to display _all_ data that sits in SAP and is related to the item you have just selected. You can only add the required infos to the details section, to a tooltip or as a label instead. But would it not be easier to display SAP instead?
InstantInsights enables you to launch any SAP transaction when you interact with your dashboard. You can practically do anything with that, but we have chosen a simple use case: display the document in a new SAP window.
Well, this two-way integration can be beneficial for you, because:
Get your hands on it and sign up for a demo here.
Tamás Holics is a technology enthusiast with a 10+ year experience with SAP systems and works as the CTO at VirtDB.