The term ‘Business Analytics‘ (BA) is used in many different contexts. Be it specific skills, software applications or business practices they all share a common theme which is being able to analyse and explore data in an iterative fashion by using drill down, filters and often measuring against specific key performance indicator (KPI’s).
We are not just talking about static reporting here, BA is the process that we use to really dig deep into a datasets to find new trends by investigating historical information and in some cases applying statistical methods to drive out possible future projections.
It is this type of reporting that help some of the best companies in the world to understand their own market trends and plan strategic goals for the future to enable them to stay ahead of their competitors.
SAP has a rich software tool set that businesses use to carry out their business analytic processes of which the SAP BEx Analyzer is still the most popular.
You may argue that Business Objects if the preferred tool now and while I agree that BO has an excellent track record and feature richer tool set, it is still BEx queries that underpin the majority of SAP data driven reporting. BO more often than not uses BEx queries as the data source for its reporting.
Business Analytics – BEx Analyzer Style
For years the BEx Analyzer has received a mixed response from businesses that have implemented SAP BW as their data warehouse. Now I know I am a little bias here because I specialise in SAP BI but my own personal view is that the BEx Analyzer tool is massively underused and this is mainly down to business users not been trained properly in how to use it.
You see, the BEx Analyzer is a very powerful reporting tool that lets you create unlimited reports and analytical applications inside Microsoft Excel which as we all know is probably the most popular data analysis tool used in the world.
SAP BEx Analyzer is built on top of Microsoft Excel to allow anybody with SAP BW system access to run queries to produce reports which allow them to carry out analytical business reporting against huge datasets. When a user becomes proficient in using the BEx Analyzer the speed in which they can produce reports in my opinion is unprecedented.
Once you know where your data is you can produce brand-new reports in less than a minute which are not just static reports, but have full drill-down capability and built-in analysis tools to allow any other user to use the query, format exactly how they want and make use of the data.
You are not just limited to having a tool that can produce one-off reports for ad-hoc reporting; you can produce complete business analysis applications because the BEx Analyzer has a feature rich design element that allows you to combine multiple reports into one spreadsheet workbook to create comprehensive reporting dashboards with their own unique design and interface. You can add tabular data and charts and at the press of a button turn a table into a chart and vice-versa.
You have the options of adding drop-down boxes for data selection along with check-boxes and radio buttons for fast user interaction as well as a whole host of other options to make your business analysis applications look slick and professional, and most importantly allow you to analyse your data with ease.
Here is a list of some of the design tools available:
- Drop-down Box
- Check-box Group
- Radio Button Group
- List of Conditions
- List of Exceptions
- Text Boxes
- System Messages
- Workbook Settings
As you can see from the brief descriptions above, the BEx analyser is extremely flexible and most users will feel comfortable using it because it sits within Microsoft Excel. So with a little training and understanding businesses can easily turn their data into information delivering analytical reports.
Companies that have SAP BW really need to spend a bit more time and effort looking at this excellent analytics tool in more detail and start to reap the benefits it can give.
It is not only companies that have SAP BW that need to make better use of the BEx analyzer Over the years I have seen a countless number of functional consultants and business analysts analyse business requirements and recommend expensive and time-consuming development work within ERP systems, when if they have the knowledge to understand what the BEx analyzer can produce they would be able to offer a better, cheaper and faster solution by making use of the business analytic tools the company already has.
Addressing the situation
I’ll be creating a series of posts and videos to help explain what the BEx analyzer is capable of and how easy it is to learn. In the meantime take a look at some of the existing articles I have already created to give you an insight into the various BW and BEx analyzer tool set.