Although companies have made significant investments in enterprise software, business intelligence solutions, and performance management tools, the vast majority of companies still rely upon spreadsheets, fragmented reporting, and anecdotal pieces of information to guide their decisions. And in some cases, line managers don’t have the ability to analyze decision before taking action. A recent study by Korn/Ferry International revealed that fewer than 40 percent of business executives are satisfied with the quality of their management reporting. And the demand for greater analytical insight is also reflected in a 2004 CFO Research Services survey that revealed that 70 percent of respondents plan to invest or actively explore investment in advanced business intelligence, corporate performance management, or enterprise analytics solutions.
Serving analytical needs
SAP is actively working with customers to improve analytical insight and maximize the utility of business intelligence, corporate performance management, and other technology for analytics. SAP is defining a new value proposition for companies that want to improve the analytical insight of the organization, share data across all layers of the business, and improve decision making within a firm’s workflows. SAP Analytics is the platform that comprises the strategic and operational analytical tools delivered in mySAP ERP. The platform enables companies to deploy a unified set of analytic and decision support tools for all aspects of their organizations. SAP Analytics takes advantage of Enterprise Services Architecture by desegregating analytics and embedding analytical tools and dashboards within actual business process.
SAP Analytics is powered by SAP NetWeaver. It combines features of SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence (SAP NetWeaver BI) and SAP Strategic Enterprise Management (SAP SEM) to offer an analytical platform for the core functions of an enterprise. SAP Analytics delivers over 45 groups of preconfigured analytical processes for finance, human capital management, operations, and corporate services, including over 750 predefined key performance indicators (KPIs) and InfoCubes. mySAP ERP provides work environments tailored to roles like business unit analyst, production supervisor, or plant manager. Analytics are organized according to individual business processes, and with Enterprise Services Architecture, companies can design processes around individual roles and users. The result is smarter applications that fit the individual needs of companies and their employees.
The production supervisor work center is one of the new user interfaces built into mySAP ERP. This role-based interface dramatically increases user productivity by organizing everything product supervisors need to do their jobs: alerts, notifications, and collaboration features. In addition, the role provides real-time shop floor analytics enabled by SAP NetWeaver BI. This capability allows production supervisors to analyze shop floor situations, communicate information to co-workers, and execute a plan to respond to fluctuations in operations. Production supervisors can react more quickly to changes in operations, reduce waste due to delays in decision making, and optimize plans according to pricing or demand changes.
Business users in finance, operations, human resources, and other administrative roles can use a single application to inform business decisions, monitor the performance of functions, and examine opportunities to improve individual process flows. SAP Analytics delivers value to multiple functions of the enterprise. For example, the chief financial officer can use SAP Analytics efficiently to manage strategy and measure performance against strategic objectives, increase shareholder value, reduce financial risk and surprises with information visibility, and integrate company finances with CRM and supply chain applications. A vice president of human resources can perform real-time budgeting and planning, plan headcount, and ensure the alignment of individual performance measures with the corporate goals of the enterprise. Line-of-business managers rely on SAP Analytics to monitor procurement costs, analyze inventory levels, dissect processes that influence cash flow, or analyze how to source direct goods more effectively.
Companies of many sizes and levels of complexity have been able to understand their business processes better, identify opportunities to improve operations, and set more effective performance targets with mySAP ERP. Here are three examples. Each shows how mySAP ERP enabled an organization to create performance models based upon financial and non-financial data to drive better decision making and, ultimately, greater profitability.
Cole-Haan, one of North America’s premier designers and marketers of quality footwear, accessories, and outerwear, was struggling to provide its financial managers with the proper level of information to set budgets and monitor seasonal sales forecasts. It looked to mySAP ERP as a way to integrate sales, inventory, budgeting, and forecasting information into single model. With the analytical application, the company now uses historical sales information, inventory data, and forward-looking forecasts to set each quarter accurate sales targets by region and product type.
SAB Miller, the second-largest brewer in the world, relied upon a complex network of over 49 non-integrated human resources systems to set performance measures, analyze compensation plans, and manage payroll. As a result, HR decision making was slow and often made it impossible for line managers to make an accurate prediction on how to staff their plants. It now looks to mySAP ERP to consolidate its HR systems into a single platform that provides its entire global organization with a single view of employee information. As a result, plant and executive managers can make real-time, same-day decisions on how to optimize staffing levels with production levels.
RPM Technologies can’t afford to make mistakes when it comes to production planning. The 200 employees of the high-tech contract manufacturing company, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, rely upon accurate demand forecasting and supply chain analytics to optimize the razor-thin margins inherent in the industry. With mySAP ERP, RPM uses both analytical and operational tools to manage its lean manufacturing facility and ensure high quality output.
Advanced user experience
Businesses in every industry face a common challenge: How can they deliver greater analytical insight to employees without exhausting their IT resources? With SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer, available by the end of 2005, business users can design their own analytic scorecards without significant involvement from IT experts. SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer uses Marcomedia Flex technology to render complex information in an intuitive and logical form. The technology is fully compatible with SAP NetWeaver Portal and shortens the design and deployment life cycle of bringing analytics to the desktop of the end-user.
With SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer, SAP Analytics can improve any business process in an enterprise. One example can be seen in the area of credit management. With mySAP ERP, credit managers can improve their productivity by quickly identifying blocked orders, analyzing customers’ credit scores, and approving shipments – all within a single user experience. For compliance managers monitoring Sarbanes-Oxley internal control testing projects, mySAP ERP provides an intuitively designed interface that quickly identifies risk areas by business unit, department, and process type. With Visual Composer capabilities of SAP Analytics, HR managers are able to report and analyze headcount levels and benefits expenses by region, department, or individual cost centers. Overall, SAP Analytics adds a powerful new dimension to ERP. It converts the solution from a simple transactional environment into a platform for greater insight and smarter decision making.