Avvale Leverages SAP Datasphere to Innovate in Analytics

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Key Takeaways

⇨ Enterprises that want to use analytics to bolster their businesses must ensure that their data is ready to be utilized.

⇨ Organizations should plan to leverage their new analytics capabilities once they begin the implementation process for SAP Datasphere.

⇨ Business leaders should be prepared to demonstrate the potential ROI that analytics can have.

Amid ongoing economic challenges, companies are tasked with running intelligently and efficiently. To become a truly intelligent enterprise, business leaders desperately need analytics to power their decision-making. SAPinsider research has revealed that the demand for analytics is a major driving factor for teams in finance, supply chain management, and many other key business areas. Yet many organizations do not have the knowledge or resources to leverage their data to meet these needs.

Often, these organizations turn to partners like Avvale to bolster their data strategy and analytics capabilities. Avvale has worked with SAP for more than 20 years and features dozens of SAP certifications. The consultancy is an SAP Gold Partner, with significant analytics capabilities.

Overcoming Analytics Obstacles

AI and automation are at the forefront of many SAP-related discussions, but companies face two major challenges when they set out to begin an analytics project. Firstly, organizations often do not have the ability to set up the infrastructure they need.

While the various use cases all sound great in theory, many IT managers are still struggling to find ways to put them into practice. This gap has bolstered demand for services like Avvale provides, as companies seek to build the infrastructure that can put AI plans into practice.

“We all see the AI use cases, but the questions posed to us by SAP customers and IT leaders are ‘How can I get a production landscape? What does it take?’ I think data strategy is front and center and they realize it now. AI drives a more strategic conversation around advanced analytics. There was this thought that data and analytics meant a report that you looked at and that has completely transformed,” said Shashank Paritala, Practice Manager for Data and Analytics at Avvale.

While there are significant challenges inherent in getting an analytics program off the ground, one of the biggest obstacles to harnessing analytics capabilities is getting company-wide buy-in. Some business leaders may not be willing to start a project if they do not see a plan for immediate ROI.

“One unique aspect of analytics is that the value is rear-loaded versus front-loaded. It is difficult to show ROI in the same way as other projects. When it comes to AI and ML, we talk about it so much because this is the thing that can front-load some of that value and show customers a great use case they could get right off the bat,” said Paritala.

IT leaders should work to combat complacency when it comes to data strategy, using the promise of AI and ML to demonstrate an immediate value proposition. Companies that want to leverage these advanced capabilities will have to get their data house in order so they can maximize their investment.

Doubling Down on SAP Datasphere

As the needs of SAP users have evolved, Avvale has updated its focus, keying in on SAP Datasphere, as it provides an ideal launchpad for SAP customers to set up the basis for their analytics capabilities. The majority of its current projects are pursuing a greenfield approach. This has the benefit of removing clutter and building a modern data fabric.

“There’s been a gigantic shift in the way people think about analytics in the SAP space and broadly. Gone are the days of the point upgrade, BW 7.3 and 7.5, whatever it might be. All of that work is gone and there’s really this Tectonic shift towards modern ‘lake house’ data platforms in the cloud that’s occurring,” said Paritala.

Paritala noted that many organizations are still in the learning stages when it comes to SAP Datasphere. They have yet to understand its potential, so they come to Avvale for education and help setting the platform up, building up all of the foundational data models and ensuring that it is deployed right and that companies know how to use this tool to build out their landscapes into the future.

As SAP customers grow and evolve over the years, the number of data sources within them grow as well. SAP Datasphere helps companies to integrate these sources in real-time. Strategically, SAP Datasphere functions as the center of all data for an organization, providing that essential real-time data fabric that allows companies to leverage advanced analytics and power enterprise applications.

Avvale also offers a robust ERP, EPM, and SAP BTP practice that works in tandem with its analytics practice, creating end-to-end solutions for SAP customers. Looking to the future, Avvale plans to continue investing time and resources in building out its SAP Datasphere capabilities.

AI Use Cases

Avvale shared several use cases that highlight some of the capabilities that AI can provide to organizations:

  1. Data Digitization:
  • Automates digitization of unstructured data, such as PDFs, emails, and photos in more detail.
  • Extracts value from dormant data sources.
  1. Deep Insights:
  • Generates insights deeper than traditional methods using ML/AI.
  • Provided a competitive edge for companies by forecasting supply and demand, sales, maintenance, stock market fluctuations, and more.
  1. Data Platforms:
  • Develop comprehensive data platforms to support and accelerate powerful data science initiatives.
  • Empower users with efficient data platform with SAP Datasphere that can support user facing Generative AI capabilities (such as the upcoming ‘justask’ capability in SAP Analytics Cloud

Client Proof Points

Among the clients Avvale has helped to leverage SAP Datasphere are Langan Engineering and Baillie Lumber.

Working with Langan Engineering, Avvale led the creation of a real-time, enterprise-wide data fabric built on SAP Datasphere, seamlessly integrating with tools such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP BTP and SAC. One of the core deliverables was the PM Dashboard, providing real-time analytics for project finances and operations while drawing data from diverse sources like SAP SuccessFactors, SAP S/4HANA Cloud and Custom SAP BTP Applications. This data fabric not only streamlined reporting and operational processes but also effectively supplied critical data to various applications utilized by hundreds of users multiple times a day. This advancement dramatically improved decision-making and created major operational efficiencies within the firm across multiple disciplines.

Baillie Lumber implemented SAP Datasphere in order to overcome challenges in inventory management and data centralization. This transformation helped streamline predictive capabilities that were core to maintaining appropriate inventory levels throughout the year – allowing them to better meet customer demand. With Avvale’s guidance, the company established a deeply integrated, cloud-scalable architecture, resulting in real-time reporting and insights, user-friendly data modeling, and reduced total cost of ownership – which will rapidly accelerate all future data endeavors.

Looking to the Future

While setting up SAP Datasphere is important, customers should not look at this as an end goal – instead, they should view it as a stepping stone to enable more possibilities.

“Once we deploy this data fabric that includes all of the organization’s data, what we don’t want to do is lay this foundation and have the customer use that foundation for largely the same things they’ve been using their old thing for and we walk away and we go lay more foundations. What I really want to do is go on the journey with the customer and say, well, now that you have this foundation, here’s what’s next,” said Paritala.

Determining how to proceed after laying this foundation will differ for every customer. However, each customer should find use cases that demonstrate clear value and highlight those cases, helping the appetite for analytics grow across an organization.

A common next step across customers is looking at previously untapped data sources – whether that be unstructured data or streaming data. SAP Datasphere has the power to help users tap into a whole new realm of information that can unlock new possibilities.

“So many customers have so much data that they have never touched because it’s not in tables, it’s documents, it’s images, it’s all kinds of stuff. Now that you have this data platform, let’s augment it, let’s see how we can get value from the data that’s just sitting there now that it’s all in one place, let’s do something with it,” said Paritala.

What This Means for SAPinsiders

Data is the key to analytics success. Enterprises that want to use analytics to bolster their businesses must ensure that their data is ready to be utilized. IT leaders should consider implementing SAP Datasphere as the data center of their organization.

Fight complacency. Business leaders should be prepared to demonstrate the potential ROI that analytics can have. This value is often back-loaded, so demonstrating specific use cases where AI and ML can offer immediate business value can help generate buy-in across an organization.

SAP Datasphere is a milestone, not a destination. Organizations should plan to leverage their new analytics capabilities once they begin the implementation process for SAP Datasphere. Users should investigate what new data sources they can access and find new processes that can bolster business value, not just use the new foundation for familiar processes.

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