THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO

Enterprise Analytics

 
“Enterprise analytics,” “big data analytics,” “business analytics software,” “all-in-one solution,” “cross-product platform,” and “cross-enterprise solution.” These are all different names for the same thing: a means of uncovering trends, patterns, and correlations in large amounts of raw data to help make data-driven decisions.

But why is enterprise analytics so important? Why should you spend time finding the right solution? And how do you build an effective enterprise analytics strategy that will work for your business?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll answer all these questions. But before we go any further, let’s define what enterprise analytics actually is.

What is Enterprise Analytics?

 

Enterprise analytics provides organizations with the ability to collect, analyze, and process analytical data in all or most functions of the business.
 

A few years ago, businesses would gather information, run analytics, and unearth insights to make decisions for the future. Today, businesses can identify insights to inform immediate decisions using technology like machine learning and augmented analytics. As a result, businesses are able to work faster, stay agile, and instantly extract answers from their data, giving them a leg up on the competition.

 

woman pointing to enterprise analytics data on a screen

 

Every day, businesses generate a vast amount of data from their customers and employees, in various forms and from multiple sources. For any business, collecting and managing all that data from across several departments is a tremendous task.
 

If you’re a larger, more complex company, your business generates even more data and requires extensive and sophisticated data management and analytics. To gain meaningful insights from all that data and get the full picture of your organization, you need to seamlessly connect to, integrate with, and blend multiple data sources.
 

An easy way to do this is through an all-in-one enterprise analytics platform, such as a single cloud solution for business intelligence and enterprise planning. Such a platform acts as a single source of truth so that everyone in your company can base decisions on the same data. This helps teams seamlessly access and share secure information while enabling end-to-end analytics.

Uncover insights faster and work smarter with augmented analytics.

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What are the Benefits of Having an Enterprise Analytics Solution?

 
Enterprise analytics helps you perform analytical processes on company-wide data and identify new opportunities.
Here are the elements of an ideal enterprise analytics solution:
 
 

Business Intelligence

 

Business Intelligence encompasses all the processes of collecting, storing, and analyzing data from business operations. It provides a comprehensive view of your business and is crucial to remaining competitive.
 
 

Extended Planning and Analysis

 

Typically, an integrated enterprise planning capability helps businesses make end-to-end financial decisions with confidence in one single workflow. Teams can drive better business outcomes and have full alignment across all business areas.
 
 

Collaboration

 

With a larger organization, you need an enterprise analytics solution that works seamlessly between users and departments. The solution should also provide a straightforward way to publish, distribute, and share insights — even with outside clients.
 
 

Data Exploration and Visualization

 

We’re not just talking about pie charts. Business users need to safely and securely work with governed data and turn raw data into meaningful visualizations that make sense to all stakeholders. Bonus points if that solution enables collaboration across the organization.
 
 

Analytics

 

Automatically receive strategic insights with embedded machine learning technology – helping you go from insight to action in a fraction of the time. Analytics enables you to avoid agenda-driven decision-making by unveiling the true story of what is driving your business.
 
 

Cross-functional data

 

Cross-functional analytics across a business ensures that your data isn’t siloed by department. The solution you select should provide you with the capability to unify your organization.

 

Why is Enterprise Analytics Important?

 

Companies are accumulating big data at an increasingly exponential rate. But merely having a lot of data is no longer enough to establish a competitive advantage. Businesses need to be able to draw actionable insights from this data in order to make faster and better decisions with confidence.
 

However, according to a survey by Gartner, more than 87% of businesses have low analytics and business intelligence maturity. Their efforts are often limited to spreadsheet-based analytics and stand-alone projects that lack central guidance or leadership.
 

Furthermore, the data collected each day is becoming increasingly siloed, making it difficult to gain a holistic view of where a company stands at any given time. As a result, businesses are challenged with:
 

  • Lack of scalability
  • Need for fact-based decision-making
  • Limited self-service usage across your organization
  • High latency to provide your business users with timely access to data.

 

Luckily, solving these challenges is exactly what enterprise analytics is all about.
 

With enterprise analytics steering companies towards more data-driven decision-making, businesses can start experiencing a top-down embrace of analytics by senior leaders without the need for IT acting as the consistent middleman.
 

In addition, CEOs can start seeing greater financial returns, improved operational efficiency, and the gradual bridging of information gaps between departments.

 

Who Uses Enterprise Analytics?

 

So, we know that most organizations have big data and understand the need to harness it and extract value from it. But what does this look like in the real world? Who benefits from an enterprise analytics solution?

 

woman standing up in meeting in a boardroom

 

Any business that relies on quick, agile decision-making to stay competitive is leveraging some form of enterprise analytics to help ensure their business runs at its best. Likely, you’ll find dedicated teams whose job it is to gather and interpret large data sets and turn them into meaningful insights for the organization. This can be business users, BI analysts, data analysts, or data scientists, but it can also be operational managers, HR managers, or procurement managers, all who do some of the following in their day-to-day:
 

  • Analyze data from multiple sources
  • Use advanced analytics and statistics to find hidden patterns in large datasets
  • Disseminate information to relevant stakeholders through interactive dashboards and reports
  • Monitor KPIs and react to changing trends in real-time
  • Justify and revise decisions based on up-to-date information

 

If you already have a solution that’s managing your lines of business, pulling in another solution might feel like overkill. However, an enterprise analytics platform provides rich cross-line-of-business data and analytics insights. Furthermore, it brings together all of your data systems together in a simplified way, acting as the single source of truth for your business.

 

How to Approach Setting up Your Architecture to Work for Enterprise Analytics

 
 
Before implementing an enterprise analytics solution, you need to consider where all your data is going to be housed. There are two ways to do this.
 

1. Cloud Solution

 

Today, any business that wants to experience the full capabilities of an enterprise analytics solution would implement a cloud-based platform. Cloud offers a vehicle for integrating people, processes, and tools across a modern enterprise and offers a common database that can be accessed over the internet. The Cloud offers benefits by the plenty: versatility, ease of use, and scalability are just a few reasons to consider implementing, migrating, or extending.  
 

For many businesses, however, implementing a solution like this isn’t as simple as flipping a switch. Over the years, many enterprises have made significant investments in their in-house solutions. Often, the benefits of the Cloud are not enough to outweigh the implications of migrating, such as the time, resources, capital, and years a business has put into its on-premise deployment.
 
 

2. Hybrid Approach

 

Many companies wanting to start their journey to the Cloud are taking an integrated approach with a hybrid strategy.  A hybrid approach  provides businesses with the ability to focus on enhancing and building upon mission-critical on-premise use cases while leveraging universes, document structures, and assets in conjunction with the BI, planning, and predictive innovations provided by the Cloud.  According to Gartner, over 75% of midsize and large organizations will have adopted a hybrid or multicloud strategy by 2021.
 

It’s now common for many enterprise analytics solutions to offer a hybrid strategy. At SAP, for instance, we offer a program for those wishing to migrate to the Cloud, which allows our customers to migrate at their own pace.

 
 

An Integrated Approach in Action: Where Your Data is Living

 

No matter how you choose to deploy your solution, it’s important to consider where your data is going to be housed. Data is either on-premise or in the Cloud, and your enterprise analytics solution should offer a seamless integration that allows your solutions to work together to solve your pain points.

 

person looking at a phone with charts and enterprise analytics data

 

For instance, at SAP, we understand that some companies are not ready to fully transition to the Cloud – which is why we invest in our hybrid integration to help SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects BI Suite work cohesively.
 

Next, let’s look at how different lines of businesses might use enterprise analytics:
 

 

city at night

 
 

How This Looks: Examples of Enterprise Analytics in the Real World

 
 

Enterprise Analytics for Human Resources

 

Today, it’s more apparent than ever that an enterprise’s success depends heavily on effective Human Resources (HR) operations and an empowered workforce. HR plays a huge role in retaining top talent, delivering insights into the workforce, and supporting strategic decision-making.
 

HR needs to create effective headcount plans and to do that, they require assessing and managing headcount and tenure, diversity, salary and performance, as well as employee satisfaction.
 
 

The Benefits of a Single Solution for HR

 

  • Consolidate data from across the business. Instead of your data being spread across multiple systems in various departments, an enterprise analytics platform ropes everything together, in real-time.
  •  

  • Information is received in a timely manner. HR is incredibly fast-paced, and teams are incredibly busy. Having instant insights at their fingertips is crucial, so HR can respond to rapidly changing business conditions.
  •  

  • Detecting trends and acting in the moment. HR managers know how important it is to detect future outcomes, such as flight risk or salary budget. That’s why having the right tools to help discover possible future outcomes is so important.

 
 

The best enterprise analytics solution for HR specialists is anything that offers a large suite of products that enables teams to expand on their HR strategies. These typically include:
 

  • Talent management
  • Employee experience management
  • HR analytics
  • Workforce planning

 
 

However, to become truly future proof, we also recommend businesses look for a solution that offers self-service business intelligence and planning for HR, so that their team can get real-time insights to make quick and strategic decisions for their company.
 

Here are some things you should look for when evaluating your enterprise analytics solution for your HR team.
 
 

1. Augmented Analytics

 
Augmented analytics is an invaluable tool. It helps HR professionals quickly surface answers to their business questions, such as “how’s my field performing?”. This helps save time sifting through data. Natural language processing is considered by many to be a “must-have” feature. It makes it easier for business users to get relevant insights or smart predictive features—helping professionals see workforce trends that are automatically updated as new information becomes available.
 

Featured Resource: How Advanced Analytics Solve Employee Churn
 
 

enterprise analytics screenshot
 
 

2. One Single Source of Truth

 
Make sure the solution you go with allows you to consolidate all your data so you can see a 360-degree view of your entire enterprise data, all in one place. Your solution should provide your team with the ability to connect to any other relevant data sources, even if it’s from a vendor’s competitor. This removes any manual data entry and saves your team a massive amount of time. All that enterprise data in one place means that decisions can be made based on the whole picture, rather than just a small part.
 
 

3. Collaborative Enterprise Planning

 
Robust planning features help your team in areas like salary planning, workforce planning, and making future forecasts. For example, if an HR manager is looking to forecast hiring needs and wants to see how many employees would quit in the upcoming year, augmented analytics capabilities for planning features could quickly analyze your historical data and generate predictions, provide insights into correlations that might show cause for higher attrition rates, and show steps to take to rectify those issues.
 

Payroll analysis is also a lot easier with the right cloud solution; you should be able to quickly get a clear snapshot of payroll and get suggestions on distributions and allocations.
 

Featured Resource: How Predictive Forecasting Can Benefit Your Business
 
 

4. Data Visualizations

 
Data needs to be understood for decisions to be made. Data visualization helps bring all that data to life and makes it easier for you and decision-makers to discover insights.
 

HR teams need to leverage data visualizations to analyze attrition and hiring trends, training spending, diversity details, and any other relevant workforce data. For example, in SAP Analytics Cloud, our data visualizations are called “stories,” and teams can create multiple dashboards for the areas they want to track – one dashboard for recruiting and talent management, one for headcount, and one for salary planning. This way, by navigating to the relevant page users can get at-a-glance insights on trends and adjust business activities accordingly.
 

enterprise analytics screenshot
 

We’ve really only just skimmed the surface. If you want to learn more about how to make strategic decisions faster for your HR team, be sure to check out our enterprise analytics solutions for HR.

Watch the solution in action.

Meet Jasmine, an HR Manager and avid SAP SuccessFactors user at Best Run Bikes.Jasmine is responsible for creating her company’s Headcount Report but has run into some roadblocks, such as slow access to data, fragmented plans, and inability to extract insights. Discover how Jasmine streamlined her Headcount Reporting process by leveraging connections, data visualization tools, and Augmented Analytics to deliver insights that matter.

Read The Blog


 

Enterprise Analytics for Finance and Supply Chain

 

In this challenging business climate, effectively managing your spending and expenses is critical to maintaining your cash flow and profit margins.
 

But with the right solution, you can get data and insights delivered right to your inbox by scheduling alerts, allowing you to gain a weekly summary of all your expenses and budget accruals. Additionally, the solution should automatically notify you when your business has reached a certain percentage of your budget.
 

Having this kind of information automatically delivered to your inbox helps your team uncover insights in a timely manner to promote fast and strategic decision-making.
 
 

Benefits of a Single Solution for Finance and Supply chain

 

  • Bring data sources together for a full financial picture. Make financial decisions based on a complete dataset that mirrors your organization.
  • Collaborate seamlessly with your team. With a single solution, it’s simple for everyone to contribute to the financial plan.
  • Discover trends and insights. Use predictive features and in-depth to detect trends early and act accordingly.

 

Trying to figure out what enterprise analytics solution will work best for your finance and supply chain teams? Here are some things you should look for.
 
 

1. Integrate with Data Sources

 
Live integration with other platforms is going to be a game-changer for you and your team. A live integration means that any changes in your data, no matter the source, will be reflected in your enterprise analytics dashboard, giving you the latest insights at all times. Users also have the option of connecting their data sources to their solution. This makes it simple to create dashboards that show all relevant company financial data in one place.
 
 

2. Extract Insights

 
Even if you’re not trained in data analysis, the solution you choose should make it incredibly easy and intuitive to extract insights. Like we mentioned earlier, smart features such as natural language processing and predictive capabilities, enable you to rapidly surface insights and plan effectively for the future—making your planning process feel effortless
 
enterprise analytics animated screenshot
 
 

3. 360 Degree View

 
It’s difficult to make confident decisions when only a part of the picture is visible. When all your relevant financial and planning data is in one place, it makes it easier to get a complete view of your business. The solution you choose should have collaborative features and enable you to connect all your data to the Cloud so it’s in one place.
 
 

4. Ready-to-use Templates

 
For beginners who aren’t sure where to start with planning and visualizations, or even more advanced users that don’t want to start from scratch, having ready-made templates undoubtedly comes in handy. For instance, SAP Analytics Cloud’s vast content network includes end-to-end dashboard templates, finance and supply chain packages, detailed KPI, model and data flow documentation, and more.
 
 

Real-life Example of Enterprise Analytics in Action

Operational managers are in charge of creating reports that detail predictions for their inventory and revenue optimization. But if data is unconsolidated, it can be tricky to find insights. See how an operations manager uses the benefits of cloud enterprise analytics while connecting to their in-house data to achieve her reporting goals.

Read The Blog
Enterprise Analytics for Customer Experience

 

In recent years with the rise of cloud and subscription-based products, customer experience has become even more central to a company’s success.
 

However, managing customer experience can be challenging. Many factors contribute to whether a customer has a positive or negative experience with your company. The difference in changing that experience is having the right data.
 

man on phone in front of laptop
 
 

Benefits of a single solution for Customer Experience

 

  • See the future with predictive analytics. Enable marketing and sales to identify customer trends.
  • Everyone is on the same page with one single source of truth for customer data throughout the whole organization.
  • Keep track of marketing and sales spend through robust cloud-based dashboards.
  • Take advantage of easy pipeline analysis with integrated sales data in one solution.

 

Here’s what to look out for when trying to find an enterprise analytics solution for customer experience.
 
 

1. Predictive and Smart Features

 
Simulate and predict customer trends using your existing marketing and sales data by connecting to your relevant data sources. With the right enterprise analytics solution, you can leverage simple in-story automatic forecasting for basic predictions, or more robust smart features to help predict future outcomes. Additionally, you should be able to gain quick insights by using Smart Insights to get key drivers immediately and natural language processing to ask questions and get immediate answers.
 

Featured Resource: How Can Smart Features Help You Optimize Your Marketing Initiatives?
 
 

2. Increase Collaboration

 
It can’t be said enough: collaboration is key to any successful team – and business! The right enterprise analytics solution should increase collaboration across customer experience teams. Whether you are asking colleagues about specific data points, assigning and completing tasks that make the project move forward in a timely manner, or sharing private versions of the data to get input from key stakeholders, having powerful collaboration tools make all the difference.
 
 

3. Make Confident Decisions

 
Your employees should feel empowered in all areas, from customer success, sales, or marketing, to make confident decisions for their prospects and customer strategy based on up-to-date relevant data. By using the right solution, everyone can have access to analytics and insights, empowering strategic decision-making across the entire organization.


 

Enterprise Analytics for Spend Management

 

Spend management has become an increasingly important focus for companies as organizations fight to improve their bottom line in a tumultuous global climate. This area of reducing procurement costs, improving efficiencies, monitoring and controlling workflows, and regulating compliance is impossible without accurate data.
 
How can procurement managers improve supply chain inefficiencies if they can’t pinpoint exactly what’s causing those inefficiencies? The best that can be done is an educated guess without accessible data.
 
 

Benefits of a single solution for spend management

 

  • Connect to multiple data sources for a unified view of spending. When finance teams can bring all the enterprise-wide data together in one, unified platform, they have a 360-degree view of the business.
  • Deliver metrics that matter. Finance teams can create compelling dashboards and gain better visibility of operational performance, process efficiency and compliance, and KPIs.
  • Timely, efficient processes. Teams can leverage budget triggers to automatically receive data and insights in your inbox to foster faster decision-making and turnaround times.
  • Uncover spending levels and trends. Comparing company-wide spending levels and trends is an asset for teams who want to see how each line of business stacks up.
  • Yield more power to negotiate discounts. With more visibility into data, finance and supply chain teams can present exactly what they’re spending with each supplier.

 
 
Here’s what to look for when evaluating an enterprise analytics solution for spend management.
 
 

1. Unify Your View

 

Getting rid of siloes allows you to see all your information in one place, so you can understand how each line of business stacks up by comparing company-wide spending levels and trends. Analytics enable your organization to uncover the hidden insights within your data.
 
 

2. Gain Visibility into the Organization

 
Knowing exactly what you’re spending with each supplier gives you the upper hand when negotiating discounts. You gain an understanding of:

  • Supplier spending,
  • On and off contract spend,
  • And other relevant compliance measurements.

 

Additionally, the right solution should allow you to discover exactly where you are spending the most money, if those costs are compliant, and worth the money without laborious slicing and dicing.
 
 

3. Efficiency

 
Your spend management solution should allow you to create procurement, travel, labor spend, working capital, productivity, and any other relevant dashboards in one place. Using different data visualization tools, it’s simple to find trends and pinpoint whether spending is on track to meet your business’ KPI’s.
 

Look for features that let you set up budget and threshold triggers. For instance, in SAP Analytics Cloud, you can receive scheduled insights right to the inbox of anyone who needs to be in the loop. You can even receive next-day notifications about purchases that may not be compliant, saving you the time of combing through data for exceptions.
 

Additionally, by making use of SAP Analytics Cloud’s predictive features it’s painless to see where spending trends will take your business in the upcoming years. Giving you the chance to adjust course before it’s too late.

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What to Consider When Implementing an Enterprise Analytics Solution

 

Implementing an enterprise analytics solution is more than just an IT project—it’s a business-wide strategy that unlocks multiple benefits for key stakeholders across the enterprise. Since it impacts people, processes, and culture, there are a lot of things to consider before embarking on a journey.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when evaluating an enterprise analytics solution:
 
 

Define your goals

 

Before you select an enterprise analytics solution, have your end goal in mind. What are you hoping to gain from the implementation? What problems are you hoping to solve? Be it increased efficiency, cost control, process optimization, or overall profitability, your end goals should be clearly defined and shared with key stakeholders and decision-makers. And, ideally, your chosen solution won’t reduce you to accomplishing just one goal—it will enable you to achieve all goals across your enterprise.
 
 

Get Buy-in

 

The people in your business play a crucial role in any implementation. It’s important not only to get executives involved—you need to ensure key team members and stakeholders are there, as different departments have different priorities. Let them voice their opinion, share their thoughts, and, if possible, get the hands-on experience they need to get comfortable with the solution.
 
 

Hybrid Strategy

 

We touched on this briefly, but one of the factors that will help you determine what solution to go with will be how the solution you’ve selected handles a hybrid approach. A hybrid approach is crucial; not all businesses can migrate over to the Cloud right away, and hybrid enables them to move at their own pace. Look for a solution that will allow you to leverage existing on-premise assets, integrate seamlessly to multiple data sources, and provide improved integrations.
 
 

Change Management

 

Change management, communication, and education—these are all important pieces to implementing your enterprise analytics solution, especially when moving from one solution to another. Make sure your selected platform has a robust change management team so that all users have a smooth and comfortable transition.
 
 

Training

 

Training is crucial—all users need to understand how your new enterprise analytics solution works. Make sure there is ongoing support for your team, even after deployment. This can look like learning modules or guided playlists, one on one product training, or even as simple as a vast library of learning content.
 
 

Future-thinking

 

Lastly, ask yourself where you want your business to be in 10 years: What kinds of things would you like to be doing? The solution you choose will be establishing the foundation for your business’s future and should allow you to be flexible enough to meet all challenges and adapt to changes that come your way. Any business can adopt an enterprise analytics solution, but you want to ensure that you’re selecting a solution that will allow you to truly become an intelligent enterprise.

The path to becoming an intelligent enterprise means having a comprehensive view of your organization’s data and turning that into insights that drive change, eliminate inefficiencies, and quickly adapt to market or supply changes.

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