SAP Analytics Cloud was created for every business user. Why is this such an important development? As discussed in my last blog, converging the domains of business intelligence (BI), planning, and predictive analytics radically reduces the number of tools required to address wider analytics use cases and provides the business user with a much richer—and much more consistent—experience. This means the traditional lines between IT and business are blurred with new and real “self-service” analytics capabilities.

A New Way to Experience

One important development that has changed the way we experience analytics comes with the advance of natural language processing (NLP) and natural language search. Thanks to these capabilities, business users can simply ask the solution freeform questions, without having to understand the underlying technical details.

Just as no one needs to understand the programming behind a search engine to be able to use it, no one should have to first learn coding to get the answer to the analytics question they are looking for. At SAP, we think that solving business problems should be as easy as “Googling” any other question.

Thanks to its live connections (more about this topic in the third blog in this series), SAP Analytics Cloud can connect directly to SAP HANA, SAP BW/4HANA, the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform, and SAP S/4HANA. By understanding their semantic models, it can dynamically map natural language questions without fixed grammar or a limited dictionary, allowing everyone to ask their questions in the language of their business.

At the recent SAPPHIRE NOW event in Orlando, I had the privilege to demo the power of NLP during the “Create Data-Driven Intelligent Enterprises” keynote. In the replay, you can see how SAP Analytics Cloud offers an entirely new user experience that leverages machine learning capabilities in the most natural and consumable way.

A New Way to Analyze

In another important development, we have worked to find a solution to one of the most inherent problems of analytics—bias. When we analyze data, we essentially only find what we are looking for. We guide the analytics process and filter and sort our data —be it consciously or unconsciously —to get to the information we think we need to know. But what if by doing so, we miss other important trends?

With the Smart Discovery capabilities of SAP Analytics Cloud, the system recommends information that could prove important and interesting. Behind the scenes, we train a set of machine learning models dynamically and provide an overview of significant patterns, outliers, and key influencers of their business. We even use these patterns to automatically create an interactive simulation to better understand a user’s business. These are the most common analysis paths for users trying to understand data.

Whereas previously, these users have been left alone to handle this complex task, the lightweight and trained-on-the-fly machine learning models used by SAP Analytics Cloud offer guidance through insights, textual explanations, and interactive charts. Once again, this is all possible without requiring the user to learn the algorithms or statistics behind it.

Since this enables every business user to access the information they need to make their decisions in a secure and managed way, the IT professionals are no longer focused on being the gatekeepers of data. Instead, they can dedicate their valuable time on the digitalization of their business.

In the next blog post, we’ll explore how SAP Analytics Cloud can provide a complete overview of your business regardless of where the data is stored.

Until then, let me know what you think about these new capabilities in the comments section below, get hands-on with SAP Analytics Cloud, and follow me and the team at @gerritkazmaier and @SAPAnalytics.

 

This blog is one of a three-part series. You can find the first blog in the “Better Together: The Power of a Converged Analytics Platform”  series here.  

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