Recently, my colleague Benjamin “Benny” Notheis wrote two excellent blogs detailing how to build charts and tables that can be used as part of a dashboard or story in SAP IT Operations Analytics (SAP ITOA). Benny showed how to connect the data being presented to the time range selector and how to organize the data so you can drill down into specific points of interest from within the graph.

This is all made possible by the Analytics Builder, the guided SQL tool within SAP ITOA that allows users to visually build complex queries using a graphical interface that resembles interlocking puzzle pieces. Simply by dragging and dropping objects, users can integrate data from different sources such as IT infrastructure, applications, other monitoring tools, and even business data.

No Expertise Required with the Analytics Builder

The great thing about the Analytics Builder is, you don’t have to be an SQL ninja or even have a deep knowledge of the available data to use the tool effectively. The GUI features dropdown menus already populated with the system’s data so users are able to explore and discover what’s going on in their IT environment.

This enables team members, such as analysts, to self-serve effectively rather than always seeking the help and resources of in-house IT professionals. And with SAP ITOA’s range of available roles and permissions, access to information can be granted without risking an honest mistake that affects operations. Users still get a single-pane-of-glass view across the IT landscape, while the administrators ensure the security of the system.

True Power of the Analytics Builder

While the Analytics Builder is easy to use and visually appealing, the true power of the tool comes from what it can produce. In Benny’s blogs, he walks users through building charts and tables that can be pinned to dashboards and included in stories. We’re all familiar with dashboards— a collection of visualizations and metrics that are used to get an at-a-glance feel for what’s happening in the IT landscape, similar to the dashboard found in your car. And just like the dashboard of your car, they are ubiquitous in IT departments. Sometimes, they’re even projected on the wall for all to see.

Dashboards are useful for alerting teams that something is wrong and for giving managers a quick overview. But usually you must leave the dashboard and go elsewhere to discover what the problem is or what’s causing it. This is where stories come in.

The Use of Stories in SAP IT Operations Analytics

In SAP IT Operations Analytics, stories are used to drill down through layers of data. As you click into each successive chart, graph, or table, the next visualizations in the chain are populated with the corresponding information. This approach saves time by eliminating the need for constantly repeating queries of commonly requested data.

The first example Benny walks through is the time range selector—simply select a different time range and the data displayed in the graph reflects the new selection. Pretty basic! Stories in SAP ITOA extend that same concept to different types of data. For example, it’s possible to elucidate which user executed which script that used all that CPU on that one server in the cluster that serves the e-commerce backend, which is causing a slowdown in shopping cart processing, which is leading to abandoned carts and lost revenue.

Bottom Line

The Analytics Builder is an easy-to-use tool that enables a broad array of users to explore, discover, and share data within SAP IT Operations Analytics. This information can then be shared throughout the organization using visual dashboards and enabling drill-down capabilities with stories. The Analytics Builder is one of many tools that enable users to capitalize on SAP ITOA’s real-time, single-pane-of-glass view across IT infrastructures.

Learn More

Read Benny’s blogs:

Check out the pre-build dashboards and stories in the SAP ITOA demo environment, available through the SAP Cloud Appliance Library.