Getting the hang of SAP Cloud for Customer Business Analytics
The Business Analytics tools within SAP Cloud for Customer (C4C) allow you to monitor varying business processes by drawing up reports. These show data tables containing useful information, presented in a clear and logical way. The tables can also be represented in graphs, turning numbers into visually appealing charts. Well-designed reports enable you to make informed business decisions.
SAP has graced C4C with plenty of readily available reports that can be used “out of the box”, but if these don’t meet your reporting needs, you can always design new ones. This article introduces you to the basics.
What data and from where
The data used in reports is pulled from data sources, which are directly linked to business objects in C4C (leads, opportunities, sales quotes, etc.). For many reports, one of the default data sources will suffice. If you want to use data from multiple data sources, you’ll need to merge them into one, since a report is always based on a single data source. Data sources can be combined or joined, but that distinction is a bit out of scope for this introductory article.
The main focus of any report will be on its key figures: data items with numeric values that have an associated unit of measure or currency assigned. To put it plainly: the numbers you want to see in the report. Every data source comes with its built-in key figures. If you need some that are more suited to your needs, custom ones can be created. With calculated and restricted key figures, the possibilities are plenty.
Key figures alone won’t get you very far, however. For a report to be useful, you will most likely have to throw in some characteristics as well. Characteristics are descriptive attributes about a business object. Mixing them in allows you to compare key figures against different characteristic values. Use them to compare the revenue of different sales organizations or see what month saw the most new customers created, for example.
Know what you are going for
When you create a report, you want to start with a question in mind. What information do you specifically want to see? A good report is a report that doesn’t show too much data all at once. Creating one, single, all-encompassing report will result in clutter that makes it hard to quickly identify the useful information. Instead, make coherent and easily understandable reports that make sense and have a clear focus. Avoid any unnecessary data, since this can make your report cumbersome.
Views and selections
When a custom report has been created, there is still a level of personalization that can take place. Additional characteristics and key figures can be added to the report, within the limits that have been set by administrators. Doing this allows the user to dive deeper into the data. Useful personalizations can be saved as a new view, visible to that user only.
Users can also filter the data to be used in the report. If you only want to see information about sales documents from last year, for example, this can be done in the selection screen. This selection can also be saved for later use.
Access and access restriction
In order for reports to be available to users, they have to be assigned to at least one work center view. Only users whose business roles are linked to these work center views can view the report. Usually users get access to reports on a need-to-know basis, for instance if they contain information that is required to do certain tasks.
Multiple users can have access to the same report, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are presented the same information. A user’s business roles and access rights determine their data visibility, and it will be only this data that they will see when running the report. Users belonging to different sales organizations, for example, might be able to access the same report, but will only see information that they have access to.
Takeaways to be considered
Remember that reports must serve a particular purpose. If they don’t add value to your business processes, don’t even bother. If they are worth the trouble, make sure they are easy to understand and answer a specific need. Understand that you always have the option to let users personalize reports to their liking, and know that different people learn different things from the same report. Make sure that users have access to the reports they require, but can’t access the ones they don’t. But above all, use them wisely, and ensure they assist in allowing your business to prosper.
Do you have potentially useful business questions which can be answered through reporting and would like to brainstorm these together with our experts? Or do you simply need advice on the best way of setting up reports and data sources? Don’t hesitate to reach out.