How to Elevate SAP Analytics Programs with Alteryx

More organizations are leveraging Alteryx to improve their SAP Analytics programs and drive change within their organization. In this post, we discuss how this powerful end-to-end analytical tool can be applied to SAP environments to quickly add value and elevate analytic programs.

Why Alteryx?

Alteryx is a leader in the analytics automation software space. The tool combines powerful data transformation and advanced analytical capabilities with an intuitive drag-and-drop user interface. Protiviti has found Alteryx to be a worthy tool to automate and transform business processes and accelerate decision-making by leveraging the tool to create end-to-end analytic platforms that derive value for our clients with low or no code that can be quickly adopted.

Organizations are adding Alteryx into many business divisions across their enterprises — not just within IT. Alteryx was initially created with the goal of having deep functionality for data scientists while being intuitive and user-friendly enough for a business user.

Protiviti has derived great value in leveraging Alteryx. Examples include:

  • Connect to popular ERP systems (including Snowflake)
  • Consolidate data sources across the enterprise
  • Low-cost automation
  • Quickly deliver meaningful analytics
  • Enhance current reporting and processes

Alteryx in the SAP ecosystem

Alteryx empowers business analysts to visually assess the SAP landscape with just one tool, enabling analytics teams to extract, blend, restructure and analyze data faster to glean a holistic analytical landscape. The tool enables users to create deep and powerful analytics that will help the organization attain actionable insights. Alteryx supports the following:

Native Integration with SAP HANA and SAP Sybase Database

  • Bidirectional integration – enable SAP database access at both sides of the workflow, source or target
  • SAP HANA Connector – supports powerful in-database processing
  • SAP Sybase Connector – bi-directional integration to Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise and SAP Sybase SQL Anywhere 10

Connect with SAP BW, SAP Business Suite, and SAP S/4HANA all from within Alteryx Designer

  • Works directly with SAP BW objects – No staging required for SAP BW Queries, InfoProviders, Hierarchies, Texts, Tables and Reports
  • Broad SAP connectivity – Allows data extraction from multiple SAP systems, e.g. SAP BW (including SAP BW on HANA), SAP Business Suite Applications (including SAP ECC, SAP ERP, SAP CRM, SAP TPM etc.) and SAP S/4HANA
  • Easy to get started – Fully accessible from Alteryx Designer, your team can be up and running immediately

Easily extract the full range of SAP data from the environment

  • SAP ERP – Extracts transparent tables, cluster tables and views, queries, ABAP reports, OLTP DataSources and BW Extractors
  • SAP BW – Extracts InfoObjects, InfoCubes, DataStores, Hierarchies and runs BEx Queries and MDX
  • Flexible and trusted – Supports a wide variety of extraction types, data type safety and traceability from source to destination, with detailed logging

Alteryx offers a solution for business analysts working with SAP data called Xtract for Alteryx which has a range of SAP connectors that provides direct access to SAP data regardless of where it lives – including data related to SAP sales, finance, procurement, material or employee data. The solution is easy to install and configure. Just a few clicks will connect one or more SAP systems, e.g., SAP, ERP or SAP BW, and set up SAP data feeds — forgoing the need for expensive and time-consuming ABAP coding cycles. Xtract for Alteryx supports both large-volume SAP data ingestion as well as incremental SAP data feeds. The Alteryx Server has scheduling capabilities that can automate SAP data extracts and run them simultaneously.

How Protiviti leverages Alteryx for clients

Protiviti has leveraged Alteryx to complete numerous projects for our clients. A few recent successes are highlighted below:

  • Data consolidation and advanced reporting – Protiviti was brought in by a global financial services company to consolidate data from 5 source systems and create enhanced reporting for a large bank. The data needed to be aggregated from the sources systems, prepped and then used for reporting to upper management. The legacy process took far too long and the data was not as useful by the time it was delivered to management. Upon implementation, Alteryx enabled the team to automate and streamline the full process, resulting in the creation of beautifully designed interactive reports with live connections to the data sources. The legacy process took two weeks to visualize the data, but once the client began using Alteryx, the reports were automatically refreshed each morning.
  • Data quality, analysis, and targeted tests – Protiviti was engaged by an automotive manufacturer to assess, define, transform and analyze key data related to their billing and shipping processes. Protiviti leveraged Alteryx to profile the data, identify data quality issues, and create a data dictionary. After cleansing the data, Protiviti used Alteryx to create a series of repeatable tests designed to identify potential issues the company would like to correct. Examples of the tests were to identify late invoices, timely delivery of vehicles, time to production, price analysis and more. The tests found bottlenecks, incorrect payments, sale price discrepancies and other issues that will help the client to improve their business functions.

Alteryx Gallery is publicly available and has more information on how Alteryx can be used with SAP including use cases and customer success stories

Alteryx Intelligence Suite

Alteryx Intelligence Suite helps quickly build machine learning-powered predictive models without having to code or perform complex statistics. A step-by-step process to create ready-to-deploy algorithms enables model building without the complex coding requirements of traditional data science.

Machine learning creates accurate predictions to enable users to make better business decisions. It interprets past data to identify future risks and opportunities, like which customers will drive the most value, which transactions will deserve further investigation and which equipment will need attention soon—to inform critical decisions across all lines of business.

Alteryx Intelligence Suite offers machine learning and text mining capabilities—including Natural Language Processing (NLP)—in addition to features available out of the box with an Alteryx Designer license. Alteryx Intelligence Suite includes tools in the machine learning and text mining categories such as guided data transformations, intuitive model comparisons, decision capture and automated machine learning pipelines.

Summary

Alteryx is a powerful end-to-end analytical tool that can be easily introduced to virtually any environment and immediately add value. It removes manual steps and process errors via automation and effortlessly consolidates varying data sources to provide users with detailed analysis through repeatable workflows. In the SAP ecosystem, Alteryx makes it possible to eliminate barriers to analyzing data hosted in SAP. Alteryx will unlock tremendous value trapped within SAP systems and blend with marketing, sales, service data from different sources or other areas of a business. As Alteryx continues to rise in adoption and popularity in the analytics landscape, Protiviti will continue to leverage its capabilities to enhance project performance and bring additional value to our clients.

To learn more about our SAP consulting solutions, contact us.

Patrick West

Senior Manager
Enterprise Application Solutions

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