Accenture’s foundational core SAP investments—running our SAP applications on the latest versions, driven by the latest database technology and the latest cloud-hosted offerings—positioned Accenture well for our Global IT organization to connect SAP Analytics Cloud on top of this technology foundation.
Being a new solution to Accenture, our Global IT team had to learn the features of SAP Analytics Cloud. A quick learning curve is involved to determine what the solution does, how to use it to build analytics and how users want to interact with it. We partnered with SAP to understand the solution in depth so that we could maximize its analytics and planning capabilities.
Our Global IT organization initially implemented SAP Analytics Cloud for an Intelligent Cash solution. It brought all the components of Intelligent Cash together into one consumption portal for Accenture Treasury users. Our next use case was for Accenture Finance to use SAP Analytics Cloud integrating with our SAP environment to perform overhead costs forecasting.
We also wanted to better support Finance’s growing demand for analytics by enabling self-service capabilities to bring more data intelligence to the business. Advanced power users in Finance like the self-service feature. It gives them the freedom to generate smart insights and rapid dashboards. They can also “storyboard,” a feature that our teams use for leadership sessions. It brings data and visualizations together to tell a story and help discover new insights within data.
Next-generation financial planning
We also used the SAP Analytics Cloud Planning module. The module’s ability to forecast at a daily, detailed level provided the data granularity the team needed to enable an Intelligent Cash optimization model to generate recommendations. The planning capability was available out of the box and offered cloud connectivity to all our SAP environments.
We expanded SAP Analytics Cloud Planning to other areas of Finance. The module addresses complex and diverse business scenario planning leveraging multiple technologies and applications from Accenture’s internal function bottom-up requirements to very high-level strategic needs. It enables the convergence of all those needs into a consolidated, simple cloud solution connecting people, information and ideas. When supported by embedded artificial intelligence, Finance users can discover previously imperceptible insights. In this way, SAP Analytics Cloud Planning unleashes the benefits of integrated planning business flow to prevent duplicated or disconnected enterprise data gaps.
A consolidated planning platform also generates simplified access to critical information but keeps the security flexible enough to expose data based on the “persona” role in the company, from regular user to advanced power users. Advanced power users can create their own analytics discovery or enable agile delivery for our Global IT organization, supporting the products already released in production. All this is governed by a built-in approval process in the tool.
Compelling reasons to make the move
At least three aspects won us over to adopt SAP Analytics Cloud. First, contrary to typical IT platform migration initiatives that require high, up-front investment, with SAP Analytics Cloud we could take a low-cost, phased approach. Once a license is purchased, the solution is ready immediately for developers. As the solution is being adopted, new user licenses can be purchased incrementally.
Secondly, the SAP Analytics Cloud rapid development capability allows for a very quick prototype timeline. Users can connect to real production data that makes it much easier for business stakeholders to understand the “art of the possible.” Accenture’s real estate team, for example, was able to develop an impressive solution prototype in two months that enabled business reviewers to get a true sense of the proposed solution and approve it.
And thirdly, aside from the typical planning features, SAP Analytics Cloud offers a full set of scenario modeling functionality that enables robust “what-if” scenario analysis. This modeling capability brings the flexibility of playing with key business drivers to understand the impact to an area without jeopardizing the real data used in the master version of the planning process.