Reporting on Cloud Applications
Many Cloud Applications are already available these days all facilitating some sort of reporting in the application itself.
Whenever you want however to build more than just a simple report or you want to combine the data of your Cloud application with data from on-premise systems or other cloud applications, it becomes a bit trickier.
A lot of customers still have a SAP BW on premise available to facilitate any analytics initiative within the organization, so this obviously is definitely a possible way forward.
Integrating Cloud Applications can be done using Operational Data Provisioning. ODP supports Operational Analytics, but also data extraction and replication. Interfaces for both master data and transactional data can be found.
When we look at a C4C-case, integration with SAP BW was really simple. The following steps were taken:
- Create a communication system on C4C
- Create communication arrangements on C4C
- Link C4C Web service to BW (in SOA Manager)
- Enable ODP in BW
It obviously makes sense to put a middleware in between for security purposes; in our case we used IBM DataPower Gateways.
Once the link is made between C4C and SAP BW, in order to connect a datasource, you need to follow the following steps:
- Look for the correct datasource on C4C side that covers your needs
- Expose that datasource in C4C
- Create a Datasource on SAP BW side
- Link ODP Datasource with C4C Datasource ID
- You can now load data.
One of the issues we met, was that almost all datasources contain GUID’s or ID’s, so you really need also master data datasources to translate those GUID’s and ID’s to values that make sense (like customer number, Business Partner,…). A lot of those datasources are already provided. However, for things like customizing values, they are not available. Within C4C, there are codelists available through webservices.
For those codelists, we have developed a program that calls the related webservices in C4C and dumps the data for all codelists in a DSO. From there, data can be loaded into related infoobjects.
Of course, with the current developments going on in the analytics world at SAP, another solution might have been useful, namely SAC (SAP Analytics Cloud). At the time of our project, it was not yet available or at least not yet mature enough. Whether SAC provides all needed functionalities for ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) is still to be seen. This will come in a future blog, once we have done a proof of concept on this.
Interesting to see that SAC also has a Live connection now to your BW/4HANA system, meaning you don’t even replicate the BW data into the cloud. Definitely more to follow on this topic.