SAP announced enhancements to its business technology platform during SAP TechEd Barcelona, sharing capabilities to prepare organizations to thrive in the experience economy. Specifically, the platform includes the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution, SAP HANA Cloud, and SAP Analytics Cloud. The platform—which includes SAP HANA Cloud Services—combines all data and analytics capabilities within these solutions as one set of services to store, process, govern, and consume large volumes of data.
Since the announcement, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud has been available through a beta program for a select group of SAP customers. PwC, an ASUG member, was one of those customers. They recently sat down with us to discuss how the company used this solution to achieve faster understanding of its data within a user-friendly environment that permeates the entire organization. PwC Partner and Data and Analytics Leader Nico Reichen describes the rationale behind opting for a cloud service, how PwC prepared its data, and how it has benefited the company globally.
What Is SAP Data Warehouse Cloud?
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a pay-as-you-go service that allows an organization to combine data-management capabilities with advanced analytics, including key features such as scalability, elasticity, flexibility, and openness.
Users get the simplicity, speed, and power of SAP HANA as a service in the cloud at both an enterprise IT and Line-of-Business (LoB) level. The data as a service platform, which features prebuilt templates and models, integrates with both SAP and non-SAP data sources. It provides high-performance analytics, advanced end-to-end security and compliance features, and allows an organization to scale up and down as needed.
PwC has experienced struggles with being able to organize its data, trust that it is accurate, or know what value to glean from it. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud brings all valuable data together in one single source of truth and allows the enterprise to scale that information across its many LoBs.
Connecting Data Globally with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud
PwC has a network of firms that provide audit, assurance, tax, and consulting services around the world. With more than 250,000 employees in 157 countries, organizing, structuring, and governing data had become a major challenge. “It was like we were living in the Stone Ages,” Reichen said. “All our companies around world needed to work together, but all the data for each was stored locally. Many of our processes needed to be manual, and our controllers were having to use Microsoft Excel worksheets to create reports for each LoB.”
Aside from being time-consuming, this process left data at risk for security breaches as well. Knowing data is an integral part of the problem-solving work it does, PwC recognized the need to have all its data in one central instance and to add structure and governance to its processes.
It needed a solution that would allow all its business users to access the same, accurate data for various business uses, securely and quickly. PwC turned to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud as the solution to this fast-growing problem. “We’re a cloud-first company,” Reichen said. “As such, we had no doubt about the security aspect of using the cloud for our data. So that was one. But we also liked that fact that SAP Data Warehouse offered a live connection, which means all our data is automatically uploaded in real time, and those who need access to it have it all the time.”
Standardizing the Data and the Processes
Preparing its data for the move was a fairly quick and easy project for PwC. Overall, it took about three weeks to pull all the data from the different locations. “The challenge, however,” Reichen said, “was understanding the logic behind how each location collected and used its data and applying a standard that would incorporate all these different use cases.”
PwC also needed to get rid of duplication and silos where possible. The company also used a function within SAP Data Warehouse Cloud called Spaces, which are virtual workspaces used for either individuals or groups of users working on data modeling. It allows users to find relevant data for their projects and connect to remote data sources securely.
Good and Available Data Leads to Better Business Decisions
PwC is currently using SAP Analytics Cloud, which is built into SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, to allow users to quickly start running their proofs of concept. “One of the biggest benefits we have right now is the fact that all of our data is in one place, and those who need access have it,” Reichen said. “Aside from that, we’re starting to use the advanced analytics to plan for the future, too.”
PwC is still in the beginning stages of using SAP Data Warehouse Cloud but looks forward to integrating other capabilities and advanced analytics as more of its workforce is trained to use the service. It’s also working with SAP to make the service more adaptable to PwC’s specific needs and to understand how to use SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to make better business decisions.
Register for the ASUG webcast, “Analytics Live: What Is SAP Data Telling You About Your Business Today?.”