For most enterprises today—big or small—data is a critical part of business strategy. It provides information necessary to make smarter business decisions, but it also prepares an organization to better serve its employees and, in turn, better serve its customers. For VELUX, a Danish manufacturer of windows and skylights, bridging on-premise and cloud data sources to better understand its customers and empower its employees is necessary to advance its business objectives.

The company turned to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, which is currently available through a beta program for a select group of SAP customers, to evaluate a pay-as-you-go service that combines data-management capabilities with advanced analytics.

ASUG sat down with Andreas Madsen, senior data and analytics partner at VELUX, to understand how the company developed a proof-of-concept solution using SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to gain an end-to-end view of all the data for both IT users and the less-technical business users, essentially providing self-service modeling and reporting capabilities.

Spotlight on Data to Drive Outcomes

Known for bringing daylight into people’s homes for more than 75 years, VELUX is ready to shine some light into its own space and better understand its data—particularly data about its end users. Historically, VELUX has not had much insight on those who use its products. The company has had close communication with distributors, installers, and retailers but has not reached consumers in the same way.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud offers a promising path forward for aggregating data and creating new business models and business processes that tap any data source inside and outside of VELUX. Using this data, the company is looking to enhance product quality and allow business users access to self-service reporting, ultimately leading to collaboration and intelligent decision-making across the organization.

In the past, VELUX relied on its data and analytics department to create queries based on requests from business users, which was not the most efficient process. The self-service modeling and reporting available through SAP Data Warehouse Cloud will allow business users to do a lot more on their own. “One of the key benefits of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is its ability to do live data modeling on top of live data collection instead of having to move the data around all the time,” Madsen said.

Building out the Framework for Data

VELUX’s data ecosystem is complex. It brings in data both from on-premise sources and the cloud. According to Madsen, nearly 95% of its data, which is stored in SAP BW/4HANA, an on-premise, cloud-ready data warehousing solution, comes from the company’s own corporate enterprise system. “But we also rely on outside data sources to fill in the missing pieces,” Madsen said.

VELUX is looking for a way to manage and assimilate data from 50–60 different databases. Additionally, the data needs to be visible, actionable, and integrated for better decision-making. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud combined with SAP BW/4HANA offers that solution without requiring businesses to move all of their data. It supports a hybrid architecture that allows the business users to build models without having to migrate or replicate the underlying data.

Ultimately, the tech leaders at VELUX expect the virtualization capabilities of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution to allow the company to get closer to their customers and consumers so it can more effectively expand.

Playing with Data in the Light

Based on the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud proof of concept, VELUX anticipates a smooth transition as it onboards its business users and prepares them to use these new self-service functionalities. This is why it was so important for VELUX to have buy-in from the business users from the very beginning. “The business users are very much a part of our decision-making process,” Madsen explained. “We have three to four different business units participating in the proof of concept and throughout the decision-making process, and this is helping with change management, too.”

Once the planned framework is set up, all the business users will be able to experiment with modeling and reporting in custom-created Spaces, using only data that is relevant for them. They are also expected to have access to advanced reporting capabilities that will not require anyone from the data and analytics department to step in and assist, saving time and effort all around. VELUX is anticipating being able to create a scalable model that can be reused. The ability to create a hybrid data landscape that is easily accessible to all business users will make a significant difference in how VELUX uses its data to discover insights for better business decisions.

VELUX is now planning to gradually expand its current analytics from on-premise to include the cloud. Because customer data lives in on-premise, structured data warehouses, the company is looking to connect to more data sources in the cloud and become even more data-driven. VELUX will keep its core SAP ECC system and SAP BW/4HANA data warehouse as a primary data source, but the organization will explore innovating with SAP HANA Cloud, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, and SAP Analytics Cloud. “We need to think differently going forward,” Madsen said. “This [SAP Data Warehouse Cloud] is a cloud-native solution—it’s different. It offers new, innovative options for powerful analytics that could really augment our business.”

Learn how PwC “Makes Its Data Work Harder with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.” You can also register for the ASUG webcast, “Analytics Live: What Is SAP Data Telling You About Your Business Today?” Or join us in Atlanta for our BI+Analytics Conference coming up in March.

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