In SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning, collaboration is a key aspect that makes your planning successful and timely. Whether you are asking colleagues about specific data points, assigning and completing tasks that make the project move forward in a timely manner, or sharing private versions of the data to get input from key stakeholders, the collaboration features make all the difference. Let’s look at them in more detail:
With the ability to start discussions with any existing user of SAP Analytics Cloud, you can easily reach any of your colleagues and ask for their input.
For example, ask one or more of your colleagues to confirm a specific data point you are looking at. This can help you and your colleagues avoid long email threads that make it difficult to keep the context of the conversation in focus. Because you can start a discussion from any screen in SAP Analytics Cloud, you can easily keep the context in focus and make sure that all participants have a clear understanding of what the discussion is about.
To start a discussion, simply click on the Collaboration icon on the top right-hand corner of the screen:
This opens the Discussions side panel. From here, you can see existing discussions you’ve been added to, as well as start new discussions. Simply click on an existing discussion to open it or click on the plus icon to start a new discussion. You can do this from every screen and add as many participants as needed. Only people who have been invited can see the discussion.
It’s also possible to add attachments to every discussion. You can also create and assign new tasks based on a discussion and start a new process from here. This means that based on comments from your coworkers, you can easily add a new task for them or yourself by clicking on New Task. Finally, you can easily start a new process by clicking on New Process from the same side panel.
Data Point Commenting
Another way to directly interact with colleagues is to use the Data Point Commenting tool to ask questions, get feedback, or include comments about specific data points available in the tables.
To add a comment, simply select the desired cell and click the comment icon. Any user can reply to, or ‘like’ comments, just as you would on social media.
In SAP Analytics Cloud, the calendar is also a very powerful way to collaborate. With the calendar, you can check upcoming tasks, whether it is your own tasks or tasks that you’ve previously created. You can also create and assign tasks to other users from here as well.
Another way to use the calendar is to create and approve processes, which are basically a way to link several tasks. This makes it easier for you not only to get the collaboration started in a structured way, but also get a quick overview of how your current planning project is progressing directly from the calendar.
Finally, you can also use the calendar to schedule when a data set should be locked and allow no more changes or, alternatively, when a specific data point should be open again for changes.
For example, let’s say you are starting your planning cycle for next quarter. To make sure your numbers are correct, you can create a few tasks and ask for input from users in other departments. Each user will be notified of their upcoming task and you can follow their progress. To make sure you keep the big picture in sight, you can group those tasks under a process, as well as add reviewers who can approve the work done on each task to ensure you have all the data you need in a timely manner.
Version Management is a broader topic, but from a collaboration aspect, it’s important to know that you can create private versions of your data and share those with your colleagues. For example, if you have an existing plan and you want to create an alternative scenario of that plan, then you would create a new, private version of that plan. This makes sense when you are trying out new formats, incorporating new data sources or models, or just reorganizing the look and feel to make it easier to share.
Being able to incorporate data sets from colleagues, but still be able to roll-back your planning work to a previous version gives you the ability and agility to experiment with different approaches.
To see the list of versions available for any of your planning stories, simply open your story, click on the table within the story, and click on the Version Management icon under the Tools menu.
There are many more details to explore in SAP Analytics Cloud’s collaboration tools. Here you can find out more information about each topic: