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Priti Mulchandani

Priti Mulchandani

Priti is part of the Product Management team for SAP Analytics Cloud’s Smart Assist portfolio. Priti is from a Computer Science background and has 15 years of IT experience with nearly 5 years now in ML products. Priti is fond of exploring new things in life, both at work and outside.

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Smart Insights is now more pervasive, more useful, and more insightful!

Background: Smart Insights helps you to get to the facts faster!

  • It’s a cool feature in SAP Analytics Cloud where insights are discovered, generated, and presented to you when you click on the 💡 Light Bulb for a specific data point (measure or variance) in the story.
  • It analyzes the underlying dataset and runs various statistical algorithms to show you insights while taking into account the current user context.
  • Smart Insights is available both for Story and Digital Boardroom views.
  • It works on the current state of the data i.e. the insights are always up to date.
  • It comes as part of the default license, so you can access it straightaway.
  • While the Smart Insights feature is available for all users, story designers can also add Smart Insights for data points which they would like to share with all users. In this case, an explanation text is added to the chart and consumers can launch the Smart Insights panel from there to get more details.
  • Story designers can also copy the insights chart from Smart Insights panel and build their dashboards quickly.

So, WHAT’s NEW now:

You now can get insights on a wider range of data points than ever before with recent releases of SAP Analytics Cloud.

Check out the short videos to see an overview of new Smart Insights capabilities. For demonstration purposes we’re using sample, sales-profit demo data for an IT company, to help a Sales VP understand what’s working well or not working well. She can share her key findings with other business users. With auto-generated insights, she can now take an action to achieve better margins, without having to dig into the entire dataset herself.

More Pervasive:

You will find Smart Insights now for:

  • Large dimensions and more dimensions:
    • Earlier, Smart Insights was restricted to show dimensions with 50 members which means larger dimensions were excluded from Top Contributor analysis. If a dataset comprised of large dimensions mainly, then this could have resulted in no Smart Insights for a selected datapoint. Now there is no limitation to the number of dimension-members, so you are much more likely to get Smart Insights for such datasets. And dimensions Product /Location/ Customer for example with a higher number of members are considered and shown up in Top Contributor Analysis now.
  • Tables/Grids:
    • You can now get Smart Insights on cells in tables and grids, which makes life easier for planning users.
  • Calculated Measures:
    • There is always a lightbulb now for calculated measures and a formula or underlying calculation is explained in detail with visualization. Smart Insights are also available on data points that represent account dimensions which have Income (INC) and Expense (EXP) as financial account types.

In this example, when the user is analyzing Gross Margin across different regions, she is interested to know if contributing factors vary from country to country. ‘Top Contributor’ analysis in Smart Insights identifies that there is a specific customer driving higher margins as compare to other customers in case of country ‘Brazil’. She also quickly finds, how the sub-accounts contribute to the Gross Margin by looking into ‘How is this Calculated?’ section in the Smart Insights panel.

More Useful:

  • Grouping of ‘Unassigned’ values and members beyond the Top 10 into different Categories:
    • Smart Insights shows a summary explaining how the total measure value of your data point breaks down into different categories. So, when there are greater than 10 top contributors in the dimension, it groups them into ‘Others’ category and when there are ‘Unassigned’ / ‘NA’/ ‘#’ member values which could often be the case in Product, Document, Event, Customer name dimensions for example, it groups them into ‘Unassigned’ category.
  • Top Contributor Analysis with Back button for cascaded navigation:
    • You can run insights over insights. Now, Smart Insights offers you the flexibility to go back step by step, to the original insights provided, if you choose to drill down further into the top contributor analysis.
  • Navigational attributes are considered:
    • Dimension attributes such as Product Category for Product dimension or Customer zip code/ DUNS number associated with Customer dimension, do get considered and show up in Top Contributor Insights in the side panel.

In this example, while looking into Gross Margins across ‘On-Premise’ product portfolio, user identifies that their company is doing well for ‘Human Services’ industry sector. At the same time, there are some ‘Unassigned’ and ‘Others’ industry sectors which probably can be ignored at this stage because they have relatively lower contribution to margins.  She furthers drills down into the highest contributing ‘Human Services’ sector and learns that there is a special case with country ‘Italy’.  In the case of ‘Cloud’ portfolio on the other hand, there are different contributing factors. Surprisingly their products in ‘Business Application’ category (Product Category is modelled as a custom property for Product dimension) are 43% above average than the ‘Analytics’ and ‘Infrastructure’ product categories.

More Insightful:

The Smart Insights panel presents all your insights in one place. It offers the following types of Smart Insights into your data:

  • Automatic detection of changes over time:
    • One new type of Insights that intelligently detects significant changes over time for the selected datapoint, is now added to Smart Insights panel. This will automatically highlight the time granularity (Day/Month/Quarter/Year/Half Year) that has most interesting changes for your data. It is also supported with Natural Language explanation and a variance chart which helps user understand ‘how has this data changed’ over the course of time.
  • Highlights Min, Max, Outliers for Average type of Calculations:
    • If the calculation type is Aggregation with Average, then you can see how an average measure compares to minimum, maximum values and across the entire distribution of records. Also, if it finds any value outside of an expected boundary, the value gets shown as an Outlier.
  • Account type hierarchy:
    • For models with Account hierarchies especially in cases of Planning scenarios, Smart Insights now shows a waterfall chart with contributing sub-account in the same side panel.

In this example, user learns that recently Gross Margin has declined in month of October 2019.  To compare across different time periods, she investigates by looking into variance chart under ‘How has this Changed?’ insights. It’s clear that Q3 was on track, but Q4 will need some attention due to identified decline in the month of October. Also, as the selected datapoint was based on Average aggregation type, Smart Insights shows her 1 outlier which seems to drive 16 million in Gross Margin in this case. Having this insight, she can follow-up with their data analyst with exact questions and plan for achieving better margins for next quarters.

More to come – Stay Tuned:

  • Support for remote data sources starting with Live SAP HANA and Live SAP BW data sources.
  • Enhanced support for calculated measures.
  • Enhanced support for hierarchical dimensions – so different levels of hierarchy are considered for Top Contributor analysis.
  • Enhanced context menu options and much more.

Try Smart Insights feature today on your SAP Analytics Cloud tenant and find out detailed information here: Feature Highlight Blog, Online Help and Video.

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