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Darren Wan

Darren Wan

Darren Wan is an Associate Product Manager for the SAP Analytics Cloud Predictive team. Driven by his strong interest for technology, he is passionate about solving problems with the use of data and analytics. Outside of the office he enjoys staying active and watching the latest TV shows/movies.

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SAP Analytics Cloud has a portfolio of Smart features dedicated to helping Business Users uncover insights faster and understand trends within their data to help drive decision making. In this blog we will walk through Jane’s analytics journey and see how she leveraged various Smart features to help conduct her analysis!

Jane has recently joined AlpineCo, a global ski and snowboard manufacturing company, as a Business Analyst. With the busy holiday season approaching the in-house Data Analytics team is swamped and have reached out to Jane for help. She has been tasked with analyzing historical sales data and presenting an overview of her findings. This would normally not be an issue for an experienced Business Analyst such as Jane, however she only had until the end of the day! With this time constraint in place, Jane turned to the Smart features available on SAP Analytics Cloud to accelerate her workflow and reveal insights.

Getting Started

I’m Feeling Lucky

Jane was handed an excel file with sales data from the past 2 years and wants to bring it into SAP Analytics Cloud.  To do so, she simply drags and drops the file in by using the “I’m Feeling Lucky” functionality.

No data preparation is necessary as the system automatically recognizes the measures and dimensions in her dataset. Looking over the data exploration view, Jane already has an idea of how to approach her analysis.

Search to Insight: Get answers about your data

With limited knowledge of the underlying data, Jane starts her analysis by launching Search to Insight. Jane is able to ask questions in natural language and receive answers instantly with the most appropriate visualization. Jane is particularly interested in knowing the Order Value by Product.

Typing and executing query, also drilling down 1 level

The resulting bar chart clearly shows that skis are outselling snowboards. By drilling down further she notices that the SK 500 is the most popular model.

Smart Insights: Uncover top contributors and detect changes over time

Jane learned that the SK 500 is selling well, but why exactly is it so high? This is where Smart Insights can help to find out what contributes to Order Value.

Adding footer, clicking “view more”, and selecting Smart Detect

Jane adds a Smart Insights footer to her chart and it’s telling her that the variation is driven by the Sales Agent Tracy Jiang. Taking it step a step further by clicking “view more”, Smart Insights also detected a significant data change. There was a large increase in Order Value from Q2 to Q3. This trend is likely due to retailers stocking up on equipment for the winter season.

Smart Discovery: Automatic dashboard generation

In addition to Order Value, AlpineCo uses Units Sold as a key metric to measure success. To jumpstart her exploration into Units Sold and help identify patterns in the data Jane uses Smart Discovery. The main question she wants answered is: What are the influencing factors for Units Sold?

Selecting, measuring, and running Smart Discovery
Smart Discovery Results

In just a few clicks Jane was able to generate 4 pages of analysis: overview, key influencers, unexpected values and simulation. With the variety of visualizations and insights and provided, Jane has a better understanding of the factors that affect AlpineCo’s performance.

R-Visualizations: Build custom visualizations

Knowing that AlpineCo has over 2000 global customers ranging from retail to wholesale to direct, Jane wants to determine who the top customers are. She decides to use the R-Visualization feature in SAP Analytics Cloud to create a word cloud.

Word Cloud

The word cloud visualizes the top 20 customers, they are ranked using varying font sizes and colors – a larger font equates to a higher Order Value. Jane takes a quick glance at the chart and sees that Ethos Wheel is among the top customers.

Finishing Touches and Conclusion

Before her meeting, Jane decides to adjust the dashboard using the styling tools. She changes the fonts and colors to not only align with AlpineCo’s branding but to also better highlight key findings.

Completed AlpineCo Dashboard

With this improved layout and design Jane is now ready to showcase her analysis and tell a compelling story!

Jane found herself in a difficult situation having to complete a lot of work in a short period of time. By leveraging a variety of Smart Features, Jane was able to quickly answer specific questions while also surfacing patterns and complex relationships hidden in the data. She discovered the following:

  • The SK 500 skis are the bestselling product
  • The high Order Value for the SK 500 was significantly driven by Tracy Jiang
  • There was a large spike in Order Value from Q2 2019 to Q3 2019
  • Ethos Wheel is the top customer by Order Value

To learn more about SAP Analytics Cloud’s Augmented Analytics features, please visit our page.

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