Developing ABAP reports, downloading to Excel, and sending dB tables content to BI tools are not a good reason for not using InsightSAP.
Since introducing InsightSAP to the market, we found people initially declining it due to one of three reasons:
- We have developed in ABAP all the reports/interfaces we needed.
- We can always download SAP reports to Excel to further analyze them.
- Our Business Intelligence (BI) is the organization’s sole portal for reports and all SAP-related reports were already developed at the BI side
With time, we have developed almost instinct-questions as soon as one of the above-mentioned statements were raised.
- “Did you already fire all your ABAP development department?” If everything was already handled at your end, your ABAP team is probably bored to death and costs a fortune for no real reason.
- Per the suggestion to download SAP reports to Excel we ponder: “Are you happy with the fact that your organization spent millions of dollars on ERP to end up with the organization’s business information scattered around on employees’ laptops?”
- It took us a long time to understand what could go wrong with the coupling of SAP and BI tools. Yet, when it comes to BI tools, our favorite question is: “Then, BI projects are very efficient and quick and everybody is happy with the result?”
Indeed, using funny questions to ridicule statements that were raised without business underpinning is entertaining. However, there is a time where each of those statements should get an educated and structured answer. Other than that, we will turn out to be those who retort questions without business underpinning.
Before diving into details, let’s first understand what InsightSAP is and more importantly what InsightSAP is not.
What InsightSAP is
InsightSAP Suite, an SAP-certified product, is natively coded in SAP using ABAP. InsightSAP is a platform that allows business analysts, consultants, and business end-users to create, enhance, and publish ALV Assets (e.g., SAP reports, locally developed (Z) reports, ABAP queries, DB tables, Views, etc.) – All done directly in Production, within SAP and w/o coding.
Description Of Operations – InsightSAP executes SAP ABAP list viewer (ALV) reports suppressing its UI interaction (“dark” mode), wherein results of data retrieval and associated metadata (“data model”) are stored in computer memory. Computer method and software further embodies data processing tools for processing and enhancing said data model by forming a new – persisting – data model. All processing and enhancing instructions are defined without programming efforts ready to run in a live environment. Namely, using InsightSAP any ALV asset could be enhanced in terms of content (new data columns) and presentation (coloring, grouping, and graphs to list a few).
The benefits are enormous in terms of accuracy and efficiency. One must wrap her mind around the fact that by using an existing ALV asset as its baseline, 90% of the coding is saved.
Thus, InsightSAP serves as a unification environment for almost any ALV asset. An environment in which Makers could enhance and enrich existing assets to fit the requirements of Business end-users. Business end-users invoke the outcome InsightSAP report (which is yet a new ALV asset) like any other ALV report, a report that behaves just like any other ALV report. Nonetheless, as soon as the Rainow report is in place, it could be viewed as a Fiori-like application (called from the Fiori launchpad) or shared by others in various formats (Excel, text, HTML, PDF, XML, and others).
All done w/o code, in hours, directly in a live-system (production).
What InsightSAP is not
Even though InsightSAP is coded in ABAP, InsightSAP is not an ABAP report or interface. One may think of an ABAP report as freestyle coding. ABAP developer may use the computer screen as her canvas and draw on it whatever needed. InsightSAP took another direction, by which the UI is based on best practices and it could be highly customized – yet, it is not freestyle.
InsightSAP is certainly not an Excel since it is bound to business rules. For example, unlike Excel, one cannot add a record to a sales order report because… there must be a sales order – in real life – to back up this record.
InsightSAP is not a BI tool. InsightSAP is installed within SAP and thus it is subjected to many of the limitations set forth by its host. This way, unless SAP will unleash amazing graphical abilities, InsightSAP will never match BI tools’ abilities in that direction. By the same token, since SAP ERP does not use OLAP cube DB as its foundation, slicing and dicing are out of the question for both SAP and InsightSAP.
Using SAP as IDE to develop in ABAP
For the past 50 years or so, reporting in SAP was done in the very same way. The process is characterized by too many Chefs, no reuse, and a lengthy software lifecycle. In the article titled Disrupting SAP development process (InsightSAP.com/disrupting-sap-dev-process), we shed some light on the typical ABAP development. the paradigms that keep this process way too lengthy and costly.
There is another topic related to the artifacts related to coding in ABAP – Z reports. In the article titled Stop Coding Start Reusing (InsightSAP.com/stop-coding-start-reusing), we talk in length about coding Z reports within SAP. Many times Z-Reports are nothing but Repairs at the transaction level. The article points out the cost of giving away reuse of standard SAP reports along with the risks attached to Z-reports.
InsightSAP is as simple to operate as Excel. Thus functions (actors) could now be extracted out of the development process. Everything done in InsightSAP could be easily shared in many forms and shapes (Excel spreadsheet, Fiori application, to list a few). Since InsightSAP is all about reuse, and its core functionality was already tested, RabinowSAP makers can use it directly in the Production system.
Having said that are the days of ABAP development over?
Not at all. It all boils to the old Make-Or-Buy Decision we all often take. Before InsightSAP, organizations running SAP were forced to Make everything. Nowadays, when an easy and quick alternative exists, ABAP development should be used for complex transactional developments. Developments where the adjoined cost is worthwhile the result.
Downloading SAP reports to Excel
It is not a secret that Excel is a nightmare for enterprises. Information is kept in silos where none of the investments put in the ERP could be manifested.
In the article titled The Cons in downloading SAP to Excel (Insight-SAP.com/cons-in-downloading-sap-to-excel), we have discussed this topic in length.
Up until now, it was unavoidable to have financial data downloaded from SAP to Excel for further processing. The decision was between handling things in an undesirable way (outside SAP) or not doing them at all. No wonder, CIOs and CISOs could not veto this mal behavior – enterprise-wise. However, unlike many other related solutions, InsightSAP brings the qualities of Excel into the world of SAP rather than extracting SAP data out. It is now possible to do within SAP tasks that could not be handled before. Adding comments, conditional formatting, pivot tables are some examples of the power of InsightSAP. Furthermore, in many cases, working within SAP is far easier than downloading content to Excel. Excel does not ‘understand’ currencies and quantities, Excel lives outside the SAP context, and Excel has no one truth.
Are the days of downloading stuff from SAP to Excel for further processing over?
No, we guess not. Excel is a standard in the industry. A way employees convey skillset from one job to another. Nonetheless, with InsightSAP as a far better alternative, managers at organizations running SAP must enforce rules preventing employees from downloading data to Excel. Excel should serve as a last resort in the ERP world.
Developing reports at BI
In theory, the coupling of SAP alongside BI tools looks like a match made in heaven. These two machines marvelously complement each other. SAP with relational DB is optimized for operation while BI with multidimensional datasets is optimized for analysis. Business end users handle transaction and business processes from SAP while upper management gains insights from sliced and diced data beautifully displayed at the BI end. OLTP and OLAP working together allow organizations to eat the cake and have it too, so to speak.
Yet, in practice, working with many many SAP projects that use BI tools, this coupling is far from being heaven.
With SAP deficiencies to enable enhancement of the legacy SAP business logic and sharing the outcome with relevant BI tools. These two great powers are acting together to prevent the SAP-BI match from entering heaven.
In the article titled Differences between BI and InsightSAP (Insight-SAP.com/differences_bi_InsightSAP), we review the differences between BI Tools and SAP, what each does best, and how these two can efficiently cooperate.
InsightSAP suit was suggested as an alternative that moves the responsibility for application-level (operational) data back to SAP allowing each side, SAP & BI, to concentrate on what they are best at.