Today we would like to share with you yet another successful project in our portfolio. For this project, we were tasked with migrating an existing Cognos reporting solution from SAP BW on HANA with SAP BusinessObjects as the frontend.
The customer that sought our support specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of electronic components. As part of an international group, it is one of several subsidiaries, all of which rely on different ERP and business intelligence solutions. Faced with the group’s continued growth and the ever-increasing complexity that goes along with it, the proprietary ERP solution was reaching its limits both in terms of functionality and reporting capabilities.
Working from a newly introduced and standardized SAP ERP solution with SAP BW, Inspiricon was able to replace the existing Cognos reporting solution.
There were a number of reasons that motivated this decision:
- For one, it would have been too costly and time consuming to keep developing the reporting solutions that, for the most part, had been developed in house and customized to specific needs.
- Also, maintenance and support had become almost unmanageable.
- What’s more, the group was no longer able to maintain the consistency of KPI purpose and content across its different companies, resulting in the inability to compare their processes and results.
- The sheer number of different interfaces with other systems drove costs and significantly increased the error rate. Reporting to the parent company, in particular, had become a tedious and time-consuming endeavor. Even more interfaces were needed to do so because reporting was tailored exclusively to customers based on a – custom – Cognos reporting solution that had been implemented on top of everything else.
- Internal expertise regarding the existing solutions was limited to a small number of people inside the company. Loosing this technical knowledge due to employee turnover was an ever-present threat.
Since another subsidiary was already using SAP products, the new ERP solution was already present on the system.
The project, however, was not just about bringing the ERP system up to speed, the group was also eager to take its BI system to the next level. And it wanted it to be a SAP solution, prompting the decision to replace the existing Cognos reporting solution with SAP Business Warehouse on HANA.
The project was launched with release SAP 7.4 on HANA. During the project, a migration to SAP 7.5 on HANA was carried out. In this case too, SAP BW was already being used by another subsidiary and was therefore readily available.
Products in the SAP BusinessObjects family were to be used for the frontend as well. These adjustments were intended to bring about following changes and benefits:
- Standardized data models that can be leveraged by every company in the group, allowing its globally dispersed service centers to provide cost-optimized support.
- Consistent KPIs that guarantee comparability.
- A smooth transition for users of the Cognos solution by means of a like-to-like migration.
- Elimination of unnecessary interfaces.
- Improved and accelerated flow of information along the value chain.
- Increased responsiveness for better corporate management, which also improves competitiveness.
Our solution consists of Web Intelligence reports based on SAP BW on HANA along with standardized data provisioning from the operational SAP ERP system. The following illustration outlines the project’s structure:
By replacing its existing ERP and BI systems, our customer was able to improve its business. Not only can users now access reports and data much faster, substantially reducing time to decision, but they can also, to a certain degree, customize their reports in the context of a self-service BI. Another big plus is a significantly improved security posture due to centrally managed access authorizations. Last but not least, we were able to reduce license costs and therefore improve cost-effectiveness for the customer.
The introduction and standardization of SAP ERP and BI solutions typically require significant investments. By having our employees from our nearshoring location in Cluj-Napoca in Romania contribute to the project, we were able to drastically cut these costs. At the peak of the project, up to 6 colleagues from Cluj-Napoca were involved in the project. We coordinated through daily briefings during which our team communicated remotely both through video and audio.