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SAP Analytics Cloud integration with Microsoft Office

Aug 9, 2021

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“The global economy is built on two things: the internal combustion engine and Microsoft Excel. Never forget this.”— Kevin Hector, Twitter.

Whether you are a business analyst or an FP&A analyst, or simply a person whose job profile involves working with numbers, you cannot deny the heavy use of spreadsheets in your professional life.

This blog explains how SAP’s Analytics Cloud solution incorporates more functionalities by extending its connectivity to SAP Analysis for office, SAP’s front-end reporting tool that lets analysts and other BI users perform analysis using the familiar Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint interfaces. SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is a tool that offers rich visualization for analyzing data. One of the in-demand features of SAP Analytics Cloud is its possibility to integrate with Analysis for office so that planning, reporting, and analytic capabilities are available in the flexible spreadsheet view, especially in operational data use cases. Usually, cloud-based visualization tools lack desktop connectivity but since SAP has a strong portfolio of reporting tools under the Business Objects umbrella, integrating SAC models with Analysis for Office has been provided starting from Analysis for Office 2.5.

Editions of SAP Analysis for Office (for SAP Analytics Cloud)

1. Standard Edition with BusinessObjects BI

Here, open and click on the Analysis tab on the ribbon to add a SAC connection, as shown below. This feature is available for the 2.8 version and all versions above SAP Analysis for Office 2.5.

SAP Analytics Cloud integration with Microsoft Office
Figure 1: SAP AFO 2.5, adding a SAC connection.

2. Analysis for SAP Analytics Cloud (SAP Analysis for Office Edition that comes with the SAC subscription)

Analysis for Office 2.8 version is now available with an add-in for SAP Analytics Cloud. This provides the ability of extended analysis and planning on SAC models with Excel.

You can consume SAP Analytics Cloud models as a data source in SAP Analysis Office on logging in.

SAP Analytics Cloud integration with Microsoft Office
Figure 2: SAP AfO 2.8, SAC available as an Analysis for Office add-in.

The two main differences between the two editions are:  

SAP Analytics Cloud integration with Microsoft Office

Looking at what is available with the current version of SAP Analysis for Office and its advanced interoperability with SAP Analytics Cloud, here are significant highlights of the new edition (2.8 SP5)

General

  • Enhanced reporting features
  • Grouping of dimensions
  • Enhanced variable user experience and Design panel improvements
  • Improved security, stricter handling of insecure connections
  • Continuous improvement to analytic workflows, including Presentation selection (ID/text), Hierarchies support queries with two structures.
  • Custom Hierarchies – SAP HANA (Displaying grouped dimensions in Design Panel)
  • Use all data sources in a formula-optimized mode in Analysis.
  • Entering value ranges for variables
  • Using SAP Analytics Cloud live data connections

Planning

  • Write-back, Version Handling (publish/revert), Unbooked Data
  • Currency handling (default/local)
  • Highlighting of changed cells
  • Reuse SAP Analytics Cloud table context in Excel

Technical Foundation

  • Localization / Translation as part of Technical Foundation

Business use case – Planning scenario

One of the best use cases for this interoperability is while using SAC planning. You can consume your planning model in Excel and merge it with data like target data stored locally and do your what-if analysis. You can also add data from HANA views directly in Analysis for office and combine it with SAC models. Using the SAC’s integration with Analysis for office, you can create complex data mashups and do further slicing and dicing of the data with few notable features such as,

  • Publish different versions (public and private) of your data.
  • Collaborate on your analytic and planning scenarios.
  • Pivot and filter features within the highly interactive table to easily create your ad-hoc reports.
  • Calculations, formulae, and formatting to easily cater added value.
  • Adding comments to a Data Cell, Data locking.
  • Save report directly to SAP Analytics Cloud.
SAP Analytics Cloud integration with Microsoft Office

This interoperability allows you to leverage the familiar functionalities of Microsoft Excel, to get even more out of the SAP Analytics Cloud’s analytics and planning capabilities. Further, SAP plans to update this add-in and provide more features on planning, business intelligence, connectivity, and user experience.

Click here to evaluate if SAP Analytics Cloud is the right cloud data visualization/planning tool for you.

If you are interested in learning more about SAP Analytics Cloud, please check out our blog series here.


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