Boosting Your (Business) Intelligence with Power BI and SAP Business One

Richard Duffy
Richard Duffy in SAP Business One November 30, 2017

As mentioned in some recent blogs, our ONE.Source Community offers the opportunity to continue the conversations we started at the Biz.ONE Conference last month. This post is a follow up on my “Reportapalooza” session, examining reporting and visualization options with your SAP Business One solution.

In the movie "Field of Dreams," Kevin Costner was hearing a voice telling him, "If you build it they will come," and the “it” in his case was a baseball field. He went ahead and turned part of his Iowa cornfields into a baseball field and, in fact, they (the ghosts of the 1916 White Sox team and Shoeless Joe Jackson) did come and play on the field, attracting crowds of paying spectators and saving the family farm.

Unfortunately, when it comes to deploying business intelligence, websites, or other IT initiatives, that's not always the case.

Hitting a Home Run

In many instances, you need to do much more than build or deploy your IT solution. After you build it, you will need to get a core group of users running and familiar with the solution, then solve some of their business challenges with the solution.

When it comes to business intelligence, solving the challenges of your business users is key. I have seen many BI initiatives fall flat because the use case was not compelling or the visualizations were not built to address specific challenges.

You can “build it” with the right BI tools and compelling data, but you need specific business use cases as your blueprint if you want to drive strong business outcomes. With use cases as your blueprint, users will adopt the solution more quickly, and the happiest of them will evangelize the solution to others in the business.

Stepping Up to the Plate

The key components for success are the right tools and the right use cases. But you cannot hit a home run if you never step up to the plate. For many businesses, they know there’s great potential locked up in the data inside their SAP Business One system; however, the fear of striking out with the wrong solution and the expense of a failed deployment prevents them from taking a swing at BI.

For SAP Business One customers, some of these challenges may potentially be addressed by a move to SAP HANA. With SAP Business One version for SAP HANA there are a number of analytical scenarios, dashboards, and views built into the solution. But keep in mind, you need the appropriate licensing to access it.

For customers not on SAP HANA, or perhaps looking for a cost-effective and solution to quickly deploy, one option is Microsoft Power BI. Power BI is part of the Microsoft Office 365 product family and available in both free and paid subscription versions; in fact, if you are running Microsoft Office 365 on an enterprise plan, you may already have a license to use it.

The cost and ability to deploy quickly may help remove some of that fear of striking out. A low-risk trial can help you hone your use cases, win over some early adopters, and ultimately build towards a more robust BI program within your organization. From there, options include SAP Lumira or other BI solutions, as well as the growing analytical capabilities within the version for SAP HANA.

At the recent Biz.ONE Conference, we began a conversation about better reporting and BI for SAP Business One customers. Through our ONE.Source ASUG community, I intend to continue that conversation through these blogs and videos for ASUG members. Below you can access the first in a series of videos on reporting basics with BI solutions, beginning by building a basic visualization with Power BI. In these videos, we will explore options for both SAP Business One on SQL Server and SAP HANA. 

Watch the Video

Stay tuned to ONE.Source for much more to come on this topic.