The modern analytics architecture is one of the most innovative and evolving spaces in the world of business intelligence.

By Matt Hayes, vice-president: SAP Business at Qlik

This is particularly true as companies become increasingly data centric, changing their perception of data being a by-product of the business – or even a liability – to understanding that it is in fact its lifeblood, holding hidden treasures around how that business operates and performs.

CEOs today are initiating significant investments in IT applications and architectures to further understand what their data is telling them about the business. The most noteworthy innovations have been around analytics applications, such as AI and large language models (LLM), cloud architectures and modern data warehouses, and are allowing customers to satisfy their need for access to data in real-time.

Qlik, in association with Amazon Web Services (AWS), recently surveyed its SAP customers to better understand these investment decisions and what’s driving their core use cases, with the two companies publishing these findings in a report entitled ‘Unlock the Full Value of Your SAP Data’.

Building towards a positive ROI

All use cases typically come down to three life-saving objectives: reducing costs; increasing revenue, or creating a competitive advantage. Businesses that can align their use cases with these priorities and set expectations are already far healthier than their competitors.

Of the Qlik survey respondents, 87 per cent said that there is a urgent need to use SAP data to better understand the business, 88 per cent expect to leverage SAP data to increase revenue, while almost half expect that revenue growth to be significant.

Looking at these results, it’s clear that organisations intend to improve both the top and bottom line by correctly using their SAP data to create accurate insights that lead to greater financial impact.

Fresher data needed, faster

As the essence of an organisation, it could be said that data provides as much vital information about a business as a vial of blood does about a person’s health.

And, as blood-test results help doctors make proactive recommendation about a patient’s ultimate longevity, business data is no different. However, unlike having to wait 24 hours to several days for bloodwork results, latency in data analysis is expected to be completed in a short-order of less than a minute, if not in real-time.

SAP customers are traditionally more accustomed to accepting significant latency in their data through business warehouse systems, however, the Qlik and AWS survey feedback clearly showed that this is changing.

Notably, 53% of respondents said that they consider optimal latency for analysing SAP data to be less than 30 minutes, with seven per cent wanting it within seconds. Fresher, faster data is one way of achieving this and this was underscored by the survey participants, who agreed that faster access to data would increase the speed at which they make decisions.

Acting on the power of data

The days of managing the business from a rear-view perspective and adjusting month to month or quarter to quarter are becoming a thing of the past. With the right investments, organisations are realising the power of data and acting swiftly on that data to create a competitive advantage or manage the business more proactively.

This was best articulated by the CFO of one of Qlik’s customers, who noted, “We have made massive strides in improving our daily orders and revenue process. Previously, orders and revenue were available once a month after month close. Now, anyone from the division president to the sales force can access this information daily through an application on their computer or phone. This means we can act with speed and agility to address gaps in the market.”

This is a clear continuation of the ongoing enterprise digital transformation journey that focuses on making data useful and putting it in the hands of every employee to make decisions faster.