The Closed Loop portfolio in Analytics
Authored by Iver van de Zand, SAP
We talked about the overwhelming power of analytics in Retail and B2C market-segments earlier and one of the topics discussed there, was the integration of operational business activities with operational analytics. In the example we saw the stock manager using analytics to change his stock-buying-behavior. He adjusted his order system by choosing another vendor and placing the order. Immediately his analytics are updated and he now requires to adjust his rolling planning or run a predictive simulation how the price-adjustment of his new stock might affect buying behavior of his customers. He might even want to adjust the governance rules with his new supplier or run a risk-assessment.
Below pictures visualizes the continuous integration of core business activities with business analytics, indicating examples of core processes with their accompanying analytical perspectives. These are just examples and not exhaustive at all.
Performance Management closed loop
Basically what the stock manager in our example needs, is a full – real-time – integration of business analytics with his core business activities over all aspects of his performance management domain. A predictive simulation of changing buying behavior lead to new analytical insights on product mix which might influence the companies’ budget and causes a risk analysis for new vendors.
To do so, a closed loop is required of following core components driven by the continuous flow of Discover – Plan – Inform – Anticipate:
- online Analytics on big data with interactive user involvement
- ability to adjust and monitor a rolling Planning for budgets, forecasts. A planning that that allows for delegation and distribution from corporate level into lower levels
- GRC software to perform risk analyses on for example vendors or suppliers
- online Predictive analyses components to apply predictive models like decision trees, forecasting models or other R algorithms. Predictive analyses allow to look for patterns in the data that “regular” analytics is not able to discover. The scope of predictive analytics is gigantic: think not only sentiment analyses for social media, but also basket analyses in retail markets, attrition rates in HR and many, many more.
This so-called closed loop of predictive analytics, planning and performance management, business analytics and GRC is NOT a sequential process at all. They interact randomly towards each other in real-time and at any moment needed. They are also dependent towards each other, since Digital Transformation requires us to be so agile, we have to constantly execute and collaborate on the interoperability of the components and monitor the outcome. Lastly, the closed loop platform interacts on core operational activities (real-time insights in operational data) and as such the analytics are defined as Operational Analytics.
Closed loop platforms more than anything else require business users to drive its content and purpose. They drive the agility to the platform that is so heavily needed in the Digital Transformation era. On the other hand the technical driven architects do make a difference too, since closed loop platforms are very sensitive to respect governance principles. A special role is allocated to the CFO or Office of Finance here; they will drive the bigger part of the Planning and Budgeting cycle.
One can imagine the calculation processes behind the closed loop platform are huge and therefor a business case for an in-memory system is a sine qua non.
Imagine the possibilities
Needless to say that the closed loop model applies to all industries and not only in the retail example that I used here. I can list plenty of examples here but just to name a few:
- HR: attrition rates of employees
- Banking & Insurance: customer segmentation, product basket analyses
- Telco & Communications: churn and market segmentation nut also network utilization
- Public Government: Fraud detection and Risk-Mitigation
- Hospital: personalized healthcare
Apart from imagining the possibilities per market segment, we can also change perspectives and look at the possibilities per role within companies applying the closed loop platform. Below picture provides capabilities the closed loop components could offer to various user communities. The potential is huge and extremely powerful when used in an integrated platform. This is also the weaker point of the closed loop platform: the components must be integrated not to miss their leveraging effect on each other.
A solution is available today
With its Cloud for Analytics offering, SAP is today the only provider with an integrated offering for the closed loop platform. Even more: SAP Cloud for Analytics is integrated in one tool offering analytics, planning, GRC and predictive capabilities. One tool?? …. Yes, one tool completely Cloud driven and utilizing the in-memory HANA Cloud Platform it is running on. One tool that seamlessly lets analytics and planning interact with each other. A tool where you can run your predictive models and analyses and visualize the outcome with the analytics section. A tool that allows access to both your on premise data, your Cloud data and/or Hadoop stored data. And lastly a tool with fully embedded collaboration techniques to share your insights with colleagues but also involve them with planning or others. Our dream becomes reality.