Manufacturers face no shortage of challenges in the industry today, but there are also tremendous opportunities to be had. Accelerating and increasing the value of SAP data to meet those challenges is no easy task, but it’s possible with the right solution. In this post we will discuss how some modern manufacturers are deriving deeper insight from their SAP data in order to drive faster, smarter decision-making and unlock new opportunities in the market.

Overcoming today’s manufacturing challenges 

Many manufacturing businesses run on SAP, a powerful software solution for everything from processing orders and revenue to maintaining company financials. However, the complexity of SAP can sometimes make it difficult to access and integrate SAP data with data from other sources in order to get a full view of the end-to-end process. And with the organizational silos and data fragmentation that exist at many companies, it can be even more problematic to include SAP data in modern analytics projects.

In addition, manufacturers have experienced a whole new set of challenges in the past few years such as:

  • Supply chain disruptions: The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of global supply chains, and manufacturers have had to deal with disruptions to their supply of raw materials, parts, and components.
  • Regulatory compliance: Manufacturers must comply with a growing number of regulations related to safety, environmental protection, and product quality. Compliance can be complex and costly.
  • Economic uncertainty: Manufacturers are also affected by broader economic trends, such as changes in consumer demand, fluctuations in currency exchange rates, and geopolitical risks that can affect trade and supply chains.

Unlocking new manufacturing opportunities

Today there are also many positive opportunities for manufacturers that previously didn’t exist, such as automating routine tasks, analyzing current (not yesterday’s) data, predicting maintenance needs, and managing the supply chain more effectively. To address these new opportunities, Qlik and Snowflake have launched a new joint solution, which will help manufacturers tackle today’s big challenges and accelerate many common business initiatives that require SAP data. 

Qlik easily works with Snowflake to automate the ingestion, transformation, and analytics of SAP data, thus making it simple for users to derive business insights that can drive better decision-making. Qlik also offers pre-defined templates for those customers who want to further accelerate their implementation.

For example, order-to-cash is a critical business process for organizations. From booking a sales order (often on credit) to fulfilling that order, billing the customer, and finally managing accounts receivable for customer payments is often a complex process that spans across multiple functions, teams, and systems.  While SAP contains valuable data related to this process including sales orders, distribution, and financial data, it can be tricky to access and integrate data in SAP systems with data from other sources to get a full view of the order-to-cash process. 

Global technology provider ABB is one of many manufacturers who achieved tremendous value using Qlik and Snowflake. The company wanted to eliminate barriers in the manufacturing value chain, improve operational efficiency, and optimize its portfolio based on cost and margin. But to do this, ABB needed to gather data that was scattered in 37 SAP systems across the globe. Using Qlik, the company is now able to continually feed SAP data into Snowflake, with data being updated every two minutes around the clock. ABB is also able to develop business-led reporting versus the previous country-based reporting approach, and it can enable advanced analytics to help the business achieve its financial goals. In addition, by simplifying its architecture, ABB was able to retire all its SAP BW systems and thus deliver millions in annual savings. 

 Driving more intelligent, agile manufacturing

Qlik and Snowflake can help accelerate the journey to a modern order-to-cash analytics solution. Using pre-defined data extractor and replication tasks, Qlik Cloud Data Integration can quickly extract data from SAP and bring that data into Snowflake as the data repository. Qlik then keeps the data synchronized with its change data capture (CDC) technology. Using pre-defined business data models for SAP, Qlik’s transformation engine then leverages the efficiency of Snowflake’s platform to turn the raw SAP data into business-friendly data that’s ready for analytics. 

To complete the solution, Qlik Cloud Analytics uses analytics app templates to produce SAP data analytics and visualizations together with predictions rendered using the Qlik AutoML service. Other predefined templates that accelerate implementation exist for Finance Analytics (to optimize financial data reporting and gain new insights into P&L, financial risk, and profitability) and Inventory Analytics (to improve planning and inventory management, costs, and utilization for increased efficiencies).

Learn more about Snowflake and Qlik’s manufacturing solution here