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Will business intelligence and SAP BW help automate the downloading process?

Wondering how business intelligence and SAP BW can help automate the downloading process and help with SAP reporting and querying? Krishna Kumar, mySAP solutions expert, will tell you how.

My company has implemented SAP R/3 at five plant locations. Top management in the sourcing department wants a variety of reports -- such as monthly and quarterly material spend analysis on different dimensions, spend by plant, by models, by vendors, by exports, etc. Right now we download spend data for each plant using a custom SAP report and aggregate the data. This is somewhat labor intensive.

Second, downloading bill of materials (BOMs) and cleansing the data is very time and effort consuming. We have our data coming only from SAP R/3 systems. Will SAP BW will help us automate the downloading and cleaning process and also help us with adhoc querying? What do you advise?

For part one of your question, business intelligence (BI) is definitely a solution for your needs. From the nature of your requirements, looks like you have a need for Spend Analytics. There is pre-delivered content available within SAP BW (called Business Content) for performing various spend analytics by vendor, purchase organization, marketplace, etc. Spend Analytics information can later on be fed back into the OLTP system for performing various economies of scale purchasing to optimize vendor negotiation.

To answer the second part of your question, I would need more information on the nature of the issue, but from the looks of it, MDM (Master Data Management) seems to be a solution. I would definitely evaluate the solution in greater depth before taking the plunge, because "cleansing" data may not just be a systematic solution. Sometimes, it takes labor intensive due diligence. Also, if the BOM mismatch is because of lack of design integrity, I would investigate PLM (Product Lifecycle Management). Also, PLM comes with integration into third-party CAD tools that may make engineering integration easier.

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