Rapid Solutions for Business Intelligence with SAP Rapid Marts

As a BI consultant or an IT/IS specialist in your a company, perhaps you are looking for ways to to extract data from SAP R3, Siebel, Peoplesoft or Oracle source systems in record time.

Do you think that your knowledge of the source system database and links between tables is not deep enough to build a star schema data model?  Does the customer or internal department want the data extraction to query the data and in addition, some predefined reports on top of that information?

If you answered yes to the questions above, it is more than likely that your best solution is to implement an SAP Rapid Mart.

A Rapid Mart is a pre-built data warehouse solution based on DataServices, Relational Databases and BusinessObjects BI tools. It is best explained by looking at it from a consulting perspective. Imagine that a company wants to build a custom data warehouse solution. The consultants install DataServices to extract, transform and load the data from the FICO module of SAP R3. Then they design the reports to show to the users, check the details from the source tables (fields, joins, etc.), and design a Star Schema data model supporting these reports and also the ad-hoc query reporting.... After a few months they deliver a first version to the end-users. But as the business grows, the end-user will be asking for a new development to build a new extraction for the FICO module or maybe the SD one. With Rapid Marts, the whole solution is already there.

The steps of a Rapid Mart implementation are as follows:

  1. Run the script that generates the target data model (this builds the data warehouse as a star schema)
  2. Import the “atl” files (that builds the ETL – Extract, Transform and Loading) to Data Services
  3. Configure the ETL with the source and the target database
  4. Continue with other customization that may need to be done (this depends on each of the Rapid Marts available and data on the ERP)
  5. Import the predefined reports with the Import Wizard tool from SAP Business Objects.
  6. Set up the security for the reports (which users will have access to the predefined reports imported with the Rapid Mart solution)

With an “out of the box” ERP, you will need a maximum of five days to implement the complete solution. End-users will not only have access to some predefined reports, but also the ability to build new ones.

However, in addition to the previous steps, you may choose to consider further customization that is not included the Rapid Mart installation guides. Generally these steps are related to the integration of a company’s content with the SAP BusinessObjects platform:

  1. The company’s ERP could be customized. This could be an easy customization, such as using some ERP fields to save different types of data, or it could include a bigger development, which also needs to be added to the Rapid Mart customization. Depending on the type of customization, some additional days need to be added to the development plan. As an average (and depending on the type of the customization), Clariba estimates up to 10 days to fit the new ERP development to the Rapid Mart.
  2. If there are confidentiality concerns within the same company (in regards to the data available for ad-hoc query & analysis and the predefined reports), Row Level Security could be implemented. Depending on how easy it is to implement (this differs depending on the company’s security) it could take five to 10 days.
  3. Finally, if you want to build a dashboard on top of Rapid Marts you will likely require specific information for top management users. These users may only need to check high level KPIs and may require access to the information directly instead of having to build their own reports. Building a dashboard on top of the Rapid Mart data will ensure that top management can have all the information they need in order to make proper decisions. Clariba is experienced in building dashboards on top of Rapid Marts as we offer a packed solution that includes a Rapid Mart deployment with an operational dashboard on top of it.

In summary, by implementing SAP Rapid Marts you can look forward to the following quick wins:

  • Integrated Data Model and ETL Framework (best practice blueprint)
  • Updated universes and updated reports for all Rapid Marts (Rapid Marts versioning comes with the ERP versioning)
  • Low development and maintenance costs
  • Tested and guaranteed

If your company has decided that Rapid Marts are the rapid solution you are looking for, do not hesitate to ask Clariba for further information or to demo the Rapid Marts capabilities. If you are a consultant with additional suggestions or questions about Rapid Mart implementations, please feel free to leave a comment below.