The Utilization of SAP Embedded Analytics for Real-Time Reporting in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises: A Case Study
Nowadays, we witness rapid advancements in information technology (IT) and digitization. This development has recently attracted interest from academics and practitioners, and it also enables new reporting possibilities, including Machine Learning approaches and real-time analyses. Thus, there are explicit links to Management Accounting. Today, decision-makers still frequently use outdated reports and analyses for decision-making. The company SAP offers a possibility for real-time analyses and reporting called SAP Embedded Analytics, which is available on the newest system release SAP S/4HANA. While some studies already emphasize the advantages of access to real-time data and analyses for decision-making in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), current literature lacks evidence of companies implementing tools that enable such analyses, like SAP Embedded Analytics. In addition, there is no explicit knowledge about the influence of the underlying data quality on the analyses with SAP Embedded Analytics. This paper tackles these research gaps by providing a case study showing the results of multiple projects regarding implementing real-time reports and analyses using SAP Embedded Analytics. In addition to that, we conducted expert interviews with IT consultants and Management Accounting professionals. This paper provides a framework for SMEs that helps them decide whether SAP Embedded Analytics implementation makes sense. The results show that SMEs need to evaluate their data landscape, the necessity of the unique features of SAP Embedded Analytics, such as real-time reporting, and the implementation effort to decide for or against SAP Embedded Analytics. Additionally, this research discovers that the data quality within the underlying SAP system is still vital for the quality and correctness of the final analyses using SAP Embedded analytics reports. Besides that, this study refines an existing framework regarding the success factors of business analytics implementations.