Leveraging SAP Universes in Tableau Through Toreo Data

MCHS“WCI Consulting was really responsive and willing to heed the requests of MCHS. WCI Consulting delivered on everything that we asked for. Overall everyone is happy.” – Juan Lopez,  Manager of EBI Delivery, MCHS

Situation

The company, a children’s hospital located in Miami, Florida needed help with integrating their existing SAP BusinessObjects infrastructure and content with Tableau Software. Since neither of those software vendors offer a way to do this, Miami Children’s Health System (MCHS) came to Toreo Data (from WCI Consulting) looking for help. There was large amounts of work that went into the established SAP Universes and MCHS wanted to leverage that information in Tableau.

In MCHS’s day to day operations business intelligence is used to do analysis for many different parts of the organization: including clinical, financial, operations and marketing reporting. MCHS uses BI tools to extract information to provide analytics and visualizations that give insight into the business and shape how decisions are made. Thus, accurate reporting was high in importance on their list, as was saving time in the development process.

The major concern was that rebuilding the content found in BOBJ and Tableau was redundant. Everything was already built and MCHS didn’t have the resources or the time to go through the process again in Tableau. Rewriting scripts for multiple dashboards was a daunting task that Juan Lopez, Manager of EBI Delivery was not interested in undertaking due to the amount of hours needed to replicate everything. He wanted the ability to leverage vetted solutions and Universes already built in the SAP environment.

Juan Lopez went to Google where he found his answer: Toreo Data

Solution

“When developing dashboards in Tableau, writing custom queries makes the dashboard a one off solution. For example, if there is a script that has 1000 lines and there is an issue, we would need to troubleshoot the query to understand the issue.  Having access to standardized SAP Universes, makes the development of dashboards much easier and scalable for future enhancements and troubleshooting.” - Juan Lopez, Manager of EBI Delivery, MCHS

Toreo Data works by connecting to the SAP BusinessObjects Universe and lets you select the objects you want to work with in Tableau. With Toreo Data MCHS realized they could choose which objects and filters they wanted to bring into a table. What really appealed to them about Toreo is that when it constructs a query, it keeps the SAP Universe integrity intact. Toreo doesn’t redefine the query as the query comes straight from the Universe to bring in the desired objects. Any joins that are done in the Universe are kept together in the Toreo output table.

In Tableau without the Toreo Data driver, MCHS’s options were to connect to an Excel file or write custom SQL. The major issue with the custom SQL is that the chances of the joins being off was very high. This was a risk MCHS wasn’t willing to take. And trying to work with an Excel file was undesirable due to the amount of data needed to be exported and imported. The thing about Toreo that really appealed to MCHS is that when a change is made in the Universe, you can refresh Toreo and all of the new modifications like joins or data revisions are taken into account. Then to get the Universe data into Tableau, Toreo just feeds the data in a table format so all of the information can be analyzed.

Success

Standardizing Data
WCI was able to standardize all of the information through Toreo Data. One of the biggest frustrations voiced by Juan Lopez was that re-entering the data would surly lead to confusion.

“If one developer comes in and says, I’m bringing in all the objects with an inner join and another developer comes in and says I’ll do that by putting a left outer join on it, errors would be created that we didn’t want to deal with. Toreo eliminates all that so that you have a standard Universe that has everything already connected so that you don’t have to go back in and translate the request and build its foundation differently.”

Speed of Development
“The information is there when you need it and you don’t have to write it again. You have instant access to your data so naturally performance has increased. Leveraging solutions that we already have established is important to us so that we can focus our efforts on interpreting the data, rather than re-entering it”

Familiar User Interface
Toreo Data was created with the typical business intelligence user in mind so WCI produced the driver with a similar look and user experience that our clients are familiar with.

“When I looked at the product it reminded me a lot of an environment I’m very familiar with so when bringing over objects I knew exactly what to expect. I liked it a lot and it was very easy to follow.”

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