Modernizing Enterprise Reporting

A Fortune 500 financial services company approached Trianz seeking assistance with legacy report migration from SAP Business Objects. The client wanted to improve its enterprise reporting capabilities, integrating new visualized reporting functions and improving interactivity with reports for stakeholders. The end goal was to reduce costs, gain greater talent availability, and reduce disruption during platform upgrades.

Technology Components Used for Legacy Report Migration

Modernizing-Enterprise-Reporting

The client had an SAP Business Objects instance that it used for business reporting workflows. Apart from experiencing inefficiencies in reporting capabilities, their current version of SAP Business Objects was nearing end-of-life and would no longer be maintained or supported by the developer. Instead, the client was looking to leverage the following platforms:

Snowflake is a cloud data warehouse platform used to store datasets and support data-intensive applications. It has no operational burden, meaning users can focus on data management and integration rather than maintaining servers. The platform manages security and data governance to help enterprises comply with GDPR, CCPA, and FedRAMP regulations.

Looker is a visualized business intelligence and big data analytics platform. It allows users to analyze big data sources in real time, and generate actionable insights that can be shared across the entire business. Looker does not require specialized IT knowledge, which means employees at all levels can generate reports to increase talent availability.

The objective was to migrate SAP Business Objects assets over to a Snowflake database and integrate visualized business intelligence (BI) features on the Looker platform. This would greatly reduce data storage costs, as well as increase reporting throughput to conduct more reports in the same timescales. In addition, more employees would have access to BI capabilities, with visualized reporting enabling the creation of dashboards and monitoring pages.

Platform Upgrade Challenges Using SAP Business Objects

Maintaining the SAP platform had become a massive burden for the client. Upgrade cycles were untenable, mandating significant investment just to remain in compliance with product support requirements. The client preferred seamless, automatic upgrades using Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) for its database, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) for its reporting.

SAP is technical software, requiring specialist knowledge to operate. The complexity of SAP meant there was a lack of reporting talent, with siloed report creation making it hard to share reports across the business.

Assessing and Developing a Roadmap for Legacy Report Migration to Looker

First, Trianz collaborated with BI teams to identify a full range of active subject areas and reports pending migration. Contained in the SAP platform were 121 active subject areas, and 800+ reports pending migration. These assets would then be migrated to Looker with a focus on efficiency and cost reduction.

Using DevOps principles and Looker APIs, our engineers developed heavy automation workflows designed to reduce the time to create a single BI report. The Agile team followed an iterative plan based on continuous improvement to maintain pace throughout the project.

As a result, Trianz was able to deliver full legacy report migration for the client in eight to ten months. This is in sharp contrast to the original three-to-five-year migration timescale.

Transformational Effects after Migrating SAP to Snowflake and Looker

With the migration of 121 active subject areas and 800+ SAP Business Objects reports, the client was able to offload infrastructure maintenance, increase reporting capabilities, as well as realize the following:

  • Migration costs were much lower than intended in the initial plan. This reduced costs to the equivalent of a single SAP Business Objects upgrade cycle.

  • The client could now set a timeline for SAP Business Objects to be decommissioned by early 2022, removing the licensing costs associated with the platform and enabling IT personnel to focus on more business-critical tasks.

  • With Looker, the client now had significantly improved business intelligence reporting capabilities. This is namely due to the introduction of reporting visualizations such as graphs and charts, and greater interactivity due to lower skills requirements in Looker. Now, anyone can access these reports using a web browser, and no infrastructure or software maintenance is required.

  • Siloed reporting was eliminated, meaning all departments in all locations of the business could now access reports. The 121 active subject areas were condensed into a single report, greatly reducing reporting complexity.

  • Snowflake and Looker both offer automatic platform updates, givingy7 the client painless, fast upgrade cycles that cause minimal disruption to business operations.

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