Small click - big effect
Although it may be true for the headline, this blog post is not intended to be about ransomware - also called encryption trojans. It's about data analysis and how crucial the "last meters" can be. Sometimes it's the little things in life that determine the success or failure of a project. This also applies to data analyses where the data comes from the SAP system and the results are to be checked in the system. Although the results and raw data come from the same system, it is often very time-consuming to carry out the check in the system. In this blog post, I will introduce our approach and show you the advantages of dab:Link.
There are plenty of challenges in establishing data analyses, be it for the ICS, internal audit or accounting. How do you get the data? Which data do you need? What do you want to analyse and what can you analyse? What steps do you need to take to answer the question?
Now imagine that you already have an answer to all these questions. What could possibly go wrong now?
Too much, too often: a quantity problem.
If you as a data analyst produce analysis results, the question "And now?" arises. In other words - and sometimes described with the expression "Insight to action" - generating analysis results is only half the battle. It is important that something happens to the results, that they can be tracked, changes can be made or otherwise processed.
For example, if these analysis results have been produced as an issue, finding or determination during an audit in the Internal Audit department, they are usually passed on to the department in list form. This department confirms the correctness of the results and then works on the resolution of the problems as part of the follow-up process. If it is analyses in the accounting department that represent exceptions / exceptions in terms of the internal control system, these must be traced, rectified and documented in a similar manner. This applies to ad hoc analyses as well as to continuous auditing or continuous controls monitoring approaches.
Unfortunately, it is often the case that an analysis (especially when it is carried out for the first time) does not yield 5-10, but 500-10,000 potential results. If it is not sufficient to summarize these results as a sum in the form of a KPI, but rather to look at individual documents and items that have to be viewed in their entirety or at least as a sample, then the problems often begin.
If you imagine topics that concern SAP Financial Accounting, such as a double payment analysis, invoices without reference to a purchase order or manual payments, the sighting of a document means concretely
- Open SAP transaction (e.g. FB03)
- Enter company code
- Enter document number
- Enter fiscal year
Then the document is called up and can be viewed, which sometimes requires a few mouse clicks in the corresponding screen mask.
If you only look at the entry of the three key values company code, document number and fiscal year, this means that for 100 documents 300 values have to be entered. If you take this idea further and consider that a document number often has 10 digits, and the company code and fiscal year each have 4 digits, you have to enter 1,800 characters for the 100 individual documents. Typing errors are not yet taken into account here. Copying the key values and then inserting them step by step is, to say the least, hard work.
The employees involved in processing can quickly lose interest in data analysis. Less flippantly formulated, the acceptance of data analysis often suffers considerably from this problem.
For this reason, we have decided to equip our analysis results with an additional functionality, the so-called dab:link.
As the name suggests, this allows analysis results such as a list of SAP documents to be made available in the form of simple links. After logging on to the SAP system once, a link in the results table can be clicked on directly during processing and the corresponding SAP document or SAP transaction, such as a vendor invoice from Financial Accounting, is called up directly. This saves you having to call up the correct SAP transaction manually, such as FB03, as well as entering the key fields, either manually or using copy and paste.
The starting point? Doesn't matter.
The dab:Link is extremely flexible in the way it can be used, since the source file can also be an Excel file, for example, in which the corresponding documents are listed together with the links. You do not have to use highly specialized analysis software to access the results directly in SAP, even if it does not hurt. But if it is easier to distribute analysis results in the form of Microsoft Excel tables, these can also be provided with the corresponding links. However, this does not only apply to Microsoft Excel. Any format that can be equipped with clickable links, such as Microsoft Power PI, is conceivable.
For this reason, browser-based solutions such as Highbond from Galvanize are predestined, since the dab:Link solution can be integrated very elegantly, but other web technology-based solutions such as Sharepoint are also conceivable.
The goal? Flexible.
It does not have to be an SAP FI document. If you conduct a duplicate search in the form of address comparisons and potentially duplicate customer master records are the result, the link can directly call up the corresponding customer or vendor master record. When analyzing bank account changes, you can directly branch to the change document which shows the change made. It does not matter whether you provide FI with documents, business partner views or other information as results - with dab:Link you can go directly to the corresponding screen template.
Data Protection? With dab:Link not only mandatory, but the perfect solution!
Since we have just briefly covered browser-based solutions, we are thematically close to state-of-the-art cloud applications: Meanwhile, many analysis vendors offer cloud platforms, for example to manage results, simplify the follow-up process or make visualizations more accessible. Galvanize's Highbond platform, an integrated GRC platform for risk, compliance and audit management and ICS requirements is one example.
With such platforms, the dab:Link offers the great synergy effect that you can completely do without uploading sensitive information: It is sufficient if the corresponding link with the key values is provided via the cloud platform. This can be done completely without personal data. When clicked, the corresponding document is opened completely locally on the computer within the company network anyway. No additional data is stored or processed in the cloud. This enables a user-friendly, efficient solution as well as the coverage of data protection aspects.