Data democratization at Nippon Shokubai Europe

In diapers, clothing, building materials,… Nippon Shokubai Europe's synthetic resins are used daily all over the world. "And yet most people will never have heard of us," laughs Business Innovation Analyst Bart Segers. To improve their financial reporting, the chemicals company reached out to Flexso. Today, SAP Datasphere and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) help ‘democratize’ the data at NSE, paving the way for next-level analytics.

Nippon SE SAP datasphere SAC Flexso Header

Nippon Shokubai Europe (NSE), part of the Japanese Nippon Shokubai group, is a chemicals company that manufactures synthetic resins used in a wide range of products – from diapers, textiles and building and construction materials through to lithium-ion batteries. Over the past few years, the group has been on a journey to optimize and digitize its processes in order to remain a frontrunner. In many of their SAP-related projects, Nippon trusts Flexso as a reliable advisor and implementation partner.

Kicking off the digitization journey

While NSE has been an SAP user for many years, the sites in Japan and Europe used different versions of the SAP platform. So, when they kicked off their digitization journey, they first decided to consolidate both SAP systems – to then move to SAP S/4HANA.

One of the many digitization projects on NSE’s wish list, was optimizing their financial reporting. (Actuals vs Budget) For years, the finance team had been creating their reports and budgets in separate Excel files. The actuals and commitments part was downloaded from SAP, the budget part was maintained in excel. This data was merged together in an excel dashboard, which each month resulted in a lot of work with low-added value to create the report and distribute it to some stakeholders within NSE.

NSE started looking for a solution that would:

  1. Automate the actuals versus budget report
  2. Have the data available in real-time (budget, actuals and commitments)
  3. Consult the actual vs budget report online
  4. Provide dynamic reporting features in the dashboard to increase the navigation possibilities and also to increase the insights
  5. Provide this data in a secure and governed way to the right stakeholders

As part of its digitization journey, NSE also automated its budget processes in SAP instead of excel files.
Check out how that helped them save 1 hour of work every day.

Enter SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Datasphere

To meet the above requirements, Flexso decided to support the move to SAP S/4HANA with two extra SAP solutions: SAP Datasphere (formerly known as SAP DWC), a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solution for creating and managing their data models and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) where they consume the data from their datasphere models in dashboards and reports to analyse the data and gain the necessary insights.

There were several reasons to choose the combination of SAC and SAP Datasphere:

  1. Because of the low-code functionalities, business experts can build their own data models in SAP Datasphere and dashboards in SAC.
  2. SAP Datasphere is scalable and connected, thanks to end-to-end integration with SAP S4/HANA, external sources and it also easily connects to SAC
  3. Clear visualizations, as SAC allows visualizations to be built very intuitively
  4. SAC is also selected to implement SAC planning at NSE in the near future
  5. Setup security and governance in SAP Datasphere and SAC that will allow more stakeholders to consume all kinds of reports in the future (e.g. procurement, plant maintenance, stock reporting, …)
Bart Segers

“Thanks to the combination of SAC and Datasphere, our business experts can build reports and data models easily in a secure and governed way. They can also integrate their own mapping files into the existing data models to enrich the enterprise data.”

Bart Segers - Business Innovation Analyst at NSE

What does next-level analytics look like?

“More than asking Flexso to advise us on the right tooling, we also want them to build the actuals vs budget data model in Datasphere and assist us to rebuild the actuals vs budget dashboard in SAC, teach us how we can create other models and dashboards, build a governance model, and then we can take the step to next-level analytics,” Bart continues.

To truly leverage the power of SAP Datasphere and SAC, NSE realized they needed the proper in-house skills: colleagues with the ability to build reports and dashboards, with a thorough knowledge of the processes, SAP tables and how end-users interpret the end results. This requires also insights which KPIs are needed to optimize their processes and how to create these KPI’s.

Nippon SE Workshops SAP data analytics

For the setup of the actuals vs Budget report, Flexso organized workshops with the NSE business experts to gather all requirements and functionalities (such as source of the data, calculations, mappings, etc.). Based on these workshops, they developed a data model in SAP datasphere and performed the UAT tests together with the NSE business experts. Within SAC, the required level of security and governance were set up. After the UAT phase, Flexso trained all business experts to use the new SAP solutions in the most efficient way.

Democratizing the data

The result? The move towards data democratization and SAP's solutions helped NSE to perform their own analytics in a secure and governed way. Privileged information at NSE is now transformed into actionable insights and governed access to multiple types of business users across the entire organization. In addition, NSE enjoys a faster and more efficient way of creating their own analytics models in SAP datasphere, a single point of entry to the dashboards via SAC, that provide the necessary drilldown options and insights.

“The next phase in the project is moving towards embedded analytics in S/4HANA. That will allow us to build more operational reports that will provide richer insights and build a direct link between operations and decision-making”, Bart concludes.

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