Business Intelligence

What Are SAP Analytics Cloud Applications?

This post will take a look at SAP Analytics Cloud applications, and explain how they differ from stories.


Story Scope

A story primarily focuses on reporting and interactivity. By providing a wide range of tools to create visualizations and interactive controls for viewers, stories are flexible and can be used for many complex use cases.


The story environment guides the creator through most of the process. By using guided dialog boxes and automatic functionalities, story creators can easily add input controls or filters to a story, which can be used interactively by viewers, for instance, the input controls shown in this figure.


Example Story Input Controls


Application Scope

The application, however, offers a significantly higher degree of freedom but follows a less guided approach. The original analytics designer was based on a separate development environment, shown in the figure below, in which a developer could use various tools and functions to create a complex dashboard.


Development Environment for Applications


Development Environment

Similar to developing computer programs, application developers can implement their own algorithms and logic by writing code in SAP Analytics Cloud. However, developers are still supported by graphical interfaces to create charts, tables, or simple formatting. They can use standard tools for simple tasks and invest time and effort mainly into complex scenarios.


Executing Applications

Applications are usually executed by users in business units of a company. They interact with applications in the same way they interact with stories. Some may not even spot any differences. The application shown below is separated into two views. The overview shows various KPI tiles, which can be clicked on to get more details of each. Users can also click on the Analytics button at the left to launch another view, which contains interactive elements and charts.


Executed Application


Limitations of the Analytics Designer

Analytics designer has been made generally available to subscribers of SAP Analytics Cloud in the second quarter of 2019. In 2023, SAP introduced the concept of the unified story and started to add functionality from the analytics designer directly into the story. Once you turn on the advanced mode of the story, the widgets become visible.


Editor’s note: This post has been adapted from a section of the book SAP Analytics Cloud by Abassin Sidiq.


SAP Analytics Cloud
SAP Analytics Cloud

Discover the next generation of BI with this guide to SAP Analytics Cloud! Get your data into the system and see which data models to use in which situations. Next, learn about stories—how to create visualizations for them, publish them, and enhance them. With expanded information on the unified story, analytics catalog, and planning models, this fully updated edition is your one-stop shop for all your SAP Analytics Clouds needs!

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