• Kate Mumma

An Introduction to SAC Analytics Designer

Updated: Apr 7, 2021

Analytics Designer from SAP Analytics Cloud, enables users to create and manage analytic applications with complete flexibility and control.

What is Analytics Designer?

SAC Analytics Designer is a functionality within SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) that allows users to create analytic applications. Like a story in SAC, Analytics Designer allows you to create visualizations and dashboards, but with added functionality and customization options via scripting. Stories are more self-service as they do not require any scripting and are based solely on the available widgets and built-in features (such as “Dynamic Text”).

When Should You Use Analytics Designer vs. Stories?

Analytics Designer can ultimately provide a more optimized experience for an end-user. For example, when in Analytics Designer, an end-user can easily toggle between chart and table visualizations by simply selecting “switch to chart view”. Analytics Designer allows for a cleaner presentation and more fluid end-user interactions.

What is the Analytics Designer Interface - and How is It Developed?

In Analytics Designer, the interface for building charts, tables, etc. is the same as in SAP Analytics Cloud stories (see right pane of image below). However, the main purpose behind using Analytics Designer versus creating a story is to increase customization, which is done via scripting. Analytics Designer uses JavaScript to achieve this. Although, it has some help built in, making it more manageable and user-friendly. For example, just as within calculations in other areas of SAC, in the Analytics Designer scripting, using “Ctrl + Space” will showcase a list of all available functions and options, including specifics from the model that you are working from in SAC. You don’t need to be a fluent JavaScript expert to be able to use Analytics Designer (although it wouldn’t hurt!), but you do need an existing general knowledge of computer scripting language (such as if/else statements, creating/using variables, basic commands, etc.).

General Tips and Best Practices

Start Simple

Let’s say you only want a given chart or table to appear if a user has selected a filter. Analytics Designer allows you to experiment with a widget by keeping it invisible until a filter is selected and is set to visible. It’s relatively simple scripting and is a good use case for some additional end-user functionality that is not available in stories.

Use Popups

Popups are a great way to easily explore additional data without cluttering up the main canvas. For example, you may have a chart where you want the end-user to be able to drill into the details in table form. In a story, the way to do this is mainly by having the table below the chart or somewhere else on the page. With Analytics Designer, you can add a pop-up that the end-user can click into at any point (such as by clicking on a data point within the chart or via a button) that will display the table. This allows for easy end-user functionality, without adding too much clutter to the page. Popups could also be utilized for basic text/instructions tailored to end-users.

Have a Clear Focus

Before getting started in Analytics Designer, make sure you have the right use case and end-user in mind. Custom scripting allows you to do almost anything, but make sure you’re thinking about what you want the end-user to do, and then script accordingly.

Take Advantage of the Help

Again, you don’t need a full repertoire of JavaScript knowledge to be able to execute Analytics Designer. Take advantage of the “Ctrl + Space” functionality. One of the many benefits of Analytics Designer using JavaScript is that there is an abundance of information available at your fingertips to help you understand and resolve JavaScript errors, mainly because it is a universal computer language.

Now that you know more about SAC Analytics Designer, do you see how it can help your whole team work more effectively and create visualizations and dashboards more easily, creating a seamless experience for your end-users?

If you’re ready to streamline your analytics development and want to learn more about how you could take advantage of all the capabilities SAC Analytics Designer has to offer, get in touch with us today!


About the Author: Kate Mumma

Kate Mumma is a Consultant on the Experts-as-a-Service team at Analysis Prime focusing on SAP Analytics Cloud. She works as a trusted advisor to multiple clients in the realms of business intelligence, data visualization, and model architecture. She has also worked with Analysis Prime University to sculpt interactive lessons and best in class content. In her free time, Kate is an ambitious world traveler and enjoys running and CrossFit in order to train for obstacle course races.