Monday, October 23, 2023

Customer Success – Aspris – APOS Live Data Gateway

Aspris is the UK’s leading provider of specialized education and residential care services for young people with a range of needs, including autism, mental health challenges and learning difficulties. In the Middle East, Aspris provides mental health services in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Their vision was to promote a data culture and grow data literacy at all levels of the organization, transforming the management of their business, improving accountability, and delivering a safe environment for the young people in their care.

Aspris’s digital transformation has taken them from static Web Intelligence reports with SAP BusinessObjects to real-time dashboards with SAP Analytics Cloud, combining 21 SaaS business applications plus core MIS operational systems, a Databricks ETL to Azure SQL warehouse, and an SAP Analytics Cloud front end.

Core Challenge

Live data connectivity from SAP Analytics Cloud to Azure SQL

Problem: SAP Analytics Cloud does not provide live data connectivity to non-SAP data sources such as Microsoft Azure.

Pain: Without live data connectivity, they would not be able to create real-time dashboards in SAP Analytics Cloud, which was their preferred analytics platform. They looked at Microsoft Power BI as a potential front end for their Microsoft Azure back end, but found it did not meet their technical, security and data presentation needs.

Graham Soanes, Head of Data Management at Aspris, told us:

“It all started off with a real gap in the market that APOS filled – a gateway between our Azure SQL data warehouse and our SAC front end. We didn’t find any other company providing that. We knew from an architectural perspective what we wanted to do, using SAC as our front-end reporting and dashboard solution.”

 

Customer Success – Aspris - APOS Live Data Gateway

 

Graham provided business context for their digital transformation:

“As context, we have around 21 business applications from which we draw data regarding HR, payroll, recruitment, marketing, finance, etc. Then we have core operational systems, the systems that we use to manage young peoples’ journey with us – systems such as incident management, but also assets related to attainments and progress. We have a wide range of young people in our care and the data that we capture is part of that journey with us and is part of those business and core operational .applications.

“We harness that data from our cloud providers and put it into our Azure SQL data warehouse, but we had no way of bringing that data into our SAC front end dashboard solution. So that’s where APOS came in. We do a lot of ETL processes from the cloud providers, but we had no way of harnessing and promoting that data to a graphical interface, and allowing our people to consume that data. It’s gone really well.”

Solution Requirements

Rapid, real-time data access:

  • Service managers, location managers, and regional managers need access to data that gives them up-to-the-minute information and statistics
  • Executives to leverage real-time dashboards that show KPIs for ongoing management of operations
  • Finance, HR, performance analytics on current data

APOS Live Data Gateway

APOS Live Data Gateway is a middleware platform which provides virtualized data connection and data transformation to enable live data connectivity and expanded data source options for SAP Analytics Cloud, with a primary focus on non-SAP data sources. APOS Live Data Gateway gave them:

  • Real-time access to Azure data
  • Strong query performance
  • Data security
  • Azure security integration
  • Simplified semantic layer

Graham told us about his company’s journey with APOS:

“Our journey with APOS started with that initial premise, that we needed a solution to transfer our data to SAC. We used a phased approach. Initially, we rolled out the HR and people element of our business – all our key metrics involved in HR turnover, head count, sickness, cost of recruitment, engagement, learning management, and went live initially with APOS and all those assets. At that point we rolled out dashboards to senior executives – our directors – and then a layer down to our operations team, including our COO of residential care and our COO of education (day schools). With some minor tweaking of the front end, we got their buy-in, then we rolled out the HR portion to all of our site leads and regional management team.”

The result for Aspris was live data consumption, which replaced static reporting, and initiated a massive business culture shift toward greater data literacy:

“So every site leader within Aspris, whether it be a residential manager or a head teacher at a day school, had access to SAC to consume their data in real time from the data warehouse using APOS Live Data Gateway. This initial rollout started back in May 2023 and ran for a couple of months to get people embedded with using SAC as opposed to what they were using before, which was manual distribution of SAP BusinessObjects reports.

“We had a very big shift in the way that people consumed data – from their Inbox to a SAC login. As part of this rollout, we also wanted to instill a data culture within the organization. Previously, data literacy was not widely understood or practiced within the organization, at least not lower in the org chart than the executive team and the finance team. So instead of just bursting out reports using Web Intelligence, we wanted to get site leads to engage with data in real time using SAC. So this implementation has allowed us to make this big shift from the old world of being saturated with data, versus now, where they are being proactive and consuming data.”

Outcomes

The Aspris digital transformation has been a great success, helping Aspris to become more data-driven and promoting a culture of data literacy:

  • Service managers, location managers and regional managers receive real-time data for up-to-the-minute information relating to their responsibilities.
  • Executives receive real-time business data, financial data and key financial metrics.
  • Administrative staff is kept aware of the precise number of young people in Aspris’s care at any given time.
  • Finance and HR can do performance analytics on current data.
  • Frontline staff use the Quality dashboard to access real-time data from the core operational system on incidents, allowing them to ensure the young people in their care are safeguarded, and responses to incidents are escalated as necessary.
  • Attendance reporting is a regulatory requirement, and Aspris now has this data in real time.

Graham concluded:

“So that’s where we are. It’s been a real success story. We’ve got people knocking on the door every day asking for new requirements and what else we can do in terms of real time data. Without APOS Live Data Gateway, we wouldn’t have been able to do any of this.”

The combination of SAP Analytics Cloud, APOS Live Data Gateway, and Azure SQL is known internally as “Aspris Insight.”

“Aspris Insight is at the forefront of everything
we want to achieve technically moving forward.”
Graham Soanes, Head of Data Management, Aspris
(citing CEO Trevor Torrington’s vision)

 

 

Learn more about APOS Live Data Gateway

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