10 Things You Need to Know About Sage Data & Analytics

1. So, what exactly is SD&A?

SD&A is Sage Data & Analytics. Sage’s X3-specific edition of ZAP Data Hub and a flagship BI, data management and analytics tool for X3 users around the world. To quote the analyst group IDC, “The ability of this software to automate the integration of multiple, complex, and often problematic ERP and operational data sources into a unified data model continues to resonate with customers…”


2. Where did it come from and who created it?

SD&A was created by ZAP, a London HQ-d worldwide software business. It’s well known for the automation of data management and the software-based automation of data warehouse builds with a system called ZAP Data Hub, which also includes BI and analytics functionality. The company has various different versions of ZAP Data Hub for different ERPs such as Microsoft Dynamics, SAP Business One and SYSPRO. And it’s the X3-specific edition of ZAP Data Hub that was rebadged and rebranded by Sage itself and added to their own portfolio.

Since then, it’s been through a few name changes! It was initially launched as SDMA (Sage Data Management and Analytics). Then, when Sage changed the name of X3 to Enterprise Management, it changed SDMA to EMDA (Enterprise Management Data and Analytics). Most recently, Sage reverted back to the X3 product name and so, once again, the product we’re looking at here got an image make-over and became known by its current name, Sage Data & Analytics, or SD&A for short.


3. What are its main benefits to an IT team?

Interesting question! IT teams working with all types of ERP, and needing to generate reports and insight both from them and multiple additional data sources, will know of the time (and pain!) it takes to access, unify, integrate and prepare data. SD&A takes all of this work and automates it. So the main benefit for IT staff is a saving of time and budget. There’s also a secondary saving of time and budget as a result of SD&A’s ready-made and customisable BI dashboards, which we’ll look at in more detail below. Here’s a quick two-minute video that explains more.


4. …And what are its main benefits for finance team?

Quite simply, insight into their business that’s delivered faster, with more accuracy, and with more breadth and depth. Here’s a video from the worldwide renown brand and long-term SD&A user SANIFLO that explains more.


5. Who else benefits from the implementation of this software?

Sales teams will benefit from SD&A’s ready-made sales analytics and dashboards. The software also includes a range of analytics and BI resources that are manufacturing-specific. Here’s an example of just one of the sales dashboards in question:

6. Who is using this software?

Business in sectors ranging from food & beverage to manufacturing to automotive, and all points in between. If you have Sage X3 in place, there is a strong business case for SD&A.


7. What kind of results are customers reporting?

This software “has been instrumental in providing our fast-growing company with insight into our operational and financial data,” says Reza Shirazi CTO of CLEAResult, one of many users in the SD&A and ZAP Data Hub community.

Roger R. Safont, meanwhile, CIO at Physician Partners of America reports that “I was able to build a BI practice utilizing ZAP without the need for SQL Server Integration Services or SQL Server Analysis Services and a huge development team.”


8. Is it quick to get up and running?

“With a limited IT department, we needed to be self-sufficient. We met ZAP and within a week we had it installed and operating,” says Kathleen Wright, BI Analyst at DNA Genotek. Clean Energy Fuels’ CIO Bart Frabotta explains that, “after two weeks working with ZAP, the infrastructure and software were in place and information was flowing from (our ERP) to ZAP Data Hub. Within SIX weeks we were delivering reports, dashboards and KPI’s to our user community!”


9. Can SD&A also enable migration from legacy systems?

The afore-mentioned analyst group IDC says that’s a definite ‘yes’. Helena Schwenk, their European software research manager, confirms that “SD&A enables data to be automatically extracted and stored in its warehouse without the need to maintain the legacy system for historic reporting and compliance purposes.”


10. And finally – and perhaps most importantly – how quickly do customers see ROI?

To quote Caroline Veillette, a Business Analyst at LMT Group, “the productivity of our finance, sales and production teams has improved by over 20%… and the solution has not yet been deployed to all users.” CJ Bobrowski, Director of IT at Costa Coffee sums up. “Implementing ZAP was a no-brainer. It did everything we wanted and more, for a lot less money. And because we can manage it inhouse, support costs are minimal.”