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SAP HANA Analytics Foundation (SHAF) for SAP Business Suite 1.0

What it is and isn’t?

SHAF is …

  • The SAP HANA Analytics Foundation provides views in SAP HANA. Based on these views, you can easily analyze data of your SAP Business Suite applications.
  • It addresses the needs of operational reporting.
  • It is a more systematic continuation of the RDS ERP Operational Reporting with SAP HANA and will be the foundation of future Suite Analytics.

However, it is not …

  • A replacement of an Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) and that includes the need for SAP BW. With the Analytics Foundation you can very efficiently build operational reporting on Business Suite data but there are certain use cases and business scenarios that will always require a data warehouse like SAP BW.

Architecture View

In the core of the SAP HANA Analytics Foundation, a Virtual Data Model (VDM) connects to Suite data directly in the case of Suite on SAP HANA. The following diagram illustrates the different components of SHAF and specifically highlights the different virtual layers of the VDM. At the top of the views hierarchy, a set of Query Views are available to be consumed by the end users in a variety of BI tools. Customers will also be able to build their own views on top of the VDM and combine data from other sources such as SAP BW or datamarts.

Customers will not be allowed to change SAP delivered views, however as mentioned previously, they can always build on top of these views. The first bottom four layers are meant to be stable and approved by SAP as a certified interface to the Suite data structures.

One more thing to keep in mind, all views in the VDM are Calculation Views. There is no Attribute or Analytic Views developed as part of the VDM.

VDM.png

Query Views are not a new technical view type but a new category for views in SAP HANA Analytics Foundation with the following properties:

  • Query Views are designed for direct consumption by an analytical application (e.g. based on HTML 5) or a generic analytical tool (e.g. BOBJ tools).
  • A Query View must not be consumed by another view. It is always the top view in a hierarchy of views.
  • The name of a Query View ends with “Query” (e.g. “CostCenterPlanActualCostsQuery“).
  • Query Views provide output fields in a format consumable by UIs:
    • Amount fields have correct decimals (i.e. currency shift has been applied)
    • Field conversions have been applied where possible/required
    • Description fields are available for all IDs and codes (e.g. via text joins).
  • Query Views provided by SAP have SAP Client as output column and a mandatory, single value input parameter (P_SAPClient) or variable (V_SAPClient) for SAP Client.
    • Customers might put a fixed filter on SAP Client in customer specific Query Views.
  • Query Views have further input parameters or variables which are appropriate for this Query.
  • Query Views are visible for SAP Business Objects front-end tools. Currently this is achieved via the flag “multidimensional reporting”. This is enabled automatically as soon as a measure or counter exists. It is intended to enable/disable visibility for MDX consumers manually.
  • For Query Views customers can grant SQL select privilege to business users according to their role.
  • For Query Views customers can define analytical privileges and assign them to roles or users to ensure proper authorization checks.

Other views, which are not Query Views, shall have the following properties:

  • Other views are not consumed directly by analytical applications (e.g. based on HTML 5) or a generic analytical tool (e.g. BOBJ tools).
  • Other views are usually consumed by another view, also by a Query View.
  • The name of other views does not end with “Query”.
  • Other views avoid input parameters (unless input parameters are necessary for proper implementation of the business logic). If required by the business logic they may also have a mandatory, single value input parameter for SAP Client.
  • Other views are not visible to SAP Business Objects front-end tools.
  • For other views, customers should never grant SQL select privileges to business users.
  • For other views, customers should not define analytical privileges manually. Instead analytical privileges allowing full access will be generated by a new tool. This tool is planned to be available in subsequent releases.

Benefits – set your customer data free!

SAP HANA Analytics Foundation provides the following advantages compared to today’s reporting solutions:

  • Open: any access to the reporting Foundation is based on standard mechanisms. SQL skills are sufficient to retrieve the SAP data and build models on-top with open standard tools.
  • Uniform: one approach is chosen for all Suite applications enabling a common reporting across application boundaries.
  • Intuitive: the virtual data model will hide the complexity and customizing dependencies of our Suite data model to make data available without deep understanding of SAP models.
  • Fast: SAP HANA Analytics Foundation features SAP HANA as the underlying computing engine, so analytics on high data volumes and high levels of data will be possible.
  • Real-time: since all reporting happens on primary data (or a real-time replicate of it), there is no need to wait for data warehousing loading jobs to finish. No cycle time from recording to reporting anymore.

The Virtual Data Model is planned as a foundation for any future analytics SAP develops, and especially for customers and partners to efficiently build reporting scenarios and applications on top.


Virtual Data Model (VDM)

The following example is for Sales & Distribution data model,

As you can see, these models can be very complicated and include much business logic to join Suite tables based on its entity relationships. The above example is for Sales Orders and there are other models for Delivery and Billing data. Please refer to the RKT material for a detailed description of each functional area.

SD Example.png

Analytical Application Overview

SAP Working Capital Analytics (DSO Scope)

The SAP Working Capital Analytics (DSO Scope) application is built in HTML 5 and designed mainly for iPad. It offers an innovative visualization of analysis process sequence and it is powered by SAP HANA on real-time ERP data.

The scope of the initial version of SAP Working Capital Analytics (DSO Scope) is around Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) analysis, which will allow to interactively building up flexible analysis paths to analyze data, and Supports direct calculation of relevant KPIs based on original documents, leading to more accurate figures than indirect calculations based on financial projections.

SAP Invoice & Goods Receipt Reconciliation

Like all other applications, SAP Invoice & Goods Receipt Reconciliation is also developed in HTML 5. It is designed to work on both desktop browser and tablet devices. Powered by SAP HANA on real-time ERP data, this application improves the clarification process for invoices and provides a solution to paying unjustified vendor invoices.

The application foster communication between different departments, and quickly retrieve the purchasing history, receipts by vendor and contact data for clarification, all within the same screen.

SAP Supply Chain Info Center

The main features of the SAP Supply Chain Info Center application are:

  • Out of the box analytical reporting with streamlined data load. Decision support based on near real time information.
  • Predefined dashboards for different use cases (analytical workflows) for APO based planning scenarios.
  • Use cases based on best practices for operational reporting on APO data leveraging the full potential of HANA

SAP Access Control Role Analytics

  • Analyze and de-provisioning of roles that have not been used for a period of time

  • Analyze and decommission roles that have not been included in other roles or assigned to any users for a period of time

  • Monitor and analyze roles that have been frequently used and initiate risk analysis

SAP HANA Analytics Foundation Explorer

SAP will deliver a tool called SAP HANA Analytics Foundation Explorer. The SAP HANA Analytics Foundation Explorer can be used by customers to find the views they need by searching, sorting and filtering the complete list of views. The Explorer will also recognize customer own views and make them available for search and exploration similar to the SAP delivered views.


The following screenshots are for the View Explorer.

Explorer 1.png

Explorer 2.png

Explorer 3.png

Learn more about SHAF

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9 Comments

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  1. Mark Förster

    Now I know the reason to migrate ERP to HANA. Of course there are also MRP runs and some large batchjobs, but SHAF sounds like a really good justification for HANA.

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  2. Stefan Weisenberger

    Thanks for this blog. I retweeted and shared with colleagues. I like the detailed example on the SD data model a lot. For those who know SD in detail this is interesting, for those who don’t this clearly shows the big value add from the query views.

    Have you used this in a real live customer use case and provide some feedback how much these views are typically used as is, and how much adjusted/enhanced in a typical project?

    Thanks, Stefan

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    1. Mohamed Judi Post author

      Hi Stefan,

      Thank you for sharing it. HANA Live (or what used to be called SHAF) is in ramp-up and customers are still exploring their way in the VDM. I’m not aware of any customer that have done serious work with it yet.

      Thanks,

      MJ

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      1. Raul Saet

        We are assessing HL readiness for POC use with live customer data on-premise.  Do you have any information that will help us evaluate the risk and additonal effort involved?  How easy is it to install?  Run the initial load?  I understand most of the available Analytics content are Crystal Reports and Analysis workbooks.  I have not found any reference to pre-built BOBJ universes that are ready to use with Dashboards or WebI.  Is it worth adding to the POC scope in order to lessen the content build effort and at the same time showcase adhoc Analytics capabilities out-of-the-box?

        Thanks in advance for your insights,

        Raul

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  3. Andy Macaleer

    The “Analytical Application Overview” above lists four apps included in HANA Analytic Foundation.  I am looking for an updated or complete list of the application contained in HANA Live.  Anyone know where such a list might exist?  Any insight is appreciated.  

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    1. Mohamed Judi Post author

      Hi Andy, your best starting point would be here. This documentation is up to date and provide lots of information regarding HANA Live and the content. Also, on the right side panel of the same page, you will see links to Fiori and Smart Business, which are also leveraging HANA Live VDM views for analytical apps.

      Thanks,

      MJ

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