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When I received confirmation that I would be the lead on a HANA
project in Saskatchewan, Canada, I was several shades of intrigued. I had never
been to Canada before the engagement and as the project approached, I began
asking myself questions about what working on the project would have in store
for me. Admittedly, my project-related inquiries pertained more to Canada than
the engagement itself. I anticipated my arrival, looking forward to the
ambiance of a new city, the unique cultural differences our northern neighbor
might offer, and the climate-specific challenge of evading frostbite in
mid-December.Unfortunately, this was a challenge that proved greater than myself.

As I expected, Canada was beautiful, and as I anticipated, I was no match for the

-12 Celsius temperature. What I did not see coming, however, was that there is

one constant that remains present regardless of your location: Revolutionizing the
way a company uses its data is an extraordinary thing.

The business had vast and powerful data, but did not have the
SAP solutions in place to adequately analyze and report on top of it. They ran
Balance Sheets, Report Cards, and any variation of financial reporting a
business could need. Granted, they had their source data loaded
into SAP, but showed a bit of technological regression by running all of their
reports in Excel (over 50 different sheets in 10 workbooks to cover all their
reports!). The reports provided comprehensive overall value and included complex
calculations, but they were so distantly removed from what they could
have been. The manual maintenance required to keep the reports up to date was
respectable, but my team and I knew that we had a chance to not only eliminate
some of the daily legwork for the report owners, but to improve the data for
the business and its employees.

My team was ready to commence loading the client’s data into SAP
HANA Studio using SLT when they informed us that the procedure might not be so
straightforward. It was then that the client presented the 27 different custom
hierarchies their data contained. Accounts, Business Units, Company Codes, and
all types of hierarchies instantly made our data migration much more
interesting. After a brief discussion, we agreed to tackle the challenge by
using the Hierarchy Flattening Transform in Business Objects Data Services. Our
DS specialist provided the modeling team with all of the custom hierarchies in
a consumable, flattened format. Meanwhile, our SLT resource brought over all of
the standard SAP tables into our schema. We were now ready to begin our
revolution of the company’s data.

We spent four weeks fine-tuning the models into a format that
was consumable by Business Intelligence (the business’s new and greatly
improved reporting method) and specifying it to meet the client’s requirements.
When all was said and done, the customer had five dynamic reports built on top
of five data models. Based on the fact that their reporting points of interest
contained over 50 objects previously, it’s safe to say that the client could
now derive value from their reports over 10 times more efficiently! On my
flight home, I couldn’t help but feel a faint sense of irony. Before I arrived
on the project, all I could think about was the unique country I would be
living in. But on the way home from the unique nation, all I couldn’t stop
pondering about the distinct processes we undertook to revolutionize the
client’s data. Just as Saskatchewan left a lasting impression in my memory (and
frostbite on both of my feet), SAP solutions will have a lasting effect on the
growth of our clients’ businesses, and that’s something that doesn’t change
with the climate. 

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