SAP HANA, SAP HANA, SAP HANA. Everyone keeps saying these 2 words, but what are the actual implications of this platform for the chemical industry? This is the second blog in a series where I will explore use cases of SAP HANA in Research and Development in the Chemical Ecosystem. Last week I discussed usage of SAP HANA for scientific research and data analysis. This week I will look at and explore how SAP HANA can help to manage compliance implications.

Everyone working in the chemical industry knows that compliance is, and always will be, a high priority. Depending on the complexity of the chemical, companies could be required to check millions of restrictions to ensure their compliance with REACH, RoHS and many more regulations. Not only do regulations apply for the substances in the product, but they also apply for the countries, end applications and customers that the chemicals go to.

Compliance is an interesting area of discussion. Compared to other topics, Chemical companies can either ensure their compliance and sell products, or not meet compliance regulations and be unable to sell products. Therefore, companies that can successfully complete the compliance check the fastest have the largest competitive advantage. On top of all of that companies need to ensure they are complying with the up-to-date regulations. Regulations are frequently changing and not following the accurate regulation could result in a loss of profit.

With the advancement of technology, in-memory computing and sophisticated compliance algorithms it is now possible to complete these compliance checks in seconds so that during creation of new formulations their chemical compliance can be simulated. This allows companies to ensure global marketability of new or changed products.

Have you used SAP HANA to speed up your compliance checks? Share your stories below.

Check back next week where I will talk about SAP HANA and Product Library.

Be sure to follow @SAP4Chemicals to get the latest news on this topic and other Chemical Industry events, news and updates.

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10 Comments

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  1. Christoph Bergemann

    Dear Marko

    thanks for sharing this information. One question:

    Is my understading correct ?: you can use SAP ERP (including SASP EHS Management) in “normal” SAP environment and as SAP HANA based version.

    If this is correct; can you provide e.g. some “performance” informations. E.g. taking into account the same number of e.g. specifications and the same amount of data what about queries like:

    Show me any specification with color “blue”? or similar ones. What is the difference in reaction time?

    C.B.

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    1. Marko Lange Post author

      SAP EHS Management can technically be deployed on HANA. But this does not mean that it is automatically faster then. Usually some optimizations have to be made first to achieve performance improvements which is not yet the case with EH&S.

      Performance benchmarks as those you are looking for are not existing yet. Since your query example refers to substance properties which are stored in classification table which usually is quite big you can expect a quicker response time given the fact that handling of big data tables is a  HANA strength but I cannot quantify it for this case.

      The use case I describe here is not making use of standard EH&S and its expert server. Instead it describes a case where compliance determination algorithms are prgrammed on HANA and deployed in a HANA side car scenario. It refers to a real customer development project that was realized. The performance improvements came not only from use of in-memory data base but also from smart programming of complex algorithms on HANA platfrom by our data sciences team.

      The advantage of side car scenario: You can leave your existing landscape untouched and do not have to upgrade it on HANA platfrom first. At that customer there was a concrete and urgent product compliance issue to be solved (business driven) to gain a competitive advantage while platform change might be more IT strategy driven which is not necessarily synchronized with business demands.

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      1. Christoph Bergemann

        Dear Marko

        first of all thanks for your answer. But may be you can give more insight of options. E.G. We can image that client has Standard ERP set up in “classic” environment. Now let us imagine that an ALE transfer is established to SAP HANA based SAP ERP system which is used to e.g. execute the algorithms you are explaining: is this scenario feasible?

        Or the other way around: how will SAP HANA help EHS community using “old set up” to be faster and answering “if then “queries like. what will happen if e.g. GHS classification / labeling will change in LIST_SUB/PURE_SUB level from value “a” to “b”? Generally queries as mentioned by my self are “standard” ones (in most cases slightly complexer as in this simple exanple) and if you do not pay attention you will get using standard CG02 functionality very often a “Short Dump” (because query takes to long): Clearly SAP has invested a lot in performance optimiziation of EHS but some limitations still exists.

        May be you can provide a “road map” of SAP in how SAP HANA might have impact on EHS/EHSM

        C.B.

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        1. Marko Lange Post author

          Hi Christoph,

          the scenario you propose might be feasible but I wonder whether it makes much sense since it might be too costly from an operations point of view.

          One option can be to bring your EH&S on HANA. Although available on HANA but not optimized for HANA yet the HANA optimization is planned so that you can benefit from improved SAP standard on pretty fair time horizont which responds to your question regarding roadmap (sorry for not being more precise but I am limited of course in the details I am allowed to provide).

          If you cannnot wait for that or you do not have the option to bring EH&S on HANA you could think about what we call HANA accelerators. Dozens of those accelerators like one for CO/PA to name the most popular have been provided by SAP but there is no EH&S accelerator available. Instead of running an additional ERP instance in parallel I would suggest that you build your own accelerator.

          And this is the idea of an HANA accelerator: Data are taken from ERP DB via any ETL method into HANA DB with identical data model. Either from the ERP or from a newly set up client you can then call queries to run searches (as in your case) or reports (as in CO/PA case) that are heaviley accelerated through HANA in-memory technology and the result is displayed either in ERP transaction or newly created HANA client. Following picture illustrates a bit the basic idea:

          HANA Accelerator.PNG

          Kind rgds

          Marko

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          1. Christoph Bergemann

            Dear Marko

            your options as explained are very helpful. They provide ideas to think about. May be you could try tro provide additional hints or confirm that my understanding is correct:

            E.g. taking your picture we “copy” the data from SAP ERP to SAP HANA. This is done (to my knowlegde) nearly on the same level as with ALE (process uses now “ETL”). Therefore any change happened in SAP ERP is replicated in SAP HANA. Now I assume there is clearly a nice user interface available to “drill” down data either via SAP ERP or using SAP HANA installation direct From experience simple EHS queries are easy; but if you are looking for real “business” queries in most of the cases EHS “dumps” during the inquiries.

            The need of “separation” of process for many comapnies might be higher then you expect. That mean anybody is willing (and doing likle that) to use SAP EHS for data maintenance (e.g, using not only primary data but secondary data generaed e.g. via Expert Server as well). So from maintenance point of view EHS is a good tool. But from point of views as a “query” machine it does have a lot of cons. And queries are quite important today. IN most cases not only “direct” queries are of interest but queries like: “what will happen if”; E.g. what will change if a “raw” material of a mixtures is exchanged by something different.

            Regarding:

            “One option can be to bring your EH&S on HANA. Although available on HANA but not optimized for HANA yet the HANA optimization is planned ”  can you provide a trime line? Can we expect that SAP will support “classic” EHS in SAP HANA in two, three or ? years?

            Dear Juan,

            regarding SVT. don’t knowing your system set up, size of hardware etc. normally SVT is not as that “critical” from performance aspect (Topic: Usually it is a performance bottleneck). Please check Marketplace. SAP has improved the tool a lot. On regular basis SAP is providing in the last three years OSS note improving the performance of SVT.

            If needed start a different thread to discuss this. SVT is a good tool. SAP invested a lot the last years in this solution.

            C.B.

            PS: for those who are interested: may be check e.g.

            HANA FI-CO and CO-PA Accelerators – ERP Financials – SCN Wiki

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            1. Marko Lange Post author

              Christoph,

              unfortunatley I am not authorized to provide detailed timelines for EH&S optimizations on HANA here and yet. In general your understanding is correct. A HANA accelerator is a kind of parallel inquiry processing engine whose data are replicated from ERP to overcome current performance issues with complex queries ending up in time outs. A HANA acclerator will become obsolet with full availability of EH&S on HANA. I would be careful to equal ALE and ETL. ETL stands for Extract, Transform and Load and is a general term for the take over of data out of another system. What technology should be used here best and to which extend ALE can help requires some analysis.

              Kind rgds

              Marko

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              1. Christoph Bergemann

                Dear Marko

                many thanks for your feedback. As long as there is indication that SAP is working to enable EHS for SAP HANA  it is only a matter of time to get a solution. I am not an expert on ETL. BUt ALE is used in many (most) cases as a general solution if you need to cover a  SAP landscape with different SAP systems. ALE is able to detect changes. And in EH&S this is absolute mandatory. The number of user interactions changing, adding, deleting data is high and therefore by whatevr kind of technique (ALE or ETL) the data in SAP HANA must be “accurate” (at least on daily basis). Later if EHS might be covered in SAP HANA the next major step is to decide: to we (as company) would like to use SAP HANA direct in our SAP ERP environment (upgrade topic) or do we use a paralell installation and the ETL comes in place.

                C.B.

                PS: I hope that SAp will deal with the “full” scope of EHS. That means EHS classic and Component extension ? (but EHS classic migt be of higher interest)

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                1. Marko Lange Post author

                  Hi Christoph,

                  the only reason of questioning whether ALE is the right ETL method was that we do not talk about Master Data distribution rather than transactional data we have to refer to if I am not wrong.

                  Regarding HANA: Yes I was referring to classic EH&S and not EHSM component extension. In classic EH&S PSS for PI capability resides and that will not change short or even mid-term.

                  Kind rgds

                  Marko

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  2. Juan Carlos Delgado Peña

    Dear Marko,

    As you mention REACH and RoHS, this suggest me the possibility of make all the Substance Volume Tracking calculations in SAP HANA. Usually it is a performance bottleneck. But first, we need the whole specification database in SAP HANA. And then  put in a queue every material document, sales order, purchase order, purchase requisition, production orden,… that needs to be tracked.

    Regards.

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    1. Marko Lange Post author

      You are absolutely right. Currently substance volumes are determined in background jobs based on business transactions executed causing a lead time between substance volumes reported and executed. In future with HANA it could be done real-time. Even better it would also allow an ad-hoc substance volume determination which does not need setup of a tracking scenario first. The potential of HANA specifically in this area is huge indeed.

      Kind rgds

      Marko

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