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A few years ago our team embarked on a new way of introducing people at SAP and elsewhere about the power of BI through analyzing sports.  We had some great fun and tremendous success illustrating that deriving insight is not just reading stats, but understanding relationships and trends, and even anomalies within the data.  Some of you might recall the 2010 Football experience engaging viewers during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, or the Major League Baseball or National Hockey League challenges of 2011, or perhaps Formula One Racing, SAP Open Tennis or Sailing 5O5 World Championships analysis we did along the way. For sports fans, it was just plain fun and a way to engage with the events of the season.  For business users, it became an easy conversation about the power of analytics and friendly access to information.  But for me, it was the ability to take multitudes of raw, shall I say bland, numeric data fed from spreadsheets or thousands of xml files and bring it to life to tell a story. 

In mid-2012 we changed focus to telling SAP HANA’s story.  How do we take technical information and mountains of details from product documentations and experimentation and bring it to life to tell the story?  For that, we borrowed from innovations in education and created the SAP HANA Academy. Our goal was to demystify SAP HANA and help people to understand the power of the technology and its eventual impact in changing the way we do business.  We wanted to provide ways for the user to engage more easily – through videos, interactive projects and in-person workshops.  This too has been wildly successful and proves the value of speaking to each other on a personal level, with interaction, feedback and blueprints to help each other be successful.

Through all the events and experiences, we have tried to think of the end user experience.  How would I do that?  What can I get from doing that?  Recently, we were asked to show real-time analysis using SAP HANA and SAP Lumira in the cloud to again illustrate how others might do the same. For this, we went back to the many requests we had from Cricket fans over the years and chose to analyze the India IPL Twenty20 matches this spring.  The intent was to provide some fun for the cricket fans first and foremost while providing the blueprints of how they might do something similar for their business or hobby or local team.  The concept is the same – gather data, transform it as needed, model it and create views, then display it for end users in an insightful and engaging way.

Along the way, we got so caught up in the enthusiasm of the analysis that we lost sight of the educational aspects of our role.  We are here for you and we have heard your feedback.   Our goal is to empower.  To do this, we will make a slight modification to our Cricket series in hopes of answering SCN member concerns while still serving the sports fans out there. The bulk of the detailed analysis of the game-by-game results will move to our SAP HANA Academy blog area of saphana.com.  The blogs for SCN will be a weekly recap of what interesting things transpired in the tournament but making sure to include the process from the eyes of the person building these analyses.  What did we do to load the data?  How did we have to transform it in SAP HANA? What were the steps or decisions made in creating the Calculation Views within SAP HANA?  Why did we choose a particular component in SAP Lumira to illustrate the key statistic we were analyzing?  How did we deploy these visualizations to share with people? 

In the end, we have two goals:  first, show you how you could do this same project with your data; and second, have some fun and let you learn something new.  Oh, and maybe we provide some kindling for conversation around the watercooler and kitchen tables as well…

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4 Comments

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  1. Fred Verheul

    Hi Julie,

    I’ve nothing to add to Tammy’s comment (so why am I even writing this??).

    Sounds like a very good plan, and I’m sure the ‘average’ Lumira or HANA enthusiast on SCN will love the background stories!

    Cheers, Fred

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  2. Audrey Stevenson

    Julie, this is a great example of the content-feedback loop on SCN and shows how putting the listening ears on can really help you fine-tune content so that it better meets the needs of the SCN audience(s). And this blog itself shows a great level of authenticity that we can see already resonates with some top SCN members. Thank you for being open to this conversation with them. It’s a great step in the right direction.

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  3. Marilyn Pratt

    Thank you Julie.  This is a great example of what Marcia Walker and I talked about during #FAILfaire ie: Accountability vs. Blame.

    I think owning an error is very powerful and a bit courageous. Fred Verheul and Tammy Powlas are both moderators that take time and considerable energy in steering this community ship in the right direction so I was delighted that they immediately found your blog post although it was posted originally in your personal blog space.

    And  I am so impressed with the way you totally “get” what we all work to do to distinguish this site from “yet another vendor site” and the education and knowledge exchange value proposition as contrasted to marketing messages.  We don’t always get it right and it’s important as   Audrey Stevenson mentions that our “listening ears” don’t become limited and tuned to just happy talk.

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