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Medtronic’s Global BI Strategy accelerated with SAP HANA

Medtronic is the world leader in medical device technology having a global reach that extends more than 140 countries with 46000+ employees. Last year more than 9 million people around the world have benefited from Medtronic products or therapies. Medtronic mission involves improving people’s life every 3 seconds and in continuously striving towards lowering the number further down.

With growing business needs across diversified lines of products around the world, combined with being part of a heavily regulated industry, it was imperative for the company to globalize its operations. Medtronic embarked on globalization of business processes across business units and geographies since early 2000s.

Business Intelligence (BI) at Medtronic began its journey to align to the Global strategy of the company with a mission to build Global BI Reporting and Analytical Applications, however was presented with a multitude set of challenges given the wide set of existing custom built legacy data marts that were decades older, combined with disparate reporting systems and varying business rules across business units and geographies. It was apparent that the organization had to fundamentally transform its operations in order to not only become a Global BI organization to adapt to the changes driven from internal company-wide globalization, but also at the same time stay on top of the rapidly evolving data provisioning and consumptions needs with the evolution of Mobile and Cloud based technology.

To summarize the key challenges Medtronic BI was presented with are as below:

  • Provide business customers with similar or a higher performance in-spite of increased data volumes from consolidated global data and metrics
  • Consolidate disparate business rules, data and reporting systems across businesses and geographies to build Global data warehouse and reporting to create a ‘single version of truth’
  • Enable operational and analytical data modeling for reporting of both SAP and non-SAP data sources
  • Transform and extend current BI capabilities to prepare and cater for next generation requirements including by specifically addressing the rapidly evolving Mobile and Cloud Reporting and Analytics.

To address the challenges, Medtronic BI partnered with businesses across geographies to strategize globalization of reporting and analytics, however still required a technology platform that can specifically address the challenges described above.

After evaluating and clearly realizing the platform capabilities of SAP HANA and also in how the platform can specifically address the very challenges Medtronic had, combined with reviewing the roadmap of SAP HANA, Medtronic chose to implement SAP HANA as the strategic technology platform for BI. Note that Medtronic is also one of earliest adopters to SAP HANA platform globally starting with a single node / targeted project implementation which has now grown to a Multi-node scaled out architecture facilitating several critical business functions that include Global Complaint Handling, Global Sales Reporting, Customer Data Integration and Enterprise Inventory Optimization to name a few.

SAP HANA at Medtronic is deployed on 13 nodes running on Cisco hardware with SAP BW and Enterprise Editions both residing on a single instance with 2.4 TB of data. With SAP HANA now deployed over scaled out architecture, Medtronic BI is able to continue the Global BI endeavor successfully by addressing the key challenges as below:

  • Performance: The SAP HANA in-memory computing platform has significantly reduced query run-times and is facilitating definition and consolidation of global data and metrics. For example sales year over year analysis can now be done in a matter of few seconds with any dimensional characteristic composition, which simply was not possible before without pre-aggregated data based on specific BU / GEO filters (which meant redundant data, business rules and local data marts). Besides this, the SAP HANA platform also led to drastically improved data load times providing us additional window of opportunities that we can now look at for reporting distribution.
  • Single Version of Truth: The performance capabilities of the SAP HANA in-memory platform eliminated the need to maintain pre-aggregates, thereby providing the flexibility to define and implement global business rules at the line item level that are then aggregated in real-time. This means elimination of the need to support and maintain pre-aggregates and redundant reporting metrics. Also thereby avoid the overheads in frequent data reconciliations, all this fully contributing to creating a ‘single version of truth’ in the Enterprise. The migration of SAP BW onto HANA platform has further enabled strengthening the ‘single version of truth’ by providing the ability to now exchange data between HANA EE and BW through composite virtual providers.
  • Flexibility: With HANA EE and SAP BW, both deployed over a single instance of SAP HANA, Medtronic is now able to support both SAP and non-SAP data sources with complete flexibility and also enable operational and analytical reporting by taking best of both the worlds (Custom data warehousing from HANA EE and implementing Standard Business Content available from SAP BW).
  • Innovations with SAP HANA:

    The Multi-node scaled out architecture at Medtronic is perhaps the only implementation in the world that contains several HANA solutions running on a single HANA database instance, which includes SAP BW, HANA EE, SLT with BW, SLT with HANA EE, HANA Live, HANA XS and HANA Text Analytics.

At Medtronic, we are continuously innovating further with SAP HANA Platform to bring the best of the abilities that platform can offer to our business customers. Below are some of the key use-cases that we want to highlight that are all deployed over SAP HANA platform:

  • Deployed Mobile iPAD Sales reporting globally to provide access to data anytime, anywhere to our sales forces
  • Deployed Launch Works to successfully integrate Enterprise BI Reporting into Cloud applications.
  • Implemented HANA Live Solution to quickly launch reporting capability for a recent acquisition.
  • Implemented Cross subject-area analytical solutions across Inventory, Cycle counting and Sales that was challenging to implement before.
  • Implemented Text Analytics with HANA to empower business to make key decisions around products in 3 days bringing down the number from 12 days.
  • Deployed SAP HANA XS Engine leveraging the HANA XS capabilities to build applications for serving BI end-user front-end requirements.
  • Implemented Composite Virtual Providers to consume data from SAP BW into HANA EE, thereby avoiding data redundancy and increasing leverage from existing data and processes
  • Deployed Real-Time Data Replication into BW with HANA SLT capability to provide operational excellence and performance improvement in supply chain enabling businesses to provide products to customers at the right time.
  • Also leveraging SLT for replicating large tables that cannot be extracted in delta mode using traditional options
  • In addition, also completed a Proof of concept for Real-time Open Order Reporting with SLT capability. This is a critical business function that will provide real-time insight into revenue in pipeline to sales forces across Businesses and Geographies to enable them to take actions, if any, that will be necessary to ensure sales targets are met each quarter and year-end.
  • Simplified Administration and Streamlined Data flow leading to improved SLA conformance.
  • Significantly Lowered Data Foot Print by reducing Materialized layers (LSA++ architecture).
  • On-going assessment in progress evaluating the implementation of SAP BPM on HANA for replacing a legacy enterprise system to overcome existing data volume and integration challenges and thereby look at extending HANA platform capabilities to customers beyond Business Intelligence.

At Medtronic, we are proud of these achievements given the benefits and the additional economic value we are able to bring to the table to our Businesses with SAP HANA Platform, and also enabling BI to become a mission critical business function moving away from being a traditional back-end reporting function.

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