Agile Data Modeling with SAP Lumira “Publish to SAP HANA” feature
While discussing with a Pre sales guy on a Customer use case and some internal projects we thought we can actually use the SAP Lumira Publish to SAP HANA feature as an Agile Data Modeling tool for Business users. Want to share those experiences and ideas which we thought make sense for Enterprise Customers using HANA as their Analytics platform including Lumira Server.
It is more a “Value Add” to position SAP Lumira in “Enterprise Use-Cases” and to show how fast we can bring Data together in the Backend with SAP Lumira and start directly to report on it in an “Agile Modelling Approach”.
In general SAP Lumira Desktop can be used as an ETL and Data Modeling tool to upload Adhoc data from different data sources into HANA easily. Even can modify/enhance the data using different functionalities available in Prepare section if needed and then publish to SAP HANA as a View for consumption into different other Analytical (Ex. Design Studio) or UI (Ex.Web IDE after wrapping the View in an Odata service) applications. Of course it is available for Lumira Server too.
As described here, this is an example where Business user publishes Adhoc BW data to HANA and can create Stories in Lumira server directly or depending on the use case a power user can do further enhancements in HANA and then make this View available to the Business users.
Using above example and the explanation of the feature after this section we can see that there are many advantages and even some of the current SAP Lumira limitations can be handled:
- It is easy and fast for a Business user to work with SAP Lumira for such Adhoc & Agile scenarios then using other tools or relying on power user.
- This feature makes the underlying data set/View available for further enhancements or usage in other applications in regards to “Publish to SAP Lumira Server” feature where the data set is stored as runtime artifacts in SAP_BI_LAUNCHPAD schema without any possibility to consume it separately.
- This feature ensures the Life Cycle Management capabilities for at least the data sets which are available as Views and the underlying Tables, as Lumira Server doesn’t have standard Life Cycle Management in HANA yet (planned for next releases). Of course the Lumira Stories need to be created again.
- For scenarios where HANA online data need to be merged with any other data source offline adhoc data (current limitation in Lumira and planned for next releases), it is easy to publish that adhoc data to HANA and then join this Table with HANA online Table using HANA studio and make it available for reporting.
- For scenarios where data from different websites need to be uploaded to HANA, it is much easier to use SAP Lumira Desktop “Copy from Clipboard” data source option, enhance the data and then publish it to SAP HANA for other usage.
There may be other scenarios where this feature may be useful and these are just based on our current Customer use cases which we are working on. Also for some of the scenarios (mentioned above) there may be different other ways to achieve it depending on the kind of user working on it (Business or Power/IT). So need to choose the right approach based on the user and the use case.
Only drawback is for now this feature may be used only for Adhoc scenarios as implementing delta upload or Scheduling the upload will be a bit difficult. Because during publishing to SAP HANA, SAP Lumira automatically creates the underlying Column table with Cryptic names (some system generated name) and when we try to update the same HANA View with new data using Lumira Desktop, the underlying Column table is replaced with a new one and the view is updated accordingly. So a power user is required for such cases and it will be like a “disconnected” Refresh Approach.
Publish to SAP HANA Feature Step by Step Example:
This example is for a scenario where we already captured the required content from a Website via “Data from Clipboard” data source, enhanced it to make it ready for reporting and then publishing it to HANA.
- After enhancing the data in Prepare Section using different DATA ACTIONS like Split, Replace and general functions like Convert to Number, Create a Measure etc… and finally arriving to these Measures and Dimensions
- Let’s use directly Publish to SAP HANA feature under Share section.
- Provide System and User details
- Select a Schema (Note: by default “Lumira” Schema is selected), Create/Select a package, Create new View and click Publish
- Now a Power user can log into HANA studio to verify the Analytical View under Content section and the underlying Table based on the selected Schema. Later can perform further enhancements or make it available for other Application usage.
- Of course it is available as Dataset in SAP Lumira Server Launchpad to build Stories
Dataset with merged data:
- Similarly data can be merged from different or same data sources in Lumira Desktop and published to HANA as a View. Merging 2 Excel files as another example
- Publish only the main Dataset to HANA.
- It can be verified in HANA that merged data from other Excel file is also available in the View.
- The underlying tables can be found in the Schema selected during Publish to SAP HANA step.
- These tables can also be used in different Views, enhanced further by joining with other HANA tables depending on the use case.
Finally as a closing remark, this feature is not placed against the standard publishing functionality Publish to Lumira Server option which is suited for most of the Reporting scenarios (even with “Online mode or Refresh possibilities) but more as a “Value Add” to position SAP Lumira in different “Enterprise Use-Cases”.