The product team of SAP HANA Rules Framework have just returned from a visit to Germany in which we met with customers and prospects.
Naturally, much was discussed about IoT (Internet of Things). IoT may be the biggest hype now, not only at SAP, but in the entire IT world. We believe that IoT solutions are classic candidates for business rule management frameworks, such as HRF.
IoT solutions have many challenges – to mention just few: the huge volumes, high frequencies, and diversity of things’ data… and we are talking here only about the challenges around bringing the data in. There are of course many more challenges, such as security, user management, things’ configuration and management, data ownership, privacy, and other legal aspects…).
Since there are so many basic challenges here, we strongly believe that it makes perfect sense to put the business logic, which naturally sits on top of all these even more basic layers (e.g. connectivity, persistency, user management…), on a flexible platform, such as HRF.
It is not an easy task to write generic business logic in such an environment. A “thing” may be a refrigerator, a locomotive, a vending machine, a car, a healthcare device, an automated warehouse, or an elevator, for example. This diversity obviously creates a huge challenge for the connectivity layer, but also naturally on the business-logic side – it’s quite hard for a developer to think about a KPI or a decision that fits a medical device and a vending machine… that’s why the ability to enable partners, consultants, and off-course customers to enhance (in SAP HANA\HCP based solution) the business logic of IoT solutions via HRF is truly essential.
Now, imagine that a partner, consultant, or customer would need to code every necessary business logic change! This would obviously not scale much… with HRF, these end users/domain experts would be able to write their own business rules (in the form of “text rules” and/or “decision table”) using our easy-to-use SAP UI5 controls and our natural rule expression language (REL).
So, if you are interested in moving from insight to action and to leverage your IoT data into concrete automated decisions in a scalable way – it totally makes sense to utilize HRF in your solution.
Another set of tools, which in our opinion would be highly effective in any IoT solution on HANA is SAP HANA Smart Process Services (aka. SAP Operational Process Intelligence). This set of tools offers business process management capabilities (on SAP HANA and soon on SAP HANA Cloud Platform), such as workflows, tasks and inboxes, goal-driven case management, process intelligence, and also rule management (via integration with HRF). With these capabilities, you can take your actions, triggered via business rules, into a structured and managed process that would assure the actions not just be triggered, but also be executed at the exact time and required quality.