Agile Data Mart in SAP Cloud Platform
SAP Cloud Platform is a platform to build, extend and integrate on-premise & cloud solutions. Another good use case for SCP is around agile data mart scenarios.
Agile data marts refers to repository of data gathered from operational data originating in transactional systems and other sources. It is designed to serve a particular community of information workers by forming a basis for analytics, reporting, or a specific use in another type of application.
In the above image, the systems on the left hand side represent the source of data. It could be a combination of the following
- ERP system running on anyDB
- S4HANA system
- any SAP/non-SAP cloud solution
- Internet of things
- Social feeds
HANA Database can be purchased in SAP Cloud Platform in a subscription model. You can now replicate data from any of your source systems to the SCP HANA DB using various replication tools. On the right hand side of the above image, within SAP Cloud Platform there are few other services which can be leveraged for the agile data mart scenario. When dealing with on-premise source systems, you can continue to leverage the SAP Cloud Connector to establish an SSL tunnel between your on-premise systems & SCP account.
In most cases you may not need new replication tools to replicate data from your on-premise system to SCP HANA DB. If you have tools like SLT or BO Data Services, you could continue to use them to replicate data from your on-premise systems to SCP HANA DB as long as it fits your requirements. Obviously, if you are dealing with Cloud solutions, it makes more sense to use some of the newer replication tools like HCI-DS or Smart Data Integration (SDI). There are many replication tools which are available and you need to see which best suits your need.
Using SLT to replicate data from on-premise SAP system to SCP
You can also use Smart Data Integration which is now available in SAP Cloud Platform.
Using Smart Data Integration to replicate data from on-premise system to SCP
Using any of the above replication tools, you can now replicate data into the SCP HANA DB. The data which arrives into this DB could have also transformed/enriched during the replication process. Sometimes, it might be ready for reporting purposes. Just as above, you again don’t need new Visualization tools. If you have existing tools, you could continue using them to create visualization on top of the SCP HANA DB.
For example, if you continue to use any of the below on-premise reporting tools
- SAP Crystal reports
- BO Analysis Office
- BO Explorer
- BO Dashboard
- SAP Lumira
- Design Studio
Leverage your existing on-premise reporting tools to report on the data available in the SCP HANA DB
One of the scenarios of using SAP Cloud Connector (SCC) is around connecting on-premise Database/BI tools to SCP HANA DB. You can install SCC within your premise and connect your reporting tools to the SCP HANA DB.
If you have an ERP system (with anyDB) you can also consider using HANA Live on SCP HANA DB to provide operational reporting. HANA Live comes with Virtual Data Models (VDM) – set of calculation views which help in easily creating some of the standard reports. One of the big benefits of using HANA Live contents is it can help you build your own custom reports much quicker. For example, if you are working on CRM contents, you will notice there are bunch of views which have the logic to find the users Org Unit. You as a developer can reuse these views.
You can also build your own analytical applications on SAP Cloud Platform using SAPUI5. Build Fiori like applications which directly consume the data stored in the SCP HANA DB.
Reference blog – shows how to create great charts using SAPUI5 controls which consume data HANA system.
Business Objects Cloud
Business Objects Cloud (BOC) formerly known as Cloud for Analytics is a rich visualization tool available on SAP Cloud Platform. It has got various connectors to talks to BW/BPC or even HANA DB.
Reference blog – shows how to setup a HANA connection in BOC and quickly create a visualization.
With Agile data mart scenario in SCP, it now opens more opportunity to use other services in SAP Cloud Platform. Once you have created your application on SCP, it can be easily integrated with Portal service which can be used to create a site. You can create a site which represents a Fiori Launchpad and embed your analytical applications directly into the Portal. This way all the analytical apps which you build on SAP Cloud Platform can be easily exposed to your end users using the Portal service.
Reference blog – shows how easy it to integrate analytical applications within the Portal service.
Smart Business Service
If you are looking to provide KPI/OPI based tiles to your end users, you can leverage the Smart Business Services available on SAP Cloud Platform. With this service, you can now create KPI Tiles which can directly consume the data stored in your SCP HANA DB. When a user logs into their Launchpad, they could straight away focus their efforts based on the KPIs values which show up on each of the tiles.
The Smart Business Services provide drill-down capability to allow the users navigate into the details of the particular KPI and perform an action.
Reference blog – shows how to use SCP Smart Business services which leverage SCP HANA DB.
Value Proposition of having agile data mart on SCP
Agility: Customer can now innovate at a much faster pace using the Agile Data Mart approach. They can react much faster to changing business needs as they can now spin up or down the resources and quickly create reports which can be exposed to their users.
Flexibility: The development team can build reports directly on top of the data mart in SCP using cloud solutions like Business Objects Cloud without getting caught in the release cycle windows enforced in the core ERP/S4HANA systems.
BI Self-service: Power users can now design, develop ad-hoc reports on the fly and deploy them for the end users to access.
Big Data: With the rise of BigData and IoT, large data sets are generated and it becomes very important to find patterns and trends within these data sets to gain competitive advantage in the market. Usually such projects engage data scientists who push algorithms in real time to test the outcomes. When we have a mission critical system which is stable and has a high SLA from the business, it is unlikely that such tasks can be performed on the core system. The data mart of SCP is a perfect option for running such initiatives. Also, it becomes easier to scale up the database size as and when large data set arrives. Together combined with other services like Internet of Things and Predictive services in SCP, it becomes easier to apply predictive algorithms to look for patterns and react to the changing market.
Few of the many reasons to have your HANA Database on SCP rather than setting it up within your premise.
- Time-To-Market: Provisioning of a new DB can happen overnight and the next day you can have access to a HANA DB in the cloud. You can pick from the range of T-shirt sizes according to your needs and start building you applications quickly
- Cost – You don’t need to worry about procuring your hardware. There is zero capex and less ongoing opex for this model
- Scale as you go – your database can be scaled up quickly, cheaply, and efficiently depending on your needs.
- Reduced IT burden – Your IT team would still be needed to manage the database on the cloud, but it would keep them away from some of the regular tasks which typically consume much of their time and efforts.
- Improved Security – The data centers which host the database go through a rigorous certification process to ensure the data is secured. SAP would also take care of patching and applying kernels to ensure that the dataset is operation and free from any threats. Customers IT team no need to worry about spending lots of time and effort in these activities.
- SLA – SAP warrants ninety-nine point nine percent (99.9%) System Availability over any calendar month. There are regular bi-weekly maintenance windows which allows SAP to introduce any bug fixes and small enhancements.