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Author's profile photo Venkata Raghu Banda

Approaches and the flow – leveraging Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics for SAP S/4HANA

Part 3 of the blog series:

A Podcast on the architecture concepts and approaches is here.

In this blog, I will be focusing on the different approaches available to leverage the SAP S/4HANA functionality with Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics algorithms. This is a continuation to my earlier series of blogs on the topic – in the last blog we focused on the architecture and did a bit of a deep dive into the same.

Reviewing a bit on the different approaches while leveraging the SAP S/4HANA functionality, here is an updated view point on the different approaches.

In the above picture, you will notice the different approaches of leveraging ML and Predictive Analytics with SAP S/4HANA. In the context of all the above approaches, we shall have detailed discussions in our upcoming blogs. We have briefly discussed about the first 3 approaches of building into the digital core, expanding around the digital core and extending the digital core. The 4th approach is basically explaining how you can extend some of the out-of-the-box released predictive models. Stay tuned for more updates in this context of the various approaches available to leverage the different ML and Predictive algorithms around SAP S/4HANA.

Now let us deep dive into the process flow involved around these different approaches.

Embedded Predictive algorithms in SAP S/4HANA:

A brief walk thru’ into the process flow while embedding Predictive Algorithms into the SAP S/4HANA business processes.

As part of the Architecture blog, we have seen how the predictive models in SAP S/4HANA are exposed thru’ the SQL Script procedures and made available with the CDS views to be embedded in SAP S/4HANA business processes. Now as shown in the above picture, let us look into the various steps involved in the embedding of these predictive models in to the SAP S/4HANA business processes. On the left-hand side you will notice the various data sources that can be leveraged to procure the data.

In the first step, data preparation happens with the Data manager, procuring the data from one of the data sources that is available. Secondly, the predictive model is built leveraging the expert modeler framework. Later this model is deployed into the predictive factory to utilize the model management for creating additional versions of these models. Finally leveraging the Predictive analytics integrator framework(PAI), a predictive scenario is created for this model. The corresponding CDS view for this predictive scenario is then embedded into the application logic of the ABAP objects in SAP S/4HANA. You can learn more about creating a predictive scenario from the SAP help portal . You will also learn more about creating a predictive scenario, predictive model etc., in the context of an example use case in my upcoming blogs and will be referenced here.

The data input and data output parameters are available as part of the predictive scenario created and various different predictive models can be created with different datasets and tested out for the results since this is already embedded into the S/4 business process. We will discuss about the functioning of these models in the context of the different use cases in a later blog. One important point to note is that you will need to use the SAP Fiori Apps with the Analytics specialist role to train and apply these embedded predictive models. Though this will be discussed at length in my upcoming blogs, here is a quick reference to the SAP help portal on how to configure the consumption of these predictive models.

Consuming ML services on SAP Business Technology Platform:

Now let us look into the process flow of how ML services are consumed from the SAP Business Technology Platform by the SAP S/4HANA business processes in the context of leveraging SAP Data Intelligence and/or SAP AI business services. Prior to leveraging SAP Data Intelligence, the Leonardo ML foundation framework is utilized to build the training models, deploy them and create the inferences which would help configure the communication scenarios with the SAP S/4HANA business processes. This helps the deployed ML services on SAP BTP to be consumed accordingly by the SAP S/4HANA business processes. Let us now look into the new concept of leveraging SAP Data Intelligence for the creation of training and inference pipelines as provided in the picture below.

As explained here in the above picture, there are 2 steps in the creation of the training process flow and inference process flow with SAP Data intelligence using the ML foundation services.

In the training process flow, the training data is saved and trained with the algorithms while saving the training model. Later in the inference pipeline, the ML services are ready for consumption by the SAP S/4HANA business processes – the trained model is read and applied accordingly. More details on the complete process can be understood in our detailed SAP help portal on how to leverage the Data Intelligence platform for creating and running the ML services. At a later date, we shall also explain the process flow in the context of leveraging the AI business services with the AI foundation layer and how they are consumed in SAP S/4HANA.

Leveraging Predictive services in the SAP Analytics Cloud:

Let us now look into the process flow involved in leveraging the predictive services in the SAP Analytics Cloud. This is the 3rd approach of leveraging the ML and Predictive Services using SAP tools for the benefits of the customers. As discussed in detail during the architecture blog, in this approach, some of the core algorithms available from the APL library can be leveraged in creating quick predictive analysis. Following are some of the functions that could be leveraged.

As you can see in the above picture, choosing the right smart feature in SAP Analytics Cloud is the key to perform the required functionality. Depending on the requirement and functionality you could do data acquisition or live connection with the SAP S/4HANA CDS views and do the analysis with the different smart predictive features. Stay tuned for more updates on this approach since we have a few (Proof-of-Concepts)PoCs going on with this approach!

A quick overview of the available smart features in SAP Analytics Cloud:

Smart Assist – Search to Insight – What is happening in my business?

Smart Assist – Smart Insights – What is behind this number?

Smart Assist – Smart Discovery – Why did this happen?

Smart Predict – Time Series Forecasting – What will happen?

Smart Predict – Smart Grouping – Which data points are similar?

Smart Predict – R Visualizations.

In our next blog we will continue our blog series with focus on the functionality and the scoping of how the Machine Learning and Predictive Services are applied into the SAP S/4HANA business processes.

Here are some quick links to the blogs in this series to give you a complete understanding of how Predictive Intelligence is infused into SAP S/4HANA.

Happy predicting the future!!



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      Author's profile photo Werner Dähn
      Werner Dähn

      The simple option would be to connect Apache Spark via Hana JDBC to S/4. Wouldn't that be an option to discuss as well?

      Author's profile photo Venkata Raghu Banda
      Venkata Raghu Banda
      Blog Post Author

      Yes and I shall discuss in my continuing blog series - that option would be part of the option1b and 4a, to connect with the core HANA PAL libraries. I have also discussed briefly in my previous blog on architecture which was written sometime back.

      Author's profile photo Ashish Srivastava
      Ashish Srivastava

      Thanks for the blog, this is really helpful!