How a Data Fabric can Build Agility and Resilience into your Data Management Practice (Updated July 2021)
Last update: January 2022
An intelligent enterprise needs resilience in order to withstand the volatility that unexpected world events can bring. An Enterprise Data Fabric is an emerging approach to data management that delivers a unified, intelligent, and integrated end-to-end platform. This approach supports new and emerging use cases and is proving to be a successful way to wrangle complex data architectures, to deliver access to trusted data, and ultimately to derive value from an organization’s data assets.
In the last 5+ years, standard data integration methods have been failing in scenarios where there are a variety of new and expanding challenges: complex data sources (structured, unstructured, semi-structured, streaming, experience data, etc.), connectivity limitations, rigid transformation workflows, growing data volume, and distribution of data across multi- and hybrid cloud environments. While collecting data from traditional sources is often straightforward, enterprises struggle to integrate, process, curate, govern, transform, and augment data with other non-traditional data sources (including 3rd party data) in order to deliver a comprehensive, trusted view of the customer, partner, product, or employee data.
These complex environments require an ability to orchestrate a variety of highly distributed data, metadata, and processes, as well as deliver data quality and security, self-service options, and a high degree of automation, speed, and intelligence.
The real value of a data fabric approach is its ability to provide the foundation for organizations to execute on business use cases quickly by leveraging innovations like dynamic integration, distributed and multi-cloud architectures, graph engines, and distributed in-memory and persistent memory platforms. Data fabric focuses on automating the processing, integration, transformation, preparation, curation, governance, and orchestration of all data assets in order to enable real-time analytics and insights for successful business outcomes. It minimizes complexity by automating processes, workflows, and pipelines, as well as streamlining data access to accelerate various use cases such as customer 360, data science, fraud detection, internet-of-things (IoT) analytics, risk analytics, and healthcare insights.
SAP’s Data Fabric Guiding Principles
- Integrate any data – solve the data deluge and integrate any kind of data
- Ensure data quality – Discover, prepare, and govern all your data assets in the same tool
- Democratize data – through self-service data preparation and automation capabilities
- Any cloud or on-premise – deploy on any mix of hyperscalers, hybrid, or on-premise
- Reuse any engine – orchestrate any SAP or non-SAP data processing engine
SAP’s Data Fabric Technologies
SAP’s enterprise data fabric solution consists of capabilities from the SAP Business Technology Platform, anchored by SAP Data Intelligence, and SAP HANA (including SAP HANA Cloud).
As the lynchpin of SAP’s data fabric solution, SAP Data Intelligence transforms distributed data into valuable data, at the right time, in the right context, enabling data-driven applications. It’s at the core of SAP’s data fabric strategy with its ability to discover, connect, integrate, and translate data assets into critical business insights. SAP Data Intelligence enables the management of IoT data streams, creation of data warehouses, and operationalizes scalable machine learning. SAP Data Intelligence enables business applications to deliver on the promise of an intelligent enterprise by providing a holistic, unified way to manage, integrate, and process all your enterprise data and metadata. It delivers self-service capabilities for data preparation, active metadata management, data quality, and more.
SAP’s Data Intelligence’s self-service data preparation allows you with simple guided user interface interaction to shape, harmonize, and enrich your data. You can perform column actions, derive new information, harmonize disparate sources, merge or combine multiple datasets. And all the actions are recorded in a recipe which can be edited as needed.
SAP Data Intelligence also includes a data catalog which automatically identifies the content such as the data types or personal information. The solution automatically tags the information for the content types when the metadata is extracted. Graph engines can be used to identify and integrate connected data. Graph is the fastest way to connect data, especially when dealing with complex or large volumes of disparate data. Without graph, it can take longer to connect data to support dynamic integration and orchestration.
SAP HANA (including SAP HANA Cloud) also brings unique capabilities to data fabric solutions. SAP HANA offers built-in functionality to virtualize access to data within the enterprise in order to deliver unprecedented information agility. With smart data access, you can federate queries to external data sources, such as other databases, Web services, files, Apache Hadoop, and Apache Spark, to perform queries without costly data movement.
When you need to move data in batch or real time, SAP HANA smart data integration helps you do so to support informed decision-making with complete visibility. And with SAP HANA smart data quality, you can parse, standardize, and validate attributes such as name and address; perform geocoding; and identify duplicates and relationships between entities.
The Forrester report states that “SAP customers like SAP’s general data management capabilities, in-memory platform, search and access, data integration, and technical support.” SAP’s enterprise data fabric solution consists of capabilities from the SAP Business Technology Platform including SAP Data Intelligence, SAP HANA (including SAP HANA Cloud), and SAP Integration Suite.
Today, more than 45,000 customers benefit from the combination of SAP’s data fabric solutions. We have a large and growing services, support, and partner network. And we also offer a variety of free educational programs for our customers to get the most value from their solutions – like SAP Data Intelligence Community, HANA Academy (free online educational videos),x educational YouTube channels, and more.