In the world of comic books and Hollywood films, not all superheroes possess supernatural strengths. For those characters who can’t control minds or the elements, it’s technology that makes the difference. Their power lies in having the right technology to complement their human strengths – their courage, their empathy, their passion to help.
For enterprises, it is not actually a dissimilar story. While the superpower of data won’t give you the gift of flight, it does enable organizations and individuals to do more, see more, understand more, and ultimately have a greater impact than ever before.
So how do you achieve a “data superpower”? It starts with a holistic understanding of data value creation and the four key factors this requires: The first one is the span of data – how can you connect to the different data sources. The second one is the amount of data – the ability to store and process large amounts of data. The third one is about the quality and semantics of the data, because low quality data cannot provide high quality insights and a strong definition of data is essential to allow everyone to use it. The fourth and last factor is analytics. Here it is about putting data to use and deriving the richness out of the insights so that people can use them to take decisions with confidence. While each factor is important on its own, the true power comes from the way in which they amplify each other when aligned.
At SAP, we put this equation into practice with the database, data management, and analytics solutions in the Business Technology Platform.
Connecting to Data
Back in March, we announced the general availability of release 3.0 of SAP Data Intelligence. SAP Data Intelligence is SAP’s answer to the “span” factor of the data value equation, enabling companies to bring together data orchestration, metadata management, and powerful data pipelines with advanced machine learning.
Release 3.0 of SAP Data Intelligence completes the evolution of SAP Data Hub to SAP Data Intelligence. When release 3.0 is applied to SAP Data Hub installations, the product will be updated to SAP Data Intelligence and all new capabilities will be included. There is no additional fee or migration required for SAP Data Hub customers.
SAP was also recently positioned as a Leader in “The Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Data Fabric, Q2 2020”. The report notes that “SAP enhances data management capabilities to support complex use cases and continues to extend its data management capabilities to deliver improved self-service and its integrated data fabric capabilities to support broader use cases.” As Andreas Wesselmann senior vice president, SAP HANA & Analytics, Data Management explains in his blog, we believe this recognition from Forrester validates the robustness of our data management solutions, and how we’re enabling customers to better connect and extract value from their data. To find out more about all the latest innovations in this area, check out the blog What’s New with Next-Generation Data Management from SAP: Q1 & Q2 Update.
10 years of innovation with SAP HANA
In the ten years since it was first launched, SAP HANA has become the heart of the Intelligent Enterprise with over 32,400 customers. Planned for release later this month, SAP HANA 2.0 SPS05 continues this legacy with planned new capabilities that offer greater ease of use, foster more simplified IT landscapes, and support a lower TCO.
By extending location-based data capabilities, customers can discover unique business insights for more business scenarios (have a look at this video for a great example of this in action). Additionally, SAP plans to deliver usability improvements to backup and recovery and to security key management.
And the innovation doesn’t stop with SAP HANA on-premise. SAP HANA Cloud brings the speed and power of SAP HANA to the cloud, combines it with big-data scale and cloud-elasticity. Our SAP HANA Cloud federation technology creates a single gateway to all data and enables customers to gain real-time insights across distributed data landscapes. Existing on-premise customers can easily add SAP HANA capacity in the cloud and turn their on-premise deployment into a hybrid database. Originally launched on Microsoft Azure, SAP HANA Cloud is now also available on AWS, offering multi-cloud support to enable organizations to use the cloud vendor of their choice.
Geberit is a European leader specialized in manufacturing and supplying sanitary parts and related systems. Faced with the challenge of data sprawl and lacking a single access point to this data, the company turned to SAP HANA Cloud. As Marius Reck, Head of IT Business Support Applications at Geberit, explains, the solution has already had a significant impact: “SAP HANA Cloud sets us up for the future. It solves a lot of issues and opens up many possibilities. We now have the flexibility in our cloud journey that we always wanted.”
A New Deal for Business and IT with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud
SAP HANA Cloud is also the foundation for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. This end-to-end data management and decision-making solution has been designed for both enterprise IT and lines of business to manage and gain valuable insights from trusted data. It enables customers to integrate and harmonize data from different sources under a common semantic layer – a key capability for the modern reality of distributed and fast evolving data landscapes.
In my recent conversation with Markus Hartmann, IT Project Management Lead at Porsche, we also spoke about the importance of creating “a new deal” between business and IT. With the Spaces concept of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, governance, security, and control no longer come at the expense of flexibility, speed, and self-service. Like virtual databases, Spaces allow users to freely access and load additional data. From an administrative perspective, Spaces can also be centrally managed, with control over aspects such as their creation and deletion and what data can be accessed.
Similarly, the business layer, which is planned for release in early Q3 2020, offers business users the opportunity to add descriptions and information in natural language to data technical fields. Consequently, people who do not work with this data regularly are able to quickly grasp which information is stored in a data set. You can read about how biopharmaceutical company Idorsia wants to empower the various functions to model data and define business-driven KPIs here.
SAP also provides pre-built business content as part of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to help companies achieve time to value faster. Customers can leverage the expertise from SAP and ecosystem partners to support them in the creation of content best suited for their industry or line of business. The prebuilt content includes content for the retail industry that connects to SAP Consumer Sales Intelligence solution to analyze point-of-sale transactions, with additional industry content for finance to follow in the second half of the year.
Furthermore, starting in June 2020, SAP expects to provide built-in and deeply integrated data flow functionality in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, based on embedded SAP Data Intelligence technology. Customers can select from a broad range of data connectors to build highly scalable data integration processes. SAP intends to make the functionality available in a restricted program for which interested customers can apply.
From Data Insights to Confident Decisions
Just as the interconnectivity between SAP Data Intelligence, SAP HANA Cloud, and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is essential, so is the relationship in the last element of the data value chain: data usage, and with it, SAP Analytics Cloud.
SAP Analytics Cloud users can now connect seamlessly to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, offering an end-to-end experience that allows customers to consolidate and govern all their data in one central place.
This tight integration comes with many benefits: SAP Analytics Cloud users can take advantage of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud’s Business Layer (as discussed above) and easily consume data models from SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to support better and faster decision making. They can also now fully leverage SAP Data Warehouse Cloud metadata such as level-based and parent-based hierarchies, geo maps, and time-based dimension for data exploration, story building, and analytical app design.
As Markus Hartmann puts it: “SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud are key tools helping our digital transformation strategy. Together, these two solutions work perfectly to help all stakeholders at Porsche get value from our data.”
The innovation continues with the SAP Analytics Cloud functionality, too. The new add-in for Microsoft Office, for example, enables SAP Analytics Cloud Excel power users to use the familiar Microsoft Excel front-end functions to get even more out of their SAP Analytics Cloud analytics and planning capabilities.
As Brian Jones, Head of Product, Microsoft Excel, says: “SAP Analytics Cloud is one of the first major enterprise planning applications to have a seamless integration with Excel for web and desktop in the Office 365 Suite. This exciting partnership brings together the best of Excel and SAP Analytics Cloud for customers.”
Customers of SAP Analytics Cloud will also be able to take advantage of tighter integration between planning and predictive functionality with the recently shipped wave 11 fast track release of SAP Analytics Cloud for planning.
This enhanced and deeper, end-to-end integration of predictive analytics in planning enables customers to automate the generation of baseline planning forecasts based on historical actuals, and then later continuously monitor plan attainment with real-time, up-to-date predictions. You can find out more about this and all the other recent announcements in the SAPPHIRE NOW T&I News Guide.
Your data, your journey
One very important aspect of the data value chain is that it can be applied to all solutions, regardless of vendor or deployment models. We realize that every enterprise has its own unique system landscape and cloud strategy. The database, data management, and analytics solutions of the Business Technology Platform offer customers the flexibility to choose the deployment model of choice – be it on-premise, in the cloud, or a combination of both. In this way, companies can move at their own pace to the cloud and maximize the value of their existing investments.
I’ve already mentioned the latest SAP HANA on-premise release SPS05 and SAP Data Intelligence 3.0, and this pattern continues across our portfolio. Enterprises can extend their on-premise SAP data warehousing solutions into the cloud with dedicated and more tightly integrated hybrid scenarios for SAP BW/4HANA and SAP HANA for SQL data warehousing with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. Similarly, with the latest major release of SAP’s solution for on-premise scalable enterprise reporting, SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3, we are both enhancing the on-premise mission-critical enterprise reporting functionality and strengthening its integration with SAP Analytics Cloud.
The tight interconnectivity of all of these solutions is what allows us to realize the data value chain and make the superpower of data available to everyone. If you’d like to find out more about how you can tap into that power, check out the free trials at https://saphanacloudservices.com/free-trial/ and have a look at the SAPPHIRE Now Converge press release for June 18.
This blog originally appeared on news.sap.com