Where does APL come from?
When SAP acquired KXEN in 2013, the company offered a software solution to help companies to create and manage predictive models in a semi-automated mode. This engine has evolved to meet SAP’s quality criteria and has been adapted to run in HANA. It then took the name Automated Predictive Library (APL). It is constantly evolving and improving, for example by integrating new Machine Learning algorithms, while respecting what makes it unique, i.e. being an automated Machine Learning engine.
Today, APL provides Machine Learning algorithms for SAP HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud. It is also used in a growing number of SAP applications and solutions, and as such has become an important part of the SAP Predictive and Machine Learning landscape.
What is APL?
SAP Automated Predictive Library (APL) is a HANA Application Function Library. Technically APL embeds a pre-packaged predictive analytics engine in SAP HANA. The objective of APL is to make the Automated Analytics technology available inside HANA, and make it available to any application that’s able to use and consume HANA services, be it on premise or on the cloud.
Which SAP solutions and applications use APL?
- APL is provided in standard with HANA on premise SPS04 and later versions.
- APL is available in standard with HANA Cloud QRC Q2 2020 (on service request).
- APL is embedded into SAP Analytics Cloud as the machine learning engine that enables Smart Assist to transparently deliver augmented performance metrics.
- Smart Predict delegates its predictive modeling functions to APL when the data source is HANA on premise (Live Predict).
- Some SAP applications such as Fraud management, C4C, S/4HANA, Hybris, SuccessFactors also embed APL.
- BW developers can use APL. They have the ability to create objects in HANA by developing ABAP/BW design artifacts using Eclipse.
- SAP Data Intelligence can train and save APL predictive models in HANA thanks to “ML training” operator and “Artifact Producer” object.
How can SAP customers leverage APL?
Customers use the functions provided by APL to implement a predictive modeling process to answer traditional business questions on their data in HANA. Automated predictive modelling capabilities are available to any application that can use and consume HANA services, on premise or in the cloud. APL is available for HANA Enterprise Edition, SAP HANA Predictive Option (can be purchased as part of the HANA REAB (runtime license), and SAP HANA Cloud (on ticket request).
Why is APL important to SAP Analytics Cloud?
APL is the predictive engine used by Smart Assist to produce automatically augmented insights in SAP analytics Cloud. No installation is required, and its use is completely transparent to users.
APL is also the predictive engine used by Smart Predict on Live HANA. In that case, Smart Predict delegates processing to APL in HANA on-premise, so that Machine Learning process run the closest to the data. HANA on premise customers need to download and install APL on HANA to make Smart Predict work correctly in live mode.
Worth noting: Customers licensed on HANA Runtime cannot use APL directly because they cannot use HANA Studio. However, they are entitled to use APL through SAC Smart Assist and SAC Smart Predict.
Important warning: The SAC functionality (Live Predict) for building and executing SAC predictive workflows directly in HANA Cloud is not supported yet.
APL is a key mandatory component of SAP Analytics Cloud. It is provided as standard with SAC because it is necessary to operate Smart Assist. It must be installed in HANA to enable Live Predict and delegate SAC Smart Predict analysis directly in HANA. To date, Live Predict is only available with HANA on premise (min SPS04).
APL is also a very useful library for HANA developers who want to build predictive models in a simple way and embed them in SQL, C++, Java, etc in operational workflows.
About APL and PAL in HANA
About APL and SAC
About APL installation