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SAP performed a slam dunk by bringing together a super set of Seattle startups for the July 24, 2012 SAP Startup Forum - Seattle.  The event was kicked off with a fantastic write up by Geekwire’s John Cook @johnhcook.  Geekwire is Seattle's premier startup publication. In his article  SAP arrives in Seattle, looking for hot analytics startups - GeekWire, John Cook states the following:

 

"SAP’s goal is to get early adoption of its newly-launched high-performance database program known as HANA. But it also hopes to learn from startup companies that might be able to more nimbly attack business problems."

 

 

I attended as a representative of the SAP Vancouver Labs and as a judge of the presenting startups. I was impressed.  Each presenting startup a was on the ball delivering a clear and concise success story.  It was super to see our guests get more and more excited as the day progressed.  The questions asked during the deep drive showed that these startups have a passion for what SAP HANA offers.  Personal highlights for me were learning from Crowd Computing Systems and PayScale.com.  Crowd Computing Systems provides a powerful and unique combination of amazon.com’s mechanical turk and machine learning.  Payscale, which already has a  relationship with SAP, presented their sophisticated engine that helps employers and individuals with compensation data & analysis. I look forward to seeing these startups harness SAP HANA's speed and power.

 

The Best of the Best:

The day would not have been complete without a celebration of the best of the best.  The Award winners were as follows:

 

Best 140 Character Pitch Award: nFluence,  http://www.nfluence.com - "With nFluence, consumers simply swipe up or down a few times to create rich (700 dimensional) universal personas that help advertisers and publishers increase content relevance across TV, PC, Tablets & Mobile."

 

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Best Big Data Solution: Yottamine Analytics http://www.yottamine.com/ - The Yottamine Predictive Platform employs the most advanced data-mining techniques to provide high-precision model building. Coupled with the flexibility and scalability of cloud computing, the platform is set to deliver accurate and timely predictive analytics to help businesses maximize the true potential of their data.

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Most Innovative: Xprevo - http://xprevo.com/ - the evolution of expression

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Congratulations for these outstanding presentations. Find out more: http://spr.ly/SAPStartups

 

This special event would not have happened without the active help and guidance of Naya Ventures' Gowri Shankar.  Special thanks also to Prasad Illapani from the SAP HANA Product Management team and to Adrian Smith from Ignition Partners.

My parents’ generation is still trying to learn how best to use an iPad from their grandchildren. For us, it is sometimes about speculation what the future will be like, or what our grandchildren will teach us. But our children today have ideas that are bold and audacious, and when they are inspired the sky is the limit.

 

One day this past June, I entered the main building at SAP’s Palo Alto campus and found myself in a sea of children of all ages. It was the annual Take Your Child to Work Day at SAP. Among many activities these kids were involved in, some entailed an exposure to what SAP does for and with its customers. And, yes, they were exposed to a simple application of SAP HANA’s capabilities as well.

 

Conversing with some of them (children of colleagues) it occurred to me that it might be somewhat fun to hear the “voices of tomorrow” talk about the technology that is rapidly blurring the distance between today and tomorrow!

 

Here is what one of them had to say.

 

Rachel Hu (daughter of Cheng Hu):

 

Off-camera, Ailis von Meyer (daughter of Maureen Fitzpatrick), gushed, "Oh mom, we just saw this HANA workshop, and it was so cool. ….I feel this is an amazing leap forward into the future technologies …. It’s unbelievable!"

 

They are impressed with SAP HANA, but, more importantly, they seem to recognize that the possibilities could be far reaching! One can only imagine the uses they will come up with in the years ahead. This generation will likely define an entirely new way of how things get done. So I leave you with this vision of what the future could possibly be like – this is a video (As We May Work) first aired during the one-year anniversary celebrations for SAP HANA in Palo Alto on June 18, 2012.

 

P.S. A very special thank you to the parents, Cheng Hu and Maureen Fitzpatrick, who permitted this video and comments, respectively, to be used for this story, and to their children who took such interest in sharing their thoughts.

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On a sunny Wednesday, July 11th day, SAP gathered members of its local Waterloo Canada innovation ecosystem, including 13 bright and promising startups for its area's first ever Startup Forum.  The topic of the day was big data and SAP’s revolutionary in-memory database technology HANA. Big ideas were discussed, good food was enjoyed, and even some fun competition ensued.

 


Here are the top 13 recaps from our forum (who says 13 is an unlucky number):     

  1. Watcom was founded by 3 people from the University of Waterloo in 1981.  Many years later we’re still here, now as part of SAP - a company that grossed approximately $18 billion USD last year.
  2. SAP HANA carefully optimizes caching of hundreds of parallel threads, allowing our customers to reach on average 7,976 times performance improvements.
  3. You’re never too old to be a startup.  Sequentia Environics who have been at the services game for 10 years, now finds they are in startup territory again only as a product company with Squeeze – software that maps and tracks customer movement patterns, content conversions and buying behavior on social networks.
  4. Spently sees HANA as eliminating the need to aggregate data to provide more statistical reporting on their enhanced custom email receipts for merchants.
  5. DossierView’s wetrieve search tool uses Pattern Clustering and Data Grouping (PCDG) technology borne out of University of Waterloo research.
  6. Cyborg Trading receives, analyzes, manages, and executes thousands of financial trading algorithms running data simultaneously in real-time.  They can see HANA helping them do this faster than today.
  7. QDAC sees HANA analytics as a fit for statistical and pattern analysis of measurement information captured by QDAC modules for prediction and anticipation of performance, failures, or degraded operations.
  8. Primal integrates with existing big data infrastructures like HANA to connect users to optimal information that they care about.
  9. Po-Mo, short for Post-Modern, admitted to not knowing what an architectural diagram was, but does know how to design interactive display solutions that engage and capture audience data.
  10. Like Watcom, Co-Map is another University of Waterloo spin-off based on solid academic research and world-wide connections.  Their WIDE Toolkit enables advanced systems to be created rapidly with minimal programming.
  11. According to Vishal Sikka, CTO and Member of the SAP Executive Board, SAP wants to engage with Startups to look for imagination far beyond the walls of SAP to the collective imagination of all of us.
  12. Along with the other startups already mentioned, ANTVibes, Eyedro, Porfiau, Synqro, and TecVana all wowed SAP Waterloo
    employees to invest their play $6 million euros in their businesses in a fun afternoon social mixer.
  13. Don’t believe my word alone.  Watch and read more from the press recaps:

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People approach things with caution. It is natural, and perhaps comes from early childhood, when you are told by your parents, "don't eat that candy from a stranger," or "look both ways before crossing the street." We are reluctant to take chances. We don't want to jump in the swimming pool because we are unsure of what may happen. Maybe we will get wet, or maybe something worse ... 


In the case of SAP HANA, we have good reason to proceed with caution. Should we invest in this new technology blindly?  What about validation? How are we going to believe what SAP says about it? Are the results claimed by SAP really true? How can I get these kinds of performance improvements myself?  Will I be promoted for doing an amazing job or will I have to look for a different job if things don't work out the way I thought? 


SAP launched a new series of HANA webinars aimed at helping people understand that it takes, and what to expect, from jumping in the HANA swimming pool. These are called HANA Spotlight calls. About every two weeks, SAP features a one hour webcast from a HANA customer, discussing their own journey and experience with HANA.  Not from SAP's point of view, but from the customer's point of view.  


The first call was broadcast on July 18th, and featured Ron Grabyan of Southern California Edison (SCE). Ron is the BI Manager at SCE, and he spoke about the road to HANA with a focus on BW on HANA. Be sure to check out the replay.


And please be sure to join us for the upcoming  HANA Spotlight Calls. You will be glad you did.

As I discussed at the end of Part 1 of my SAP BW on HANA blog posted last week, I mentioned I would follow up with a blog focused on the IT and business cost savings in running SAP BW on HANA.  This is topic of great interest to many BW customers contemplating the business case in moving their BW systems onto a new database platform (ie HANA).

Having worked with countless BW customers in the past and knowing the power of HANA as an innovative dataset option for BW, I believe that SAP BW on HANA is a game changer not only from a technical perspective but also from a time-to-deployment, cost reduction, and revenue generating standpoint.

 

When talking about the cost and potential profits realized in implementing and running SAP BW on HANA, three scenarios should be considered:

 

  1. Implementation cost: The time it takes to implement SAP before the business can actually start using SAP BW for reporting.
  2. Technical support cost: The effort to ensure that “the lights are kept on” and the business can benefit from timely and complete reporting solutions on an on-going basis.
  3. Change in Business requirements: The cost involved in meeting new business requirements for information, etc.

 

Let’s drill down into each one of these separately:

     1. Implementation Cost

Let’s consider the first two SAP BW implementation scenarios from my previous blog. When implementing an SAP BW system, teams are generally built around the following structure:

 

  • Process & Reporting Solution team                                                               30% of cost
  • Data Extraction, Provisioning, and Distribution team                                     50% of cost
  • Overall Data Architect(s) team                                                                        5 % of cost
  • Project, Test, and Change management team                                               15% of cost

 

Significant efforts had to be undertaken to ensure that the data warehouse layered architecture be implemented correctly. This required highly talented, difficult to find, and expensive resources.  With SAP BW on HANA, this effort can be significantly reduced due to SAP HANA’s technical performance capabilities and the ease-of-use that SAP BW 7.3’s business content provides.

For example, during the SAP BW implementation at a Fortune 15 wholesaler, the implementation of the layered data warehouse architecture that dealt with technical performance and data retention was 70% of the initial 9 month project. This roughly equated to 28 FTEs. Using a blended rate for internal and external resources this presents, according to my calculations, a cost of about $5 million. With SAP BW on HANA the need to build an extensive layered data warehouse architecture (please note that data warehouse principles still apply to address data retention and other important data lifecycle requirements) is greatly reduced. With SAP BW on HANA it is now possible to primarily rely on the SAP delivered business content, thereby reducing the data provisioning effort by about 90%. Additionally, network capacity and data storage savings can be achieved by reducing redundant data storage by at least 50%.

 

     2.Technical Support Cost

Once an SAP BW system is built, extending the solution to new reports is very cost effective as almost all data resides in the data warehouse and is therefore available for report writers or business users. At the same time, the data provision layer and the “corporate memory” or Single Version of Truth requires highly specialized knowledge. This represents a significant cost to the IT department.

However, with the move to SAP BW on HANA, this cost can virtually be eliminated by taking full advantage of both SAP BW and SAP HANA native capabilities. In my mind, it now would be possible to leverage an easy to deploy SAP BW support team that focuses on business needs, rather than trying to engineer the “GL coding block” data load for better performance. With SAP BW on HANA, the supporting organization is now, for the first time, fully enabled to deploy new reporting solutions to the business “at the speed of business”.

 

     3. Change in Business Requirements

The SAP BW team’s response time for implementing new business requirements has traditionally been a major bottleneck for business stakeholders. Let’s look at a POS data example: if a company fully focused on Supply Chain and Finance data in their SAP BW EDW and is now asked to build and integrate POS data into the solution, then a significant project would be required in order to make changes to the layered data warehouse architecture. Moreover, since the layered architecture would require significant “engineering”,  then generally the project would have to be deployed using a “Waterfall” method, putting the project at risk by meeting business requirements but not to the constantly evolving business needs (this is a subtle but important difference!). I believe that many of you may have been in scenarios like this.
With SAP BW on HANA, however,  it is now possible to use nimble (Agile) implementation methodologies and therefore reduce the time it takes until business stakeholders can actually ‘see’ the data, ‘play’ with the data, and finally deploy a solutions that exceeds business stakeholder expectations. In fact, with SAP BW on HANA, I believe the deployment of new information could be reduced by as much as 80%, making it possible to start the use of “disposable reporting solutions” which serve specific short-lived business requirement such as a marketing campaigns or the analysis of business events.
As an example, during the tragic 2011 Tsunami in Japan, it was necessary for a manufacturer to establish a view into the Tsunami’s impacts on consumer behavior and its own supply chain. As the data was not readily available in BW, a business team developed a solution using a 3rd party tool marshaled a significant number of business resources to build and deploy the reporting solution outside of SAP BW. This ‘build-it solution’ approach took a considerable amount of time and was highly unstable (not that the rigorous structure of SAP BW provided a faster deployment option).

However, with SAP BW on HANA, I believe, it would have been possible to load data extremely quickly into SAP HANA by leveraging the built-in SAP HANA Data Services to clean and transform the data as well as provisioning for reporting to allow for immediate business analysis. The speed and ease of use of the SAP HANA tools would allow for repeated re-loading if the data were incorrect or the business scope was to change after the initial analysis. Therefore, in my option, the speed of SAP BW on HANA, the ease of use of SAP HANA modeling tools, and the integration of data cleansing with SAP HANA Data Services is a tremendous value proposition for any enterprise that currently runs SAP BW. With SAP BW on HANA it is now possible to actively support the business with new reporting solutions in “real-time” thereby supporting the business in their effort to increase revenue and/or profitability.

 

In conclusion, SAP BW on HANA is a real winner as it takes the technical complexity out the SAP BW implementation. SAP HANA allows companies to take a fresh look at their implementation and support teams’ composition and supports the resource shift from a more technical focus to a more value-add business processes.

With SAP BW on HANA, I believe it is now possible to use smaller and more nimble SAP BW teams for the initial deployment and continued business improvements. These teams can act more nimbly in conjunction with their business partners but at the same time, stick to a tight governance regime to ensure that business and IT standards are being met – which is a topic I will explore further in my third blog.

Last Thursday on July 12 we had five HANA Experts answering your questions for one hour during the #SAPChat: Steve Lucas, Aiaz Kazi, John Appleby, Vijay Vijayasankar and Lou Leporace. And the engagement we’ve seen from you can just be explained with one word: AMAZING.


We had more than 300 Tweets within just one hour and a lot of discussions based on your questions. We had 40 questions within the hour which was a lower than the last SAP HANA Tweetchat (56 per hour), however the volume of tweets seemed a lot higher based on the conversations happening around SAP HANA. This was the first Tweetchat Steve Lucas participated in, and he was very excited about the concept of answering your questions in real-time via Twitter and time flew by.

 

We have listed the 5 top take aways from this HANA SAPChat and also attached an edited transcript of our discussion below. Thanks to Kevin Cassidy (@SocialKev), Bill Robb (@billrobbSAP) and the overall SAP Social Media Team for helping with the planning and moderation of the SAPChat.

 

1. The SAP HANA Use Cases

We had lots of questions coming in around SAP HANA use cases and business scenarios and our experts were happily answering these questions, because we’ve already build quite some use cases for different industries and LoBs in the SAP HANA use case repository.

 

Q: HansLoekkegaard Speaking with our SAP customers, they would like to see some more concrete case studies of successful HANA work. Is this about? #SAPChat

  • sapdba @HansLoekkegaard We have had several customers speak live at SAPPHIRE conference. Many of these are available for replay. #sapchat
  • sapdba @HansLoekkegaard We are always looking for more customers willing to do public use cases. Also have Use Case Repository on ESH. #sapchat
  • sapdba @HansLoekkegaard ESH ishttp://t.co/8gtn5jnW. #sapchat
  • D_Sieber @sapdba @HansLoekkegaard: Link to #SAP #HANA use cases is directly here:https://t.co/bVFFlboc #SAPChat

 

Q: tpowlas Do you have #SAPHana customer use cases for the Utilities solutions? #SAPChat

  • vijayasankarv @tpowlas yes - we had one in#IBM booth at SAPPHIRE #SAPChat
  • tpowlas RT @vijayasankarv yes - we had one in #IBM booth at SAPPHIRE #SAPChat > missed it - will circle back 
  • aiazkazi @tpowlas Yes - check out Alliander, Centrica, AGL, and So Cal Edison use cases for Utilities #SAPChat #SAP #HANA #SAPChat
  • @louleporace In our case, Real time is the big deal for us, although there r other reasons. This fact alone #HANA opened up a huge market 4 us #SAPChat

 

2. SAP HANA Pricing Is Competitive

In addition, HANA pricing is always a hot topic across our community and Steve Lucas stated that HANA is and will have highly competitive pricing and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Q: MicoYuk RT @vgupta2: @nstevenlucas will the performance gap and price point make other options irrelevant? #SAPChat

  • nstevenlucas @vgupta2 #sapchat ALL DB decisions should be made on volume & value of data matched to cost of DB software. HANA will be competitive $$ wise
  • vijayasankarv @MicoYuk @vgupta2@nstevenlucas well, other DB vendors won't just sit around waiting, would they ? #SAPChat
  • MicoYuk RT @vijayasankarv: @vgupta2@nstevenlucas well, other DB vendors won't just sit around waiting, would they ? #SAPChat <<No they wont
  • praba01 @praba01 @vijayasankarv @MicoYuk@vgupta2 @nstevenlucas #SAPCHAT I c iPad vs others diff in SAP-HANA vs other DB vendors

 

Q: vgupta2 For a new customer will BW on #HANA Cost less than a oracle db based BW system for a large company #SAPChat

  • nstevenlucas @vgupta2 #sapchat BW on HANA priced VERY aggressively and TCO better than BW+Oracle any day.
  • applebyj @nstevenlucas @vgupta2 totally. In my customer scenarios, #saphana is very cost competitive in TCO terms. Also TCA if hardware #SAPChat
  • vijayasankarv @vgupta2 sure..and RDS solutions are already available...cloud too like S&OP #SAPChat
  • vgupta2 @vijayasankarv not just tools but actual results. Input a product and get sentiment results. No data loads needed, based on social #SAPChat
  • applebyj @vgupta2 @nstevenlucas in my opinion yes, HANA is a no brainer #SAPChat

 

3. The SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer Program

David Hull (@sapdba) has published and announced the SAP HANA Distinguished Engineer Program in June. This is a community-driven organization that aims to promote and encourage HANA technical expertise and hands-on experience.

 

Q: SAP_Jarret #SAPChat Hearing a lot of mixed messages about the quality & quantity of #SAP HANA certified resources & curious to get thoughts

  • applebyj @SAP_Jarret #sapchat totally agree with you Jarrett and that is why we created the HANA distinguished engineer program :-)
  • AndreaKaufmann @SAP_Jarret @applebyj#sapchat Jarrett here's more info about the HANA distinguished engineer program: http://t.co/rhNESdw9

 

Q: SAP_Jarret #SAPchat - Will a person HAVE to be #SAP HANA certified to be eligible for the HANA distinguished engineer program?

  • sapdba @SAP_Jarret Distinguished Engineer program is independent of certification, so the answer there would be NO. #sapchat
  • praba01 @sapdba @SAP_Jarret #SAPCHATwould have liked YES;otherwise how wud#SAP align #SAPEducation with real world?
  • sapdba @praba01 Absolutely, we are updating SAP Education on what we're doing, and asking for input. But the efforts are independent. #sapchat

 

Q: praba01 #SAPCHAT What can or will Distinguished Engr program do to create open mind towards #SAPEducation/Cert?Nothing is perfect after all.

  • applebyj @praba01 it will improve knowledge of who the good people are. #SAPChat
  • sapdba @praba01 I'm sure many Distinguished Engineers will have many different opinions. All can be constructively fed back to SAP Edu. #sapchat

 

4. SAP HANA and R

We have seen a lot of discussions on SAP HANA and R recently. It was no surprise to see questions coming in and Aiaz, Vijay and Amit Sinha were very quick in providing the right assets and answers. 

Q: vivek0622 @SAPInMemory Is there any best practice document for data replication.#SAPChat -12:32 PM Jul 12th, 2012

  • aiazkazi In case it wasn't clear before #SAP#HANA is for ALL data and we are seeing more non-SAP data being brought in #SAPChat #SAPChat
  • tweetsinha @vivek0622 @SAPInMemory#SAPChat https://t.co/khLWY0jG
  • vijayasankarv @vivek0622 R is not very difficult to learn.. and you can write lean predictive logic without using extra layers #SAPChat
  • tweetsinha @vivek0622 check HANA and R here http://t.co/UTw8dxDz #SAPChat
  • sapdba @vivek0622 good #SCN blog on R:http://t.co/28pIzJEg #sapchat

 

5. SAP HANA will not replace BW

The “hottest” topic at the #SAPChat was SAP NetWeaver BW powered by SAP HANA and recent questions whether SAP HANA will replace BW. Steve and Vijay had great answers and also linked to their blogs that have been published recently to discuss this issue.

Q: oscarprincipet The hana will replace bw?#sapchat

  • vijayasankarv @oscarprincipet no it does not...a well blogged issue too #SAPChat -12:50 PM Jul 12th, 2012
  • nstevenlucas @oscarprincipet #sapchat Once and for all, HANA will NOT replace BW. There will b use cases where u don't NEED BW, but that's different. -12:50 PM Jul 12th, 2012
  • jonerp @nstevenlucas "once and for all" (love it!) but.. not phrase that tends to work on Twitter where convos are maddeningly circular.:) #sapchat -12:55 PM Jul 12th, 2012
  • D_Sieber We have many blogs talking about BW on #SAP #HANA topic http://t.co/RU5sEDRu #SAPChat -12:50 PM Jul 12th, 2012
  • alokskumar @oscarprincipet HANA is not BW...its DB and platform for building and running high performance new app...HANA may replace BWA! #SAPChat -12:52 PM Jul 12th, 2012
  • D_Sieber @oscarprincipet blog by@nstevenlucas http://t.co/mLPUe5K4 and @applebyj http://t.co/piGahjpN #SAPChat -12:52 PM Jul 12th, 2012

 

What's your take away from the #SAPChat? What topic would you like to talk about next time? Let us know!

 

I want to thank Steve Lucas, Aiaz Kazi, John Appleby, Vijay Vijayasankar and Lou Leporace for joining and answering questions in real-time!

 

Steve Lucas already summarized it perfectly and I couldn’t say it better: “nstevenlucas #sapchat thanks all for participating today in HANA chat - insanely great! love it!”

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The “financial health” of global organizations and even large governments are gaining a lot more attention today. News headlines all citing after-the-fact issues in business practices with costly compensatory actions. Its no wonder that increased focus on risk, volatile markets, intense investor and regulatory scrutiny are placing greater strain on finance departments to detect and respond to fast changing market realities. However, with the ever increasing financial data volumes most IT organizations cannot handle the analysis of their financial data in a timely and cost-effective manner.

 

The Real-time financial planning use case highlights how business conditions require finance leaders to re-think their established planning process. Key requirement is the shift from periodic planning cycles to much more flexible, dynamic and iterative process.  For example in High Tech, Holger Faber who is Solution Lead from SAP Global IT explains, “A planning application may not sound like a typical big-data solution. But sales forecasts and other plans can often involve hundreds of thousands of records – especially when a company is dealing with snapshot versions, matrix planning, and reference data. Also, planning requires stable and reliable performance; you need to know that it will be completed in time for corporate and regulatory reporting.“

 

Is your company’s financial planning process able to surface potential issues before it reaches a crisis point?

Don’t take my word!

Attend the SAP Insider HANA Seminar on July 25-27 to hear David Foster from Colgate-Palmolive present his company’s experience with SAP HANA for financial planning.  Key topics that David will cover are:

  • How Colgate-Palmolive delivered a robust commercial planning process using SAP HANA along with various other technologies to drive internal alignment and external customer engagement
  • How Colgate-Palmolive has been able to drive reductions in planning cycle times, increase effectiveness through real-time scenario analysis, and improve collaboration between all commercial functions
  • Lastly David will walk through Colgate-Palmolive’s implementation methodology and take home tips to accelerate your organization’s implementation

 

Hear directly from customers recorded at Sapphire Orlando:

  • How ConAgra expects to reduce the Integrated Business Planning process cycle time from weeks to days
  • Lonmin can now run more planning scenarios simultaneously thereby improving decision making process
  • The opportunity that Colgate sees with BPC on HANA for their organization

Every once in a while, great products come along that change our lives. Products that move us, change our behavior, even our way of thinking. Products that are beautiful, appealing, intuitive, that connect with us emotionally. Products that are well engineered, well designed and that create tremendous economic value for companies.  Companies big and small manage to bring such great products to life, albeit infrequently. Indeed big companies, in particular, tend to get remarkably worse at this as they grow bigger. So some questions that come to mind are: What makes great products? What do companies do to bring them to life? And how can this be scaled? How do some (rare) organizations, manage to do this repeatedly? Managers, entrepreneurs and venture capital experts are looking into the science of this. I have come to some conclusions on this matter as well.

 

At SAP, I have been reflecting on HANA's amazing success. A bit more than 3 years ago, over a memorable dinner, Hasso challenged me to lead the intellectual renewal of SAP. Over time it became clear that this would have to be led by innovation. An amazing product that we bring to market, that our customers find desirable, that is feasible to build, and that would be viable, i.e. pass the only test that matters — market success. A few months later we started the HANA project. HANA, of course, has done this and more. So now I've been thinking about, and working on, massively scaling HANA to transform the entire software platform, as well as repeat its success in other areas and other ways. What is the essence of this endeavor? And can there be a math for this essence? A metric that is simple to identify and apply, so it can be scaled up and repeated in very large ways?

 

My conclusion: the essence of this experience, its distillation, lies in Design Thinking. Design-thinking, for the un-initiated, refers to a culture of taking a holistic, multi-dimensional approach to product development, and more generally, to all problem solving. The dimensions are typically summarized as 1) Desirability, the human dimension, the utility and emotional appeal of a solution, 2) Feasibility, its engineering or technical dimension, the know-how involved in bringing it to life, and 3) Viability, its business or economic dimension, or opportunity for commercial success.

 

Over and over again during the development of HANA and in its early days, and now having led its early adoption and many amazing successes, I have seen firsthand that design-thinking, with these three dimensions, is at the heart of product success.  So, my sense is, the ability to build great products distills down to how deeply do the innovators embed these three dimensions. I would like to propose a, , Vishal Sikka innovator’s index, or a DFV index to better frame this ability to innovate. I believe a great innovator has a deep understanding of:

 

  1. The Desirability - understands and empathizes with the end-users of a product, the emotions and psychology that influences their actions and tasks, what they would do with a product, how they feel about it, their real experience with it.
  2. The Feasibility - understands the product details (or code in our industry), what it takes to get something done, what the product does, why and how it does so, and also what it does not do.
  3. The Viability - understands the value created by the product, its commercial implications and is actively in the in the business and the economics of the product.

 

Generally speaking, the farther one is from the product, its end-users and the commercial aspects of a product, the worse the situation is.  Likewise, the converse is progressively better.

 

So here goes:


 

 

I further argue that:

  1. The multiplier effect is necessary to capture this index. The increase in proximity to each dimension raises the overall score non-linearly. Similarly, low scores in one dimension can significantly lower the overall score.
  2. The values of each of the three distances increase non-linearly with distance, a function that captures each step jump of separation from any or all of the three factors.  It’s a tad like many of the inverse square laws or like the Richter scale.
  3. Assigning values to the three dimensions may seem subjective, but certain things clearly influence it, e.g. degrees or layers of separation between a person and the money, code or end-user.

 

When we look at innovation this way, we realize why having organizational silos is such a bad idea. Organizational functions are intended to improve order (e.g. with things like objectives, plans, budgets) and bring specialization (e.g. in a domain) and scale, but they tend to reduce our proximity to customers, products and value. It explains why we feel the way we feel about certain organization silos and questions our mindsets about others (e.g. most Customer Support organizations rank very high by this metric — and yet we keep them away from product development).

 

Design Thinking argues for T-shaped people. I believe my innovator’s index metric makes this notion more tangible. We must encourage our teams, and especially our leaders, to have a high innovator’s index, i.e. be very high on one of these three dimensions, and to add as much of the other two dimensions as possible. We should work to put R&D teams in front of customers and marketers in front of products. As managers of organization and talent I would also suggest identifying the top individuals in our teams who fit this bill.  Organizations can implement the innovator’s index in a variety of ways. Within my team, we have an informal way of implementing this index, on a uniform scale where evaluations are done by a peer group including ecosystem participants, especially customers.  And, needless to say, we generally insist on high scores for our colleagues, especially our leaders.

 

I would welcome any thoughts from the readers on how to implement this innovator’s index, how they do so, and how they would rank some of the great innovators in human history.

 

Just as Gandhi rebelled against the caste system in India (another archaic organizational principle) and taught us to bust the silos in our minds, a similar busting of silos and getting close to the products is called for in large companies (including SAP).  As innovators, no matter our role or organization, we must get deeply involved in the human, technical and business aspects of our products. This, I believe, is the best way to systematically drive our intellectual renewal, and to systematically bring great products to life.

In 2011, SAP partnered with Audi Sailing Team Germany (STG) following the objective of developing solutions to support sailors’ decision-making and help link their strategy to execution. Besides supporting STG’s management and operations, one of the main goals of the collaboration was to make sailing more transparent using in-memory data retrieval, mobile data entry and accessibility, cloud technologies and analytics. As a result, several solutions have been developed and positioned in order to meet various needs of professional sailors and coaches as well as fans and spectators.

 

How do sailors and spectators benefit from SAP’s Sailing Analytics?


As an example, SAP Sail Better is an on-demand mobile solution designed to equip sailors with the tools to help them optimise their training, collect and share performance critical data around boat control, sail trim settings and performance classifications as well as venue related wind and tide conditions.


Partnering with Kieler Woche, which is the world’s largest regatta event, SAP also developed a sailing analytics leader-board displaying the position of every competitor on a map along with live race information. This is a revolutionary step forward in sailing sports and being used in the Kieler Woche TV broadcast, SAP enhances spectator experiences and provides sailors with greater insight into sailing tactics.

 

Providing post-race analysis based on SAP HANA

 

For the purpose of being able to perform post-race analyses, SAP has created a dashboarding solution linked in the Kieler Woche Live Center in order to provide deep insights into sailors’ performances and rankings throughout a regatta, breaking several measures, such as speed, distance or time figures, down to race and leg level. This allows retracing each GPS-tracked race during a sailing event, as well as recapitulating how a race evolved along the timeline and comparing sailors’ performances against each other. Additionally, by holding race data across several regattas and events in an SAP HANA database as a single point of truth, sailors as well as coaches and spectators are enabled to aggregate performance measures over longer periods of time. This provides capabilities of discovering sailors’ characteristics along with an analysis of strengths and weaknesses of performances under diverse circumstances, which include wind strength, sailing direction and speed evolution. The SAP Business Analytics tools will provide insight into these questions.

 

SAP is bringing an enormous progress and innovation into sailing sports by providing those insights and addressing both desktop and mobile devices. SAP’s sailing analytics solutions transform past practices of unreliable evaluations based on emotions, estimations, and experiences into relevant and dynamic analyses at the sailor’s and spectator’s fingertips.

 

Facing a promising and exciting future

 

Using SAP HANA as a data foundation, SAP and STG are well prepared for processing huge amounts of data resulting from GPS tracking information, wind measurement data and sailing performance figures. This data is growing dramatically with every regatta being tracked and it is crucial to rely on a sizable and high-performing data persistency layer, perfectly represented by SAP HANA.

I read two very interesting blogs from Steve Lucas (Does SAP HANA replace BW – Part 1) and from John Appleby (Does SAP HANA replace BW – Part 2) and felt inspired to add to the blog my experience using SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) in “Pure Play” and “Mix Environments” scenarios. As a BW consultant, a BI IT executive and a Reporting and data process owner implementing ‘reporting solutions’’, I have extensive experience in working with SAP BW, SAP BWA, Teradata, Netezza, and custom RDBMSs data warehouses.

 

You may wonder way I use the word “reporting solutions” above? In my mind, a data warehouse or an EDW in itself does not present a business benefit and is therefore only a cost center. By expanding the definition of data warehouses, data marts, and EDWs to include all kinds of reporting (off-the-shelf, analytics, analysis, data mining, dashboards, scorecards, etc.) we are actually delivering business value and becoming a potential profit center.

 

I would like to share my real-world experience with SAP BW as an EDW in three blogs. My first blog will focus on the technical aspects of SAP BW as an EDW and how SAP HANA will be, as I see it, a game changer. In my second blog I will focus on potential IT and business cost savings and take a look at how revenue and/or profitability can be achieved in running BW on HANA. My third blog will discuss the governance and  organizational aspects needed for making “reporting” successful, as even many of the most technically brilliant “reporting solutions” have not been sustainable as these solutions did not address “people, process, and technology” in the long run (beyond simple post production care).

 

Steve Lucas, in his blog, describes possible use cases for SAP BW including BW on HANA as an EDW use case. John Appleby weighs in on this topic by making some great points about SAP BW performance (or the lack of thereof) which have led many SAP customers today to adopt SAP BWA to meet the EDW needs for many SAP-centric organizations. However, he adds that new business scenarios (such as growing volumes of consumer data) are pushing the SAP BW use cases to new limits that are challenging to address even for companies that have a SAP BWA solution in place.

 

My first SAP BW experience was with version SAP BIW 1.2b. At that time, implementation teams were just happy that they were able to reduce the stress on SAP R/3 COPA, SIS, and LIS systems that regularly brought SAP R/3 (SAP ECC) to a stand-still. The BW teams could help customers solve their technical and business reporting issues quickly (i.e. helping them to understand their information to make better business decisions). But I would argue that these issues were not adequately resolve with earlier versions of BW. With constant evolution though, BW matured and seemed to be ready for “EDW prime time”. During that period of evolution, I was tasked to assemble a team that would be able to simplify the data warehouse landscape of a Fortune 15 wholesaler using as much as possible the SAP provided business content in both SAP R/3 (SAP ECC) and SAP BW.

 

This project was both technically challenging and a huge business transformation. The corporate direction in transitioning to the use of SAP business processes, terms and definitions enabled the organization to rely on the SAP standard business content significantly. However, performance was an issue not only in SAP BW but also in SAP R/3 (SAP ECC) systems. Additionally, the SAP BW EDW needed to take over operational reporting (transaction granularity), analytics, data mining while feeding a legacy RDBMS for data transmission purposes. The SAP R/3 (SAP ECC) system was 98% utilized for transaction processing.

 

To handle data loads, it was necessary to consequently apply data warehousing concepts and applying them to SAP BW. The implementation team designed a custom ODS staging layer for “raw” transaction data, developed data distribution mechanism to semantically partition storage and reporting objects (ODSs and InfoCubes), and introduced the MultiProvider as the layer for flexible reporting, analysis, and data mining. In addition, it was required to implement physical database partitioning and database compression on the RDBMS level. You might make an argument that this sounds like developing a custom EDW. While I agree with this statement to a certain point, it is important to point out that leveraging SAP business content (and data warehouse management processes) reduced  deployment time significantly!  Using the predefined tools SAP provided enabled the project team to get a head start and deploy a 40TB ready SAP BW EDW in nine month with subsequent frequent reporting solution releases over a three-year period. I am happy to say that, in my view, the SAP BW EDW solution remained relatively simple, and most importantly, the reporting solutions created significant business benefits.

 

In looking at the evolving maturity of SAP BW over the years, let’s look at another example of a BW customer that I worked extensively with in the past. This customer leveraged SAP BW for its wholesale operations on a global scale. Here it was necessary to not only meet all the same reporting demands but also the needs of Internet online stores, integration and feeding of non-SAP systems with SAP and non-SAP data on a global scale with distinct load and up-time requirements. This required an expansion of the concepts described in the earlier paragraphs. The expansion of the concepts was necessary due to the hundreds of millions of data rows that were received daily from an SAP ECC industry solution and then distributed to the SAP BW EDW, legacy data warehouses and transaction systems. Performance and data management goals were achieved by separating the SAP BW EDW layered architecture into separate SAP BWs. A high-availability staging SAP BW was implemented to which all data warehouses and operational systems could subscribe. Additionally, a high-performance operational reporting SAP BW provided high-speed reporting access at defined and guaranteed SLAs to Internet online stores. At massive transaction level SAP BW was used to integrate SAP and non-SAP data into a “Corporate Memory” which was termed the “Single Version of Truth” for the corporation. Lastly an analytical SAP BW was available for off-the-shelf analysis, data mining, and disposable reporting solutions. This approach allowed the company to build a “logical SAP BW EDW” that met, in my opinion, performance, loading, and reporting requirements – but barely so. Many of the concepts that were developed for facilitating the distribution, management and reporting of data made it into the SAP BW 7.x and SAP BWA product suite. I would argue that even today, now boosted by the SAP BWA, this “logical SAP BW EDW“ is working and performing as designed.

 

However, I would like to stress that this “logical SAP BW EDW“ described above was mainly possible through extensive IT involvement (“engineering marvel”) that would be worthwhile to be shown on the Discovery Channel. It was necessary to employ the best and the brightest SAP BW and data warehouse folks to design, build, and maintain the system. However, I believe that “complexity kills the cat” as the maintenance and retaining of talent became a significant factor which is a challenge for any sustaining IT organization.

However, I also came to the conclusion during this time that using non-SAP RDBMS solutions was never a realistic alternative to SAP BW. When trying to use these technology platforms, it was possible to engineer for performance but difficult to re-engineer the 30 years of SAP business solution knowledge and the 10+ years of SAP BW business content capabilities. I found that the costs for business solution integration and data integrity on a non SAP BW EDW platform were too prohibitive for an SAP centric enterprise.

 

Before I finish part 1 of my blog by painting the vision of SAP BW on SAP HANA as an EDW game-changer, I would like to share one quick examples on how SAP BW 7.x and SAP BWA significantly reduced the technical complexities of the previous two examples.

 

Implementing SAP BW as an EDW became much easier with the advent of SAP BW 7.x and SAP BWA. As an example, in working with manufacturer with strong retail and consumer focus, I was able to not only leverage the SAP business content but also all the advanced data warehouse management functions from Process Chains, Data Staging, and to Semantic Partitioning. Finally, one could fully focus on the business reporting solutions and not worry as much about technical performance. With the help of BusinessObjects reporting suite of tools and the SAP BWA, the SAP BW EDW solution was able to provide predictable and reliable performance to business functions. The SAP BW EDW was fully business mission-critical but data load performance remained a watch item.  John Appleby, in his blog, points out that SAP BW as an EDW has two issues “working” against it:

 

  1. Increase data volumes
  2. Increased performance expectations driven by iPhone and Google type of uses cases

 

At this manufacturer I experienced similar issues. It was possible to mitigate reporting performance by using the SAP BWA and carefully architecting the BEx and BusinessObjects reporting solutions. However, the expansion of business cases/use-cases to include consumer data created new challenges. Consumer data was needed for

  1. Retail sales reporting in country, regional, and brand offices
  2. Consumer analysis and sentiment reporting of various marketing and R&D functions
  3. SIOP and integrated financial planning


This “new consumer centric” data that was traditionally not even modeled in SAP had to be loaded into the SAP BW EDW. It was required to design new SAP Master Data objects, which sometimes “collided” with standard SAP BW definitions that are governed by SAP ECC. Extensive data transformation rules had to be designed in globally distributed POS systems or ETL tools which made daily timely loading a challenge. Furthermore, if Master Data issues occurred, data loads had to be stopped in some cases or manually addressed by non-business knowledge aware support staff. This created a constant risk for delay or potential for incomplete data.

 

In my opinion, using SAP HANA as the foundation of the SAP BW EDW will be a “game-changer” in the scenarios described above.  As the SAP HANA Data Services and SAP BW ETL functionality is moved into in-memory, loading times are significantly reduced. The layered data warehouse architecture can be simplified by “virtualizing” InfoCubes as much as possible.  One consideration could be of potentially having transaction level granularity (in InfoProviders) as the source for the “Corporate Memory”, “Single Version of Truth”, and reporting solutions. This simplification reduces time-to-deployment, simplifies technical designs, and provides the opportunity to leverage more commoditized support staff. For example, SAP BW on SAP HANA would allow for fast loading of POS sales data into SAP HANA, easy data cleansing within SAP HANA using Data Services, and integration of the POS data with Supply Chain/Finance data at the relevant “data visibility” level – all within one simple SAP BW EDW on SAP HANA.

 

From my perspective, most importantly, SAP BW on SAP HANA would allow for the design of non-SAP data models within the same SAP BW EDW leveraging both SAP BW’s and SAP HANA’s native strength to their fullest extent. Complex detail consumer information for consumer behavior analysis can reside in the SAP BW EDW without interfering with the referential integrity of SAP ECC driven master data (consumer data is inherently unclean and incomplete). Cleansing algorithms can be run using SAP HANA Data Services technologies to cleanse and complete data necessary for SIOP or sales reporting while marketing can quickly respond to consumer behavior by analyzing and changing marketing campaigns in real-time. I believe that this example becomes even more exciting if on-line consumer information is included into the mix.

 

I believe that with SAP BW on SAP HANA it is now possible to take advantage of SAP 30+ years of business experience and the SAP BW business content and combine it with the power of SAP HANA in-memory technology and BusinessObjects capabilities thereby allowing companies to leverage SAP’s and their own investment in SAP BW even more so in the future.

 

Stay tuned for my second blog as I discuss the IT and business cost savings in running BW on HANA and take a look at how revenue and/or profitability can be increased.

Did you know that SAP has a local presence in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada? In 2010, SAP purchased Sybase, with an office in the tech park north of the University of Waterloo (UW) (otherwise known as the MIT of the North). While many may know about SAP’s rich tradition in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, many may not know about SAP’s larger vision which includes enabling and promoting a new wave of startups that can innovate and take SAP software to its limits.

 

Globally, SAP is offering support for startups and has set its sights on the Kitchener/Waterloo/Greater Toronto (GTA) area. Following two successful SAP Startup Forum competitions in Silicon Valley this past spring, SAP’s third forum will be held in Waterloo on July 11, 2012.

 

At the SAP Startup Forum, local startups will pitch business cases and software solutions on how they could perform better if they ran on HANA, SAP’s revolutionary in-memory database. In addition to winning awards and prizes, winning companies will have the opportunity to enter the SAP Development Accelerator Program (DAP) which offers startups the exciting opportunity to develop real proof of concepts (POCs) with HANA, in addition to marketing support.


But program benefits aside, this is really about big data and HANA.  And what makes HANA really special? Well, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could complete 24 hours of traditional analytic processing in 15 seconds? SAP has seen that with HANA. Let’s do the math: There are 86,400 seconds in a day. Compressing that to 15 seconds is a speed multiplier of 5760. That’s special. SAP has even seen 100,000 times increase, which is equivalent to 2 weeks of 24x7 processing in 15 seconds. Companies that run 100,000 times faster on HANA than on their previous database become members of SAP’s ‘100,000x’ club. That’s really special. That’s HANA.

 

This event marks SAP’s entry into supporting Canada's local talent. SAP recognizes that SAP wins when startups win. If you want more information please go to https://www.experiencesaphana.com/community/startups/forums/toronto-waterloo.

 

HANA is opening possibilities for SAP customers. HANA is changing how SAP thinks!


How HANA can impact people’s lives & businesses is only limited by our imagination.

It seems like birthdays are all around us.  It’s the 4th of July, as this great country celebrates its 236 years.  My dad, my hero and mentor, turns 75 this week, the year of birth that he shares with the incomparable Golden Gate Bridge; San Francisco had a grand celebration in its honor recently -- #GGB75 on Twitter. This year also marks the birth centenary of Alan Turing, a pioneer of modern times whose work contributed seminally to the birth of the digital age, and San Francisco also celebrated this, with a gathering of computing’s greats. Oh, and my l’il girl HANA celebrated her 1st birthday.

 

Many people ask me about this whole li’l girl thing; it is true, that all of us in the HANA family, think of her as our little girl.  And what a little troublemaker she’s been!  Now over 426 customers, 355 live and ongoing implementations, 69,000 end-users, 16 startups, all 7 major hardware partners (DELL, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Cisco, Hitachi, NEC) who deliver on an open design blueprint, 4000+ instances on Amazon Web Services in June, and, I believe when we see the results of this last quarter, by far and wide the fastest growing product in the history of SAP, probably in the history of enterprise software.  It’s true HANA makes me feel like a really, really proud dad.  A great innovation, launched just a year ago, has seen such a remarkable growth and adoption, and more than that, like a young girl that sees the world with new ideas and without any preconceived notions, it has charted unprecedented new frontiers far beyond our expectation.  While I look forward to sharing our achievements since last SAPPHIRE NOW with all of you in Beijing, in about 3 weeks’ time, suffice it to say that in the meantime HANA continues to deliver breakthrough business value across the 5 value dimensions of – depth, breadth, real time, high performance and without pre-fabrication.  And beyond a database product, it has become the heart of our platform, on which we are, renewing *all* our products, bringing amazing opportunities for our partners and startups to innovate on, and also entering unprecedented new areas, going after previously unsolved and purposeful challenges in healthcare, in banking, in energy management and in many other walks of life.

 

We continue to see unmatched transactional and analytical performance – average of 7,976 times performance improvement over previous systems across all the project implementations. More than 16 customers are in the more than 10K performance improvement club already! And our hardware partners continue to roll-out scale-out solutions, including a 500 TB in memory system we have jointly created with IBM that we showcased at the HANA 1 Year celebration. Additionally, what’s also wonderful to see is that since SAPPHIRE NOW, not only SAP and our customers, but also our ecosystem is building amazing applications on HANA, like Qiagen's next generation sequencing for molecular diagnostics on Hana or Taulia's real-time financial risk analysis solution that analyses millions of buyer-supplier relationships in a split second to find the right financing rate at the time the suppliers requests it, not 48 hours later, when the opportunity might be gone.

 

And, beyond non-disruptive renewal and experience, I believe that when data, knowledge and expertise from all of humanity is instantly available, the way we work and live can fundamentally change, and improve, in ways that are only limited by our own imagination.

 

So, as we celebrate the many anniversaries, I am reminded of Alan Kay’s challenge to me last year, to make a movie to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Apple’s great knowledge navigator video, and the 50th anniversary of Ivan Sutherland’s amazing Sketchpad.  To rethink how we may work, if we don’t look at the future as an increment of the past, but as a construct that we can build, as Hasso says, with our knowledge, imagination and our conviction, a future that we deem to be desirable, feasible and viable.  So over the last year, we made a short movie, that we call “As We May Work” the name itself a tribute to Vannevar Bush’s great manifesto written after the second world war, “as we may think”.  I encourage you to take a look at this creation of our team’s collective imagination.  A depiction of how work, life, commerce, problem-solving, purpose and other human endeavors, might be eased by more human technology, purposeful technology.  How technology could help us solve complex problems, construct important devices and artifacts, how technology can help us achieve shared perspectives across space, but also across time.  It is a labor of love, a work of art, and as with all works of art, some love it some don’t, but it leaves us all the richer for it.  I hope you have a great 4th and enjoy the anniversary season.

You have learned a lot about SAP’s super-charged data warehouse solution: SAP BW powered by  HANA. Information about customer testimonials, benefits, technical details and guides are available on ExperienceSAPHANA as well as SCN.

 

Most of the advantages are clear to the IT folks – loading and activating data faster, no need for aggregates, indexes, etc. But what’s in it for the business user? What if we translates all these technical improvements to gain in productive time? Let’s say we load and stage all the data, and make it available for reporting every day by the time users start their day, instead of making them waiting for 2 hours until they get their reports. It translates to ~500 hours per year and user. For instance, if we have 200 users it is 100,000 hours gain in productive time annually. Or similarly 50% faster response time in reporting – if it means 30 seconds per report per user … you can do the calculations.

 

In order to get there you just need to migrate your BW system to BW on HANA, and to convert the InfoProviders to HANA-Optimized ones. After the database migration everything works as before in the BW on HANA system: all InfoProviders remain unchanged and work without disruption regarding data staging and querying (changes due to the migration process are transparent to the application).

 

New Modeling Considerations

With the conversion to HANA-Optimized DSO and InfoCube, the immediate benefits become recognizable:

  • Faster data availability for reporting
  • Improved reporting performance (faster response time) – even on DSO data
  • Simplified modeling and fast remodeling lead to less effort and faster deployment of solutions

 

The adoption of the HANA-Optimized DataStore Objects and InfoCubes opens up the possibility of new modeling considerations to further optimize your EDW solution:

  • Streamlining the core BW (EDW) – with the adoption of HANA-optimized DataStore Objects and reporting on these DSOs we can eliminate the need of InfoCubes (certain cases). CompositeProviders offer enhanced flexibility of ‘virtualization’ by composing data from core InfoProviders and TransientProviders. All resulting in less persistency layers and transformations (less operations and maintenance headache) in data staging and processing, making the data available faster for reporting.

Blog - InfoProviders in BW on HANA picture1.docx.png

Adoption of DataStore Object for Reporting


  • Operational extensions with real-time or close to real-time scenarios – e.g. the consumption of HANA models in BW, SLT into BW and the concept of TransientProvider provides access to source level data even without traditional BW modeling (e.g. mapping to InfoObjects) and with no data staging.
  • Agile extensions to provide flexibility and support the business user for ad-hoc scenarios – e.g. in the context of Analytic Index and the BW Workspace business users able to combine core EDW models with local data for their reporting needs.

 

The adoption of the new InfoProvider types in BW on HANA enables the IT department to be more responsive to new business requirements and to deliver solutions with faster turnaround.

 

Flexibility and Ad hoc scenarios

BW on HANA provides significant extensions towards flexibility and agility. The following InfoProvider types are available to build ad hoc scenarios and to combine local data (e.g. Excel file) with core BW data.

  • Analytic Index (more detail on this below)
  • CompositeProvider (more detail on this below)

In the context of BW Workspace ( http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-24093 ) business users are able to upload their own local Excel files and combine them with data from core BW InfoProviders for their reporting needs. The new model created by the end user is exposed to all reporting tools (BEx, Business Objects). With Analysis for Office 1.3  this can be done within the native Excel environment.

 

What is Analytic Index?

An Analytic Index is a data container that stores its data in a simple star schema in the BW on HANA database (column table). It contains facts and characteristics (called dimensions) with attributes. The metadata of an Analytic Index is also saved in the database of the BW system to preserve its definition.

The Analytic Index empowers users to perform rapid prototyping and easily create ad-hoc scenarios inside the SAP BW without the need to extend existing data models. The creation process is simple as there is no need to create InfoObjects for characteristics and key figures in advance - simply define the fields (name, type, length) and attributes of fields (e.g. for navigation). Therefore users can create an InfoProvider object which do not affect other BW scenarios and do not depend on BW content objects.

 

Note: New in BW 7.3 are BW Workspaces  - a dedicated area in the BW system where new models can be created based on central BW and local data this is an intuitive. Workspaces can be maintained and controlled by IT and used by local departments to react quickly to new and changing requirements. Workspaces can bridge the gap between central governance requirements and local flexibility needs

 

Flexible modeling with CompositeProvider

CompositeProviders allow combining InfoProviders (InfoCubes, DataStore Objects) and Analytic Indexes via UNION, INNER JOIN and LEFT OUTER JOIN without persistency of data (without storing the results). CompositeProviders are exposed to all BI clients as any other standard InfoProvider via the BEx Query Designer.

 

Consuming HANA Models in BW on HANA

Exposing BW InfoProviders in the native HANA modeling is not supported yet, but not the other way around – HANA models built in the non-BW schema can be consumed from within the BW environment. The two alternatives are:

  • TransientProvider – using transaction RSDD_HM_PUBLISH
  • VirtualProvider based on HANA model

 

With transaction RSDD_HM_PUBLISH we can simply publish the Analytic and Calculation views built in SAP HANA. The process is a simple step: select the HANA model, accept the fields (dimensions and measures) and Save. The system generates the metadata in the form of Analytic Index.

BW InfoObjects can be used as a reference to leverage the meta-data properties in reporting (texts, attributes, hierarchies, analysis authorizations). In case of VirtualProviders the standard BW functionality applies.

 

For more information on how to consume HANA models in BW see Reporting on HANA models in BW-on-HANA and SAP documentation Publishing SAP HANA Models and VirtualProviders Based on a SAP HANA Model.

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