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Restricted Column is a very cool feature in the SAP HANA Modeler which can be used to restrict a measure based on certain conditions of the master data. This helps when it is known that some queries will get fired more often than others (due to business requirements) and that these queries are based on an underlying subset of data which has certain restrictions applied. Rather than make the front end client do the processing work of applying the restriction, it makes sense to push this to the database layer (i.e. to HANA); especially if the number of records in the subset is very high and if the chances (driven by business) of these queries/reports is high.


The video below will show you how to create a Restricted Column and will also show how one can do an analysis preview in the Data Preview Editor of the SAP HANA Modeler on data in this Restricted Column.


If some of you find the UI of the HANA modeler different to what you are used to seeing, its because I have used the SP5 HANA Modeler version. Please see the half an hour video that I created at this link to see the UI improvements in the HANA Modeler with SP 05. This link can also be fount by going to the "Implement" drop down tab on this page --> "Implementation Resources" --> "HANA Technology" and search under "All" for "New Features with SAP HANA Modeler SP5".


If you are the CEO of a large company then it would be a surprise to me if your CIO, COO or other IT-focussed individual hasn't had some discussion about SAP HANA, or in-memory technologies. I think there are three things that a CEO really needs to know about SAP HANA in order to have a useful discussion with the CIO about what to do.

1) SAP HANA is the first product in a new category of technology


New categories of technology only happen every generation or so. Think in terms of the punched card to the transistor, or the mainframe to the PC. Each time a new category of technology is introduced, the business world changes around that category and a generation of new companies is born. I believe that in-memory technology is one such inflection point that creates a new category of technology. I believe this is significant in itself.


2) SAP HANA is a platform on which you can create competitive advantage


I don't know what your specific strategic objectives are - perhaps you are in the consumer products industry and you are worried about consolidating a global supply chain. Perhaps it is to become the most customer focussed organization in your industry. As a business leader it is your role to define those and most organizations I come in contact with have very clearly defined strategic objectives at the top levels.


What I can tell you is that SAP HANA is a platform that consumes, processes, transforms and delivers transactions, business information and analytics in real-time, and it's a good bet that whatever your strategic objective is, HANA could differentiate your business offerings in your market.


3) SAP HANA has a place in business that require cost reduction, not just cost avoidance


Often I have a conversation early on with senior decision makers looking at use cases for SAP HANA in their business. "I hear HANA is expensive", they say, "talk to me about the price". Yes - with SAP HANA you store all your important information in-memory, and that's many times faster and somewhat more expensive than traditional systems.


But there's two important points: SAP HANA typically processes information an order of magnitude faster than a traditional system, but it is not an order of magnitude more expensive, which means it provides value for money. Second, HANA typically allows you to simplify your IT - and your business. Operational costs are reduced because there is less complexity, and this typically provides an excellent TCO.


What I have found - and watch out for this - is that if you run a confined vendor comparison process which puts SAP HANA in a box and doesn't allow any of its benefits, then you will find that an in-memory database like SAP HANA will be more expensive than another vendor. Which is a bit like saying that air freight is more expensive than road to get a box of apples from Washington to New York, when you only needed them there in 5 days.


Final Words: The cost of doing nothing may be high


The businesses that I'm working with are typically in a highly competitive market, and the world is changing fast. Digital is replacing print, the global economy means that manufacturing needs change quickly and products have to come to market many times faster. They know that in order to beat their competitors,they need IT systems which can support the needs of the business.


What's more, I have no doubt that those businesses that invest correctly in in-memory technologies will differentiate themselves from their competitors. I have seen this in several cases, for example where SAP HANA has helped a change program deliver several points of cost improvement on the bottom line, in a highly competitive distribution field, or where it played the center role in a customer satisfaction strategic initiative to assist employees to understand customers better and serve them better.


My advice - challenge your CIO on how SAP HANA (or other in-memory technologies for that matter) could help you achieve your #1 strategic objective, faster and better - and see what he or she comes up with.

Since the SAP HANA Analytics Foundation (SHAF, for the lack of a better abbreviation) was released in December 2012, development continued to expand the scope. For those of you hearing about the HANA Analytics Foundation for the first time, let me give some explanations.

Reporting on operational data, the data that is still active, ("hot") in the transactional system bears a couple of obstacles. When running large queries, you can easily consume so much performance of the app server that transactional processes are heavily affected. In addition, reporting on the "raw" data is not so easy if you are not a real subject matter expert, say in financials, and also an experienced database developer at the same time. Those are two of many reasons why EDW systems (Enterprise Data Warehousing) became so popular in the last 20 years. They take away the burden from the app server, and allow to define business driven datamarts which make it easy for end users to get to the information that is needed. Besides that, EDW systems offer a lot more functionality e.g. in the areas of data integration and federation across system boundaries, data cleansing or as a long term "enterprise memory" that keeps time series of data. However, for producing the list of my currently open orders, a billing break down by customer and product or a quick overview on this month account balances, EDW sometime are a little oversized and they are barely ever providing the most up-to-date data, as usually a data load has to be performed first.

This is the reason, why customer are looking for a reporting environment that fulfills the following criteria:

It needs to be real-time, open and easily expandable, come with a uniform set of predefined datamarts that can be reused and refitted to the customer’s needs, it should be based on common IT standards and of course be lightning fast.


SAP HANA Analytics Foundation, the business content for HANA, delivers those features:

It is based on SQL and thus using a common IT standard, which makes it easy to expand and adjust the models we deliver. The HANA views, to be precise, the graphical calculation views SHAF consists of, are aligned across all major areas of the SAP Business Suite and central objects like Material, Customer and others are used in a uniform way. As of now, it comes with over 1000 HANA views (Q2/2013 delivery) that give customers a jump start in many areas: FI, CO, MM, PP, SD, CRM, GTS, Enterprise Asset Management and GRC Access Controls.

The views in the HANA Analytics Foundation fall into three categories:

  • "Query Views" which are intended to be used by end users for their reporting needs.
  • "Re-use Views" which customers can use to create their own query views.
  • And finally "Private Views" which cannot be changed by the customer and which form a kind of abstraction layer for the database tables and help SAP to keep the re-use views valid even if a database table might change. For using the query views, customers have a variety of options as they can chose from actually any BI client that offers an SQL interface. Obviously, we recommend using SAP's own BI clients like Analysis for Office, Crystal Reports or the brand new Visual Intelligence.


But that is not all! In addition to a consumption via generic BI-clients, SHAF-views can also be used to supply the data for analytical applications running on the HANA platform. Exposing a HANA view as an oData service is easy to do and using HTML 5, more precisely SAP UI5, SAP and customers can easily develop specific applications that are tailored to the use case. As of now, we are shipping 4 applications and one tool that are based on this pattern:

Working Capital Analyitcs - DSO Scope, Supply Chain Info Center, Invoice and Goods Receipt Reconciliation and GRC Role Analytics. The mentioned tool is the View Browser that helps IT and LOB users to find their way through the 1000+ views.


Our plans for 2013 include expanding the scope of the SAP HANA Analytics Foundation into areas like HCM, Transportation Management, Extended Warehouse Management and some others, as well as delivering a set of KPI-Cockpits that are using SHAF views as data sources as well as the brand new features from the Unified Shell and Page Builder project to make operational reporting not only fast, uniform, extendable, open, real-time and standards-based, but also beautiful.

Because, as David Gelernter, professor for computer science at Yale University and former artist said:  “Beauty is more important in computing than anywhere else in technology. Complexity makes programs hard to build and potentially hard to use; beauty is the ultimate defense against complexity”

The unreasonable journey with SAP at sea continues. Part of our role is to represent SAP as a company in various events. Since most of the events happen in the context of the startup-ecosystem it is sometimes challenging to position SAP. We encountered that some entrepreneurs in the countries we visit, have never even heard about SAP and our solutions.

Our most recent stop was Cochin in India. The startups undertook a 9 hours journey up North in a bus to Bangalore. Their mission was to present their companies to the local community and be part of the Startup Festival in Bangalore. We had two speaking engagements. A panel discussion about 'Entrepreneurship in the 21st century' and the a pitching event with 6 minute pitches from each founder. The participants in Bangalore were very aware of SAP. During the panel we got some very good questions about SAP and our engagement in the startup community. The audience was happy to see that SAP is investing in this area. Small companies accept that they can learn and benefit from a relationship with big players in the software industry.

It was great having engaging discussions with founders and investors about our Startup Focus Program and even about they way we run our initiatives UAS13_0309_IND_CAMF_0025.jpginternally. It shows that we have lots of knowledge to share since small and big companies face similar challenges when it comes to innovation. The common topics are leadership, team sizes, office environments and securing funding for the continuation of the initiative you believe in.

As in every port, we have been engaging with our local friends from SAP and learned about their experience with entrepreneurial spirit within SAP and Design Thinking. Thanks to more than 20 of our employees to spend their spare time to emerge themselves in the startup scene.



I had the privilege to meet with Alok and Akshat who both work out of our Bangalore location. It was great to learn that SAP India is investing in fostering innovation and allows their employees to participate in social entrepreneurship. SAP in India offers a course where employees can participate in a Design Thinking series with internal experts and then help outside organizations to setup businesses that tackle social challenges.

There was a lot of energy in the local startup scene. The startup scene is extremely ambitious and wants to step up to make Bangalore part of the Top 10 towns for most entrepreneurship. Currently it is being ranked #19.

Aboard the MV Explorer with the Unreasonable at Sea Program I met and discussed with both Google X's VP Megan Smith and BubbleMotion CEO Tom Clayton on Why and How these companies use design thinking in their respective organizations.

Megan Smith:

How do you design with customers?

"We (Google) have a luxury that our products can get immediate feedback. We can launch and test to .1% of an audience, get feedback and immediately iterate. We can do small tests and see how the users act differently. We do it during product development." Google is able to rapidly design with their user in their product development cycles and quickly bring these insights from their customers into the product cycle.


Tom Clayton:

If you haven't seen Bubbly, you should- what a great app. Bubbly is currently focused on the Asia Pacific marketplace but will be heading to North America soon.


Designing with a Point of View: User + Need + Insight

"Design thinking is ongoing and iterative. We designed Bubbly with a user + need + insight in mind.  The user: Busy, hip, professionals that need a way to connect with their moms (but don't have the time for a long conversation, and can't text their moms because their moms don't know how to text) in a way that allows their mothers to feel connected and reassured that they have heard their daughter/sons (of any age) voice. So Bubbly is like twitter, with a voice." Does anyone have empathy / understanding of this users need & insight?!?


Tom also discussed - Simplicity and the 2 year old test

"We wanted Bubbly to be simple. So we took the app to my 2 year old preschool class and let them play with the app. The class couldn't get it. They couldn't make the app work. So we redesigned the product and went back and tested it with the class -- and Bubbly passed; it passed the 2 year old preschool test - it's that simple."


Whether you are an enterprise like SAP or Google, or a successful startup like Bubbly - the values and approaches of Design Thinking: rapidly iterating with customers, designing with a point of view and making things toddler simple can make a difference in your products, marketing, communications and approaches.

By now, I suspect every IT professional at a SAP customer or SAP partner has heard about the promise of in-memory technology.  For the past few years, SAP has been evangelizing the potential for in-memory technology to revolutionize the industry – from dramatically accelerating business processes, to enabling real-time analysis, to eliminating layers from complex IT landscapes, to delivering business scenarios that were not previously possible.


SAP customers have rapidly been adopting SAP’s in-memory platform (SAP HANA). SAP sold almost 400 million of SAP HANA  in 2012, leading Bloomberg to refer to SAP HANA as “SAP’s top weapon” (“SAP as Most Valuable German Company Validates Deal Spree”, March 14, 2013).  Noting the recent launch of SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA, Bloomberg went on to further comment that “SAP expects HANA to help it displace Oracle, International Business Machines Corp. and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) in databases”.


While it is clear that SAP customers are embracing in-memory solutions and will have greater opportunity to do so now that SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA is available, the demand for in-memory solutions outside SAP’s customer base has been less clear until now.  A new survey entitled “Accelerating Enterprise Insights: 2013 IOUG In-Memory Strategies Survey” by IOUG ResearchWire has quantified the opportunity for, importance of, and adoption of in-memory technology among members of the Independent Oracle User Group (IOUG). Key highlights and findings from this survey include the following:

  • “Today’s data warehouse environments are not keeping up with the explosive growth of data volume (or “Big Data”) and the demand for real-time analytics. Fewer than one out of 10 data warehouse sites in the survey, for example, can deliver analysis in what respondents would consider a real-time timeframe.  Overall, existing database and data warehouse environments are time-consuming for both administrators and end users.”
  • “Nearly 75% of respondents believe that in-memory technology is important to enabling their organization to remain competitive in the future. Yet, almost as many also indicate they lack the in-memory skills to deliver even current business requirements.”
  • “In-memory is most often currently deployed to augment or accelerate existing data environments. The most frequently cited use cases of in-memory technology are for selective acceleration of analytics through replication of data from their data warehouses (45%), and within data marts that complement data warehouse environments (39%). Future areas of opportunities for use of in-memory technology commonly cited include real-time operational reporting and accelerating or complementing current data warehouse environments.”
  • “Real-time/acceleration of analytics is the most recognized benefit of in-memory technology, especially as a means to enhance existing systems with this capability—rather than replace components of the existing IT landscape.”


The findings from this IOUG ResearchWire survey make it clear that the promise of in-memory technology is resonating with more than just SAP existing customers.  Download the full report of the survey findings (attached to this blog) to learn more. 

SAP wants to hear from you!

From young children to older adults, mobility is changing the world as we know it.  Mobile devices are quickly becoming the preferred medium for news, social media, educational products, and business technology, to name a few.  At SAP, these changes are being welcomed with open arms, by employees and customers.

Over the past few years, SAP has transformed their brand through a renewed focus on innovation – as shown through mobility, cloud, and HANA – to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing enterprise technology landscape. Today, SAP is one of the world’s strongest brands and is a “cool” place to work because they are now interacting with their customers and younger generations like never before.

With this in mind, SAP has announced a competition where university students will have the chance to build mobile applications leveraging SAP’s mobile platform and HANA technology.  This competition, the SAP University App Rumble, encourages students to take a design thinking approach to creating a new mobile application for one of SAP’s 24 industries.  Design thinking will enable the students to measure the desirability, feasibility, and viability of their application to ensure that they have created a vetted solution.

Three finalist teams in the competition will get an all-expenses paid trip to SAP’s premier customer event, SAPPHIRE, in Orlando, FL. Additionally, their mobile application will be created with the help of SAP developers and will be showcased at the event!

This competition is the perfect way for students to build the app of their dreams while having the chance to interact with leaders in the technology industry. The SAP University App Rumble is also a way for SAP to team up with a younger generation of mobile-savvy students to ensure that they continue to be a trailblazer in the industry.

Spread the word and encourage involvement in the SAP University App Rumble!

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Contest begins at 12 AM Pacific Time (“ET”) on March 18, 2013, and ends at 8 P.M. PT on April 8, 2013.  Open to individuals who are: i) 18 years old or older at time of entry; ii) legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia; and iii) are enrolled in  undergraduate or graduate studies in an accredited college or university in the 50 United States, including the District of Columbia. Void where prohibited. For complete details, including entry requirements  and deadline, see Official Rules. Sponsor: SAP America, Inc.

I recently attended a luncheon during O’Reilly’s Strata conference in Santa Clara, CA. There were two speakers, both Strata conference chairs, who gave a talk titled “How Data Science is Transforming Healthcare: Opportunities & Challenges.” The speakers mentioned that 500 petabytes of healthcare data was collected in 2012. And, by 2020, it is projected that there will be over 2500 petabytes of healthcare data collected! We are going to need a way to parse through all of this data. And, in the healthcare industry, real-time analytics on all relevant biological data will be extremely valuable.


The SAP HANA platform is the ideal candidate for information analysis on healthcare data. As an in-memory data platform, scientists, researchers and even physicians can leverage HANA to process large amounts of healthcare data, and in real-time! Much of the data in the healthcare industry is unstructured, and with HANA, we can also integrate unstructured and structured datasets for analysis. The healthcare analytics market is projected to grow to $10.8 billion by 2017 from $3.7 billion in 2012. As the speakers continued to outline the opportunities in healthcare analytics, I couldn’t help but think about how much potential HANA has to influence this space. Moving forward, I can’t wait to see how we, at SAP, will revolutionize healthcare with our SAP HANA Healthcare Platform!

Modeler Unplugged Episode 6.2: Replicating ECC data to HANA DB using SAP Business Objects Data Services

In the previous Modeler Unplugged Episode 6.1, I demonstrated how to import the table structure from a source system (say ERP) to a HANA DB. Once the table structure is present in HANA, the next step in data provisioning is to import the actual data into the table. This step is entirely configured in the SAP Business Objects Data Services. (Of course, other replication technologies can be used too but our example shows using Data Services). The steps include creating a source object (for the ECC table TCURR in our example), a destination object (in HANA) and then setting up a connection between them in the graphical editor of the Business Objects Data services. Once this project (which can contain multiple jobs) is configured, we run the project or job, and if all the connections are in place and configuration is fine, the initial load will start.

Note that in this example, we have not used any transformation, but its possible to introduce transformation of data from source table to destination tables, provided of course that this was also taken care of during table structure creation. For example, one can set up a field called Full_Name in HANA using fields First_Name and Last_Name from a source table and configuring the combination of fields in the Business Objects Data Services replication project.

Like in the previous video, I have used the standard SAP HANA training infrastructure to create the video. Happy Viewing!

I had the opportunity to join the Unreasonable at Sea program for a bit. The Vietnam to Singapore leg of the journey and we had an action packed agenda. Several other mentors had joined us for example: Megan Smith VP at GoogleX, Micheal Mott, GM at Microsoft Studios , Mara Abrams of the Nike Foundation.


We were able to provide the start ups with some serious advice on business planning and funding pitches. Most of the startups have great prototypes, and are just now evaluating where to manufacture or how to go to market.


I used the Viability Canvas ( that Olivier Cauldron and Sylvie Charpentier have created) as a framwork for discussion. Another good tool is a light-weight persona - who is the solution for? It turns out that especially the early start-ups are not always clear on who their solutions are for and have many ideas around what their solutions could be or do.


It was great to see how everyone is so energized and focused on making their business successful.


ScienceFair 111.JPG

Fault tolerant architectures are the very life blood of any company.  Lose your IT infrastructure and/or your data and you could very well lose your company.  You might be skeptical about that previous statement but as a "for instance" check Gartner's statistics regarding the number of businesses that did not survive the first World Trade Center bombing because they had no DR plan; it's shocking.


So today I'm posting a primer on the importance of HA and DR.  It contains some industry common language and terms that will enable a better understanding of those terms as they pertain to HA and DR.  It will discuss why HA is important and illustrate some of the events which constitute "Denial of Service."  When most people think about losing a data center they commonly think in terms of natural disasters; but what about planned outages such as software upgrades (applications, O/S and etc that shut down the system) or user error that causes data integrity problems and on and on.  Want a more concrete example?  Consider this quote from The Data Center Journal  "The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) book, published in July 2001, “Special Analysis Package, Computer Equipment and Computer Areas” by John R. Hall, Jr., indicates that between the years 1994 and 1998, an average of 1,042 computer facilities fires were reported each year.  These fires were defined as “structure fires starting with electronic equipment”.


1042 fires?  That's just under 3 per day for the year!  And that's only one of many factors that can affect the ability of a company to operate their data center.


I live in Florida where Hurricanes (no not the University of Miami Hurricanes ) typically cause problems between June 1st and November 30th (what we Floridians call Hurricane Season).  Consider if you will that you are an IT professional working in Florida and have just survived a Hurricane and you and your family are all safe and sound.  Typically, after an event like this there will be no traffic lights, no power, no grocery stores, no gas stations and no promises of when those services will return.  Are you going to leave your family unprotected and go to work?  Probably not and more often than not you won't be able to.


So what I am driving at is that there are many, many different components and aspects of losing IT continuity and not all of them are just the fire, storm or whatever.


I have attached a PDF file that examines some of the things that you should be thinking about before something happens and how to be prepared for it and to that end I've included a primer on how to set up a DR failover architecture for HANA.  So if you lose your data center you can continue to support your companies IT requirements from you DR site (which should be sufficiently far enough away to not be affected by the event that took out your primary data center).


Please read and enjoy and by all means ask questions!

An exciting three days at the O'Reilly Strata Conference has come to an end.

Now you may ask yourself why are we talking about a little girl and an elephant? Well, the O'Reilly Strata conference included one big announcement for SAP and Intel: The Hadoop Distribution Software by Intel and its integration with HANA. Robert Klopp, Senior Director at SAP Technology and Innovation, gave us an introduction about the new Intel Hadoop distribution and the relationship we have announced with Intel in this brief video. We kept talking after the recording and I was really curious if he knew the origin of the name and logo from Hadoop. Do you know?

Apparently the inventor of Hadoop named the product after his little son's stuffed elephant, whose name was Hadoop. Now where is the little girl in our story and how does it relate to SAP?

Well, HANA is heading towards "her" second birthday in June, and is often referred to as little girl by Dr. Vishal Sikka. Hence, here at the O'Reilly Strata Conference when we are talking about the new announcement of the continued big data partnership between SAP and Intel we talk about a little girl and an elephant.                                                                                                                                                Panorama_Booth2.JPG

Enough of the story telling and back to the conference: We had a great crowd stopping by our booth talking to experts from various teams within SAP for example our Startup Focus Program.  The Startup Focus Program is a relatively new initiative within SAP working with startups, helping them to adopt and develop new applications on HANA. Why don't you check out nextvisionix, one of our startups, who came to the conference with us and hear what experiences they have made with the team, the program and how HANA enabled them to rise to a new level.


If you want to learn more on the SAP HANA and Intel Hadoop distribution you should watch this video with Justin Martinson and Wilson Gardello from our SAP Data Services team, who will dig deeper into details of the announcement.

In Wednesday's one hour session Joydeep Das, Vice President of Data Warehouse and Data Management at SAP,  talked about our progress towards strengthening the bond between SAP's databases and Hadoop. He took a closer look at big data and how it effects enterprises, technology considerations around analytics, bringing together databases  and Hadoop and how users profit from it.

On Thursday we saw the keynote by Joydeep Das on how SAP HANA integrates with Hadoop. In addition there were also fantastic keynotes by Nathan Marz from Twitter and Kate Crawford from Microsoft. A truly exciting moment for us was when Chris Hallenbeck, who had a great session at the Intel booth on Wednesday, talked with theCube about SAP HANA.


                         Joydeep Das at the keynote                                                          Chris Hullenbeck at theCube Interview       


Finally, there is only (HANA) One thing I haven't mentioned yet and you don't want to miss out on. Our SAP HANA One team spread the word about HANA platform running on the Amazon Web Services Cloud. Developers welcome.


And next time we are making sure to bring cupcakes to the booth crawl and iPhone screen wiper giveaways. Thanks for stopping by. We are looking forward to see you again next time.

A recent Design Thinking class for the start-ups focused on “Viability”. Viability for start-ups has a lot to do with business plans and financing. Tom Clayton, who has raised funds for a number of companies provided some interesting insights into APAC financing. Financing in India and China for example is aimed at companies who are based on those countries. Other countries like Singapore have “darling” funds available to companies that fit the government’s strategic agenda, for example Biotech. A round of financing can take up to 9 month. Tom recommends focusing on your “pitch” rather than asking outright for financing. Have your business plan ready that investors can look at.


When looking at viability, two simple questions to ask: who wants our product (and how many of those people exist) and what does it cost us to make the product.  When you begin, you may just test out the “user” story and then the value story. For many of the startups on board, they are still selling their story and their idea.


Seeing the challenges and effort is requires for a start-up to raise enough funds to run a business is an eye opener for “us” from the corporate world – where we take our “financing” for granted, and our salaries and costs are magically covered. Financial constraints create a very real sense of urgency and force the start-ups to focus on doing ONE thing very well a lesson that we can all learn from. Figure out the one thing you/ your product enables, do that one thing well, make sure your customers/ users believe in the product and think about how it makes money. 

You can check out the Start-ups and their products at the Unreaonable at Sea site: http://unreasonableatsea.com/


What is the VALUE of your  product ?

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