This year’s Sapphire lacked the marque announcement of the Intelligent Enterprise, however, it was just as significant for highlighting SAP’s continued focus on Cloud, especially when it comes to data and analytics. SAP’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based cloud direction has been clear when taking into consideration the acquisition of cloud-based tooling (SuccessFactors, Ariba and Hybris). The direction is strengthened through the continued development of S/4HANA Cloud – it’s core ERP offering, which is SaaS-based.
Less clear is SAP’s analytics strategy in the cloud. SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP’s flagship analytics tool, is at the core of the Intelligent Enterprise but what has been lacking is a strategy around the broader data ecosystem and the support for Big Data, Data Intelligence and Machine Learning on Big Data in the cloud. Furthermore, there has been no option available for an enterprise-grade SaaS-based cloud-based data warehouse.
SAP HANA Cloud Services goes a long way in addressing this gap and rounds out the full stack of analytics cloud offerings including flexible storage at scale (SAP HANA Cloud), a SaaS-based data platform (SAP Data Warehouse Cloud) and the sustained development and maturity of SAP Analytics Cloud.
SAP HANA Cloud
SAP HANA Cloud (currently in beta) aims to bring the benefits of HANA into the Cloud but provides a more manageable and scalable solution based on performance needs and use case. SAP HANA Cloud provides a way of managing all tiers of data without it having to be loaded into a single storage tier – it makes available various storage tiers which provide scale, flexibility and cost management.
SAP HANA Cloud aims to provide storage access to storage tiers ranging from RAW store S3 buckets, HDFS and SAP based data lakes up to high performance in memory columnar data store for the ultimate in high performance. SAP HANA Cloud provides the ability to move up and down the storage stack depending on performance and cost.
The availability of flexible and scalable storage options presents interesting options for application build and analytics use case especially when it comes to data warehousing and analytics. SAP HANA Cloud makes all the advanced analytics capabilities of native HANA such as predictive and Machine Learning, a power graph and geospatial engine and advanced text analytics available throughout the stack.
SAP Data Warehouse
Data Warehousing has seen significant changes in recent years, moving away from batch overnight processes and the associated information lag to a more real-time and virtualised representation of data at scale.
Paradoxically, data is becoming less accessible due to the proliferation of cloud-based solutions, hybrid cloud and on-premise applications, along with business unit built solutions often resulting in a fragmented data landscape and data silos. As a result, there is an ever more present need to transform and harmonise data across the various fragmented data sources within an organisation to reduce these silos and unlock data across an enterprise.
SAP BW/4HANA modernised SAP’s Data Warehouse offering by providing a simplified architecture and code base along with a high-performance platform and flexible modelling in one enterprise-class Data Warehouse. However, this was only available either on-premise or in a hosted cloud infrastructure.
But now SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is generating waves of excitement as it brings the benefits of BW/4HANA, the performance of HANA and advanced analytics offerings into an enterprise-class cloud-based data warehouse. This approach brings scale, flexibility and the ability to manage costs by leveraging SAP HANA Cloud.
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is powered by SAP HANA Cloud Services offering the scalability and flexibility of HANA Cloud, so you can quickly access an entire data landscape and translate it into value in line-of-business specific spaces.
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud provides in-built powerful analytics capabilities to help businesses build powerful insights and share knowledge quickly. With pre-built templates and pre-built business content – integration into SAP and hybrid models of Data Warehouse Cloud delivers faster results, simple cloud-based end-user analytics and the flexibility to control costs and only pay for what you use.
SAP Analytics Cloud
SAP Analytics Cloud is a new generation of SaaS, providing advanced analytics capabilities including business planning in a secure and trusted public cloud offering. More specifically SAP Analytics Cloud allows the following advanced analytics features:
- A fortnightly new feature release cycle – creating rapid innovation.
- Self-service BI workflows for financial reporting, detailed analysis and automated insights.
- The utilisation of free predefined content accelerators and best practice guidelines to speed deployment of finance reporting scenarios.
- Integrates with S/4HANA Core Data Services leveraging standard metadata, queries and best practices – minimising downstream development and providing real-time analytics and insight.
- Open SAP Analytics Cloud content directly from Fiori Launchpad, leveraging a consistent roles and authorisation framework across all SAP data.
- The leverage of smart discovery insights and predictive analytics for advanced analytics and predictions.
SAP Analytics Cloud is also a critical piece of the Intelligent Enterprise and Cloud strategy, providing intelligence in context across the cloud line of the business portfolio.
SAP is embedding SAP Analytics Cloud in all cloud line-of-business solutions – SAP estimate that 1.3 million cloud line-of-business users will be exposed to SAP Analytics Cloud through their cloud line-of-business applications by the end of 2019.
SAP also provides additional enhancements including analytics design, which provides software development kit (SDK) capabilities to allow customers, developers and partners to build, embed, and extend intelligent analytic applications making SAP Analytics Cloud an advanced and market-leading platform
Combined with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, SAP Analytics Cloud provides integrated Analytics-as-a-Service, with one simple cloud strategy, enabling businesses to plan, discover, analyse, predict and make decisions all on one unified, intuitive platform that has been designed for the business user.