Improving Analytics with SAP HANA

Foto: Fololia
Foto: Fololia

SAP HANA’s territory is about to get bigger, thanks to a new partnership between SAP and SAS, announced at SAP TechEd 2013 in Las Vegas. Analytical solutions from the Cary, North Carolina-based software developer SAS will now run on SAP HANA – both on SAP HANA as a database and as in-memory servers running parallel in SAP HANA. The partnership will streamline business, enabling decision makers to use real-time in-memory data analysis within their existing SAS and SAP HANA environments. It will also help organizations solve two big problems, according to Paul Kent, vice president of big data at SAS.

“The very first problem that you like to tackle is the scoring,” Kent said, referring to the way organizations develop predictive business models and then rate – or “score” – events, customers, machines, and much more. “ You can put that program into the HANA platform, and score it directly in the run time of HANA.”

Using a single machine simplifies the process

With the SAS/SAP partnership, organizations won’t have to move their data to separate computers to conduct scoring, Kent stated outside the keynote hall. They can do so in a single machine.

Next page: Together, SAP and SAS improve productivity, create a business advantage

The second issue the new partnership addresses is in helping data scientists find patterns that can lead to a business advantage, according to Kent. It’s all a matter of “finding this signal in the noise,” he said, recalling statistician Nate Silver’s opening keynote at SAP TechEd. “You can detect a machine that’s going to fail earlier than it actually keels over,” Kent said. “So you can send a technician to fix it before it actually dies.”

The joint SAP/SAS technology and product roadmap will help data scientists improve their productivity by accelerating model development, iteration, and deployment. “Today it is a very broken experience for data scientists – moving data from one system to another, bringing it into SAS, doing your models and analytics there, and then transporting it back,” SAP Executive Board Member for Products and Innovation Vishal Sikka said during his SAP TechEd keynote. “The ability to run the SAS engines and SAS models on massive amounts of data without restriction becomes dramatically improved as a result of SAS working together with HANA.”

Single environment for business applications and advanced analytics

The collaboration could help eliminate data movement, duplication, and reconciliation. The single environment for business applications and advanced analytics may also simplify the IT landscape, reduce costs, and deliver real-time performance. “SAS talks about ‘the power to know,’” Sikka said. “Now it is the power to know with HANA behind it.”

Next page: SAS anticipates “huge win” for customers

Ninety of the top 100 companies on the Fortune Global 500 list use SAS Business Analytics software to seek fresh business opportunities, take action in record time, and get results. The SAS/SAP partnership simplifies a disparate landscape, allowing data scientists to get data in SAP, as well as to flexibly build and trade models, according to Aiaz Kazi, who runs platform strategy and adoption SAP. “SAS data scientists who are used to SAS tools will get to save their models in HANA,” Kazi said. “And then anybody – the same data scientists or other people who are using HANA, even from SAP HANA Studio – can score these models or run these models.”

SAP HANA’s in-memory functionality helps businesses handle large data sources while also supporting real-time analytics. So SAS and SAP plan to execute a co-sell pilot program with select joint customers in industries such as financial services, telecommunications, and retail.

Various business areas will benefit

Applications will likely appeal to business areas requiring advanced analytics, an in-memory platform, and high-value results, such as customer intelligence, risk management, and asset management. “That is exciting to put on HANA,” said Kent of SAS. “It is actually going to be a huge win for our common customers.”