The digital age has led not only to the availability of more data, but also more means through which it can be processed. The combination of increased data volumes and increased data storage options, however, does not necessarily mean that organizations are in a better position to truly harness the potential of this information.
Many companies continue to feel overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the task at hand, with data often remaining siloed, replicated, or even completely untouched. While they recognize the immense opportunity that being a data-driven organization represents, it gets increasingly hard to connect this back to their business and therefore take full advantage of the potential it provides to generate lasting value.
Since SAP HANA was first released to the market in 2010, research company IDC predicts that the digital universe has increased 50-fold, with experts predicting the global datasphere to reach 175 zettabytes by 2025.
How can companies take full advantage of this and truly harness the power of the information available to them?
The Fluid Intelligence of SAP HANA
From the start, SAP HANA was designed and built to massively simplify data management. The in-memory data platform can compute everything in real time from the “atoms” of data thanks to its ability to compute on the fly without secondary data structures, and analytical and transactional processing in one. Like water, it can take on any form we need for the challenges we face in this new digital age. It is this fluid-like property of SAP HANA that formed the core of its innovative approach to data management.
This key concept of “fluid intelligence,” a term first coined by psychologist Raymond Cattell and developed further with his student John Horn, is what makes SAP HANA even more relevant now than when it was first launched. In short, it allows us as humans to dynamically answer questions we have never seen before, and the same is true for SAP HANA.
The opposite of fluid intelligence is crystalized intelligence, the application of concepts in which we have been trained. We can of course apply crystalized intelligence to data processing; computer science graduates apply what they have learned every day in their work. But there are simply too many questions to be solved and we cannot write a program for each one. That’s why fluid intelligence is so important. Because it enables everyone — and machines — to offer solutions to previously unencountered situations or problems, we are not restricted in what we can and cannot process. Intelligence is not only measured in terms of the difficulty of the tasks we can solve, but also the speed in which they are resolved. At its essence, this represents the core concepts of SAP HANA: speed and fluidity.
New SAP HANA Cloud Services
New SAP HANA Cloud Services will enable us to apply these core concepts of SAP HANA to the cloud age and to the vast amounts of data available to companies.
SAP HANA Cloud Services will be the gateway to a single source of truth for all data, including transactional and analytical data, as well as structured and unstructured data across on premise and cloud. SAP HANA Cloud Services aim to make data of any size and shape available to people, algorithms, and data-driven applications with online access, providing cloud qualities like low total cost of ownership (TCO), elasticity, serverless principles, high availability, resilience, and autonomous behavior.
With SAP HANA at the core, the new solution will be built on the fastest in-memory computing engine. By making this engine elastic, it will be possible to scale out indefinitely, enabling customers to add more resources as they require — and reduce them when they don’t need them anymore. Building on technologies such as SAP IQ, SAP HANA Cloud Services also will also offer an SQL data lake as a storage layer at minimum cost.
Previously, I spoke about the latest on-premise SAP HANA innovations. Since our on-premise SAP HANA platform will share the same core components as SAP HANA Cloud Services, all of our customers will benefit from the new features and functionality that come with the latter, such as the cloud scale-out option to dynamically add SAP HANA capacity as and when required.
Introducing SAP Data Warehouse Cloud
As a concrete first step on this journey, we are introducing SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, which brings the power of SAP HANA performance and flexible modeling along with SAP BW/4HANA structured modelling into one enterprise-class cloud data warehouse. With pre-built templates, integration to SAP, hybrid modes with SAP HANA and SAP BW/4HANA, and other data sources, as well as the power of SAP HANA, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud delivers faster results, simple cloud-based end-user analytics, and the flexibility to control costs and pay-for-what-you-use.
As announced at SAPPHIRE NOW, we’re inviting customers to sign up for the beta program. Find out more at www.sapdatawarehouse.cloud.
SAP Analytics Cloud in Focus
One of the capabilities of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is powerful, integrated analytics-as-a-service with SAP Analytics Cloud. With our one simple cloud strategy, we enable businesses to plan, discover, analyze, predict, and make decisions all on one unified, intuitive platform that has been designed for the business user.
SAP Analytics Cloud is continuing to build on existing augmented analytics capabilities that infuse artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into business intelligence and enterprise planning workflows in order to help users go from insight to action in a fraction of the time. The latest innovations push conversational analytics to the next level, with the user’s search and natural-language processing (NLP) experience in SAP Analytics Cloud now expanded to understand and leverage semantics across all of your data.
Analytics workflows now start with a new homepage and search box with built-in NLP that let you interact with all your data to initiate search and analysis across data sets simply by asking questions just as you would a colleague: conversationally. The software “answers” as a trained subject-matter expert would, by focusing on the most relevant data set and offering appropriate visualizations and contextual explanations created for you on the spot. Find more information on this here.
Another important analytics topic at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW event is our work around collaborative enterprise planning to enable better business outcomes by bringing users across all lines of business – including enhanced integration with SAP Integrated Business Planning for supply chain planning – together. You can read more about our strategy to align plans across the enterprise for one version of the truth for better planning and collaboration here.
SAP Analytics Cloud is also a critical piece of the Intelligent Enterprise strategy, providing intelligence in context across our portfolio. Embedding SAP Analytics Cloud in all of our cloud line-of-business solutions is a top priority for us and we estimate that 1.3 million cloud line-of-business users will be exposed to SAP Analytics Cloud through our cloud line-of-business applications by the end of the year. Additional enhancements include analytics design which provides software development kit (SDK) capabilities to allow customers, developers, and partners to build, embed, and extend intelligent analytic applications.
Bringing the Worlds of Machine Learning and Human Creativity Together
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is just one great example of what can be achieved when you combine the machine learning power of SAP HANA together with the human creativity that SAP Analytics Cloud enables. Looking to the future, I’m incredibly excited about the potential this combination and the SAP HANA Cloud Services offer. Sign up today for insider access to the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud beta experience and join the journey as one of the first to try SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.
Gerrit Kazmaier is senior vice president of SAP HANA and Analytics at SAP.