Increased attention to organizational agility, rapid decision-making, workplace flexibility, and the credibility of enterprise data are catalysts driving businesses to further accelerate their adoption of cloud-based enterprise application systems. But as they encounter massive logjams of fragmented data, the importance of data warehousing is re-emerging.

Moving to the cloud can be a cathartic experience for companies. Physical control of on-premise data centers, networks, and machines give way to a landscape of virtual systems and processes running in an environment that no one can touch or see. And while running operations in the cloud reduces costs and drives reliable business continuity, it can also bring unprecedented complexity when data is scattered and siloed.

The struggle to integrate data often cascades across the entire business, contradicting the cloud’s promises of flexibility, agility, and speed. Yet, SAP partners – from software and service providers to system integrators and value-added resellers – are helping their customers break through this gridlock with a new cloud-based approach to data warehousing.

Rethinking the Relationship Between Integrated Data and Enterprise Applications

While the seemingly endless potential of the cloud is empowering, most companies are overwhelmed by the challenge of redefining their data management processes for software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, cloud databases, and the cloud infrastructure. All too often, micro-silos of data are growing at such an exponential scale that users cannot get the complete view and insights they need to drive the bottom line.

It’s no secret that 30% to 80% of our customers’ data reside on SAP solutions. But when a business’s intelligence is spread across a virtual landscape of on-premise applications, databases in the cloud and other sources such as spreadsheets, businesses cannot gain the speed, cost efficiency, operational flexibility, and innovation necessary to stay competitive.

So, how can companies centralize data from their enterprise application systems with micro-silos and scattered data locations across the cloud and get the right information to the right user?

A common misperception is the role of modern enterprise application systems when managing core data and delivering data intelligence. They’ve historically served as a system of record in which core business processes operate. But as digitalization expands its reach across the enterprise, an array of transaction systems appears, resulting in hundreds and thousands of islands where data now resides. And so, businesses require an end-to-end data management solution that maintains security and trust and delivers contextual logic giving one view of the enterprise, combining all its critical data sources, in the cloud.

Remodeling Data Warehousing for a Cloud-Based World

By rethinking the importance of data warehousing during a move to the cloud, businesses can discover new ways to enhance existing data with related content, models, and analytics and manage that intelligence to address unique needs. The advantages of remodeling data warehousing are especially critical when data is constantly changing and business needs are increasingly unique.

The SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution, a component of SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), automatically obtains and presents the latest and greatest data available – physically moving terabytes of information back and forth in the background. The solution is based on in-memory computing technology and comes with prebuilt models and templates to help simplify the user experience when setting up data analytics and share insights with greater ease. It establishes a virtual and federated approach to data management and enables users to load information into a data mart.

The business layer in SAP Data Warehouse Cloud enables organizations to centrally define business semantics to hide any complexity in the underlying experience from their users. The layer quickly consolidates SAP and third-party data sources on premise and in the cloud and establishes a single source of truth by defining and locating dimension definitions, measures, key performance indicators, and authorizations. Users can also quickly deliver stable and extensible semantic business models by creating complex queries based on SAP and third-party data sets without replication.

By modeling in the data warehouse, without the requirement of migrating data first, partners can quickly help customers start using their data in a federated manner. Furthermore, they can leverage the prepopulated building blocks to rapidly innovate custom cloud capabilities to help deliver the outcomes that customers expect and business value that keeps them loyal.

Evolving Data Experiences Continuously with Ease and Speed

Suppose a utility business wants to standardize its analytics and gain new efficiencies with process automation and the use of a cloud-based data warehouse with a predefined model for metering analytics. By implementing SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, the utility gains a solution that can help find related information, pull it into the data warehouse, and make that model available immediately to, for example, build data visualizations.

Another remarkable aspect of this approach is that SAP partners are not starting from scratch to deliver these capabilities. In this case, smart meter data stored in SAP for Utilities solutions at 15- and 30-minute intervals can quickly grow and become challenging to store cost-effectively. However, housing meter data in a data lake within SAP Data Warehouse Cloud can help the utility handle data volume growth and keep costs down.

To comprehensively analyze and report smart meter data, the utility business can leverage SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud. With all data centralized in SAP Data Warehouse, reporting can be extended to enable enterprise-wide detailed assessments.

Additionally, meter-to-cash scenarios can be set up quickly with the assistance of prebuilt SAP Data Warehouse Cloud content. The content leverages service API extractors and core data services views, along with dashboards from SAP Analytics Cloud and predefined models – enabling a utility company to accelerate time to value.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud also integrates with the current landscape to help create one central data layer. Connections are available for all sources, including SAP S/4HANA, the SAP BW/4HANA solution, and the SAP Business Warehouse application, as well as third-party sources and flat files. The solution can replicate and virtualize data from different sources, working to create one source of truth with complex data models that span multiple data sources.

Designing a Cloud Environment with the Customer in Mind

If there was ever a time for partners to play a key role in how people work, it’s now. From connecting various remote data sources to creating specialized analysis, they can empower organizations and their users to work better together by leveraging data across today’s complex virtual and physical workspaces.

Finding that critical path to customer success in the cloud has never been easier and faster. With a cloud-based data warehouse solution, such as SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, and technology platforms like SAP BTP, businesses can benefit from partners unifying data models and connections in one secured and governed place. And in return, they can make reliable decisions with confidence, producing the kind of outcomes that keep their brand moving forward for years to come.

Learn more about SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP BTP, and if you’re a partner or interested in partnership opportunities with SAP, check out SAP PartnerEdge – Build at sap.com/BuildBetter.com. Or, read part one and part two in the CTO series to learn more about how partners are enabling customer success with a unified technology platform.

Jagdish Sahasrabudhe is CTO of the Global Partner Organization at SAP.