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The Importance of Universal Data

Feature Article | February 6, 2018 by Bernd Leukert

Today, an organization has to be both customer-centric and agile, able to respond rapidly to changing market and customer demands. Realizing this vision requires intelligent processes, intelligent experiences, and intelligent analysis.

As I’ve explained previously, real-time data is one of the central components of the Intelligent Enterprise. Data is the currency of the digital transformation and data-driven applications are the future of application development. These next-generation solutions are proactive, based on events that trigger certain actions and built on technology that allows them to not only be more efficient, but also more intelligent. An end-to-end process that, for example, collects sensor data to provide new pay-as-you-go business models, incorporating spatial analytics, machine learning, blockchain, contracting, operations, and billing opens up a whole new world of data-driven decision making.

The Need for End-to-End Data Management

But the introduction of new and advanced technologies can also bring new challenges. As data landscapes become increasingly complex, companies face the challenge of trying to manage the influx of both structured and unstructured data from multiple applications, files, databases, data warehouses, and data lakes. They need a solution that simplifies their landscape while also ensuring the highest levels of security. They want to be able to productize new data scenarios quickly and easily and gain a comprehensive source-agnostic overview of their business by combining all sets of data – whether big data, transactional data, or analytical data – into a single data universe. They require flexibility when it comes to their cloud infrastructure and the architecture of their solutions.

What is missing is the enterprise-ready technology to achieve these goals. Against this background, many companies have concerns about the security and accuracy of the data they use to make business-critical decisions every day.

Introducing Universal Data

To meet these challenges, SAP has launched SAP HANA Data Management Suite, a complete end-to-end data solution based on SAP HANA, SAP Data Hub, and SAP Enterprise Information Management (EIM) technologies. It allows for secure, governed enterprise-class applications and analytics by providing an open, hybrid, and multi-cloud enabled solution suite that orchestrates all the data you need into a trusted, unified landscape. SAP HANA Data Management Suite is the foundation to build agile, data-driven applications that are always tapping into live data. With one query, SAP’s modern data platform can deliver results from a single logical data set that covers your whole enterprise – turning the concept of universal data into a reality.

Lifting the Hood on SAP HANA Data Management Suite

The suite is based on existing proven SAP technology that has demonstrated significant value to customers. With the in-memory performance required to handle today’s data volumes, SAP HANA is the business data platform for the intelligent enterprise. As a key feature of the new suite, the SAP HANA database platform also includes numerous built-in native analytical engines, including spatial processing, graph processing, text analysis, search and mining, machine learning, streaming, and series data storage and processing. In SAP HANA Data Management Suite, SAP HANA forms the outer shell on which applications can be developed, guaranteeing that they can also be run in distributed environments to support big data scenarios.

Launched in New York last year, SAP Data Hub is a unique data solution that centralizes landscape orchestration and governance, meta data management, and lifecycle management. Users control the flow of data by adding operators that, for example, prepare data as it is being ingested, govern data across all data stores (whether on-premise or in the cloud), and define data flows for machine learning models. Importantly, these operators are containerized, and can independently scale on the fly. And in December, we followed up on this success with the release of SAP Data Hub, developer edition, which provides users with free access to SAP Data Hub features to test, evaluate, and prototype their data scenarios.

The third pillar of the SAP HANA Data Management Suite consists of the SAP solutions for enterprise information management. These solutions help customers turn their data into a strategic asset, delivering information excellence supporting capabilities that enable companies to understand, integrate, cleanse, manage, associate, and archive their data to optimize business processes and analytical insights. In this way, customers can be sure they have the quality and consistency of data they require across their entire enterprise.

By combining the extensive range of capabilities offered by SAP HANA, SAP Data Hub, and the SAP solutions for EIM, we have created THE data platform for SAP applications that delivers the seven laws of universal data.

Bernd Leukert is a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Products & Innovation

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