As Cloud computing becomes more efficient, secure and cost-effective, it continues to remain a top priority for all CIOs. Data warehousing in the Cloud is no exception to this scenario. As data content grows exponentially, businesses must be able to harness the power of data and transform it into business value.
The case for Cloud rests on some of the obvious benefits such as, significantly faster implementations, simplified and scalable infrastructure with a minimal upfront investment, controlled expense with a pay-per-use model, etc.
At 2019 SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP announced the Data Warehouse Cloud that is powered by SAP HANA Cloud Services and, combines SQL processing power with BW’s data governance approach for building data warehouses. This enables quick access to the entire data landscape through line-of-business (LoB) specific spaces. Its powerful analytical capabilities are meant to help gain instant, real-time insights and share knowledge quickly. Plus, there is a focus on openness and simplicity, allowing the power of SAP technology to be experienced without limitations. The separation of business logic and data in the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud enables business users to make changes quickly as markets and business ecosystems evolve. Users can ask new questions, add new data, neither having to re-engineer the data themselves nor needing any intervention from IT.
Here are some of our key takeaways on this announcement and what SAP customers can expect:
SAP has been trying to get the business users’ attention with easy, flexible and agile data modeling, without having to go through IT for minor enhancements. This started with the concept of Workspaces and visual modeling using the Visual Composer in earlier versions of SAP BW. While none of these concepts took off to mass popularity, SAP seems to be on the right path with this announcement of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. Of course, IT still plays an important role, but SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is tailored for direct business usage bringing power to analytics teams based in the LoBs. A business BI user will not only be able to build models but also can schedule all types of data loads, play with transformations as well as manage users and data. Business teams will not need to delegate tasks to IT as often but will be able to collaborate better with IT.
We have seen countless instances where a large amount of time and resources are spent on running and testing upgrades, not to mention the impact of a development freeze on the business initiatives. As with all things cloud, the promise of data warehouse-as-a-service, that can be readily consumed and immediately put to value is alluring. Without any on-premise software and hardware, upgrades become less disruptive and more a matter of course, with no down time.
Changing the user and capability spectrum with data management tools should provide a big benefit to the business and greatly reduce the dumping of data to create offline solutions. Providing business users with real-time data connections plus the power of data modeling can eliminate the need for having multiple versions of data and manually integrating data on local systems. SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a step towards a single source of data because it adds the capability for the business analysts to maintain models, manage access rights, cleanse, harmonize the data and create insights – all within the system – this is a huge potential benefit.
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud provides a semantic layer that lets everyone speak the same language with regards to meta data, dimensions, and measures for better collaboration and enriched analysis. Moreover, it offers the ability to quickly track the data back to its source, allowing users to get a clear understanding of data flows and transformations the data went through.
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud comes with a rich API framework and integration with SAP Analytics Cloud. This complete package gives customers the capabilities needed to explore their data and generate actionable insights. With more than 170 advanced connectors in the SAP Cloud Elements API Integration Platform, the possibilities to pull data from SAP, non-SAP as well as external sources and combine them are greatly expanded. The simplistic design and interface, pre-built business templates, and a consolidated view of data will help all types of users to access and utilize SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. It is also browser and persona-based, which works on any device, making it user friendly for the business.
Pricing is one of the key decision drivers for a new solution. SAP claims cost control with the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud by providing pay per use models based on storage and computing. It also allows the transparent monitoring of resources that are consumed. What pricing model will appeal to customers? Will SAP be offering any promotional bundle licensing deals? Per industry analyst reports, the SAP pricing strategy is to be aggressively competitive with simplified packaging that is clear and predictable. As a unified platform, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud should exceed the cost for value expected from cloud data platforms.
Even the best solutions have their set of challenges. As this is the first release of the product, there may be some use cases that come to light as users gain more experience with the product. Our point of view is that much will be at stake in the beta program, and feedback from the early adapter program is also eagerly awaited. We look forward to trying out the solution to understand its usage benefits, and ease of operations.
Overall, how is the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud going to empower the business?
SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is designed for simplicity and goes beyond typical IT to establish business driven analytics. Business users will have their own information space to use and share business insights across teams within the organization. It provides a single point of entry for analytics, including real-time data analysis from various structured and unstructured sources like social media, marketing research data, etc.
Furthermore, the ease of use and cost-effectiveness makes SAP Data Warehouse Cloud a solution to be evaluated as a part of an organization’s BI roadmap.
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