By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated March 25, 2014.
Reinventing the data warehouse is SAP's mission -- and it's moving one step closer to delivering real-time, in-context business decisions with version 7.4 of the SAP Business Warehouse app, powered by SAP HANA. The company on Tuesday announced the new version at HANA 2014 in Orlando, Fla.
The goal with version 7.4 is to further deliver on the SAP Cloud. SAP HANA's new in-memory data architecture is part of the secret sauce in the latest Business Warehouse iteration. SAP's in-memory data fabric works to speed up business intelligence delivery to drive more productivity and competitiveness while simultaneously reducing the overhead of duplicating data.
Steve Lucas, president of SAP's Platform Solutions Group, likes to think his company is "completely changing the game for the traditional data warehouse market." SAP is doing that, he said, by "reducing the complexity inherent in traditional data warehouse architectures" to help customers achieve "real-time analytics not possible before."
SAP is taking a different approach to business intelligence, pushing out what it calls a "logical analytics paradigm" instead of the classic data warehousing consolidation.
By marshaling information anywhere in the enterprise -- or even outside the organization -- via SAP HANA smart data access technology, the company said it can serve up real-time analytics at scale through data federation. The goal: to make sure complex business questions are answered in real-time no matter where the data lives.
"SAP has a viable data virtualization offering with SAP HANA at its core," wrote Noel Yuhanna, principal analyst, in an August 2013 Forrester Research report entitled Information Fabric 3.0. "SAP has a strong data management portfolio comprising data quality, data integration, transformation, ETL [extract,transfer,load], replication, data services, profiling and modeling. Now that SAP is integrating its data management capabilities with SAP HANA in-memory technology, it delivers the most comprehensive in-memory distributed information fabric platform in the industry."
From a technical perspective, the in-memory data fabric paradigm is the business semantic layer across the enterprise. The fabric works to unite all analytics, data warehousing and governance initiatives in a single business context. This, in effect, simplifies four key areas: data modeling, data access, data provisioning and governance.
The latest version of SAP Business Warehouse also taps the HANA smart data access technology to make it possible for end users to incorporate data virtually -- without moving the physical data -- from any source or system. The new iteration also works to forward push down of data-intensive processes, such as data transformations, planning and online analytical processing functions, into SAP HANA. The intended result is to deliver real-time results and drive faster data loads.
"At Molson Coors, our SAP data warehouse provides mission-critical support for key decisions across the company," said Lyne Strasbourg, Global BI Business Alignment Lead at Molson Coors. "Running SAP BW powered by SAP HANA has led to increased performance in key areas of our data warehouse while significantly simplifying many of the IT tasks. With SAP BW 7.4, we'll be able to deliver information to end users more efficiently and develop new solutions twice as fast."