Part two of a series about an old ‘SAP’ dog who learns a new trick
Today more than ever, SAP is more focused on technology (HANA) than data. When they do focus on data, they talk about simplifying it because simplification is necessary to make said technology work better.
In SAP terms, simplification means fewer tables – a feat which is achieved by dropping aggregate tables and support structures. These are very important simplifications when dealing with expensive in-memory technology because building up aggregates eats up processing capacity and fills up the database with redundant data. That stuff I get, but in the grand scheme of data and analytics the discussions about Simplicity and In-Memory are irrelevant because they are small pieces of the analytics puzzle.
The continuing impediment and struggle to getting value from SAP is in the integration of data. I’ve previously written about the fact that many large companies are running multiple SAP R/3 (ECC, ERP) systems. HANA running as a database under R/3 or S/4 does not solve this issue. It should make BW redundant (finally) – but I do not see how that will resolve the multiple ERP issue.
To take it a step further, Big Data (read: Non SAP Data) is becoming more important for analytical purposes. As big data grows exponentially, innovations like the logical data warehouse and Hadoop make it possible to store, integrate, and analyze all data for deeper insights.
The chart here – clearly shows that the share of SAP R/3 data that is relevant for decision making decreases over time. This means the data needed for today’s (and tomorrow’s) analytics is increasing reliant on non-SAP sources. Again, I don’t see how HANA or S/4 solves this integration issue.
Note: That does not mean it has become irrelevant, to the contrary see my previous blog, but people should not believe a simplified, faster running R/3 (or S/4) is enough for analytics today. Next I will write about the value of integrating CRM with SAP R/3. Watch for the next blog in this series in the next day or two.