SAP makes its cloud data service, data management play with HANA

SAP wants HANA to be your one gateway to enterprise data. There's a good reason for that, but a bevy of other enterprise vendors have the same idea.

SAP: A look at its challenges, opportunities ZDNet's Larry Dignan caught up with Vinnie Mirchandani, author of SAP Nation 3.0, to talk about the enterprise software landscape and the evolution of one of enterprise software's largest vendors.

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SAP is launching a bevy of cloud services for its HANA platform with an aim of being a native data hub for its applications as well as others.

In a nutshell, SAP sees HANA and applications such as S4/HANA and C4/HANA as a way to provide one source of the truth, manage data and ultimately tie together enterprise applications and clouds.

"This is a directional change around data management and the evolution of HANA as well as SAP cloud services," said Irfan Khan, SAP President of Platform. "HANA becomes an access point to virtualized data."

SAP is aiming to provide one environment that can manage data on-premises as well as in the cloud. Think of SAP as a way to bridge the data lake and data warehouse. There's also another play at hand: SAP CEO Bill McDermott talked about melding operational and experience data into one intelligent enterprise. Think of the HANA Cloud Services as the back end to SAP's front-end vision. 


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From there, SAP is looking to become an analytics engine to discover trends and make predictions. This forecasting can enable business and financial planning and ultimately extend into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

If this SAP strategy sounds familiar that's because other enterprise vendors also want to be at the center of your data universe. Salesforce last year highlighted its Customer 360 that starts with sales and service clouds and uses Mulesoft to integrate other applications. AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform all have databases and strategies to put their services at the center of your data world. Incidentally, SAP is partners with all of those cloud providers in some form. Snowflake also has traction as a cloud data warehouse. Toss in Oracle, which comes from a traditional database view, and all the data management players (Infomatica, Teradata and Cloudera just to name a few across the spectrum) and you conclude that SAP's strategy isn't exactly unique. 

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Here's how SAP HANA Cloud Services would fit into an enterprise.

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Key components in SAP's cloud data services strategy include:

  • SAP HANA Cloud Services, which will round up distributed data sources for real-time access.
  • SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, the first effort built on SAP HANA Cloud Services. SAP is accepting applications for a beta program, but the idea is to offer a consolidated view of data for business users.
  • SAP Data Intelligence, an extension of SAP HANA Data Services that is built to meld unstructured data with its SAP Analytics Cloud.
  • Integration with OpenText for unstructured content.
  • SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation with a bot studio to automate business processes.
  • Integration between SAP Leonardo Internet of Things and AWS IoT Core.
  • Collaborative enterprise planning tools for SAP Analytics Cloud.
  • Templates for customers to bolster their digital enterprise strategies. SAP has made available 15 guided outcomes to speed up the value of the company's applications.
sap-data-warehouse-cloud.png

To Khan, SAP's HANA strategy and pivot to more data management is a building block for its plan to meld operational and experience data via its acquisition of Qualtrics.

SAP's challenge will revolve around competing with a bevy of partners and rivals. After all, every enterprise vendor wants to be the center of your business data universe.  The real questions is whether enterprise customers want one throat to choke for their corporate data and the platform that manages it. 


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