Information Management Options in SAP HANA: Smart Data Integration

  • by Don Loden, Director - Data & Analytics, Protiviti
  • February 3, 2016
SAP HANA is a pivotal platform that can completely transform an enterprise, but without quality data SAP HANA only yields fast trash. Traditionally, tools such as SAP Data Services have been used to confront this problem. Now, SAP HANA holds capabilities to transform and cleanse data in real time from many sources. See how these technologies confront real-time challenges.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will learn:

  • What Smart Data Integration (SDI) is
  • When to consider using SDI
  • Potential use cases
Key Concept

SAP HANA has many features to both manage data and improve data quality. These new options offer real-time transformational possibilities that were unthinkable until recently. They allow users to transform data in real time with Smart Data Integration (SDI) or conform and cleanse data with Smart Data Quality (SDQ). SDI is the next generation information management platform to transform data in SAP HANA. SDQ adds data quality capabilities to round out this next generation SAP HANA-based information management platform with capabilities in batch or real-time deployments.

Concepts such as business intelligence and analytics have been used on many different platforms over the years. However, with SAP HANA many more options exist for gathering measures and key performance indicators in real time from data as it is created in the SAP Business Suite or other systems. SAP HANA is an analytics platform for housing data from many disparate sources as the development stack for data warehousing. Since SAP HANA’s inception this has been accomplished with extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL) data into SAP HANA from multiple sources.

ETL is not a new concept, and in the SAP world, these types of operations and development have used technologies such as SAP Data Services to perform these functions. SAP Data Services is like many of its rivals in that it is mostly batch based. Traditional ETL in this paradigm has the challenges of introducing latency to the data in the data warehouse. Data must be gathered, extracted, and transformed in batches from multiple sources that are scheduled to process changed data to the targets. This schedule can happen once a day or in micro batches that may be once an hour or every 15 minutes, but at best, it will only be near real time.

There are many benefits that SAP Data Services introduces, even in an SAP HANA-powered solution. Properly transformed and modeled data can reliably perform in optimal engines such as SAP HANA’s online analytical processing (OLAP) engine, which is the most efficient there is in SAP HANA. This is not always the case with calculation view-driven replicated solutions from SAP ERP. These solutions provision data in SAP HANA in transactional tables. The benefit of the calculation-driven solutions is the fact that they are real time, but they may not process efficiently or scale well in SAP HANA as they operate in less efficient engines.

So, you have a real-time need, but not a way to get there in an efficient or fully transformed manner. Enter SAP HANA yet again with another transformative technology that reshapes these possibilities: SAP Enterprise Information Management (SAP HANA EIM). SAP HANA EIM comprises two technologies: Smart Data Integration (SDI) and Smart Data Quality (SDQ). I explore SDI in detail in this article.

Don Loden

Don Loden is an information management and information governance professional with experience in multiple verticals. He is an SAP-certified application associate on SAP EIM products.  He has more than 15 years of information technology experience in the following areas: ETL architecture, development, and tuning; logical and physical data modeling; and mentoring on data warehouse, data quality, information governance, and ETL concepts. Don speaks globally and mentors on information management, governance, and quality. He authored the book SAP Information Steward: Monitoring Data in Real Time and is the co-author of two books: Implementing SAP HANA, as well as Creating SAP HANA Information Views. Don has also authored numerous articles for publications such as SAPinsider magazine, Tech Target, and Information Management magazine.

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