Seven Steps a Global Energy Company Took to Bring BI Potential to Life

  • by Andrew Joo, EPM Leader for North America, SAP Business Analytics Center of Excellence, IBM Global Business Services
  • February 9, 2012
See how a global energy company quickly jump-started its business intelligence (BI) capabilities using Xcelsius dashboards (now known as BusinessObjects Dashboards) and the Rapid Management Cockpit methodology. It was able to deliver up-front business value without undertaking traditional bottoms-up BI development processes, which can be costly and time-consuming. BI end users, analysts, administrators, and developers were instrumental in this process by driving the planning, designing, and developing of the solution.

SAP HANA — SAP’s in-memory computing platform — is a new technology that has people talking. Technology changes mean that new software and techniques must be developed, and SAP HANA is the culmination of at least 10 years of technological change. Computers have changed over time in line with Moore’s law about trends in computing. In 2002, CPU speed stopped increasing (3 GHz) and progress continued elsewhere. Main memory and the number of CPUs increased. These trends are continuing and have pushed software developments in alternative directions to make use of these improvements.

SAP HANA brings the potential to improve corporate systems on a massive scale — and on a level similar to the move from mainframe to client-server, or magnetic tape to disk storage. For example, in the long term, SAP HANA could:

  • Allow real-time reporting on transactions posted within current SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) technology
  • Support processing of transactions (although this introduces many complexities and technical challenges, such as table-locking and resilience). A single SAP HANA system could deliver both business transactions (currently provided by SAP ECC) and analytics (currently delivered by SAP NetWeaver BW).

SAP HANA centers on in-memory computing technology. The term HANA refers to both a technology and product. As this can be confusing, within this article I refer to SAP HANA technology or SAP HANA products. To make things more complex, SAP has now released a second version of the product (SAP HANA 1.0 Support Package 03), which contains functionality that is very different compared to the first version (SAP HANA 1.0). This new version allows an SAP NetWeaver BW 7.3 system to be run entirely on a HANA database. This set-up potentially offers substantial performance improvements for both data reporting and loading.

Andrew Joo

Andrew Joo is the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) leader for North America within the SAP Business Analytics Center of Excellence at IBM Global Business Services. He has more than 16 years of deep strategy, financial, cost, management, and technology consulting experience, encompassing leading industry firms (Big 4, system integrators) and a multitude of technologies (SAP, Microsoft, Oracle), industries (private and public sector), processes and methodologies (PMI, Agile, SDLC), and roles (functional and technical). In addition to serving as a thought leader and subject matter expert in the field of financial advisory, EPM, BI, and Information Management disciplines, he has been integral in project delivery, practice development, business development, and industry and community outreach efforts. He has pioneered unique methodologies and go-to-market solutions using an integrated EPM (EPM-BPC) and BI paradigm. The aforementioned have been featured in key industry events and publications, including SAP Sapphire and SAPinsider’s Financials and Reporting & Analytics conferences. He holds an MBA in strategy/marketing from Rice University, an MS in management information systems, and a Bachelor’s in finance. He is the author of 100 Things You Should Know about SAP NetWeaver BW, full of time-saving tips and tricks and step-by-step instruction.

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