The digital enterprise is a real-time entity, but traditional data warehousing in its early days was not a real-time affair. The latest SAP HANA platform update from SAP SE looks to modern data warehousing while recognizing it’s moving to the cloud.

The new product, SAP BW/4HANA, will be available in early September, said Neil McGovern, senior director of product marketing, and it was developed in response to changes organizations are making in terms of how they handle decision support for data warehousing.

It used to be that business users would run reports based on yesterday’s data overnight, he said, but now the expectation is to be able to do the same type of analysis in real time. In addition, data warehousing is facing demands such as the Internet of Things, fragmentation, siloes and big data – both structured and unstructured.

McGovern said there are two approaches for digital enterprises looking to position their data warehousing capabilities to face these challenges: a hybrid approach – “the Prius” or building a new solution from the ground up – “the Tesla.” SAP BW/4HANA is the latter and leverages the HANA platform’s performance and a single database that’s integrated with data warehouse, he said.

SAP BW/4HANA will provide an open data warehousing environment for rapid application development, a modern user interface and advanced multi-temperature data handling – organizations can decide what data is hot, warm or cold with predefined rules, said McGovern, while also being more agile. Research has shown there is a strong correlation between the response time to run a new report or set up a dashboard and business growth, he said.

The size of the data set used to be an issue because databases never used to be very fast, said McGovern. “In-memory databases are changing the game.” They also help organizations that are looking to eliminate how man copies of the data they have and avoid synchronization issues, he said, as it’s no longer necessary to export a chunk of data into a specific application to run an overnight batch job. “You couldn’t have too many people around in the data warehouse for fear of slowing it down. In-memory databases are eliminating those challenges.”

McGovern said there is growing interest in moving more data warehousing to the cloud. SAP BW/4HANA will soon be available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC).

It’s a nascent trend, but at least 70 per cent of organizations now have some sort of data warehousing already in the cloud, he said. “This is the direction it’s going.”

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