SAP TechEd is the biggest networking and knowledge-sharing event in the SAP world. We ask Frank Gundlich, our Enterprise Architect Manager, to tell us more about TechEd hot topics, sum up what’s new in the SAP HANA and Hadoop business, and reveal his insights from conversations with IT decision-makers.
Frank, you are a BI Expert responsible for Business Development, Data Geek, and “all about Big Data” at Datavard. Why do you think TechEd is a must-do in the SAP world?
It is the only place where you’ll get all technology based SAP information at once. SAP Inno Jam is so powerful, with all the SAP Mentors around you will build new applications, algorithms and ideas for boosting the complete SAP ecosystem. It is one of the best opportunities to get in touch with the most valuable SAP partners from all around the world. Finally, with all the Sessions, Educations Lessons, Partner Tracks and so on you’ll get roadmap updates, first-hand use cases, a look behind the project’s scenes, front-end experience and for sure a lot of fun.
What are the most burning topics for SAP users and TechEd attendees? What did you hear in your customer conversations?
It is still all about SAP HANA. Brand new topics are BW4/HANA and HANA 2.0 – an evolution of BW optimized and tailored for HANA and the newest version of HANA platform, including new microservices and a new HANA Express version. What also raised interest was the joint approach of BOSCH and SAP in the area of IoT (Internet of Things). When it comes to IoT discussions, two big topics were standing out: how to best combine the speed of HANA with the potential of Hadoop, as well as data management inside and outside of HANA (data lakes/ reservoirs). There was also a lot of interest in master data management.
Which topics were hot at the Datavard booth?
Datavard supports the HANA + Hadoop success with our middleware GLUE. With GLUE, we help SAP driven companies leverage Hadoop as cheap, fast and best scalable storage for their Big Data and IoT scenarios. But we also support the classical way of optimizing TCO and data footprint with Hadoop as NLS or archiving storage.
Hadoop is around for a while now but It looks like people still don’t really know if and how they can benefit from this awesome open-source technology. What did you hear from customers?
We hear that everybody is looking into Hadoop. One of the biggest hurdles are still the use cases. Before you start with this cutting-edge technology you have to convince your CIO, partner, CEO, business to invest into something new. The best way to do so is with a compelling use case. Especially in the SAP world we see two major use cases: data offloading and data integration. Offloading means that we move cool and cold data from SAP (HANA) to Hadoop, a cheap, fast and perfectly scalable storage. Data remains accessible through transactions and queries, but do not consume space on the primary database. Data integration means that you use Hadoop as a staging area for streaming or IoT data. And only move the key data to SAP BW or SAP HANA to combine both information streams.
You have hosted 2 Networking sessions, called “The CIO who sees around the corner” – tell us a bit more, why would a CIO need to see around corners? And what “corners” are in the way today?
As the CIO, you have to know how users are using the systems and applications. Are the applications used as expected? Is the performance of transactions or reports good enough? Are users using the system/process as it was planned? Do users have the right licenses? Where does the data growth come from? And is it necessary to store all the data you have in HANA? These and other questions are raised very often. And in in the past it was hard to answer them immediately or even answer them at all.
Do CIOs really need more analytics and insight? Don’t they have access to all data already? Most of the information is somehow available in the ecosystem. Some SAP transactions/reports/queries, or ticketing systems will provide part of the answers. But there is no way to get all information immediately in one Dashboard. Not only CIO’s needs to have more insights than ever before. This knowledge also needs to be available to project leaders, administrators, developers and business managers.
How will this help customers with their data management strategy?
It will get easier to maintain data based on its value. With the HeatMap tool you are able to identify hot, cool and cold as well as dead data. You can simulate different scenarios of data management, like Housekeeping, offloading or integration. With “R” based predictive components we simulate hardware and data effects of further roll outs or housekeeping projects. Datavard GLUE and Outboard will give you the freedom to choose your scenario, your storage, your TCO.
What did IT decision makers share with you – what will be the TOP 3 on their strategy list for the next year?
1) Big Data is for sure the biggest thing ahead.
With Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Hadoop, HANA, predictive and prescriptive analytics we have so much new technology, so much new possibilities, chances, challenges and a pressing need for data management that Datavard has built a Big Data and Innovation Team to support our customers.
2) Migration to HANA is the second big topic in the SAP community.
Green field, brown field, 1:1 migration, S/4, B/4… When will I use what and why and how to get there? Customers are overflowed by new technology, new applications and most probably all of them carry a big history which will never fit in the “new” format.
3) Digitalization of Business Processes and Business Models
IT is forced to support, build, create new ideas out of the new available technology. But at the same time business transforms complete business models, like selling compressed air instead of a compressor. As business needs to get insights from this newly generated data, IT has to come up with strong data management architectures IT is getting more involved into building algorithms that predict failures, answering maintenance needs or providing cross machine error resolutions.
What was the most important learning for yourself?
SAP has so much new things going on, that it confuses the customers. DT, ILM, DLM, NLS, SDA, SDI, VORA, BW4/HANA, S4/HANA, HANA…. Customer need guidance and support to find their way into the new digital world, not only technology wise. We are prepared to support and consult customers on their way to a data driven digital data model. With experienced Domain Architects, Data Scientists, Data Management Experts and Visualization Gurus we are able to support them during the complete journey.