SAP TechEd 2020 – Running SAP Data Warehouse Cloud in a Live Environment [CM103]

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SAP TechEd 2020 was a completely virtual event and we (the Interdobs DWC team) were given the opportunity to host session CM103 to talk a bit about our experiences with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (and SAP Analytics Cloud) in a live environment.

Obviously it always better to be in Las Vegas for TechEd, but I must say that this virtual studio event was very well setup and executed by SAP. And, the best thing about virtual events is that you can watch specific content on demand whenever you want. So check the replay of our session below.

Running SAP Data Warehouse Cloud in a Live Environment [CM103]
Explore best practices for running the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution in a complex environment with multiple data sources.

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud Webinar

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On Tuesday 6 October 2020 we (Interdobs) hosted a webinar on our real case experiences with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. We demonstrated the DWC solution and discussed our project learnings.

You can rewatch the webinar via this link, or in audio via the podcast player at the end of this article.

Discover how SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is being used to modernize data management – in real life. In this webinar, get ready to engage with the Interdobs team and learn from their experience using SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. Register now and join us on October 6 at 8:00 a.m. PT.

SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud: Early Insights

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One of the projects that I’m currently working on involves a very interesting setup with the brand new SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC) as its datawarehousing solution. As front-end  we use SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), which is available as an embedded offering within DWC. This is actually the first DWC implementation in Europe so that’s very exciting and cool to be part of!

In the following video the project is introduced and the solution architecture is shown, plus a demo on how the data models were created in DWC. At the end of the video a demo is given of one of the dashboards that we created in SAC on top of these DWC models.

Spaces

From the SAP Analytics Cloud side there are a few things that we need to take into account with this approach. The embedded SAC tenant is very much linked to its DWC counterpart. You have to work within an isolated “space” and make sure that all SAC users also are made a member of the space that you built the stories in. This is in addition to the DWC role(s) that have to be assigned to these users. Unfortunately these spaces lack any form of structure or options for management. There are no folders and the sharing settings of documents cannot be adjusted. This could maybe work with a very small user base but is something you really don’t want for a large audience. As there are no (public) folders, all objects (SAC stories, DWC views) are listed in a single list of documents. 

Models

The SAC classic setup, where a model must be built first before the data can be consumed in the SAC story, is altered in the embedded SAC version. If you want to use a DWC view in a SAC story, you need to go to the respective space in DWC and create a story from there. A pop-up will appear that lists all available DWC views; no separate model is required anymore. Via this workflow it is also possible to add additional DWC views to the same story. 

A step that is left out of this workflow is the option to use a story template, which is an important asset to develop a consistent line of reporting. If you switch from the DWC side of the tenant to the SAC side, the standard option to create a story is still available, including the template selection step. However, the problem here is that there is no option to select the DWC views, as this probably requires you to be within the particular DWC space first.

Data Warehouse Cloud Live Connection

Luckily the solution for the above problems is already available in a live data connections for DWC. With this we can let DWC act as any other live data source (SAP BW, SAP HANA). The only difference is that the creation of a model is not necessary, even when the DWC live connection is used from a standalone tenant (which is actually a plus!).

Conclusion

So in conclusion I think it is a very good approach to offer an out of the box SAC environment within DWC. The developments and testing of DWC views and SAC stories went in extremely short cycles, which meant that we were able to make a huge progress in a very short time frame. I’m not convinced though whether the idea of using spaces is really the way to go. If the audience consists of isolated (business) teams that build their own DWC views and SAC stories it looks like a handy approach, but in a classic setup where a dedicated team creates a set of reports for a large, company wide audience better platform management options are required. Good thing is that we can achieve this with the new DWC live connection!

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics and Business Intelligence Platforms 2020

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It’s February and as every year around this time Gartner publishes its Magic Quandrant report on Analytics and BI Platform vendors/solutions. So it is always interesting to see how SAP is doing compared to the other big names in the industry, especially Tableau (Salesforce) and PowerBI (Microsoft) as those are the parties that I hear most about in the field.

What I also find interesting (and kinda funny) is that almost all vendors seem to be happy with their place on the quadrant, regardless of their position as a leader (obviously), challenger, visionair or even niche player. Look at all these press releases!

When I compare the quadrant to last year’s version, SAP is still in the same position as a visionaire, while Tableau and MS PowerBI are clearly way ahead as industry leaders. With Sisense, Oracle and Yellowfin moving to up it is getting crowded around SAP…

So let’s first have a look at the comments on SAP and SAP Analytics Cloud. Just as the last two editions Gartner is ignoring the SAP BusinessObjects BI Platform and its capabilities, but that is nowadays nicely in line with the SAP strategy for analytics.

SAP is a Visionary in this Magic Quadrant, thanks to its improved product functionality and strong vision, but it remains of interest predominantly to the wider base of SAP enterprise application users.SAP Analytics Cloud is a cloud-native multitenant platform with a broad set of analytic capabilities. Most companies that choose SAP Analytics Cloud already use some SAP business applications.

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SAP Analytics Cloud Add-in for MS Office (beta) – First Look

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At the end of 2019 SAP suddenly introduced a completely new addition to the SAP Analytics Cloud suite: SAP Analytics Cloud for Office. I’ve had a quick look at the beta version of this Excel add-in and it – obviously – looks a lot like our good old SAP Analysis Office. Apparently the decision was made to create a new Excel add-in from scratch specifically for SAC.

From what I’ve seen, there are at least two major differences in the foundations of this tool: First, the installation of this SAC for Office is done via the built-in MS Office store. That means that you can easily push this add-in to all Excel installations within your organization. Also think about what this means for the distribution of updates: this is not necessary anymore as the users will always run the latest version of the software from the MS Office store! Second: this add-in not only works within your ‘on-premise’ Excel installation on your Windows laptop, but also in online Office 365 plus – and I’ve waited over 10 years for this – on the Mac! Awesome!!

So check out the video where I show a very minimal demo. As this is just the very first beta, don’t expect much. For live HANA/BW connectivity you still need to use SAP Analysis Office 2.8 for example. Also, there is still no integrated SAC repository option to easily store and open your workbooks on the SAC platform. Looking at the roadmap, the focus for the first half of 2020 is on Planning.