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Embracing Renewable Insights

John Tickner, Robin Winter
24 Aug 2020

Many a CIO out there will be concerned about the impending SAP NetWeaver ECC / BW mainstream maintenance deadline of 31 December 2020. This may be compounded by memories of the previous round of application software upgrades exceeding effort and budget due to catering for complex customisation. There may also be frustration amongst the business user community caused by the inflexibility of the current analytics solution, with its high dependency on the IT Department and little or no opportunity for self-service. Moving workloads to the cloud may offer some respite in terms of a reduction in TCO and an increase in service levels but this won’t guarantee the desired levels of comfort on its own.

Research shows that 80% of enterprises aim not to use traditional data centres by 2025 (1) and that 68% of cloud services today are delivered by Hyperscalers (2). However, SAP have found that less than 40% of organisations met or exceeded migration and run cost goals, the same number met or exceeded the goals for business satisfaction and less than half considered their most recent migration to public cloud a success (3).

To address these challenges and maximise business value from an SAP S/4HANA transformation into the cloud, the concept of the Renewable Enterprise, one which anticipates and meets customer needs whilst evolving with changing business and market conditions on a constant basis has been introduced.

The Renewable Enterprise is one which is underpinned by a solid and trusted IT cloud-based architecture (because we do things faster in the cloud). This allows for speed and agility for technical change at the pace of business, allowing for innovation while protecting the mission critical applications that run the business.

Those organisations that become Renewable Enterprises will be capable of rapidly delivering solutions centred on SAP S/4HANA installed on cloud platform services, moving innovation and customisation to the edge of the protected digital HANA core rather than building this on the inside. This concept can be extended to analytics and AI services, meeting the demands from lines-of-business up to the boardroom. This is known as Renewable Insights.

Image Source: Capgemini
Image Source: Capgemini

Embrace is a recent strategic alliance between SAP and Microsoft to simplify and accelerate the journey to becoming a Renewable Enterprise and fully supporting Renewable Insights. The mandatory solid solution architecture mentioned earlier is provisioned by SAP HANA and Microsoft business applications which are optimised for cloud and hosted in a secure Microsoft Azure platform.

Such a dynamic partnership opens the door to a wide variety of analytical tooling and solutions capable of delivering Renewable Insights to different corners of the enterprise. It is recommended that choice of data ingestion mechanism, storage media and analytics tooling from the combined SAP and Microsoft portfolio should be debated on an individual use-case basis.

Some examples of analytics solutions which can deliver Renewable Insights are given below:

  • S/4HANA platformed in Azure can provision real-time Embedded Analytics, enabling line-of-business users to combine their analytics and operational processes in a modern, user-friendly SAP Fiori interface and seamlessly move between them.
  • Where richer reporting functionality, planning or analytical capability is required, consider the sleek visualisations offered by SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC).
  • The ingestion and readying for report at enterprise level of highly structured, operational data from multiple sources can be undertaken by the SAP Enterprise Data Warehouse application BW/4HANA platformed in Microsoft Azure. Purpose built around the SAP HANA in-memory database, BW/4HANA is significantly faster, more open and less complicated than its predecessors.
  • SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a recent addition to the SAP data warehouse family. This is a SaaS solution enabling the business user to build stories based on ready-to-report data from both SAP and non-SAP source systems without needing input from the IT department, making it the ideal tool-set for reacting to changes in trading conditions.
  • A typical scenario may see Azure Data Factory used for data ingestion including that from SAP sources, Azure Data Lake Service (ADLS) being used for big data storage and curation, Data Bricks for data transformation and Cosmos DB providing the serving storage for data consumption across the enterprise.

In summary, the SAP analytics applications married to the solid cloud platform and native cloud offerings provisioned by Microsoft Azure provide a rich portfolio to enable insights for the Renewable Enterprise. The Embrace initiative encourages coexistence of products from both partners, so it should not be a case of choosing SAP applications over seemingly equivalent Microsoft ones but to base the choice of technology on the specific use-case and the prospective audience.

Click here to know more about Capgemini’s Renewable Enterprise offferings.

References:

  1. Gartner: ‘The Data Center is Dead’ July 2018.
  2. Mission Critical Magazine: ‘Experts Predict the End is Nigh for Enterprise Data Centres. Long Live The Hyperscaler’ October 2018.
  3. SAP: ‘Embrace Introduction and Overview’ presented by Jim Niemann, Enterprise Architect, SAP November 2019.