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SAP Datasphere: Empowering business users and delivering faster time to decision

Debraj Ray
Jul 26, 2023

SAP Datasphere introduces a paradigm shift in enterprise data management service by enabling a number of key functionalities to empower business users and resulting in faster time to decision.

Can business users create data models themselves in an enterprise data warehouse platform enabling faster time-to-value and driving key business decisions?

The answer to the above question would typically be ‘no’ whilst working with traditional data warehouses, like an SAP BW system, and it can take months from the initial phase of engaging data engineers and technical developers to develop the data models and for businesses to realize the benefit. SAP Datasphere introduces a paradigm shift in that approach by introducing a number of key functionalities to enable self-service modelling capabilities for business users.

SAP Datasphere aims to deliver on the target architecture of distributed data mesh approach whereby data is accessed by federated mechanism from various sources and managed, catalogued and governed at scale without losing the business context and semantics.

SAP Datasphere is the next generation enterprise data management service in the public cloud built on SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP). It introduces a flexible modelling approach which primarily consists of two modelling layers targeted to two different groups of users.

  • Data Builder Layer: the inbound layer with a set of objects and artefacts where data can be ingested from various SAP or non-SAP sources and can be harmonized and prepared for consumption into business layer for reporting. This layer is intended to be managed by enterprise IT where data engineers can create data models.
  • Business Builder Layer: the layer which consumes foundational objects from Data Builder layer and allows the business users or data professionals to create semantic reusable models for business usage and readily consume for reporting.

Some of the key features of SAP Datasphere which enable and support self-service modelling capabilities for business users are:

  • Collaboration with spaces
  • No-code modelling and interactive data discovery with Business Builder Layer
  • Enabling business data fabric with open data ecosystems
  • Automated metadata search via Datasphere Catalog
  • Access to industry data via Datasphere Marketplace
  • Accelerate with Datasphere Business Content
  • Collaboration with Spaces: Spaces are virtual work areas within SAP Datasphere which can be owned by different user groups and data can be shared among departments via spaces as per business requirements. A space is like a data warehouse in itself with its own storage area. This functionality has multiple benefits – reusability of data models and data stores across departments leading to lesser development effort and time, avoiding data duplication, reduced database size and cost, better governance with flexibility in collaboration. Typical examples of sharing between spaces are:
  • Sharing between spaces – collaboration between Business and IT
  • Sharing between spaces – collaboration between different groups of business data
  • Business Builder: Business Builder is the area for business users to create reusable business models enriched with business semantics. The objects in the business builder layer can be built with drag and drop of dimensions and measures sourced from underlying data layer views and support no-code modelling. Business layer is loosely coupled with data builder layer and any changes in the underlying ingestion data layer objects can be kept independent without impacting or enforcing development changes in business layer. While enterprise IT can govern Data Builder layer, focusing on data ingestion and consolidation, business users can optimize business models in the business builder layer which are built on top of data layer objects.
(Source: Capgemini)

Consumption models and perspectives provide interactive data discovery and are consumable into SAP Analytics Cloud and other BI tools for building stories and dashboards.

However, it remains to be seen what the future of business builder layer is going to be, with the recent introduction of Analytic model in data builder layer. The Analytic model provides a lot of the functions of business builder objects and enables source data federation as well as replication and is positioned to be the central object consumable for reporting to be governed by enterprise IT in the data layer. An option could be to separate IT owned and business owned analytic models into different spaces and let business users enjoy the benefits of self-service modelling capabilities.

Open Data Ecosystem: SAP have partnered with Databricks, Collibra, Confluent and DataRobot to enable the foundation of a business data fabric and provide seamless, governed, self-served and semantically rich data access to business users.

Datasphere Catalog: Cataloging is an important aspect of any stable and robust data warehouse in today’s world where there are numerous platforms and sources providing data for analysis. SAP Datasphere has provided an enhanced and automated data discovery functionality with Datasphere Catalog which is useful for business users in browsing and searching metadata to classify objects for personalized business catalog. SAP has partnered with industry leading data catalog partners such as Collibra to provide better metadata cataloging of both SAP and non-SAP application objects in SAP Datasphere Catalog, which comes with no additional charge to customers. Currently it only supports metadata of SAP Datasphere and SAC objects, and the feature is planned to be extended to other SAP and non-SAP applications in future roadmap.

Datasphere Marketplace: SAP Datasphere Marketplace enables access to more than 3,000 curated industry datasets for customers to be able to combine SAP data with other data sources and get the best value out of the data relevant to the business.

Business Content: SAP Datasphere provides a set of out-of-the-box preconfigured content across LOBs and industry groups which connect to a set of preconfigured SAC dashboards that jump start and accelerate Datasphere implementations. IT and Business users can harness the benefits of pre-built models and customize to deliver as per business needs.

SAP Datasphere opens a wide range of integration and modelling capabilities to harness the actual and real time benefits of huge pipelines of data sources from SAP and non-SAP sources, and makes an attempt to break from the shackles of traditional enterprise IT management providing the onus back to the business resulting in quicker and more informed business decisions whilst keeping security and governance at the heart of it all.

Watch this space as we continue to explore SAP Datasphere in the cloud to provide the best services to our customers.

Debraj Ray

SAP Data and Analytics Solution Architect
Debraj Ray is an SAP Data and Analytics Solution Architect with experience in leading and implementing analytics solutions across a variety of industries, specialising in SAP BW, HANA, Business Objects and Cloud technologies.