The HANA Data Platform forms the basis for the SAP Digital Core as well as other SAP products including S4/HANA, BW4/HANA, SAP HANA SQL Data Warehouse, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. 

With many companies upgrading to S4/HANA, the HANA platform is becoming more prevalent across the world. 

What else can HANA do?

“The benefits of most HANA components speak for themselves: the performance gains of data stored in-memory and the space savings of the column store are easy to quantify, in one business case the total runtime of a complex analytical process was reduced from 5 days to 3 hours by switching from a relational database to HANA. Smart Data Access enables direct access to some external sources without the need of an ETL tool while the combination of OLTP and OLAP and CDS views enables embedded analytics that can streamline or even replace the development and maintenance of traditional ‘Z’-reports.” Says André Costerus, BI Architect at GlueData Services.

The HANA Data Platform also includes several more disruptive technologies:

Data Protection Regulation:  HANA can provide real-time, result-based anonymization of sensitive information using differential privacy or k-anonymity with minimal development effort.

Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning – The SAP HANA Predictive Analytics Library contains an extensive array of analytical algorithms which can be used in HANA procedures or flowgraphs. These are broken down into the following categories:

  • Clustering
  • Classification
  • Regression
  • Association
  • Time Series
  • Preprocessing
  • Statistics
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Recommender System
  • Miscellaneous

The Extended Machine Learning library in HANA can also integrate with Google TensorFlow while HANA is also able to connect to an R server, allowing developers to develop R-based code natively.

Smart Data Streaming (SDS) – enables real-time analytics. Real-time datasets can be joined to historical information to provide real-time analytics and fraud detection or even train Machine Learning models on the fly.

Graph – SAP HANA includes a native Graph store that enables modeling complex data relationships. Graph databases are often used for fraud detection, mapping social networks and enabling real-time recommendations to customers.

What will it cost?

The SAP HANA licensing model can be tricky to navigate. For instance: when running the Runtime edition of HANA packaged with S4/HANA or BW4/HANA customers are only allowed to utilize the underlying functionality via the application layer (e.g. ABAP). The Enterprise Edition is much more flexible and allows direct/native access to most HANA features, but at a cost. Similarly, the implementation and support costs of these HANA components are often difficult to quantify and may depend on the procurement of service providers and specialists.

Proving the value

“GlueData, a team of SAP data specialists has a ‘data first’ philosophy and we believe that the value of these technologies lies in the business value they unlock from the data that is produced by a company’s business processes. By engaging with the various stakeholders, we can assist companies with technical assessments and Proof of Concepts which can be used as input into their digital transformation roadmaps” says Costerus.