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Swisscom Real Estate – SAP Lumira vs. SAP Analytics Cloud

Over the last few years, there is a clear trend showing that customers are interested in deploying cloud based BI (Business Intelligence) / Analytics Solutions, as this would enable self-service analytics. BI in the cloud is not just about saving maintenance & administration costs, but also about a much bigger picture including the company's BI strategy, possibility of hybrid analytics, IT infrastructure and so on.
Ravikiran Sattineni
Ravikiran Sattineni, Senior Data and Analytics Consultant
16 juillet 2019

The goal of this Blog is to explain how SAP Analytics Cloud takes advantage of HANA’s capabilities and how the combination of SAP HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud Provides great benefits in BI projects. We will discuss the Data warehouse Project at Swisscom Real Estate and ask the following questions:

  • Which advantages does SAP Analytics Cloud provide in comparison to an on-premise Analytics Tool like SAP Lumira?
  • How can we optimize the performance of reporting with the live connection between SAP HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud?
  • Which self-service reporting functionalities does SAP Analytics Cloud provide?

SAP HANA and SAP Analytics Cloud – The perfect combination

HANA is an in-memory database and platform from SAP, which is available as both as an on-premise and in the cloud. Almost Every SAP product like SAP ERP, SAP BW, CRM and SCM can use HANA as the underlying database. HANA is more than a database and in addition to the classic database functionalities, HANA also offers the following:

  • HANA XSA, where customers can develop their own custom applications
  • HANA Predictive Analytics Library with various predictive algorithms for developing your own predictive model.

SAP Analytics Cloud (formerly known as SAP BusinessObjects Cloud) is a software-as-a-service analytics platform in the cloud with the intent of providing all the key analytic functionalities in one tool. It is perhaps the only BI platform in the market, that provides Business Intelligence, planning, predictive analytics for both IT & business as well as Machine Learning capabilities in a single tool.

 

SAP Analytics Cloud offers live and import connectivity for a variety of source systems. With live connectivity, the cumbersome and time taking ETL Jobs as well as the process of defining user authorizations for reporting can be skipped, where as an import connection replicates your data in the cloud.

Bild 1 SAP Analytics Cloud Data Connections

SAP Analytics Cloud Data Connections

SAP Lumira vs. SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP Lumira is an on-premise Tool for data visualization, exploration and dashboarding. Since 2017, there are two versions of Lumira namely Discovery and Designer. Lumira Discovery is primarily a self-service reporting tool for business and Designer is a tool for BI developers for creating complex dashboards and management cockpits. SAP Lumira Discovery provides ODBC / JDBC access to many databases as well as live connectivity to HANA and SAP BW.

 

Now coming to the important question for all existing Lumira customers, if a switch to Analytics Cloud is the right choice, the answer from SAP seems to be a resounding YES ?. The analytics roadmap from SAP shows that cloud is the most important strategy for SAP, as far as analytics is concerned. Let us have a look at few of the advantages, which Analytics Cloud offer compared to Lumira:

  • SAP Lumira is a front-end tool, whereas Analytics Cloud is a complete platform with data modeling, wrangling, data merging, planning, predictive analytics in a single tool.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud offers a much more modern and intuitive user interface than Lumira.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud offers IBCS compliant reporting natively, where as you need an add-on for the same in Lumira.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud offers enhanced in-built collaboration and commentary options for business users.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud offers connectivity to numerous on-premise as well as cloud data sources.
  • SAP Analytics Cloud is completely online, no need of any installation, configuration and maintenance.
  • With the latest release, it is also possible to create cockpits and dashboards using JavaScript in Analytics Cloud, just like Lumira Designer.

DWH Migration Project – Swisscom Corporate Real Estate

Like most big companies, Swisscom corporate real estate management wants to maintain a clear inventory of their buildings, which include their offices, business centers, shops and other facilities. For this purpose, the project was initiated to develop a central Microsoft SQL data warehouse for capturing this data and SAP Lumira is being used for self-service reporting by the business users.

 

The primary goal of the migration project was to replace SAP Lumira with SAP Analytics Cloud as the self-service reporting tool, because of the numerous advantages that Analytics Cloud offers. As currently, there exists no direct migration possibility from Lumira Stories to Analytics Cloud, the existing Lumira dashboards would be developed from scratch in Analytics Cloud.

Current Data Warehouse Architecture

Swisscom corporate real estate has a relatively complex system landscape, where data from multiple source systems would be loaded into the SQL Data warehouse. This data would be modelled, cleansed, transformed and then would be made available for reporting purpose. Currently reporting is being performed in SAP Lumira directly against the SQL database via a JDBC connection, where the business departments can create their own dashboards (stories) in Lumira. However, there are some shortcomings with this approach, for instance, high maintenance effort and long waiting times associated with the daily loading (ETL) jobs, no possibility of having a real time connection for reporting, limited collaboration possibilities for business and so on. Therefore SAP Lumira was replaced by Analytics Cloud for self-service reporting purpose.

Bild 2 Swisscom Real Estate Data Warehouse with SAP Analytics Cloud

Swisscom Real Estate Data Warehouse with SAP Analytics Cloud

Data warehouse Roadmap – Swisscom Real Estate

As mentioned earlier, the current Data warehouse is MS SQL based, the data from this data warehouse is being loaded via data services into HANA on a daily basis. In the next project phases, the Microsoft SQL database would be completely replaced by HANA, all the existing tables and views from MS SQL (approximately 210 tables and 40 views) would be partially replicated, reconstructed and remodeled in HANA. This approach promotes a complete in-memory central data warehouse with real time reporting capabilities, thereby saving the effort and maintenance required for daily data loading.

Conclusion

Safety, performance and high-availability of the data are some of the critical success factors for an efficient analytics platform and SAP Analytics Cloud is a complete BI platform in the cloud ?. SAP is working intensively to push more and more business innovations like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, integration with on-premise tools, into Analytics Cloud for making the transformation from ‘on-premise to cloud’ an exciting one for its customers. For existing SAP BusinessObjects customers, in the future it would be possible to integrate their SAP BusinessObjects Content / tools with Analytics Cloud, there by promoting hybrid analytics strategy within their enterprise, where SAP BO act as the ‘IT analytics platform’ and SAP Analytics Cloud as the ‘Business analytics platform.’

 

Still thinking, on-premise or Cloud Analytics?

 

 

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Ravikiran Sattineni

Senior Data and Analytics Consultant

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