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Taking the HANA Road into the Enterprise Future

By Thomas Blomberg, Senior Product Manager, TIBCO Software Inc.

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Thomas Blomberg, Senior Product Manager, TIBCO Software Inc.

TIBCO Spotfire praises the SAP HANAdesign and explains why CIOs should consider its promise 

TIBCO Spotfire is a business analytics platform that provides visual data discovery, interactive dashboards, predictive and event-driven analytics. As such, we are all about the data  and as such, we facilitate a bevvy of enterprise customers who rely on SAP technology. SAP BW has been a powerhouse in enterprise data warehousing across the globe for what seems like an eternity, and it has served its purpose well. However,we firmly believe that SAP HANA will revolutionize the industry. Why? Because of its speed; SAP HANA’s fast query performance simply makes Spotfire’s in-database analytic capabilities shine. It provides a great visual data-discovery user experience on live data, making it possible to do more analytics without moving data out of SAP HANA. At a certain point, our users will naturally want to move slices of row-level data into Spotfire for even more advanced analytics  and SAP HANA delivers those data slices at great speed. As any CIO knows, modern enterprise operations are now highly reliant on analytics, and both Spotfire and SAP HANA were purpose-built to service that need. 

The biggest differentiator between SAP BW and SAP HANA comes down to how data is organized and stored in each system. SAP HANA turns away from BW’s abstraction approach and instead features a design that is flat, flexible, and provides true real-time responsiveness. SAP HANA stores data in-memory in raw, operational, and columnar format. It’s simply cleaner and more modern. The kicker is that existing views in SAP BW can be easily migrated into SAP HANA Information Views, but without pre-aggregation. So all those years of work spent defining domain-specific logic in the form of InfoCubes and BEx queries can still be leveraged on the newer platform. Thus, shifting to HANA is a win-win. 

For Spotfire’s purposes, the SAP HANA structure provides swift, self-service connectivity to the data. Spotfire allows rapid creation of shared or personalized Spot fire data views on SAP HANA Information Views and tables. As you would expect, parameters defined in SAP HANA are automatically replicated in Spotfire. Parameter values can be changed by business users at any time from within the analysis to quickly change, for example, what time frame, products, sales areas, or production steps are analyzed. Spot fire fully supports features like Kerberos SSO and SSL for accessing Amazon SAP HANA One cloud deployments.  

TIBCO Enterprise Runtime for R (TERR) allows running distributed statistical computations on top of SAP HANA data (often used for predictive analytics). Just like SAP HANA, TERR can be deployed on a single node or on a distributed cluster of nodes. The results of these computations are directly consumed in Spotfire or can be loaded back into SAP HANA for visualization via a self-service, in-database data connection. 

Few organizations deal with a single data source and most enterprises need to analyze data collected and distributed from diverse locations in disparate formats, which is why Spotfire has capabilities for mashing data inside and outside the enterprise with visual joins and relations between various data sources beyond SAP HANA. For example it’s common to let one data source’s markings in visualizations, its filter settings, or changes to properties in your analysis drive, what data is fetched from a second or third data source  on-demand, whenever needed, and fully controlled by business users interacting with their analysis or dashboard. 

But no one can argue that SAP HANA isn’t decidedly modern, and an excellent enterprise data platform for facilitating insight through analytics. It cleanly manages large volumes and great varieties of data in real-time, without layers, and it scales with ease. If your organization is already committed to SAP technology, HANA is a natural evolution. And if you’ve not yet settled on a next-gen database solution, SAP HANA is well worth consideration.

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