How ISVs Benefit by Incorporating SAP HANA Specialty Engines into Applications

Posted by Sid Sipes on

Senior Director, SAP Channels GTM

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Spatial Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and More.

As you have seen in our previous blog postings in this series, SAP HANA is more than a database technology; it is a platform for digital transformation. In this series, Karl-Heinz Hoffman introduced you to SAP HANA  (Why ISVs should consider SAP HANA) , explained the benefits of the underlying core technology and explained how ISVs can adopt SAP HANA (SAP HANA Adoption Strategies for ISVs). In my previous post, I described the benefits of adopting SAP HANA in the Cloud.  However, there is a tremendous amount of more capability available within SAP HANA that help ISVs build better, faster, and smarter applications at a lower cost than you might think.

The environment for which ISVs are building applications is becoming more complex and much more competitive.  Customers are not only asking for more performance, but they are demanding more capabilities, including intelligent features such as Artificial Intelligence/Machine learning from your applications. These are difficult capabilities to add and many of them require processing huge amounts of data. In this post, I’ll demonstrate how you can take advantage of the SAP HANA built-in specialty processing engines to easily and economically meet your customers’ demands.

SAP HANA – Quick Review

Before we begin with the specialty processing engines, let’s take a moment to review what SAP HANA is all about.  SAP HANA is an in-memory data PLATFORM that lets you accelerate business process, deliver more business intelligence, and simplify your IT environment.  SAP HANA provides the foundation for all your data needs, both transactional and analytical, and removes the burden of maintaining separate legacy systems with siloed data.

SAP HANA was designed from the ground up to solve the problem of continuous integration between transactional and analytical solutions, delivering real-time insights at scale. Based on industry leading in-memory columnar technology, SAP HANA can manage not only transactions and analytics at scale in the same store – but can deploy specialist engines on the same data without duplication, for example spatial, predictive, AI, etc.

Which brings us to the Specialty Engines

How many of your customers are requiring specialized processing from your applications?  Perhaps they are asking for geo-spatial processing, or text/unstructured data handling, or asking for complex predictive analytics?   Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are now at the point where they can provide useful and valuable functionality to our end customers.  As a result of this demand, the application marketspace is becoming crowded with more and more companies building very sophisticated applications.  To complicate matters further, customers are becoming much more demanding in the specialized processing they require.

For ISVs, your lifeblood has been to build sophisticated applications to meet customer requirements.  However, in the past, the only architectural design choice was to create specialized applications (or libraries) for each requirement, extract the data from a database for processing, calculate results, and finally send the results to the user (and likely back to the database).   Essentially creating “stovepipe” applications to meet each different application demand.   As you can see in the following figure, the end result is a complex environment with lots of moving parts, lots of data moving around, and high latency.

What if there is a better way?  What if you could bring the processing/smarts directly to the data, rather than bring the data to the calculations?   Completely eliminate data movement/transfer and resulting latency?  Now, you can, as this is exactly what the SAP HANA platform provides.  This is what the SAP HANA platform was designed for.

The SAP HANA platform completely transforms application development and deployment.  In addition to the in-memory and HTAP capabilities described in previous blogs in this series, SAP HANA adds a new level of sophistication by bringing the calculation engines to the data.  You are no longer required to extract data in order to perform specialized processing such as Machine Learning that customers are demanding.  Now, that processing can be done where the data is stored – in the database platform itself.   In essence, the specialty calculation/processing engines surround the data.

Why is this important?  Fewer moving parts, much less data moving around, complete elimination of data movement latency, and perhaps most importantly –  a simplified application architecture.   As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs –  applications that are faster, smarter and much cheaper to build/maintain.

Let’s take a look at some of the specialty engines available for you

  • Spatial — SAP HANA includes a spatial engine and supports spatial data types and methods for processing spatial data. Spatial data is data that describes the position, shape, and orientation of objects in a defined space.
  • Graph — SAP HANA graph data processing provides the processing capabilities that help customers extract deeper insights from hyper-connected data and their relationships. SAP HANA includes a graph engine with built-in graph algorithms (neighborhood search, shortest path, strongly connected components, pattern matching and more) to find connections without manually algorithm creation. It also introduces a Property Graph model with flexible schema, which enables users to traverse relationships without the need for predefined modeling.
  • Predictive Analytics / Machine Learning — SAP HANA includes 90+ prepackaged machine learning/predictive algorithms that includes capabilities such as association, clustering, classification, regression, probability distribution, outlier detection, time series and more.    This capability is also Integrated with open source machine learning libraries – TensorFlow and R.
  • Search and Text Analytics — SAP HANA includes a capability to store text and binary files in SAP HANA for native text analysis and search. This automatically detects 31 languages with abilities for text mining and fuzzy, linguistic, synonymous, and spatial search.
  • Streaming Analytics —    SAP HANA has the ability to capture, filter, analyze, and act on millions of events per second in real-time, with the ability to retain the high value data/results in SAP HANA, and direct less critical data into lower cost storage solutions such as Hadoop.   SAP HANA Streaming Analytics is also integrated with the Apache Kafka Messaging system.
    • Series Data — Native series data storage and processing.   SAP HANA includes support for equidistant and non-equidistant series data, with series data generation, handling of missing values, special compression techniques to store series data, and optimizations for series data functions, analytics, and disaggregation
    • Business Functions — Simplified application development and better performance.  SAP HANA includes 55+ prepackaged business functions such as annual depreciation, forecast, net present value, etc.

The Bottom Line

All of the above capabilities are built-into the SAP HANA Data Platform.  The specialty engines surround the data, and are available for your application to take advantage of.   These engines are not separate moving pieces, nor are they external components (for which you would be required to provide additional hardware resources for).    The result is an application and platform architecture is greatly simplified with:

  • Fewer moving parts
  • Elimination of data extraction/transfer (no data moving around)
  • Elimination of data movement latency
  • Much higher/extreme performance.

These capabilities/functions allow you to build applications to meet your customers’ current requirements, as well as future proofing your applications as new and demanding requirements are created.

If you put it all together, the bottom line is that costs will be lower.  For the ISV — cost of development and support will be lower.   For end customers – application acquisition and maintenance costs will be lower.   And, as a bonus for both the ISV and your customers – the simplified architecture means that less hardware and infrastructure will be required to develop and deploy the applications.

In Summary

SAP HANA brings some amazing transformation capabilities for our customers.   As I’ve described in the above paragraphs, SAP HANA includes built-in capabilities that will allow ISVs to create the modern, high performance, sophisticated and smart applications that customers are demanding.     Applications that are architecturally simpler, faster, and cheaper to build/maintain than with any other current/competing platform.

To put it another way, building on SAP HANA and taking advantage of the built-in specialty process engines provides you with:

  • One single platform for both development and deployment
  • One single copy of the data

Allowing you to

  • Spend less time/resources on integration
  • Spend more time/resources on Innovation

Partnering with SAP will provide you the opportunity to build these applications at a lower cost than currently possible with any other/competing platform or architecture.

Contact Us

We understand that every ISV’s application is unique and has their own set of opportunities. As such, SAP offers multiple ways of partnering on the digital transformation journey and offers services and tooling to help ISV’s understand what would be required to adopt SAP HANA and the potential joint business impact.

The time is now to understand how an SAP HANA partnership can drive your transformation to the digital core! To engage with SAP, please either email us at sap_isv_engagement@sap.com

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