Taking Geospatial Analytics to the Next Level

Daniel Schneiss

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SVP, SAP HANA Platform & Databases

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Thanks to the ever-increasing digitalization, companies today seem to know nearly everything about their customers: Who they are, what they buy, how they drive their business. However, what is often missing is knowledge about where they are located, how they are connected, and how their locations possibly impact buying decisions and behavior.

The data needed for this – geospatial data – is all around us. Just think of weather reports, suggested routes on Google Maps, or geotagged posts on Facebook. Simply put, geospatial data is any data with a spatial identifier referring to a position on the earth. Check out this video for some use cases.

GIS + ERP = A Game Changer

To change the game, you need real-time analysis, reporting, forecasting, threat detection, and planning. To do this, geospatial data stored in a geographic information system (GIS) needs to be combined with data from the Internet of Things and sensor data, data from your partners and ecosystem, and data from your ERP system – operations, customers, finance and marketing. This way, you can outpace competitors through smarter use of your business data and geospatial data to gain an unbeatable competitive edge.

Geospatial analysis brings GIS, the system of record for maps, and ERP, the system of record for business data, closer together. It involves gathering, displaying, and using GIS data, geographic coordinates, street addresses, postal codes, and other identifiers to create geographical models – data visualizations that help making complex relationships more understandable. These geographical models can reveal historical changes, shifts that are underway, where they are taking place, and they can even predict what’s about to happen.

Business applications can be enriched with geographic data from GIS. Business data on maps with multiple layers of different types of data can be overlaid with detailed geographic information, like topography and satellite imagery. This allows business users to visualize information in various ways, such as heat map layers to visualize data density and or to highlight statistically significant geographic areas. This example predicts landslides, including impact to key points of interest.

Munich RE, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies, uses the spatial data processing, predictive analytics, and simulation capabilities in SAP HANA to assess risk “in the moment”. The company also uses the cloud-based Earth Observation Analysis Service powered by SAP HANA to analyze natural disaster data with its customer data to make more informed decisions about insurance risks. Its customers benefit as the company pushes down costs based on accurate, timely, historical and real-time information.

To further help companies leverage the power of location to uncover new insights from business, social, and sensor data, SAP and Esri, the global leader in geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analytics, teamed up. Both companies provide the platforms, applications, and ecosystems, covering the breadth and depth of geo-enabled business processes needed by organizations of all sizes and across all industries, greatly reducing or eliminating the need for multiple business or geospatial systems. Developers can extend those applications or create entirely new ones that work easily within the SAP and Esri environments. Interested in learning more? Check out our solution brief here.

Geospatial data moves to SAP HANA

Building on this long-standing partnership, SAP just recently announced that Esri now supports SAP HANA as a certified enterprise geodatabase – an achievement both companies have been striving for.

Together, SAP and Esri are now making GIS, mapping, advanced visualizations and spatial analytics available to everyone across the enterprise. Adding SAP HANA to Esri allows customers to gain deeper insights, take smarter business decisions, and innovate rapidly. Whether on premise or in the cloud, with the Esri geodatabase powered by SAP HANA, spatial data can be integrated and delivered across organizations and accessed from one place for true IT landscape consolidation. Customers running SAP, non-SAP and Esri solutions can now streamline their IT architecture with one underlying platform powered by SAP HANA. You can expect more innovation and integration from both companies throughout the year, allowing you to build a modern data foundation that can rapidly extend to new use cases, including machine learning and graph databases.

First customers are already benefitting from spatial analytics, advanced visualizations and embedding geospatial data into core business processes. The Metropolitan Utilities District (M.U.D.), a political subdivision and public corporation, is deploying Esri’s ArcGIS on SAP HANA to perform real-time analytics on their business data. By eliminating the manual tasks of data preparation and conversion processes, employees can concentrate on more creative and strategic tasks.

Geospatial analysis has arrived, but we have only just begun to realize its potential. With both volume and variety of geospatial data growing, companies choosing to harness the power of various forms of spatial data can outpace competitors by tapping into new methodologies to analyze existing data. Geospatial analysis can lead to improved decision making, better results, new revenue opportunities, and overall a better view of the company’s data, thus opening up new areas for growth.

If you are savvy developer interested in testing your skills in geospatial, stay tuned to news on the SAP + Esri Spatial Hackathon. Due to unprecedented demand, we’ve already reached maximum capacity. However, you can use the learning resources and Ask the Experts sessions to learn more. Also, we’re looking at having more hackathons across the globe — keep an eye on the Twitter #SAPEsri tag, or follow the Hackathon website to stay in the know. For more details, check out the blog.

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