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  • admin 9:51 am on July 14, 2015 Permalink
    Tags: , , Near, , SAP®   

    Near Real-Time SAP® Analytics is Here 

    by Matt Hausmann and Cynthia McShea

    As data volumes increase and more transactional sources become available, it is increasingly difficult, yet at the same time paramount, to quickly integrate and analyze information in near real time to facilitate business decisions.

    SAP® is a popular enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. However, it is also highly complex and presents challenges for businesses. For example, a basic SAP R/3 ERP system can have 25,000 or more transactional data tables to access and analyze for BI processing. What organizations need is a solution that quickly integrates SAP data into a cross-functional view for both operational and managerial business analytics.

    Data Replication Improves Analytics

    Teradata® Analytics for SAP® Solutions is an out-of-the-box application that includes enterprise architecture, ELT processes, data models, and more than 150 dashboards and reports. It provides near real-time SAP R/3 data extraction and watertight change data capture (CDC) via database-level replication to load the information into the Teradata Database. (See figure.) The data is then integrated in an extendable enterprise model that provides the foundation for enabling business agility via access to information, reporting and operational analytics.

    Teradata and Informatica have partnered to develop specific replication technology. This allows data to be extracted through database logs independent of the SAP R/3 database. This approach is game changing for two reasons:

    • The performance impact to the operational database is negligible.
    • Data acquisition is simplified because there is no longer a remote function call interface for communications or authorization issues. In addition, there are no more advanced business application programming (ABAP) scripts executed on the SAP application server or transports.

    The minimally invasive replication and CDC technology also allows fast movement of large volumes of data into the integrated data warehouse (IDW). The data replication allows companies to operationalize their IDW and deliver a single solution for both tactical and strategic analytic needs.

    Unique Approaches

    Data replication provides the streamlined movement of data into predefined tables in Teradata Analytics for SAP Solutions, enabling a “touch it, take it” approach for complete in-database processing. Optimized Teradata Database data definition language (DDL) statements are automatically created based on the SAP target tables chosen for the specific SAP ERP instance.

    The ability to create DDL is important since the metadata is different in each SAP system, and large organizations can have more than 100 independent SAP R/3 systems. Teradata Analytics for SAP Solutions, through dynamic column generation, can pare down metadata building from months to less than a day.

    Data replication also solves the complicated problem of SAP deletes. As part of the replication, a soft delete process is added to accommodate the various delete types. Replication adds a code column that indicates the type of update. This approach prevents issues downstream and solves the problem of when, for example, deleted keys are reused by the SAP R/3 system.

    Consume Key Data

    Data in the SAP ERP database, specifically Cluster and Pool tables, is stored in a SAP proprietary format. The embedded data must be decoded or translated into a relational format for integration with non-SAP enterprise data.

    The purpose of Cluster and Pool tables is to save space and memory within the SAP R/3 application. The information in these tables is compressed and stored in a binary large object (BLOB) format. Some of the largest Cluster tables contain the logical tables BSEG or KONV that store financial transactions and price conditions, respectively. The logical tables must be extracted and uncompressed from the physical SAP R/3 tables for relational use.

    SAP provides an ABAP server approach through business content extractors to pull out the embedded data from Cluster and Pool tables. Teradata Analytics for SAP Solutions bypasses application server processing and its limitations by replicating the data directly to the Teradata Database. Once the data is in the database, a specially developed user defined function (UDF) decompresses and decodes the BLOB data into a relational format. The replication/UDF solution provides a streamlined, fast and scalable approach to unlock key SAP ERP data.

    Additionally optimized DDL is generated automatically for the extracted logical tables. The relational data is then ready to be consumed and integrated with the enterprise data for cross-functional and near real-time analytics. Error handling, such as for an unknown character, is built in to ensure all exceptions are captured and data is not “lost in translation.”

    Quick Implementation, Fast Data Access

    Teradata Analytics for SAP Solutions provides a flexible and streamlined data acquisition approach for enterprise integration and leveraging SAP R/3 ERP data. The solution can be implemented in days, providing business users and functional analysts with easier and near real-time access to data for analysis and validation. 

    Read the full article and more in the Q2 2015 issue of Teradata Magazine.

    Matt Hausmann is a product marketing manager for Teradata software.

    Cynthia McShea is an engineering and product manager for Teradata.




    The post Near Real-Time SAP® Analytics is Here appeared first on Magazine Blog.

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