Events like SAPPHIRE provide the opportunity to discover the things people are talking about that aren’t necessarily being covered in any kind of “official” forum. By listening for this undercurrent I have been able to keep my finger on the pulse of what is really happening in the SAP Analytics ecosphere.
Listening to the many people visiting the GROM booth, the undercurrent became apparent very quickly. The question that was causing many furrowed brows was deceptively simple: In an S/4HANA world, is there a future for BI and data warehousing a.k.a. BW/BOBJ? This was not a philosophical issue, but rather a question around the millions of dollars already invested in BI solutions, not to mention a lot of pain, sweat equity and professional reputations.
In the world of SAP there are often competing products and unclear roadmaps. This leads to concern around the future of existing products whenever new technology or products are introduced. While the benefits of S/4HANA are genuine game-changers, my job as an SAP Analytics Architect is to demystify SAP’s strategy and help companies create roadmaps that derive value from their existing IT investments while leveraging new innovations.
The good news that I delivered to the furrowed brows in our booth was that yes, indeed, there is a real future for data warehousing, BI and the other technologies. Any time an IT investment is made, obsolescence is always a concern. If you have made sound decisions around your analytics investments, the advent of S/4HANA should not impact your existing investments. The fact is that while tools change, the premise and function of analytics does not.
Analytics and transactional processing are fundamentally different – both in terms of tools and purpose. While enhanced operational reporting will come from S/4HANA, the function of gathering data from multiple, disparate systems, and reporting from them, has not gone away. Remind yourself of why you implemented BI and the problems it solved.
Written by David Knudson, Director of Analytics, GROM