SAP Datasphere review: turning data from a technical problem to a business data product.

This post was kindly supported by SAP.

Despite technological advances, businesses still need help working with data. Data is complex, and companies often need to catch up on what they are trying to achieve. This is often translated as a technical issue, not a business one. They are also starting to realize – and accept – that data is challenging. Post-COVID, companies now understand that IT skills are different from data skills.  In this post, we will take a look at what is necessary to have a good solid foundation, and how you can turn your data from a technical problem to a business opportunity. 

It is easier to list the symptoms of a problematic data foundation as they are often pretty clear to business users. To summarise, a problematic data foundation misdirects people to make suboptimal business decisions due to incorrect data and information. In this post, let’s take a look at some of the ways that SAP Datasphere can help.

What does a sound, intelligent data foundation give you?

What does a sound, intelligent data foundation give you? First, it can provide continuous transformation opportunities for the organization. It can give business-oriented data strategy for business leaders to help drive better business decisions and ROI. It can also increase productivity by enabling the business to find the data they need when the business teams need it. Finally, productivity is accelerated because the data gives consistent answers, leading to a consistent understanding across the business. Put together, these factors help to provide the company with a competitive advantage since better data – and better use of data – leads to better strategies.

Data as a product as well as a foundation

The data foundation is critical for all types of reporting and analytics. Data needs to be respected in the same way as building a product. There’s a new trend for people to talk about data products, bringing a product management mindset to the production of data assets. Data on its own is not always interesting. Data needs to be turned into information, knowledge, and then wisdom. However, to turn data into a business problem, organizations need support to move away from technical issues to start getting value as quickly as possible. They need a solid data foundation to support primary data initiatives such as data integration, cataloging, semantic modeling, warehousing, federation, and virtualization through a unified interface to get value.

SAP Datasphere - delivering the solid data foundation

Earlier this month, SAP announced SAP Datasphere, a comprehensive data service built on SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) to help solve the everyday challenges that prevent businesses from achieving success with their data. SAP Datasphere simplifies data integration, cataloging, semantic modeling, warehousing, federation, and virtualization through a unified interface. 

Why is this interesting? Organisations are looking at ways of simplifying data; for example, through simple rebranding efforts to disguise the complexity.  However, SAP Datasphere goes much deeper deeper than a simple rebranding; it is the next generation of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. SAP solves everyday difficulties by adding new abilities that solve user problems with data, such as the discovery, modeling, and distribution of mission-critical business data. 

SAP Datasphere and the Data Fabric

There is also growing interest in the data fabric architecture, so, the SAP Datasphere could not have come at a better time. SAP Datasphere helps eliminate hidden data debt within organizations, enabling customers to build a business data fabric architecture that quickly delivers meaningful data with business context and logic intact.

Business Intelligence is often a search problem in disguise. Team members are searching for data they need within the reports and other analytic products created within the organization and also outside of it.
SAP helps to solve this search problem by offering ways to simplify business data with a solid data foundation that powers SAP Datasphere. It fits neatly with the renewed interest in data architecture, particularly data fabric architecture. 

Companies can't get a single view of the customer until they have a single view of the data. They fail to get a grip on their data.

Data Cataloging Focus

Businesses can’t get a single view of the customer until they have a single view of their data. 

Businesses often mention wanting a ‘single view of the customer’. Companies fail to get a grip on their data because they don’t have a single view of the data. By providing a unified view of the data, the semantic layer helps ensure that different users and reports use consistent definitions and calculations, thereby helping to provide a single view of the customer. 

The new SAP Datasphere catalog provides data lineage, metadata information, and quick searching capabilities across your SAP landscape. This functionality makes it easier for users to access graphical interfaces and drag-and-drop functionality for building and managing the semantic layer. 

The semantic layer is an abstraction layer between the raw data stored in databases and the end-users or business analysts who need to access, analyze, and visualize that data. It provides a user-friendly and easily understandable representation of the underlying data. The semantic layer is aimed at users to help them to query and interact with the data without needing deep technical expertise.

The semantic layer works by translating technical data elements and field names into business terms that are meaningful and familiar to end-users. It simplifies complex data structures and relationships, presenting them in a more intuitive and easy-to-understand format for end-users. It also means that users do not need to acquire knowledge of the underlying database structures, query languages such as SQL, or data platform technologies. It helps users to work with the data more effectively and reduces the need for technical support.

SAP and Partnership Announcements

For each strategic partnership SAP announced recently, SAP retained all the powerful capabilities of the data warehouse cloud. In addition, SAP add value by the addition of new features and services such as data cataloging, data integration, and semantic modeling.

Collibra and SAP have partnered to deliver accurate and trustworthy data across SAP and non-SAP systems, providing end-to-end data governance across the enterprise data fabric. The SAP and Collibra partnership will create a bi-directional connection between the SAP data suite catalog and your catalog in equilibrium.

What data problem is it solving?

If you’ve ever tried implementing it, you will know that Change Data Capture processes and constantly replicating data are time-consuming and error-prone. SAP simplifies the process by offering a simple, non-technical process for customers, significantly shortening the time to value. In addition, this technology makes data readily available in a secure, governed way.

How does SAP Datasphere help solve the problem?

How does it help? SAP Datasphere contextualizes SAP data while adding and governing non-SAP data that supports the business data fabric. We all know that users expect to find what they need very quickly! Using SAP Datasphere, it is possible for users to query the combination of replicated cached and federated data is unprecedented. Users can search in the new SAP Datasphere catalog for an initial dashboard and its context; they can view the data lineage to confirm the data assets context. In addition, SAP Datasphere catalogs share metadata with Collibra, so companies can trust the metadata is the same, improving the data’s richness.

Next steps

SAP Datasphere is the next generation of all combined SAP data warehouse cloud and SAP data intelligence cloud offerings. Businesses won’t have to worry about migrating systems or impacting their production workloads. Businesses can get back to building a solid data foundation, turning data from a technical problem to a data product. Check out the SAP website for more information and news. 

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