SAP Launches Datasphere Next-Generation Data Warehouse

The software giant also unveiled strategic alliances with Collibra, Confluence, Databricks and DataRobot designed to help customers develop a business data fabric architecture that incorporates data from SAP applications and non-SAP systems.


Software giant SAP Wednesday unveiled SAP Datasphere, the next generation of the company’s cloud data warehouse service with new data cataloging, simplified data replication and enhanced data modeling capabilities.

SAP has also struck strategic partnerships with four data management and AI technology developers: Collibra, Confluence, Databricks and DataRobot, developing links with Datasphere to make data in their systems available to SAP users.

The Datasphere launch and integration with third-party technologies are intended to help overcome the “fundamental error” in data management and analytics of too much focus on technology and not enough focus on data, said Daniel Yu, senior vice president of marketing and solutions, SAP database and analytics, in an interview with CRN.

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“Every business leader today needs to leverage data to advance their business and to make informed decisions,” Yu said. “The ability for organizations to derive value from data is essential today for running your supply chain, finance, sales, marketing and capital management [operations]. But we’re not there yet.

“For decades as an industry we made a fundamental error in that we only focused on the technology rather than data,” he said. “Today, in fact, we move data to technology, rather than bringing the technology to data. Every analytic system today starts with extraction of data from a data source [and] reconstruction of the business concepts and logic, which takes forever, with the hopes of running a great analytics or AI project. It still requires a staggering amount of hours and time to collect all this data [and] reconstruct the context so that you can build analytics on top of that.”

And all this has become exponentially more complex as more IT systems, applications and data storage move to the cloud, Yu added.

Data Generation

SAP applications are a major data generator with SAP customers involved in an estimated 87 percent of global commerce, according to the company. But that data frequently must be combined with data from other sources for operational and analytical tasks.

“So we are on a mission to make it easy for organizations to deliver meaningful data to every data professional with the business logic and business context intact,” Yu said.

The Datasphere cloud service and its new capabilities, along with the integrations with technology partners’ systems, are designed to help businesses and organizations develop a business data fabric architecture that relies more on the use of metadata to provide access to data where it resides rather than traditional data collection and extraction approaches, Yu said. Data is also delivered with its business context and logic intact.

Datasphere is the next generation of the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud service, offering new and extended capabilities to provide what SAP calls a more unified experience for data integration, data federation, data warehousing, semantic modeling, data cataloging and data virtualization.

As with the earlier Data Warehouse Cloud, Datasphere is built on the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) that provides underlying capabilities including database security, encryption and governance.

Datasphere’s new data cataloging capabilities automatically discover, manage and govern data, according to SAP. Newly simplified and faster data replication delivers data and constant updates in real time while enhanced data modeling functionality preserves data business context in SAP applications. The company also plans to develop additional integration capabilities that link data and metadata from SAP cloud systems to Datasphere.

New Strategic Alliances

On the strategic partners front, SAP has allied with data intelligence tech provider Collibra, which is integrating its data catalog technology with SAP, a move that will make it possible for customers to develop a comprehensive data governance strategy that includes SAP and non-SAP data. Yu said demands for such data discovery and governance capabilities are high today given data privacy and protection requirements like the European Union’s GDPR regulations.

“As the volume and complexity of data continues to grow, we frequently hear from our customers that they need a single system of engagement that provides visibility into data across the enterprise and builds the foundation for enterprise-wide governance,” said Laura Sellers, Collibra chief product officer, in a statement.

Sellers noted that the SAP-Collibra integration will provide an end-to-end view of modern data stacks across both SAP and non-SAP systems. “Our joint customers will be able to deliver accurate and trusted data for every use, every user, and across every source.”

Through a partnership with data lakehouse technology developer Databricks, customers can integrate their data lakehouse with SAP software to share data with semantics preserved. With the DataRobot alliance customers can leverage automated machine learning capabilities on top of Datasphere and bring them into their business data fabric.

And Confluent has committed to connect its data streaming platform with Datasphere, providing real-time connectivity with external applications.

Yu said some basic integration work with the technology partners has been completed. “There’s a multi-year roadmap that we’re going to be developing with these partners to make the integration deeper and deeper and deeper and make it easier and easier for customers…so that the customers can really make better decisions rather than spending 80 percent of their time doing integration,” he said.

The Datasphere unveiling won the endorsement of a number of leading systems integration and strategic service provider partners including Accenture, CapGemini, Deloitte, EY and PwC.

The Datasphere launch “further enables our ‘analytics-first’ approach,” said Chip Kleinheksel, the SAP offering CTO at Deloitte, in a statement. “SAP’s data and analytics capabilities combined with interoperability provides a multitude of ways to garner business value for our clients driven by SAP and complemented by the broader technology ecosystem and Deloitte’s deep analytics expertise,” he said.