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SAP outlines approach to data management

Through its Hana Data Management Suite, SAP hopes to alleviate the challenges of managing data amid growing data security needs in an increasingly hybrid IT landscape

As more enterprises hop onto the multi-cloud bandwagon while facing the need to comply with a growing number of data protection regulations around the world, managing data has become an increasingly complex endeavour in recent years.

Adding to the challenge is the need to manage, analyse, govern and secure data being created and streamed from internet of things (IoT) devices operating at the edge of network in real-time.

Such challenges are what SAP hopes to address with its Hana Data Management Suite that was unveiled recently at its Sapphire conference in Orlando earlier in June 2018.

“Our customers use an average of six to eight clouds, including SuccessFactors and non-SAP clouds like Salesforce.com,” said Ken Tsai, SAP’s global vice-president and head of cloud platform and data management.

“Although some cloud suppliers say you can store all your data in Amazon Web Services, that’s not possible unless you put your cloud applications in there.”

With no way to consolidate all of an enterprise’s data onto a single platform for analysis, Tsai said there was a need to solve the data management problem from a different perspective.

Rather than share data across different applications, he said a more efficient – and secure – way was to make metadata available to all applications from a central location. “Data security, privacy and governance should also be shared across systems whether you are using SAP or third-party applications,” Tsai said.

“You can have your own data but its visibility should be shared, and that includes data queries and data models so you can potentially move workloads from one system to another or from on-premise to the cloud and back,” he added.

The SAP Hana Data Management Suite is based on the latest versions of the SAP Hana business data platform, SAP Data Hub, SAP Cloud Platform Big Data Services and the SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer Web application.

By bringing together various data management capabilities – including master data management, data lakes and integrating real-time data pipelines from myriad sources – Tsai said the SAP Data Management Suite will address data management challenges from an integrated perspective, along with a consistent user experience.

He added that the new suite, available on-premise and as a cloud service or hybrid offering, will also let enterprises anonymise data by adding noise to data queries.

“The query results still make sense but you won’t be able to know the absolute value of the data – unlike in data masking where you can still figure out my salary by combining LinkedIn data and my address information,” Tsai said.

Nigel Lim, a regional IT manager based in Singapore, said: “The SAP Hana Data Management Suite could finally make it easier to be in control of the data I have in my organisation, and this helps with risk management. It should give me better visibility to better manage risks, which will lead to overall improvements in IT governance”.

Ratnang Desai, SAP data and automation leader at Deloitte Consulting, said in a blog post that the Hana Data Management Suite “goes beyond working with data at an enterprise level and elevates the business and strategy of data management to an ecosystem – collapsing the walls and organisational borders of the enterprise by accessing social media data and other public data available for consumption”.

“This type of data orchestration of structured and unstructured data can be rapidly integrated with an organisation’s enterprise data for a complete and trusted view of all available data,” he added.

To drive adoption of Hana Data Management Suite, Tsai said SAP has developed several technology use cases and business scenarios that its customers can consider, such as big data, data warehousing, spatial analytics as well as augmenting customer relationship management with insights on how customers are engaging with competitors.

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