Data Fabric, Hub, and Sphere
SAP has followed NetWeaver, BW, and Data Hub with another solution designed to give customers access to business-critical data. SAP is introducing the Datasphere solution, the next generation of its data management portfolio. SAP also announced strategic partnerships with data and AI companies Collibra, Confluent, Databricks, and DataRobot. The partnerships are intended to enable companies to build a unified data architecture that securely brings SAP software and third-party data together.
From Hub to Sphere
From the very beginning of ERP software development, data has been the focus. With the book “Algorithms and Data Structures” by the legendary computer science professor Niklaus Wirth of the ETH Zurich (The Federal Technical School of Zurich), all programmers became aware that in the future the construction of applications would have two main goals: to build processes and algorithms and, in parallel, to construct consistent and suitable quantity and data structures.
The organization of data management was always a challenge at SAP because at first it was left to database providers such as Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft. These providers obviously underestimated the scope of the project with their own databases, which leads us to the current situation: after SAP’s failed attempt with Data Hub, the company is now making another attempt with Datasphere.
SAP has always understood the importance of data and also expressed it to the users. Internally, however, the topic was treated as a secondary issue and the connected databases from Oracle, IBM and Microsoft were used only as file systems. A real added value through the providers’ DB functionality was obviously never SAP’s intention. With Business Warehouse, Data Hub, and now Datasphere, data sovereignty will remain with the ERP vendor.
Solution seeks problem
SAP understood the challenge and despite attempts in the past with SAP Data Hub, the ERP world market leader now explained, “Until now, accessing and using data that resides in different systems and locations, such as cloud providers, data providers, and on-prem systems, has been a complex challenge. Customers had to extract data from its original storage locations and export it to a central location. In the process, important contextual information was lost and could only be recovered through special, ongoing IT projects and manual effort. With SAP Datasphere, this effort is a thing of the past. Customers have the ability to design a data fabric architecture for managing business data that quickly delivers meaningful data with business context and logic intact.”
From SAP’s perspective, this could be true; however, there are numerous solutions to these challenges within the SAP partner community. Data fabric was defined as a major IT trend many years ago by analysts at Gartner, and consequently SAP partners quickly took note of it. SAP customers interested in Datasphere would be well advised to look around the community for the time being. SAP partners have offered third party solutions to all the problems SAP has identified for many years now.
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