SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud: Early Insights
One of the projects that I’m currently working on involves a very interesting setup with the brand new SAP Data Warehouse Cloud (DWC) as its datawarehousing solution. As front-end we use SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), which is available as an embedded offering within DWC. This is actually the first DWC implementation in Europe so that’s very exciting and cool to be part of!
In the following video the project is introduced and the solution architecture is shown, plus a demo on how the data models were created in DWC. At the end of the video a demo is given of one of the dashboards that we created in SAC on top of these DWC models.
From the SAP Analytics Cloud side there are a few things that we need to take into account with this approach. The embedded SAC tenant is very much linked to its DWC counterpart. You have to work within an isolated “space” and make sure that all SAC users also are made a member of the space that you built the stories in. This is in addition to the DWC role(s) that have to be assigned to these users. Unfortunately these spaces lack any form of structure or options for management. There are no folders and the sharing settings of documents cannot be adjusted. This could maybe work with a very small user base but is something you really don’t want for a large audience. As there are no (public) folders, all objects (SAC stories, DWC views) are listed in a single list of documents.
The SAC classic setup, where a model must be built first before the data can be consumed in the SAC story, is altered in the embedded SAC version. If you want to use a DWC view in a SAC story, you need to go to the respective space in DWC and create a story from there. A pop-up will appear that lists all available DWC views; no separate model is required anymore. Via this workflow it is also possible to add additional DWC views to the same story.
A step that is left out of this workflow is the option to use a story template, which is an important asset to develop a consistent line of reporting. If you switch from the DWC side of the tenant to the SAC side, the standard option to create a story is still available, including the template selection step. However, the problem here is that there is no option to select the DWC views, as this probably requires you to be within the particular DWC space first.
Data Warehouse Cloud Live Connection
Luckily the solution for the above problems is already available in a live data connections for DWC. With this we can let DWC act as any other live data source (SAP BW, SAP HANA). The only difference is that the creation of a model is not necessary, even when the DWC live connection is used from a standalone tenant (which is actually a plus!).
So in conclusion I think it is a very good approach to offer an out of the box SAC environment within DWC. The developments and testing of DWC views and SAC stories went in extremely short cycles, which meant that we were able to make a huge progress in a very short time frame. I’m not convinced though whether the idea of using spaces is really the way to go. If the audience consists of isolated (business) teams that build their own DWC views and SAC stories it looks like a handy approach, but in a classic setup where a dedicated team creates a set of reports for a large, company wide audience better platform management options are required. Good thing is that we can achieve this with the new DWC live connection!