Originally published on July 3rd, 2023.
Posted by: Anja Kaup (PR and Marketing Manager) – anja.kaup@infocient.de

Iver van de Zand is CTO – Vice President Business Technology Platform – EMEA North and owns content, customer value proposition and field readiness for BTP in the EMEA region.

Iver has a deep passion for data & analytics and formed and moderates LinkedIn’s SAP BTP Practitioners group with more than 10.000 members.

We met in Walldorf and talked about the latest SAP BTP value propositions like SAP Datasphere.

Key features of SAP Datasphere

1. Can you provide an overview of the features of SAP Datasphere that are key for you?

Iver van de Zand: SAP Datasphere is the new offering based on the concept of a Data Fabric and of central semantics.

It came out of the question every customer asks:

“Can you provide me with one solution that allows me to access my most important data – regardless where it comes from?”

SAP Datasphere is based on the foundation of Data Warehouse Cloud and we added Data Intelligence components to it.

The central theme for SAP Datasphere is to keep things in context within the SAP ecosystem.

The reason for the partnership with Collibra and Databricks is, that it allows to access a lot more sources in context and keeping the data fully governed.

We intend not to move the data, we respect all the meta information and keep the data there.

The key features that I honestly like are:

  1. We see that every big customer is providing data as assets. If a marketing manager wants to share his or her leads with the organisation one can provide this data as an asset, as a product within the organisation in a data marketplace. You can also provide data outside the organisation. You can put a price on it and sell it (which then makes it “monetization”). There are 3.000 prebuild data packs to buy data (like Dow Jones Data, Customer lists etc.). The Data Marketplace in SAP Datasphere is like a marketplace meeting the demand and supply of data.
  2. The second feature I like is the Analytic model. The Analytic Model is one of the cornerstones of SAP Datasphere. It allows multidimensional and semantically rich analytical modelling to answer business questions easier, faster and more efficiently. There is an article SAP Datasphere’s Feature Highlight: The Analytic Model that includes links to the 10 best practices articles.

Uniqueness of SAP Datasphere

2. How does SAP Datasphere differ from other solutions in the market?

Iver: The most important differences from other solutions are:

  1. that SAP massively focuses on not moving the data. Sometimes you have to move the data for perormance reasons and we do that with delta copy replication.
  2. The partnerships with Collibra, Databricks, Google, Confluent and DataRobot.
    SAP has technical partnerships – not just commercial partnerships – with key players in the data analytics stack in the world.

Benefits of SAP Datasphere

3. What are the primary benefits of using SAP Datasphere for organizations?How does it help them with data governance, data integration, and data quality?

Iver: With SAP Datasphere customers have central access to their most important data in a governed way – data that you can trust – and all that data is still in context. There is full data lineage and data literacy there.

We have a data modelling layer and a business layer where you translate data into captions that you and I can understand.
By separating those two layers business users can work with trusted data. But they have a user-friendly interface that empowers business users to access and analyze data without heavy reliance on IT teams.

Real live examples

4. Could you share an example or use case where SAP Datasphere has delivered significant value to customers?

Iver:: A big retailer in the Netherlands worked with SAP BW 7.5 and wanted to prepare for the future. They were investigating how to proceed to a modern cloud ready organisation. BW Bridge allowed them to take this journey step by step and to gradually move to SAP Datasphere without losing the investments in BW.

There is a good article on conversion paths to SAP Datasphere with SAP BW Bridge: Conversion to SAP Datasphere: Conversion Paths and Cloud Transformation Steps

Another example is Porsche. Porsche has worked with different data solutions in the past, which led to a loss of data governance in reporting. It was time-consuming to source the right sales data from over 600 dealers and insert it into spreadsheets.
To overcome these challenges, Porsche chose SAP Datasphere to integrate all existing systems and facilitate data access for end users. By extending SAP BW/4HANA to the cloud with SAP Datasphere, Porsche was able to restructure its data landscape, eliminate redundancies and silos, and automate processes.

This allowed the business units to save time and gain valuable insights for decision-making processes. With Porsche’s hybrid data warehouse, employees can securely link and model data. By using SAP Analytics Cloud, Porsche dealers can view and analyse sales figures and lead data in real time, while the sales management team gains a more comprehensive overview of sales trends. This significantly reduces preparation time for sales meetings.

You can read more about this project in our customer story: “Porsche: Turbo für Effizienz, Leistung und Intelligence

Data security and privacy

5. Data security and privacy are critical concerns for organizations today. How does SAP Datasphere address these concerns and ensure data protection throughout the data lifecycle?

Iver:: SAP Datasphere has a very strong governance layer and a governance engine so the data is fully protected.

SAP Datasphere provides a comprehensive framework for compliance and governance requirements. It helps organizations adhere to data privacy regulations, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), by providing features like data lineage, audit trails, and data retention policies.

The introduction of the lineage concept is new and very helpful.

Let me show what that means with an example. Assume that you have SAP Datasphere, 415 reports in SAC and 14 source systems. If one table in one of these 14 source systems is broken – how do I know exactly which of my 415 reports has an error and who are the users? To be able to trace this lineage is very helpful.
With lineage you know whom you have to send an email to.

It also works the other way round. You can trace back if there is a wrong calculation in a wrangling, e.g. if you have doubts that your KPIs are correct.

Analytic capabilities of SAP Datasphere

6. SAP Datasphere is designed to support data-driven decision-making. Can you elaborate on the analytics capabilities of Datasphere?

Iver: Datasphere offers intuitive data exploration and visualization features that allow users to interactively explore and analyze their data. Already today anything you do in SAP Datasphere is live in SAP Analytics Cloud.
SAP Datasphere and SAP Analytics Cloud will get closer and closer. They have the same interface and a preview in SAP Datasphere looks the same as in SAC.

Datasphere also supports advanced analytics techniques, such as predictive analytics and machine learning.

Ultimately, Datasphere empowers organizations to derive meaningful insights from their data and drive business outcomes, leading to improved operational efficiency, customer satisfaction, and competitive advantage.

Selfie vom Interview mit Iver van de Zand

Thank you very much, Iver, for this interview on the most important features of SAP Datasphere.

If you would like to know more about SAP Datasphere

  • send us an email or
  • talk to Dr. Armin Elbert personally: +49 621 596 838-50

I have questions about SAP Datasphere