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Article

 

Special Feature: Business Intelligence

by SAP and Partners | SAPinsider

July 1, 2003

by SAP and Partners SAPinsider - 2003 (Volume 4), July (Issue 3)
 

Does Your Business Intelligence Infrastructure Have the Right Reach?


Heinz Haefner, Vice President, Business Intelligence, SAP

>>INSIDE<<
Business Intelligence: Bringing the Big Picture into Focus

Actuate Information Applications: Scalable BI for All Users

SAP BW Content Integration Strategies in SAP Enterprise Portal

Building Your Enterprise Reporting Strategy with Crystal Decisions and SAP

High Scalability with SAP Business Information Warehouse on IBM DB2 Universal Database for Linux, UNIX, and Windows

Leverage Cognos BI for a Strategic View of Business Information Across Your Enterprise

Maximizing SAP BW Value via Real-Time Data Integration

Reliability for Your Business Intelligence Processing

Accurate, comprehensive information is now universally recognized to be a mission-critical asset. The businesses that best harness and interpret it command the competitive edge. Is it any wonder that, according to research by the analyst firm IDC, the business intelligence (BI) market space reached $3.7 billion in 2002?

As you formulate plans for moving your business intelligence infrastructure forward, you need to be mindful of two things — its reach and consistency. The two concepts are inextricably linked. If you have one solution supporting your executives and another supporting information consumers, and possibly yet another supporting analysts, you have no guarantees that all users are working with one consistent pool of data and analyses, but you can be sure that their ability to work together will be seriously hampered. Your business intelligence infrastructure must reach across all these constituencies.

At the same time, its reach should also cover all application areas and information sources. Marketing, sales, logistics, and finance teams all need a common view of things. There must be a comprehensive, consistent approach to content and analytical activities, end-to-end. Anything less is counterproductive. Anything less means you have different factions operating with different data and conclusions, and you saddle these factions with reconciliation activities each time they come together and discover conflicting information.

This is why SAP’s approach is pervasive, reaching across all user groups, from the CFO and CEO to sales reps and logistics teams — even to customers and partners — and it encompasses SAP and non-SAP data sources alike, to include transactional or master data, XML, legacy data, and even Web logs. SAP’s solution provides a single metadata repository by which all this data can be integrated, standardized, and enriched. It is an information model that is fully integrated end- to-end. It supports tactical, operational, and strategic decision-making activities.

SAP embeds this approach into its solutions. Analytics are literally built into the entire mySAP Business Suite (which includes financials, CRM, HR, SCM, and so on) to provide a comprehensive view across your organization’s business operations. SAP “Business Content” comes ready for you to implement. These are pre-configured information models for horizontal and vertical applications (like SAP’s CRM, financials, supply chain management, and industry offerings), where SAP has leveraged an extensive knowledge of business processes to provide pre-defined roles, workbooks, queries, InfoSources, InfoCubes, ODS objects, key figures, characteristics, update rules, and extractors. Use these Business Content offerings as is, customize them, or use them as a template for devising your own information models.

Analysts have given high grades to this approach. In Forrester’s Business Intelligence TechRankingsTM report, SAP’s BI solution captured top scores in the Information Delivery, Consistency, and Business Specialization categories. The META Group ranked SAP among the BI market leaders in their recently released METAspectrumSM. It is an approach with rapid and broad adoption. And it is one that more and more customers are adopting as their enterprise-wide platform for data warehousing, analytics, and planning.

A business-ready business intelligence platform ensures lower TCO.

Given the quality of the extractors SAP has built, and the guarantees of a consistent view of data in both your SAP and your SAP BI solutions, most customers start there. But they don’t stop there. Many merge data from non-SAP systems into SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW), the foundation of SAP BI, with its business intelligence suite and infrastructure, and functionality that includes data warehousing and data acquisition.

Technology to Enable Business Objectives
Those of you charged with setting strategy for your business intelligence infrastructure have to ensure these technology elements are in place to build and sustain a viable business intelligence platform, now and well into the future:

SAP's approach is pervasive, reaching across all user groups, from the CFO and CEO to sales reps and logistics teams — even to customers and partners — and encompasses SAP and non-SAP data sources alike.

The ability to support very large volumes of data, well into the multi-terabyte range. If you are not now routinely loading and running a multi-terabyte data warehouse, chances are, you soon will. I encourage you to review the SAP/Sun “scalability showcase,” a 5.5-terabyte SAP BW system that supports the equivalent of 20,000 users performing hundreds of thousands of operations per hour.

A strong Web infrastructure. A business intelligence solution needs to provide targeted information to all kinds of users via the Web in a fast and easy fashion (browser-based, zero footprint, without the need to install a frontend). An open, Web-services based architecture for information access that expands the use of BI beyond the enterprise to connect with customers, suppliers, and dealers is essential. I can assure you that the SAP Business Intelligence infrastructure does precisely that.

Real-time data acquisition and analytics. Ultimately, you will need real-time data feeds in order to make real-time decisions. With real-time data acquisition, you can improve the speed and efficiency of your business decisions and reduce data latency. This, in turn, allows for greater short-term operational monitoring and real-time analysis.

Leveraging SAP Master Data Management (MDM) services: For many companies maintaining distributed IT landscapes, common master data will be crucial for business success. SAP Master Data Management (SAP MDM) — a building block of SAP NetWeaver — enables companies to store, augment, and consolidate master data, while ensuring consistent distribution to all applications and systems within the IT landscape. In its next release, SAP BW will integrate with SAP MDM and allow for improved reporting based on harmonized, consistent master data, such as product or business partners, by providing services that recognize identical master data objects (duplicate finding) and keep them consistent (harmonization with local and global attributes).

Shippable, upgradeable content. This is key to lower TCO. So is the treatment of data as operational data — something the SAP Business Intelligence solution does. And SAP BW supports every application area and each industry solution from SAP, along with marketplaces and solutions for non-SAP system integration (see list below).

An open infrastructure. Clearly, a business intelligence infrastructure must be open. It must be able to readily integrate with your overall systems landscape and incorporate offerings from third-parties, such as EAI, knowledge management, mobile, and portals technology. This SAP Insider Special Feature profiles a select handful of these partners.

Support for all these technology elements is guaranteed by the SAP NetWeaver platform on which SAP Business Intelligence solutions are built.1 So is lower TCO, as SAP centralizes all release dates and applies the same lifecycle management capabilities to all its technology offerings.

SAP BW Offers Broad Supports for SAP Solutions
SAP BW supports the following SAP solutions, along with offerings from third parties, including EAI, knowledge management, mobile, and portals technology.

SAP Cross-Industry Solutions
Customer Relationship Management Product Lifecycle Management
Financial Accounting Controlling Supply Chain Management
Strategic Enterprise Management Supplier Relationship Management
Human Capital Management  

SAP Industry Solutions
Aerospace and Defense Media
Apparel and Footwear Oil & Gas
Automotive Pharmaceuticals
Chemicals Public Sector
Consumer Products Real Estate
Distributor Reseller Management Retail
Financial Services Service Providers
Healthcare Telecommunications
High Tech Utilities

How Did We Do? How Are We Doing? Where Do We Go From Here?
The notion of reach isn’t just about cutting across functional, organizational, or even technology barriers. There is a temporal element to this as well. Business intelligence must answer three fundamental questions:

  • How did we do?
  • How are we doing?
  • Where do we go from here?

With the right approach and the right technology, one business intelligence platform can provide the necessary reach to support historical data mining, analytic, and predictive functions, as well as future planning activities for all the audiences you need to support. It is very important that companies have this comprehensive view of their standing and the tools to accurately predict and model where they want to be one year out. It is also critical to be able to monitor, evaluate, and change course, if need be.

SAP Business Intelligence supports all of this. There is support for individual and collaborative decision-making cycles. Ours is the best in the industry. It is the most reliable. (We treat the data just as we do operational data!) And it is entirely open and inclusive.

Ultimately, to have “reach,” a business intelligence solution does not start or stop with just one vendor. Enabling users to effectively identify, evaluate, and act upon business opportunities works best in concert with a broader sphere of technologies and insights — like the sampling of those included in this Special Feature.


1 For more on this, see the article by Gunther Rothermel, "A Wider BI Net! Now Part of SAP NetWeaver, SAP BW Can Accommodate a Broader Range of Business Intelligence Users," in this issue of SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com).

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Business Intelligence: Bringing the Big Picture into Focus


Brian J. Queenin, Vice President, Global Leader — Information Management & Business Intelligence, CGE&Y

Without an enterprise approach to business intelligence, you have different users relying on different views of what should be the same information. I have seen company after company host meetings with the goal of discussing corporate performance, only to be derailed by debates among participants as to whose sets of numbers are correct. Finance, manufacturing, marketing, and sales all have different reporting systems, and hence different figures. This proliferation of multiple reporting systems, each designed to serve the department rather than the enterprise, creates disparate silos of corporate information.

It’s hard to propel an organization forward when people across different organizations or levels of the corporate hierarchy are not working from a common BI platform. This is why I advise clients to keep an eye on the big picture when they examine their BI initiatives. This is why SAP’s BI offerings support executives, analysts, and information consumers, and why SAP has built analytics into its various application suites. It just makes good sense to have users, across all organizations (e.g., supply chain management, finance, and sales), basing decisions on a common understanding of how the business has performed, is performing, and, most importantly, needs to perform. Once you make those decisions, alignment of activities and monitoring performance certainly works a lot better when all the pertinent players work off a set of data, reports, and analytics that is consistent enterprise-wide.

Benefits CGE&Y Customers Have Realized Through an Enterprise Approach to Business Intelligence

Better performance monitoring and enterprise performance management
Empowering users at all levels of the organization to make faster, more accurate decisions
Improved quality and increased customer loyalty through better information exchange
Enhanced predictive capabilities

I see little debate about the efficacy of an enterprise approach to BI. What I do see is lots of confusion about how to get started, so let me address this issue. Start with a project driven by a strong business need and measurable value — value that is substantiated by a thorough ROI analysis. Define what the first project will be, and make sure you can accurately predict its value to your organization.

CGE&Y has developed a six-step process, which includes a BI Index, to do precisely that. (See “Six Steps Toward Enterprise-Wide BI” below.) We invite you to take the BI Index as a first step in your own process.

Six Steps Toward Enterprise-Wide BI

Step 1: Take the BI Index
The first step in evaluating readiness is to take an inventory of your current situation. To simplify this process, CGE&Y together with Crystal Decisions has developed the BI Index. The BI Index enables you to identify the immediate potential value of BI and where you stand versus your competition. It’s a simple, effective tool that focuses on data, information, users, technology, strategy, and execution. The Index is administered and analyzed electronically in less than an hour.

Step 2: Prioritize Your Needs
Using your answers, CGE&Y charts your position on the BI Index. The picture that emerges depicts a strategic assessment of your organization from the viewpoint of your business needs and BI capabilities, rather than a pure technology perspective. Using this information, we work with you to prioritize your needs and determine where to focus for the greatest benefit.

Step 3: Assess Potential ROI
The BI Index is built to return a potential ROI figure based on what other companies have experienced by strategically deploying EBI. Using the ROI calculator, you can benchmark your current intranet effectiveness and understand how to more effectively leverage analytical, reporting, and predictive capabilities.

Step 4: Develop a Roadmap and Solution Architecture
CGE&Y will then assist you in the development of a Roadmap and Solution Architecture that is based on reference models tailored to your unique IT environment and strategic roadmap.

Step 5: Create a Proof of Concept
If you are ready to move to a Proof of Concept, CGE&Y will work with your organization to deliver a fully functional Accelerated Business Intelligence Solution in a 90-day time frame, including an ROI assessment, Business Case, and Roadmap for full build-out.

Step 6: Recognize Deployment and Realization
CGE&Y brings multiple accelerators to support implementation of every BI project, including technology Centers of Excellence, BI deployment methodologies, and facilitated design workshops.

 

From our work with very large numbers of SAP clients worldwide, it is clear that the need to bring the bigger BI picture into focus is acute. Financial teams in the U.S., for example, need to provide enterprise-wide visibility of information to their CFOs and CEOs, who must now personally vouch for the accuracy of the figures they report in order to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley. Of course, it’s not just a matter of compliance with one act that is creating the urgency for an enterprise BI (EBI) approach. All rungs of a corporate ladder require strategic deployment of BI to remain competitive.

Think about how much more streamlined and profitable procurement, inventory management, suppler relationships, CRM, and other key business activities can be if your BI infrastructure provides an extended view of things rather than just departmental views. Any strategic business activity that you can monitor, analyze, and chart a plan for stands to benefit by bringing the bigger BI picture into focus. And remember, a strategic advantage only exists until your competition matches your capabilities!

To receive more information on the BI Index or to schedule a personal assessment, contact Brian.Queenin@cgey.com.

To learn more about CGE&Y’s Business Intelligence services,
contact www.us.cgey.com.

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Actuate Information Applications: Scalable BI for All Users

 


Matthew Schwartz, Director of Worldwide Alliances, Actuate Corporation

For years, enterprise applications from SAP have automated business processes and captured operating data, weaving themselves into the fabric of enterprises worldwide. Most of those organizations are now looking to take full advantage of the valuable SAP data assets they have built. Using that data in the right form, employees can make better decisions, close deals faster, retain customers more effectively, and improve product and service quality.

But how do organizations produce the precise information that every user needs? It is abundantly clear that it is no longer sufficient to serve just the needs of power users who are highly skilled at finding, accessing, transforming and analyzing enterprise data. According to Giga Research, those power users make up less than 5% of all users in an enterprise, which means that 95% of users do not have the information they need to do their jobs. So what is needed to cost-effectively empower 100% of users inside and outside the firewall?

Traditional BI add-ons to SAP from third parties scale poorly, making them completely unsuitable for wide deployment. To make matters worse, traditional BI client tools mandate new software for each user, cause desktop reconfiguration nightmares, and require extensive user training, making their total cost-of-ownership prohibitively high for groups larger than small departments.

The key to 100% user empowerment is to deliver Information Applications that give users what they want when they need it and deliver it to them in a form they already know how to use. Information applications unlock the value of SAP transactional applications, which capture valid data and store it in a state consistent with business processes. Information applications are more than a set of tools; instead, they combine data from any number of applications and sources to support specific tasks and implement best practices.

In contrast to traditional BI tools, Actuate 7 is an Information Application Platform that integrates SAP and non-SAP data and transforms it into interactive Web reports, information portals, server-based spreadsheet reports, KPI dashboards and analytic applications that anyone can use. The Actuate platform includes a variety of information application building blocks, including wizard-based tools for creating ad hoc queries, interactive web reports, server-based spreadsheets and analytics, as well as complete object-oriented environments for developers.

Actuate integrates extensively with SAP technologies and data sources to make the most of existing SAP investments. Actuate iServer is a highly scalable and available information server that exposes 100% of its functionality as Web services so it can integrate with SAP NetWeaver or any third-party application. It includes SAP-certified connectors for SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) and R/3, and integrates seamlessly with mySAP Enterprise Portal and SAP security technologies.

The Actuate platform delivers a unified reporting and information access solution for SAP that empowers 100% of enterprise users and runs harmoniously in any standards-based IT ecosystem. Its scalable servers and flexible licensing combine with state-of-the-art tools that create zero-training applications to deliver far lower total-cost-of-ownership than traditional BI technologies.

For more information about how Actuate maximizes the value of SAP applications and data, visit www.actuate.com/max.

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SAP BW Content Integration Strategies in SAP Enterprise Portal


Naeem Hashmi, Director, Technology Consulting, Fujitsu Consulting

With SAP Enterprise Portal (EP) becoming a unified interface for all business operations, simply “band-aiding” existing SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW) queries and other unstructured content repositories into EP does not translate into a high-performance EP implementation. You need to balance and exploit the integration, aggregation, and consolidation capabilities of both BW and EP to architect a high-performance information delivery environment.

Traditionally, BW data models assume that end-users use a stand-alone data access/reporting environment and need detailed data, which can range from hundreds to thousands of rows. But portals are not designed to handle reams of structured data. The idea behind a portal is to model a user interface that presents highly targeted “articles” that consist of both structured and unstructured data, to provide a quick information snapshot for a specific user (role). Based on this information presentation model, underlying technologies are designed and configured to consolidate, aggregate, and render these articles for placement on the portal page — not to pull thousands of lines and produce the equivalent of an Excel spreadsheet.

So when it comes to integrating BW content in EP, where do we start? First, realize that you do not have to force-fit every BW report or data-analysis activity into EP. Also, when BW content is presented in EP, it should be in the context of information in a portal page. To make this happen, take a careful look at the BW design strategies, outlined below, that are key to efficient BW content integration with EP.

Selecting the right data consolidation technique in BW and EP is crucial. Consider EP Unifiers for BW and R/3 to aggregate data in EP, rather than modeling MultiProviders or implementing report-to-report interfaces in BW for R/3. Define several targeted queries that return highly specific data to construct iViews in EP, instead of a few generic queries that serve many users with many filters. Make sure that you have consistent EP and BW security models and, initially, keep your security model simple.

Addressing these technical issues improves information speed; however, the overall success of BW/EP content integration will depend on cultural issues. Be aware that end-users will still want printed reports — but now they’ll access them through EP. Make sure that change-management programs are in place and that users are trained as knowledge workers, not “report-diggers” — a huge challenge, not to be underestimated!

Strategies for BW-Portal Integration

  1. Identify the Information Objects (BW data) users will need as part of a portal-generated content page
  2. Identify how users will navigate in the portal
  3. Select the right data consolidation technique in BW and EP
  4. Review your BW modeling assumptions
  5. Select the best data navigation scheme in BW and EP
  6. Design simple BW queries for EP iViews
  7. Adjust your BW query execution scheme
  8. Align your BW security and portal security schemes
  9. Address change management and cultural issues
  10. Assess the integration’s impact on your BW and EP infrastructure

Bottom line: For high-performance portal implementation of your BW content, simply designing a traditional BW query doesn’t go far enough. Keep in mind these strategies as you determine when and how to publish SAP BW content that is efficiently integrated into your portal interface.

For more information on SAP BW/EP integration strategies, contact Naeem Hashmi at Naeem.hashmi@consulting.fujitsu.com.


Fujitsu Consulting is the global consulting and services arm of $38 billion Fujitsu Limited, the third largest IT services company worldwide. For more information, visit us.fujitsu.com. Naeem Hashmi is an author, an often quoted expert in the IT industry press, and frequent speaker at conferences around the world.

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Building Your Enterprise Reporting Strategy with Crystal Decisions and SAP


Gordon Breese, Vice President SAP, Crystal Decisions

It’s one of the most significant challenges you face: how to leverage your existing data assets to better understand and improve business performance.

You know that the availability of key information drives successful businesses. If you could provide everyone in your organization with actionable information via an enterprise reporting foundation, you could empower users at all levels to make quick, accurate decisions — the kind of decisions that lead to cost savings, increased productivity, and competitive advantage.

The Reporting Solution of Choice for SAP Customers
Imagine the effect on your organization’s bottom line if you could enable your employees to be more productive, efficient, and effective decision-makers.

Crystal Decisions reporting solutions can help you do just that. Combined with the powerful analysis and data warehousing capabilities of mySAP Business Intelligence, SAP and Crystal Decisions offer the most complete reporting solution on the market today. Chosen by SAP as a Global Software Partner for its reporting expertise, Crystal Decisions enterprise reporting technology is endorsed and aligned with the SAP Business Intelligence product strategy.

For SAP customers not currently using SAP BW, Crystal Decisions and SAP can also help meet your interim SAP R/3 reporting needs while providing a seamless migration path to the robust data warehousing and reporting solution that SAP BW offers.

A Complete Reporting Solution for SAP BW
Integrated with SAP BW 3.0 as part of the SAP BW Business Explorer, Crystal Enterprise gives you access to over 100 template reports based on standard business content and allows you to create up to 10 custom reports that can be distributed and managed via the web. Keep in mind that this version of Crystal Enterprise is available only for Windows platforms.

If you want to create and use more than 10 custom-formatted reports, or build reports from data outside SAP BW, including SAP R/3, you can upgrade to Crystal Enterprise – Enhanced SAP Edition. In addition to helping you create the exact reports you need, these reports can be managed and distributed via the web, easily scaling to hundreds of thousands of users. This version of the product is available for both Unix and Windows environments.

The functionality that Crystal Decisions provides to SAP BW customers satisfies the information consumers within an organization — whose primary need is simply to view reports — and management and executives who need to have information delivered to them to support their daily operational and strategic decision-making, with reports that they can explore or modify as needed (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Using Crystal Decisions Technologies with the Business Explorer

Take advantage of Crystal Decisions technologies to:

Easily create presentation-quality reports to meet formatted reporting requirements

Securely distribute and schedule these reports in a managed web environment to reduce IT costs and reporting backlog

Combine mySAP BI and non-SAP data into a single report for a “one organization” view of corporate data

Optimize printing of web-based reports for your presentations and meetings

Leverage existing Crystal reports and expertise to save time and money

Customer Reporting Success: FirstEnergy
U.S. utility company FirstEnergy chose Crystal Decisions as its reporting standard to complement its migration to SAP BW. FirstEnergy employees use Crystal Decisions solutions to easily distribute and share secure, interactive reports based off SAP R/3 and SAP BW data as well as other data sources, allowing the company to enhance the value of its SAP implementation.

“Crystal Decisions’ tight integration with SAP BW was a major factor in choosing this product over other solutions, making it the right choice for us. Now we have an enterprise platform that integrates sophisticated reporting features and functions with valuable business content, maximizing the value of our information assets.”

— Eric Herrmann, Manager, SAP Business Warehouse and Reporting for FirstEnergy

Do You Have an Immediate Need to Report from Your SAP R/3 Data?
Although SAP BW is the recommended solution, SAP R/3 customers not currently using SAP BW can also rely on Crystal Decisions to meet their interim reporting needs (see Figure 2). Using Crystal Decisions to solve current R/3 reporting needs provides a seamless migration path to implementing the robust data warehousing and reporting solution that SAP BW offers.

Figure 2 Sample Reports Created from SAP R/3 Data Using Crystal Decisions Technologies

Designed for tight integration with your SAP system, Crystal Decisions’ SAP R/3 reporting capabilities help your business:

Save time, money, and resources through easy end user-driven report creation

Reduce or eliminate the need for IT and ABAP programmers for report creation

Standardize on one solution for formatted reporting with access to multiple SAP modules and components, as well as other data sources

Improve decision-making through interactive, presentation-quality reports delivered securely via the Web

From the Most Experienced Name in Reporting
Crystal Decisions develops award-winning reporting and web information delivery solutions that are used by millions of customers in thousands of organizations worldwide, including more than half of Fortune 1000 companies. With 14 million licenses of our technology shipped, we have proven experience adding value to our customers’ investments in strategic data systems.

For More Information
To learn more, contact your Crystal Decisions representative at 1-800-877-2340 or your SAP sales representative, or visit our joint Web site at www.sapcrystal.com.

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High Scalability with SAP Business Information Warehouse on IBM DB2® Universal DatabaseTM for Linux, UNIX®, and Windows®

Andreas Christian, Karl Fleckenstein, and Stephan Kammerer, SAP IBM DB2 UDB Development/Porting Center, IBM Germany

Formerly known as mySAP Technology, SAP NetWeaver is an application and integration platform that helps unify and align people, information, and business processes across technologies and organizations. SAP NetWeaver is the technical foundation for all SAP solutions, from the mySAP Business Suite through SAP Industry Solutions to SAP xApps.

SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) is positioned as a central business intelligence platform and is one of the core components of SAP NetWeaver. The success of SAP BW is proven by its large number of installations in the market.

IBM DB2 Universal Database Enterprise Server Edition (DB2 ESE) with the Database Partitioning Feature (DPF) provides a high-performance mechanism to support large databases, and offers greater scalability in Massively Parallel Processors (MPPs) and Symmetric Multiprocessor (SMP) environments. It is ideal for applications requiring parallel processing, particularly data warehousing and datamining (see sidebar on the next page).

This article, based on a recent case study, refers to the compelling benefits of having IBM DB2 UDB1 as the underlying database for your SAP BW.

Scalability
Scalability is the level of flexibility needed to upscale on a given environment in order to adapt to growth according to business needs.

Scalability is crucial for applications with a growing volume of data like SAP BW. Ideally, application throughput and database performance would scale in a linear manner as more machines were added to the DB2 UDB cluster.

Scalability is not only the key to high performance, it is also very important for running a large SAP BW system at the best price/performance ratio. It is often less costly to distribute a large SAP BW database over multiple medium-sized machines than to run it on one large SMP machine. For that reason, it is important that DB2 UDB scales well in a distributed environment.

For this study, a shared-nothing architecture was utilized based on an IBM Unix Cluster (RS/6000 SP) interconnected by a high-performance, packet-switched network (SP switch). Scalability may have been even better when using a single large SMP machine with a shared-memory architecture. In this case, multiple logical database partitions communicate via shared memory, which is faster than communication via an SP switch. A large SAP BW system can also be distributed over several large SMP machines connected by fast communication channels (e.g., switch technology or Gigabit Ethernet).

The I/O configuration in this test focused on high availability of real customer scenarios.

System Setup
An IBM RS/6000 SP — now IBM eServer pSeries (see sidebar on the next page) — with 4 wide nodes acted as the SAP BW servers.

One SAP BW system was installed on a SSA storage system with 580 GB of disk space. This system was used for SAP BW load tests from Persistent Staging Area (PSA) into InfoCubes and for SAP BW query tests.

A second SAP BW system was installed on an ESS system with 320 GB of disk space. This SAP BW system was used for load tests from file into PSA, and from PSA into Operation Data Store (ODS). All disk subsystems2 were configured as RAID-5.

Results
The study demonstrates the high scalability of DB2 ESE with DPF for SAP BW. Based on the good results on a single machine, we found an impressive performance increase was achieved when adding additional machines (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 Scalability Results

Data Load Scalability

  • For loading data from the Persistent Staging Area (PSA) into an InfoCube, the scalability factor was 3.28 when going from 1 machine to 4 machines.
  • For loading data from a flat file into the PSA, the scalability factor was 1.69 when going from 1 machine to 2 machines.
  • For loading data from the PSA to the Operation Data Store (ODS), the scalability factor was 1.71 when going from 1 machine to 2 machines.

Query Scalability
Single-running queries:

  • Query runtimes decrease with an increasing number of machines.
  • Long-running queries scale at least linear.
  • Short-running queries remain short running as the number of database partitions and machines increase.

Multiple concurrent queries:

  • Near-linear scalability for multiple queries executed concurrently.
  • For long-running queries, the scalability factor was 4.11 when going from 1 machine to 4 machines.
  • For short- to medium-running queries, the scalability was 3.58 when going from 1 machine to 2 machines.

IBM DB2 Universal Database
The DB2 UDB provides consistently high levels of transaction processing. IBM DB2 ESE with DPF is the only parallel database on the Unix and Windows market today available for SAP BW. This technology ensures faster response times for complex queries such as those associated with online analytical processing (OLAP) applications handled by SAP BW.

The Database Partitioning Feature (DPF) allows DB2 ESE customers to partition a database within a single system or across a cluster of systems. The DPF capability provides the customer with multiple benefits, including scalability to support very large databases or complex workloads along with increased parallelism for administration tasks, like index creation, backup, and restore.

IBM pSeries
IBM pSeries — “p” as in performance — is the high-performance and highly scalable Unix line within IBM. In the commercial arena, the pSeries family offers highly scalable SMP systems as well as clustered environments. The pSeries 690 as a high-end system can be used as a large DB server or as a partitioned system for consolidation purposes. The RS/6000 SP “shared nothing” architecture has evolved into the pSeries cluster offerings, allowing for excellent horizontal scalability while maintaining centralized landscape management.

To receive a copy of the full study, please visit www7b.boulder.ibm.com/dmdd/library/ techarticle/
0208christian/0208christian.html
or contact IBM SAP Information Service at isicc@de.ibm.com.

For more information on SAP and IBM DB2, please visit www.ibm.com/software/data/partners/ae1partners/sap or the IBM SAP Alliance Web site at www.ibm-sap.com.


DB2, DB2 Universal Database, the e-business logo, IBM, the IBM logo, MagStar, pSeries, RS/6000, SP and Tivoli are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries or both. SAP, mySAP.com and R/3 are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries all over the world. Other company, product or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.

1 This study used IBM DB2 UDB Enterprise-Extended Edition (DB2 EEE), the predecessor of DB2 Enterprise Server Edition with DPF.

2 IBM 7133 Serial Disk System Advanced Model D40 (SSA) and IBM Enterprise Storage System (ESS).

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Leverage Cognos BI for a Strategic View of Business Information Across Your Enterprise


Christopher Dziekan, Director of Business Intelligence Market Development, Cognos

Cognos Business Intelligence (BI) is preferred by organizations that want to provide a consistent BI user experience across the company while maintaining an open, extensible reporting platform for heterogeneous data sources. Cognos has the flexibility to report from SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) and other sources for enterprise reporting, allowing users to gain rapid access to information across the enterprise. This approach complements and leverages SAP BW, making it a critical component of an organization’s information resources. Business intelligence then becomes a strategic focus for delivering on cross-organizational business requirements.

Today, many IT executives are charged with creating a strategic view into their business — and one that aligns all their corporate objectives. Achieving end-to-end visibility across the organization can seem daunting, especially with the myriad of legacy applications and data sources found in most companies.

This is why SAP customers are gravitating toward SAP BW. They want to gain an understanding of the business information they already have across their operational systems. And the only way they can leverage their investment in these systems is through the strategic application of data-independent business intelligence.

Cognos complements SAP R/3 and SAP BW with a broad range of open business intelligence capabilities that include scorecarding and visualization through to analysis and reporting, including event and alert notification for push and pull report delivery.

Cognos Series 7 offers some compelling features:

  • Access to reports from a single source with the ability to customize
  • Zero-footprint deployment
  • Reports that can be shared based on user type
  • Multidimensional analysis software that uses drag and drop to simplify data exploration
  • New capabilities that let you project current data forward, to see trends better
  • Ability to drill through multiple vendors’ OLAP data sources and quickly determine impacts on your business
  • Monitoring of key BI events through alerts and notifications
  • Central administration
  • XML-based integration framework through Cognos Web Services — extending Cognos BI to more applications and environments

Find out how smart companies are gaining visibility into their organizations with Cognos Business Intelligence — view the on-demand web seminar at www.cognos.com/smartseminar_sap/index.html.

Cognos and SAP BW Light Up Mainova AG
Take, for example, the case of Mainova AG, a German utility supplier. The opening of the utilities market required they become more responsive to their customers in order to remain competitive. Formed through the merger of City Works Frankfurt and Maingas AG, Mainova now supplies electricity, heat, and water to 460,000 households in Frankfurt, Germany. They needed to gain a better understanding of their customers’ consumption behavior, as well as consolidate their data resources.

Mainova selected a data warehouse with SAP BW, and chose Cognos as the frontend analysis and reporting solution. Today, the controlling, sales, marketing, and billing departments all use Cognos BI to gain information on customers and company results.

As Ismute Tews, Mainova’s Data Warehouse Project Manager stated, “The Cognos-powered data warehouse has proven its economical advantage in terms of quantity, returning enormous time- and cost-savings in information gathering, and delivering more precise information about sales markets and customer requirements.”

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Maximizing SAP BW Value via Real-Time Data Integration


Mike Cassettari Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Ascential Software

The key to gaining the greatest value from a business intelligence environment is ensuring that all your enterprise data is both available and reliable. Businesses are no longer just integrating enterprise applications, but are now redesigning business flows to eliminate processing latency and reduce data redundancies or inconsistencies. Businesses that succeed in this effort enjoy greater customer satisfaction, higher product and service margins, and lower operating costs.

One SAP/Ascential customer generated more than $100 million in new cash flow by better leveraging complex, external point-of-sale data to improve inventory management.

As businesses move to real-time operations, an enterprise integration architecture that delivers up-to-date, consistent, reliable information for both management decision-making and operational-level reporting becomes especially important. But given that the market for enterprise integration is a confusing array of products and strategies — including EAI, J2EE Application Servers, EII, and others — how do you establish a business intelligence environment that can account for both SAP and non-SAP data from multiple systems and in different time frames, formats, and increments? And how do you account for data that is collected daily or monthly, when many organizations are demanding key operating information hourly or almost instantaneously? For management to make the best possible decisions, data increasingly needs to be trickle-fed to the warehouse as it becomes available.

Ascential Software offers a market-leading enterprise data integration solution. Our Enterprise Integration Suite 7.0 delivers a real-time integration platform covering data profiling, data quality, and extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) of enterprise data from virtually any source into SAP BW. An SAP Software Partner, Ascential supports SAP NetWeaver and offers SAP-certified integration for SAP BW. Our solutions have been widely adopted in such industries as financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer goods, and retail, and are resold by SAP for loading non-SAP data into SAP BW.

The combination of SAP BW and Ascential Enterprise Integration Suite affords you the chance to have full, real-time data integration, ensuring that all required data for BI is uncovered, of high quality, and properly transformed for loading. Having an architecture that delivers this level of coordination and consistency is essential in order to meet today’s business imperative for complete enterprise integration. Your company’s growth and continued success depends on it.

Ascential is at the forefront of the effort to deliver on the vision of the real-time enterprise. Ascential supports real-time data capture, cleansing, and movement, along with XML and Web services technology. This, coupled with SAP BW connectivity, a scalable parallel-processing engine, and a compelling focus on enabling the real-time enterprise, make Ascential a key partner for your organization as you seek to deploy SAP BW for your data warehousing, business intelligence, and corporate performance management initiatives.

For more information on Ascential Software and the Enterprise Integration Suite, see www.ascential.com/sap/insider.

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Reliability for Your Business Intelligence Processing


Carl Griffith, Senior Advisor to the Board, SBB/UC4 Inc.

UC4:global, from Austrian software provider SBB, has been SAP-certified for integration with mySAP Business Intelligence (mySAP BI), providing a secure job-scheduling solution for automating and monitoring your business-critical data preparation processes in mySAP BI.

UC4:global integrates the data preparation processes of mySAP BI into its centralized, enterprise-wide process management and job scheduling application. UC4:global selectively loads InfoPackages and process chains — mySAP BI’s descriptions of its own data preparation processes — and processes them in accordance with other jobs within your system-wide landscape. The results are immediately available for follow-on processing and automatic analysis. Users can take into account and manage interdependencies and ensure that data processing is efficient and reliable.

The integration certification of UC4:global is just one example of SBB Software’s focus on process management specifically for SAP solutions. Specialists from SAP and SBB have also worked in close cooperation to develop a comprehensive certification process for process management in mySAP Business Intelligence.

For example, in the UC4:global interface in Figure 1, administrators can monitor a single job, but can also quickly and easily drill down into the process that makes up the job or view, at a glance, that job’s relationship to the other processes at work. UC4:global integrates process chains into its process management. In an enterprise-wide job plan, mySAP BI processes and jobs from all other applications are handled uniformly and networked with each other.

Figure 1 Monitoring Your Business Processes with UC4:global

In addition, UC4:global allows for job scheduling and management in SAP R/3 and almost every mySAP solution, as well as in SAP Banking. UC4:global provides central control of background processes in all SAP applications, and can network them with your applications’ processes to form enterprise-wide business processes, providing comprehensive processing transparency.

Businesses are developing more and more data sources, but instead of evaluating this information in a cutting-edge, integrated way, they are often using fragmented tools and solutions. With UC4:global, you can network your business processes enterprise-wide with absolute platform and application independence. The integration certification for mySAP BI underlines that UC4:global is at the forefront of technology in the job-scheduling arena.

For more information on SBB and the UC4:global job-scheduling solution, visit www.UC4.com.

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