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        Ventana Research Analyst Perspectives

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        SAP Datasphere Simplifies Management and Use of Distributed Data

        Data fabric has grown in popularity as organizations struggle to manage data spread across multiple data centers, systems and applications. By providing a technology-driven approach to automating data management and governance across distributed environments, data fabric is attractive to organizations seeking to simplify and standardize data management. I assert that by 2025, more than 6 in 10 organizations will adopt data fabric technologies to facilitate the management and processing of data across multiple data platforms and cloud environments. The concept has also proven attractive for vendors such as SAP, combining a variety of tools and platforms into consolidated offerings designed to provide a strategic approach to data management that facilitates and accelerates data-driven decision-making.

        SAP is a well-established provider of data platforms and analytics products and services. The company also offers enterprise applications for business planning, learning management, compensation management, Ventana_Research_2023_Assertion_DataMgmt_Data_Fabric_Adoption_40_S (1)revenue performance management, workforce management and customer experience management. The company was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, providing products and services around the world. As an established provider of enterprise applications, SAP is a trusted partner for thousands of customers across a range of industries. While SAP applications are a primary source of enterprise data, the company’s data management products enable the management and governance of SAP and non-SAP data.

        SAP’s data management portfolio includes functionality addressing data ingestion, integration and transformation, data governance, data processing and analytics. The SAP Business Technology Platform provides a unified environment for data and analytics, artificial intelligence, application development, automation and integration. SAP recently announced the launch of SAP Datasphere, built on the SAP Business Technology Platform, to provide a single data fabric environment that spans multiple cloud and on-premises environments. SAP BTP includes functionality for data integration, data cataloging, semantic modeling, data warehousing, data federation and data virtualization. In addition to combining functionality across SAP’s portfolio of data management products, SAP Datasphere provides a foundation for integration with the company’s strategic data partners. Initial Datasphere partners Collibra, Confluent, Databricks and DataRobot are all working on integration with the SAP Datasphere offering.

        Data warehousing functionality is at the heart of SAP Datasphere, which represents the continuation of the former SAP Data Warehouse Cloud offering, providing support for business intelligence and analytics initiatives.Ventana_Research_Benchmark_Research_Analytics_and_Data_Cloud_v_OnPrem (5)-1 Existing SAP Data Warehouse Cloud customers are transitioning to SAP Datasphere, which also offers additional capabilities for data integration, data cataloging and semantic modeling, data federation, data replication and self-service data discovery. This functionality provides self-service access to – and integration of – trusted data from across a distributed architecture, enabling SAP Datasphere customers to use it as a data warehouse and data fabric.

        There is no single definition of data fabric. Each vendor’s definition depends on the products and functionality offered. Common elements include a data catalog for metadata-driven data governance, self-service and agile data integration. For SAP, the development of data products combining data from multiple data sources stems from a single semantic model – the SAP Datasphere Analytic Model. This model automatically reuses semantical definitions and associations from SAP applications which data professionals use to apply and define business semantics, including complex aggregations, time-dependencies, business hierarchies and key performance indicators. Data professionals also use SAP Datasphere Spaces to create virtual work environments or data products for business users and analysts. Virtual data products provide access to data governed by the SAP Datasphere Catalog, regardless of where it resides across the data estate, including on-premises and cloud environments.

        Managing data across multiple locations is becoming increasingly complex given the ongoing use of on-premises data centers combined with the adoption of multiple cloud environments. More than one-half (52%) of participants in Ventana Research’s Analytics and Data Benchmark Research are using a hybrid architecture of on-premises and cloud resources. The combination of data federation and data replication capabilities enables users to decide which approach to data integration — querying it where it resides or moving it prior to analysis — is most appropriate for a given application based on a combination of data volume, performance and sovereignty requirements. SAP Datasphere also provides access to curated industry data sets via SAP Datasphere Marketplace, while SAP BW Bridge enables users of SAP Business Warehouse to transfer existing BW artifacts to the new platform.

        For existing users of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, SAP Datasphere provides the next generation of data warehousing functionality with additional capabilities for managing and processing data across a distributed architecture. The company will likely need to evangelize the benefits of the data fabric approach to drive new customer adoption. The initial announcement was also light on details of integration with data lake or data lakehouse environments, which are a growing focus for many enterprises, given the advantage of low-cost object storage. Nevertheless, I recommend that organizations exploring options for data warehousing and data fabric include SAP Datasphere in evaluations.


        Matt Aslett


        Matt Aslett
        Director of Research, Analytics and Data

        Matt Aslett leads the software research and advisory for Analytics and Data at Ventana Research, now part of ISG, covering software that improves the utilization and value of information. His focus areas of expertise and market coverage include analytics, data intelligence, data operations, data platforms, and streaming and events.


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