Building a reporting system based on SAP HANA

    The article shows the experience of using the SAP HANA platform to optimize the reporting system of a large construction company. The project was implemented by Return on Intelligence (ROI), an SAP business partner. ROI is an international technology services company. We provide technological solutions consulting, system integration and commercial development of software solutions. Our solutions provide maximum growth, competitive advantages, increased profits and reduced complexity of business processes.
    Over 15 years, more than 200 international companies operating in the field of insurance, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications and the public sector have become our clients.
    The company unites more than 800 professionals working in development centers in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Riga and Dnepropetrovsk. Return on Intelligence is headquartered in the United States.
    Return on Intelligence works in collaboration with SAP, as evidenced by the status of SAP PartnerEdge Partner, VAR Reseller and Consulting Services Partner. As a member of the SAP PartnerEdge Partner Program(modeling, development, sale, implementation, maintenance and support of SAP solutions) Return on Intelligence, Inc. (ROI) is involved in the development of solutions that enable customers to acquire and maintain a significant competitive advantage in their industry. Using best practices, industry models, methods, tools, technologies and frameworks enables ROI customers to rethink and improve their way of doing business.
    SAP's focus on technology, industries and regions is fully consistent with our skills, priorities and strengths.
    • We are a global partner in implementing insurance solutions SAP Camilion, SAP Claims and FS-CD
    • Our company is a global expert in insurance
    • We are specialists supporting insurance advisory analytics (BOBJ and HANA)
    • We have highly qualified software developers who provide product development services directly to SAP

    1. SAP HANA platform: technical information - an overview of
    SAP HANA is a modern in-memory a platform for real-time analytic and transactional applications. SAP HANA enables organizations to analyze business transactions that use a large volume of diverse, detailed data. The first implementations of SAP applications based on SAP HANA showed that the response time of the system when working with business users is a fraction of a second, which opens up new business opportunities.
    SAP HANA takes full advantage of the most advanced hardware technologies, combining column storage, mass-parallel processing (MPP) and in-memory computing with an optimized software structure.

    The SAP HANA software package is a flexible, multi-purpose and data source-independent software package based on the “In-memory" technology, which combines SAP software components optimized for the hardware of the world's leading vendors - partners of SAP - Cisco, Dell, IBM, HP, Fujitsu and Hitachi Data Systems.


    Due to the combination of technologies of operational data analysis and operational processing of transactions in a single DBMS, SAP HANA allows you to create a holistic infrastructure for processing corporate data obtained from transactional systems, business analysis systems, decision support and planning. Real-time analytic applications and real-time operational applications, including scheduling, can be performed in conjunction with other operations.

    2.Business is a problem
    The customer of the solution is a large construction company with a net income of more than $ 70 million per year. The company exists on the market for more than 100 years and provides services in various sectors of the economy. The main areas of work: infrastructure work, energy and mining. Over its long history, the company has built a large network of customers and suppliers. As a result of vigorous activity, a large number of heterogeneous information systems appeared within the company, which ceased to fulfill their main task - to accelerate and simplify the work of company employees. During the restructuring of IT infrastructure, it was decided to create a centralized reporting system. At the time of integration, the customer already had other SAP products: ERP, CRM, SRM, BW, and it is quite logical that when choosing a solution, the choice rested on the technological stack of SAP products.
    The existing infrastructure turned out to be complex and was characterized by the following:
    1. lack of a master data
    2. 4 separate reporting systems without a single entry point
    3. more than 600 different reports, with overlapping areas and inconsistent data
    4. low productivity
    5. increasing complexity and cost of support

    3. Technologies and architecture
    The main business processes and the reporting system are generally uniform in most companies, in particular if, as a system of process management and interaction with partners, we use There is a solution from SAP.

    To solve the problems of storage, transfer, preparation and presentation of data, the following products were selected:
    1) SAP HANA
    2) SAP Business Object (BObj) Data Services as an ETL tool and data quality control tool
    3) SAP BObj Rapid Marts as a metadata layer for standard reports
    4) SAP BObj BI 4.1 as the main visualization tool.


    The primary task was to build the main data warehouse (Data Warehouse) in which the master data of the organization of quality, data integrity and reconsolidation should be stored - verification of the correctness / consistency of the transfer. It is worth noting that SAP HANA was used to create a master data warehouse only for information that for various reasons is not stored in ERP and BW, for example, data obtained from partner company systems that are not directly related to the organization’s operations, but are interesting from the point of view of analytics ... Thus, all the necessary data could be obtained from two sources: SAP HANA and SAP BW (SAP BW would be alert to use SAP HANA as an internal storage).
    All data has been transferred, consolidated and verified, it’s time to create metadata models that are understandable and convenient for business professionals to use.
    The reflection of a business model that speaks business language to users is universes. To speed up integration, most reporting system universes were shipped through SAP Rapid Marts. Rapid Marts automatically generates universes for standard processes and reports based on configurations and data from SAP systems. For data that was uploaded to HANA from 3 systems, universes were built manually through the SAP BObj Information Design Tool. IDT is a special tool from SAP, which allows you to create the necessary relationships between the data necessary for reporting in a convenient graphical interface, as well as highlight and redesignate the fields of the storage tables into understandable expressions.
    It is clear that the standard Rapid Marts universes could not cover all the needs and were decently complemented by the development team. Company-specific facts and measurements were introduced.

    4. Results and benefits

    After 8 months of development, results appeared in the form of optimized processes, a consistent data warehouse, as well as tools for decision-making in the form of beautiful graphs, interactive reports and information panels. As visualization systems, BObj BI Web Intelligence and Dashboard Designer were chosen with the ability to create interactive reports and dashboards of varying complexity and having all the necessary tools, such as detailing, consolidation, and creating parameterized slices.
    As a result, about 400 reporting forms were constructed in various views with the ability to access through a corporate portal, a reporting system with the additional benefits of self-parameterization, and a new way to access the reporting system through mobile devices appeared.

    My impression of the approach and use of components during implementation is more positive.
    1. HANA integrates perfectly with all used SAP components
    2. Lack of additional ETL process for building a multidimensional model. At HANA, it was implemented logically and executed almost instantly thanks to its architecture, which reduced data latency to zero. And also did not create new data.
    3. On the HANA platform, Analytical views were built, which made it possible to use the data in the reporting system directly, almost without changing the metadata model.
    4. All the data necessary for reporting is available in SAP BObj and is easily linked.
    5. “Heavy” calculations were transferred from the BI platform to SAP HANA, which performs such calculations several times faster.
    6. Filtering is one of the main operations when building reports; it works much faster on SAP HANA, due to column data storage.

    It should be noted certain difficulties that we encountered at the stage of preparing the data and deploying the infrastructure, such as coordinating the granularity of various sources, the absence of some specific functionalities in the reporting system, which was present in older systems, and the organization of the testing process. However, these difficulties did not affect the final result and overall customer satisfaction.

    To summarize, I believe that for a business that is considering the performance of its reporting systems, a modern, from the point of view of design, fast and convenient reporting system, it is worth taking a closer look at the advantages that HANA provides in combination with visualization tools.

    Additional information on the technologies and programs used can be found on the following resources: - partner part of the SAP portal - SAP HANA portal
    http: // go / solution / platform-technology / business-intelligence.html - SAP BusinessObjects -SAP BW - SAP Data Sevices - SAP Developer Center

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