The modern business environment has thrown up new challenges that older technologies, methodologies, and systems find very difficult to cope with now. The main problem today that organizations struggle with is data management. Unlike in traditional business settings, massive amounts of data are generated across industries and processing them taxes even the most solid infrastructure. This is where SAP smart data integration plays a critical role in smoothing out existing processes and making decision-making easier and simpler for business owners.
To understand this new technology, it is first necessary to understand the prevailing systems. In the past, even a few years ago, if a flat-file had to be loaded into HANA, an ETL tool like Data Services had to be first installed. Only then would data from a source to a target system be replicated and transformed. If more real-time functionalities were required, SLT/SRS had to be installed. When data was not required to be replicated from the source, SDA was needed to work on virtual tables. The net effect was that for a single function of loading a file into HANA, three different tools had to be installed depending on the activity.
This was a time-consuming process which has now been smoothed out with SAP Smart Data Integration (SDI) that acts as a bridge between the source and HANA. SDI brings together all the old-world tools like real-time replication, virtual tables and features of ETL to read source data and change it to HANA type data value. SDI batch provides quick visibility of conditions at source or target SAP HANA by loading and/or replicating changed data real-time to the SAP HAAN tables from the source.
SAP SDI is one of the most preferred business tools today. It has several functionalities that work together to increase efficiencies in any organization cutting across industries. SDI allows replication of data in real-time from any source to HANA. This changed replicated data is visible any time when pulled to execute any query as the change is automatically pushed to SAP HANA. Hence, when critical data is required for any decision-making process, business owners get updated required data every time.
What then are the main features and functions that make SAP Smart Data Integration an optimized business tool?
# Quick setup and configuration – Setting up and configuring the SDI tool is done in a few easy steps. The SAP SDI Agent has to be installed first after which the SFDC adapter has to be deployed on it. This adapter is the link between the source and HANA and is hosted on the S/HANA data provisioning agent. It can read source data and transform the values into HANA data type value.
# Communication method is dynamically adjusted – The adapter has a parameter called Maximum Expected Number of Record which can auto-switch between source APIs. When a specific number of records in source data are equal or less than the value of the maximum number of expected records parameter, SOAP API is generally used. If circumstances are different, BULK APIs are used instead of SOAP APIs.
# Facilitating real-time and batch data transformations – SAP smart data integration can clean and integrate all data present in it. SAP HANA SDI has built-in SAP HANA Web-based Development Workbench that structures flow graphs for data transformation which in turn creates ETL-based batch and real-time data flows. Choices are available for transforming data like joining, cleaning, filtering, aggregating, and more.
# Source system authentication – SDI is supported by SFDC Adapter for basic authentication. Once Username, Password, or Security Token credentials are provided even in a remote source configuration, the source will authenticate access to the system.
# Query Locator – When a large number of records are queried simultaneously, the Query Locator takes over. It is the server-side cursor that tracks the current processing location in the set of query results. The adapter will continually call for and access the query till the time all records in the result set are completely processed.
# Change data capture (CDC) – If a business has to replicate the entire amount of source data to the target daily, it will become a time-consuming affair and considerably slow down performance by shifting focus away from core activities. Change data capture (CDC), on the other hand, continually tracks changes made to data and transfers them from source to target thereby boosting business efficiencies.
# One UI for all functions – The SAP HANA SDI provides SAP HANA Web-based Development Workbench which develops entire applications in a web browser without having to install any additional development tools. Convenient and easy-to-use functions provide an intuitive UI that simplifies the development process.
# Session Reuse Mechanism – The SFDC adapter for SAP smart data integration supports source session reuse thereby reducing the number of logins to the source. The source session will automatically refresh and reuse the session if the current one has expired.
To sum up, SDI along with SFDC Adapter provides owners the means to acquire and retain customers and exponentially grow their businesses.