Anymore, we’ve come to take for granted the lifecycle of business data. One system captures the particulars of a sales order, a trouble ticket or countless other information that business professionals need to do their job – only to have to wait while separate analytics systems on separate platforms make sense of the data. It’s just how it’s worked for as long as anyone can remember.

A recent survey by IDC, in fact, found that over 40% of IT advisers required more than two days to prepare financial data for reporting.[1] Amazingly, the same survey found that “the majority of business users found the slow and fragmented nature of their data systems to be perfectly OK.”

So, why is this a problem? Consider a potential interaction with a customer or supplier. Having to switch awkwardly between transactional and analytical applications means a contact center agent would have to physically look away from one set of data to pull up another. Even then, any analysis or recommendation that person might offer will have been based on data gathered well before the time of the conversation.

Clearly something needs to change, right? Of course it does. Today, rather than using separate transactional and analytical applications built on separate platforms, a single data management environment has emerged that can function for both “systems of record” and “systems of decision.” And the potential benefits are pretty remarkable.

  • Users can access and analyze the latest data as soon as it is captured. And with the reduced overhead of fewer platforms, IT’s data management tasks, and your business data governance function would be simplified.
  • Business decisions can be made faster as well as more confidently while business processes could be accelerated. A contact center cross-sell opportunity, for example, would benefit tremendously from having the absolute latest customer data available and understandable.
  • In the bigger picture, this unified approach to data capture and analysis offers real opportunities to be more nimble in adjusting to changing business conditions. Not to mention taking full advantage of new business opportunities the moment they appear.

Why has this taken so long? One answer is the obvious technical limitation of the legacy, disk-based systems that required separate database architectures. Thanks to dramatic increases in processing power, the fall of memory prices, and widespread support of 64-bit memory systems, the ability to use “memory” instead of “disks” as the home for data has led to the emergence of powerful in-memory databases (IMDBs). IMDB-based platforms, such as SAP HANA, are much faster and, most important, more flexible, enabling schema changes in minutes as opposed to days – or even weeks. In other words, the ability to deploy both systems on the same data management platform has addressed this technical impasse as well as our long-held assumptions about the ultimate value of data.

Follow this link to learn more about SAP HANA and how it handles, among other things, both analytical and transactional workloads.>>

[1] IDC’s SAP Survey, 2012