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Exploring the data lake concept in an SAP environment

The data lake concept is something SAP customers may be hearing more of in the future.

A data lake is a repository that stores structured and unstructured information -- using the open source Hadoop framework -- for future use in analytics operations.

In this video interview, SearchSAP talked to Don Loden, principal consultant at Decision First Technologies in Atlanta, about the data lake concept and what it means in an SAP environment's lifecycle.

For example, a client of Loden's moved old instances of an ERP system into a newer SAP setup, but the client didn't want to load historical data into SAP and clutter up a new greenfield deployment.

"They also didn't want to lose that history for supporting things like predictive analysis and things that they're looking to do in the future," he said. "So that was actually a pretty good use for a data lake from an SAP vantage point."

Data governance's relationship with S/4HANA

Loden also discussed how the S/4HANA platform ties into data governance concerns.

I think governance has a really strong play in terms of the S/4HANA case.
Don LodenDecision First Technologies

"Data governance now probably becomes more important than ever for an S/4HANA or a suite on HANA deployment," he said.

Data governance often garners a bad reputation for adding layers of oversight. However, businesses need to protect data and verify that it performs as intended. That goal becomes more significant with S/4HANA because a prime reason to move to HANA is to increase analytic capabilities on the source data, Loden said.

"If your source data's pretty trashy or if it's got a large degree of garbage and not being policed ... [S/4HANA is not] going to be the end-user experience that's it's possibly touted as out of the box," Loden said. "So I think governance has a really strong play in terms of the S/4HANA case because you can actually get at source data that's good, governed and well maintained."

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