In the ever-expanding realm of data-driven decision-making, organizations rely on robust and scalable data and analytics solutions. As SAP continues to adapt and innovate its respective applications, it becomes imperative to examine the shifts happening in the SAP data and analytics architecture.

In this blog post, we present a showcase where we integrated SAP Datasphere and SAP Analytics Cloud, offering insights into the transformative power of real-time data integration. Beyond the conventional realms of SAP, this showcase not only highlights the successful synchronization between backend systems and SAP Analytics Cloud but also showcases the integration of external data sources with disparate data structures. The spotlight is on overcoming challenges, with a notable focus on the innovative use of Azure EventHub, which was used as a communication interface between the racetrack and a local laptop for event handling (initiating races).

Unlocking Value from Data: SAP’s Data Harmonization Solution

In the context of Time2Value and Data2Value, a seamless architectural approach is essential for effective real-time data provisioning. SAP Datasphere (DSP) and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) form the backbone of SAP’s data harmonization solution, extending their reach beyond traditional SAP environments to synchronize backend systems with SAC and integrate external data sources with varying structures.

Within this relationship, DSP takes a prominent position, steering the harmonization of data structures and facilitating a unified data foundation. SAC functions as a platform provider for seamless data consumption. Notably, this integration is cloud-based and embedded, with DSP and SAC intricately coupled on a single tenant. This strategic connection allows users to easily access analytical data models created in DSP, extending the reach for comprehensive reporting.

Adding complexity and innovation is SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP), connecting not just to SAP HANA but also to various open-source technologies and services like Java development and MongoDB. The showcase stands out by steering away from conventional methods, using a more distinctive approach.

Showcase: Real-Time Data Transfer on a Racetrack

Highlighting the showcase, we emphasize the real-time integration of an atypical data source with an event handler. SAP BTP, while lacking intrinsic value itself, becomes crucial through the more than 90 services it offers, serving as a key player for daily operational use in companies. However, the quest for real-time data transfer capabilities remains an ongoing research endeavor. Besides this showcase explores new territory, avoiding conventional interfaces and pre-packaged services, and utilizing different Python modules to showcase innovative data integration methodologies within the SAP ecosystem.

We adopted an innovative approach by creating a showcase using a Carrera racetrack.  The test case was presented at the Annual Congress of the German SAP User Group (DSAG) in September 2023, where attendees participated in races against their preferred competitors. This interactive setup generated significant volumes of real-time race-specific data, marking a step forward in our ongoing research journey.

Layout and Design of Our Showcase Setup

The showcase required the development of a backend system to establish a connection with the racetrack, a frontend interface for displaying race results, and an additional frontend for user registration. Overcoming the challenge of enabling seamless communication from SAC to the local laptop for race initiation proved to be a complex task. However, the integration of Azure EventHub served as a valuable solution, providing a reliable publisher-subscriber system for this purpose.

Starting with the SAC registration application, where attendees have their first interaction with the showcase, users can register, select their desired opponent, and initiate a race seamlessly within the platform. The driver’s data is then efficiently transmitted via a custom widget to Azure Event Hubs, which subsequently routes the data to a local laptop connected to the racetrack and enables the race to commence.

Figure 1: Race Registration and Starting Procedure
Figure 1: Race registration and starting procedure

Our custom backend solution introduced the flexibility for users to manually adjust car speed and race length in laps, offering a tailored racing experience. During the DSAG Congress, lap numbers were dynamically adjusted to provide a diverse racing experience. To prevent inaccuracies due to wrongly placed cars at the starting line, we implemented a four-second threshold for invalidating overly short lap times, ensuring accurate race tracking. Additionally, we incorporated a practice lap into the system to fine-tune the experience.

Throughout the race, the laptop diligently tallied laps, lap times, and total race times in real-time. This critical data was then seamlessly transmitted to the database using the HDBCLI client. Notably, as soon as a driver achieved the specified lap count, their speed was automatically reduced, and the race came to a halt once both drivers reached the designated lap limit.

Figure 2: Race data stream
Figure 2: Race data stream

SAP Datasphere processed and transformed the data efficiently, creating real-time views for diverse purposes. Simultaneously, SAC retrieved and visualized this dynamic data (seamlessly).

After the completion of each race, our real-time enabled dashboard delivered the race insights. This custom dashboard, embedded with tailor-made widgets within SAC, helped extract real-time, race-relevant, and partially computed KPIs directly from the Carrera racetrack. Subsequently, SAC provided participants with a comprehensive analysis of their performance, offering a visual representation through a line chart. Additionally, it enabled the comparison of individual race statistics and insights into the current daily leaderboards.

Figure 3: Live Race Performance and Overall Ranking in SAP Analytics Cloud
Figure 3: Live race performance and overall ranking in SAP Analytics Cloud

More than just an enjoyable project, this endeavor yielded valuable insights into the potential of real-time integration between SAP Datasphere and SAP Analytics Cloud. Our efforts resulted in an impressive achievement: a real-time data processing speed of under 3 seconds. Furthermore, it underscored SAP’s commitment to enabling clients to seamlessly integrate data from almost any source into their analytics environment leveraging SAP Datasphere.

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