In an earlier blog, I wrote about how our mission is supported by helping customers move their SAP workloads to Google Cloud. In the first place, it will allow organizations to benefit from GCP’s sustainable infrastructure with many options for scale and growth and unique built-in resiliency such as automatic memory error detection and live migration. When running the workloads, the ability to tailor the options exactly to the needs of the organization often results in considerable cost reductions for storage, high availability, and disaster recovery.
In the second place, the organization can start to monetize further on the benefits of the Cloud. Analytics can be done using Google’s BigQuery on datasets combining data from SAP and public datasets. In addition, the Machine Learning capabilities of GCP can be added to create intelligence from the data.
Google Cloud Cortex Framework
It’s especially this last part where recently a lot of developments took place. In October last year, Google introduced the Google Cloud Cortex Framework, which is primarily aimed at accelerating business outcomes with less risk, complexity and cost. It aims to make it as easy as possible for SAP customers to modernize in the cloud.
The Google Cloud Cortex Framework is a foundation of endorsed solution reference architectures for customers to deploy technologies on top of their SAP environments more quickly, irrespective of whether they are running on premise or in the Cloud. This framework greatly reduces the threshold for customers to start their journey of implementing innovative Cloud technologies, and Vanenburg is excited to be part of the ecosystem of partners that contribute to Cortex. Our long history in ERP combined with our Google Cloud expertise makes us well positioned to play a role here.
An important cornerstone of the Google Cloud Cortex Framework is the Cortex Data Foundation. This Data Foundation is a set of data models, data processing templates and machine learning templates with plug & play business dashboards. The Cortex Data Foundation is made available by Google as open source and can be downloaded here via Github.
BigQuery, Google’s serverless and highly scalable data warehouse solution, provides the technology foundation for the Cortex Data Foundation. In the Forrester Wave: Cloud Data Warehouse, Q1 2021, this product was evaluated very well and enabled Google to be honoured as a leader in this space. Specifically, in relation to SAP Customers, IDC has done a study last year on the value of BigQuery to this customer segment. According to the resulting IDC Business Value Snapshot, the participants reported significantly improved business results with faster time to insights, substantially lower data warehouse costs and more productive analytics teams. Cortex helps a lot in paving the way to achieve those results. The predefined data models for SAP ERP data in BigQuery abstract away the complexity of the underlying SAP data model. In addition, the presence of the data in BigQuery allows for easy combination with non-SAP data for new enterprise insights.
Data source integration
To enable the upstream side, Cortex delivers Google tooling like “BQ Connector for SAP” and “Cloud Data Fusion” with ready to use scripts. Data processing templates are provided that work with the native Change-Data-Capture (CDC) capabilities of the sources. This greatly reduces the time and effort required to connect Cortex to the existing SAP environment and get the data pipelines running.
Data driven innovation
On the downstream side, Cortex delivers a base foundation for actionable insights. Plug & Play business dashboards for Looker and sample machine learning templates for BQML and Vertex are provided. Results can be exposed via the Application Layer so that other applications can consume them securely. This is instrumental in accelerating data-powered innovation inside the organization. The organization can develop custom solutions or make use of the growing list of solutions and services made available by Google and Partners to accelerate customer innovation.
In a future blog, I want to dive further into one of the Line-of-Business solutions that are available and how this can be deployed using the Cortex Data Foundation. In the meantime, please get in touch with us if you want to learn more about this initiative and what it can mean for your organization.