Everybody is talking about Cloud and how Cloud can help to improve and fasten implementations and usage of business software. In this blog, I take you with me on a journey "over the clouds" to provide you insights on the SAP cloud offering based on SAP Customer Activity Repository, what it is in detail and wherefore it can be used.
As you may know already, the rapid-deployment solution for SAP Customer Activity Repository is available since April 2014. Beside the usage of the rapid-deployment solution for on premise purposes, we also offer a so called pre-assembled rapid-deployment solution for SAP Customer Activity Repository.
What is a pre-assembled rapid-deployment solution?
It’s one or more rapid-deployment solution combined and configured in a system or system landscape, made available to customers as a unit and packaged as an SAP standard compliant software appliance. An appliance is a combination of software components that is delivered pre-installed and pre-configured to serve a specific purpose in a system landscape. In general, appliances provide reduced complexity and allow faster deployment by reducing the initial installation and configuration time.
We have prepared three different levels of pre-configuration, means also three different appliances based on SAP HANA Customer Activity Repository rapid-deployment solution.
The basic one is called ready-to-activate (RTA) appliance. Here the software installation is done, SAP Notes, necessary add-ons and switches are applied, so that the activation of the business scope can start immediately.
The next level is called semi-activated (SA), based on the ready-to-activate version, but enhanced with customizing settings valid for most customer projects.
In the fully activated (FA) version, all business processes available with the rapid-deployment solution are configured including some sample data to execute the corresponding business scope.
Before I explain the different use cases for the different appliances, let me elaborate on the ways to get and to use the appliances.
First of all, I would like to mention SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), our enterprise-class managed cloud offering in secure data centers worldwide. This offering is for existing and new customers to transition on-premise enterprise applications to the cloud or start directly in the cloud. It allows customers to run their SAP HANA applications, including SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA and SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA, or in our case SAP Customer Activity Repository in a managed virtual private cloud environment on in-memory infrastructures, while HEC takes care of operations or at times also performs application management services.
You may have heard already the abbreviation CAL. CAL stands for SAP Cloud Appliance Library and is an on-demand solution that allows customers to quickly access systems for demo, test, training, but also development. CAL delivers software appliances directly into the Amazon Cloud accounts of existing customers and/or partners and since recently also into Microsoft Azure, the cloud platform from Microsoft. Most of the available software appliances are based on pre-configured SAP solutions and can be deployed instantly in the cloud. Time can be spent on evaluation and innovation and not on setting up and configuring the SAP solution. If you want to learn more about CAL, please try out this eLearning page.
Another often used term is MCaS. MCaS stands for Managed Cloud as a service and describes the following scenario: SAP partners and other providers offer SAP solutions as a subscription-based cloud service on their cloud infrastructure – including all services that are required to operate and manage the applications - comparable to our own HEC offering.
In addition to these three appliances, I would like to mention also another cloud offering which is published recently: SAP Customer Activity Repository Cloud Trial. SAP employees, customers, prospects, partners and any other interested parties can register for a 3-Day-Free-Trial, providing access to various applications that leverage the SAP Customer Activity Repository to address various retail use cases. In as little as 30 minutes users will get first hand experience trying out straightforward application scenarios. The use cases cover customer segmentation scenarios using SAP Audience Discovery & Targeting (ADT) functionalities, as well as dashboards for Multichannel and POS Sales Analysis. The scenarios leverage a rich dataset with year over year comparisons across multiple stores and regions for various KPI’s. You can drill down from merchandise categories down to articles, while cross referencing with various customer loyalty, demographic, and purchase behavior patterns. Of course guides are available to allow you a look into SAP Customer Activity Repository without trial and error. If you are interested to test drive this trail, please go to SAP HANA Marketplace, search for ‘Customer Activity Repository and click the icon to get access to a free 3 Day trial
There is also a special offering available for partners who want to use SAP Customer Activity Repository as a platform for own application development. The solution is available in SAP Cloud Appliance Library and provides a complete development environment including sample data, SAP HANA Studio, SAP Logon and SAP LT (Landscape transformation) Replication Server to connect a partner ERP system (on premise or in the cloud) deployable on a supported cloud service provider of your choice. The idea of this offering is to reduce the time needed for partners to get a SAP Customer Activity Repository system up and running along with development tools like SAP HANA Studio. This allows partners to explore and learn more about the Customer Activity Repository while also providing them with the necessary toolset to start creating and testing their new applications in a significantly reduced time of weeks to minutes. Please spend two minutes to look at this teaser.
You may ask now yourself, when should I use which offering, which appliance for which purpose or use case.
You want to have a taste of SAP Customer Activity Repository without costs, just to satisfy your curiosity and to get a first impression. It’s ok for you to share that environment with others and you don’t expect to see your own data. In this case I would recommend you the 3-Day-Free-Trial.
You want to have your own CAR environment for a longer period of time, but you expect a running system including sample data where you have full access to the system and could change configuration e.g. to accelerate your business blue print phase – that’s a typical use case for the fully activated pre-assembled appliance via Self-Service from the SAP Cloud Appliance Library.
You want to start an implementation project – but you don’t want to use any preconfiguration because your use case for CAR is very unique. If you intent to do that in a cloud environment, please get in touch with your local HEC contact to get an offer using the ready-to-activate appliance as a starting point.
You plan to start an implementation project – and you see the advantage to make use of the pre-configuration provided in the rapid-deployment solution. Here you have two options, depending on the cloud provider you want to work with. You can get an offer from HEC, using the semi-activated appliance – or you can use the Self-Service from the SAP Cloud Appliance Library (CAL) Console to get your own environment including the semi-activated appliance in Amazon Web Service. And similar to the on-premise deployment of the rapid-deployment solution, you can order the implementation service which is related to the rapid-deployment solution to accelerate your project with pre-defined implementation phases and prepared assets.
You are a partner and you have a great idea for an application based on CAR, than the partner development offering in the cloud is the right one for you.
You want to learn more about these offerings? Stay tuned …in the next blogs I'll take you to the next stages of our cloud journey.