SAP has been investing in, developing, and partnering on mobile and mobility-centric technologies for many years. This quarter has seen a new chapter in SAP’s approach to mobile technologies, but from a new perspective that differs from a traditional definition of mobility. The software company recently announced that location intelligence company Esri now supports SAP Cloud Platform, SAP HANA service.

Objects in Spatial Space

Originally known as the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Esri specializes in geographic information systems (GIS) software and geodatabase management applications that typically make use of spatial data.

Initially developed for geolocation applications, spatial data is information about “objects in space” used detail everything from natural geographic forms to buildings, automobiles, the movement of people, and other smaller objects. Esri’s systems also can map events, trends, movements, and things in cities and rural spaces, as well as to track human, animal, machine, and other forms of behavior.

SAP HANA: Underlying Multimodel Database

Looking at Esri’s new connection to SAP, the companies have explained that this announcement marks the first-ever database as a service (DBaaS) that is fully supported by Esri ArcGIS technology. Organizations can now run SAP HANA as the underlying multimodel database service for the ArcGIS system of record. When combined, the suggestion here is that customers will be able to integrate enterprise data with spatial data, either on-premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid deployment.

ArcGIS is Esri’s GIS for working geographic information. It is used for creating maps, compiling geographic data, analyzing mapped information, and sharing and discovering geographic information.

Mapping Patterns Through Data

Esri reminds us that GIS systems aren’t just about the maps at the center of them. Although rooted in geography, GIS systems integrate many types of data and track them against spatial location to then organize this data into layers to uncover patterns, relationships, and situations that we can use to help manage our businesses and lives.

It’s clear that we need to understand how Esri’s technology helps map the things in the world onto the maps of the world. Those things could be anything from crime hot spots to real-time fleet tracking or air pollution sensors located across any city.

Why DBaaS Matters for GIS

If we start to think about the application of GIS systems in these use cases and the complexity of the operations on the ground for the organizations that execute them, then it’s easy to see why DBaaS matters for GIS.

In the DBaaS model, the database provider (in this case SAP) looks after the physical hardware that the servers run on. The DBaaS provider also takes care of system provisioning (to always meet uptime demand), configuration requirements, security, and maintenance.

Esri’s typical customers run mission-critical (often life-critical) applications, so being able to plug into a management DBaaS back end alleviates the pressure of having to become a specialist in marine life oceanography welfare systems (for example) and be a database specialist at the same time. Equally, with many of Esri’s customers focused on tracking the world around us, the likelihood for data spikes caused by both commercial and natural phenomena is high. Having your DBaaS to fall back on makes a big difference.

Tying It Back to SAP

The SAP HANA service, a main component of SAP HANA Cloud Services, is now a supported enterprise geodatabase with Esri’s ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Pro. According to SAP SVP of SAP HANA and Analytics Gerrit Kazmaier, “This allows users to get full integration of enterprise and spatial data.”

He notes that by providing fully integrated spatial analytics and advanced visualizations in one multimodel database management system, the joint solution from SAP and Esri logically consolidates IT landscapes for lower administrative costs and TCO.

Smarter Decisions Driving Enterprise Asset Management

SAP and Esri share a use case in the City of San Diego, where government departments are using the capabilities of SAP Business Suite software and Esri ArcGIS Enterprise to improve municipal service delivery and community collaboration through spatial insight.

SAP, Esri, and implementation partner Critigen are working together with the city to achieve interoperability between their platforms through data integration, advanced analytics, and dynamic map-based applications. The goals of the project are to reduce overall technology costs, improve performance, and provide accurate and timely information for making more-informed decisions throughout the city.

“We are seeing many benefits from the SAP and Esri partnership,” City of San Diego’s CIO Jonathan Behnke said. “For example, our firefighters can better plan and respond to calls. Within a few weeks a team from SAP, Critigen, Esri, and Quartic Solutions built a map viewer showing hydrant status from our operational and GIS systems of record—SAP Business Suite and Esri ArcGIS both running on SAP HANA. The new tool improves efficiency and helps make the city safer.”

On the Field and At Work

SAP and Esri are now offering the SAP and Esri quick-start experience, which includes a 30-day free trial and packaged, quick-start content so customers can easily explore Esri ArcGIS Enterprise running on the SAP HANA service.

Other uses for spatial analytics—now running on the combined strengths of SAP and Esri —include city-wide analysis of opioid prescriptions to track for potential drug abuse. The same technology has been used to track glacier movements, provide first responder real-time situational awareness during natural disasters, forecast traffic movements, and assign public safety officers to specific locations during events.

We often say that the world is getting smaller, but the world of data is undeniably getting bigger. Tracking bigger data onto more applications with wider analytics for a better view of the world is what SAP and Esri both want to make happen.

Interested in learning more about SAP and enterprise asset management? Register for ASUG’s on-demand webinar “EAM: Intelligent Asset Management—Cross-Product Introduction.” Also, mark your calendars for SAP-Centric EAM 2020 in San Antonio, March 16–18.