In the previous weeks, I participated a webinar of SAP data warehouse solution called SAP Rapid Marts. This product & solution is not as popular as other SAP products such as business warehouse (BW), Business Objects (BO) etc. But now it is being adopted and deployed to more small or medium size company. SAP marketing consultant claims that it can help to reduce cost and development time with prebuilt function and module. To help better understand, I attach the Rapid Marts architecture (Diagram 1) from SAP official brochures. For Oracle BI architecture I have mentioned in my previous post so you can find out there.
You won’t see anything special from layers of above architecture comparing to a regular SAP BO product based project solution. This is because Rapid Marts solution is entirely integrated from typical SAP BO components like Data Service, Crystal Report, Universe, Webi etc. However, the uniqueness is that it has built-in best of breed template, solution and configuration set.
In couple of months I just completed an Oracle BI project and now I found SAP Rapid marts is a replacement of Oracle Business Intelligence Appliance (OBIA). It is interesting to me to compare both solutions in following dimensions.
Source System and Target System
SAP Rapid Marts is not the only option for customer who is going to build up their BI system with SAP products. Business Warehouse (BW) has been a large enterprise-level data movement and business analytics product. It usually requires big project team and years of development activities. While some companies tended to purchase SAP BO products and then conduct custom development internally. Rapid Marts 3.X version can support multiple data sources including SAP ERP, Oracle Peoplesoft, Siebel and EBS, however those Oracle sources were removed in its latest version 4.0. SAP get it stripped out so just be focus on SAP ERP source system. The target system can be SAP HANA, MS SQL Server and Oracle.
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Oracle BI appliances (version 10.X or 11.X) provide support for multiple data sources such as Oracle EBS, Siebel, SAP ERP, MS SQL Server. It has identifier number to represent each different source system. The supported target system can be Oracle, MS SQL Server, Teradata, which will serve as a data warehouse for OBIEE report.
Architecture and Components
SAP Rapid Marts architecture has been depicted in the previous section while Oracle one can be found in previous blog titled “Siebel Analytics Overview and Practicing”. Actually they are quite similar with each other. The components that make up to BI architecture are listed out:.
|SAP Rapid Marts||DS Repo and BI Repo||Universe||Data Service||Webi, Crystal Reports, Dashboard|
|OBIA||Informatica Repo and OBIEE Repo||Data Warehouse||Informatica||OBIEE|
SAP has been providing a full BI product stack including BW, BI 4.0, DS, HANA. All these products can be purchased and installed separately. Due to the consideration of compatibility and service, customer will prefer to install SAP recommended product other than other vendors. OBIA product was renamed from Siebel analytics and it inherited much features from Siebel. Its components can also be installed separately. For example, Tools of OWB or ODI can be the replacement of Informatica. From my point of view, if a company has implemented a application system like ERP with SAP technology, better to deploy SAP product for BI system, the same principle for Oracle product.
The great pros of SAP Rapid Marts is that customer can drive the software installation, customization and deployment with a small team and within couple of weeks/months. We know that ETL development would need much efforts to enable data feed for DW. But there are Total 230+ variables and 1800+ jobs embedded in the Rapid Marts solution, which obviously speed up development cycle. The cons is that Rapid marts is function oriented but not industry oriented so there will be some customization work for a specific industry.
In comparison, an OBIA implementation project is a big one and may need years to have deployment done. OBIA is both function and industry oriented so that a company can pick suitable template and configuration for further customization.
In the last I would have to say there is no best tool but suitable tool to meet your business and challenge.