SAP S/4HANA Cloud is a future-ready enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with built-in intelligent technologies, including AI, machine learning, and advanced analytics. It transforms business processes with intelligent automation and runs on SAP HANA – a market-leading in-memory database that offers real-time processing speeds and a dramatically simplified data model.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud is the next-generation successor to the SAP Business Suite ERP platform. S/4HANA Cloud is intended to be easier to use and administer while helping to solve more complex problems and handle vastly larger amounts of data than its predecessor.
The data model for the SAP Business Suite went through a simplification process. HANA – being a columnar database – removed the need to have tables dedicated to aggregating data which added a level of complexity to the data model. Data redundancies also existed which caused the same data to be stored in multiple tables. The goals SAP had when it came to data model simplification were to separate master data from transactional data, reduce the overall memory footprint and remove data redundancies.
The Progress DataDirect S/4HANA Cloud driver supports all the OData APIs that are available as services from within S/4HANA Cloud along with custom OData APIs. The driver itself can extract, update, delete and create data using any of the existing APIs that support these functions. Direct access to the underlying HANA database isn’t generally given, which is why SAP provides an API layer to access the crucial data found in S/4HANA Cloud.
The Progress DataDirect S/4HANA Cloud driver automatically normalizes the response data from all the available APIs in a S/4HANA Cloud instance and creates a relational data model composed of schemas, tables and column. What does this mean? The S/4HANA Cloud APIs return data in JSON format. JSON is difficult to read and even more difficult to work with in BI, ETL and analytics tools. Simply put: the S/4HANA Cloud driver is the bridge between any SQL-enabled tool or application to S/4HANA Cloud. Once normalized, the data model (see image below) will consist of over 200 schemas, hundreds of tables and thousands of columns covering master data for business partners, materials, inventory, material ledger, sales and accounting.
Below you will find an example of using the Progress DataDirect S/4HANA Cloud driver with Tableau. Keep in mind that the S/4HANA Cloud driver can be used with any JDBC (or ODBC)-compliant application.
- To get started, copy s4hana.jar from the Progress install location to Tableau’s driver location
- For Windows: copy s4hana.jar to C:\Program Files\Tableau\Drivers
- For Mac: copy s4hana.jar to ~/Library/Tableau/Drivers
- Open Tableau and create a new data source
- Select “Other Databases (JDBC)”, copy and paste the JDBC connection string created above using the Progress DataDirect Configuration Manager into the “URL” textbox
- Enter credentials for username and password
- Click “Sign In”, which will have the driver connect to S/4HANA Cloud, normalize the data and Tableau will then display the relevant metadata (below). The image below shows the schemas on the left-hand side and master data for Business Partner being displayed.
- Creating reports is easy in Tableau once you are able to access the data that is important to you.Below is a report that compares the average cost of products using the API_PRODUCT_SRV service and the A_PRODUCT and A_PRODUCTVALUATION tables.
We hope this tutorial helped you to get started with the Progress DataDirect SAP S/4HANA JDBC connector
and connect to your data in SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Feel free to contact us
if you have any questions about using the driver and we will be happy to help you.