Trekwars: Nerdalert – An SAP HANA App

Whether you are into building cool apps on SAP HANA, a rabid Star Wars fan, a faithful Star Trek fan eagerly waiting with ticket in hand to see Star Trek Beyond, or like me…love both (true story, my family and I are watching all of Star Trek chronologically and won’t miss anything Star Wars), I think you are going to love this. But wait! There’s more! What we’ve developed has applications in the Enterprise for marketing/competitive intelligence, customer service, and more. We’ll get back to that boring business-y stuff later. Back to the nerdy.

We wanted to try something different…to boldly go where no SAP HANA analytic app has gone before and prove once and for all which science fiction franchise, Star Trek or Star Wars, has the coolest fans. We didn’t want to just scrape off social media data and display it on a screen. We wanted to demonstrate that with several components of the SAP HANA platform working in concert, we could create a near real-time information mechanism that would allow us to compare two brands and their standing in the social world.

The struggle is real my friends. How do we lovingly pick apart these two universes? Let’s break it down.

  • SAP Data Services – In your SAP HANA Enterprise Edition investment, SAP lovingly included some cores for SAP Data Services. We’re hooked into twitter’s API to get this data as close to real-time as we can get it and it’s loaded in to SAP HANA for the next step. We’ve done some work with SAP Data Services and SAP IQ here for cold storage, but I’ll write more about that in the future.
  • Text Analysis – One of my personal favorite engines in SAP HANA’s arsenal. We created new dimensions on the tweet to stratify them by whether it’s about the expanded universes, books, tv and movies, games, cosplay, and more. We’re also using the text analysis engine to distinguish influencers from scruffy looking nerfherders, whether positive or negative in sentiment, and quantify the scope of their reach. Not every tweet conveys sentiment, no, but it’s good to know.
  • OData – With a few Calculation Views in hand, we quickly generated the necessary OData services for our application to consume. We use them to display both our dimensions for analysis and tweets and their relevance as they stream in real time on both sides.
  • XS – Our UX team created a dead-sexy UX that tells the right story. With some jquery, d3, loadash, and some creative thinking, it turned out nicely. I think we nailed the mission: to allow an information consumer to deduce once and for all which sci-fi franchise has the coolest universe.

So what was the result? Well, we had a ton of fun and it only took us about two weeks. But this is where we have to put a business focus on something with a highly technical delivery. We turned data into information.

We began collecting data in April, before the marketing hype engine for Star Trek Beyond really took hold. It was clear that a significant portion of the Twitter traffic gave favor to Star Wars. When we look at the entirety of our data, a very clear distinction that one universe (brand) dominates the other.

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As the hype for Star Wars Beyond began to take greater hold, we can see a shift, as recently as the last 24 hours, that Star Trek fans show increasing favor for their universe.

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What this visualization doesn’t convey is finer grained, point in time comparisons. An enterprise (no pun intended) with a strong focus on marketing influence is going to dig deeper. We’re going to seek to understand the reach of those active in our Influence quadrant. We’ll realize “hey we really don’t compete on the dimension of games so this isn’t a relevant KPI”. We’ll clearly show that when it comes to dressing up in character to celebrate a universe, we have no inhibitions, Star Trek fans. There’s a lot here.

Leveraging SAP HANA as a platform, not just as a fast database, shows that it’s possible to get a much higher return on any investment in SAP HANA.

Want to learn more about how we implemented this social media sentiment solution? Drop us a line. Want to get in on the Twitter sentiment fun? Let us know what your favorite universe is. We’ll grab your tweets at #trekwars!

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