In my opinion SAP HANA is a paradigm change in information technology and, if smartly used, a very powerful tool for efficient capital management.
Most of you have heard that in-memory computing is about fast reporting, and this is true, but it also offers less intuitive opportunities which make SAP HANA very powerful, for instance:
From an architecture perspective SAP HANA provides near real-time analytical reporting without requiring aggregates, by accessing the same persistent database used by the transactional system.
One of the main difficulties of the banking information systems is the lack of integration, which makes it nearly impossible to track detailed information from the analytical level to the operational level.
As a result it’s not feasible to analyze in detail risk/profit and liquidity by micro-portfolios and nearly impossible to drill down from the micro-portfolio to the business transactions and financial transactions in the operating system.
With SAP Banking business suite it is feasible to jump from the integrated vision of the portfolio in the financial database to the contracts and business transactions in the operating system. But this integration can be lost in the reporting data-warehouse, as referential integrity is not granted in data-warehouses (in practical terms not even feasible).
With the fast reporting capabilities of SAP HANA, we can eliminate the data-warehouse layer simplifying dramatically the landscape (I’m sure that we’ll see many more examples of landscape simplifications as this technology becomes massively used).
A more simplified architecture will facilitate easier audit, analytical and operational reconciliation and with it, much more effective capital consumption, liquidity and profit measurement.The real advantage of a new technology never comes by doing the same things faster, but by doing new things which are not feasible with the old technology.
Financial crisis is coming with new regulations for the financial system. The new regulation is driving a systemic change, from a business model based in volume to a model based in efficient management of capital and liquidity (very expensive resources from now on).
Efficient capital and liquidity management require new and more detailed models for planning and simulation of banks portfolios. A particular case in which I’ve been working for a while is translating Goldratt’s theory of constraints to portfolio management, by including regulatory capital and liquidity as planning constraints. These simulations require intensive calculations which can be achieved by the fast calculation capabilities of in-memory computing.