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Wow!  What an amazing week.  SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 is now behind us, but the work we described last week is just beginning.  Last year, we talked about a transformation happening in three areas: in-memory, cloud, mobility.  This year, I wanted to focus the keynote on HANA, not because it’s the only innovation we are delivering but because it is at the heart of SAP’s renewal and is core to everything we are working on.  We had a very simple goal in mind: to show the business value of HANA through the customers that have seen the value firsthand.  We’ve talked about speed and performance, and now we wanted to show the value.  The best way to do this was through the customers voice.  The response has been truly incredible.

If you have a few minutes to look through the replays of customer testimonials, it is definitely worth it.  One of the amazing things we saw at SAPPHIRE was the power of customers hearing from their peers directly.  The use cases were so varied and global, representing all types of industries, there wasn’t a single customer in the audience that couldn’t identify with what they were hearing from other CIOs, CEOs and LoB execs.  I am sure you will recognize some of these faces but I am also sure you will recognize the challenges they face and how HANA can help.

But while my keynote focused on the customer stories, there is still a huge amount of work going on around the product.  HANA is already in or is coming to every SAP product.  We really have a whole flood coming.  We’ve talked over the last few months about breakthrough analytics, new and renewed applications and overall IT simplification.  And at SAPPHIRE, I previewed the HANA AppCloud, designed for customers who want to experience the power of HANA in native on-demand apps, starting with SAP BIOD, Carbon Impact OD, sales & ops planning, smart meter analytics. There is so much more we are doing and will do.

  • HANA itself, for SAP and non-SAP oriented analytics and using a wide variety of clients especially Business Objects BI tools
  • HANA as a db replacement for BW (and more — a *lot* of BW calculations actually move inside HANA for the rocket effect)
  • HANA with integrated text search, leveraging its TREX roots
  • HANA in our application platform, both NGAP and River, and in all our technology products
  • HANA for planning apps, especially EPM, S+OP and all our planning apps.  With live cache integration on its way, we can start the refactoring train towards APO, rethought ATP (that Hasso showed in his speech), etc
  • HANA for refactoring existing apps (CO-PA and cash flow+liquidity mgmt)
  • HANA for full existing apps (B1, ByDesign, Business Suite – bringing immediate value to as well as incrementally refactoring everything)
  • HANA for new apps (SWP, S+OP, Charitra, RecallGenie, Smart Meter Analytics, personal energy mgmt, and the entire area of personal applications)
  • HANA on-demand for BIOD, CI, and others

We have barely scratched the surface.  It is really something.  And perhaps the best part is, customers don’t have to worry about when to bring their preferred scenarios to HANA. They can start anywhere, and incrementally move onwards and upwards from there. HANA’s timelessness ensures unlimited scaling of the infrastructure with increased usage, and also that each new capability, and the scenarios it supports, brings value non-disruptively. So customers can start where it makes most sense, and grow from there. 

It’s about empowering the end users.  We are limited only by our imaginations.  My friend and mentor Alan Kay put it best in a video message he recorded for my SAPPHIRE keynote.  We didn’t get to it in the keynote, but I hope you will find his comments re the future as inspirational as I have.

And on one final note before I close .. I’d like to mention a heartfelt thanks to the team at SAP that brought the customers’ voices to life.  Aiaz Kazi, Amit Sinha, Jason Wolf, Ritika Suri, Sam Yen, Sanjay Rajagopalan, Shabana Khan, Kaustav Mitra and many others.   They worked tirelessly, especially the last 7 weeks before Sapphire, to put all the customer experiences together.  A deep and heartfelt thanks to them, for their tireless efforts, passion and world-class competence.  Looking forward to scaling the next mountaintop!

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  1. Hello Vishal,

    I thought it might be useful to chime in from a different perspective, which is a prospective partner with a long history in innovation and many shared relationships,yet arm’s length with SAP.

    First I do want to congratulate you on HANA– I’ve been studying related issues for many years and I was about as skeptical as some of your customers when first hearing the claims– not a reflection on you, but rather hype in IT generally. That HANA was born from within a partnership between SAP and Intel is pretty amazing given the history of mature companies. I would have lost that bet even at 10-1 odds, even with deep respect of many within both companies over long periods– it’s just very difficult to embrace and create revolutionary innovation in large global companies that by definition contain multiple overlapping conflicts.

    I have never attended an SAP conference in person, but was able to view much of it via the web this year. The production was rather grand– perhaps a bit too much given the state of the economy and situation faced by customers of customers, which is a topic that I’d like to dig a bit deeper into, perhaps with your other hat on.

    While it’s a wonderful thing to see breakthrough innovation coming from a mature company, the trend line in the macro economic picture is less impressive. Customers of some of your largest customers, including the likes of P&G and Disney are under such cost pressure it’s now impacting the bottom lines of the largest companies in the world, despite the enormous efficiency gains across all of technology. The gap has simply grown too large to sustain.

    From a macro economic perspective, with my previous hat on as business / economic consultant, and despite what would have been a lousy bet on HANA, it seems obvious that the broader enterprise ecosystem is unsustainable at its source. Much of the consumer growth in Asia has been captured and the west faces a long-term correction in fiscal trajectory.

    While these are not new issues for SAP or many customers, many thought leaders believe it would be wise to focus more on innovation that drives costs down and improve innovation across the entire global economy, not just market leaders, but perhaps for the sake of market leaders as they depend ultimately on smaller businesses. I did not see that reflected much at all in the sessions I watched at Sapphire– indeed quite the opposite. SAP is in a truly unique position to do, but it will require a similarly revolutionary approach and I suspect effort to partnering as your team delivered with HANA, including with small companies that specialize in innovation like ours.

    Thanks also for posting the clip from Alan Kay.

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    1. Dennis Howlett
      @mark – this is a topic that was discussed in small group settings by both Vishal and Hasso Plattner. When Vishal talked about HANA in the cloud my eyes lit up. Here at last is an opportunity for SAP to build out the supercomputer data centers that could drive cost out. My take on that can be found here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/howlett/the-untold-story-of-sap-and-data-centers/3169?tag=mantle_skin;content

      In my conversations with Bill McDermott I demonstrated a model that would allow SAP to sell mobile applications running in SUP at $2-$5 that beats out anything SAP could achieve by selling the platform. Even when my model is 90% inaccurate.

      It can be done but SAP has to be prepared to upset a lot of SIs.

      The User groups are all saying the same thing – licensing, maintenance, TCO. It’s a real pressure point.

      And for what it is worth, they are not alone. Oracle has the same problem.

      How SAP tackles this issue will be a defining moment for everyone in the ecosystem.

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      1. Witalij Rudnicki
        Dennis, to yours
        >It can be done but SAP has to be prepared to upset a lot of SIs.
        I would add: “SAP has to be prepared to upset a lot of their sales force as well.” All these guys who used to make one deal to close their quarterly quota…
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      2. Dennis,

        I did notice the rather casual announcement of the cloud, which I later reported to my own network as the most important news from the conference– potentially anyway.

        But yes overall SAP seems to be at this point where a great many things have been promoted, but not much detail on how they expect to get there. For example, some confusion on the term disruption between SAP and the rest of the world — one can see a seamless transition for customers to the cloud, for example– and therefore no technical disruption, but all of these issues are quite disruptive from a business and market perspective– so much so that it cannot be spun with any credibility. Almost anything anyone does worth doing today is disruptive to someone.

        I can see a path for SAP to include more profitable margins, but not without pain in the ecosystem as the core energy it feasts on isn’t sustainable by my math at current levels. I did view your piece and thought it was well done.

        There seems to be a social elite cultural disconnect at play, not terribly different than government fiscal troubles in some regard, academia, and a few public companies accustomed to a level of spending. I can appreciate the challenge — on one hand it requires massive investment, and on the other substantial cuts in overhead spending, which isn’t much fun, but then they can always risk their own retirement and attempt a start-up serving the enterprise market for a good comparison to reality. Speed is one essential element, adaptability that affords customer differentiation another, innovation and planning targeted specifically for lean culture quite another. Quite the challenge.

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  2. Scott Wallask
    This blog nicely relfects one of the general themes at Sapphire Now this year. I was glad to see a couple of Chinese companies as part of the customer testimonials for HANA, and it made me wonder what another year will bring for all of us in terms of China business. Regardless, it was good to see those companies represented in the keynote. I will also be keeping an eye on how HANA and BusinessObjects intersect, as those prospects are exciting.
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  3. Witalij Rudnicki
    Vishal, no doubts you and whole SAP team made the HANA forest growing and becoming even more green in eyes of all SAPPHIRE live and virtual attendees – customers, partners and even SAP own employees. The buzz hit the ceilings of Orlando Convention Center. HANA story is strong, especially in wall-to-wall SAP shops.

    What we did not get is an update on the HANA roadmap. The snippets from your and Hasso’s keynotes added to the confusion rather than helped to clarify. Calling BusinessOne running on Mac mini with 2GB RAM and two-cores Intel Core 2 cpu the HANA was confusing. Giving sneak peak of HANA Cloud without explaining what it means and how it is related to previously shared roadmap was confusing. Referring to database triggers replication without updating the previously shared HANA landscape was confusing.

    SAP used to have this “Clear Enterprise” campaign in the past. What we are looking for is clear in-memory story from SAP now. We are looking forward for that.

    -Vitaliy

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    1. Alistair McEwan
      Well spotted Vitaliy! I feel the same way. I’d add that many customer testimonials talked about intentions, visions and hopes around HANA rather than the really existing thing (like using it in production).
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    1. Joerg Latza
      Hi Prabakar,
      no not as a replacement of BW.

      HANA will be the db underneath BW, so it will replace traditional databases that now serve BW.

      Regards,
      Joerg

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  4. Samir Neji
    Too much hype as usual, a long way to go before the entire abap stack gets rewritten. I heard u straight this year and last at Orlando. very confusing results with very basic baby steps in presentation layers of Analytics.

    We should be in cloud by then, will this remain incredible for the credible technologies out there…..??

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