Should every problem be solved by SAP HANA?
Have you read and heard about the break-through capabilities of SAP HANA. And watched the great video testimonials from leading organizations? Are you still struggling to indentify the business scenarios where SAP HANA makes sense within your organization either today or in the future?
Have you ever wondered why when you buy a new car you suddenly notice many more drivers driving the same car? The theory is that your awareness has changed and that is why you notice them – not because there are more cars. When I started developing use cases for SAP HANA it was important not to present SAP HANA as the silver bullet for every business problem out there. I started by considering: Now that SAP HANA has the potential to overcome the hurdles of slow analytics, pre-defined queries, currency (latency) and granularity of data – What tasks can be accomplished a whole lot easier?
What specific activities are impacted, when you can have the results of complex analyses and transactions available at your fingertips? For example, your business no longer needs to:
- Wait for newly recorded data to be reflected in analysis
- Have teams working on different versions of data
- Have teams of back-office staff gathering data and maintaining custom dash boards in PowerPoint and Excel spreadsheets
- Make corrections and adjustments to the data not once but multiple times (e.g. incorrect or wrong data sets extracted from source systems) to sanitize the data before reporting
- Make decisions based on outdated, partial/incomplete, aggregated data and information
- Guessing the current state of the business or the impact of specific actions
- Constantly reacting to emergencies due to changes in business operations and rationalizing outcomes with after-the-fact analysis
- Dependent on IT for service delivery, particularly when seeking answers to questions that requires changes in the data warehouse (structure and aggregates)
The graphic and table below highlights six categories of business tasks and lists example scenarios in each of the categories.
- Business Performance Analysis and Reporting, Business Planning and Predictive Analysis are the obvious categories. With SAP HANA you have the opportunity to re-think existing tasks and eliminate efforts associated with dealing with performance and volume hurdles to analyse large datasets.
- Segmentation and Correlation can now become much more interactive. The market or data analyst can run multiple queries, constantly refining parameters as he/she discovers insights from queries. Very similar to how most users on the internet use search engines like Google to discover and search for information on the web. Having the ability to reduce the query response from hours to seconds is very significant as now many multiple queries can be iteratively performed during a single thought process.
- The last two categories I call Anticipate and Act with Foresight and Optimize and Unify Processes. These represent scenarios where analyzing huge volumes of data within processes become viable.
- Anticipate and Act with Foresight is like having an early-warning system built into your business processes: For example, Utilities companies can monitor smart meter readings to determine high deviations of electricity consumption and ensure that consumers are notified thereby avoiding “bill-shock”
- Optimize and Unify Processes are where the usage of analytics within processes really becomes interesting. Businesses can operate a lot more dynamically within business situations. For example dynamic pricing or dynamic discounting within competitive environments. Another example is that of item traceability – having the ability to track and trace potentially harmful produce is not the task of one organization but requires many participants such producers, logistics, warehouse storage, retailers all to collect, share and analyze data.
Sample Business Scenarios
- Use cases from early adopters of SAP HANA
- The SAP HANA InnoJam at SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 in Orlando at the SAP HANA InnoJam at SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 in Orlando
Have these examples sparked inspiration for using SAP HANA in your organization? Are there better names to categorize these use cases or even new categories that I have missed?