At SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 in Orlando, Vishal Sikka unveiled the first business scenarios to employ SAP HANA appliance software – just six months after the technology was officially launched. As Program Manager, In-Memory Adoption@SAP, Amogh Umbarkar was part of the team that made the debut possible. He spoke with Bill Kozel about how SAP’s internal team ensured that a working prototype would be ready for its world premiere.
*Bill: Amogh, how did the first prototype come about so quickly?*
Amogh: This was a huge collaboration across the board. There were no organizational boundaries. Global IT led the effort, working alongside the development and business development teams.
We started by developing a real-time sales pipeline reporting scenario, which we brought to production right before SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 – quite an achievement. And from the success of that, we saw that we were able to achieve our dreams in a very short time. We knew that this is something we could demonstrate and take to market.
The development of a first scenario also helped the validation of SAP HANA internally. And it allowed us to go to customers with a proof of concept – and an actual scenario that they could build a business case for.
That was the fun part, to see how quickly our journey moved. We went from concept to prototype in less than three months, which led to a huge stampede of interest both internally and externally.
Bill: Were you communicating with customers along the way?
Amogh: Absolutely. Through a variety of forums, including SAP TechEd, the Run Better Tour, and many others, we were continually exchanging knowledge with SAP customers. Just as we had a lot of questions, SAP’s customers had a lot of questions when they started to grasp what this technology is and what it can do.
Our knowledge exchange went beyond just a marketing pitch or a sales pitch in our meetings. We showed our customers that here is something that is possible, that we had a pragmatic approach, and which areas were still open. So we helped create realistic expectations – while also generating a great deal of excitement.
*Bill: How were you able to demonstrate SAP HANA when it was still in development?*
Amogh: When we started on our first prototype, the product wasn’t released to customers. We were defining requirements, then taking the releases into internal testing. Every time we can address an issue before it becomes a product or release, it helps reduce the ultimate cost. So by testing and validating internally, we were able to quickly prepare a release that was ready for our customers to preview.
Bill: How have customers responded to SAP HANA?
Amogh: Since SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP HANA and mobility have been key topics in hundreds of customer meetings. We make it a point to share our experiences as the first customer, and I think it helps external customers quickly see the potential of this amazing technology. They are extremely excited by SAP HANA, and are eager to see the scenarios we are planning next. And many of them have already signed up, which is really terrific.
Bill: How are you encouraging continuing adoption of SAP HANA within SAP?
Amogh: We have established a SAP HANA center of expertise that can develop skill sets and spread knowledge. As we upskill our people, they can act as multipliers to other key people in the organization. That’s important, because this technology and its business implications are going to continue to grow.
Bill: How easy is it to implement a scenario that’s based on SAP HANA?
Amogh: It’s actually not that difficult. The best part is, we’re offering innovation without disruption, so there is no downtime to an organization’s landscape. That makes implementation quite easy compared to other solutions.