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SAP Business One to Run Completely on SAP HANA

I have recently returned from the SAP TechEd and Sapphire Now conference in Madrid and it was clear to see that the SAP HANA product is being touted as “the next big thing”. Some have commented that it will be as revolutionary as The Smartphone or Social Media in the way it shapes Enterprise Technology.

So what is SAP HANA? HANA or High-Performance Analytic Appliance, as it was first known is a data warehouse application for processing and querying high volumes of transactional data from multiple sources in real time. This type of analysis would traditionally rely on pulling information from a standard database like SQL or DB2.

HANA is changing the way companies interact with their standard DB2, Oracle SQL databases to extract information critical to business decisions. In one test case a Manufacturing company was able to run a detailed scheduling report in just seconds, this used to take them 7 hours using a traditional database query.

It is clear to see that HANA will change the way large companies interact with their data and access reports in real time but how will this help the Small Enterprise? SAP HANA is in the roadmap for SAP Business One. According to it is planned to be delivered in three releases, Version 9.0, V 9.1 and V 9.2 with the first release planned for Q4 2012. The ultimate plan is for the SAP Business One core application to run completely on HANA. Initially it will run in parallel with MS SQL Server then analytics and transactions will occur directly in SAP HANA enabling real time data analysis. It has been reported that the In Memory Database is up to 100 times faster than MS SQL Server.

This is all well and good but the first question an SAP Business One customer will raise is “How much will it cost me” and “Will I need new servers & desktops?” Well, I don’t know the answer to that yet and maybe someone reading this Blog can help.

Where it can definitely help smaller businesses for example is if you had a very complex MRP including very detailed multi level Bills of Material. SAP Business One would have to go to the Database tables for each of the items of information before making its MRP recommendation. If HANA can do this in an instant then I believe there is value to be had.

It will also help by enabling Management to view reports in Real Time. Just today we have had a call from a Business One customer who run a complex Crystal Report on company margins but it is failing to connect to the SQL Server, with HANA this will be a thing of the past.

It will also mean customers will not need to buy MS SQL Licenses for each user so there is an instant saving to be made there.

My questions to SAP are: How much will HANA cost for an existing SAP Business One customer? How will SAP HANA be charged to new customers? What extra hardware will they need? It will also be useful to see some examples of actual ROI before we start pitching it as a selling point to SAP Business One.

You can view Mr Vishal Sikka’s Keynote from Madrid here: Keynote welcome any comments from people who know more on the subject than I do!

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