Still no silver bullet
HANA is a great way to waste a lot of money.
Yes, I’m serious here.
If you decide to implement this new platform at your site but just copy your coding 1:1 to HANA, you’re going to waste money.
If you buy HANA and don’t re-engineer your solutions, you’re going to waste money.
If there is no change in how data is processed and consumed with the introduction of HANA to your shop, then you’re wasting money. And you’re wasting an opportunity here.
Moving to HANA is disruptive.
It does mean to throw the solutions that are used today over board.
That’s where pain lies, where real costs appear – those kind of costs that don’t show up on any price list.
So why take the pain, why invest so much?
Because this is the chance to enable a renovation of your company IT.
To change how users perceive working with data and to enable them to do things with your corporate data far more clever than what was thinkable with your old system.
That’s the opportunity to be better than your competition and better than you are today.
That’s a chance for becoming a better company.
This does mean, that your users need to say goodbye to their beloved super long and wide excel list reports.
To fully gain the advantages HANA can provide, the consumers of the data also need to be lead grow towards better ways to work with data.
Just upgrading to the new Office version to support even more rows in a spreadsheet won’t do. It never did.
This does mean, your developers need to re-evaluate what they understand of databases.
They have start over and re-write their fancy utility-scripts that had been so useful on the old platform.
And more important: they need to re-think about what users of their systems should be allowed enabled to do.
Developers will need to give up their lordship of corporate IT. This is going to be a bitter pill to swallow.
Just adding the HANA box to your server cabinet is not the silver bullet to your data processing issues. But taking up this disruptive moment and provide your users with new application and approaches to data is what you get.
Once again, leaving the ‘comfort zone’ is what will provide the real gain.
So don’t waste your money, don’t waste your time and by all means stop creating the same boring systems you created since you’ve been to IT.
Instead, start over and do something new to become the better company you can be.
Lars, of course you make a valid point. HANA gives companies opportunities that they would not otherwise have, such as was explained by our very customers at Sapphire this week (including Mitsui Knowledge Industry, University of Kentucky, Medtronic, and many more). For those that haven't heard these stories, you can watch many of the replays at http://www.sapvirtualevents.com/sapphirenow/Sessions.aspx
In that vein, it will be very interesting to see what new ideas come out of the creativity of customers to leverage HANA's capabilities in ways we had not thought about before. Perhaps we'll see some more great ideas in the SAP HANA Use Case Repository soon (note, there are several there already). You can read about them at https://www.experiencesaphana.com/community/resources
However, it is not all about new applications. In fact, we have ways of taking advantage of HANA's capabilities without disruption to your business, such as with the ERP Accelerators, or BW on HANA. We have seen some rather tremendous performance improvements in these areas, and customers were also talking directly about those at Sapphire, not to mention how simple the implementations (in the case of ERP Accelerators) or migrations (to BW on HANA) were.
thanks for the very valid comment.
BW on HANA and the CO-PA accelerator really don't require any disruption of business/IT processes. And yet by implementing those technical solution variants HANA customers can realize immense performance gain.
But what has to be clear in these cases is:
These applications lend themselves to this kind of easy adoption by the ways they've been build since many years, sometimes decades.
The type of aggregated data used in CO-PA and BW? Perfect match for HANA.
The high level of internal abstraction of data access and program logic present in both solutions? Adopting a new DB platform like HANA really is easy in this situation.
And sure - developing your programs in ways like this has been recommended for what nearly feels an eternity now.
But is this what's really present in most customers systems?
Or is it rather that we find poor but cheap designs/implementations there a lot?
Isn't it rather that far too often barely any thought has been spent on how the database is accessed?
For these systems that are actually present on many customers site the mileage my vary _a lot_ for what they gain from connecting HANA to their system.
As long as users stick to "looking at their numbers" by browsing half-manually through tons of data in their reports the advantage of HANA for these customers will be rather small. They will get their lists probably quicker, but they won't improve the way they work.
It's a bit like not waiting for ever faster CPUs any more but instead designing your programs to scale well on parallel environments. The real gain only can be leveraged once things are done in a different way.
Thanks as well for the link to the HANA implementation resources!
Unfortunately, to me this is only half of what is required. Knowing about use cases where HANA can be used to improve business processes is a good decision help for how HANA can be used for specific customer requests.
What's missing however is - and this is not specific to HANA but prevalent to most parts of the IT industry - a repository of actual implementations. A place developers can see what works and more important, what doesn't work.
In other industries, like architecture/building, it's easy and common to learn how certain problems have been solved and how that turned out.
This is what enables advance of the industry and that's what missing in IT.
But - ok - this really is beyond what this blog post was about 😉 .
how do you see the development and adoption of HANA over the last year?
Our customers are reluctant to doing a full conversion to HANA but rather see themselves using a side-car configuration with selective migration of certain transactions to HANA.
From your point of view how do you see the adoption curve for HANA for the business suite? What is still lacking to make hard code ERP techies be confident with HANA?
that's a really interesting question.
My experience is this:
customers that have done a PoC and that had the chance to get used to using SAP HANA pretty quickly picked up two things:
1) for the SAP Applications powered by SAP HANA (e.g. BW on HANA), there is a lot that doesn't change.
In many situations they could run the same old - same old approach if they like to and still benefit from the increased performance.
2) BUT: in most cases these customers stopped wanting to do the same old things.
They figured out (and this is true not only for customers, but likewise for SAP internal developers), that SAP HANA is actually not so much about performance, but about flexibility.
So, pretty soon thoughts tend to come up like 'we could try to do this or that - even if this was not even in the picture with the old system'.
E.g. having a flexible full text search in the F4-value help. Sure, this is usually not a super-hard-business requirement, and without SAP HANA a relatively large amount of work needed to be done to create something like this.
With SAP HANA this is really easy to have, so stuff like this gets implemented and adopted.
Having said this, in my eyes the "getting hands on" part is key here.
It's really difficult for most folks to think far beyond the current situation (that had been with us for so long).
So, in many cases, when talking with people about SAP HANA I see them cross their arms and assume a kind of defensive position. I believe this is rather normal behavior and typical for the customer groups we're currently aiming at (early masses).
To answer your last question: business suite on SAP HANA is really new and I personally haven't been involved with a project for this yet.
So I can't really comment on this. But with Suite on HANA we're clearly in the "early adopter" phase, while other solutions like BW on HANA are somewhat established already.