If SAP HANA is the answer what is YOUR question?
SAP HANA was everywhere at the recent SAPPHIRENOW event in
Orlando. It was part of all of the keynotes, it was to be found within the
booths and sessions and on the lips of the attendees as they took in the event.
A year ago I was in London attending the SAP World Tour and listened to the
live-link to SAPPHIRENOW where HANA was unveiled. After that event I wrote the
following blog which I would like to build to add to now. http://scn.sap.com/people/mark.chalfen/blog/2011/05/18/we-know-the-answer–so-what-is-the-question
Out of the keynote messages, the messages from the booths
and the voice of the attendees it was clear that customers still did not get
HANA. Whilst wandering through the event I was stopped a number of times to explain
SAP HANA. There were 15,000 attendees at SAPPHIRENOW made up of SAP employees,
SAP Partners/ Consultants and SAP Customers and users. All of the glamour of
the keynotes did nothing to help the simple SAP customer understand exactly
what HANA is and why they should be considering it.
Keynotes: I liked the keynotes. They are a good way to gauge the mood at the top of SAP.
It is clear that the board members are confident and are all bought into SAP
HANA. It was good to see customers that use SAP products explain how and why
they use SAP HANA. The key message that I got from the keynotes related to the
speed of SAP HANA leading to benefits for customers. Aside to this it was clear
that the size and costs were not too restrictive. What was also interesting to
learn was Jim Snabe’s position that “in-memory” will be the norm within 5
years. This is a brave position to take however one that I can understand. There
was also some interesting news around the availability of SAP HANA with
Business One and SAP BW on HANA. With both of these new releases the scope of
HANA has grown, increasing the potential demand and popularity.
Booths and sessions: There were a number of booths
that had HANA boxes running on them. To a mere mortal and not a techie all you
see is a large box and you can hear the hum of the servers. Performance was the
key message from the partners and vendors. The hardware seems key to the
vendors and I wont pretend that I know too much here. One thing that should be
pointed out is that HANA can only be run on new IT hardware which will leave
your existing hardware surplus to requirements.
Voice of the customer: It was clear that there was some confusion. All of the messages sounded
great but did these messages actually relate to them? Customers were confused,
they knew that they should be using it but they did not understand why. Does
having faster reporting provide a true ROI to implement SAP HANA? There was a
real sense of confusion as to the reasons why they should make the leap. It was
also clear that a high percentage of customers had not heard or accessed the
experience SAP HANA website which I would encourage you to do. https://www.experiencesaphana.com/welcome
My view: SAP HANA answers multiple questions and customers should be looking to
identify them all. Looking at performance for example is short-sighted. Being
able to reduce hardware costs, reduce IT suppliers should be brought into the
equation. The current SAP HANA customer based should be seen as pioneers. They
have taken a jump into the unknown and can articulate the benefits they have
realised. They have architects that can see the bigger picture and will use
this to design their future IT landscape; this is something other customers
should pick up on. The other message that seems to be overlooked is the benefit
of the speed and performance of bigger data.. Better data will enable you to
make better decisions. Being able to drill down further into data will enable
certain reports and analyses that were deemed impossible are now achievable
with SAP HANA. Here I feel I can add some value; where you have a reporting pack
for a business unit, ask them to challenge SAP HANA. Have a blank piece of
paper and ask them to come up with the data and the analysis they would really
like rather than what is achievable. In certain pockets of the business
community you will find there are historically reporting requirements that are
deemed to be unachievable. Finding those reports and users within your business
will enable you to find the right question to warrant investment to purchase
and use SAP HANA.