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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.

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10 Comments

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  1. Bala Prabahar

    “….and the voice of the attendees it was clear that customers still did not get

    HANA…..”

    This is unbelievable. The name is not only non-intuitive but also confusing because of Hana, Hawaii. I don’t believe there is a lack of SAP-HANA information. Plenty of information is available; it seems like a pure psychology issue. When you’re used to connecting a certain thing to something, it is difficult to undo that thought and then connect the same thing to something else. The name is probably triggering a high level of distraction while listening to sales people talking about SAP-HANA’s capabilities. 

    Also the name SAP-HANA doesn’t sound COOL. My 2 cents. I’m curious to hear psychologist’s take!!!

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    1. Mark Chalfen Post author

      Bala – remember the majority of the customer based attendees are at a management level. These are the people that need TO BE influenced. Some of these attendees hold the purse strings and they need to get it.

      To be fair I have not thought too much about the actual name “HANA”. I dont think IT buyers buy names but functionality, and perhaps a bit of reputation.

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      1. Kumud Singh

        Hello Mark,

        Just to add to your statement that IT buyers don’t buy names but functionality and a bit of reputation, I somehow feel that reputation at times creates a much hyped view of a product. Last year, in a customer meeting, I remember HANA was very much on their agenda whereas many had not even heard of Streamworks. Reputation of a product certainly impacts IT buyers.

        Regards,

        Kumud

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      2. Bala Prabahar

        Hi Mark,

        IMO management level people are normally influenced “bottom-up” meaning they want to hear from their employees first about new technologies and how new technology would help their business. When they visit conferences, they try to collect more information – on what they heard from their employees – first hand from the vendors. When I saw your comment “Customers still did not get HANA”, I wanted to bring up something several of us probably overlooked. After posting that comment, I happened to read this tweet from Peter Chee(Retweeted by John Appleby): (Not sure if it is going to show up correctly; if not, here is what it states:

             “If your business deals with something friends don’t easily discuss over dinner… it won’t grow virally”

        <blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>”If your business deals with something friends don’t easily discuss over dinner… it won’t grow virally” @<a href=”https://twitter.com/giltalexandra“>giltalexandra</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/search/%2523byinvitationonly“>#byinvitationonly</a></p>&mdash; Peter Chee (@pchee) <a href=”https://twitter.com/pchee/status/204442240817430529” data-datetime=”2012-05-21T05:23:23+00:00″>May 21, 2012</a></blockquote>

        <script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

        Let us digress and compare SAP-HANA with Watson:

        Difference between Watson and SAP-HANA:

        Lately I don’t hear about Watson; Watson was a big news about a year ago. Surprisingly several of my friends – not working in technology – know Watson. However even people working in technology space in Silicon Valley but not in SAP world, don’t know SAP-HANA but they know Watson. This is a fact based on personal experiences. Note: Since I live in US, my response is based on US experiences.

        Why SAP-HANA is not as popular as Watson?

        I can think of two reasons:

        1. IBM associated Watson with Jeopardy, very popular and reputable US TV quiz show. Instead of telling the world that Watson was very good at performing “real-time analytics”, they demonstrated the capabilities using a great use-case. This evoked curiosity and people started discussing Watson over dinner.
        2. IBM named the product Watson, a simple and unique name.

        The name may or may not be a factor (may be we’ve not seen a strong use case for SAP-HANA yet) as to why the customers still don’t get HANA; my idea was just to bring up something I thought after reading your blog and learn from others.

        I hope this helps.

        Thanks,

        Bala

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    2. Anton Wenzelhuemer

      Hi Bala,

      I’m wondering if this is a joke you’re making on HANA that I don’t get. Do you really believe that a substantial number of people in this world even knows Hana, Hawaii at all? I’d put out a bet that all over Europe you are at least 5 times more likely to get the quick association (phonetically correct but otherwise wrong) ‘Montana’ than you get ‘Hawaii’. And most likely you don’t get any association at all. With ‘any’ I mean any, no positive no negative. And it won’t be much different in, say, India.

      I agree with you that it doesn’t sound cool in any sense.

      anton

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      1. Bala Prabahar

          Hi Anton,

          Sorry if my comment appeared like “US oriented response”.   I assumed several members of this community would be familiar with Hana, Hawaii or Hawaii at the minimum (Details below as to why I assumed). Hana’s association with Montana is interesting:).

          Two+ years ago, when I first heard HANA from SAP, I googled. I got several hits; every one of them was something to do with Hana, Hawaii. From the day one I came to know HANA, I knew Hana, Hawaii based on Google search. Since Hawaii is a popular tourist destination, I assumed Hana, Hawaii was very popular based on Google Search results.

          Today I checked again. No significant difference: all – but one – pointing to Hana, Hawaii. First hit(the only one) is for SAP-HANA.

          I visited http://www.google.co.in/ (Google for India) and searched for HANA. No apparent difference with the hits between Google US site and Google India site. Then I visitedhttp://www.google.co.uk/ (search for “google Europe” listed UK site first), HANA search resulted two hits for SAP-HANA. Interestingly I got one hit with IMdB – not In-Memory DB but Internet Movie DataBase for a movie called HANA released in 2006).

          HANA – wikipidia in all 3 cases(Google US, UK and India) discuss Hana, Hawaii.

          Google India site results:

          Ad related to HANAWhy this ad?


        1. Hana Photos | inmagine.com

        http://www.inmagine.com/

        1. Find Hana Photos. Royalty-Free! 24 hrs service.

        Search Results

        1. SAP HANA Solutions | Overview | HANA – In-Memory Computing | SAP

        http://www.sap.com/HANA/United StatesThe SAP HANA appliance software aggregates huge volumes of valuable data and produces relevant results for your business at lightning speeds.


        1. Hana – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HanaHana may refer to: In place names: Hana, Hawaii, a census-designated place in Maui County, Hawaiʻi, United States. Hana Highway, long and winding road


        1. Hana Maui | Escape to Hana, Maui

        www.hanamaui.com/At Hana Bay you will find a large black sand beach that is well protected and a safe place to swim. This is a popular family gathering place for area residents.


        1. Horseplayers Association of North America

        http://www.horseplayersassociation.org/Horseplayers Association of North America, giving horseplayers a voice, promoting awareness of the sport, handle growth.Google UK site results:

        Ads related to HANAWhy these ads?


        1. SAP Hana | SAP.com

        http://www.sap.com/hana

        1. Find Out How SAP Can Help You With Its Data Processing Solutions Here!


        2. Hana Photos | inmagine.com

        http://www.inmagine.com/

        1. Find Hana Photos. Royalty-Free! 24 hrs service.

        Search Results

        1. SAP HANA Solutions | Overview | HANA – In-Memory Computing | SAP

        http://www.sap.com/HANA/United StatesThe SAP HANA appliance software aggregates huge volumes of valuable data and produces relevant results for your business at lightning speeds.


        1. Hana (2006) – IMDb

        http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0464038/ Rating: 6.9/10 – 648 votesA troubled young samurai seeks revenge for the death of his father.
        Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. Starring Junichi Okada, Rie Miyazawa.


        1. Hana – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HanaHana may refer to: In place names: Hana, Hawaii, a census-designated place in Maui County, Hawaiʻi, United States. Hana Highway, long and winding road


        1. Welcome to HANA – Humber All Nations Alliance

        www.hanaonline.org.uk/HANA aims to promote the well being of BME communities in the Humber sub- region, by providing a voice and advocating on their behalf.


        1. Hana, Maui | GoHawaii.com

        http://www.gohawaii.com/maui/regions-neighborhoods/east-maui/hanaHana is a small, untouched town on Maui’s eastern coastline. To get here visitors must travel one of the world’s most scenic drives.


        1. Hana Maui | Escape to Hana, Maui

        www.hanamaui.com/At Hana Bay you will find a large black sand beach that is well protected and a safe place to swim. This is a popular family gathering place for area residents.


        1. 1394 Trade Association: HANA Overview

        www.hanaalliance.org/HANA was formed as a cross-industry alliance dedicated to providing consumers HANA solutions enable the sharing of premium quality HD content across


        1. Switcheroo – sincerely hana

        sincerelyhana.com/projects/switcheroo/vij & andy. jodi & rob : jodi & rob. pablo & mj : pablo & mj. sydney & owen : sydney & owen. miki & corey : miki & corey. stefanie & stu : stefanie & stu. pam & bruce

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  2. Gregory Misiorek

    Hi Mark,

    good blog as usual. i like your concept of “simple SAP customer” as it reminds me a bit of “reasonable man” notion in the English law. to me, HANA is a natural step in the evolution of RDBMS that is potentially disruptive in the marketplace. the success is by no means guaranteed, but it’s more than a simple marketing ploy.

    actual names do evoke certain images. to me, it’s a river in Moravia and a character in a play by Vaclav Havel which incidentally has some relevance, the play rather than the river, that is.

    going back to the simple customer, i don’t really think they exist. big data is produced by big and complex organizations and HANA seems to have appeared just in time to help with reporting and shortening of the close cycle.

    i don’t aspire to be better at delivering this message to the customers, but i think with time it will dawn on them that HANA is the only way to go unless the other vendors catch up and overtake SAP in this regard, a tall order IMHO.

    regards,

    greg

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    1. Mark Chalfen Post author

      Hi Greg – thanks for the feedback

      I hope and believe SAP HANA will not just be for big data and big customers but for all.

      The example would be customers using B1 – with HANA.

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      1. Gregory Misiorek

        Mark,

        i have nothing against B1 on HANA, but B1 is not ECC where the most performance pains points are at large organizations. also, i can’t imagine B1 spending as much on hardware as HANA seems to need to get all the in-memory benefits it brings. please note that my B1 experience is much slimmer than ECC (R/3), so i’m obviously open to learn more.

        at the moment, competition seems to make the smaller business segment much harder in the US whether looked at from the database, application, usage, or awareness levels.

        thanks,

        greg

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        1. Mark Chalfen Post author

          Hi Greg,

          I think the point SAP are making with B1 is that HANA is not just about speed.

          It is about potential landscape simplification, potentially into Cloud based offerings.

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