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Author's profile photo Axel Janssen

A backstage pass to customer specific SAP HANA solutions

I’m a Global Solution Architect for SAP HANA in the SAP Custom Development offices in Palo Alto. I help bring a fresh perspective to our customers when it comes to their big data problems – and this really excites me.

Recently, I participated in an internal event. It was a series that brings executives “unplugged” in front of an audience of SAP employees. This time, our CTO, Dr. Vishal Sikka, gave an update on the latest steps the company has taken, especially in the product innovation area. This opportunity helped me stay connected to the big picture. While the topics we discussed were spread widely, our Trois Mousquetaires played a central role: SAP HANA, Mobility and Cloud Computing. Two phrases that Dr. Sikka brought up to connect the technology to the business motivation of our customers resonated with me, when it comes to SAP HANA’s in-memory-computing abilities:

  • Changing the Experience.
  • Gaining Business Flexibility.

To make these two phrases tangible, I’ve decided to write a blog series to share my enthusiasm about what our customers can do with SAP HANA – apart from accelerated analytics. Some examples include applications that leverage the value of big data problems and blur the boundaries between the transactional and the analytical world; applications which go into the predictive space; lightning fast customer-specific applications (yes, we address your very specific business needs here at SAP Custom Development)… applications just for you.

I promise to break it down concretely and make the topic digestible. I will use customer-specific examples to help you understand the offerings that SAP Custom Development and SAP HANA can bring to the table – offerings, which enable a radically different experience and unprecedented business flexibility. You get the idea: It’s all about creating a new experience that provides a business with increased flexibility leading to substantial business value improvements and the competitive advantage your business requires .

Before I start going into the topic, I would like to send you over to a colleague of mine: The global head of our SAP HANA program here at SAP Custom Development, Sebastian Speck, recently wrote a blog article which concluded with the following statement: “If you’ve got a crucial process that needs to be fast and flexible (but isn’t), and you would save a pile of money PLUS have happier customers if you were real time … then your business is ready for SAP HANA.

Why do I bring this up here? Sebastian inspires in his blog post by asking thought provoking questions that kick start your imagination: How can your business stay on the cutting edge by using real-time computation? How can you get business flexibility and what does that actually mean?

My blogs will complement Sebastian’s “front stage pass to inspiration” with a backstage pass that opens the door to what you can get when you combine the forces of SAP HANA and SAP Custom Development.

Here’s what the series will address…

The last time I checked, I saw over 35 different accelerators and applications that Custom Development is discussing with customers. Many of them can be applied not only to one industry but to a wide range. I did not do the Cartesian product (that’s fun reserved for foggy San Franciscan Saturdays), but I assume it’s a whole lot of potential solutions for our customers. So, here you go, we’ve grouped these applications into five categories that I will be writing about… all to make it a bit more tangible for you:


We accelerate specific corners of SAP mainstream solutions by “outsourcing” time-consuming calculations and selections to SAP HANA. We do that by leveraging SAP HANA as a secondary database in a side-by-side scenario with an existing SAP system to read mass data and get calculation results. It will get speedy. Very.


We solve major business issues and create full-fledged innovative applications around tasks that you could not solve before to differentiate you from your competitors. Think of it as getting that super-fast ship that pulls you out of the red ocean and reaches the blue ocean faster than anybody else. You read that book, right?


We analyze big data through data mining, semantic text searches etc.  We predict trends out of this massive amount of data to optimize future business (insight & action). We build predictive applications using scientific forecast modeling & optimization with deep industry knowledge.


We enhance SAP standard applications powered by SAP HANA with missing functionality to fully cover customers’ requirements. Think about it in the way that we cover the last mile: SAP standard solutions will deliver the majority of functionality and we add that extra portion that helps you differentiate from competition and get happier customers.


Yes, you read correctly, we also create products: The good news is that often you do not need to start from scratch with a “hello world” program. We can jump start and use solutions previously developed for other customers as a starting point


I am looking forward to diving deeply into this with you and starting a discussion. The whole exercise is more fun if it is not a one way street. I would love to hear about your favorite business issues through the blog or an email to or get your reactions to the applications I bring up. Let’s start our conversation!

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      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Axel,

      this blog is excellent and I look forward to following the series of blogs you are introducing.

      Question though, mine and a lot of the Hana community's biggest bugbear,

      Why is the Hana Cloudshare access only for 30 days ?

      When will SAP release a Hana trial that Basis Admins and Developers can use and get to grips with in peace without this 30 days and your time is up situation ?

      My humble opinion, the sooner there is a 'permanent licensed' Developer edition of Hana available to Basis Admins and Developers to work with, the more there will be Hana adoption in the Customer base, because, the Basis Admins and Developers, the soldiers on the front line will take the battle, the case for Hana, to their Managers with added rigour and it will be difficult for Managers to build a case against Hana, when their own foot soldiers are advocating adoption and demonstrating the benefits and ease of integration into the existing Customer SAP landscapes.

      I think I speak for the whole community when I say, we're all waiting for the Hana 'Developer Edition' which we can setup in our home Sandbox environments.

      This would be the real Hana Back Stage Pass for Basis Admins and Developers -

      All the best, thank you for an excellent blog and looking forward to the rest of the series.

      Andy Silvey.

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Axel,

      thank you.

      We can all agree the sooner the community can run local installations, the better it will be for Hana penetration in the market.

      All the best,


      Author's profile photo Rukhshaan Omar
      Rukhshaan Omar

      Hi Axel,

      I look forward to your examples of what customers can do with HANA

      Have you seen the use case repository on ExperienceSAPHANA

      Would be great if you could share your use cases to the repository