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SAP targets $422 million in HANA revenue for 2012 – an impressive number considering HANA was only made generally available in June 2011. However, this revenue is a mere pittance when one considers that SAP’s growing portfolio of powered-by-HANA solutions now tops 30, and that SAP intends to have the entire SAP Business Suite running on HANA by next year, and that HANA underpins SAP’s other two major growth drivers — mobility and the cloud, and that, moving forward, HANA will dictate how SAP conceives, designs, builds, and sells new products.

Yet even taking into account this considerable momentum and HANA’s current billing as the ‘fastest-growing product in SAP history,’ we’ve only just scratched the surface of HANA’s full market potential.

While impressive, all of the above covers only HANA as it relates to commercial SAP HANA products in primarily SAP-centric environments.

SAP’s goals for HANA transcend this vision. In fact, Steve Lucas, SAP global executive vice president and general manager of database and technology, recently noted that SAP’s “goal is to help organizations access, build and govern information value chains across all data sources […] be it from an SAP, custom or partner application, enterprise database or new data sources such as Hadoop.”

Lucas also pointed out that as of September of this year approximately 40% of SAP’s HANA customers don’t run core SAP applications.

Part of HANA’s beauty is that it is equally applicable to both the SAP and non-SAP worlds, and because of this, it is conceivable that in the not-too-distant future, there are likely to be more custom-built HANA applications touching non-SAP systems than commercially available ‘powered by HANA’ solutions marketed by SAP.

HANA’s ability to access and deliver information up to 100,000 times faster than what was traditionally possible, its unprecedented ability to run transactions and perform analytics on a single architecture, and its dramatic simplification and cost reduction of IT landscapes makes it too appealing, too transformative, too big for any single vendor or off-the-shelf format.

At bottom, more than simply a database on steroids, HANA is an innovation engine, one that will transform all aspects of business, from speeding up existing applications and processes — SAP- and non-SAP based — to inspiring custom applications not available (or even imagined) today.

In the words of SAP Executive Board Member and CTO Vishal Sikka. “HANA is more than a product. It is a new paradigm, an entirely new way to build applications. It is the basis for our own intellectual renewal internally at SAP […] and the basis for our customers’ and partners’ intellectual renewal—where we help customers rethink existing business problems and help them solve entirely new challenges using design-thinking.”

Or as industry watchdog Dennis Howlett <http://www.zdnet.com/meet-the-team/us/dennis.howlett/>  puts it, “As a database replacement [HANA] may have some mileage but its greatest potential is as an engine that encourages the re-imagining of applications and the invention of entirely new classes of app.”

It is the organizations that develop innovative applications and unique processes and the businesses that find efficient ways to extract value from big data more quickly that create competitive advantage, grow market share and become leaders.

Here’s a sampling of how SAP is facilitating custom development with HANA:

SAP has started a $155 million venture fund to spur development of applications compatible with HANA.

More than 150 startups are participating in the SAP Startup Focus program, and SAP has signed commercial agreements with 20 of them to go productive with the SAP HANA One platform on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

SAP has made an instance of HANA available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for applications that don’t exceed 64GB and has created the HANA Academy, through which developers can gain access to a free developer edition of HANA.

HANA’s built-in SAP BusinessObjects Data Services tool provides standard interfaces to existing applications, operational software, and other business applications — SAP and non-SAP.

Using the recently launched, open standards-based SAP NetWeaver Cloud platform, SAP customers and partners are now building impactful HANA applications across a wide range of industries and use cases that seamlessly integrate with SAP and non-SAP systems.

With SAP HANA AppServices in SAP HANA Cloud, developers can create next-generation applications using native SAP HANA, Java and other rapid-development services.

A selection of developer-friendly enhancements available in HANA SPS5 includes:

– Predictive model markup language (PMML) support for the integration and sharing of predictive models.

– Extended application services designed to deliver native application server capabilities as a service to help developers develop 2 and 2½ tier applications within the HANA platform using HTLM5, JavaScript, SQLScript, XML/A, JSON, and ODATA. These services can be exposed for consumption by device-based applications or by other application servers.

– Embedded algorithms and business functions through extended application service capabilities via SQLScript or JavaScript, making it easier for developers to build HANA applications that embed advanced analytics.

– Business rules management is now a core component of the extended application services built into SAP HANA, allowing developers to add business rules to their applications without embedding these directly within software codes.

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