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SAP Makes Historic Announcement, Will it Mean the Death of Batch Computing?

In a short answer: yes.

In a global press and media event today hosted online and originating in Frankfurt, New York and Palo Alto, a who’s who of SAP leadership commented on the release of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.  While we have enjoyed the power of analytics over SAP BI using HANA, SAP today made the final and inevitable step to take its in-memory computing to full-scale ERP processing.

SAP Co-Founder and Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Dr. Hasso Plattner, opened remarks with an at-times whimsical accounting of the development of the “perfect ERP system.” #HassoTop10 ideas were created over six years ago when in-memory computing was just a glimmer in many SAP executive’s eyes.  [See list below.] While many of these ideas have been around for a while as SAP has moved HANA to the forefront, others will soon become common place even down to the data transaction level (do we really need to have arguments around OLTP versus OLAP?)

This move makes a full verticalization of its own database into the SAP technology supply chain. Clearly the focus on HANA and designing the application layer to optimize on a HANA data stack will be a big win for HANA partners Intel, HP, and IBM.  As such, SAP will walk an inevitable tightrope with its announcement, potentially alienating its current database providers.   Plattner was careful to provide some reassurances in this area. “This is a technology update only, the software remains the same. Only the database changes. In the next release we will look at mobile computing everywhere.”  Business Suite will also be supported by other non-HANA databases, also DB2, Oracle and others based on the development of SQL. to Plattner, “Manufacturing processes, like dunning, can become interactive.”  Vishal Sikka, Member of the SAP Executive Board (Technology and Innovation), introduced a new collaboration with the HANA technology partners code named “Kraken” (think of the beast that took down the city in Clash of the Titans).  In an orchestrated but nevertheless impressive demo, a manufacturing query that would normally take 1 hour processing returned in 7.2 seconds.  This beast is claimed to offer 100 billion scans … real-time.  (Drop your sunglasses for a moment and whisper, “dude” for effect.)

Will companies really be able to leverage the benefit of HANA on SAP Business Suite.  “If a company can’t imagine how to leverage HANA, it probably isn’t the right solution for them,” Plattner noted. Premier SAP customer John Deere led a compelling discussion around an initial customer co-innovation case study. With more HANA customer communities to be announced, look for more success stories in the future.

In case you weren’t tracking my #HassoTop10 on Twitter during the press event, here is the full list (really 14 ideas, but who is counting?):

  1. Active Data in memory
  2. Leverage Massively Parallel Computers
  3. Use Design Thinking Methodology
  4. No More Batch Programs
  5. Radically Simplified Data Model
  6. Response in < 1 sec including complex algorithms
  7. OLTP and OLAP Back Together (no need to differentiate between “read” primary and “write” primary relationships)
  8. Instant BI on Transactional Data
  9. Live Conversation (instead of “briefing books”)
  10. No Aggregates or Materialized Cubes
  11. Views on Views, decomposition and lateral sets up to 16 levels
  12. Virtual DW for Multiple Data Sources and Typies
  13. Aggressive use of Math
  14. Mobile, wherever Appropriate

Read Sikka’s blog for more messaging around today’s announcement.

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      For more post-media analysis see my personal blog post at the View from C-Level on WordPress, Will SAP's Strategic Weapon Render Oracle's "Soviet Era" Market Defenses Useless?