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Trending now in the Twitterverse (at least for those who follow enterprise technology) is commentary on SAP’s release of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA (hash-tagged ‘SAPonHANA’). Here at Optimal we think this new option for SAP Business Suite customers is a big deal — one that is sure to keep HANA adoption trending strong in 2013 and beyond.

SAP made the global announcement last week simultaneously at events in Palo Alto, New York and Frankfurt. From marketing analysis to financial closes, receivables management, material resource planning, and consumer and social sentiment analysis, SAP on HANA increases business-process speed, drives innovation, and simplifies IT landscapes.

Optimal was among the select SAP partners asked to participate in the launch and provide a quote for the SAP press release.

Optimal SVP Elliott Garofalo attended the launch event in New York City.  During an interview with ChannelNomics, Elliot shared his take on the impact of this news: “I think you’re going to see an explosion of firms developing solutions that can be powered by HANA. It’s going to show SAP in a new light and change the [real-time analytics] game,” said Garofalo.

Optimal customers are excited about HANA, and we’re happy to Join SAP in explaining for them why SAP on HANA truly is a big deal.

No Disruption (no R/4)

SAP Business Suite is the largest application SAP has in terms of customers, which is one of the reasons why SAP on HANA is a big deal. These customers won’t tolerate disruption, not in today’s tight economy and increasingly competitive market.

At the launch event in New York, SAP Co-CEO Jim Haggeman Snabe noted that SAP is “not in the business of creating disruption for our customers” and made it very clear that SAP on HANA is not to be called “R/4”, a reference to previous Business Suite naming conventions R/3 and R/2 (a release that veteran readers will remember fondly).

SAP on HANA is available as an upgrade via a non-disruptive service pack. Customers can take an iterative approach to adopting HANA, migrating a database (SAP BW or others) to the SAP HANA platform and/or implementing one of SAP’s rapid deployment solutions.

Simplification

HANA simplifies IT landscapes by, among other things, eliminating instance redundancy caused by performance constraints of legacy hardware and relational databases.  According to Ovum analysts Tony Baer, Madan Sheina, Nicole Engelbert, Carter Lusher and Warren Wilson, this simplification is one of the reasons why SAP on HANA could be a “game-changer.”

“The in-memory architecture allows data views to be generated on-the-fly, a benefit that not only reduces database footprint and storage requirements, but also potentially simplifies the modeling and deployment of data and the design of analytics or other complementary applications that run atop Business Suite. HANA’s in-memory architecture also allows analytics to be embedded with transaction processing, enabling companies to become more agile,” the analysts said in a comment released to media.

The very real potential for HANA to drive simplification has been drowned out by the relentless focus on its performance characteristics.  So stay tuned: more on the simplification benefits in future installments of this newsletter.

Speed

Of course, the performance boost is extraordinary.  With speed improvements up to 100,000x, SAP on HANA is fast, empowering businesses to run in real time — to transact, analyze and predict instantly on a single platform at the moment of opportunity.

Speed translates into agility, which in turn, drives productivity, efficiency, competitive advantage, and market share growth.

Industry analyst Ray Wang provides a few examples that put HANA speed into business context. “Speed is the difference between a five-day drug recall and a five-minute drug recall.  Speed is the difference between a 30-day supply chain plan versus the ability to reroute 2 iPhones to your store in 30 seconds,” says Wang.

Innovation

While non-disruptive implementation, landscape and process simplification and speed certainly contribute to making SAP on HANA a big deal, the daddy of all ‘big deal’ aspects to this news is by far innovation.

Embedding analytics at the transactional level opens up entirely new business models and processes. SAP on HANA affords organizations the ability to completely rethink how information is created, consumed, and shared.

As we enter the era of big data, this ability to rethink information in ways that yield clear-cut business value will drive innovation and transformation and distance the winners from the losers.

As mentioned above, integrating analytics and transactional systems also allows data views to be generated on the fly by business users. Combined with mobility, SAP on HANA’s ease empowers businesses to get smarter and make better decisions at all levels — top to bottom — and innovate in all facets of business — tactical, operational, and strategic.

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