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Real-Time Revolution at SAP

During worldwide product launch, SAP Mentors help journalists and IT analysts better understand the potential of SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA

This is the eighth article in the 2012-13 informational series called “Meet the SAP Mentors.” SAP Mentors are a super-smart, engaged global cohort of nearly 110 experts in all things SAP – customers, partners, employees – bloggers, consultants, business people and technical wizards – nominated by peers in the SAP Community Network and selected by SAP. Every day, SAP Mentors demonstrate their personal and professional commitment to leadership by helping SAP customers and practitioners solve the business and technical challenges that come with achieving better business results via SAP-based solutions. As a byproduct, the SAP Mentor Initiative is enriching the culture of SAP with a more open and collaborative dialog between SAP decision-makers and stakeholders. A shared commitment to dialog, collaboration and customer success helps to make the SAP ecosystem a predictable source of competitive advantage to the world’s leading organizations.

On January 10, 2013 – the official worldwide launch date of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA – SAP boldly declared that the real-time enterprise enabled by SAP could in a more challenging world make transactions occur faster than ever before.

According to the company, SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA provides richer context. Instant insight. Real-time decisions. Improved agility. Higher speed for enabling new business processes

To help evaluate these powerful claims, the launch offered a unique resource for the assembled press and analysts: 16 SAP Mentors invited by SAP to share their independent perspective on how SAP Business Suite running on SAP HANA may deliver unparalleled enterprise value. SAP spread SAP Mentors’ insight and expertise across the three official launch sites: Frankfurt, Germany, Palo Alto, California, and New York, New York.

SAP Mentors Frankfurt Launch.jpg

Six of the seven magnificent SAP Mentors in Frankfurt for the launch of SAP Business Suite running on SAP HANA. From left to

right: (1.) Luke Marson; (2.) Matthias Steiner; (3.) Mark Chalfen; (4.) Thorsten Franz; (5.) Peter Langner; and (6.) Tobias Trapp

Photo credit: SAP Mentor Martin Gillet

Seven SAP Mentors participated in Frankfurt, seven in Palo Alto, and two in New York. “SAP Mentors blogging and tweeting from the event provided in-depth analyses of the news and explained its significance to the SAP community of customers and partners,” says SAP Mentor Thorsten Franz of independent software vendor and SAP partner AOK Systems GmbH.

At AOK Systems, Franz co-manages portfolio management, new-technology assessment, development guidelines, programming methodologies, strategic innovation for software architecture and maintaining key professional relationships with SAP. Franz participated in the launch from Frankfurt, adding, “SAP Mentors shared constructive feedback and new suggestions with the SAP executives on site.”


Mark Chalfen, SAP Mentor and finance-capability lead at SAP partner Bluefin Solutions, was also in Frankfurt. Just before SAP Business Suite running on SAP HANA was released, however, Chalfen was at SAP’s Walldorf headquarters, meeting with the SAP product management team to discuss new applications for SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.

On launch day Chalfen traded notes with his SAP Mentor colleagues and attended a pre-release presentation by SAP co-CEO Jim Hagermann Snabe. Chalfen sets the scene: “The atmosphere was very positive. There was a real buzz in the room in Frankfurt during the pre-release.”

The press conference, which brought together via video the key SAP executives and developers of SAP HANA across the three locations, came next. “I thought the multi-venue conference worked very well,” he says. “It was good to see the passion from the guys in Palo Alto since these are the guys with the dream and also the team that actually made it happen.”

SAP Mentor Nathan Genez and managing partner of Serio Consulting was in Palo Alto for the launch amid the press, IT analysts, SAP executives, SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner and Executive Board member Vishal Sikka – and the professional video cameras capturing the entire event. At SAP America earlier in his career, Genez was an SAP Platinum Consultant and in 2004 was voted one of the company’s Top 50 consultants globally. “I was an SAP employee for 10 years,” he says. “I’ve never seen an event like that where I was talking to SAP senior executives and a Forbes journalist on the day of the launch. It was a new experience with lots of energy.”

Technically speaking

SAP Mentors such as Franz, Chalfen and Genez express deep respect for SAP’s development, management and executive teams who collectively made the historic launch happen. There’s a consensus, however, that more business customers are needed to validate specific ERP projects that use SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.

“John Deere, the venerable maker of agricultural equipment, is a customer. So is Bayer AG. “One area that came up short,” explains Genez, “is that the demo was ERP-based but they did it outside of the ERP solution. SAP talks about non-disruption and this was a perfect time to show the Suite on HANA directly within ERP. Yet they chose some other tool to run MRP analysis. If I’m a customer, I’d be asking a lot of questions.”

Genez notes in a blog post about SAP Business Suite running on SAP HANA on the SAP Community Network that he believes that the challenges of “design thinking” and the potential for “disruption” are factors that must be considered by potential customers. He also states: “SAP has delivered on their vision of a reinvigorated database and hopes to have 1,000 customers by year end with at least some small part of a Business Suite application live on HANA.”

Franz, in a blog post about the “road ahead,” writes that “thanks to the Calculation Engine, SQLscript, and many other features of HANA such as its built-in Predictive Analytics capabilities, the power of HANA goes way beyond the power of SQL, and the Business Suite’s applications designers will use those features to help HANA customers get the most out of the platform.”

Reinvention for real

Not that there won’t be challenges involved in “reinventing the real-time enterprise,” which SAP describes in its official launch press release, alongside the ability of SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA to enable the world’s businesses to capitalize on  “smarter business innovations,” “faster business processes” and simpler business interactions.”

The potential to take businesses to higher levels of business results and technical strength is all there – but as always the devil is in the details. That’s where the SAP Mentors come in. According to Mark Finnern, chief community evangelist for the SAP Community Network, “SAP Mentors are amazing at translating SAP’s announcement like today’s Business Suite on HANA into what exactly it means for our customers. They share the potential, where one needs to dig deeper and even speculations on the future.”

Noting SAP Mentors’ influence on social media, Finnern observes that during the official launch SAP Mentors tweeted the hashtag #SAPonHANA, helping it to trend on the day (scroll to January 10, 2013 at He adds: “I highly recommend checking out all of their blog posts and tweets.”



SAP Press Release of January 10, 2013

SAP® Business Suite Powered by SAP HANA® Reinvents the Real-Time Enterprise

SAP Mentors’ Selected Blog Posts, Photos and Video

Mark Chalfen

What will SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA mean to CEOs?

What I learnt from the “SAP on HANA” Press conference

Leonardo DeArujo

The Business value of SAP Business Suite on HANA

Thorsten Franz

SAP on HANA, and Pushdown for All: News about ABAP’s Adventurous Relationship with the Database

Nathan Genez

SAP ERP’s Future on HANA

Martin Gillet

Flickr Pictures

Uwe Goehring


Richard Hirsch

Connecting the dots: What comes after Business Suite on HANA

Simha Magal

SAP business suite on HANA:  Businesses must answer the “so what?” question.

Luke Marson

The Business Suite on HANA: The announcement and what this means for customers

Jon Reed

JD-OD videos wrap with SAP Mentors John Appleby and Harald Reiter

JD-OD Vishal Sikka interview

Harald Reiter

JD-OD videos wrap with SAP Mentors John Appleby and Harald Reiter

Other Articles in “Meet the SAP Mentors” Series

Kick-Starting a Virtuous Circle in Field Sales

Tales of Two Inside Tracks, SAP Mentor-Style

All for One and HANA for All

Advocating for Excellence

Tree of Talent

The Inside Track on Community Engagement

Trust + Results = Success

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      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson

      Hi Sanjay,

      Thanks for mentioning myself and the other Mentors. The Mentors have generated a huge amount of views of blogs (over 21k on SCN) and tweets from the event and this has helped SAP's message reach customers, as well as with expert viewpoints on what this actually means for those customers. The kind of reach along with well-informed opinion shows the value of the Mentors and what sets them apart from many of their peers.

      Best regards,