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At a press event in Palo Alto earlier today, SAP made a groundbreaking announcement that will have a profound impact on helping companies to become real-time businesses. Let me offer my personal take on today’s news and what it means for our customers.

First, we’re thrilled to announce SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, which offers a powerful new deployment option for SAP Business Suite on HANA, SAP NetWeaver BW on HANA, and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

In my opinion this is more than just another solution announcement with all the bells and whistles. It’s a transformative way to operate a business at “cloud speed” and run it smarter, faster, and simpler than ever before. Beyond the marketing lingo, there is real business value to be had which will be different for each enterprise, and we’re excited to work with our customers on this journey.

Get the full story: watch a replay of today’s announcement just as it unfolded

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What Can SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud Do For Our Customers?

Simply put, companies can now run their business in the cloud. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud gives customers the option of deploying SAP HANA as a service, with three main benefits:

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  1. The power of real time with the simplicity of cloud. Mission-critical systems can now be run in the cloud with the benefits of SAP HANA, with no tradeoffs.
    • This scenario provides the best of both worlds which was not possible before today.
  2. The fastest time to value with a choice of deployment. The SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud option removes many of the barriers associated with enterprise implementations.
    • For example, customers don’t have to worry about hardware purchases associated with on-premise installations, and they will always be on the latest hardware and software.
    • In addition, onboarding can be reduced from months to days with our menu of managed services (eg, migration, cloud monitoring and management, SAP HANA development).
    • And SAP or our certified partners will be there to manage the implementation.
  3. Hosting provided by SAP with end-to-end accountability. SAP has evolved from being a trusted advisor to a trusted provider.
    • We’ll host and manage entire systems in a virtual private cloud with 24×7 security and accountability.  We’ve been developing enterprise class technology for 40 years and developed SAP HANA in the first place, and we want to put our collective expertise to work for our customers.

SAP has also been building data centers globally to accommodate our new offering. While SAP Enterprise Cloud will be accessible globally, “Wave 1” will be available in English and includes data centers in North America & Europe, with additional regions and languages coming in Wave 2 and beyond.

Some people who have only a conceptual understanding of SAP HANA might be asking “Why is this news important to me and my business”? My initial response would be to quote industry analyst Ray Wang who gives a few simple yet powerful examples to help frame SAP HANA in a business context.

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SAP HANA Fundamentals

Those who know me know that I’m not a technologist, so on tech topics I look to others for their insights and analysis… the SAP Mentors, analysts, and other respected voices in our community and in our ecosystem.

There are a lot of great blogs which articulate the value of SAP HANA and the cloud at a fundamental level. Here are a few that helped me, which might also help you to get started:

Instant Analysis on Today’s News

When I first heard of this news internally, I thought it would be a major and necessary step for SAP; however the response thus far has been even more profound than I expected. Although the announcement was just made this morning, the response has been immediate and positive, with much more detailed 3rd party analysis sure to come.

Check out these examples and follow the Twitter hashtag #SimplyHANA in the coming days to monitor the conversation.

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Some early reactions from the media and blogosphere include:

Getting Up To Speed

News junkies like me can’t get enough information and will seek out analyses and opinions in multiple places. In the spirit of information-gathering, there are plenty of great resources already published on SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, so dig in to learn more:

My Personal View

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Unless you’ve been on another planet, you’ve heard the buzz on SAP HANA and how groundbreaking it is. But from where I sit, the key barrier to SAP HANA adoption has been the length and/or disruptive nature of having to implement it in one’s own shop. On-premise SAP HANA is viable for some, but for others it is too big of a project to get off the ground due to resources and time. In my opinion, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud solves these barriers because:

  1. SAP is hosting it. I’ve heard that deployments can be done in as little as a month even for complex environments, and pilots can be launched in a matter of days.
    • This is a massive organizational barrier that the SAP HANA team has addressed.
  2. It’s SAP from beginning to end, which means end-to-end accountability. SAP is running our applications, designed for SAP HANA, on SAP HANA, in SAP’s data centers, and with SAP’s collective expertise managing it all. What’s more to want? 
    • There will also be partner options available which will be covered next week at SAPPHIRE NOW.

At the end of the day, our customers want to focus on bringing innovation to their end-users rather than managing and maintaining their systems. I predict this offering will become a major accelerator for SAP HANA adoption because it offers A) an easy deployment option and B) a faster, simpler entry point to realize the benefits of in-memory computing to become a real-time enterprise today.

But this is just one person’s opinion. What do you think?

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