On a couple of occasions recently I have seen examples of SAP “doing an Apple”… what I mean by that is just how Apple controls both the hardware and the software of it’s products and therefore can arguably provide a better end-to-end experience (now I’ve done it, sorry Android fans!), SAP seems to me at least to have done something similar in at least two areas recently. I’d like to share my observations with you and get your feedback too.
Firstly, I recently signed up for the newly announced Open SAP MOOC and completed the Warm Up course as an introduction to SAP HANA – that course was great and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to dig a bit deeper into HANA and go beyond the “it does things faster” one-liner. But during that course I realised that in my mind at least what SAP has done with HANA is similar to what Apple has done with its products. SAP knows SAP and has unique insights into how customers use SAP products, and therefore have the insight required to build a database platform that is a “best fit” option for its own solutions. It has been able to optimize HANA to run SAP. Business applications like ERP have certain usage patterns and SAP makes use of this information to build a better product with the HANA database. In my mind now HANA isn’t just another in-memory database platform, it can deliver clear advantages (over competitors) to customers running SAP (and based on the technology I understand I think to non SAP customers too).
My second AH-HA moment (not a-ha – as in the 80s band 😛 ) came with the recent announcement of the HANA Enterprise Cloud. In this move SAP has started to offer HANA as a Service out of its own data centers, again I see this as a move to control the end-to-end product and provide the best possible customer experience. As far as I know you can still run HANA in other clouds but would you…? As the HANA option becomes more economically viable (as hardware costs continue to fall) running SAP on HANA will become a “no brainer” … right?
This clearly isn’t a technical blog, just more of an opinion/observation piece that I wanted to write. I am no HANA expert but I wanted to share my recent thoughts with the community with the hope of stimulating some discussion and debate and hopefully I will learn something too. So what do you think? Does this make sense, do you have a different viewpoint? Does it even matter?! 😉