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Author's profile photo Tom Cenens

SAP Forum 2013 – Belgium wrap-up


I attended the SAP Forum event yesterday in Belgium, hosted in Autoworld, Brussels. The venue was impressive and since I like cars, it was very nice to sniff up some history & culture in combination with SAP.

This blog highlights a few things of SAP Forum 2013 in Belgium. To learn more, I invite you to check the Storify story that I have created:

I attended the event as SAP Mentor which also means I represented the SAP community at large. I picked up as much conversations & content as possible. The combination of adding value to a conversation and a sniff of mystery (who is this guy) worked nicely and it created the necessary windows of opportunity to introduce the SAP Mentor program. Not to my surprise, the large majority had never heard of SAP Mentors.

Besides the above, I did my best to cover the event with pictures & tweets and afterwards, creating a storify story and this blog post to keep to conversation going and to hopefully also shed some light on some of the questions that participants had.



New cutting edge SAP solutions are available and customers have implemented them and are now sharing their experiences with other customers.

This was the message at the start of the keynote and during the course of the day, I was able to witness this and it made the event very valuable. Energizing the conversation between local customers can be very valuable as they can easily exchange experiences & even collaborate further down the road to help each other out.


SAP Belgium did a lot of effort to make the keynote rememberable and they did that. It was entertaining and it prevented people from not paying attention which is not easy when a presentation takes a long time. 

A bold statement in the middle

During the keynote, the managing director of SAP Belgium, Bertrand Andries made a bold statement:


While a 100% is not realistic in my opinion, I do believe SAP will have a large % of customers on HANA by 2019. It’s clear that SAP is focusing hard on SAP HANA. Of course this type of statement is there to light the fire and to some extent it caused people to shift to the tip of their chair. Luckily no one fell off. All in all, the keynote provided a very well constructed overview of the new generation of SAP products that are available today and run at customers today. It set the tone for the rest of the event.

Real-Time Data Platform (RTDP)


The addition of a “Social Object” was a nice touch to start the presentation on SAP’s Real-Time Data Platform (RTDP). Dilbert said is so it’s there was the message around big data.

The session was very well constructed and presented. The Q&A did reveal that some customers were struggling with all the recently introduced terms & products and who can blaim them.

The Real-Time Data Platform represents a combination of products (which are available separately, Sybase IQ, Sybase ASE, SAP HANA, …) that form a powerful whole in terms of processing data in real-time and getting insight into data. License wise, RTDP is licensed as a whole.


The presentation included some nice examples of how the RTDP was leveraged at customers to come up with new processes & capabilties to analyze data that had never been analyzed before. One example was capturing and analyze data about tires (in more detail about the temperature of tires and the effect of it on the tires).

SAP official source:

The packaging (marketing) might be slightly different and a separate license model exists but for me this is still mostly about SAP HANA. This bring me to the next chapter:

Finding your way in the SAP HANA maze

I attended a number of customer testimonial sessions around SAP HANA implementations & findings. The result were very interesting, in the end, all the customers who tried out SAP HANA were impressed. The findings were to a large extent what I had suspected. Not everything is faster without optimization and in specific cases, it might not even be faster at all. Most of the “oooh” “wauw” “fascinating” moments happened when customers would show or present something that was not possible before without SAP HANA.


Searching for SAP HANA Maze in Google I found myself in the images tab. Since I look puzzled, it fits right in. Feel the challenge!

Finding your way in the SAP HANA maze can be challenging as a customer. Many customers that I talked to at the event expressed that they didn’t really knew which solution would tackle their specific challenge best.

A number of questions were fueled by customer testimonials. One customer for example, threw out SAP BW because they could do sufficient reporting directly on SAP HANA. The customers who have questions around this topic (I suspect many) will be happy to take notice of the following blog post which is designed to address these questions:

How does all this work together – BW, BW on HANA, Suite on HANA, HANA Live….. Part1

How does all this work together – BW, BW on HANA, Suite on HANA, HANA Live….. Part2

The value of this type of event

An event like this SAP Forum is the right place to get rid of the confusion. Many persons from SAP’s organization are there, SAP partners are present, customers who have used the products are there and all of them are willing to discuss things. That also happened and my guess is that many or even most customers left the building with a better understanding on the product portfolio of SAP and the possibilities that are there.

Conclusion: great venue, great content, great value = fascinating event

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for representing here and capturing so much detail - a great summary of the event 🙂

      Re your comment:

      The packaging (marketing) might be slightly different and a separate license model exists but for me this [RTDP] is still mostly about SAP HANA.

      For me this is a really interesting new area where SAP are trying to bring together some great technology, both existing and new. I've heard several presentations now on RTDP specifically and whilst HANA plays a big part, SAP are also conscious that not all information will need to live in an in-memory datastore like HANA (at least in the near future).

      One of the big challenges that new customers will face is how to get all their relevant 'hot' data into HANA - and that's where the RTDP aims - to provide a "seamless" mechanism to move data back and forth between multiple SAP (HANA, ASE, IQ and SA) and non-SAP databases, and how it will achieve this is using some great tools like SLT, SRS and Data Services.

      Thanks again for putting this summary together!

      Kind regards,


      Author's profile photo Tom Cenens
      Tom Cenens
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Josh


      Yes, I totally agree with your comment.

      From an end-user perspective it does need to be "one platform" and that is what SAP promises and what is so interesting about RTDP.

      Customers are driving this discussion around hot & cold data as well as not having cold data in-memory can mean less costs.

      Best regards


      Author's profile photo Raquel Pereira da Cunha
      Raquel Pereira da Cunha

      Great wrap-up Tom. Thanks for sharing the event summary and your point of view about it.



      Author's profile photo Tom Cenens
      Tom Cenens
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Raquel

      Thanks for the comment!

      Best regards