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Author's profile photo Thorsten Franz

Betting My Livelihood on the OLTP-OLAP Convergence: Meet operatics, Thorsten’s HANA Startup

I’ve tweeted before that there’s a big, fat cat waiting to be let out of the bag. So here it is: On October 1st, I’m quitting the best job in the world and leaving AOK Systems GmbH, my employer of fourteen years with whom I’ve been through thick and thin, proudly carrying employee number 00000002.

Fig. 1: This is what a big, fat cat let out of the bag really looks like

I’m leaving behind a well-paying job with great colleagues (my closest collaborator is no one less than the legendary and amazing Tobias Trapp!) and innovative projects (Business Suite on HANA, NetWeaver Business Client, and Mobile, to name just a few). It’s located 800 meters from my home, with 0 % travel required but with the chance to travel to SAP AG in Walldorf and meet with SAP’s best and brightest in the NetWeaver development team to discuss their latest evil plans pretty much anytime I feel like it. In the job I’m leaving behind, I report to one of the world’s most innovative CIOs and get to shape the technology strategy of one of the most modern and imaginative health insurance companies in the world.

Betting my career on the OLTP-OLAP convergence

Okay, enough flowers for my dream job at AOK. AOK remains a customer, and I’ll keep enjoying the privilege to work with its amazing people and the software solutions I have helped shape for a while. But now I’m starting my own business, and I’m burning with passion for it. It happened one day this summer, when I woke up from an extremely vivid dream and realized that my life now had a new direction.

I knew then that I would bet my career and my own and my family’s livelihood on what I believe is the biggest movement in enterprise computing since the introduction of real-time transactions: the convergence of Online Transaction Processing (OLTP) and Online Analytic Processing (OLAP) that becomes a reality with SAP HANA.

Operational, transaction-oriented applications becoming one with insight-generating Business Intelligence applications – both from the user perspective (enabling altogether new business models and giving reality to previous undreamt use cases) and from an architectural point of view (bringing an unheard-of agility and drastic TCO reduction to the world of enterprise software) – that is the great dream which Hasso Plattner, in his legendary SAPPHIRENOW keynote speech where he first introduced SAP HANA, dreamed first and which I will now help make a reality.

operatics: OPERAtional excellence and analyTICS

The name I chose for my (ad)venture, operatics, is a composition of OPERA(tional excellence) and (analy)TICS, signifying the emergence of a new breed of enterprise applications that combines the best of both worlds and brings analytical insight to the operational applications where users make real-time business decisions.

What next?

I’m not going into a corporate pitch here (which I feel would be inappropriate in SCN and have always argued should not be permitted), but many of you have known me very well for many years, and I want to share with you what it is that I’m doing now.

One way in which my startup will be a part of the SAP HANA revolution is by offering consulting, architecting, strategy, and custom development on how to use SAP HANA for operational and hybrid operational-analytical applications. There are an awful lot of things you can do with HANA to bring new capabilities to operational applications such as SAP’s Business Suite or your own custom ABAP developments:

  • Massive acceleration (for ABAPers: turning batch jobs into PAI modules)
  • Widening the data scope (including enterprise-wide data from previously siloed applications into operational and analytical processes)
  • Increasing the Level of Detail (progressing from calendar month to calendar day, from region to customer, and from product group to product component in operational and analytical processes)
  • Fuzzy and phonetic search
  • Geospatial functions
  • Graph search
  • Analyzing large amounts of semi-structured data
  • Planning and simulation
  • Embedding real-time analytical applications

The second way in which I will contribute to making the OLTP-OLAP convergence a reality is by developing some awesome enterprise software. It’s too early to talk about it in detail just now, but if we happen to run into each other at SAP TechEd this year (Las Vegas or Amsterdam), I might be able to show you something.

“We’re in this together” – Vishal Sikka

A few years ago, SAP’s CTO Vishal Sikka gave an SAP TechEd keynote speech in which he said, after letting his glance wander over the assembled crowd of approximately ten thousand attendees: “We’re in this together.” He meant the massive ecosystem of SAP’s stakeholders who assemble at the big conferences: SAP’s customers, partners, and employees all alike, all of them betting their careers on SAP’s product and technology strategy to succeed. If Vishal fails, several ten thousand people in the SAP ecosystem have a major problem. If Vishal succeeds, we all do well. He doesn’t just work for SAP – he works for the wider SAP ecosystem, for customers and partners, their founders and employees, and their families. We’re in this together.

“I’m in.” – Thorsten Franz

I’m in. Let’s work on this together.

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      Author's profile photo Luke Marson
      Luke Marson

      Good luck Thorsten. I'm sure you'll be a success!

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Holger Stumm
      Holger Stumm

      Hi Thorsten,

      Bold move, great move - the Good is, that beeing an entrepreneur is a good feling, the idea of creating and controlling things rather than administrating.

      The Bad is, that it is an ocean full of sharks out there. The chance is not, IF you get bitten, but HOW BAD and HOW OFTEN that will be.

      But as an entrepreneur, you always go ahead, regardless of the situation.

      The Ugly is, that it is freefall for yourself and your family, which is pretty demanding from time to time. But this can happen to every employee in these times, too.

      But at the very end - you and your family will not regret it at all.

      All the best and call me for this promised cup of coffee.


      Author's profile photo Douglas Cezar Kuchler
      Douglas Cezar Kuchler

      Hey Thorsten, great to see some entrepreneurial thinking here!

      I believe it´s much needed and we´re now facing time and circumstances where courageous people have to act.

      I can say that, for myself, you´re an inspiration. I have already gone through the ABAP programming, ABAP Workflow and functional (SD) consultant paths, now I'm in a full force adventure into learning SAP HANA , Mobile and Cloud so I can deliver new levels of insight, strategy and solutions to all customer I could possible reach.

      Given we're in a connected world, maybe we can work together anytime. I think this year won't be possible for me to be at Las Vegas, but I'll be there in 2014.

      Best regards and good luck!

      PS: Another subject that I've immersed myself is the entrepreneurial thinking and doing, I've found lots of books and stories to learn from, so if you'd like to talk about the subject let me know.