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Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch

Searching for certified HANA Enterprise Cloud partners

I’ve been doing further research on the HANA Enterprise Cloud – in particular, the broader ecosystem surrounding the new offering – and I keep stumbling across references to certified HANA Enterprise Cloud partners.



I imagined myself as a customer – excited / intrigued by this new solution – looking for such partners.  I decided to document my attempt – which was largely unsuccessful – and provide suggestions on how to improve such searches.

Note: This blog doesn’t delve into the problem concerning the meaning of a “HANA Enterprise Cloud certification”, because I failed to find a definition of it. Expertise with the underlying HANA technology? Support of certain SLAs? Experience with a certain consulting methodology? I’d expect something similar to that available for SAP-certified Cloud Services Providers. Here is a short description of this certification:

To ensure ongoing, high standards for management of SAP solutions, certified providers undergo an extensive assessment by SAP to validate the operational integration of their cloud services with supported SAP applications. The audit also includes technical reviews of physical and logical security processes supporting those cloud services. This entire process undergoes a recertification process every two years. Currently, the certification is focused on providers offering private cloud services for managing SAP solutions. [SOURCE]

This information might be available to potential partners in the protected Partner Edge site but as a customer, it is important to understand what a certification includes and what is not included.

The Search

When the HANA Enterprise Cloud was announced in May, there was an associated announcement about partners: 

SAP today announced the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud partner program, which will aim to provide participants access to enablement, best practices and other resources to leverage the recently announced SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service [SOURCE]

There was a list of companies that were initial pilot partners and that agreed to participate in the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud partner program – each company provided a supportive quote.

This initial list was created for the HEC announcement in May. Since its creation, there has been very little publicly available information about this partner program.

On my search for certified HEC partners, I decided that this list would be a good starting point My first problem was the question:  these were participants in the partner program but were they were certified? The relationship between this partner program and certification wasn’t described any where.

I tracked down further HEC-related information about some of these partners.




This is the only press release from a partner that specifically mentions SAP-Certified Provider of Hosting Services for SAP HANA® Enterprise Cloud


This press release – which describes Savvis’ subscription-based services for SAP HANA – sure sounds like HEC but it predates the HEC announcement.

Virtustream (General cloud, HANA Enterprise Cloud)

These two different press releases show the distinction between broader Cloud Hosting and HEC-associated hosting. 

NoteThese partners are probably certified but I was unable to find any publicly available material supporting this assertion.

Note: There might be other partners which are HEC certified service providers but I failed to find them in my searches.

A suggestion to solve this problem

The HEC is critical in SAP’s cloud and HANA GTM strategy and will be successful only if the partner ecosystem energetically embraces it.  If customers are unable to find such certified partners, a critical prerequisite for this mass adoption is missing.

A perfect opportunity exists to solve this gap via the existing Certified Outsourcing Partners list


In the current implementation of this list, partners can be identified as being certified in various areas:

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This site must be adopted so that HEC-certified partners can be easily found.  This would mean adding “HANA Enterprise Cloud” to the search criterion. Furthermore, certified partners would be identified as such:


This change should be easy to implement and would allow customers to find such partners quickly

SAP should have an interest to move in this direction but I would expect those partners that are already HEC-certified to be clamoring for such changes.  As more and more companies move towards HEC certification, those early adopters still have a window of opportunity to gain and solidify market share before the market becomes more crowded.

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      Author's profile photo Rahul Muraleedharan
      Rahul Muraleedharan

      Well written!

      Author's profile photo Henrique Pinto
      Henrique Pinto

      There is now a new filter option "HANA":

      It doesn't mention HEC specifically, but... 😉

      Author's profile photo Henrique Pinto
      Henrique Pinto

      And here are the details about what the "SAP HANA Operations Services" certification comprises (slides 8, 9 and 10):…

      Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch
      Richard Hirsch
      Blog Post Author

      That is a good find.

      What is unclear however is the distinction between the various HANA-related service opportunities for partners. Is HEC hosted by SAP = MCaaS hosted by partners? Do they refer to the same thing? As a partner, I can host Business Suite on HANA in the cloud. Is this HEC? Do I need to offer the other HEC AMS-related services as well?

      SAP still has some work to do to clear up the terminology so that partners and customers know exactly what is meant by all those marketing slides.


      Author's profile photo Henrique Pinto
      Henrique Pinto

      As far as I understand, it's only HEC if it's sold by SAP. HEC is an SAP-owned brand for its MCaaS.

      What happens is that, in some geographies, SAP has decided to not invest upfront in a Data Center of their own, instead subcontracting a local hosting provider in order to provide the IaaS to SAP, so that SAP can provide its MCaaS to the end customers. Those hosting providers are probably selected amongst the ones with HANA Operations certification, but "HEC provider" is not an open certification - it's rather a commercial agreement SAP has in place with some of those partners (which might include a closed certification program, I'm not sure).

      For both SAP-owned DCs and for the HEC providers, SAP has come up with their own infrastructure architecture (based on the so called HEC cells, which are smaller clusters of some TB of HANA & application servers infrastructure).



      Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch
      Richard Hirsch
      Blog Post Author

      If that is true, then it makes my last blog about the IaaS in the HEC even more interesting / relevant.


      Author's profile photo Richard Hirsch
      Richard Hirsch
      Blog Post Author

      Good news here - this makes life for customers easier.


      Author's profile photo Sascha Wenninger
      Sascha Wenninger

      2.5 years after your blog post, I now find myself in exactly the position you outlined in your initial scenario: on the customer side, looking to whittle down the long list of hosting providers to see who can competently run a greenfield S/4 system and associated bits and pieces.

      Unfortunately from what I can tell through research, finding out who's certified for what, and what exactly that certification means, has become no clearer in the meantime. There is now a "HANA Operations" certification which has been added to that listing (rather than the "HEC" label you suggested), but some very prominent names, including many of those who provided quotes in the PR from May 2013, are notable by their absence from this list. More puzzling, some of the absentees are in fact subcontracted by SAP to run various components of their SAP-branded HEC, which makes me wonder: how useful is all of this certification as an indicator of competence, rather than willingness to fill in paperwork and go through the process to get certified? (and what ever happened to HANA Distinguished Engineers?)

      I know your focus has moved on a little since 2013, but would definitely appreciate your current take on all of this... 🙂