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Author's profile photo Tom Kurtz

The HANA Journey (Part 2): How Do I Get Started with HANA?

I would like to thank my colleagues for their collaboration and input to this blog: Robert Hernandez (@SRHernandez2), Director of In-Memory Services for North America and Mark Muir, Principal Architect, Business Transformation Services.

Follow me on Twitter – @thomasjkurtz

Recently I published a first blog within “The HANA Journey” series –The HANA Journey: Determining When HANA is Right for You”.  We experienced great feedback, including numerous views and readers finding it a seemingly good summary overview.  However, while a summary overview can be quite beneficial, we should look to build from there.  If you read that blog, hopefully you’re takeaway was an understanding of how to think about SAP HANA and your organization in a structured manner; how your business can benefit from SAP HANA and specifically which HANA solutions to consider leveraging.  Now the next level of question should be asked – how do I turn that theoretical structured approach into something specific to my organization?  Can it be something my IT department owns?  What role should the business play?  How can I go about identifying the right business value or technical implications?  This blog addresses these and other related questions on how to get started with HANA.

Business Value, Strategy and Technical Design

In our first blog, we discussed three key things to keep in mind when evaluating SAP HANA for any business: (1) how can HANA help my business? (2) what type of HANA solution do I need to achieve this? (3) how should I plan my deployment strategy?  Upon diving deeper then into the tactics, the immediate question is: where to get started?  The answer: dig into your business to understand potential use cases, prioritize those use cases, and conduct a technical assessment to determine your project roadmap.  A summary view of key considerations is provided in Figure 1 below.

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1. Business Value Identification: as has been previously stated, understanding where the business can benefit from HANA is crucial.  But what does this mean, and how do I go about it?

    1. Use Case Identification:  One challenge when initiating a HANA project is determining where to begin.  The capabilities and applicability of the tool is so broad, it can initially appear difficult to narrow down the use cases.  To be successful, there are a few things to keep in mind.  First, remember to engage the right participants.  Some organizations are tempted to view HANA as a technical solution and only engage IT stakeholders.  However, most successful HANA deployments also engage the business owners who focus on utilizing HANA as a process transformation engine.   In addition, think about providing education on HANA to all participants.  This will be an important portion of the use case identification process, especially for business owners who may be unfamiliar with HANA.  And finally, you should consider utilizing outside resources such as this series’ first blog, a Design Thinking workshop,  assets such as SAP’s Business Scenario Recommendation Report (BSR), or ideally partnering with a service provider who has already completed this journey and may help you facilitate the identification of your use cases.
    2. Use Case Prioritization:  After the identification of the potential use cases, an organization needs to prioritize their roll-outs.  To accomplish this, remember these items.  First, measure the impact the implementation of these use cases can have on your business, placing higher priority on those items of larger benefit.  Next, try to recognize the ability of your business to absorb change.  Depending on what the business is trying to accomplish (e.g. transform itself and its corresponding processes) you will need to consider this when prioritizing use cases.  And finally, evaluate your HANA project needs in the context of other initiatives in your business.  Perhaps your efforts are characterized by complimentary IT or business initiatives that might pull forward or push back certain HANA initiatives to fit within other project timelines.
    3. Business Value-Driven Roadmap: A final approach when completing the planning is to organize the identified use cases into a long-term business-value roadmap.  Doing so may require prioritization of the deployment schedule and timing of individual initiatives when viewed against the backdrop of the overall transformation strategy and plan.  For example, there may be synergies between use cases from two different business units that – when deployed together – deliver a higher impact to the organization than their initial prioritizations indicated.  Executing this additional step assists value-driven organizations in evaluating the overall business impact of the individual use cases or combination of use cases that a departmental level prioritization might not provide.

2.  Strategy and Technical Design: once an organization has a handle on possible use cases – not only what they are but which ones can be highest impact to the business – you next need to assess technically what this will mean moving forward.

    1. Assess Architectural & Landscape Integration Considerations: While mapping your path to HANA, be sure to understand your current systems and how they may influence your deployment decisions.
    2. Assess Data Integration & Governance Considerations:  Be sure to consider how your current governance, integration, and data ownership rules may change due to the new, real-time nature of HANA.
    3. Develop Project Roadmap: After prioritizing the business cases you’ll want to confirm how the HANA release sequences align with other IT projects, business roll-outs, and priorities.
    4. Determine Work Plan for First Project: With the overarching HANA roadmap complete, it’s time to initiate the detailed planning of the first HANA project.


In our first blog, our goal was to simplify the HANA Journey and paint a picture of the structured approach to follow when embarking on your own HANA Journey.  With that in mind, our goal with this second blog has been to dive one level deeper, and think through the how of actually beginning that journey.  While by no means are these blogs an end-to-end blueprint, we hope they are helping in refining your thought process.  Starting with business value is the key, and from there also looking at what this will mean for your organization technically.  And remember, a phased approach may fit into this project roadmap planning.  For example, after identifying and prioritizing the desired use cases, you may decide to start with a small initial project and assess how those technical implications might affect you before addressing the larger technical strategy and design.

The HANA Journey Blog Series

Be sure to check out the first blog in the HANA Journey series –The HANA Journey: Determining When HANA is Right for You”, as well the third blog The HANA Journey (Part 3): What are My Deployment Options? by my colleague Boris Andree.  

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      Author's profile photo Tapesh Chowhan
      Tapesh Chowhan

      Thanks for sharing...