Skip to Content
Author's profile photo James Krouse

Applying Big Data in Higher Education: A Case Study

The extraordinary success the SAP client the University of Kentucky realized with the utilization of HANA to improve the flow of information to students, to track student challenges, and to remove obstacles for student succes was recently tracked in an independent research report by the Cutter Consortium.

From the Data Insight & Social BI Executive Report published in December, 2013, Vince Kellen, UK CIO, outlined the SAP in-memeory database aplications, known as HANA (High Peformance Analytic Appliance), and how the power of the technology was leveraged for success.

According to the report, knowing the challenges and the opportunities, (UK) began looking at ways of pulling together core enterprise system (SAP) data, starting first with student data, and utilizing the advanced analytics to provide students (and faculty) with real-time feedback for immediate decision-making

From Mr. Kellen and the the report:


It took us longer than expected to learn what a new tool, SAP’s HANA, actually does because the vendor had difficulty in communicating its features and we weren’t fully understanding it either. Once our architects figured out HANA’s innards, we knew this technology was going to be disruptive. At that point, things clarified quickly.”

From the report:  Within just a few key meetings with SAP product team leaders, it became obvious (to UK officials) – HANA was a rewrite of a full functioning, totally in-memory databse environment.  SAP had pulled together several databse architectural features into one product including:

– Parallell, in-memory relational query techniques

– Columnar stores

– Compression technology

Also, from Mr. Kellen and the the report:


HANA is now a transaction database engine and is rapidly becoming an application development environment capable of processing relational and non-relational data in a distributed and potentially federated heterogeneous environment in which a single query could be processed via HANA and also via tools like Hadoop. Competitors are gearing up, and we are watching them carefully, but they are starting further behind. In short, we felt early on this product was going to be significant.”

For the comprehensive research results see:

Assigned Tags

      Be the first to leave a comment
      You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.