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SAP HANA POC – World Cup 2014 – Qualifying Match

Brazil – World Cup 2014 has begun.. One of the most famous events in world and the beauty of it is the Final match, which might be the most viewed sporting event on earth! ℹ

I sense the similar fever in the IT world with HANA & Cloud. With SAP HANA to the HANA Cloud Platform, SAP trend for SaaS (Software as a Service) has generated significant attention over the past year, with most existing business solutions in new designer suites helping customer to better drive their business with not only “Real-Time” integration but with “Smart” Integration!

The SAP HANA Cloud Platform, ticket counter is open and No surprises, if customer is hitting the door to grab the front seats with readiness for Landscape assessments, feasibility to surf on HANA + Cloud wave.  In early Q1 2014, I had chance to work on the SAP Cloud for CRM sales project, 1st implementation in Nordics…opportunity to surf on clouds. It was spectacular experience for me, although it was just the start of safari in HANA clouds….

It was kind of one of the qualifying matches, where 207 teams will fight for first 31 qualifiers. (In 2014 Football World cup, 32 teams qualified with host nation, Brazil as reserved ℹ ). When one of our existing customers asked for HANA – real time integration, I saw the chance for qualifying match and my previous project experience brings me in the fire range where customer was shooting the bullets of curiosity, questions. The customer was interested to test the flavor of real-time integration with SAP HANA and also wish to slim down the current business processes tangled across multiple SAP applications and instances into simplified architecture…Smart Business. 😎

In simple words, SAP Business Suit powered on HANA would be the solution for it… as simple as winning all matches in World Cup. Initially I thought it won’t be so hard to propose the solution, but in reality it was as challenging as qualifying the team for World Cup. Playing football could be fun, similar to playing around on HANA platform in our own lab, in safe zone… keep testing on lab-rats  But the real fun was to face the customer challenge, especially when to qualify for World Cup depends on entire crew of people to do their role at “BEST” and not just on one star player. And any blunder, waiting time for next 4 years for next World Cup is the least of your worries.

Below are some of the winning strategies we had in HANA POC project, which helps us to grab the place in qualifying team to provide successful offerings on SAP HANA projects.

Chief Scout – Steering Committee

The chief scouts such as project sponsors, decision makers, SAP Solution Architect, Lead Business owner, plays the vital role throughout the project. They keep track of the team performance, results and to meet common goal… Qualify for big games!! Customer was interested to qualify in feasibility check to go for bigger projects.. and team wish to qualify for successful implementation, be the best contender for the Cup. The steering committee with both side chief scouts was responsible for signing the coach and putting the right squad together for project. So having the steering committee and Chief Scots in place from beginning makes the life easy…

Prepare for Qualifying Matches –  Find the correct Business case

The appropriate business cases for HANA POC are the qualifying matches for world cup. To identify suitable business case & propose SAP HANA solution is bit tricky job. While selecting business case,

  • Ensure to deliver significant improvement to the pain areas.
  • Without knowing the existing landscape & business processes, may result in driving race car with V6 6000CC engine in walking plaza. SAP HANA is powerful solution for real-time integration, so study As-Is & To-Be scenarios.
  • Try to impose new capabilities and technologies, which might achieve the solution to current problems. This gives “WOW..Cooool !” feeling to customer.

For e.g. Financial KPIs in real time, Market research etc. can give some interesting business cases for Predictive Analytics. Suggestion for RDS (Rapid Deployment Solution) is the penalty shootout chance provided by SAP with pre-built solutions and business cases. Customer just need to explore these solutions and extend as per business requirements. In short time, effective results…. 😈

In my opinion, Every customer would have unique use cases, thus brain-storming the use cases with business owners in existing landscape i.e.AS-IS / TO-BE study, Performance statistics, pin-point the pain areas, should keep the team on right track. Here the coach has to ensure to kcommon understanding and expectations between customer and team for all the activities and outcomes. Last minute shocks might create the havoc!


Have best squad together:

In my opinion below skills can make the best squad…

  • The coach – Project Manager : The Coach ensures to keep moving the ball on ground. He harmonizes the relationship between team, customer, SAP, consulting and third party suppliers. The coach assign the tasks to individuals for collaborative efforts for scoring the goal.
  • Playing captain – SAP HANA Solution Architect : This on-pitch player can heavily influence the game. He is usually the midfielder, who participates in blueprint and architecture design sessions, review the options and provide recommendations while communicating the benefits, risks, and constraints to the business and team.
  • Goalkeeper – HANA Administrator, DBA : Goalkeeper is the last line of defense. He has access to stop the goal with hands. The HANA Administrator ensures the regular backup, monitoring, performance tuning, indexing and maintenance of system. DBA cockpit is the goalkeeping area and he keeps monitoring the ball on ground, weather it is in safe zone or danger zone. He supports the team for administrative configurations and security, UAM setup.
  • DefenderSAP BW, ETL Consultants: Defenders primary role is to oppose the attackers from other team to enter in goal post area. SAP BW & ETL consultants also ensure that the good & clean data will be loaded on HANA DB via connectors and tools, to avoid any further complications during data modeling. Bad data would be substantial risk.
  • MidfielderHANA developers, Data Modeling : Most managers dedicate atleast one midfielder to disrupt opposing team’s attack. This player generally coordinate with defenders to get good data for data modeling and reporting. Other midfielders tasked with creating goals and bridging between defenders and attackers. Get the good data, design & build the data models and share it with frontiers for dashboards, UI building.
  • Forwarder : SAP UI5 & Analytics Consultants: The attackers are involved for aggressive play. These strikers build the innovative dashboards, fronted reports with latest technologies and tools, HTML5, Adobe Flex etc. during demo these dashboards makes the first encounter with customer. Thus forwarders are one of the key players who usually counted for making the score for team. Impress the customer in first glace!

Ground & Game KIT:

Ensure that you are playing on right ground and with right infrastructure & Tools.

Basically there are 2 deployment options available for infrastructure – On-premise & Cloud options.  In my opinion, for qualifying match, Cloud platform with App services for limited period would be best option. You can opt for AMAZON or SAP provided cloud platform for specific duration. This avoids the infrastructure cost and quickly available. Just subscribe and the platform with required standard configurations is ready in few Hrs.

In Cloud you may go for

  • Infrastructure services – SAP provides cloud platform. Customer owns the HANA license.
    • This option is good, if you already have the HANA license.
  • DB services – SAP provides Cloud platform + SAP HANA system with monthly license. Customer may build his own application services.
    • This would be economical option, Pay only for what you need.

Here you need to build the app from scratch which may consume lot of time.

  • App services – SAP provides Cloud platform + SAP HANA system + pre-deployed bundle of APPs such as SAP HANA cloud portal, HCI (HANA Cloud Integration) etc.
    • 1 Month subscription is ideal for POC work. It comes with portal and HCI. We can extend existing on-premise applications to try out the new features, technology solutions for existing business processes. This helps business owners for apple to apple comparison current vs extended business cases.

Refer the link for more detail comparison and pricing options for the HANA Platform

Bending the Ball for the right goal!

Basically POC project is the part of overall solution, which is determined for specific Business processes and limited users acting in business roles to achieve or gauge certain requirements. Based on various results and outcome of these business cases customer can have clear view!! So while shooting for the goal, you need to bend the ball such a way that it would showcase the real power of HANA. Impress the customer with providing the solution to existing business problems. Instead of selling our business case and solution, sell what customer need in his current business.

Also for team, the POC project would be one of the litmus tests in qualifying rounds to get ready for big game, provided customer approves the bigger projects. So don’t expect that the POC has to be successful for each and every outcome. Some business cases may give overwhelming results and some might tell you what you should avoid. Winning or losing for one POC activity won’t decide the place in final group…but the consistent outcome and man-to-man marking i.e. involvement of customer at every stage in project and detail analysis is the key to hit precise goal!

SAP has provided RDS (Rapid Deployment Solution) for variety of practical business cases on behalf of customers. This would be good starting point to extend pre-built solutions as per customer needs.

In next blog, I’ll share some more insights on Technical aspects of HANA Cloud Platform and winning strategy for group matches!

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