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yuno.JPG

Folks,

Not sure if ASUG had any clue of the magnitude of a storm that would start upon publishing their member survey results stating that “75 percent said that they had not yet built a business case or compelling value proposition for SAP HANA”. Maybe it was just the bad timing and SAP was still sulking from the July’s DSAG survey, but for whatever reason some folks over at SAP clearly were not so happy with the findings. The “official” response followed hinting politely that the surveyed customers were uninformed and some SCN blogs  (exhibit A and exhibit B) suggested a different interpretation of the results. And just as the storm was losing momentum, SAP brought the heavy artillery – Dr. Hasso Plattner himself. Wow!

But after all these rebuttals I felt that for some reason SAP simply did not get what ASUG survey results were saying. And since I was one of the 300+ ASUG members to actually respond to the survey, I feel responsible that somehow we did not make ourselves clear. So please allow me to bring it down in the most simple terms.

/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/dior_537323.jpgThe Dior dress paradox

Both blogs by Dr. Plattner and Mr. Lucas featured some kind of car analogy. (Ugh, men! [eye roll] Thanks at least for not using golf.)

But let’s talk about fashion for diversity’s sake. Pretty much any dress by Dior (which is like Porsche of the fashion world) is a stunning work of art and such timeless beauty that almost makes you forget about the price tag. But even though I admire the design very much, somehow I just don’t feel compelled to rush and order one for myself. For the simple reason that I can neither afford it nor (more importantly) do I really need it. Where would I possibly wear it – Halloween potluck in the office? At the same time there are many people out there to whom a Dior dress is almost a necessity. And we somehow coexist on the same planet (imagine that!).

In case you didn’t get the analogy by now, there are SAP customers that need HANA just like I need a Dior dress, at least at this time. Which brings me to the next point.

VHS, DVD, Blu-ray, <?>

Have you noticed how DVDs came around the second you’ve finally completed the collection of your favorite movies on the VHS tapes? And good for you if you decided to sit one out and did not buy any DVDs because Blu-ray is all the rage now (and is becoming replaced by some new technology as you’re reading this, unless you’re in 2020 when Blu-ray must be like a gramophone already).

If you woke up today and decided to start a movie collection, Blu-ray would be the most logical choice. But, say, if you already have a DVD player, and some DVDs plus your TV is 10 years old and doesn’t support HD quality anyway and you’re fine with that then what would be the incentive to invest in a new TV, new player and new, more expensive, discs?

If you build it – they will come. Eventually.

nokia.JPGIn a comment to the already mentioned above blog I compared HANA to the cell phones. My fellow non-millennial SCN members must remember the first “bricks” that were an exotic accessory of rich and famous back in the days. But now even some elementary school kids already carry a cell phone to call mom and dad in case a stranger offers them candy. How did we get from there to here? By the means of cheaper and smaller phones, better network coverage and accessibility. Not by worrying about the adoption rates.

Not every student or housewife had one of the first cell phones and not every SAP customer is Unilever or Coca Cola. And it brings me to the next point.

Know thy customer

So not everyone needs a Dior dress or is in a rush to replace their DVDs with Blu-ray and the first cell phones were not for everyone either, even though now almost everyone has one. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it? But when pretty much the same thing is said about HANA, all of a sudden SAP gets their Hulk on. What gives?

One of the examples of HANA’s awesomeness used at different SAP presentations is a scenario when a customer walks into some fancy-pants store and a sales rep is instantly able to identify the customer and offer them some products based on their past visits or some other intel. [In a totally non-creepy way.] Question: could SAP use HANA themselves to find out what their customers actually want and need?

Dior does not even bother advertising their dresses to me. They must have somehow figured out I’m not really their demographics. Most importantly, they also don’t try to convince the world that I don’t buy their dresses because I’m simply uninformed about how supercalifragilisticexpialidocious they are.

One might blame the disconnect between the SAP’s expectations and the survey results on bad research, marketing hiccup or ignorant customers that always have an axe to grind with SAP. But the bottom line is that it’s the Porsche dealership’s, errr, SAP’s direct interest to ensure that their products align with the customer’s needs and are reasonably priced. Unless the plan is to become the Dior of ERP system world (hmm, ‘designer database’ does have some nice ring to it!).

Group hug?

Dear SAP, the user groups are not attacking you. They are trying to repair and improve the relationship. If a partner tells you that they need help, would you simply cover the ears and go “la-la-la-la” or run away or would you try to help? It’s not too late to make a choice.

By the way, our next local ASUG meeting is at BMW Manufacturing and since y’all love cars so much, why don’t Dr. Hasso Plattner and Mr. Lucas and ASUG board of directors (no SCN profiles? you’re killing me!) all come over, check out some rides, get a taste of Southern hospitality and hug it out? Now that would be a Dior dress worthy occasion! πŸ™‚

Image credits: ‘y u no guy meme’ – authors own art based on Know Your Meme; phone image – Wikipedia; Dior dress – Wikimedia commons

Important disclaimer: this blog does not represent the opinion of ASUG or my employer.

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128 Comments

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  1. Thorsten Franz

    Jelena,

    Thanks so much for this exceptionally insightful, well-written, and funny post. It doesn’t get any better than that (okay, your “rocket impact site” post might have had even more powerful imagery…).

    I hope SAP will take your words to heart and continue to make HANA easier to adopt. They’re already doing a good job by making the technical knowledge easily available. Hardware costs go down automatically, but there’s still a lot for SAP to do, especially when it comes to simplifying license types and lowering prices.

    Maybe an openHANA. πŸ™‚ — Edit: I just wrote a little blog post about this “openHANA” idea: openHANA. openHANA. openHANA.

    Cheers,

    Thorsten

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  2. Gregory Misiorek

    Hi Jelena,

    About that ASUG chapter meeting, yours is the best invite I have ever seen.

    To me HANA needs to wear no dress, but just get on a Big Iron to show what it can do, especially when on Power chips. I don’t see anyone going back to VHS and vinal except for few wanting to reminisce about the days gone by. For a large company the new database will become a necessity just like it is for our favorite ERP vendor to compete in the industry.

    Ever thought of inviting Jon Stewart to that meeting? I think Bill McDermott would make a great guest to Jon and explain HANA to the masses.

    Best regards,

    greg

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  3. Lars Breddemann

    Hmm… nice one.

    And thanks for jumping on to the fashion analogy bandwagon (This is not High Tech, this is not Innovation πŸ™‚ ).

    Probably you’re right about the notion that the way SAP HANA is marketed the wrong way. Then again, SAP HANA is not a consumer product and SAP’s official strategy is CLOUD now, which would render software license sells less relevant over time.

    Looking at how other DBMS platform vendors used to sell their products before SAP HANA, I think it is fair to say: they didn’t really. A huge factor for license revenue growth consisted of either re-evaluation of license usage, increase of license costs or bundling with other solutions.

    And for many existing DBMS users there was barely a need to use the next version; except for the de-support notifications from the friendly vendors.

    Reading this and Thorsten’s piece leaves the impression with me that “the customers” would love to do SAP HANA, if it was only for free (or really cheap).

    Is that so?

    Besides that, would you say, “the customers” actually want technology advancements that eventually impact the way they do business?

    Or could it be that many customers actually are pretty happy with what they have today and don’t urge for big changes?

    Being the little unimportant SAP foot-soldier that I am, I obviously cannot do much about your meeting invitations πŸ™‚ but I really like to understand your view better.

    – Lars

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    1. Thorsten Franz

      Hi Lars,

      Thanks for chiming in. πŸ™‚ Just a quick comment on the part where you mention my post: Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t believe that customers would love HANA if only it was free. Many customers get great value from HANA and are fully prepared to pay a premium price for it. This is just right.

      HANA is perhaps the Tesla Model S car among the databases, and cutting-edge products that bring great value should have a great price tag. I think the Tesla Model S is very expensive, but the price is fair and I would not ask Tesla to give it away for free. However, there’s a market segment of people who can’t afford a car at that price, regardless of whether or not it is fair, and Tesla has announced to do the smart thing and create a new offering, with less value and a smaller price tag, to cater to that market segment, too. By doing this, they expect to increase the size of the market for cutting-edge electric cars without cannibalizing their Model S sales.

      Jelena’s post suggested to me that there’s a market segment for whom adopting HANA, under the current conditions, doesn’t make economic sense, and by creating an offering tailored to this market segment, they can increase the size of the overall market, increase adoption, and this will have positive effects on everybody in the HANA market.

      I don’t know much about software sales and marketing, but I doubt SuSE would be in the position to sell 5,000 € SuSE Enterprise Linux licenses (which you need for HANA) if it wasn’t for the free SuSE Linux distribution.

      To put this in the context of Jelena’s post, rather than scold customers for not realizing they see themselves in the wrong market segment, SAP should create an offering for the market segments potential customers see themselves in. πŸ˜‰

      Just the 2 ct of a guy who means well for SAP and its customers.

      Cheers,

      Thorsten

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      1. Joao Sousa

        HANA is perhaps the Tesla Model S car among the databases, and cutting-edge products that bring great value should have a great price tag.

        I think that the problem with that analogy is that SAP isn’t marketing HANA as a premium product, they are marketing it as the right solution for all customers. If HANA was truly targeted at a premium audience the ASUG results would be completly normal, but they weren’t received by SAP as normal.

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      2. Ty Miller

        As a Tesla Model S owner I love this analogy! We’re working on doing the same thing for Lumira Server which we’ll be very excited to share more details about with you in the near future.

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    2. Joao Sousa

      Reading this and Thorsten’s piece leaves the impression with me that “the customers” would love to do SAP HANA, if it was only for free (or really cheap).

      Is that so?

      We don’t have to guess I think the ASUG study made it clear. Most customer don’t have a business case, and you don’t throw money at technology just because it’s awesome.

      If it was free (and the hardware was equivalent), for new implementations they would buy HANA because it’s easy to sell (some funcionalities are only available in HANA).

      Big Data is very cute, but it’s a tough sell. People talk about how much you can do with all that data, but things are hardly specific, and sometimes the benefits are overstated. There was this blog where it was argued that with SAP HANA retailers would finally have SKU margin. Without considering the fact that the KPI may not be relevant, it’s quite possible to have a margin per SKU in offline mode.

      We also had an experience with Predictive Analytics. In the non-HANA version, you had to wait a long time for the results, but in the end that didn’t really matter. When it was necessary to estimate costs, the real time requirement was the first one to fall.

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    3. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Lars, thanks for the comment. Thorsten beat me to it, but to reiterate – I’m also not a marketing person but in my view, it’s a mistake to assume all the customers are the same and then wonder when it turns out they have different needs.

      You might be surprised, but at this point some customers might not even want HANA if it was free because “don’t fix what ain’t broken”. As you correctly pointed out, it’s not a consumer product (by the way, it was SAP who started with the car analogies πŸ™‚ ), it’s not something we can just get and put in the garage until we need it (and dump at a garage sale if it turns out we don’t). Even a routine support pack installation in the same SAP system is a few month project that requires effort from both IT and business team, so nothing is actually completely “free” to the business.

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      1. Matt Fraser

        Yes! We struggle to convince the key business units to put in just HR legal changes once per year. If it wasn’t required for tax compliance, we’d probably be pushed to do it once every other year. We almost never upgrade until forced by end-of-life dates, and we usually do take the paid maintenance extensions when they’re available, and it’s because we cannot get our business units to agree that it’s a good use of their time to participate in these projects, even though they want the shiny things too. Given the reductions in force they’ve been enduring almost annually for ten years now, it’s easy to see their position, especially given that IT has been RIF’d just as much as the other departments we support.

        Oh, and I drive a Jeep. Simple, not really very elegant nor efficient, definitely technology of a bygone age, yet rugged and reliable, gets the job done, and still a lot of fun to drive. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes dream of a networked car, with radar-guided cruise control and self-parking, that knows about problems ahead before I do and reacts automatically. But I also enjoy saving (or spending on other fun things) what would otherwise have been my car payment.

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      2. Joao Sousa

        The problem I believe is that SAP is completly obsessed with the Cloud/HANA strategy. It’s as if the company will fall apart if it doesn’t become cloud first.

        I believe it’s impossible to push a message of business value, when you are betting so hard on two products that probably won’t even be relevant for half the customers (and I’m being nice). The Cloud doesn’t serve all customer, HANA isn’t a fit for all customers.

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  4. Stephen Johannes

    This is great blog and funny way to point how not to deal with your customers or potential customers.

    It’s really strange for a company like SAP to almost publicly attack it’s potential customers/purchasers for failing to understand it’s offering.  It’s the worst way to build partnerships and yes your customers will disagree with the HANA solves everything marketing message so buy it immediately marketing message being pushed.  It would have been better to go back engange those in ASUG instead of SAP publicly berating their customer base.

    Perhaps if instead of screaming “HANA, HANA, HANA” everywhere, if a few pauses were taken to reflect on those customers in later part of the adoption curve and ask what SAP need to do to keep them retained and happy so they will adopt before going elsewhere.

    Finally I have great technical respect for the minds and solutions provided by SAP, this type of behavior is not the way to retain, and expand business with companies who currently use your solutions, nor sets a good example for potential new customers.  I would ask everyone in SAP to sit down re-read(or read) the Customer Experience Edge(written by brilliant SAP Employees) to understand why this attack back on ASUG is a mistake.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Joao Sousa

      It’s really strange for a company like SAP to almost publicly attack it’s potential customers/purchasers for failing to understand it’s offering.  It’s the worst way to build partnerships and yes your customers will disagree with the HANA solves everything marketing message so buy it immediately marketing message being pushed.  It would have been better to go back engange those in ASUG instead of SAP publicly berating their customer base.

      I don’t find it that so strange when you take into consideration the fact that SAP has huge consultancy firms working as an extension to their sales force.

      You should then analyse in how many situations whether the real relationship is with SAP or the consultancy. Does SAP act as a partner or a software vendor to most customers?

      I believe SAP’s marketing message is very inefective because it is dismissed quickly as …. marketing. CIOs are tired of people selling them dreams, they want real use cases, which can only be discovered when there is a true partnership, and regular engagement.

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  5. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

    Thank you all so much for the kind comments and glad I could provide so many opportunities to pimp other blogs! Custodio de Oliveira – I got your comment too in the email, no worries. πŸ™‚

    Just as Stephen Johannes, I also have great respect for the technical folks at SAP, as well as the whole SCN team and many other employees. That’s why it’s especially painful to see how unwisely chosen communication style reflects poorly on the whole organization. When SAP executives speak publicly, do they realize they are also speaking for the people like Marilyn Pratt? By the way, it’s beyond me why Marilyn is still not on the SAP board of directors. Can you imagine how different things could be then? πŸ™‚

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira

      Jelena Perfiljeva wrote:

      By the way, it’s beyond me why Marilyn is still not on the SAP board of directors. Can you imagine how different things could be then? πŸ™‚

      Yep. This is exactly why she’s not there… (yet)

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  6. JΓΌrgen Noe

    Really great blog!

    I live in Europe near Walldorf headquarters. But as I talk to clients, I get almostt he same answers regarding HANA:’I don’t see how HANA could help to improve our business’ or ‘Intersting, but too expensive’. My clients are mainly small or medium-sized businesses and they think a bit different than the TOP500 companies do.

    My point of view is, HANAwill surely go it’s way, but it may be not that fast as expected by SAP. It may not take 5years, but 10 or probably 20 years as it tells the history of DVD, video,cellphones and others. I think, in marketing SAP focuses too much on technique. But HANA is not sold simply, because it’s very fast. It’s the same as you won’t buy a Porsche for the one and only reason because it’s very fast. But you like some other features of it. This I miss in the current discussion. SAP has to find the real business value for HANA and what can really be the big benefits for customers, if they install it in their system landscape.

    Cheers,

    Jürgen

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Jürgen Noe wrote:

      HANAwill surely go it’s way, but it may be not that fast as expected by SAP. It may not take 5years, but 10 or probably 20 years as it tells the history of DVD, video,cellphones and others. I think, in marketing SAP focuses too much on technique. But HANA is not sold simply, because it’s very fast.

      Thank you, Jürgen, couldn’t have said it better myself. (Darn it, I cleary lack German precision! πŸ™‚ )

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  7. Matt Fraser

    Jelena, you have done it again. Even if I didn’t have any interest in HANA or SAP (perhaps my interest is cellphones, DVDs, and Dior dresses, to go with the Porsche and Tesla Model S, eh?), this would nevertheless be a great read. I am immediately engaged in the story you have to tell, and then before I’m done I’m laughing and wondering if the cube-farmers around me are questioning my sanity because of the snorts coming from my little area. This always happens when you post something like this.

    We do not use HANA today. We are not currently considering HANA. We are probably not really the ideal target market for HANA. However, we are also in the middle of a study which may result in (yet another) five-year plan, and I have a sneaky suspicion that HANA will find its way into the recommendations. I’m not against that, and if so, we’ll certainly evaluate it fairly. We can see the advantages, but yes, it’s hard to make a business case for the price tag in our situation.

    I will read anything you write. You can write about the pros and cons of sand vs wood chips in children’s playgrounds, and I will be fascinated.

    –Matt

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  8. John Appleby

    Thanks for this Jelena. I happen to agree that the ASUG survey was well intentioned and very informative, but the problem was that the media riffed it and took it out of context.

    For example it was only 75% of the 60% who hadn’t bought HANA that thought that business case was a barrier. And it wasn’t even necessarily their primary barrier, but only one barrier. But this got taken out of context and blow up to the global media, which is what caused the problem.

    It’s also certain that building a business case for HANA is difficult, because building business cases for innovation is always hard. Business case for analytic systems are even harder – this isn’t specific to HANA.

    I also happen to think that 40% adoption of a database in 3 years is incredible. That makes SAP the #2 database after Oracle in the ASUG community already. But then that got missed.

    By the way hasso plattner and Steve Lucas do indeed have SCN profiles. Perhaps Mr Scott can be convinced to join SCN and write a guest post.

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    1. Joao Sousa

      For example it was only 75% of the 60% who hadn’t bought HANA that thought that business case was a barrier. And it wasn’t even necessarily their primary barrier, but only one barrier. But this got taken out of context and blow up to the global media, which is what caused the problem.

      In today’s world you are not going to spend money in IT (especially on something expensive as HANA) without a business case. I would say it is even worse that it was only one the barriers, because the lack of business case is a deal breaker.

      I also happen to think that 40% adoption of a database in 3 years is incredible. That makes SAP the #2 database after Oracle in the ASUG community already. But then that got missed.

      I would say it depends on what customers are doing with HANA. Having a HANA server is not the same thing as relying on HANA for most of the landscape.

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    2. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      John Appleby wrote:

      By the way hasso plattner and Steve Lucas do indeed have SCN profiles. Perhaps Mr Scott can be convinced to join SCN and write a guest post.

      I saw that but had a doubt those actually belong to the SAP executives. If only there was some SCN mission to nudge the members into adding more detail to their profiles… πŸ™‚

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        1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

          Lars Breddemann wrote:

          Hmmm.. as far as it is visible SAP executives rather like to use SAPHANA.COM to talk about SAP HANA.

          Yet another point where they are disconnected from the customers. πŸ™‚ Well, at least it explains some of the reaction then – to anyone reading SCN with any regularity the survey results wouldn’t be of any surprise.

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        2. Gregory Misiorek

          Lars, no worries about customer disconnect,

          with the book that you co-wrote with Richard Bremer and responding to forum questions, you are automatically inducted.

          i think SAP is happy to have you.

          thx,

          greg

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    3. Lars Breddemann

      Good points John.

      Another aspect that I haven’t seen being mentioned anywhere here yet is that there are actually customers who don’t necessarily move towards SAP HANA but more so away from their old platform.

      Being pushed for ever more license fees for other DBMS platforms over the years certainly did lead some clients to HANA.

      The business case here was mitigation of a vendor lock-in.

      And sure enough, there are lots of customers that don’t actually do business warehousing or data analysis beyond built in reports.

      Maybe such customers could benefit from even less IT in their office – by using a cloud offering.

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

        Lars, in my view such customers would be the new SAP installations (i.e. “If you woke up today and decided to start a movie collection” scenario). Not sure such companies were covered by the ASUG survey, the respondents were likely the existing SAP customers. Naturally, from the marketing standpoint new installations are the juicy customers but it’s out of the discussion scope as far as ASUG survey is concerned IMHO.

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        1. Lars Breddemann

          How would a DB platform change (what I suggested in my post) constitute a new NetWeaver installation?

          Taking market share off from other DBMS platforms, especially in the SAP installed based, surely is a major concern of the SAP HANA product strategy.

          This is not about starting a new video collection, but switching from Netflix to Amazon πŸ™‚ .

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          1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

            Lars, I’m sorry but you’ve missed the main point. I’m not talking about Netweaver (that’s why I used ‘SAP’ as a generic term). I was saying that the ASUG members responding to the survey “were likely the existing SAP [ERP] customers”, not someone who just purchased an SAP product recently (survey was taken way before the results were published).

            You are quite brave just to jump into the conversation (SAP should have more “foot soldiers” like you) and I can understand that you need to be a good sport for your employer. But you might not realize that your responses look like the epitome of how SAP has been responding to the customers for years. Global Support is not reading our incidents, Sales are not hearing what the customers are saying (yet still manage to respond with another plug or pitch) and even on SCN SAP marketing is not listening. I’m talking about the ASUG survey and customer needs and hearing back about “product strategy”. Perhaps the blog title should’ve been ‘SAP, Y U NO Listen?’. πŸ™‚

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      2. Stefan Koehler

        Hey Lars,

        >> Being pushed for ever more license fees for other DBMS platforms over the years certainly did lead some clients to HANA.

        You mean the strategic license / price increase by SAP for other DBMS platforms (like DB2 BLU) to push clients to SAP HANA, right? πŸ˜‰ Source: SAP auf einer IBM DB2 kommt teurer | heise online (unfortunately the article is in German only)

        I am looking forward how SAP is going to behave with the upcoming and available in memory option by Oracle. Will it be the same SAP price strategy as with IBM DB2 BLU?

        Regards

        Stefan

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  9. Gretchen Lindquist

    Jelena,

    After re-reading Hasso’s blog, I have the impression that he thinks we all *do* in fact need SAP’s equivalent of the Dior dress, and we are just too foolish to realize the value we would get from it. But as you and I know, we can’t just buy the dress: we need the pricey shoes, the handbag, appropriate jewelry, new hairdo and highlights, maybe a few ccs of Botox for good measure and a laser treatment for a nice, dewey look, detailing for the expensive ride to take us to the charity gala ball and the tickets to the gala and partner’s outfit and furnishings as well and the sitter is not going to be cheap either since it is Nanny’s night off and the list goes on and on, and from what I can see it is the same with HANA for existing customers. I don’t think size of the organization is as much a factor as it is how long established the ERP landscape is and its complexity. I think businesses see this as something you don’t just dip a toe into; it is a big, expensive project, and they know perfectly well that their lean staff of internal resources can’t do it all even if they did know how. I don’t get why SAP doesn’t get it.

    Thank you for once again sparking a great conversation.

    Gretchen

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    1. Thorsten Franz

      Gretchen,

      You put that perfectly. SAP needs to understand that adopting HANA is not something a company can do between Friday and Sunday. The procedures and integrations in real-world data centers are quite complex, and new HANA customers need to fit their newest shiny toy into whatever system and mechanisms they’ve set up. Even getting their heads around how to harmonize HANA with whatever landscape, virtualization technique, archiving procedures, authorizations, identity management, storage and file system share mounting, software distribution, etc. they’ve established is no small endeavor. SAP should look for ways to make this easier.

      Thorsten

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    2. John Appleby

      Gretchen, I don’t think that’s right, here’s my take on it. Hasso was the mastermind behind the creation of HANA, and he has seen it grow from a concept into a fully fledged product that does what he had imagined, and more.

      He (and others, in my opinion) can’t imagine why a horse owner wouldn’t want to buy a car. Why wouldn’t you want this incredible innovation which will transform your business? I believe this is where he is coming from.

      As someone who works with HANA every day, I understand this perspective – people who naysay HANA aren’t the people that use it. The CIO of the HANA project I just completed described the HANA project as “the best and most important project we have ever done” (BTW they are an ASUG member). HANA is incredible technology and it is worth every penny – note that the ASUG members said the #1 benefit was cost reduction.

      But I am playing devil’s advocate here because I also understand where you are coming from.

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      1. Stephen Johannes

        John,

        The problem was Hasso’s and SAP’s response to the survey.  I understand why SAP was upset, but instead of figuring the root cause of the issue in a non-public manner by talking to your customers.  SAP’s reaction was to discredit ASUG and insult the customers who had taken the survey who had legitmate concerns.  It would have been way much better if SAP asked ASUG if they could speak to every survey respondent and then engage in a way to find what the gap really is.  I’m sure some respondents would have said no or would have been anonymous, but the rest present a way to gain insight with existing customers and how to move those customers to the new solutions.

        Instead of creating a “wow” in customer experience, SAP choose a path which leads to more frustation.  If I was any of the customers who took the survey and saw SAP reactions and let’s just say I was evaluating more than just SAP solutions for my next project, I would definitely push SAP to the bottom of the list.  In the end despite how great SAP’s technology is(which it is pretty darn good), as customers move to the cloud, customer experience will trump everything.

        Great customer experience is the way to retain and gain new customers.  The company that keeps telling me that is SAP.

        Take care,

        Stephen

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      2. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

        John, I had to double-check your profile to make sure it doesn’t have an “SAP trapesoid”. πŸ™‚

        The quote from Henry Ford about the cars and horses is getting a bit worn already, but the problem is that SAP wants every horse owner to buy their car right now. What exactly makes SAP think this is a realistic expectation?

        You’ve mentioned correctly that the adoption rates for such an innovative product as HANA are actually not bad and I agree. Does anyone remember how many of the first Ford’s cars were sold? As a mass market product they didn’t even take off until the 50s in the US! And does anyone remember that the whole infrastructure of roads and gas stations had to be built?

        Dr. Plattner’s blog could’ve been educational if it did not lead with this phrase:

        It is amazing to me how little the benefits of the Suite on HANA are understood or even known in general and by the members of the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group specifically

        Insulting the large group of your readers from the start has never been a good way to get any message across. (By the way, is there some kind of publicist or a PR person on staff at SAP? I think they need to get one stat.)

        I don’t even understand how does one read the members respond that they have no business case or money for HANA (at the time of survey) and arrive at the conclusion that they have no knowledge of HANA. What could be the train of thought here?

        John, you might be defending SAP on a wrong charge here. πŸ™‚ No one is suggesting that HANA is a bad product. But I don’t know how else to explain that SAP is clearly misreading the survey results and are only further alienating their customer base by continuing not to listen. Although it’s probably hard to listen while beating their own drum so loud…

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        1. Joao Sousa

          I wouldnt say phrase was an insult to the customers, the problem is that message should be internal, targeted at the sales and marketing teams. “Ours customers don’t know the benefits of HANA I can’t believe it!”. It’s SAP’s problem not the customers, which shows some arrogance.

          And it should be clear by looking at SCN why the customers don’t know the benefits. The amount of focus on speed, cloud and XS largely surpasses Suite on HANA, and when they talk about it they use strange new and fancy names that people don’t even relate to the suite. Simple Financials, is ECC on HANA? I don’t know, and apparently nobody can give me a straight answer.

          Thinking this is a customers problem shows how much SAP is used to being the market leader instead of a new player (in the DB space). Arrogance doesn’t get you many friends.

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        2. John Appleby

          Playing devil’s advocate and offering an alternative lens on the world. No defense going on here πŸ™‚

          The logic is: if you understood HANA, you’d find the business case, allocate budget, spend the money, and get a better running business.

          I think the key issue is that customers still don’t understand HANA. ASUG and partners clearly think this is SAP’s responsibility.

          Personally I think it’s more subtle than this – innovation is the responsibility of a partnership between customer and vendor. Perhaps it is the breakdown of this partnership which is really the problem?

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            1. John Appleby

              No, but I do happen to think the Dior dress is just as horrible a metaphor as the Porsche πŸ™‚

              I remember when a company I worked for decided to do an inclusive marketing event, so they did London Fashion Week. The female managers invited female customers. It was just about as inclusive as a KKK party.

              Thing is – databases are going in-memory, just like cars got fuel injectors. First, fuel injectors, radios, air conditioning. Early on, those features were the realm of high-performance and exotic cars, but now they are mainstream.

              Dior and Porsche will never be mainstream.

              By the way perhaps Dior isn’t your designer. πŸ™‚

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              1. Steve Rumsby

                Early on, those features were the realm of high-performance and exotic cars, but now they are mainstream.


                Exactly. And that process took a long time. My current car is the first one I’ve owned that has ABS. How long has ABS been around on more upmarket cars? But I’ve not needed an upmarket car so I’ve not had ABS until now.


                We will all get there, but it will take a while. Some of us will always be mainstream, and will therefore only pick up HANA when it is mainstream. That’s not today. And telling us we’re wrong not to want ABS right now isn’t going to help.


                Like I said above (or below, actually, but earlier, anyway), patience is required…


                And all these metaphors, whether cars or dresses, aren’t helping either. Why not just stick to talking about the product itself?

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                1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

                  Steve Rumsby wrote:


                  And all these metaphors, whether cars or dresses, aren’t helping either. Why not just stick to talking about the product itself?

                  Hey, blame SAP – they started with the metaphors. πŸ™‚ I wouldn’t object at all talking about the product though, as long as there is more in the conversation than the marketing hype. Someone signed Vaidhya posted a very thorough and valid comment on the Hasso Plattner’s blog. I’m wondering if we could persuade him/her to write more on that on SCN.

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                  1. Steve Rumsby

                    I know, and to be fair in my opinion your dress analogy is a better one than the horse/car analogy. The more I think about it, though, the more I realise that dropping the analogies and talking about the actual product isn’t the answer either. There’s been enough of that already. What’s needed instead? Blog in preparation… πŸ™‚

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          1. Joao Sousa

            That assumes that customers feel SAP is a true partner instead of just a software vendor.

            Partnership isn’t just a word, there has to real follow through. I find that people use that word too loosely today.

            Would be interesting to know the percentage of customer that actually see SAP as a partner.

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            1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

              Joao, according to Dr. Plattner’s blog, SAP is actually “trusted advisor”. I almost spilled my coffee on this one but decided not to comment purely out of respect. πŸ™‚

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              1. Joao Sousa

                I don’t think its disrespectful to address it. Its a critical step towards understanding what is wrong, because if SAP believes it is still a “trusted advisor” after some fiascos like Sybase or BPS/IP/Outlooksoft or WDJ/WDA they will not understand the non-innovators (I discovered in this blog I don’t love innovation since I haven’t used HANA, oh well….).

                I’m sure some SAP employees are still trusted advisor, that is beyond doubt, but SAP as a company has lost a lot of credibility and trust with some of their disastrous roadmaps.

                Would be a good question for lhe next ASUG survey.  Do you see SAP as a trusted partner?

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      3. Steve Rumsby

        He (and others, in my opinion) can’t imagine why a horse owner wouldn’t want to buy a car.

        That, I suggest, is because their view is blinkered (pardon the expression). Yes, if you travel hundreds of miles regularly a car would be obviously better. If your journeys are short a horse might be more cost effective. Or a bicycle. Or a bus. Personally my daily commute is done on foot – doing it by car would cost a lot more for little benefit.


        If you spend your life designing Porsches obviously you would like everyone to have one. And maybe we would all like one – they are fast and look pretty, for sure. But we don’t all need one, and certainly can’t all afford one. At least not yet. Perhaps when our current mode of transport is due to be replaced we’ll think about it, but we’re not all going to change our replacement schedules just because there’s a supercar about. And maybe we’ll need a range of Porsches to choose from, not just the 911 GT3.


        I do believe we’re getting to the point where HANA in some form is the right choice for greenfield implementations. I don’t believe we’re yet at the point where existing implementations should all start switching now. Some SAP systems will be running on non-HANA DBs for many more years. Some people need a little more patience…




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  10. John Moy

    Hi Jelena, I must admit I haven’t been as active on SCN lately (mainly because I lost control of my old account), but this post was worth my while to find my new credentials to log in and congratulate you on another enjoyable post.  I absolutely love your writing style, and at a time when I seem to be skipping SCN posts that look like marketing disguised as blogs, your posts stand out for me.

    I must say though, I’ve seen a BW on HANA implementation and I wish it was as easy as putting on a Dior dress (although I must admit I have yet to try to put on a Dior dress 😏 ).  The number of OSS notes alone which either required manual changes or referenced a patch which didn’t yet exist made me wonder if the stitching was all quite in place.

    Regards

    John

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Thanks, John! I’ve heard some ‘red carpet’ dresses actually have to be stitched in while on the customer to fit perfectly, so this might as well be very similar to your BW experience. πŸ™‚

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  11. Vineet Gupta

    Beautiful presentation. Your meeting definitely deserves a visit from the big wigs if they are seriously listening to their customers.

    HANA might do better as the Levi’s jeans than the Dior dress. Simple convenient and works well for a common man or a celebrity. 

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Vineet, I agree and I’m sure that eventually this will happen. And naturally, the adoption rate of Levi’s jeans will surpass that of the Dior couture. It’s a no-brainer IMHO.

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  12. Carsten Nitschke

    Hi Jelena,

    I like very much the blog and the way to wrote it. Since I am looking at it from the inside I might be biased by definition.

    I find quite a lot of times that customers think of HANA as Speed only (I would have a clear idea where that comes from). It is up to us to make them then understand how this speed can be important if it were just that. There are many more things that come into play and actually more and more participants of the SAP ecosystem are now helping customers to see the intrinsic value which can be driven. Funny enough most of the customer / prospects I am seeing do not have the same drivers for a possible project. So creativity is needed.

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  13. vinnie mirchandani

    I think your use of Dior is very appropriate. Dior aims for the high end of the market and does not try to be everything to everyone – and certainly does not bad mouth customers who consider it haute couture and out of their budget

    Part of the HANA challenge is there is not much it does not claim to do. In a press release SAP said

    The platform provides libraries for predictive, planning, text processing, spatial and business analytics. By providing advanced capabilities, such as predictive text analytics, spatial processing and data virtualization on the same architecture, it further simplifies application development and processing across big-data sources and structures

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  14. Leonardo De Araujo

    Awesome job.

    I believe only now the pitch is starting to touch a convincing point about transition to HANA. It is about business value. Technology is, sorry for being frank, just an enabler. Enabling nothing (no business value) means nothing for customers.

    For me the big game changer is the merge of the business suite. This is enabled now by the amazing technology foundation put in place.

    Once a customer that runs SCM CRM and ERP in a very complex landscape can get rid of a 3rd of its IT Support cost by having CRM and SCM as simple modules of a larger ERP, sharing the same data model, THEN and only THEN, the business value will be clear as water.

    We are getting there. Hasso’s Blog even talks about this convergence. Maybe a little far still, but a great end-state-vision nevertheless.

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  15. Derek Loranca

    Great job!.  Since we’re talking memes, I made this one before SAP Inside Track Newtown Square 2013 and since I’ve seen the comments about overzealous HANA marketing, I thought it was only fitting!!

    HANA Salespitch.png

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      1. Derek Loranca

        Hmm…now that would be something.  Something AWESOME!!

        BTW- I saw that Hasso replied to you on his blog.  I am glad to see that there’s ongoing discussion and folks are handling it professionally.

        I was OK with Steve Lucas’ response, even the car analogy. I understand that there needs to be a balance of marketing and bravado.  Unfortunately, the first point of Hasso’s blog set a tone that I couldn’t recover from.  Instead of reading his remaining 12 points clearly- I was already put off by being told ‘how little’ I knew, so the remaining points were just lecture notes rather than educational. (There are some good points upon second glance and in his comment replies.)

        What gets me is the confrontational tone that vendors take nowadays (not just SAP, seems to be everywhere).  I’m not looking to have sunshine and roses, but to engage in an informational dialog that I can use to make the best (and informed) recommendation.  Tell me that I ‘know little’, rather than ask yourself why I don’t know enough to make the recommendation?  That gets filed under the ‘helpfulness’ of the vendor.  The less helpful you are now, the less helpful you’ll likely be if we do buy your product. 

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        1. Susan Keohan

          Derek,

          Exactly.  If you call out your customers for being stupid in the first paragraph, don’t be surprised if they don’t continue to read the next 12 points, no matter how excellent they are.

          Sue

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  16. Amit Sinha

    hi – this is a good post and thread.


    Listening and doing the right things for the HANA community has been a personal and team priority  e.g. education/certification challenges (e.g. birth of HANA MOOC, HANA Academy), free HANA trials on AWS (BW, now Suite), getting the HANA Cloud Platform vision and delivery aligned, pricing on HANA, Tailored data center options, virtualization of HANA etc etc all came from our shared interaction…so i leave it to you to judge how much we listen to you ( ps: we do!).


    Hasso comes from a point of passion / knowledge about HANA so I think we can engage with him on his blog both on tone and content. I am sure he welcomes that – those who have debated with him have found it worth the time many times over.

    Re: Hugging it out – ASUG and SAP have worked together on this survey in a very collaborative way contrary to what the perception is. We take this seriously and listen. I “love” our partnership and ability to work on real issues together.

    ASUG/SAP have met several times and partnered on the survey design, review of results and implementation of the feedback. The survey includes the official SAP response what we are doing about it (check Page 18!). The survey is very balanced in its findings. For instance – I found it interesting that in just 3 years, a lot of customers have adopted HANA (40%) and found amazing cost/business value. The error on the 75% stat has been spoken of earlier in the thread so I wont repeat. So the insight is to connect people who have adopted with a good return on investment with those who are looking to learn from early patterns of adoption.


    We also recognize that HANA is moving from early stage tech enthusiasts to more main-stream adoption – hence we are focused on sharing its business value via concrete case studies from customers together with ASUG. We have put together ASUG sessions with customers who have adopted for those in their membership who are working on business justification. Hence there is a whole series of calls and blog posts on business value from live customers, pricing updates and a new effort to communicate roadmap by customer use case (vs. SAP product). Lets pay attention to that too. All this is an outcome of deep listening (not la la la Jelena ) and collaboration with ASUG.


    Rest assured – we are listening and working on every aspect of making HANA’s business value, cost and access simple. We are also meeting with the ASUG board soon to share plans to remove any obstacles. More on this at decode or sooner (early Oct)!  thanks for your passion and support.

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Amit Sinha wrote:

      ASUG and SAP have worked together on this survey in a very collaborative way contrary to what the perception is. We take this seriously and listen.

      Amit, thank you for a response! But in such case I’m very confused why the blogs I’ve mentioned implied that the survey respondents were not knowledgeable enough. (From the comments to this blog, I see it’s not just me who got that impression.) It doesn’t seem an effective way to maintain the dialogue…

      As I’ve mentioned, perhaps there should be some PR person to advise the senior SAP management on public communications. An unfortunate choice of verbiage can make all the difference in the readers’ perception and when it comes from the executive level the impact is so much bigger.

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      1. Amit Sinha

        Hi Jelena – I could not agree more.

        SAP worked with ASUG to design, execute and implement feedback – work on this was very collaborative and set up as an end to end program with 3 steps to 1) listen/seek feedback via survey and then 2) conduct the survey 3) work to implement the feedback (e.g. The next phase of this work is ASUG showcasing customers who are working /finding value. I really hope people see this effort.

        Geoff Scott@ASUG CEO believes that ASUG is a partner to drive adoption of new innovation – this is amazing to hear and work with him / ASUG team. I can count 100s of emails and hours of shared work to formulate questions that genuinely seek the exact status of HANA adoption and what can do to improve. I think we are ahead of most companies with regard to robustness of our collaboration model.

        What happened is this –  few media outlets and bloggers ran with the wrong headline ( the famously incorrect stat of 75% , as someone who has worked closely with 200+ companies personally at huge personal cost on family time I am not happy at how this study got characterized and perpetuated by all who read the wrong headlines, including many from SAP, we often believe what we read as facts in this day of google alerts and tweets, recently I was asked about this stat on an internal meeting for example). I asked one blogger who wrote an amazing ” takedown” and planted victory flag on social circles if he read the survey – the answer was NO. He said he did NOT NEED TO and quoted other news items. Moreover this study is not available publicly ( u have to be an ASUG member with login) that makes truth harder to expose.

        I take the feedback on marketing / PR – We will do better in our tone/verbiage, my apologies as some of us were reacting to incorrect information.

        Cheers

        Amit

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        1. vinnie mirchandani

          Amit, think you are being too sensitive to whoever told you they did not read it

          Influential documents like the ASUG survey take a life of their own. A customer sent me a copy – I am not an ASUG member either – knowing I am working on a book on the SAP economy. The world needs more customer pov like the doc summarized.

          It’s stuff someone like a Gartner should have done and in the vacuum glad ASUG stepped in. I complimented Geoff about it.

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          1. Amit Sinha

            Vinnie – e.g. when incorrect pictures of wrongly identified perps were being sent around for the Boston Bomber few good people stepped up and corrected it  and the right perps were caught. I want us as a community to debate but I am “sensitive” about half truths / selective data from anyone. BTW – I checked with 5 bloggers/commentators/media – 4 did not have a copy and 1 had it but did not read it as he was covering another conference.

            ASUG on the other hand was a great partner, they worked with us and kept the stream of webcasts up to discuss the survey results ( we joined them on that call), followed by customers, patiently handled the executive escalations we had on our side and conducted pricing related sessions on HANA.

            Re: Gartner – their recent data management MQ is pretty well balanced, we scored last in current generation DB architectures (amongst the big 4) – I put up a good defence but they did not budge as their customer poll was conducted independently and confidentially, but we were the in the First place by far on the next generation data platform. Yay!

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            1. vinnie mirchandani

              Amit as a former gartner analyst I can confirm they do more than magic quadrants. An influential customer survey like that is what Gartner should be doing but it would be controversial so easy to avoid

              Specific to the MQ you mention I personally thought it was muddled


              If you  are looking at legacy OLTP market share tough to argue with RDBMS dominance and IBM, MS and Oracle in top right, but then SAP and Teradata are a stretch


              if it is innovation driven, Hadoop, not just Cloudera and HP Vertica should be way ahead

              and even Amazon for making large data crunching possible over cloud…




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  17. John Moy

    I feel that part of the reason why customers haven’t collectively jumped onto the HANA story instantly is that SAP has over the past decade or more irritated customers

    with changes in strategy, technology, and approaches that have left customers in a distrustful state, and with deprecated investments.  Obviously I have seen it from the technological angle.  Remember

    the forced march into Java? (I still recall being at a TechEd where Shai Agassi proclaimed that for SAP, ‘Java is the language for the UI’ … and then back to ABAP? 

    And for those of you who are not aware, Java <> JavaScript).  And what about the promise that Web Dynpro would ‘future proof’ your UI investment? (yes folks, SAP

    included mobiles in their slides about this future proofing).  And the recommendation that all stacks should be dual stack (ABAP + Java), only to have that

    recommendation reversed a few years later?  Or what about the story that MAM will be your mobile maintenance solution? … no actually scrap that, purchase Sybase

    Unwired instead … no scrap that, buy Syclo its much better (and lets kinda obfuscate the changes by rebranding the whole lot as SAP Mobile Platform) … but wait what do you mean your users are

    constantly connected? … we now have these HTML5 solutions called ‘Fiori’ instead now … but they cost money …. oh wait, guess what now they are free … but actually

    you might need HANA to be able to search your data or visualise analytics with these Fiori apps.  It reminds me of a customer I know who decided to be a good SAP

    citizen and jumped on the HANA bandwagen with BW on HANA.  Imagine their annoyance at being told that with Fiori apps, you need HANA for the Fact Sheep and Analytics

    apps (double annoyance when you are told BW on HANA isn’t enough to visualise Fiori Analytics), but shorry BW on HANA isn’t enough (but thanks for your loyalty and helping

    to fund our R&D), you need to speak to our account executive to buy Suite on HANA.  Of course, we could go on. 

    Essentially in my opinion over the years SAP has made strong withdrawals from the emotional trust bank of SAP customers.  Trust needs to be rebuilt and earned, and this takes time. 

    Unfortunately for SAP some of the new competitive kids on the block (such as the cloud competitors) don’t suffer from this legacy. To illustrate further the lack of

    trust … I heard from an SAP executive their story at being at an Australian SAP user group conference just recently and asking the audience (of around 500) how many of them saw

    themselves as innovators.  He said nobody raised their hands.  When he asked how many saw themselves as leaders, about 3 people raised their hands.  And when he asked

    how many saw themselves as followers, pretty much everyone raised their hands.  I’m not thinking Australia is that backward (after all, look at the proportion of SAP

    Mentors who come from this land).  I just think customers have been conditioned to be wary of SAP’s promises.  But when you think of just some of the examples I quoted earlier, it’s not surprising really, is it?  I’m sure no doubt HANA is a ground breaking offering and will one day be across a large proportion of SAP sites … it’s just that, like others commenting on this blog, it might not happen as quickly as SAP would like.

    Cheers

    John

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    1. Leonardo De Araujo

      Very good point John.

      Just let me add another important point. Customers are wayyyyyy behind the innovation curve. Fault of SAP not being able to bring customers along? Too fast pace of innovation ? or customers are wary?

      Either way, the reality today is:

      – Very very few webdynpro apps are built and used;

      – Largely customers rely on SAPGUI;

      – Almost inexistent use of NWBC;

      – Few customers are activating business functions in EHP…(not aware?)

      – The vast majority of IT support costs go to maintain SD, MM its business processes and its user-exits.

      – Still a lot of money is spent in SAPSCRIPT forms.

      Don’t get me wrong. I love the innovation brought by SAP in the last 15 years. We just need to keep focus on business value so customers can follow along.

      That is the focus of my work.

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      1. Joao Sousa

        In some ways it’s a “too fast pace of innovation”. I’ve tried to use NWBC in at least two go-lives, but in the end I went back to SAP Gui. Why? Because it wasn’t stable enough. I kept getting situations where I closed a tab and the tab hung (for example). Put a OSS Note? No, don’t expect me to do your work! I’m not a beta tester.

        I do development in Webdynpro, but the way the framework is built can lead to a performance decrease in medium latency scenarios. I try to push webdynpro, but I get a few skeptical responses due to bad experience with user interaction, but it is slower with all those server-requests. This is a real problem.

        Adobe Forms is in my view awesome from a development point of view, but again it’s not reliable. I’ve had several situations were ADS fails for some reason, and I thought “This wouldn’t have happened with Smartforms”….

        I don’t know the reason why newer components seem to be less reliable then the core ERP, maybe they are just newer and need time to adjust but that was also the feedback I got from HANA setups, that a year ago it was a OSS notefest. We are talking about some seriously expensive software, and SAP seems not to put enough effort into QA, and expect their customer to “debug” some of the problems.

        In SAP Retail, I was on 7.4 SP2, and jumped to SP5 on one of the components (don’t remeber which). The system stop working! I later found out that a class had been completly replaced, and the method where the dump was being thrown had a comment “TODO: Maybe add error handling”. This is production code, and we have a piece of code with TODO, and “Maybe add error handling”? This is unnacceptable and SAP should really start looking to itself to find reasons for low customers upgrades. This was a SP, not a EhP, and it broke my system.

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      2. Matt Fraser

        This is certainly us. We are absolutely swamped with production support, so our capacity for rolling out big changes is very limited. It’s not that we don’t want to; we do! But meanwhile there’s a SAPscript that needs adjustment, and that old ABAP Z report that 90% of our users rely on every single day for their budget reporting needs a tweak, and HR wants another report on the latest sub-subcategory of employee ethnicity for a new mandatory state reporting requirement, and the fiscal year end just resulted in the usual annual turnover of employees and therefore users, and oh! there’s a mandatory SAPGUI upgrade that needs to be distributed to about a thousand users across a hundred different remote sites, and the help desk is asking whether it’s ok to reset passwords when they see “initial password expired; account locked” because they haven’t seen that message before, and that “shadow” IT group that works for facilities maintenance just implemented a new construction management system and are demanding a dozen interfaces by tomorrow, and don’t forget to work on that case study justifying all these big projects we don’t have time or money for. Oh, wait, that was a business function from EhP4 that we never turned on? Imagine that.

        I would love to implement HANA, and Fiori, and Personas. Hell, I’d love to implement PI and BW, but we haven’t even done that. But we’re doing a study, and making a five-year plan, so who knows?

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    2. Gretchen Lindquist

      John Moy wrote:

      I feel that part of the reason why customers haven’t collectively jumped onto the HANA story instantly is that SAP has over the past decade or more irritated customers

      with changes in strategy, technology, and approaches that have left customers in a distrustful state, and with deprecated investments.

      Liked” is not strong enough.

      +100

      Gretchen

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  18. Henrique Pinto

    Hi Jelena,

    as an SAP Employee actively engaged in the HANA Go-to-Market, I’d like to, first of all, thank you very much for taking your time into writing this masterpiece blog. A lot of folks from SAP looking at this might go wrong and assume this is just another bash-your-vendor kind of publication. But being a fellow SAP Mentor, I do understand where you’re coming from and that you took the time to put this piece together willing to provide your honest opinion and with the intention of truly helping SAP to understand its (our) customers better. I really appreciate that.

    The ASUG survey and the spin-offs of the whole thing, such as your blog, have definitely changed the way I approach customers today. While the consequences of the survey haven’t reached my market (Latin America) as much as the US or Europe, I personally took it into consideration to understand better what our customers are expecting from us and how we can serve them (you) better. In that regard, it was a very powerful tool for my day-to-day job, and I daresay it’s a consequence of what I believe is probably one of the most open vendor/customer relationships in the Enterprise Software world. I haven’t seen many other examples of a company reacting so fiercely to customer feedback as SAP has in the last years: think maintenance fee back in 2008/09 and the Freeori case more recently, just to name a few.

    One thing I’d like to point out, though, that has been bugging me and that I just couldn’t keep shut about, is the fallacy of the comparison between the buying decision of consumer goods and a corporate piece of technology. (You don’t need to remind me who started with the cars or dresses analogies. πŸ˜‰ ) Unfortunately, the marketplace is not so forgiving on companies who are sub-optimal on their value chain as compared to friends gossiping about the one who came to the party with a second grade dress or dudes in the country club commenting about the one guy who doesn’t have a sportscar. The companies reinventing themselves is not an option in today’s competitive, globalized world, and everything that has been said about new SW companies threatening SAP’s turf with easier, innovative solutions also holds true to whatever company everyone commenting here works for.

    And that’s exactly our job. SAP is not a software house, our business is to help companies to be more relevant in their markets. And we truly believe there is no other way around that than going through all of your business processes and constantly thinking: how can we do this better. That’s not something you do once in 5 years when you upgrade your ERP system or once a year during the budgetary planning round. It’s something that every single employee of any company in today’s world need to do on a daily basis. That’s what innovation is about. The software pieces we put together are just there as a ground base to support this innovation process to take place. We’re passionate about HANA, make no mistake, because we know for a fact that it can help that innovation take place on the business process level better than any other solution in the world.

    I completely understand John Moy‘s point about SAP losing a lot of its street credit due to bad technology decisions in the latest years, believe me, I do. Having been a NetWeaver consultant myself for a long time, I’ve felt all of those shifts in SAP technology stack in the latest years on my own skin. However, there is no room for pride in business. A company cannot settle for the second best platform, that will lead to suboptimal business processes, because they dislike the vendor of the best one. Different from dresses or cars, no one buys enterprise software out of impulse (or at least no one should). Every new decision round needs to come with a meticulous evaluation of all details relevant to the company’s business. What I’m trying to say is: please, bare with us just for a little longer, so we can demonstrate what adopting HANA really means in terms of benefits. HANA is on a completely different level in terms of corporate strategy and investments than any other SAP technology stack, ever. We’re not adapting it to SAP’s application stack; for the first time in the company’s 42 years history, the applications are being adapted to the technology stack. SAP’s whole portfolio is being rewritten to not just run on HANA, but they were completely redesigned bottom-up on a new, optimal architecture  that only HANA enables. It has come to stay, and a decision towards HANA is something SAP will make sure no one regrets. There won’t ever be a kiss of death for HANA, that’s for sure. πŸ˜‰

    As a final remark, I’d like to propose a simple exercise to everyone reading this. Please, go through the whole ASUG survey report again, but read it replacing every single occurrence of the word “HANA” for “innovation”. Do you honestly feel that the conclusions would be so different? There’s no need to answer here, just do it as a mental process. Maybe, what we’re seeing here is not a difficulty to adopt HANA as a platform, but a difficulty to justify innovation in itself. We know it because we’re going through it right now. SAP is having to reinvent itself to remain relevant in its business, and that’s why we honestly believe we can help our customers to do the same. Of course, not all market segments are as dynamic as the software industry, but whoever thinks they are safe to do things in the same way they’ve always done, are destined to fail. Timing might be different (we hear ya!) but the necessity to change will arrive for everyone.

    Best regards,

    Henrique.

    /wp-content/uploads/2014/09/yunoloveinnovation_539262.jpg

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    1. Custodio de Oliveira

      Hi Henrique,

      This is a great reply, thanks for that. Just one thing: I don’t think it’s wise to promise no kiss of death for HANA. It will almost certainly come. Probably will take much longer than 10 or 20 years, but it will come (but who cares? we’ll all be retired πŸ™‚ ).

      Cheers.

      Custodio

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    2. Joao Sousa

      SAP is having to reinvent itself to remain relevant in its business, and that’s why we honestly believe we can help our customers to do the same.

      I still don’t get this. SAP ECC is an awesome product, and even if SAP didn’t have anything else it would be a huge company. If SAP took all the money it has invested in “current fad” products like Sybase, which it basically discarted (ironically, what is left is IQ), and put it into your bread and butter, you could continue to make a better and better ERP and I bet you wouldn’t lose your customer base.

      Your customers aren’t really buying into your innovation, but they aren’t replacing SAP either (and least significantly). And yet, it seems SAP stopped investing in it’s most loved product, while being obsessed with the Cloud Platform.

      I have a problem agreeing with this phrase from the DSAG survey:

      That won’t last forever and as the trend to more standard software for back office ERP continues, SAP’s ability to differentiate will wither.

      I started working is SAP ten year ago, and I noticed a significant increase in development costs in the last few year, a shift from trying to adapt the company to the standard (people bought SAP in order to adapt their processes), to a trend of adapting SAP to them. Is there a study that proves this “standard first” trend?

      Maybe this is anecdotal and completly opposite from the real global trend, but I find it hard to believe that customer will suddenly go back to the standard processes with little to no development.

      SAP is struggling to adapt to a cloud first world, but I’m still not convinced the cloud world applies to all types of software, and a ERP is the core of the company. Sales processes need to be agile and flexible, but they are also relatively simple. Financial processes need to auditable.

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      1. Henrique Pinto

        Joao Sousa wrote:

        SAP is having to reinvent itself to remain relevant in its business, and that’s why we honestly believe we can help our customers to do the same.

        I still don’t get this. SAP ECC is an awesome product, and even if SAP didn’t have anything else it would be a huge company. If SAP took all the money it has invested in “current fad” products like Sybase, which it basically discarted (ironically, what is left is IQ), and put it into your bread and butter, you could continue to make a better and better ERP and I bet you wouldn’t lose your customer base.

        This is a romantic view. I wish it was like that, but unfortunately the ERP business is declining in the whole world. Just get the SAP financial reports from the last 5 years and check for the ERP section. Or if you don’t want to take SAP’s word for it, check Oracle’s or Infor’s. You’ll see the trend is global.

        Your customers aren’t really buying into your innovation, but they aren’t replacing SAP either (and least significantly).

        Why do you think that?

        More than 50% of SAP revenue is already due to products in the innovation portfolio.

        40% of the surveyed customers had already adopted HANA, BO and others have an even larger adoption rate.

        And yet, it seems SAP stopped investing in it’s most loved product, while being obsessed with the Cloud Platform.

        Are you really following what’s happening in the SAP world?

        SAP is investing more in ERP development since HANA came out than in the 10 years before. That doesn’t mean necessarily that you’ll get EHP8+, I’m talking about a full-fledged new ERP system that will revolutionize IT as much as R/3 did back in 1992. R/3 was so well made that the core architecture remains until today, in ERP 6.0 EhP7. But it’s time for a change, this 20+ years architecture won’t hold for the next 20 years. That’s what sERP is about.

        From a SAP consultancy/professional perspective, I do understand it’s a terrifying moment: “Will my skills still be relevant?” ” Will I have to relearn everything?? I already paid so much for <insert module here> academy!” etc. But I’m sure it will be easy peasy compared to what the mainframe people went through when the client-server architecture came out.

        ERP and Cloud are not excludent terms. ERP is the component, Cloud is the deployment model. Having the ERP on the Cloud, paid through a subscription model, is just how the world is evolving and requiring the SW to be like. Perpetual licenses are not a good business model, compared to a monthly subscription, and any company insisting on it will perish. That’s what innovation means for SAP, we’re transforming both our products (that’s the easy part) and the business model (that’s the hard part).

        Best regards,

        Henrique.

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        1. Joao Sousa

          I guess I will have to dig through to find how SAP is doing more then 50% of their revenue from “innovations” products.

          You keep mixing technology which is just an enabler with functionality. I don’t have a problem with a Cloud ERP (and don’t care what you have to do to enable it), I do have a hard time believing that the companies will accept standard processes with zero development when even SAP has failed to convince then over the last 20 years. People are clinging to SAP GUI, but you see no other way other then revinventing everything. Maybe they use GUI because it works, and that’s what matters.

          As for the Cloud, if it is really the only future (I disagree but whatever), the underlying platform HANA should be selling it self. If.a cloud ERP is that critical to SAP survival, what is the point of all this HANA marketing? I don’t get this, it’s like Google trying to convince it’s services users, that their DB (which they never get to touch), it the best thing since sliced bread.

          Or the future is HANA XS? Cloud is the future, but doing what? SAP’s strengh was integration, and I see this worrying shift towards separated product for each “module” with SF, Ariba, Simple Financials? I do hope SAP doesn’t go the an app for each department route.

          Regarding sERP, the problem with the suite at least from my experience isn’t the separated servers, its the functionality. SAP CRM loses constantly to SalesForce and CRM Dynamics, because the customer prefer those products. And not because they are cloud based, I’ve had customer prefer CRM Dynamics on premise due to regulatory concerns. It improves things, but unless SAP plans to give away CRM for free……I don’t believe it will change much.

          The consultant comment is just an easy dismissal. People are skeptic = they are worried about losing their jobs or something. Actually I work with other technologies, I’m a iOS/Android developer, I do Microsoft development, I will learn HANA and keep investing in SAPUI5 … not really a problem from my end.

          PS: Finally did the 8 step HANA app, now with a Windows PC (please SAP, test your Mac versions better, there a lot of people out there that develop on a Mac). If I was connected to a SAP ECC 7.4 running on HANA, would I have access to BKPF and BSEG in the same way I access the EPMDEMO db?

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          1. Henrique Pinto

            You do realize that, from a business size perspective, platforms sell way more than readymade applications, right? There is nothing in wanting to go into both businesses.

            And sERP is not about merging ERP & CRM and other components. It’s about redefining all the business processes (and underlying functions & data models) from scratch. It’s “R/4” if I may. CRM has nothing to do with it. Maybe in the new architecture, there won’t even be a need for a separate CRM system, maybe there will be, I do not know at this point.

            As for the Mac compatibility, I’m with you. I’m a Mac user myself.

            What 8 step is that? Is it based on HANA Studio?
            Notice that from HANA rev82 onwards, SAP provides a Mac version for HANA Studio.

            Cheers,

            Henrique.

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            1. Joao Sousa

              Platforms sell way more but for less money and I do admit that HANA XS is a better platform then others from SAP. I just think the focus should be on “Get ECC on HANA, and you get this awesome platform as a bonus”. Are there many clients that use HANA XS without having SAP as a ERP?

              And what is sERP about? The mythical R/4 is not really an satisfying answer, and customers should be worried about that roadmap. I mentioned CRM because Hasso used the example that HANA would allow a single server, which I admit is a benefit, although a minor one (if licensing is still separated). And again in the Cloud world we are moving to, it doesn’t really matter, because the hardware is transparent.

              It was the 8 steps application example available in HANA Cloud. I do like how easy it is to expose the database through OData, something that is much more complicated in Gateway. In a Surface Pro it worked.

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              1. Henrique Pinto

                sERP is what I just said, redefining ERP from scratch in much simpler, faster processes. It is not mystical, the first deliverable from sERP is already available, search for SFIN, it’s available in help.sap.com. Search for Hasso’s keynote in SAPphire 2014, when he talks about BKPF & BSEG, how the whole FI & CO modules depend basically on fact data coming from those two tables. SFIN is about redefining the whole FI & CO processes to work on data summarized/aggregated/calculated on the fly, based on underlying basic data coming from those two tables. SLOG is the same for MM & SD, etc., etc. sFIN + sLOG + S… = sERP.

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                1. Joao Sousa

                  This is what I don’t get, you talk about redefining ERP from scratch with simpler faster processes, but then you talk about simplification of the data model and how we will only use two tables.

                  To me this is not.a redefinition from scratch, since the end user will keep using the same transactions. Or will he? That’s was confusing while seeing the SImple Finance presentation, are the transactions changing or only the data model?

                  If it is only a change to the data model the only people who will care or even understand are the developers and technical CIOs.

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                  1. Stephen Johannes

                    Funny the conversations drifted towards sERP.  I sat in a great presentation given by SAP (last friday’s Saint Louis ASUG meeting) on simple finanance given by SAP, that focused on the business case and less about the HANA technical details.  It was very impressive and the solution was presented as solving a “business problem with HANA” instead of making the world go faster.  In fact most of the technical details were “glossed over”.  The majority of the audience were in finance and our presenter from SAP did a great job of showing business value over development details.

                    It was the type of solution that makes me wish that I could see the other simple solutions beyond finance, because this new approach is amazing since we are looking at all the parts together instead of individual technologies.

                    Take care,

                    Stephen

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                      1. Joao Sousa

                        It really should be that simple. The example you give of the demo to CFOs is great and most people don’t need to know what’s under the hood, just that the functionally will be available if they do X and Y.

                        The problem is when you mix HANA with the Cloud. Can I have Simple Finance on premise? How does Simple Finance integrate with Non Simple Logistics? Those are the questions I have yet to find the answer to, and that should be perfectly clear.

                        Maybe all this is explained somewhere, but I’ve yet to find it.

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                    1. Leonardo De Araujo

                      Completely agree.

                      I think most are understanding now that customers simple don’t care (at all) about speed, about columnar stores and much less about cold and hot storage. Nerds and Geeks do, but that is another story (I am part of that too…).

                      CEOs and CIOs care ONLY about ROI.

                      sFIN is starting to nail this problem. The business value is starting to get clear.

                      Lets continue on that path. Once we finally have merged CRM SCM and ERP under one system that shares the same data model, THEN we will have a VERY compelling business reason to move over.

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        2. Jānis B

          Well, what about the 20+ years old, dirty, maintained to near death code..? The way I understand the following:

          Not unlike R/3, where we kept the R/2 functionality intact, sERP keeps the current functionality, the data, and the configuration largely unchanged. Most of the applications are completely read-only and therefore we can have new functionality in parallel without any risk of impacting the data integrity.”

          we can look forward to another 20 years of SAP Business Partner done in BDT technology. Which means that what I consider one of my main skillsets – “finding some way to make the darn thing work for the ladies in billing department, any way possible if need be,” is staying very much relevant πŸ™‚

          cheers

          Janis

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    3. Ramana Krothapalli

      Hmm,

      If I don’t buy HANA, I am not innovative.I did not realize that. Sorry. I understand that SAP is rebuilding applications ground up. I will solemnly swear to upgrade and pay extra at that time to use those applications. In the meantime, I will buy HANA right now to pay for the development costs that SAP is incurring right now in an endeavor to help us in future.

      Sorry for being nasty, but I represent those who feel the carrot on a stick dangling in the front.

      Sincerely,

      Ramana

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      1. Amit Sinha

        ramana – absolutely not – there so so many other ways to deliver value / innovation – mobile, cloud platforms, big data, IOT…. also I think HANA is not the main innovation for the customer it is the use case e.g. a recent BIG VALUE use case –  SK Solutions is working with construction companies to enable their constructions sites – using sensors to locate and schedule construction equipment (cranes/trucks) while avoiding collisions using sensors on machines (architecture is SQLA on the edge / edge servers from Cisco and backend database that can respond in real time – hence HANA was a good choice). Innovation is always in the use case.

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      2. Henrique Pinto

        Hi Ramana,

        I believe you (and all the others who had the same conclusion) are committing a logical sophism.

        I said “maybe, replacing ‘HANA’ by ‘innovation’ might hold true”, meaning, if you don’t have a viable justification for innovation in general, for sure you won’t be able to justify HANA. In other words, no Innovation -> no HANA.

        What you’re saying is that if you don’t implement HANA, you’re not innovative, in other words: no HANA -> no Innovation.

        I do not intend to go into logic details here, but “if A then B” does not infer “if B then A”. So, no, I did not say what you said. I was merely saying that the the set of companies who haven’t implemented HANA is probably a subset of the set of companies who can’t innovate.

        Best regards,

        Henrique.

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    4. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Henrique, thank you for a thorough response. In all honesty, I was a bit worried when I saw you commented but am really glad you could see my blog exactly for what it was. (And yes, it took quite an effort because the initial version was 3 times longer and 10 times more sarcastic.)

      Tried very hard but found very little to disagree with you on. πŸ™‚ Not sure it’s fair to paint “HANA non-adopters” as “anti-Innovators”… But in any case even Innovation adopted only when it has specific value. We might as well replace HANA with “flying cars” or “laser guns”. Or Fiori and Personas, if you will, which are now free, but still I’m sure not every customer jumped on adopting them already.

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      1. Henrique Pinto

        Hi Jelena,

        that’s why I love SCN, it allows us to have this kind of open discussion that it’s hard to find elsewhere.

        Regarding HANA x innovation, see my reply above to Ramana.

        If I may, I’d just make one additional comment regarding this whole thing.

        Both in your blog as in your reply to Hasso’s blog, you’ve stated that the majority of the customers who have replied to the ASUG Survey can’t find a justification for HANA. Here, you mentioned it was 75% of those customers.

        As John Appleby has pointed out, 40% of the survey responders had adopted or were going through the process of adopting HANA. And out of the 60% who hadn’t, 75% hadn’t been able to find a viable Business Case for HANA yet. Meaning, 40% had been able to find suitable use cases for HANA, 15% (25% of the 60%) were confident they could come up with a viable BC for it (and are probably gonna implement it in the near future) and 45% (75% of the 60%) were in the group who were not able to do it yet. So, those are not the majority. It’d be good if we could be clear on those figures from now on.

        Best,

        Henrique.

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  19. Priya Ranjan

    Great read Jelena and many good responses.

    Just wanted to say

    Databases are the most matured platforms ( after Operating Systems ) in the world. And the reason why customers cannot find a valid use case for SAP HANA is probably because they have more understanding of Databases and the nuances of refactoring for benefits  and not less. In order to adopt a new technology, a DB, OS or programming language for something as serious as ERP, you have to ask the question as to “Whether the gains would be radically so high that it would outweigh the pain  ? “

    In-Mem, Columnar DB are not SAP only prerogative but have existed for many years, keeping data columnar ( for example in an array ) keeps the CPU prefetch pipeline buffer full, instead of accessing it randomly in the memory, giving massive performance gains in modern CPU, but the above does not really solve any business problem or provides any subsequent abstraction to solve them.

    Ideally the whole debate about DB is wrong as SAP could not elevate its platform to an abstraction that could solve some of the largest business problems in the world.

    For instance Workday uses just ~10 tables to deliver HR functionality to some of the largest customers in the world, keeping all data transactional, in-memory at the same time, go figure their abstraction.

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    1. Amit Sinha

      Priya – the premise that people are not finding value is incorrect. The ASUG survey shows that 40% have adopted and a majority of the 40% early adopters found cost saving / business value as the main reason for their adoption. The headlines that we are discussing is factually incorrect here on adoption. For an early technology ( 3 years since launch) I think it is good adoption (my benchmark is Workday for instance ~ 9 years since founding, 8 years since launch). My view is that we are seeing rapid adoption in use cases where the importance of capturing data and analyzing it quickly makes sense as  the time between capturing data and analyzing it is shrinking in every domain. The biggest bottle neck was the batch nature of our apps that HANA eliminates.


      Here are some that I saw from working with customers. e.g. A large retailer calculates re-supply to its fresh food by doing MRP planning many times a day (existing generation technology is unable to do it (ROI of not wasting fresh food is in 10 of millions per month) , a large airline is repricing its tickets after every sale (instead of a weekly schedule, ROI is estimated to be in 100s on millions capturing new revenue and filling seats in a better way), a semi conductor manufacturer improving its yield on the mfg line by correlating manufacturing parameters to past quality results for root cause analysis (this one has a ROI of half a billion in 1 year!).


      I agree with you that in-memory / columnar are not new (e.g. TimesTen, Sybase IQ were there b4) – what is new is that existing DB players have kept the same DB architecture for 30 years based on an obsolete design center/bottleneck (the disk). hence none of them could mainstream in-memory + columnar + compression + transactions + analytics + text in one store before HANA. This is a step jump in simplification, latency and speed of application writing.


      So the question is – is it worth sticking with older generation DBs or going with the next generation based on the emerged category of in-memory DBs ( I say emerged because all DB vendors Oracle, IBM, MSFT, Teradata and many app / SAAS players (e.g. Workday) have switched their roadmaps and joined this category for their flagship DBs – they made some tradeoffs – e.g. storing data twice- but all are in this now).


      The elevation of this abstraction is a work in progress – we could work faster on this and hence the value of this debate (ps: I like the work on River Development Language for instance). Will provide this input back to development, they are pretty good at putting feedback into HANA with fast releases.

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      1. Priya Ranjan

        Thanks Amit for the reply, but my point was different, I just feel that SAP missed the bigger picture ( again ) about abstractions and got into a messy debate about In-Mem, Columnar Databases which are very well understand by the customers and community members here.

        Seeking HANA adoption is wrong, it solves SAPs limitations, customer always had these problems to be solved from the beginning. And hence you see the decline of BW heavyweights and they trying to piggyback on Hadoop. Their own platforms are not scalable and they charged customers for their own limitations around scalability.

        Many opensource tech such as Apache Storm, Spark, Cassandra, Riak provides same compute and storage capacity as SAP HANA in production with some of largest companies on the planet with massive data stores at a fraction of the cost on commodity hardware. Their major adoption happens because they can be scaled horizontally both from hardware and price point so trying and seeing value points is easy (The world is very different around pricing of things nowadays in software, you can’t demand price before demonstrating good value overall, probably due to mistrust ), but many people in SAP have never seen SAP HANA in action. Have never worked on it

        as the cost of hardware itself are steep along with the cloud subscriptions.

        As we go DRAM, CPU/Cores, Motherboard architecture, parallel/concurrent processing/programming, reactive programming will improve things for all, as they always have and you will be able to things in milliseconds, and will attribute in some ways to business benefits but can they cab never be justified “concretely” even when understood completely,

        until they are put into an abstraction that raises the discussion ( and hence the workday example ).

        About River Language, will see when we get there when we get there, but the elephant in the room is ABAP. 😈

        Happy weekend !

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        1. Amit Sinha

          Priya – the biggest picture for us is enabling “real-time business” , unfortunately in IT landscapes there is the divide between analytics and transactions created due to different stack for apps and data-warehousing/analytics.  My apologies if that did not come clearly – in-memory architecture is a design of how we deliver “real time business”. Re: abstractions – we are disrupting the stack bottom up (remember this started with our joint work with Intel on the chip / addressable memory / reliability on enterprise workloads, then with database and are working our way to be a platform with apps).


          HANA adoption is how the pundits want to frame the debate (bloggers, press, wall street), we think a lot about our customer adoption roadmaps (e.g. Hasso’s 4 step path – side car data mart, BW on HANA, Suite on HANA then Cloud on HANA). For BW – we are turning this into a logical datawarehouse with HANA, Dynamic Tiering and Hadoop. Data is stored only once in all this. I bet you will see a much bigger and better TCO there (e.g. dynamic tiering you can decide how much to hold in any data store hence manage your TCO). Please take a look – I want to volunteer a session with ASUG on this topic alone (@tfxz – Thomas Zurek is a good guy recommend his blog on this to get your alternatives).


          HANA + Hadoop (realtime + massive store) is used by a number of customers, and recently we did a distribution with Databricks (the founder of Apache Spark) that is integrated with HANA. You can read/download here.   Spark | SAP HANA . You can scale with them and us, specifically we provide some cool engines on one data store (geo, text, analytical, transactional, graph, predictive!) that Spark now gets access to – several large customers working with us on this now. The horizontal scaling on cost is interesting – technically HANA scales as you know (scale out & up – cost profiles here interesting e.g. a scale out on small AWS servers for managing telco tower data in a scalable way, scale up for suite customers where cost of managing + data footprint is much lower), but more importantly your point was horizontal cost scaling – there are two things – with every next generation chip we are growing thread+capacity + we are going to offer dynamic tiering to lower cost storage (part of HANA SP9) where HANA figures out where to store depending on the cost/performance you want to hit. More on this soon.


          I agree on the abstraction point – lets follow the ABAP on HANA thread too in addition to River? Adding here for the benefit of the community ABAP for HANA | SAP HANA



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          1. Joao Sousa

            If the big picture is enabling real time business why does Plattner say in his blog that performance with HANA for OLTP is twice the performance without HANA? If the point is not having a separation between analytics and transactional, how can this be achieved with “just” twice the performance?

            Maybe I’m interpreting this wrong.

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            1. John Appleby

              Yes you are misinterpreting the point.

              Transactional/OLTP performance is 2x faster despite the column store format being less efficient for inserts and updates (the in-memory operation makes up for this). That’s not significant in itself, but it leaves tons of capacity for OLAP. OLAP is 100-1000x faster because the column store format is far more efficient for range scans.

              Hope this helps you!

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          2. Priya Ranjan

            This technical / adoption debate will never end. But all I have to say is that Workday doesn’t sell ( now they got J&J as well as their customer ) because they run In-Memory database. Not because they are a real time HCM/Finance solution.

            These are well understood and accepted technical architecture which does not beget a debate if shown at the right altitude. Nobody discounts that better CPU, memory, hardware software etc will be bad for business.

            I will wait till the time SAP brings up the transformation to itself, but till then there would be not much HANA Adoption. You see there can never be HANA adoption, but only adoption of solutions it might bring, you have to dissolve this debate or get consumed in it.

            Hoping for that day to come very soon.

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            1. Amit Sinha

              Priya – a more appropriate comparison is not HANA v Workday, it is SAP SuccessFactors/Finance v Workday HCM / Finance. SuccessConnect just happened, if needed I can find the keynote videos and some product announcements for you. DM @tweetsinha or email me at amit.sinha@sap.com

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              1. Priya Ranjan

                Thank Amit again, I totally get your point and am not discounting the merits of HANA which we all see and how SAP is trying to make things flexible and feasible. There are of course vertical use cases where customers will jump in, for the rest its very hard to justify to the business the cost vs advantage factor because it becomes  “quantifiable argument”( if something not done on cost, afraid the boat will sail ). People feed on arguments nowadays.

                But I would request SAP to stop trying to do so many things and produce a coherent roadmap for all things, till then nothing will stick and skepticism will rise due to the debate.

                Will take this offline henceforth. Thanks

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  20. vinnie mirchandani

    to all the customer participants on this thread, just want to add my kudos. It’s healthy for you to speak up.

    I have been working on a book on the SAP Economy this summer. when I started I expected customers to be defensive of their large SAP investments. Instead I have found a wide array of case studies – I have classified them as un-adopters, diversifiers, pragmatists and committeds. Some as doubling down with HANA, others are flipping SAP off – so a bell curve.

    Some of the best input in the book has come from these C level execs, from Mentors, ASUG, DSAG – all customer voices.

    Some of the most defensive comments have come from my fellow bloggers and analysts who should be more independent. I was not looking for “dirt” just balanced commentary from them.

    Having said that I also respect Dr Plattner. He speaks his mind – I have seen that for 20 years now. We want him to be that way even if it comes across pissy at times.

    Too many software and other execs are coached to just say the right boilerplate stuff.

    Keep up the dialogue – share more with your peers as you have on this thread. Thanks for letting me join.

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  21. Nigel James

    Hey Jelana great blog.

    On FB some of my friends were riffing on the topic of what if there was a free version that was limited by processors for datasize to grow product knowledge and adoption rates in a similar way to mysql dual licencing.

    A comment was that this had allready been pitched to SAP over a year ago and they have continued with a premium dior/porsche model.

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  22. Lars Breddemann

    Jelena Perfiljeva and everybody participating in this discussion: kudos!

    In all my active time on SDN/SCM I have never seen a single discussion being so active and engaging.

    That this is significant for the whole SCN community cannot be missed – especially when the notification email folder looks like this. Every day since this blog was published…

    13-09-2014 09-15-38.png

    Have a great weekend everyone!

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  23. vinnie mirchandani

    Amit, why is there so much drama around 40%, 75% adoption etc

    why not an absolute number – I believe there are around 4,000 customers who are using HANA in some format. That as a % of total audited customer count of 250,000 is pretty low. If the 4,000 number is not correct, share the correct one

    every number in the SAP economy appears shrouded in mystery. Like number of SCN members, number of licensed SAP users (was it not supposed to be near a billion by now?)

    SAP always says it is book of record – single version of truth for its customers. why not similar specificity for its own numbers?

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    1. John Appleby

      There are lies, damned lies, and statistics!

      4k have bought a license, but there are many more who have HANA underlying to a business app. All Ariba, SFSF and ByD customers, for a start (now, or shortly).

      It would definitely be interesting for SAP to break out the % of customers with HANA in some shape or form, and the number of people that serves.

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      1. vinnie mirchandani

        Precisely John.

        It would help their marketing tremendously especially in the OLTP space where MS, Oracle, IBM have hundreds of thousands of customers

        But in other areas too, For my model of SAP economy in book I am writing I must have tried 10+ analysts to break down the 250,000 customers since SAP does not. I wanted to be more precise as an average Business Suite customer has different headcount and comp rates than a SuccessFactors or a Business One customer. The majority of analysts do NOT believe the number, even though it is in the annual report audited by KPMG.

        why is this such a mystery and why does SAP persist in keeping it so when even friendly analysts do not believe their numbers?

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      2. Jarret Pazahanick

        John, regarding your “many more on Ariba, SF” I dont believe that to be true as SAP has had some REAL struggles with HANA and SuccessFactors and believe they are only starting their HANA and Ariba journey as well.  Here is a comment I put towards Hasso in his recent blog (yet to be answered) which I think ties into this overall comment thread as well:


        “Great to see you respond to some of the comments and one of the great benefits of the ASUG survey has been it has opened up some important discussion between SAP and Customers that ultimately could be a real win/win for both side.  One things that I am curious on is your point on “all cloud products of sap will run on hana and automatically deliver the benefits” while I read this week about SuccessFactors the following:

        “We use HANA wherever we can and wherever it is appropriate,” says Ettling. “It’s not the same as talking [about] moving an on-premise solution onto HANA.”


        SuccessConnect 2014: Focused on LoB and the Future of Learning – ASUG News


        On a side, Oracle has made some claims in June 2014 that SuccessFactors signed a huge deal for their technology which has had several customers (both SAP HCM and SuccessFactors) ask me why is SAP not using their own technology in their own cloud offerings or their hosting offerings (Employee Central Payroll) especially given the message that is that is “innovation withdisruption“”


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        1. John Appleby

          I don’t these things are orthogonal. For instance Ariba customers who use spend analytics definitely use HANA already.

          Also, the Oracle point is by no means a surprise. SFSF is no doubt a complex app and like any customer they would be wise to produce a concrete migration strategy. For a big ERP that is easily a 12 month project from initiation to closure (funding boards, hardware provisioning are time consuming). Until you have decommissioned Oracle you must continue to pay maintenance. And I should think Oracle are pretty tough on license enforcement with SAP.

          I suspect also that the multi-tenancy aspects coming soon to HANA may be one thing that has delayed full migration. No doubt the SFSF folks have people pushing hard to move onto HANA.

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  24. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

    Sorry for a “collective” comment, but we’ve already lost our “tree” structure due to volume, so it seems like a moot point to split them up.

    @Henrique – my exact comment was the lack of “love” for HANA among what seems to be majority of the surveyed ASUG members”. In the blog I posted the direct quote from ASUG research results. When saying “majority” I was simply referring to 55% respondents who have not purchased HANA. We can also argue if 40% who purchased are actually “in love” with HANA, if you’d like. After all, 47% of them have not gone live with it. πŸ˜‰   

    @Lars – the Procedural vs OO ABAP still has a lead on my blog for the number of comments, but we’re getting there. πŸ™‚

    @Amit – I’d like to thank you especially for the balanced and sincere comments here. I feel customers need more of this coming from the SAP representatives to rebuild the trust.

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments!

    P.S. I was ready to give up on explaining to SAP that lack of knowledge is not, in fact, an issue, but from the more recent Dr. Plattner’s comment on his blog it seems the message has finally gotten through. Phew! πŸ™‚

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    1. Raoul Shiro

      Thank you so much Jelena, for expressing, again, our voice.

      We are also a SAP customer who do not plan to deploy HANA in the near future, for all the reasons already mentioned in this discussion (interest, price, bad experience with SAP “innovative” products, etc …)

      I really do hope that SAP will listen.

      Forcing its customers to move to HANA, would have disastrous consequences, I think …for SAP itself :

      * I still do not understand why only a handful of Fiori Applications would be able to run without Hana ? (The MRP Applications are transactional applications, they should be able to run on a non-Hana system.)

      * Or why the new BPC 10.1 features would only be available through BPC 10.1 Unified Model on HANA … (what about the customers who have invested time, training, money on BWA ?)

      * Or why some SAP ECC6 sap notes supposed to improve sap standard report are only delivered on SAP APPL 616(HANA) and not on SAP_APPL 606 (non Hana) even though hwe are experiencing the exact same issues

      Eventually, we might decide to move … but elsewhere …

      (and please SAP Consultants, I understand that you are passionate about HANA, but enough with the ill-chosen comparisons … the Boston bombers … really ?)

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  25. Andy Silvey

    Let’s all not forget, at first principles, Hana is simply a replacement database.

    Cloud might become interesting but for a lot of customers, right now, cloud is not an option for a variety of reasons.

    Moving to Hana is simply a database migration project, in the same way as a company might do a db migration project from Oracle to DB2, so moving to Hana is a migration project from AnOther database to Hana as the db.

    It doesn’t have to be as complicated as is being made out.

    There is an excellent article published today describing the journey of the migration from a database to Hana db for ECC, and there needs to be more of them, yours truly will be doing one soon.

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    1. Andy Silvey

      Hi Timo,

      anybody who questions the costs of Hana needs to understand a few things.

      The Hana roll-out is a staged roll out, being released in phases so as not to overwhealm SAP with implementations where there are not enough skilled people to do the work, and support where there are not enough support people to deal with the requests.

      It is a brand new product, think back to when google bought out gmail, you remember in the beginning gmail was by invite, and once you got a gmail account in the beginning you could invite 3 friends, then 5 friends, then 10 friends etc as they ramped up.

      Well the barriers to entry for Hana have been deliberate to purposefully slow the rollout to enable a controlled delivery.

      Think about it, in the beginning they only supported one O/S Suse, this was a stroke of genius to only support one O/S, and Suse makes sense because, if SAP had chosen AIX it would have offended HP and vice versa. Supporting only one O/S enabled SAP to carefully roll out the new product to a smaller number of customers (because obviously not everybody was going to accept the Suse and the Hana Appliance) and prove the product and develop the product and make the product more stable and step by step increase the supported platforms and O/S’s.

      Already Hana is now supporting Redhat and as far as I understand in SP09 in November time Hana will be supporting AIX and IBM Power.

      This is finally the democratisation of the Hana Platform.

      Since early 2013 we already have TDI Tailored DataCenter Integration where you can install Hana yourself in your DataCenter, therefore reducing hardware and operating costs by reusing existing. Hana on IBM Power later this year is the next step of the staged release of the product leading to the holy grail of mutli-tenancy.

      I think we can all agree, ultimately all customers will be running something on some flavour of Hana, and as I said above, let’s not complicate things let’s think of this simply as a DB. But isn’t that the great thing about the SAP area, most other areas of technology only respect people who know the latest and greatest, SAP is different, SAP customers for a variety of reasons normally have a variety of versions and the SAP world respects people with experience across a wide spectrum and generations of SAP technologies, therefore there’s no reason for anybody to fear the future, everybody will get their turn in time to work with the new stuff, but the ones who have touched the most versions will be the most valuable.

      SAP for a generation have had the application as a source of revenue. Now in a careful way, they are eating into the DB market, to get the revenue from that piece of the pie.

      I wouldn’t be surprised in the future if they don’t move into hardware (ala Oracle buying Sun), because that is the piece of the pie they are now missing – apart from Cloud which they are clearly into, but as described in the post above, in my opinion for the Fortune 500 customers, migrating to the whole landscape to the cloud is a long long way away.

      My prediction is, when SAP are ready, when Hana has reached maturity across platforms and customers, SAP will slash the price of Hana and it will be the only option for a lot of customers.

      In the meantime, when we think about this in terms of business and market economics and understand the reasons behind the staged rollout then it all becomes clearer, and it is not a case of the haves and the have-nots, everybody will have Hana in the end, just give SAP time to slowly and carefully roll it out.

      Something I am wondering, in the SAP world we have always accepted we need loads of SAP systems, we need ECC, HR, SRM, CRM, SCM, etc, and why is this, why do we have so many different SAP boxes for siloed different tasks ? Ultimately it’s because there is not currently the computing and database power to run all of these in one database in one instance. Imagine one day if Hana could do that, imagine instead of for the large customers perhaps 20 Production SAP products from the Business Suite, imagine if a load of those products could be consolidated into one product because the computing and database power was available to achieve that ! Now that would be progress.

      Andy.

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      1. Joao Sousa

        With the focus on Simple Suite which relies on HANA I suspect that HANA will be the only option in the near future. SAP can’t affort to keep enhancing the R/3 and Simple Suite branchs in parallel.

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Hehe… Thanks, John! I’ll make sure to mention it to Dr.Plattner at SAPPHIRE. “See, it’s right here – I DO know about HANA!”. πŸ™‚

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