Jelena Perfiljeva posted a great article on SCN yesterday on the disconnect between SAP and their customers over HANA.

For me, as an SAP alumni coming from the BusinessObjects side of the house, this has echoes of many discussions in the BusinessObjects user base about HANA. For the last few it has become a standing joke that almost everything SAP have said to the BusinessObjects user base involves HANA. This has perplexed customers who, on the whole, don’t really understand why they would want to insert HANA into their existing BusinessObjects landscape, or at least they have more pressing issues that HANA doesn’t solve.

This HANA pressure was shown in one presentation at SBOUC (now called SABOC) where the presenter from SAP joked at the start of his talk :-


“As an SAP employee I am contractually obliged to mention HANA 10 times in my presentation,  so here goes, HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA. Ok now I can get on with what you actually want to hear!”


To be fair to SAP, HANA is an ground-breaking piece of technology, it is already having a profound impact on both SAP and the wider market. It opens up new ways of doing business and every SAP customer will end up using it in some way or another (and will be happy that they did).


But, however good the vision is, that does not mean that all (or even most) customers are ready to use it today, which is something that SAP seem to have been deaf to so far.


This has certainly been true in the case of Lumira Server, in SAP’s analytics portfolio. As I have noted elsewhere, SAP have gone a bit “Lumira Mad” and until now the message has been “If you want Lumira Server then you have to have HANA” accompanied by all the usual non-reasons: architecture, big data, perfect fit … blah, blah, blah.


Initially, you had to pay for both the HANA software and the HANA appliance but recently SAP announced that they would throw in a runtime HANA software licence for Lumira Server with the BusinessObjects platform (but you still need to buy the HANA hardware).


However, this week, SAP seems to have gone a step further and a step closer to what their customers want. On the recent #askSAP BusinessObjects update call, Ty Miller announced a future version of the Lumira Server which would not be dependent on HANA, in essence it will be a “normal” extension to the existing BusinessObjects infrastructure, that everyone will understand and feel comfortable with.


Obviously, this will not come with the processing power of HANA and will be more limited than the HANA version, but, crucially, it is probably exactly what most customers need today and it will be easy for them to adopt. For SAP, it should be a great bridge to a HANA upsell to customers who do need the extra horsepower at some point in the future.


HANA is a great technology, but my observation in the BusinessObjects community, is that trying to ram it down people’s throats at every opportunity can be counter productive. Perhaps SAP are realising this too.

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