hana-equals-porsche

For SAP, it may be a billion-dollar question: is HANA a luxury like a Porsche or a Dior Dress? Or is it simply a better approach that could and should be appropriate for all SAP’s customers?

Today, as SAP customer Steve Rumsby puts it:

“The problem seems to be that SAP have what they think is a great product, but their customers/potential customers don’t all see it the same way.”

What are the roots of this difference in perception?

SAP’s HANA Vision

The first versions of HANA were focused on analytics, and used for big data “edge cases” that required extreme speed. These typically involved large companies adding an additional HANA server to existing infrastructure to do things that weren’t previously feasible. These use cases can’t really be called “luxury” – they all had hard business cases behind them – but they certainly weren’t for everybody.

The natural result is that many people that don’t envisage these kinds of needs in the near future are wondering why SAP talks so much about HANA:

“Dior 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? 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.”

From this point of view, HANA will be adopted as the “edge cases” of today become tomorrow’s normal environments, as with some other previous technologies such as mobile phones:

“…the first “bricks” that were an exotic accessory of rich and famous back in the day. 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.”

However, SAP’s vision for HANA has always been larger than those types of use cases. From the first white papers to recent posts on the benefits of Business Suite on HANA, the ultimate goal has been to use the new opportunities of in-memory for “normal” companies and “normal” SAP applications by radically simplifying existing layers.

But even customers that fully understand the technical opportunity are wondering why SAP thinks an “expensive” product like HANA could be suitable for a wide range of customers.

Is HANA Expensive?

The two things that everybody knows about HANA is that it’s fast, and that it’s expensive. But is that true?

By all accounts, HANA is indeed fast – for example, Stanford University researchers claim that it can crunch genome data up to 600x faster than previous best-practice techniques.

But this emphasis on speed has naturally lead customers to assume that if they don’t need — or can’t use – that extra speed, they don’t need HANA. This view has been echoed by other database industry veterans like Doug Henschen:

“Speedy insights are only required when people are actually in a position to do something with them or about them in an equally speedy way. SAP is pushing ahead of the customer’s ability to execute”

In addition, the speed of HANA has been compared to a Porsche by SAP executives:

“Asking people who don’t own HANA what they think of it, is like asking people who have never driven a car what they think about the speed and handling capability of a Porsche.”

And it’s human nature to assume that something compared to a Porsche is unnecessary, expensive, and limited to a few users.

But when it comes to technology, there isn’t always a tradeoff between better performance and higher costs – especially when radically new approaches are involved. For example, I’m old enough to remember the first arrival of a microwave in our home, and how confused I was as a child who had just learned about energy at school: “wait, it’s much faster to heat food AND it uses less electricity? That can’t be right?!”

Because in-memory approaches collapse the stack of traditional IT, industry experts like Gartner’s Donald Feinberg believe that in-memory systems can be simpler, more flexible, AND cheaper to run:

“The total cost of acquisition of an in-memory system is likely higher than a storage system. There’s no question. But the total cost of TCO is lower. People cost more than hardware and software – a lot more. So the TCO is lower. Don’t let somebody say to you we can’t go in-memory because it’s so much more money. Acquisition costs may be higher. If you calculate out a TCO, it’s going to be less.”

SAP Partner and HANA Expert John Appleby explains it like this:

“Often I have a conversation early on with senior decision makers looking at use cases for SAP HANA in their business. “I hear HANA is expensive”, they say, “talk to me about the price”. Yes – with SAP HANA you store all your important information in-memory, and that’s many times faster and somewhat more expensive than traditional systems.

But there’s two important points: SAP HANA typically processes information an order of magnitude faster than a traditional system, but it is not an order of magnitude more expensive, which means it provides value for money. Second, HANA typically allows you to simplify your IT – and your business. Operational costs are reduced because there is less complexity, and this typically provides an excellent TCO.”

That’s the theory, but it’s clearly not a widespread view among SAP customers today. Might that change in the future?

SAP has published studies showing that HANA can indeed deliver lower costs: a report by Forrester indicates that HANA can save an organization 37% across hardware, software, and labor costs and an IDC study of the HANA deployment of the University of Kentucky indicated an ROI of over 500%.

In addition, many existing customers of SAP Business Warehouse have reported costs savings from moving to HANA among other business benefits:

“Molson Coors has confirmed that development times for new requirements will come in at least 50% less than under alternative configurations. This is because development of BW on HANA reports is much simpler than before… Marketing criticisms aside around ‘feeds’ and speeds,’ no-one should underestimate the value [HANA] delivers to those businesses that have already invested in SAP BW and still have long life use cases and increased demand from the BW environment.”

One promising sign for SAP is that it’s not only giant companies that are planning to run their businesses on HANA. Smaller companies such as TRCC, with just 500 employees and four full time IT staff are choosing Business Suite on HANA, not because they have exotic needs, but because the system is less complex, with less infrastructure to manage. For them, the “speed increases were just a bonus”

If HANA is becoming an easy decision for greenfield SAP customers, then it can’t really be characterized as a Porsche or a Dior dress – it’s more like the next family car or a pair of jeans. But what if you already have a perfectly good family car?

Is HANA a Fit for All Customers?

Even if Business Suite on HANA becomes a no-brainer for new SAP deployments, what about existing customers?

Real-world organizations already have a lot of complex systems in place. Moving to a new technology — even if it is better and cheaper — imposes real costs. Adopting HANA could indeed be perceived as an unaffordable luxury in this case, and this seems to be the crux of the recent debates.

The company is trying to tackle this by providing ever-more industry use cases and making sure that customers can adopt HANA in steps, with “cookbooks” to help.

It’s also encouraging existing HANA customers share their experiences. The good news for the company is that the earliest adopters of SAP HANA do indeed seem to be generalizing their deployments beyond the initial “edge case” or “luxury” deployments, including Burberry:

Burberry had a positive experience with HANA, according to CTO John Douglas, so it now plans to swap out Oracle database and put the SAP Business Suite on HANA. That work will start with SAP Retail and SAP BW. “We’re now at inflection point where we need a step change to real-time applications,” said Douglas. “It started with customer one-to-one… but now we’re going to put the whole business on one platform, in memory.”

And Unilever:

“Besides the acceleration, the user experience improved significantly. We are asked by multiple users for more and more HANA-empowered solutions. It was probably the first time in my role that I really delighted the end-users and made their life easier.” – Thomas Benthien, Global IT Director at Unilever.

And other, more “normal” organizations that have moved to Business Suite on HANA, such as the University of Amsterdam, have reported a positive migration experience.

In addition, the company hopes that an upcoming wave of new “simple” applications, starting with Simple Finance which has been described as a potential “killer app” to entice existing customers to move their core systems to the new environments.

What Does The Future Hold?

It’s clear that SAP continues to believe that HANA is not an expensive luxury for the few, but an opportunity for all organizations:

“The invitation is for all customers who want to transform their business and capitalize on the opportunities that have been opened up through technology innovation, big data, IoT, cloud, and mobility…deploy HANA. Email us, tweet us, call us…we will help you find the right use case to grow your business faster than your competitors and lower your costs at the same time.”

Will customers continue to assume that HANA will always be too expensive for them to deploy? What if that weren’t true – would it make a difference, or is the real barrier the challenge of doing things in new ways? What could SAP do to persuade the skeptics?

Finally, people are justifiably fed up with analogies, but for what it’s worth, I still think the most appropriate comparison for SAP HANA vs disk-based systems — at least in terms of technology theory — is digital cameras, which are indeed faster, simpler, smarter AND cheaper than older film cameras (this post is from a few years ago — the same ideas could now be extended to include operational systems, not just analytics)

[this post first appeared on the Business Analytics blog]

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28 Comments

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  1. Steve Rumsby

    I feel a “The problem with analogies…” blog coming on…

    Digital cameras may well be faster, simpler, smarter and cheaper, but that doesn’t necessarily make them better. Some people still use film because they prefer the end result. Photography is about the photograph and how the photographer feels about it, and not about the kit that was used to produce it.

    A long time ago I was a bit of a Hi-Fi nut. I never spent the vast sums of money on my kit that it was possible to spend, but I used to read a lot about it. In the early days of CDs I remember reading about a blind listening experiment carried out in a recording studio, where a set of audio professionals were played the same track from three different media – a CD, an LP and the original digital master tape from which the other two were produced. Without exception, all listeners preferred the sound of the LP. And now there’s a resurgence in the popularity of vinyl recordings.

    Analogies aside, this is a great summary. The question is, where do we go from here? I am, at the moment, starting on a HANA strategy for my organisation. Focusing on the end result and not on the technology is definitely the way to go, and there’s much more help with that approach these days than there used to be. But more of that would help my cause enormously. I need to understand the technology, but I can’t sell that.

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  2. James Oswald

    The problem with cross-posting is splintering the comments. πŸ˜‰

    Great points, Timo. I think part of the issue is that trying to dip your toes in the water can be expensive, since you don’t really get that TCO until you start turning other stuff off. That’s a big band-aid to pull off, and a lot of organizations don’t have the stomach for that sort of replatforming.

    One last thing: When are we going to get a cookbook for non-Suite, non-BW deployments? I’d argue those of us without existing BASIS people (who are at least comfortable if not happy with SAP documentation and support) are in more dire need of help getting started with out HANA investment.

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    1. Timo ELLIOTT Post author

      Jamie,

      Getting people over that first step is certainly one of the challenges. The Molson article mentions that they spun up a BW on HANA in the Amazon cloud to reassure themselves that the projected savings were real… more of these types of “try before you buy” wouldn’t necessarily alleviate the pain of the band-aid but at least you’d know in advance that it was worth it…

      On other cookbooks, what did you have in mind? One thing I didn’t mention is that SAP is also trying to help people get the benefits of HANA without having to “buy it”, notably with the cloud solutions like Ariba and SuccessFactors, but also with the things like the new run-time license for Lumira server.

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      1. James Oswald

        Regarding Cookbooks, you linked to specific ones (SAP BW on HANA Cookbook) which offer sample (high-level) project plans, gotchas, things to not forget about, best practices etc. that are specific to BW on HANA or Suite on HANA. It would be nice to have a more general one for those of us doing a standalone deployment.

        It is that standalone scenario that I was thinking about with my bandaid comment. I can prove that HANA is fast, and I can prove that I can develop with it faster, but I can’t just redirect my existing non-SAP data warehouse to it and walk away (which was meant as a GROSS oversimplification of how cutting BW or Suite to HANA would ideally go). So, if I buy a HANA box, and a handful of unit licenses, I don’t get to stop writing a check to Oracle for my existing data warehouse until I redo all of my ETL, and modeling, and aggregation logic in this new paradigm. So the TCO takes longer to get to.

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  3. Stephen Johannes

    The only problem with analogy is that if we were to take this to it’s full conclusion, then in-memory technology should eventually become a “commodity good” and not a luxury within the next five years like mobility has become.  In addition the pricing model would have reflect it being a commodity instead of a premium feature.

    If we look at mobility and enterprise applications we can see that five years ago this was being sold as a “premium feature” and now if the application doesn’t support mobile natively we more than likely won’t choose it. The value add now in mobility is not the fact that your applications are mobile, but rather the value of the application itself.  Full adoption would require the added value of in-memory to become “zero” and instead the full value is from the applications instead.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Steve Rumsby

      Why is that a problem? That’s exactly what SAP want, isn’t it – for everyone to be running SAP systems with HANA as the underlying platform? The fact that much of their development is happening only on the HANA platform is clear evidence of that desire. And if everyone is running it, then commodity is the right word, isn’t it?

      And yes, there are pricing and other implications of that. “Premium priced commodity” is an oxymoron…

      A focus on the applications that the technology enables, rather than the technology itself, is exactly the right approach in my opinion. That’s what is going to get buy-in from those of us that haven’t switched yet. And I agree that does rather shift the focus of the value also, as you suggest.

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    2. Timo ELLIOTT Post author

      Stephen,

      To echo Steve’s comment, I think that is indeed the SAP plan. One thing I forgot to put in the blog: the “premium” pricing thus far has also presumably been a deliberate choice:

      1. In order to charge an “appropriate” amount for those high-value edge cases that only HANA can address
      2. To allow time for the organization to get up to speed and avoid being swamped with more new HANA deployments than SAP can support at one time

      But a series of initiatives, including licenses restricted to particular application areas, show that SAP is serious about lowering the barriers to HANA use, and moving the value discussion back to the applications themselves (appropriately extended with the new opportunities).

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  4. Jelena Perfiljeva

    What could SAP do to persuade the skeptics?

    Not sure SAP could do anything or even if they should do anything at this time. The goal to sell HANA to every SAP customer and right now is simply unrealistic. The rule of thumb in corporate IT is to never install new Windows version until SP1 comes out. Same will happen with HANA (or rather Business Suite on HANA or sERP or whatever the name ends up to be – knowing SAP history it’s going to be 5 different names in the next 4 years πŸ™‚ ). Just let it go. I would say though that with “the skeptics” SAP is actually in more danger of losing them as the customers entirely, so rebuilding their trust would be higher priority than trying to sell them anything SAP at this point.

    Also just wanted to point out that TCO analysis frequently assumes that there are redundancies to begin with. E.g. the company has expensive hardware, huge landscape and bloated staff. But what if the company only has the ERP system (the 3rd party apps cover the functionality that doesn’t exist in SAP now and is unlikely to exist in “sERP” no matter what DB it runs on), which is hosted externally and staff that has already been reduced to the bare minimum through the recession years?

    It’s a good blog though – “no customers have been hurt”, I see progress already! πŸ™‚

    Thank you!

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    1. Jānis B

      The SAP ERP itself (or at least the one IS-U I’m supporting/extending is running on) itself is mindbogglingly complex beast with too many redundancies to count. There are three Invoices one potentially gets to deal with in “SAP Utilities”: IS-U Invoice, SD Invoice and FI-CA Invoice… Accordingly, there are three data models to keep, and three sets of processes to get ’em. All three use different technical means to implement invoice output… (IS-U and FI-CA at least both use Cross Application stuff, but still differently… – because IS-U reasoned they can’t afford the overhead the Correspondence imposes, but FI-CA said – yes, we can).

      BP to Debitor/Customer synchronization is for me at the moment a “scary, unwieldy monster” which, I suspect (or so the SAT seems to imply), is largely responsible for us being unable to quickly throw together a simple job to update one attribute for 500000 or so BPs over a weekend (if we want to be good boys and use proper (B)API rather than try to hack it directly into necessary tables of both models). One has to start thinking about portioning, running in parallel and all that complex stuff to do simple thing. Maybe the HANA would actually help with something like that – in that I will not have a reason to ***** about it anymore… Still, after I know the “monster” is there, deep down I’ll still be thinking – nope, guys – what you sold to our management is a workaround, not a solution πŸ™‚

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      1. Dieter Koerber

        Dear Jänis B,

        thanks for your comments regarding the SAP for Utilities solution. You refer to several invoicing solutions at SAP. With IS Utilities, we address high volume mass data processes (Meter2Cash) including specific requirements such as 13 month backbilling, estimation & dynamic period control, several billing cycles, TOU billing, RTP billing by means of a dedicated billing and invoicing module. To support other specific type of businesses in a Utility (e.g.  side business such as new house connection process), an integration to SD Invoicing has been provided as well. With the SAP for Utilities solution more than 600 mio. end customer contracts will be managed and billed worldwide on a yearly basis.

        On the way forward the SAP for Utilities solution has been released on HANA with dedicated optimizations to bring additional value to our customers (e.g. increased search performance in Interaction Center, improved energy settlement process, HANA live content, KPI cockpit for the Contract Accounts Receivable Manager). With the move of SAP for Utilities on the HANA innovation platform and further planned SAP developments, our Utility customers will be able to further innovate on new processes and use cases, e.g such as Internet of Things related transformer analytics (asset health), wind park monitoring, advanced energy analytics scenarios.

        We believe, the SAP for Utilities solution on HANA will help our Utility customers to support the transformation from a traditional energy supply towards a Smart Grid with increased use of renewable technologies.

        Would you be interested in discussing these aspects in more detail with Product Managers from SAP?

        Best Regards

        Dieter Körber (SAP SE)

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        1. Jānis B

          Thank you, sir, for the kind offer – I don’t believe it falls within my remit, however. My main task is to mend and improve things here and there, to cover this or that (sometimes perceived) gap, and to keep what we have running – making all that great (and sometimes not so great) technology to work for the “ladies in billing departement”. I hope I’m their “trusted advisor” by now. πŸ™‚

          End users ditching their ad-hoc queries (and too many to count, often atrociously programmed custom reports, how could I forget those!) for HANA Live operational reporting and all the rest of functionality I’ve not even heard or dreamed about – sounds great! Although… I don’t think we are even utilizing (for no fault of SAP, of course) much of what SAP delivered in the IS-U/CCS Increased Efficiency projects…

          I believe we will eventually be running on HANA – it’s just a matter of time and our internal IT services provider seeing in it a better proposition for hosting and running all the SAP systems, I hope. In the meantime… we have to manage, and it’s a helluva complex and sometimes frustrating task.

          cheers

          Jānis

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    2. Joao Sousa

      I believe SAP is so focused on “innovation” that they forgot they have actual customers that need to be cared for. I’ve heard from multiple people that ERP makes up for less then 50% of revenues, I would love to know how the rest is distributed.

      And it would be interesting to know the correlation between those non-ERP 50% revenue and the ERP itself. Is this revenue attached to.ERP in any way? Would customers buy that technology without the ERP?

      Maybe I’m biased because I think the ERP is THE great SAP product, but I have a hard time imagining a SAP where the ERP becomes secondary or a niche product.

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    3. Lars Breddemann

      Jelena Perfiljeva wrote:


      I would say though that with “the skeptics” SAP is actually in more danger of losing them as the customers entirely, so rebuilding their trust would be higher priority than trying to sell them anything SAP at this point.

      Ok, don’t get me wrong here and consider it an honest non-cynical question, alright?

      Here it goes:

      Why would customers that are currently using SAP systems running on non-HANA-platform XYZ consider switching the platform?

      Other vendors meanwhile also offer cloud and/or in-memory systems – so, I’d say this is not at all a technology decision then.

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        Lars, it’s never just about the technology, as others have already noted. It’s also not just about the platform, I was pointing out to the risk of SAP losing the ERP customers altogether.

        For example, certain SAP customer I know very well is already being poached by a competitor. The main reason is the cost. When you add that a competitor has more user friendly interface out of the box it’s yet another reason. Certainly ERP system migration is not like just flipping the switch and I hope that when the “purse string holders” get the whole picture, they’ll recalculate ROI and reconsider, although you never know.

        But imagine if the customer actually had to make a major change in their SAP system (e.g. upgrade, move to Cloud, whatever). If they have to embark on some big project anyway, why not reconsider being an SAP customer altogether? I can list possible reasons for that but they should be quite apparent from my other blog.

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        1. Lars Breddemann

          Now this sounds much more like a scenario that is one of many options as opposed to the immediate risk of losing the customers and the dire urge to “get them back into the boat”.

          Honestly, I don’t think that the big churn problem is present in the ERP market yet.

          But don’t worry, we’ll get there πŸ™‚

          I think most of us have seen organizations trying to switch core business process software at one point or the other. The cases I could witness were started out of a frustration situation (that’s your point, I get that) and very much to get away from the old situation.

          One or two years down the line the same frustration was reached with the new system of choice and eventually a switch back was performed.

          If we assume – for a brief moment – that actually SAP and its solutions is not what causes the problems, then swapping those solutions for some different solutions likely won’t fix the problem. And with this the customer frustrations re-iterates.

          Again, don’t get me wrong here, I do agree with the the picture you drew in your blog post.

          Yes, SAP is a huge multi-national company where often the one hand doesn’t seem to know what the other one is doing. And sure enough this leads to bad customer service more than enough often.

          My personal view on this is – maybe unfortunately – that this is inherent to big companies.

          Try and improve an iMac as a customer. Try and change Oracle database. Try and change the next Channel dress and the Porsche that the model wearing the dress is driving πŸ™‚

          I’d say this kind of frustration really stems from the imbalance in the situation {BIG CORPORATION} interacting with {people}.

          I don’t see a win situation in there.

          But I do believe that everybody in the {BIG CORPORATION} can take the decision and be in fact also “just” one of the {people} and have the conversation on eye level.

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      2. Joao Sousa

        Right now SAP is presenting the Simple Suite, which has to run on HANA. Since SAP will probably not maintain parallel branches it is a reasonable assumption to believe that in the near future every customer will be faced with a dead end in terms of software evolution unless they move to HANA (or the Cloud). That is the signal SAP is sending now.

        Faced with a major migration to the “Simple” suite where many developments will break since the data model changes, CIOs will have a good reason to change vendors.

        SAP should be worried about that.

        PS: Even if there was no HANA, SAP customers would still have reasons to change software, SAP shouldn’t believe they are untouchable….

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        1. Lars Breddemann

          SAP doesn’t think they are untouchable. Believe me I just talked to them. πŸ™‚

          What exactly is your definition of “near future”? 

          Last time I checked e.g. ECC 6.0 was in mainstream maintenance till 2020.

          That didn’t change due to HANA or sERP.

          And sure enough it’s part of the business as a software company to keep talking about the latest and greatest stuff you do. Isn’t that the case with any business?

          Maybe I got it totally wrong, but I haven’t seen anyone to be forced in to sERP or to HANA.

          Mixing up an actually new line of products with the ECC customer base seems awkward.

          Yes, the new approach to deliver a ERP is different to what SAP has done up to here.

          And that’s the whole point of it.

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          1. Joao Sousa

            I didn’t say it was wrong, I actually defended that the best way to get customers into HANA was to give them Business Suite features that were useful.

            That said, customers will start to feel leftout especially customers that have just installed SAP and see themselves on the “deprecated” branch after a year or two. Maintenance until 2020 but what about Enhancement Packages? I don’t believe SAP will keep investing into new EhP for the non Simple branch, maybe I’m wrong.

            They should be worried that a customer burned today or tomorrow will switch at earliest opportunity unless they are handled correctly.

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          2. Joao Sousa

            Mixing up the line of products is akward because it dilutes the advantage of SAP, integration. If SAP becomes a bundle of semi-detached line of business solutions, SAP’s diferentiation will disappear and customers will just pick LOB solutions from different vendors.            

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          3. Stephen Johannes

            What’s very interesting is that our year 2020 problem was originally a year 2015 problem.  That being said, it’s pretty hard to dump ERP overnight, so it’s not like ERP churn is going to start to happen now.  I do think it’s very legitmate question for customers to ask SAP what are the plans beyond 2020.

            If you think the SimpleSuite is the best thing since sliced-bread, you still want know whether you can still buy a loaf of that “bread” past 2020 or instead donuts will be your only option πŸ˜‰ .

            Take care,

            Stephen

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        2. Henrique Pinto

          A technical comment: nothing will “break”, at least not if you’re doing it the proper way.

          To read data, all selects on top of tables that are not there anymore will still work because there will be views with the exact same names. So selecting from BSID or BSAD or BSIS will still work.

          As for inserting data, well, that’s the “proper way” part. If you’re using the SAP recommended way of inserting data in ERP through the usage of the standard BAPIs and RFCs, again, everything will keep working.

          Best,

          Henrique.

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          1. Jiri Zwak

            Also technical comment:  “If you’re using the SAP recommended way of inserting data in ERP through the usage of the standard BAPIs and RFCs, again, everything will keep working.”

            OK, but what about  functionality based on customer Z* tables ?

            And what about simple read from standard SAP tables? We use accesses not only by primary keys, but also via created non SAP secondary indexes. We have also append structures to SAP tables etc.

            I suppose for customers who use ERP with long SAP history and the lot of customer development plus some modifications of standard the already primary migration to HANA can be very difficult step.  Every experience will be very useful.

            Best regards, Jiri

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  5. Kenneth Moore

    Customers already have to pay extra for good SAP support or settle with mediocre support on top of the expensive annual maintenance fees.  Not hard to understand why they don’t want to pay more for what they think should be included already in the product, like speed and usability.

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  6. Jay Thoden van Velzen

    Very interesting blog and interesting discussion.

    It’s fun playing with analogies. I would make the comparison with corporate jets. For corporate travel, most employees travel on regular commercial flights, but high-value executives whose time is precious need to minimize the time spent on travel, considering the value that they bring, and may fly on a corporate private jet.

    (not saying it works perfectly, but is to make the following point:)

    At least until it becomes commodity like routers or PCs, we need to figure out whether the value HANA brings makes sense for the use case at hand. If the investment in HANA is justified by the ROI, go ahead. For smaller, supporting applications and data stores where the value isn’t there, use a cheaper, more traditional database.

    This also goes for HANA implementations themselves. I see, for instance, some customers putting heavy load on an XS engine, when that processing could be easily offloaded to a cheap web farm of commodity blades running Linux, leaving the HANA server resources just for those things where we really need it. (There are, of course, legitimate uses of the XS engine, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to add another HANA box just to support web traffic)

    For the longer term future, an even better analogy is the history of commercial air traffic. At first, it was very exclusive, only for the very rich and powerful, whereas the rest would take a boat or train (or not travel at all). Over time, commercial flights became affordable to the general public, to the point where you now can even get flights for 50 Euro or so.

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    1. Jay Thoden van Velzen

      ^ forget about what I said in the post above. This is no longer relevant with the coming SPS9.

      With SPS9, we have dynamic tiering and extended tables. The combo of hot-warm-cold, as well as the SDA concept to other databases, including NoSQL, is now making HANA a complete data platform where we can very selectively choose what should be in-memory, what can be offloaded to disk, and what sits in SAP IQ or other databases, while at the same time allowing us to model and integrate all that data in a highly sophisticated design/modeling environment.

      That is, HANA as a front-end to all your data in an organization, with the ability to make it as big or as small as the business value justifies.

      How much difference a couple of weeks makes…

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