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Buying SAP HANA is like buying an Electric Vehicle

  EV.jpgI’m just finishing week 3 at SAP having just joined the Platform Solution Group for Database and Technology. So far I have been immersing myself in all things HANA related and found myself using the analogy, Buying SAP HANA is buying an Electric Vehicle, to draw together many different strands of information in one place.

Timo Elliots cartoon below is the best way I can describe my life for the last three weeks…..


In the last few years there have been numerous comparisons of SAP HANA with the Tesla electric car but these in the main focus on innovation and simplicity.

Compare the hybrid approach with the approach taken by Tesla Motors in the development first of their Roadster and subsequently their Model S. When Tesla set out to build an electric car, they didn’t take a conventional car and start bolting additional stuff onto it. They started from scratch. As a result, they produced a fully electric, zero-emissions vehicle that can blow the doors off conventional high-performance Vehicles (much less hybrids). A Tesla doesn’t even have a transmission; it doesn’t need one.    Tesla didn’t add. They subtracted”. Posted by Irfan Khan on June 2, 2014

My analogy is somewhat different, Buying HANA is like buying an Electric Vehicle

Not everyone has uses electric vehicles today but their popularity is increasing.  This is evident not just through statistics but seeing them is now common place in inner cities and more and more evident on the motorways around the UK that I frequent daily.

According to Wikipedia (so it must be true :-)) As of December 2014, over 712,000 highway legal plug-in electric passenger Vehicles and light-utility utility vans have been sold worldwide since 2003, which represent about 0.06% of the world’s stock of motor vehicles.  During 2014 six countries achieved plug-in electric car sales with a market share higher than 1% of total new car sales and The United States is the leading market with a stock of over 290,000 plug-in electric Vehicles sold since 2008, representing 41% of global sales.

These statistics are encouraging in terms of global adoption, and they got me thinking ….  Are there parallels between the Adoption of Electric Vehicles and Technology Adoption, more specifically SAP HANA?

Every new technology goes through an adoption life cycle in which certain audience segments adopt a product before others are willing to do so. The diffusion of innovations according to Everett Rogers shown below outlines the stages of adoption.  The lifecycle can be summarized as follows: With successive groups of consumers adopting the new technology (shown in blue), its market share (yellow) will eventually reach the saturation level.


Based on the current adoption statistics from Wikipedia above EV’s are breaking out of the Innovators stage into Early Adopters. Can the same be said for SAP HANA ?  It certainly feels so to me.

In the diffusion of innovations according to Everett Rogers Diffusion occurs through a five–step decision-making process:

  • Knowledge
  • Persuasion
  • Decision
  • Implementation
  • Confirmation

In the persuasion stage early adopters seek out information about the new technology and move onto the decision stage, weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of the new technology to reach a decision on whether to adopt …  or not.  It feels to me that this five step process is as relevant in the decision of whether to buy an Electric Vehicle as it is to investing in SAP HANA.  Do you agree?

When thinking about the Adoption of EV’s it also occurred to me there are many similarities with the questions and activities you may go through when considering buying an Electric Vehicle to those when taking the plunge in SAP HANA.

  • Why am I doing this?  (Save £$ or Save the planet)
  • I am adopting too early?
  • How long until I see a break even on my investment v’s what I use today?
  • There are only a few manufactures with a small selection of models
  • I know it’s the future but Why Now?
  • I have the skills to repair my existing car but I will have no idea with this new one
  • Is the infrastructure in place to support my charging needs
  • Electric Vehicles are expensive today in comparison to their Petrol counterparts. Should I hold on until they get cheaper?
  • Are electric vehicles cheaper to maintain?
  • Should I try a Hybrid or go all in on fully electric?
  • I’ll definitely need to test out its performance for myself.

In Part Two of this blog I will walk through the questions above and try and answer them from the SAP HANA perspective.

In closing

There is a widely held view that Electric Vehicles are the future for transportation so it’s a WHEN should we take the plunge in adopting this innovation rather than an IF we should adopt.  The clear messaging from the top echelons of SAP is that HANA is a core foundation to the future of SAP technologies. In the not too distant future everyone using SAP will use HANA, whether they know it directly or not (with it being the enabler in the background).

run hana.jpg

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