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SAP HANA for Enterprise Architects – Why HANA, Why Now and How to Start

The Journey Continues – Episode 8 of 10

Quite often Enterprise Architects (EAs) need to work within the framework of what their CIO’s give them.  EA’s are challenged to provide innovation and value while cutting costs and simplifying. This week’s webinar had Mike Bell, Strategic Engagement Executive, on the call who spoke to us from the standpoint of what CIO’s expect. It was great to get a real word perspective based on years of experience as CIO. Mike has been there, through the invention and rollout of SAP from the customer point of view.

To start with, Mike presented the challenge that every Enterprise Architect has to deal with – the Cost to Value Challenge. How can EAs support CIOs in balancing systems risk, cost and time to value? The rest of the presentation dealt with these areas and how SAP HANA can help. Mike illustrated his journey as a CIO as he worked with SAP at the time when SAP HANA was an emerging technology.


Many CIOs have concerns about moving into the SAP HANA technology. It is new technology, and they may not have any experience on the benefits an organization can achieve. In the webcast, the speaker took us through a journey from a vision of what his previous firm wanted, as an SAP Customer, to what could eventually be done. This involved asking breakthrough questions in 2011 like; ”When can we take an 85 terabyte ERP instance and compact it down into one box, and thousands of servers down to three datacenters?”

To help answer these questions, Mike discussed the Gartner PACE Layering methodology. Many enterprise architects are familiar with the Gartner PACE application layering model. It attempts to place all applications in one of three designations:

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All images © 2015 SAP SE or an SAP affiliate company. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author.

This was presented with an interesting SAP overlay to show where the various SAP technologies fit in this framework:

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One additional layer was then proposed to expand this framework by introducing the concept of Systems of Discovery. SAP HANA gives you the ability to have “Systems of Discovery”.

From Mike’s experience, he talked about the impact of batch runs for reports and what happens when 48,000 batch jobs don’t go out. It has a real business impact. You can do business differently if you don’t have to worry about batch jobs.

Why Now?

One example shown in the presentation was the way a retailer can take advantage of agile pricing so they can re-price during the day to move product and reduce waste. Normally, price is an unknown and manual process, with the speed SAP HANA, you are able to do dynamic pricing optimization.

Another way of meeting the Cost to Value challenge is by introducing SAP HANA as a sidecar. In the webcast, we learned a few ways that SAP HANA can be quickly introduced and provide immediate value to the organization.

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An important point the speaker made was how to deal with the impression that implementing SAP HANA is a binary decision, go SAP HANA or not. This is not the case, you can upgrade your ERP and introduce SAP HANA as a “Sidecar” and take advantage of new capabilities. You can do this in the cloud as well, and have an attractive cost structure as you grow into it.

How to Start.

Mike proposed implementing SAP HANA as a Sidecar technology to your ERP system so that you can introduce new technology that delivers immediate value. He also proposed that any development activities done through this needed to be delivered in 12 weeks. Why 12 weeks? That is the amount of time he felt you could keep the interest and momentum of the organization and management support for a project.

Using the example of rebuilding a house, you don’t knock the house down to build a new foundation, you can paint a room, without rebuilding the house.

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Towards the end of the presentation, Mike also reviewed the concept of Design Thinking as a process to envision new business capabilities and processes. I liked the quote “Let’s find something real that is valuable right now” as a driver to try the design thinking process.

On the call we heard about what a design thinking exercise looked like and how one company arrived at some new business processes that delivered value to the organization. You will want to watch the webcast to see how they went through this process. – And how the outcome delivered £200M of benefit 4 years earlier than originally anticipated.

There were many concepts for Enterprise Architects in this webcast that would be worth your while to review – from someone with real world experience. After viewing the webcast, you should be able to answer the questions proposed in the title of the presentation: Why HANA, Why Now and How to Start. The speaker touched on PACE Layering with SAP applications, SAP HANA as a Sidecar implementation, and how Design Thinking can help envision new business processes where SAP HANA can help out.

The webcast replay link:

Webcast Materials on

A few of the webcast attendee key takeaway comments:

  • Pace layering (with SAP Applications).
  • When ECC 6 support goes away, new features will only (be) available on HANA going forward.
  • Think about ECC 6 on HANA like renovating your house, help to build a much better business case.
  • How to run a design thinking process.
  • Design Thinking was new and intriguing to me. I will look to apply that.
  • How to think differently in term of life cycle and maintenance of an organization’s application environment – thinking in the 3 Gartner types or 4 Mike Bell classifications of systems necessary to run or drive a business.
  • Radical transformation of thinking when in a HANA environment.
  • Getting to the top part of pace layering (faster).
  • Rethink how Pace Layering can be enhanced with HANA 12 week quick release projects.
  • The business value that can sell Hana.
  • CIOs can get the quick payback on IT investments that they need.
  • SAP HANA can be used to deliver value quickly through sidecar projects.
  • Design Thinking can help with use cases for HANA.
  • I’m not sure that I fully understand the quick value return at the Systems of Innovation level but that is very intriguing and something I will spend time to understand more clearly so I can share that with our Management Team.

In the next webcast scheduled for October 6th, the speaker will be covering “Implications of Introducing SAP HANA into Your Environment”.

Complete Webcast Series Details

The final webcast will occur at 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET

October 13, 2015: Internet of Things and SAP HANA for Business

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