Scrooge needed three separate spirits to answer questions about the Past, Present and Future. Today’s Business Leader needs just one.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a much loved favourite in our house. We have a dozen versions of it on DVD, and still go to see it at the theatre most years. While watching it again I was struck by the nature of the three ghosts which feature in the story.

On the nights before Christmas, the ghost of Marley tells Ebeneezer Scrooge that he is to be visited by “Three Spirits”, relating to Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas yet-to-come. Three separate spirits, with different personalities, on three different nights are needed to persuade Scrooge to change his ways.Christmas-carol.jpg

The Three Spirits tell essentially the story of the state of the Business Information technologies. If we are trying to get a senior executive to change direction we typically also need three separate approaches. Since senior executives tend to be focused on sales, there are three fundamental techniques to answer the three fundamental questions that an executive needs

  • “What did I sell yesterday?” : Sometimes called a Data Warehouse
  • “What am I selling today?” : OLTP (On-line Transaction Processing)
  • “What will I sell tomorrow?” : Predictive Analytics

In fact traditional database vendors suggested multiple copies of the same data, so that they could charge for it multiple times with multiple database solutions.

Could there be a better way? As you see on a poster at an airport near you, It’s Simple The Answer is SAP HANA.

The Ghost of Data Past

Poor old Scrooge was given images from when he was a boy, and most enterprises really struggle with assembling old data into data cubes, and then granting access. The recently announced SAP Cloud for Analytics is redefined from the ground up and built natively on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, with the power to find insights and take action.

The Ghost of Data Present

As discussed in my earlier blog, OLTP and OLAP sign a peace treaty to end the Thirty Years War, we no longer need a separate Spirit to look at our transaction data. S/4HANA eliminates duplication of data providing one source of truth.

The Ghost of Data Yet-to-Be

In the story, the spirit shows Scrooge the future, and this is the fundamental question for Business Leaders too. With SAP Predictive Analytics software, you can predict business outcomes – and respond to change before it happens. The Christmas stocking is filled with goodies such as predictive modelling, Big Data mining, real-time business intelligence (BI), data visualization, and more, to see what trends are emerging and where performance is headed.

So unlike old Ebeneezer, you don’t need three separate solutions, you don’t need magical spirits and you don’t need to wait for Christmas. It’s Simple, the Answer is SAP HANA.

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