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The Extraordinary Life of the Humble John Hanna – A short story

Many companies are now using SAP HANA to accelerate processes, simplify architectures, and create an environment for innovation. However, SAP HANA’s “secret sauce” is still not widely understood. In this blog post, I would like to share a fictional short story explaining how SAP HANA is profoundly different from traditional database systems.

The Extraordinary Life of the Humble John Hanna

I will never forget the first day I met John Hanna. I was working the front counter in one of my family’s tool and hardware stores when my father called me over for introductions. John was a fit young man in his mid twenties with a firm handshake, warm  smile, and an intelligent look in his dark brown eyes. I remember thinking to myself, I bet this guy is smart – I did not know the half of it.

John was hired as our company’s first business analyst. The company had sprouted to five retail locations and my parents had an aggressive growth plan to continue adding stores. To that end, they wisely recognized the urgent need to improve our business processes and better understand the numbers.

John’s first task was to tackle inventory. He worked tirelessly to consolidate the data from the warehouse and stores. We never had a true understanding of lead times, safety stock, or even future inventory projections. For my dad, maintaining inventory was always based on a gut feeling.

Only a few months passed before we began to notice there was something different about John. It was not just the fact he always made everyone in the room smile. It was more than that – weird almost. He knew the numbers like the alphabet. I tried creating spreadsheets and talking through inventory movements in the past, but John seemed like an expert while not needing any reference material . He could not only speak to summary totals, but he had memorized every stock transaction including purchase orders and inventory counts. He could actually explain the rise and fall of any sku over any period of time without hesitation.

Sensing something special, my father decided to take John through a tour of the warehouse. They stopped at every bin and discussed questions like “What’s happening with this one?” or “Should we stock more or less to be more profitable?” John’s answers always proved to be 100% accurate.

In six months, the company’s bottom line began to improve. John had transformed the way our business operated using his exceptional brain. He would spend every morning memorizing inventory receipts, then work that afternoon to address problems and improve warehouse operations. John soon expanded his impact to other areas like sales and finance. His mental ability to remember and to access all of our company’s information was simply amazing.

After a couple of years, John was promoted to COO of the company and helped lead the opening of 20 more stores. It seemed that no matter how much the company grew, John was still able to consume the incoming data and make the most informed decisions exactly when needed.

We all enjoyed great success.

An important fact about John that I failed to mention – he had lost his parents early in life and spent his childhood moving between multiple orphanages. I like to think the close relationship that developed between John and our family was not solely based on his talent, but the fact that from the beginning my father recognized an emptiness needing a family.

Then, the Christmas dinner we will never forgot happened. Everyone was sitting around the table when John asked the question, “How can we make a difference in the world and not just focus on selling hammers?” Silence fell over the whole table. Up to that moment, the family had been solely consumed by the success of the business – over 100 stores!

It took a little while, but we all agreed John was asking the right questions. It was time our family and our successful company gave back. Within the next year, the family established and funded a non-profit foundation led by John. Thanks to his mental prowess, John took on problems like genetic health disorders, better farming techniques, and even projects for those who did not have access to clean water. His ability to learn, assimilate, analyze, and predict information knew no bounds.

The only measurement for John’s impact on the world was through his smile. The bigger the smile, the more you knew he was doing what he loved – impacting the world for the better.

John was 65 when he was laid in the ground. The funeral brought people from many different countries. His extraordinary ability to store and recall facts profoundly impacted so many lives. Listening to the stories being told, I could only think how proud I was to know John and be apart of his great mission to make a difference in the world.

Conclusion

Just like John, SAP HANA enables positive, innovative change in companies around the world by being different. The ability to store, access, and analyze data from memory is the ultimate game changer. Imagine for a moment the potential in-memory technology could offer your business. Here are a couple of benefits I have seen from past customer experiences: reduction/elimination of overnight batch jobs, simplification of solution architectures, and new insight from combining structured data with unstructured data.

Is it time for your company to take the advantage with SAP HANA? If so, check out the links below or contact your account executive.

“Getting better starts when the right hand knows about the left hand” … John Hanna

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