SAP Business Suite Users and SAP HANA

Puneet Suppal

Posted by Puneet Suppal on April 17, 2013

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On January 10, 2013 SAP announced that customers could now run their SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA. Since then, there has been a lot of activity and discussion on this front. Personally, I embarked on a mission to reach out and touch as many potentially interested persons as possible. With the conclusion today of an ASUG Strategy Builder Webcast series on this topic (that I have been leading), I have directly touched approximately a thousand individuals (not counting the viral nature of Twitter) – through webcasts, pointed discussions, and various in-person events that have taken me across several parts of these United States.

Every day that I have spent in these endeavors, I have learned something new. Most importantly, I believe I have strengthened my connection with the SAP ecosystem — this is energizing and at the same time challenges us to raise the bar further.

Today, I would like to share a couple of those experiences with you.

Who is interested in what?

One of my first in-person experiences was a lecture session at SAP Insider’s HR conference in February. At the end of one such session, one of the attendees came up to me and said, “This was a great description about HANA.” I thanked her, reiterated some of the key messages about running the SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA and went about my business. A week later at the SAP Insider SCM/CRM conference, I had someone tell me, “This was the best explanation about HANA that I have ever heard.” I engaged in some follow up conversation as usual. And then, I stopped to think for a minute. It was uncanny that two individuals were remarking about how my talk had explained SAP HANA so well for them, when indeed my discussion topic was about the SAP Business Suite now powered by SAP HANA. Then, it struck me.

The fact that SAP HANA has been making great strides in the past two years is no secret (check out saphana.com). With the launch of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA we have touched – in many cases, directly – the lives of thousands of individuals that must interact with a SAP Business Suite application day in and day out. For many of these users, until now, SAP HANA was still somewhat of a mythical, albeit magical, entity that somehow helped with Analytics only or helped power some unique non-SAP-like applications (e.g., genome analysis). My rendition of the story around how SAP HANA can change the lives of these users – in the context of the SAP Business Suite – finally brought home to them the power of this breakthrough technology. Also, it seemed to have demystified SAP HANA in a way that made them want to reach forward and embrace it.

Lesson learned: SAP’s move to quickly bring the power of SAP HANA to improve the work lives of those who work with SAP Business Suite was absolutely spot on.

There is one other experience that I have found taking place quite routinely. Although we often talk about what “in-memory” and “real-time” mean and how SAP HANA delivers on these aspects, many don’t always grasp right away that all their operational data is actually in memory and that all data events are happening truly in real-time. Many try and compare with what other vendors might be offering on an enterprise scale, and I have often had to point out that many of these are only “pseudo-in-memory” at best, or cannot claim to be truly real-time. After all, solutions in the market that are based on use of flash or ones that require involved data preparation activity (indexing, pre-aggregation, caching, etc.) can never honestly make these claims! I have seen the eyes going wide and the look of “I-just-got-HANA-Nirvana” appear on the faces of those I have had this discussion with – that’s the moment when they have understood the true power of what they can have when they run their transactional workloads and analytical workloads using one single data store! Once this is grasped, every end-user starts to then think of all the different ways in which this can make their daily lives easier. Those conversations are indeed fulfilling. They are also educational – I am convinced that the end-users SAP serves will come up with many more ways to derive advantage from running SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA beyond what SAP puts on offer.

What does this mean for the SAP ecosystem?

In an earlier post I alluded to a statistic I keep hearing – that according to one estimate about 63% of the world’s transactions touch an SAP system somewhere. This means there is a huge portion of humanity out there that is impacted by how these transactions are executed. If all these users start to recognize the power that is now at their disposal, the way we conduct related processes will change. For example, if we choose to, we can say goodbye to batch processes. We can re-engineer business processes to do things we couldn’t before. For example, we can run MRP on a sub-daily basis and be able to plan more accurately and operate more efficiently, making a noticeable impact on cost and profitability.

We can extend our reach beyond what traditional enterprise applications have to offer, for the power of the SAP HANA platform has already spawned a growing number of apps designed to run on SAP HANA taking advantage of its unique capabilities. We can more freely expand the use of Mobile and Cloud technologies to untether our workforce and provide a better and easy way to manage computing experience.

These and so many other possibilities are within reach, and those who live with the SAP Business Suite on a daily basis are now ready. To them I can solemnly promise an exciting experience at SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando – I invite you all to come and take a first-hand look at the new developments that are going to make your computing life that much better (sorry, can’t give any examples – you’ll just have to experience it at SAPPHIRE NOW!!). Also, you will learn first-hand what several customers are already experiencing in their journey with SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.

I look forward to seeing many of you at this conference starting right after Mother’s Day!

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