Big Data/Analytics

SAP Business Suite on HANA: expert reaction

Analytics Jason Stamper

09:54, January 11 2013

Ovum analysts and SAP User Group UK Vice Chair comment on SAP's claims of analytics speed record

SAP has said that its Business Suite will now run on its HANA in-memory platform. The new software is intended to help enterprises run their businesses in real-time on a single in-memory platform to instantly complete transactions, analyse and forecast data.

The company claims that business processes like marketing analysis, material resource planning and sentiment analysis, and the most oft-used operational reporting and analytics tools, will all run much faster on HANA.

According to SAP, customers now can manage all mission-critical business processes in real time such as planning, execution, reporting and analysis by using live data.

SAP executive board member of technology and innovation Vishal Sikka said: "We can now eliminate the traditional trade-offs between cost and performance and reinvent real-time business while dramatically simplifying our customers' landscapes, together with a strong open ecosystem of partners."

Commenting on the news, analyst firm Ovum's Tony Baer, Madan Sheina, Nicole Engelbert, Carter Lusher and Warren Wilson described the news as "a potential game changer".

"Potential benefits of SAP Business suite on HANA are numerous. Obviously, HANA's in-memory architecture accelerates routine reporting functions, such as the ability to run end of period reports in seconds or minutes instead of tying a database with a batch run for hours," the analysts' comment read. "But processing speed is the least of HANA's potential benefits. The in-memory architecture allows data views to be generated on-the-fly, a benefit that not only reduces database footprint and storage requirements, but also potentially simplifies the modeling and deployment of data and the design of analytics or other complementary applications that run atop Business Suite.

"HANA's in-memory architecture also allows analytics to be embedded with transaction processing, enabling companies to become more agile. For instance, SAP customer John Deere achieved positive ROI on its HANA investment based sol ely on the benefits of implementing it for pricing optimization.

"SAP's challenge is brand and messaging. HANA has evolved over the last two years from a database to an analytics platform to simply a "platform." How SAP avoids confusing the market will be a key factor in driving competitive advantage.

"SAP Business Suite on HANA has the potential to be a game changer by making SAP much more relevant to its customers. But in the near term, SAP Business Suite on HANA should be seen as opportunistic upgrade for existing customers or greenfield opportunity for new ones. Few if any enterprises currently rank replacement of enterprise systems as top priority. Convincing customers that the "transformative" benefits of Suite on HANA will be non-disruptive technically is the challenge SAP faces with an entrenched Business Suite customer base. Companies don't swap out their database and ERP investments overnight."

Meanwhile, Philip Adams, Vice Chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group, commented: "It's great to see that SAP has listened to the feedback we provided as part of SUGEN and incorporated that into the pricing strategy. We've been used to paying for databases in a certain way, so it's great to see that SAP providing similar licensing options. In terms of the solution itself, it looks great. In the first instance I'd expect those organisations that have a real need for speed to look at migrating. I'm sure new customers will also welcome the news as it simply gives them more database options."

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