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3 SAP HANA Implementation Tips

by Thomas Wailgum | SAPinsider

October 1, 2012

By now, everyone has heard about SAP’s in-memory computing application, SAP HANA. Now, customers are looking for more information about the application and the experiences of companies that have already implemented it. That’s why recently caught up with the CIO of Charmer Sunbelt Group and the CTO of DuPont IT to learn more about their SAP HANA experiences.

SAP customers are hungry for information about how companies are implementing and leveraging SAP HANA. That’s why recently caught up with Paul Fipps, CIO of the Charmer Sunbelt Group, and Michael Stoko, CTO of DuPont IT, to learn more about their SAP HANA experiences.

Charmer Sunbelt’s goal for its SAP HANA implementation project was to speed up the delivery of its benchmarking report, which looks at 87 key metrics across all distribution centers and ties back into its SAP system.

For DuPont, the focus was on proofs of concept. DuPont’s innovation and advisory board generated 37 separate SAP HANA use cases and picked one to demonstrate an end-to-end scenario to see if SAP HANA could enhance a real-time pricing scenario that involves DuPont sales reps at a customer location using iPads. The proof of concept took about five to six weeks to complete.

So what tips can these experienced companies share with peers? Read on.

Tip #1: Be Ready to Handle Bumps

Implementing new solutions often means dealing with unforeseen hurdles. Knowing this, Charmer Sunbelt went into the project with eyes wide open. SAP HANA continues to evolve with each new iteration and there was a learning curve that came along with figuring out how to take advantage of the software and fine tune it to fit Charmer Sunbelt’s business processes.

As Stoko says, “If you are on older systems, it may take a little bit of time and some data services engineering work to make [a successful use case] happen.”

Tip #2: Understand Factors That May Affect Implementation Costs

Another important point to keep in mind is cost. “You buy SAP HANA in increments based on how much memory you need, and you base that off of the compression factor on your SAP ERP system,” says Fipps. As expected, Charmer Sunbelt is experiencing a 10-times compression rate from SAP HANA.

“You should also be mindful about just how big your in memory needs are,” Stoko adds. “We needed a 1 terabyte system at minimum, and that has made it more expensive.”

Tip #3: Map Out Your Business Case and Goals for SAP HANA

Before companies can fully reap the business benefits of SAP HANA, they must map out their business case and scenarios as extensively as possible.

“Companies should determine what they are really trying to accomplish with SAP HANA, as opposed to just making some reports faster,” Fipps says. “Don’t try to make everything real time; figure out where your business is going to get real benefit.” For Charmer Sunbelt, this benefit came from speeding the delivery of its benchmarking report from three days to 43 seconds.

Stoko echoes Fipps’s comments. “The question keeps coming back to: What does the business use case warrant? There are tradeoffs that need to be considered between speed and cost.” During DuPont’s proof-of-concept project, they were able to demonstrate that the real-time pricing capabilities enabled by SAP HANA were providing clear value to sales employees. 


Thomas Wailgum
Co-Editorial Director

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