For ASUG members, SAP is undoubtedly one of their most — if not the most — strategic application vendors, both in terms of day-to-day operations and long-term innovation. And it’s impossible to speak of innovation for SAP customers without discussing where SAP HANA fits into their IT strategies. As SAP continues to enhance SAP HANA as a database, it begs the question: Will SAP become their strategic database vendor as well?
It of course helps to look at where exactly SAP customers are on their SAP HANA implementation journeys. In April 2013, ASUG and SAP conducted a joint survey of more than 1,000 ASUG members to find out.
What We Learned
Nearly 80% of respondents are on the most current version of SAP ERP software, and have been for some time, according to the survey. With such a high rate of up-to-date implementations, it’s not surprising that half of those surveyed indicate that they have a good or excellent understanding of SAP’s HANA strategy, and that SAP has made good or excellent attempts to educate them about it.
As far as plans for implementing SAP HANA, however, more than half of those surveyed said they didn’t plan on implementing, or didn’t know whether they would implement, SAP HANA in the next two years. When asked about considering SAP HANA as a database for their transactional applications, respondents were unclear about the pricing structure and roadmap for enabling SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA.
A Mission to Educate
As one of the major technical conferences for SAP customers, SAP TechEd is by extension a stage for unveiling innovations and signaling SAP strategy — such as the announcement more than two years ago that SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW) could run on SAP HANA. It was one of the first tangible signs that SAP was committed to being a database vendor. In October 2013 at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, SAP Executive Board Member Dr. Vishal Sikka further enforced that commitment, explaining the strategic value of using an in-memory database not just for analytics, but also for transactional software, and how SAP HANA can give customers the edge they’ve been searching for.
SAP is also setting out to demonstrate the strategic value of SAP HANA as a database using perhaps the most important SAP HANA customer as an example — SAP itself. SAP has migrated its entire global SAP ERP instance, with 65,000 users, from IBM DB2 to SAP HANA. In the process, it reduced an eight-terabyte database to two terabytes and developed the tools and services (which will be available to customers) required to weed out unnecessary and redundant code.
Martin Heisig, Senior Vice President of SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, said at SAP TechEd that the benefits of putting the SAP ERP system on SAP HANA come not only from replacing the database, but also from pushing business logic into the database layer. Prior to the SAP HANA migration, SAP itself had trouble shuffling data between systems — now, it has reduced data extractions to and from SAP NetWeaver BW because the reporting can be done in the transactional systems.
With an understanding of SAP’s HANA strategy and roadmap, backed by the proven success of SAP’s own experience, SAP customers are better equipped to find out if SAP can be their strategic database and applications vendor. To learn more about SAP HANA, visit www.saphana.com.