If there was anything to take away from this morning's keynote at SAP TechEd it was this: HANA is at the center of everything SAP is doing moving forward.
Now, this may be a simplification, or it may just seem like the same thing you've been hearing in various press releases and articles over the last few months as SAP has pushed HANA further into the public's consciousness. But in Vishal Sikka's comments at the keynote, it became even more clear that HANA is everything.
Vishal was joined by a number of co-presenters, all of whom showed some way HANA improved existing processes or allowed for companies to make their own improvements. One example was Yodobashi, who improved their incentive payment process from 3 days to 2 seconds. When you're reducing days to seconds, you're going to get some attention.
There were many more numbers that said the same thing: HANA is fast. And while Vishal didn't talk cost (though I can't say that would be expected at such an event), the assertion was that cost efficiencies gained in business processes made up for whatever the initial investment would be.
In the past year, SAP has continually said that their strategy moving forward centers around in-memory computing, mobility, and analytics. But really, it centers on just the first of these. I tweeted this at one point, but I couldn't help but feel like the mobility side was merely a by-product of their efforts with HANA. Every time he mentioned Sybase, he talked about how their work could help make the power of the systems "more beautiful". Beauty is fine and everything, but what really excites Vishal -- and SAP -- is the power behind it. Beauty is just the way to hook the users.
And of course, that third part, analytics, is only as good as the data you can get. Per Vishal, HANA allows for better, faster data processing. He showed a few screenshots of reports that had been developed, and apps that were more user-friendly and more effective.
So, yeah, SAP's strategy is three pronged. But two of the prongs depends heavily on the first. And don't expect this to go by the wayside. In a session I went to earlier this morning, "Deep Dive into SAP In-Memory Technology, Strategy, and Roadmap," this initiative was further supported. While the near-term goals for HANA were to feed the pipeline and continue developing applications that help show it off, the long-term goals -- and this was in 2012 or 2013 -- included having HANA be the underlying platform not only for SAP NetWeaver BW, but SAP ECC in general. That's a commitment.