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SAPPHIRE NOW Day 3: Dance the Day Away with HANA

by Dave Hannon

May 18, 2012

By Dave Hannon

Day one of SAPPHIRE NOW brought the star power.

Day two brought Lars and the clouds (literally and figuratively) to Orlando.

And day three was HANA's time to rock out.

The final day kicked off with the always anticipated keynote from SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner, who put on his professorial cap and provided an academic look (complete with blackboard-style font on his minimalist slides) at the current and future state of SAP HANA. Rather than try to review everything Plattner said (who am I kidding, right?) I'll just brain dump a few of the more intriguing quotes I jotted down during his portion of the keynote:

  • "We should open an SAP store. I don't know what we'd do there."
  • "I'll leave this slide up to resonate with the folks in Redwood Shores." 
  • "SQL is not dead. If you pull SQL out of the enterprise, everything shuts down." 
  • "We are feverishly working on the [SAP Business] Suite to get it ready for HANA."

Plattner's portion of the keynote included a demo of SAP Business One on HANA and a short presentation from John Douglas, the CTO of high-end clothing maker Burberry. Douglas jokingly told the SAPPHIRE NOW crowd: "I see a lot of tailoring opportunities here. You techies make a lot of money, and you're obviously not spending it on clothes." 

Plattner closed with a couple zingers as well pointed at SAP's competition. "Big companies sometimes overlap and we have to handle this like adults," he said.

Following Plattner's presentation is not an enviable task, but when CTO Vishal Sikka took the stage he joked that following Plattner is better than presenting before him and risking cutting into Plattner's time, which was the case the last time the two shared the stage.

As always, Sikka won the crowd over by speaking their language. Among the highlights of Sikka's presentation for me were:

He said there are 145 HANA implementations at 353 customers and 33 SAP solutions built on it to date
Announced new releases of applications on SAP HANA 
Announced SAP now offers free click-through SAP developer licenses
Gave a big plug to Bluefin Solutions and John Appleby personally (Bluefin contributed to a recent SAPinsider article on SAP HANA which you can read here

In closing, Sikka pointed to some of the ways SAP HANA might change processes beyond the typical enterprise and highlighted the data processing required to sequence  the human genome. This led very well into my first session of the day, listening to the folks at Mitsui Knowledge Industry of Japan speak of how they are investigating SAP HANA to do just that--analyze patients' genetic data to find mutations that cause cancer. Wow, talking about very importan t work.

From there, the rest of day's sessions and meetings were a HANA-heavy whirlwind for me, but one of the highlights came in the very final session of the conference for me when a panel of three SAP customers including Kraft Foods, talked about their experience with SAP HANA. Kraft's Kelli Such, who happens to be  the latest insiderPROFILES cover story, talked about the company's SAP HANA pilot program in the Asia-Pacific region (you can be sure insiderPROFILES will be following up on this one).

Of course, the apex of the whole week for me personally came Wednesday night with the celebration concert performed by my boyhood favorites, Van Halen. Having never seens a SAPPHIRE concert before, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I was really impressed to find they played a full set, solos, encores, and all, with a full stage and massive video screen. They played all of the hits (Panama, Jump, etc.) and some older album cuts for us diehards like Romeo Delight, Hear About it Later, and Somebody Get Me a Doctor. (Dave to co-worker: "I probably haven't heard this song since 1986 or something!" Co-worker to Dave: "Wait a minute -- how old ARE you?") 

And yes, Jon Reed -- who went on record in our recent podcast as saying he can die happy when he sees David Lee Roth singing "I've been to the edge, and stood and looked down" -- got his wish. "I'm SO happy right now," Jon tweeted me back after the show.

Here's hoping everyone else got as much out of this event as Jon (and I) did.

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