Simplification without disruption was the recurring theme of Dr. Vishal Sikka’s keynote address at SAP TechEd 2013 on Tuesday morning from The Venetian in Las Vegas. Sikka, a member of the Executive Board and the Global Managing Board of SAP AG, talked almost exclusively about SAP HANA’s position as the default platform for every SAP offering in the cloud. With simplification intended for developers and customers alike, how then can SAP’s offerings evolve to meet this standard?
"What we’re able to do here by bringing platform services into HANA is to speak to data regardless of its complexity, while it is living, while it is still happening"
- Dr. Vishal Sikka
The overarching goal for all organizations, Sikka said, is to use technology to empower, augment, and amplify. And SAP HANA’S evolution from a database into a reinvented platform for all SAP applications, on-premise and in the cloud, has that goal in mind.
Toward this end, a major announcement from the keynote was that SAP Fiori will become the new consistent user experience across all SAP solutions. According to Sikka, the intention is to allow for exceptional user experiences on top of existing applications, which is what the value that real-time analytics from SAP HANA provides in a cloud deployment. This, then, enables the development of new applications. The idea, he said, is rethinking SAP HANA as a central cloud platform that can enable this development with minimal disruption.
Sikka said that SAP had three main tasks in this repositioning of SAP HANA as a central platform.
- Task 1: Build SAP HANA as a platform that can serve a vast need. With this, Sikka invited Franz Faerber, SAP head of Data Management, onstage via a video feed from Walldorf, Germany, to announce that SAP HANA service pack 7.0 (SAP SP7) will be available in November. The new release, Faerber said, builds upon SAP HANA as a foundation for the Business Suite with scaled-out support that will “incrementally increase the reach of SAP HANA optimized performance.”
- Task 2: Re-invent applications. A platform, Sikka said, is incomplete unless it supports great applications. This, he said, is where SAP Fiori – via the power of SAP HANA – helps create this new “interaction paradigm”.
- Task 3: Assign importance to the platform by making a consistent user experience across the product line. The ease of use of the platform and its superior user experience has been validated, Sikka says, by the fact that more than 1,000 start-up companies have become part of the SAP Startup Focus program in the past year.
As a real-world example of SAP HANA delivering real-time information in a cloud deployment with SAP Fiori, Sam Yen, SAP’s Global Head of Design and User Experience, demoed a dashboard created for shipping company DHL using SAP’s web-based IDE on SAP HANA. The demo showed how a DHL employee uses the SAP Fiori app to help allocate resources for 300,000 shipments carrying 1,500 tons of goods on a daily basis, with all of that generated data tied into a central system.
“We all get fixated by data and big data,” said Sikka. “But without the context of the surrounding process, it’s basically meaningless. What we’re able to do here by bringing platform services into HANA is to speak to data regardless of its complexity, while it is living, while it is still happening.”
Another demo showed how SuccessFactors is using the HANA cloud platform to build, deliver, and manage a rewards program application that integrates with its existing solution, all in one integrated SAP HANA environment.
Sikka’s keynote message boils down to presenting SAP HANA as the platform of choice for customers to “augment” and “empower” the business. This could mean leveraging SAP HANA to develop applications on a web-based IDE, harnessing the power of SAP HANA via SAP HANA Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), which is in preview through the end of the year (SAP customers can use their existing license to run on the SAP HANA infrastructure), using SAP HANA One, or implementing the on-premise release of SAP HANA SP7.
In fact, if could even mean putting SAP HANA under your SAS applications, which will be possible under a newly announced agreement between the two vendors unveiled at SAP TechEd.