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Live from the SAPinsider Studio: TekLink's Tony Guetersloh on Finding Value in SAP HANA

An Interview Recorded Live at BI-HANA 2014 in Orlando

May 22, 2014

Tony Guetersloh of TekLink International interviews with SAPinsider's Ken Murphy at the SAPinsider Studio in Orlando. This interview was recorded live at the BI-HANA 2014 conference in Orlando, Florida. Guetersloh discusses building a business case for SAP HANA, and details how TekLink's proprietary Value Wheel for SAP HANA can ease this process for organizations considering an SAP HANA implementation.

View the video, and read the edited transcript of this conversation with Tony Guetersloh here:

Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy, with SAPinsider. I’m reporting live at the SAPinsider BI and HANA 2014 event, this morning I’m pleased to be joined by Tony Guetersloh, of TekLink. Tony, welcome.

Tony Guetersloh, TekLink: Thank you Ken, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Ken: Thanks for joining us. I want to start with SAP HANA; I’m curious if SAP HANA and technologies like it are sort of reaching a tipping point where it’s starting to become a must-have as opposed to a nice-to-have?

Tony: Well I think the answer depends on what type of organization we’re looking at. So a lot of the clients that we work with, some of the big, big Fortune 500—we tend to do a lot with CPG companies that have massive, massive data volumes, it is starting to become a must-have. In a lot of cases, they’ve been existing SAP customers, they already have data warehouses or BW that’s been in place for many years, that frankly, it’s grown too large and it’s very difficult to manage. A lot of cases they may already have BW Accelerator in place, but it’s full, and they can’t add more stuff to it. And so they’re coming to a tipping point where they need to make a change to HANA in order to get the performance and the ability to do some of that rapid analytical insight and have more of an agile BI deployment methodology than what they’ve previously been doing. Now, when we work with some of the smaller or midsize businesses, where maybe they don’t have as many constraints around data volume, a little bit smaller installations, I think there, in some cases, it might not be a must-have, if they’re able to operate with what they’ve got and still deliver high performance to their users.

Ken: So there’s obviously awide range, even based on company size alone. I also want to talk about the business case; SAP HANA’s been around for a few years now, so perhaps it’s been easier for businesses to build a business case because they see what’s been done successfully. Is it likewise becoming easier to have maybe, a know-how template that’s out there, you can see something that’s been done and sort of mimic that?

Tony: Well, yes, and when I—in my session, which I gave yesterday, we’ve developed such a template, really a methodology where it has a series of templates for building a business case. And what we’ve found, you know, for a few customers that have gone live with HANA, a lot of them are, have been able to build maybe a smaller business case based on IT area alone. So, some of the benefits they’ll get from IT, as far as saving on support costs, maybe being able to retire older systems, older databases, and they’ve been able to do it in that manner and seen a lot of additional benefits beyond that. As other companies are starting to look at HANA and try to build that case, our methodology and template has been one where we want to cast as wide a net as possible to look at value drivers beyond just the IT space. So look at all the other process areas, functional areas across the enterprise, where they could also benefit from some of the capabilities and new things that HANA will provide. So being able to remove a lot of the existing constraints around performance, or the ability to drill into detailed data or having near real-time data available at all times, those are constraints that a lot of businesses have, you know, their end users have just learned to live with for years now because that’s always what they’ve been told, well, this is all that it can do. So when you suddenly tell them, well we can take all those constraints away, and you can have your data near real-time, you can go down to whatever level of detail and it doesn’t matter, you’re still going to have high performance on that report, suddenly the light bulbs start going off, and you start hearing about wow, well what can we do to optimize inventory better, or how can we use this to maybe increase sales by tying in big data point of sales information, you know, as an example, which they’ve never been able to do before. Or how about in the finance department, might we be able to speed up our month-end close by having, you know, real-time adjustments reflected, rather than have to wait for our overnight ETL or batch job to run.

Ken: Right, so reinventing processes?

Tony: Exactly, reinventing processes. And that’s really where we’re starting to see more and more business cases emerge, because the fact of the matter is HANA’s a significant investment, it’s not necessarily the cheapest technology on the market, but in order to justify it we have this template and methodology which we call our “value wheel,” where we, like I said, we bring in inputs from all the different process areas and build the full holistic business case, of which IT is certainly a slice of that wheel, but it’s not the whole thing.

Ken: Can you just tell me a little bit more about the value wheel?

Tony: Sure, well that was something we’ve kind of trademarked at TekLink, which I said is part of this methodology we’ve developed, so the value wheel really breaks down the benefits of HANA into five main categories that we think it can benefit an organization. So the first one is cost savings, second one is revenue generation, next is improved efficiencies, the fourth is improved customer service, and finally the fifth and probably most important, new capabilities and innovation. So, being able to do new things that an organization has never been able to do before tends to be something that HANA can provide, which really enables you to visualize a lot of additional value and possible business cases that can be done. And then we kind of built this wheel where each one of those is, if you will, say, a slice of the wheel, and based on all the processes we identified and we put that into our template and it tells you, you know, where are you going to see the most bang for your buck, and that helps you say where should we start, if we’re going to do a roadmap, what priorities should we place on what, you know, applications or capabilities of HANA should we deploy first, and also where should we go to find the funding from which process areas, because they’re also going to receive the most value.

Ken: Can you provide an example of a customer or two perhaps that’s utilized the value wheel to some success?

Tony: Sure, absolutely. We did one with a customer named Eby-Brown, they’re a big kind of logistics and fulfillment company, they—

Ken: Sure, convenience stores?

Tony: Right, exactly. They deliver to convenience stores. We helped them about two years back go through an entire assessment and then build out a roadmap for deploying HANA, they were one of the first customers to deploy BW on HANA, right after it was released. In addition to them, we’ve also done it similarly with a, one of the large global confections manufacturers, they produce, you know, a lot of well-known candy bars and other confections, and similarly, we went through that same process with them, and they initially, before we came in, were just trying to do it on the basis of IT alone and were struggling to get that true business case to justify the investment. And after we did our value wheel approach, we interviewed some process owners from all their different departments and found there was significant opportunity in their delivery and fulfillment areas, and so they said, you know, they have a case fill rate, is a critical KPI that they measure, and by being able to deliver the real-time data, they have the opportunity to improve their case fill rate by a percent to a percent and a half, which for them translated into potentially millions of dollars in annual savings.

Ken: So, you were able to provide a value wheel to them on all, sort of all along the wheel, all segments?

Tony: Yes, exactly. And there was other pieces too, but in the, in that case the logistics one was probably the biggest slice of the wheel.

Ken: Right. Alright, great, so last question, where are you off to next, what do you have on tap for the day?

Tony: Well today I plan to attend the BI 7.4 launch event, so some exciting new things I want to learn about BI 7—excuse me, BW 7.4 on HANA.

Ken: Great.

Tony: And just continue to network and meet some of the other great experts here at this conference.

Ken: All right, well Tony thanks for visiting with us.

Tony: It was my pleasure, Ken. Thanks for having me.

Ken: Again, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider, reporting live from SAPinsider’s BI and HANA 2014 event.

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