SAP HANA has been generally available for three years, and is now coming of age. After debuting as an in-memory database, SAP HANA is now so much more. It is worthwhile to look at just how far SAP HANA has come in helping companies everywhere transform their businesses — as well as explore what its future holds.
Where Are We Now?
The easiest way to measure SAP HANA’s reach is from a customer standpoint. Nearly 4,000 customers are using SAP HANA to transform their organizations, making it easily the fastest-growing technology in SAP’s history. Why have businesses around the world embraced SAP HANA as an in-memory appliance to enable enterprise transformation?
Let’s start with the obvious: SAP HANA allows businesses in any industry to re-think processes that had been slowed by technological limitations. By ending the reliance on batch-oriented processes, SAP HANA fundamentally alters the traditional corporate business process cadence, in which delays were expected as part of doing business. Business models were created with latency issues baked in. By enabling real-time and predictive analytics scenarios, SAP HANA changes the game.
Second, from both a use case and an investment perspective, SAP has made it simple to realize these gains. SAP HANA debuted as an analytics appliance and database, supercharging applications such as the SAP ERP profitability analysis component, CO-PA; for the most part, SAP HANA was looked at as a sidecar engine. Today, however, regarding SAP HANA as only a database discounts up to 90% of its broader functional capabilities as an enterprise platform. Companies can, and do, put their business suite, data warehouse, and analytics solutions on SAP HANA to run their businesses smarter and faster. More and more customers are looking to SAP HANA as a core platform to build predictive analytics into their systems. Wherever or whenever the opportunity for business transformation presents itself, SAP HANA can enable that leap forward.
Creating Business Value Across Different Use Cases
SAP’s main intention for SAP HANA is not simply to move you from another database vendor. It is about creating business value by enabling you to change business processes and complete tasks that weren’t possible only a few years ago. This is what brings us back to the primary reason more than 3,300 customers have looked to SAP HANA, and why in a few more years we expect to have customers in the tens of thousands.
We’re seeing significant SAP HANA adoption and high-value use cases across dozens of industries. Some of the most common include manufacturing, consumer packaged goods, retail, and telecommunications. Why are organizations in these industries embracing SAP HANA? The SAP HANA platform enables real-time, complex data forecasting with one system, without the need for data replication. For example, customers can harness real-time inventory management, stocking shelves based on what was sold that morning instead of for the same time frame last year, or reporting on that morning’s sales to optimally price products that same evening. This has the power to affect business processes throughout an entire company. And, with a predictive engine that is part of the core SAP HANA platform, that same retailer can start to build predictive analytics into its system. Deliveries can be based on predicted demand that is in turn based on past trends, and delivery routes can be optimized so that each location has the precise amount of product on hand for that day’s sales.
Just a few years ago, an organization attempting to model its business on real-time data would have cobbled together different systems by different vendors and wouldn’t be able to match SAP HANA’s capabilities.
SAP HANA customers are doing this today — moving from batch to real time to a predictive scenario. Consider, for example, the benefits of predictive maintenance for a manufacturer that can use SAP HANA to predict warranty claims or product or line outages based on real-time data. To realize all of these scenarios without having to worry about bumping into limitations created by data latency can significantly change how business models are created.
It’s even more amazing to consider that all of this can be done with one system. Just a few years ago, an organization attempting to model its business on real-time data would have cobbled together a host of different systems by different vendors — not to mention make multiple copies of its data — and wouldn’t be able to match SAP HANA’s capabilities. Simplicity can be just as powerful as the speed that in-memory processing enables, which in part helps explain why companies are selecting SAP HANA to run not just faster, but to run smarter and simpler as well. It also explains why the “SAP HANA is only a database” mindset is being shattered.
A Variety of Deployment and Pricing Options
For the actual investment, the multitude of on-premise and cloud deployment options means that total cost of ownership (TCO) can be varied. For example, SAP HANA One can run on Amazon Web Services for 99 cents an hour. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud — a fully managed cloud offering on SAP servers — is now available on a subscription basis, enabling customers to run SAP Business Suite on an SAP-managed cloud on a monthly basis. If a customer wants an on-premise, database-only version of SAP HANA, it can do that too. The end of a one-size-fits-all SAP HANA pricing model, and even to an extent a one-size use case model, is one of the bigger changes since SAP HANA made its debut.
The transparency surrounding SAP HANA pricing is unmatched among other hardware and software vendors. Because SAP HANA is unique in the market, we want to be as open as we can about pricing considerations. To that end, we’ve encouraged our hardware partners to publish their pricing options online.1 By offering what is essentially a pricing menu, we simplify choices and make it easier for customers to bring SAP HANA into the fold.
Where Are We Going?
Our strategy for SAP HANA can be summed up succinctly: “SAP HANA Everywhere.” Moving forward, SAP HANA will be a core part of every type of business application available. We are so committed to the platform that not only do we run everything on SAP HANA internally, we’ve also migrated Ariba, SuccessFactors, and all of our other cloud solutions to SAP HANA as well.
But it’s not just about what we’re saying about SAP HANA, or even about the customers who are using it to change their business processes. There are more than 1,000 startups that are building innovative cloud applications on the SAP HANA platform, a firm indication of its legitimacy.
Our vision at SAP is to become the business cloud company powered by SAP HANA, and to this end we are making all our core software available by subscription in the cloud, which in turn makes it easy to do business with SAP. In the articles in this special report, SAP partners detail the various ways in which they are also making it easy for customers to recognize and use the SAP HANA platform to excel, both on premise and in the cloud. For more information, visit www.saphana.com.
1 “SAP HANA Hardware Component Price Transparency” (March 2014; www.saphana.com/community/about-hana/on-premise-options/hardware-prices). [back]
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