SAP Business Suite on HANA – A Vision Becomes Real(time)

hana_0001_72dpi– written by Uwe Bohnhorst, COO itelligence AG –

400 million lines of code were overhauled in order to make SAP’s vision real – to port the complete Business Suite to the Real-Time Platform SAP HANA.

When Hasso Plattner began to develop his vision for an authentic “realtime company” six and a half years ago, it sounded to many customers like expensive pie in the sky. At the end of 2010, the plans became reality with an initial version, and on January 10th of this year the strategic “big bang” followed: SAP HANA is, effective immediately, the basis for the entire range of current and future software from Walldorf.

At the end of 2012, SAP had begun by making their CRM applications available on the basis of SAP HANA; now those are being followed by the core applications of SAP Business Suite. This means transaction data can, in the future, be found in the central memory for fast and solid analysis, and the clear advantage is speed. But the real milestone inherent in this announcement is this: ERP use itself will be altered, because it is basically changing into ERS – that is, to a playground for embedded analytics, the simulation of the most diverse business- and market scenarios. SAP made this clear with the example of the MRP (Materials Requirements Planning) run which, with the help of In-Memory Computing, can now be conducted within a few minutes, instead of hours as it was previously. In the future it will be possible to ascertain with equal speed, for example, with the aid of simulations and ad-hoc analyses, what effects the repositioning of machine capacities would have, or how many orders and customers would be affected by other changes in production planning – information which, in the current system, can only be produced with substantial effort/expenditure and the assistance of a programmer.

But with the “Suite on HANA” SAP promises not only the end of the tiresome “batch –runs”, but also simplified application landscapes and reduced TCO. Thanks to smart simulation – and, not least, thanks to the now-possible integration of intelligent workflows – business processes can be adapted to the new consumer habits and the requirements of the current generation of “digital natives”. The customer defines today’s markets. And that customer wants, above all, speed and flexibility.

Anyone already using Business Suite can, via Service Pack, upgrade to the HANA-ready version. Whether a migration to a non-relational data bank appliance follows is up to the customer: all data banks previously supported by SAP continue to be usable. What the SAP applications can really do, however, can only be fully appreciated in their interaction with HANA, as SAP has made clear. I am convinced that the numerous HANA Performance Apps, with which SAP is accordingly expanding the Core ERP and the Standard Suite, will also make a contribution toward that end. An initial Rapid Deployment Solution has already been scheduled for Q1 2013 – including preconfigured software, implementation services, contents and trainings, at a fixed price. Customers are to be able to go live with it in less than six months.

itelligence has already migrated its own SAP Industry Solutions, the it.solutions. As one of three “Early Partners” we had the opportunity to extensively test the changeover to HANA. Our conclusion: technically, everything runs absolutely problem-free. 25 of our consulting advisers are already certified for SAP HANA, and our engineering experts in the data center are also familiar with the technology.

Utilizing the experiences of SAP “pilot customers”, among them Ferrero and John Deere, the next step is to familiarize the market with the advantages of using OLAP and OLTP on a single platform. In my view the “Suite on HANA” is especially attractive for industries which struggle with a high data volume – among them retailers, wholesalers and manufacturing companies. However, it is the particular Business Case which is decisive. The changeover requires, from the implementing partner, both technical know-how and extensive knowledge of their industry, plus sensitivity regarding the processes and, not least, the spirit of the (mostly medium-sized) SAP users – the specialty area of itelligence AG.

Market interest in “Business Suite on HANA” will be awakened with the strategic competitive advantage “speed”. Another selling point is that queries and analyses can be conducted in as granular, aggregated and dimensioned a manner as is desired. I personally do not expect a true migration avalanche yet in 2013, but a successful realtime-scenario with early adopters will influence the market…and thus, also, the appetite for innovation among potential followers.

Uwe Bohnhorst

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