TechEd 2012 – Keynote Vishal Sikka

The highlight of day three at TechEd was the executive keynote by Vishal Sikka on HANA and other technology topics that will influence SAP and the SAP ecosystem in the near future. Since the stage was already prepared for the Supertramp concert later on Thursday evening Vishal was speaking in front of drums, keyboards, saxophones and guitars and he dubbed his presentation “HANA – the logical platform”, borrowing the headline at least partially from Supertramp’s “The Logical Song”. But let’s talk about the content and the interesting stuff that he spoke about:

Vishal first spoke about the three forces that are changing the world of IT in our days:

  1. End users are empowered
  2. Business is just in time
  3. Software is reshaping the world, with intelligent, empathic systems that evolve with us

These are quite interesting statements and I agree with him, that IT is not neccessarily driving innovation, but business requirements are in the lead defining the future of IT systems because of the nature of the new business processes and the associated requirements. Let’s just take a moment to think about the changes IT systems have undergone in recent years and how – I think – it is impossible to stay on the cutting edge with IT systems and landscapes that were defined 10 or more years ago. Inventions like the internet and smartphones have changed our jobs and our behavior both as end consumers and business users. When I write these lines, smartphones and online business apps come to my mind.

Now, what’s SAP’s contribution to the forces that he spoke about? Vishal’s simple answer was SAP HANA. Rethinking and redesigning databases in general and developing SAP’s new database has lead to (quote Vishal) “the HANA effect” and he provides us with a couple of facts regarding SAP HANA.

SAP HANA was released last year and it has been one of the fastest growing products in SAP’s history. Right now SAP has more than 615 customers using this technology, and three of them are now members of the 100K club, indicating that they have achieved performance increases by a factor 100000 (at least). See also my blog post from the TechEd 2011 for details about this challenge. The three members are:

– Yodobashi
– Nonfu Springs
– Mitsui Knowledge Industry

The example of Nonfu Springs is extremely interesting. As Vishal described Nonfu Springs spends 15% of its total revenue on transportation costs. Considering the complex network of distribution their products to distributers and end users it took them 25 hours to calculate the optimal transportation routes. Now, using SAP HANA the same calculation only takes 0.75 seconds. This has a direct impact of +35% on the overall bottom line result of Nonfu Springs. This is amazing…

Next Vishal talked about the 5 dimenions of data which can all be addressed with HANA and associated technologies SAP provides:

Going deep and broad (Big Data), in real time, as soon as possible (within the window of opportunity) with agility.

Taking all this into account Vishal did postulate the end of batch processing and he did elaborate more on the consequences of the HANA effect:

  1. The focus will be on design and the overall end user experience (a.k.a. user interfaces): SAP has started SAP personas which are a new generation of user interfaces and Kingfisher was brought on stage as a reference for this. Please see also for more information regarding the new end user experience.
  2. The process of software development will improve radically. The Hasso Plattner Institute has been working on a design thinking approach around software development that will result in a new approach called “BYOL – bring your own language”, and SAP has already implemented this with the “River Development Experience”.
  3. The real time data plaform for open and evolving systems is forcing SAP and other software companies to rethink and evolve their products.

Bottom line, many things are changing, these changes are for the better of the end user and the developer and all this will reshape the future of software development, software usage and, as a consequence, it will have an enormous impact on both the world of business and the world of IT as we know them today. The basis for all this is SAP’s real time data platform, which focuses on SAP HANA. Logical – isn’t it?

Then it was time for Supertramp: “When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, it was beautiful, magical…”

I actually think that the future will be magical, thanks to Vishal.

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