Clarification in Orlando: SAP HANA — Myth and truth

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— written by Uwe Bohnhorst, Chief Operating Officer, itelligence AG —

The great issue of Hasso Plattner’s and Vishal Sikka’s keynote on the final day of the SAPPHIRE NOW was the following one: By how many minutes would those two exceed their speech? This time by 35 minutes, leading to the fact that unfortunately I was not able to witness the end of the speech since I had to attend a customer meeting.

Hasso Plattner touched on different myths and truths about his “baby“ and favorite subject SAP HANA. There were rumors in the press that HANA was incapable of this and that, this was something he wanted to clear up. HANA is incapable of being virtualized? Of course, it is possible. All the data has to be saved in the main drive? Not true. It is still stored in a conventional database in a tabular form via physical data media or SSD; HANA only dynamically loads the columns of the tables queried by the user. Cache mechanisms and the benefits of compression algorithms came up: Is it possible to transfer a 3-terabyte database into a HANA-DB and to easily reduce it to 1.5 or 2 terabytes? No one else is better qualified to answer questions of that nature on HANA than Hasso Plattner.

And it is impressive, again and again to see how he is still pushing innovation in such a large company. When it comes to technical matters, the SAP founder is in his element, here in Orlando he  demonstrated it in the way that he dealt with the Q&A’s with such passion. Yes: SAP has Vishal, Jim and Bill – and they all are doing a great job. However, as far as HANA is concerned, Hasso Plattner with his Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam is the driving force – even with regards to content.

In his keynote, Vishal Sikka, SAP board member and responsible for the division Technology & Innovation, first of all presented the new user interface, SAP Fiori (Subject of my yesterday’s post). In the future, not application software but consumer solutions such as Google or facebook are expected to be the benchmark with regard to user friendliness. “This is how business software must look like“, emphasized Vishal, “and not as complex and complicated as today“. The benefits of the new, company-wide HTML-coding: Programs are written just once, after that it is possible to operate the application from all end devices – no matter whether tablet, desktop or iPhone. The magic formula is ’Responsive Design’. So in the future, SAP no longer has to listen to accusations that an SAP screen appears unattractive and crowded. This is a good thing, as a new generation of users is on the way.

And this generation expects simplicity — in every matter. Fiori is a very good approach which also helps us as business partners: In medium-sized business, we are frequently required to position ourselves against competitive products such as, for example, Microsoft Dynamics, which with regard to the user interface appear more modern than SAP. Thanks to Fiori, SAP’s “antiquated image“ is finally history now. At the same time, Vishal‘s keynote was a partner show: Without the great support of Intel it would have been impossible to develop HANA, HP presented its computer, even Google had its say. The articles of ebay and Adobe clarify that not just SAP products but now even software solutions of other manufacturers are running on HANA.

In Orlando, itelligence has conducted 100 conversations with customers. Their feedback is unanimous: The SAPPHIRE NOW is a great opportunity to get an overview of the portfolio and the future strategy of SAP in a very compressed way. Our conclusion sounds similar: During the past twelve months, our major partner has launched a variety of new products, released new announcements and particularly forced the HANA topic. So the general theme running through all this news is merging here in Orlando. All our American customers are on the spot, distinguishing this local event from its European counterpart. It is much more a customer than a partner event and is also attended by prospects not yet using SAP. We meet potential buyers here, develop new business opportunities, care for our existing customers and can also inspire them on the spot to further develop their systems. This represents a great benefit for itelligence.

My personal conclusion on the third and final day of the event: The decision taken by itelligence many years ago to continue concentrating on SAP and to adopt and press ahead with innovations was definitively a very good one. Here in Orlando the way our most important and largest partner and its market is developing is becoming apparent again: We have backed the right horse. SAP has very good products and pushes innovation and growth opportunities for customers and partners with enthusiasm and competence. SAP AG is growing as well – and we are growing with it. SAP clearly states: We need our partners. Above all, however, we need partners growing with us and not wanting to rest on their traditional business models. We here at itelligence feel a great sense of satisfaction. And that’s the fun part!

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