It’s hard to find a new technology with more promise, and more implementation complexity, than the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform.
About 2,700 customers have adopted S/4, the latest Business Suite of products including SRM, CRM and SCM that runs exclusively on HANA. These enterprises are investing in the promise of what SAP President Steve Lucas describes as “a digital operating system for your whole company” that helps comprehensively digitise business activities and enable real-time, data-driven decisions.
SAP HANA helps industry revamp strategy and execution
This means traditional industries can revamp both strategy and execution. Mercedes-AMG monitors dozens of test engine components to detect and analyse failures real-time with SAP Business Suite on HANA, giving them an extra day of testing capacity per week. Associated British Ports (ABP), the largest port company in the UK, is revamping its operations with SAP S/4HANA to improve efficiency.
So digitisation is a big deal, and SAP, which serves 87% of the Forbes Global 2000, has a big role to play with HANA.
But for most enterprises, getting to production is a long and complicated path because they have so many moving parts and cannot afford to disrupt mission critical operations. Most HANA users are still testing, piloting or planning this platform.
“All this is heading in the right direction,” Gartner analyst Derek Prior told Reuters last autumn. “But HANA is a bet-your-house application. You don’t mess with it and upgrade it at the drop of a hat.”
SAP HANA – How successful enterprises migrate
The number of applications, volume of data, interdependencies and underlying infrastructure makes this testing and eventual migration to HANA tricky. We find the most successful enterprises adopt the following best practices:
1. Use this opportunity to combine production operations with analytics. Geoff Scott, President of ASUG, told SAP users in Nashville last November that most of the SAP shops he knew that didn’t integrate Business Warehouse (BW) with production applications at the outset, end up tearing out BW and starting over. This is one of many ways in which enterprises can learn from the experiences and mistakes of early-adopter peers.
2. Research your various Cloud and on-premises options to accelerate deployment. SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, for example, provides private hosted infrastructure that helps users simplify and elastically scale their testing and eventual production operations. SAP and systems integrator partners such as Cognizant also provide HANA Tailored Data Center Integration services for customers to leverage existing hardware and infrastructure in a phased approach. They start with shared storage, then move to network systems and finally compute node hardware. This can be more cost-effective than converged HANA appliances from certified partners.
3. Get serious about managing your data lifecycle. When you consider a migration, the amount of data bloat can become starkly apparent. Forrester analyst George Lawrie points out that HANA initiatives provide IT organisations with the opportunity to identify and purge unnecessary data objects related to discontinued offerings, shuttered facilities, etc.
4. Make your testing as efficient as possible. Carefully define and replicate just the data subsets you need for your test environment so as to minimise the hardware, software and time required.
Roy Amara, late president of The Institute for the Future, once observed that “we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” Simply put: technology advances take a while to go mainstream, but once they do the impact can be profound.
In the case of HANA, enterprises must shorten the path to the long run.
Digital Transformation Webinar
On March 17 we are hosting a webinar with our partner Attunity: “Navigating the Digital Transformation Landscape: How to Roll Out SAP HANA and Reduce Infrastructure Costs.” We hope you can join us to learn best practices, with a focus on test data management. Please click the link to register.
Guest Author: Adrian Bromell, SAP Solution Architect, Attunity