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SAP HANA: The Platform for Everyone

December 10, 2015 by Stephan Magura 89

Some 90 analysts and media representatives came together at SAP’s invitation in the second week of December to discover at first hand, how the centerpiece of the technology company’s agenda is progressing.

One of the invitees was Rüdiger Spies, an analyst at Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC). Speaking on SAP TV, he said, “Innovation – no matter where it happens – can’t happen without IT support.” His comments provide an important insight into why demand for new technologies is currently on the increase.

The corporate world has entered the digital age. That is why companies are under pressure to haul their processes into the digital era or to completely reinvent their business models in line with the new opportunities that the digital economy offers in areas such as connected cars, the Internet of Things (IoT), and predictive maintenance.

Many enterprises have no option but to push ahead with their digital transformation because not doing so would quite simply mean losing out to the competition.

“You can think of the SAP HANA platform as the digital nervous system of the business,” said SAP Executive Board member Bernd Leukert, speaking during the event. Following SAP’s platform strategy, SAP HANA (data management level) and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (application and business services level) together form a unit – the SAP HANA platform. “In the digital economy, business and technology merge,” explained Leukert. “If you want to gain an edge over your competitors by realizing software-driven innovations, you need an open and flexible platform.”

In his opening keynote, SAP’s Head of Products & Innovation drew on real-life examples to illustrate the benefits of in-memory computing. Italian train operator Trenitalia, Leukert explained, is using SAP software to improve its rolling stock fleet maintenance operations.

Having fitted six million sensors to its 2,000-strong fleet of locomotives, the company is now able to monitor their maintenance status during daily operations in real time – thanks to SAP HANA. As a result, the locomotives are only serviced if the sensors actually report signs of probable wear and tear. This innovation has cut the cost of maintenance by around 8%, netting the company double digit millions of euros in annual savings.

Another example is Siemens, which has embedded the SAP HANA Cloud Platform in its new industry cloud platform. With the help of SAP, the iconic German engineering conglomerate is looking to position itself as a key player in the highly promising IoT market.

Intensified Commitment to Personalized Medicine

SAP is also reaching out with its SAP HANA-based offering to sectors of industry that have not previously featured prominently on its radar including healthcare.

Leukert said SAP was already cooperating closely with institutions such as the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg, Germany, to help improve people’s lives. He also announced that SAP was partnering with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on CancerLinQ, a health information technology platform that analyzes millions of de-identified patient records to deliver high-quality, personalized patient care.

Greg Parekh, who is chairman of CancerLinQ LLC, a wholly owned ASCO subsidiary, took to the stage to explain why SAP is an ideal partner for his company, citing SAP’s vision of helping people, the ease of integrating SAP HANA technology into physicians’ daily routines, and the outstanding collaboration he experienced with the team at SAP.

Steve Lucas, global president of the SAP Platform Solutions Group, spoke about how the SAP HANA platform is helping SAP deliver on its Run Simple pledge. Thus, unlike in the old days of ERP, customers can now do everything on a single platform: They no longer have to juggle a data warehouse for analyzing historic data, a separate database for operational processes, and yet another one for forecasting.

After all, the idea is not to deploy as much software as possible and then find yourself having to laboriously integrate all the individual parts; it’s the end result that counts. As Lucas pointed out, the less you have to integrate, the more freedom you have to innovate.

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