As Easy as ABC

Photo: SAP

It’s a tradition: every fall, the SAP developer community comes together at SAP TechEd to find out what’s new and what developments there are in the SAP portfolio. On Tuesday morning, Dr. Vishal Sikka, a member of the Executive Board of SAP AG, leading products and innovation, welcomed the 6,500 delegates and introduced not one but two Turing award winners to show just how fundamentally the IT world is changing.

ABC model and the HANA effect

Alan Kay, pioneer of object-oriented programming and the source of the now famous quote, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” spoke to Sikka and the delegates about the ABC model devised by Douglas Engelbart, one of the fathers of the study of human-computer interaction and the inventor of the computer mouse. Put simply, if A processes are the tasks and goals of an organization, it needs B processes to achieve them. The B processes have to be continuously improved by other processes, the C processes. This continuous search for improvement impacts day-to-day business and ultimately affects the A processes, leading to the definition of new tasks and goals and the advancement of the organization as a whole.

“We are at a time of reflection, a time of transformation,” said Sikka. Not just the IT industry, but every industry, he said, was being fundamentally transformed by technology. Cloud computing, Big Data, mobile – these, he continued, were not just buzzwords but real developments that are transforming the world. Referring to SAP, Sikka called this the HANA effect: “Great technology always serves to amplify us – just like SAP HANA.”

Next page: Sikka presents some real world examples

The industry had now recognized that. After some initial hesitation, “our whole industry is now building in-memory databases,” said Sikka. “We need to unleash the tremendous power of today’s hardware to solve business problems and to empower people.” Sikka presented some real-world examples: Mike Quiros, manager of Charmer Sunbelt, and his team of 33 people on the night shift, work faster and more simply now that they have an SAP HANA-based dashboard. eBay’s finance managers can better forecast potential risks and disruptions to their business, which helped them save $200 million. The sales staff at Burberry’s stores now know their customers better and can suggest articles that more closely meet their needs.

The SAP HANA platform (A) and new, simpler applications (B), and a new concept of how we use data and for what (C) makes all this possible. This means that, without disruption and risk, SAP has to make SAP HANA the platform for all applications and apply the new SAP Fiori user experience to their design. “Fiori is not just a fashion or a redesign, it’s a new philosophy of how we build apps,” said Sam Yen, Global Head of Design and User Experience at SAP AG. In combination with SAP HANA this would open up unthought-of opportunities.

SAP HANA SP7: better performance and Hadoop integration

Franz Faerber, Executive Vice President, SAP HANA Platform, at SAP AG, joined live via satellite from Walldorf, Germany, to present the numbers: in the last quarter, HANA revenue doubled, there are over 2,200 customers and 1,300 implementations, 20,000 HANA developers in the community and 3,000 certified consultants. With SAP HANA Service Pack 7, which is available from November, SAP wants to make the platform even more attractive to the market. The next steps are performance improvements, support for virtualization for non-production systems, complete Hadoop integration, and a Web-based integrated development environment.  Extensions to SuccessFactors applications are easy with the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. “We are making it easier than ever before for customers, partners, and developers in the community to develop on SAP HANA,” said Faerber. “It doesn’t matter whether their developments are for traditional SAP systems or for something completely new, everything is possible.”

Next page: SAP enables 1,000 startups to work on new ideas

Bernd Leukert, Member of the Global Managing Board of SAP AG and Head of Application Innovation, urged that, “We need to refresh our brains, we can do things now that we never knew possible.” And SAP is starting with its own business: Leukert said that its entire core business, such as finance and CRM, now ran on SAP HANA. Learning and development never stop.

After Franz Faerber’s talk on SAP HANA (A), and Bernd Leukert’s on applications (B), TechEd turned its attention to how SAP is opening up more and enabling more people to get together and explore new ways of using data and technology (C). At this point Sam Yen came on stage to show how simple and sleek the new user experience is, and to report on the SAP HANA startup program. SAP HANA is enabling an impressive 1,000 startups to work on new ideas and business models, test them and put them into practice. SAP, too, is working on innovative applications at eight SAP AppHaus locations around the world, including Los Altos in California, Potsdam, Germany, and Shanghai, China.

Cloud computing with SAP HANA

Sikka and his colleagues presented a vast array of activities and innovations. And Engelbart’s ABC has become SAP’s new paradigm. The SAP HANA Cloud Platform is the foundation for sleeker and simpler applications, strengthened and augmented by an active community and the SAP partner network. “Technology helps us look through things and to build great purposeful solutions,” said Sikka. See for yourself how this works at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, and the events in Amsterdam, Bangalore, and Shanghai.

SAP TechEd live.