A new study by Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) has revealed that a large number of companies in Germany are looking closely at SAP HANA and are discussing deploying it within their SAP application environment. So far, the in-memory platform has mainly been used for analytical tasks, for example as a database for SAP Business Warehouse or for data analysis. This comes as no surprise, because many enterprises are still uncertain about the business value SAP HANA will add in the long term.
Nevertheless, numerous companies are already considering the “SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA” scenario. Particularly large organizations with more than 1,000 employees are planning to operate SAP ERP on the in-memory landscape. But SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA is not just interesting from a technological perspective. From a strategic point of view, it makes sense to modernize existing SAP environments. Furthermore, by using SAP HANA as an alternative to existing SAP databases, costs can be reduced. And the desire to be innovative – by enabling business processes to be performed in real time – plays a major role, too.
Purchasing new hardware is a hurdle
The PAC study surveyed more than 100 CTOs and heads of SAP systems at German companies that deploy SAP. Around a quarter of those questioned said their company was planning to invest in SAP HANA in the next three years, while a further 12% revealed that discussions about the topic were taking place. The study also indicated that the biggest challenges facing SAP customers are to reduce SAP operating costs (36%) and to adapt SAP-based business processes faster (34%).
Companies intending to implement the platform must first purchase new hardware, because SAP HANA uses a dedicated computer platform. To get around this issue, SAP is working with its partners and customers, for example, on cloud-based options. For many companies, this aspect outweighs the lack of business cases. There are still many unanswered questions about risks and opportunities. Frank Niemann, principal consultant at PAC and author of the study, explains: “Half of the companies expect SAP HANA to become the dominant database platform in the SAP environment. Practically nobody suspects that this SAP strategy is just a flash in the plan.”