At the annual DSAG Technology Days – the second-largest event held by the German-speaking user group (DSAG) – SAP users sit down with representatives from the software company to discuss the roadmap for the coming months and air their grievances. This year, the conference took place on February 21 and 22 in Nuremberg, Germany, and set a new record for attendance with 1750 participants – 400 more than last year. The topics on the agenda reflected the particular interests of the German-speaking user group as found in a December 2011 survey. Therefore, discussions focused mainly on SAP NetWeaver, mobile apps, BI solutions, and SAP Business Warehouse.
Marco Lenck, Chief Technology Officer of DSAG, sees enormous potential for growth in mobile apps, but, as the user survey showed, cloud computing and in-memory technology are not top priorities. Although interest in these technologies is apparent, users have expressed the need for more information before they are willing to invest.
DSAG calls for transparency
In his keynote address, SAP Chief Operating Officer Gerhard Oswald spoke about SAP HANA, an offering that combines software and hardware (high-performance servers) for an entirely new kind of infrastructure. Until recently, most applications based on the SAP HANA platform have been geared toward large enterprises that conduct very data-intensive analyses in real time. Not long ago, however, SAP announced two new SAP HANA applications developed specifically for small and medium enterprises (SMEs): analytics powered by SAP HANA for SAP Business One and SAP HANA, Edge edition for SAP Business All-in-One users.
With these two applications SAP was aiming to extend real-time analytic capabilities to the midmarket, but at the DSAG Technology Days, the prevailing opinion was that the software company has fallen short of its goal. Lack of transparency in pricing and licensing has prevented many SMEs from considering SAP HANA as a viable option.
In a press conference on the last day of the event, Lenck stressed the importance of providing smaller, more transparent packages for SMEs to get started with SAP HANA. For most customers in the midmarket, the current offerings are simply too expensive. According to Lenck, however, cost is not the only barrier to entry. At the moment, SAP HANA for SAP Business One and SAP HANA, Edge edition are not offered by SAP directly, but rather they are available only through certain certified partners. Therefore, customers who are supported by SAP directly aren’t able to benefit from SAP HANA.
As Lenck put it, if you aren’t successful with small businesses, there is little hope for success with large enterprises. He called on SAP to provide more transparent pricing and licensing models as well as official feedback from SMEs that are currently using SAP HANA.
Scenarios for SAP HANA
There are three scenarios for deploying SAP HANA. These entail SAP Business Suite, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, and various SAP applications running on the in-memory platform:
- Side-by-side integration with SAP ERP or SAP Business Suite, in which the data is replicated in SAP HANA
- SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse running on a SAP HANA database; this is still in ramp-up
- Complete applications – such as SAP Business Suite – running on top of a SAP HANA database; this is the long-term vision
SAP BW on SAP HANA
At the moment, SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse on SAP HANA is still in the ramp-up phase, but SAP expects the first customers to be using it in just a few short months. By running SAP Business Warehouse on top of SAP HANA, it will be possible to load data faster, carry out new in-memory planning functions, support flexible analytics, and achieve better performance. Storing data in columns rather than rows allows the database to achieve a much higher compression rate.
Available now: Reporting with SAP HANA
SAP Rapid Deployment solutions for SAP HANA are delivered with pre-configured content so companies can start using real-time analytics right away. The most commonly-used reports for each business function are already included in the offering. For more information, see the SAP.info article, “How to Get HANA Now,” or go to the SAP page on rapid deployment solutions.
These rapid deployment solutions for SAP HANA are currently available:
- SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for operational reporting with SAP HANA
- SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for profitability analysis with SAP HANA
- SAP ERP rapid-deployment solution for accelerated finance and controlling with SAP HANA
- SAP rapid-deployment solution for customer segmentation with SAP HANA
- SAP rapid-deployment solution for sales pipeline analysis with SAP HANA
Furthermore, there are some applications where SAP HANA acts as an accelerator. In this case, SAP HANA provides a secondary database where the data is processed, rather than in SAP ERP. This scenario is especially well-suited to profitability analysis. And the best part is that there are no changes made to the SAP ERP system. The user interface remains the same, so that users don’t have to be retrained.
All photos from Möller Horcher press center.
Page 1 top, from left to right: Gerhard Oswald, SAP COO, Marco Lenck, DSAG CTO; page 1 bottom, Marco Lenck; page 2, Gerhard Oswald.