“It’s maybe the biggest innovation in enterprise IT in history, not only for SAP, but for the industry,” said head of SAP global solutions Steve Lucas. “We’re ushering in a new wave of productivity unlike anything the world has seen before.”
“We believe it marks the beginning of the end for the 20th century IT stack and all the complexity that came with it,” added CEO Bill McDermott.
What they’re not saying is, “it’s on, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM.” Specifically Oracle, with whom SAP has had a friends-with-lawsuits relationship for years.
Of the tens of thousands of companies around the world with SAP software, most are running it on an Oracle platform. Microsoft and IBM databases are supporting the rest, but for the relatively small number already using HANA. Those who want the upgrade to S/4HANA, the fourth-generation Business Suite rebuilt for HANA, will have to ditch the competition and migrate to the German giant’s database.
Some will switch to an all-SAP stack, and they may find their edge. HANA is fast. Its in-memory platform stores data in local memory not disk storage. The result is a response time that will allow you to work with real-time data instead of data that can be, let’s admit it, days old by the time it’s retrieved from hard disks, CDs or tapes. When you work with live information, you can respond to this morning’s business shift this morning. Naturally, you’re more likely to do it on your mobile device; that’s where you have the real need for speed.
While Oracle, IBM and Microsoft also have in-memory versions, SAP has the software businesses want, like Business Suite (and its marquee app, Simple Finance) plus a bunch of CRM, ERP, product lifecycle management and supply chain management applications. If a big enough piece of the enterprise IT community buys in, SAP will be selling on-premise applications to those who host, SaaS to those who cloud and HANA licenses to those who believe.
Some say SAP is gambling on HANA. I say roll the dice, and shake up the enterprise application, database, analytics, mobility and cloud computing sectors. Someone has to set the pace for an industry hell-bent on introducing new levels of performance through innovation. This year, that someone could be SAP.
What do you know about HANA? Is it the future of enterprise IT?