Potential benefits of SAP Business suite on HANA are numerous. Obviously, HANA’s in-memory architecture accelerates routine reporting functions, such as the ability to run end of period reports in seconds or minutes instead of tying a database with a batch run for hours. But processing speed is the least of HANA’s potential benefits. The in-memory architecture allows data views to be generated on-the-fly, a benefit that not only reduces database footprint and storage requirements, but also potentially simplifies the modeling and deployment of data and the design of analytics or other complementary applications that run atop Business Suite. HANA’s in-memory architecture also allows analytics to be embedded with transaction processing, enabling companies to become more agile. For instance, SAP customer John Deere achieved positive ROI on its HANA investment based solely on the benefits of implementing it for pricing optimization.
SAP’s challenge is brand and messaging. HANA has evolved over the last two years from a database to an analytics platform to simply a "platform." How SAP avoids confusing the market will be a key factor in driving competitive advantage.
SAP Business Suite on HANA has the potential to be a game changer by making SAP much more relevant to its customers. But in the near term, SAP Business Suite on HANA should be seen as opportunistic upgrade for existing customers or greenfield opportunity for new ones. Few if any enterprises currently rank replacement of enterprise systems as top priority. Convincing customers that the "transformative" benefits of Suite on HANA will be non-disruptive technically is the challenge SAP faces with an entrenched Business Suite customer base. Companies don't swap out their database and ERP investments overnight.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.