SAP has a problem. During the SAP Insider tour in Nice last week, the vendor's product lead, Steve Lucas, asked the audience of customers and end-users to raise their hands if they had heard of SAP Hana for cloud platform. Around two thirds of the room's arms went up.
"But how many of you know what that means?" He adds. Only a couple of arms remained.
SAP's three-year Hana sell has created 6,000 customers, it claims. But its new ERP on the cloud - S/4, which is powered by the in-memory database has caused some confusion; as has its new cloud platform.
"There is confusion over Hana, and we can always do more to explain what exactly each one can do for you," admits SAP's Database and Technology Marketing Lead Matias Haendly in an interview with ComputerworldUK during the event.
In a nutshell, Haendly describes the Hana for cloud platform as the go-to for customers who want to "extend your on premise SAP tools as cloud solutions."
"For example, a customer can create a website on the platform using data fed from their organisation's on-premise applications and use extensions to get more out of what they already have."
The Hana for cloud platform is SAP's answer to rival vendor's offer of a lower monthly base and usage fee along with a "quicker start". Hana is the underlying in-memory database to power the applications, and S/4 is the latest package of these applications, in replacement of the traditional ECC in favour for a cloud-based IT environment.
But why do you need the underlying Hana engine?
"Hana's in-memory allows you to organise your landscape and free up resources," Haendly says. "At a great speed."
Arguably, firms not inclined to migrate can invest time into refining how they use their existing SAP Landscape to speed up reporting, for example, like Jaguar Land Rover.
However, even higher speeds really matter for firms that are changing their business model.
"If you look at how Hana brings reporting and transaction systems closer together you can see how it will affect business models.Traditional rollbase designs for transaction performance and calendar reporting structures were previously limited. Now it is pushing back reporting needs into the same system and replacing batch jobs with online transactions; getting what took hours into seconds or minutes. That creates a completely new user experience."
"In IT you can do planning more often, use same cycles for prediction like 'what would happen if i change the parameter for that outcome?' It's tremendously simplified - you can do many tasks in a central system which helps enterprise change their business model.
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