April 04, 2012 // By: Ralf M. Haaßengier
SAP HANA Interview
Mr. Behrens, it’s almost a year now since SAP surprised the IT world with this revolutionary in-memory technology SAP HANA. What is, in your opinion, so revolutionary about it?
Holger Behrens: From our point of view, the revolutionary thing about it can be summed up in one sentence: SAP HANA now enables our Sprint customers to turbo-charge their businesses. It enables them to analyze data in real time and spontaneously again. This was hardly possible any more with many business analyses, due to the greatly increased quantities of data. The response times – for example, to fill OLAP cubes for evaluation – have increased significantly. Such analyses are far from real-time. But that should now change with SAP HANA. The buzzword among data analysts is data surfing. Let me explain: In a business warehouse, you only move around in the data that exists there – and that must be synchronized constantly, too. But with SAP HANA, you surf in the raw data, in real time, and at an incredible speed.
So that means more RAM, so more costs, doesn’t it? Higher transaction speeds and shorter response times at any price – doesn’t that exceed the budget of most projects for small businesses and midsize companies?
Holger Behrens: On the one hand, SAP HANA is a storage technology, on the other hand it’s technology for optimized data storage and data analysis. It’s not simply about an excessive upgrade of the RAM data storage. The unmistakable advantage of this new in-memory technology is its ability to process extremely large quantities of data in real time.
One of our pilot customers in the B2B sector took quite a pragmatic approach when it opted for SAP HANA: The costs would have been similar for a business warehouse installation and the subsequent design of the analysis cubes as for the SAP HANA project, which provides many more opportunities in the medium and long term. I think that’ll be the motivation for many future SAP HANA projects – that of not investing in a “conventional” business warehouse when in-memory technology already includes BW capabilities.
Small businesses and midsize companies in particular expect calculable costs. Is that possible with SAP HANA?
Holger Behrens: Our philosophy of fixed-price quotations for implementation projects and SAP add-ons is tailored to the midmarket, and we will be sticking to it for SAP HANA, as well. Customers now benefit from our experience with data analysis in real time, as well as from our in-depth industry knowledge from our Sprint product line with FOODsprint, TRADEsprint, and so on. We work closely with SAP and are directly involved with the first implementations in the midmarket. This means we have already gathered some SAP HANA experience for midsize companies and we can bring this with us to customer projects at a later date. Based on implementation experience and the preconfigured SAP HANA Edge edition solutions, we will put together midmarket packages for a fixed price.