SAP business suite on HANA will simplify organization’s IT architecture

Anthony McMahon, Senior VP, SAP Platform APJ, talks to Jasmine Desai about the new launch of SAP business suite on HANA, dealing with complex IT environment and SAP’s take on the confusion over in-memory database and data in-memory Excerpts…   

What would the next-generation platform entail and how do you describe it?
If you look at the way an application is delivered to an end-user or customer, it follows a typical stack. It might start with the infrastructure layer, then the operating system and followed by a database either transactional or analytic. Then there is some application logical server that distributes information to the application. And typically, applications are designed for transaction or analytic environment. However, the next-generation platform is not restrictive in nature, either of transaction or analytic. Historically, companies were led to believe that every piece of information on which they were required to make decision on, was within the organization. But it’s not the case now and so the next-generation organizations can have one view of data strategically manipulated in both analytic and transactional. One can add new real-time services that are analytic, predictive, text based and can link with data sources that may not be contained within the enterprise.

What’s your advice for those organizations that have complex IT environment?
SAP business suite on HANA will simplify organization’s IT architecture. It’s more simple even the way you create and produce products. The reason is that it takes a complex database, data warehouse and multiple copies of information that need to be tuned and manipulated just to get the stuff to work on a very simple platform architecture. There will be a logical process in terms of selecting suitable application for the next-generation platform. But invariably, customers who have adopted and gone through this process have seen enormous benefits like the total cost of ownership (TCO). Enterprises think that in-memory is expensive but if you look at operational expense (OPEX), the disk file is more expensive.

Over the period of time with pricing models getting simplified, the cost will get lower. The way database are priced, it’s a certain value of the application cost. What you get charged from transactional database vendors is the same as we do for SAP suite on HANA with all the next generation platform benefits. We want to lower cost and don’t want organizations stuck in a 30 year old architecture. Going ahead, we want to bring more simpler and dynamic interfaces. Though India is one of the early adopters, there’s a legacy transactional database in certain environments. But there is a lot of opportunity in innovation space around in-memory.

There prevails confusion in the market over in-memory database and data in-memory. Given this situation how is SAP addressing the potential customers and market?
There is definitely confusion in the market about in-memory database and data in-memory. Competitors will take legacy architecture or disk based transactional and analytical workload and push it into in-memory temporarily and do analysis on it. But it’s very different to an in-memory database.

HANA was designed ground-up to be a completely new application platform. The complexity is relevant because the database business started 40 years ago, when the technology and data types were very different. SAP’s approach to HANA was to simplify the complexity and one needs to have a single copy of data that can be manipulated on the fly to do transactional analysis or analytics. One can create second generation new applications with additional functions and capabilities like predictive analytics, business functions and all of it together allows you to do in-memory.

Would you see an SME adopting SAP business suite on HANA?
Yes absolutely. Avon Cycles is a great example of SME adopting it. They are a getting competitive advantage, than may be just competing on price. They are competing on service, differentiation and customer need. This will guide their next product release also. It’s not a large company as discussed, but it is about how to be different.

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