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SAP HANA Changes the Game - A Win for its Customers, Maybe Not for Oracle, Microsoft, IBM

Larry Ellison probably didn’t sleep well last night.

Same for his buddy Mark Hurd.

I can picture the two of them sitting in a locked office at Oracle’s headquarters, earlier in the day, wringing their hands (I’m being nice here) while watching SAP co-founder and Chairman Hasso Plattner announce that SAP’s super-fast, in-memory database management system, SAP HANA, can now do analytics and transactions in the same database. In other words, SAP’s Business Suite will now sit on top of HANA and will be able to leverage its potential.

SAP Gives Customers Real Time Advantage 

“This kind of thing has never been done before,” says Ken Tsai, Vice President of SAP HANA Product Marketing at SAP.

Analysts seem to agree; they say that SAP stands alone in being able to deliver this capability. And many predict that its competitors won’t be able to do so for years. All they have said is that they’re working on it.

Putting Oracle aside for a moment, what this means for enterprises who use SAP, is that they’ll be able to access and react to information in real time — while it is actually happening. And we’re not talking only about insights gained from transactional data, but from “transactional data paired with sentiment analysis, or external data, for example” says Tsai.

In other words, enterprises will not only be able to comprehend what’s happening, while it’s happening but also what’s happened in the past during a customer relationship, and perhaps then predict about how they are feeling about the current transaction.

In other words, “SAP HANA empowers you to run your business in real-time within the window of opportunity — to transact, analyze and predict instantly and proactively on one platform,” says SAP Chief Technology Officer Vishal Sikka.

And having that edge, second by second, day after day, and transaction after transaction can help a company not only to compete but also to potentially win its market, and this is without altering its physical products at all. SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, as the solution will be called, is a game changer, not only for the software marketplace, but also for the way business is done by the enterprises who choose to use it

After all, truly real-time information and insight is what every decision maker in Marketing, Manufacturing, Accounting, Purchasing, Materials Requirements Planning, Human Resources, Sales, etc., dreams of having, and now it, and all that might be done with it, can be theirs.

This “gives us an incredible opportunity to reinvent and rethink business processes," says Sikka.

And even before the reinvention and rethinking happens from a BPM perspective, by next year this time (because SAP on HANA will take some time to implement, typically an estimated six months) there will be business end users who will be able to receive intelligent Enterprise in real time, or near real time.

Batch processing will become a thing of the past (the SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA totally eliminates it) and processes that used to take six hours will take six minutes, according to SAP.

SAP Flying the Coop 

For Microsoft (specifically its MS SQL business), IBM (its DB 2 business) and, perhaps particularly for Oracle, this is bad news; today SAP sits on top of them, in the future it will sit on top of its own database, HANA. And if you take into account that SAP’s Business Suite sits in 60 percent of large enterprises (this according to SAP) this could mean a huge loss in revenue for the three.

But SAP says it won’t be forcing this change on its customers right away; they’re smart business people who have no intent on disrupting their clients in a bad way.

"We have 40,000 customers on DB2 and Oracle and Microsoft. We are professionals," says Plattner. Yet you can be assured that he believes that his clients, sooner or later, will move in HANA's direction.

That being said, you know that the SAP HANA team has to be smiling when it thinks about Ellison. 

Consider that last year when Ellison heard that SAP was building a product to compete with its database, he said this:

When SAP and, specifically Hasso Plattner, said they're going to build this in-memory database and compete with Oracle, I said, 'God, get me the name of that pharmacist, they must be on drugs.'"

When asked about the comment at yesterday’s press conference, Hasso took the high road. "I don't do what Larry does, I stick to technology and facts. I enjoy that he is not smiling.”

Editor's Note: Read more of what Virginia has to say about SAP and Oracle in Oracle Iron vs. SAP HANA: Will the Battle for Big Data & Analytics Play Out Like Reality TV? #oow 

 
 
 
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