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Many things spring to mind when you think SAP HANA. You may think depth and speed. You may also think user difficulty or even lengthy deployment times.

One thing you don’t think is agility. Cloud-based business intelligence (BI) vendor Birst aims to change that with this week’s announcement that it is now possible to integrate Birst with HANA.

Dumbing it Down

At first glance, this is not an obvious partnership. HANA is known for its complexity or even end-user difficulties. Birst is one of a new generation of BI vendors that are making it possible to optimize the value of data, in a matter of weeks rather than the months it can take for a traditional BI deployment.

In fact only last week, Birst pointed out that it can cut the deployment times to as little as four weeks, depending on the circumstances. Southard Jones, vice president of product strategy at Birst, also told us then that one of the big market drivers at  the moment is the demand by business users for quick, easy-to-use, powerful analytics.

SAP HANA doesn’t really seem to fit the bill in respect to the easy-to-use requirement, nor does integration with HANA appear to answer any of the other demands. To find out  more about this integration and what it offers we went back to Jones at Birst and asked about the thinking behind it.

He pointed out that despite HANA's muscle, there are two things that are rarely highlighted:

There has been a lot of hype about how fast it is and how it has a lot of memory. But one of the things that is not mentioned so often is that there a lot of HANA sitting on shelves that is not being used, just because it is so difficult to use. The other thing that is rarely mentioned is that not a lot of BI tools do a good job sitting on top of HANA because it is relatively new and [enterprises] don’t necessarily know how to optimize it. So this integration is about providing something for enterprises that had HANA sitting there doing nothing or for enterprises who want to be rapidly deploy it and use HANA One."