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SAP: HANA will leave competitors behind

SAP’s new option to pair HANA with its Business Suite, using in-memory database technology as opposed to a disk storage mechanism, could well end up leaving the competition behind, according to Sam Alkharrat, Managing Director, SAP MENA.

The system promises to dramatically increase the speed with which complex business processes can be completed, providing Business Suite users with access to real-time information and real-time analytics.

“I can’t speak on how the competition will respond,” Alkharrat said. “But if we’re able to solve serious customer problems, our competitors are eventually going to realise that, unless they’re solving the same issues, with the same cost models and value, they’re going to be left behind.

“If the customer is given the choice, HANA is the clear answer,” he added.

The firm said that many businesses are unable to make real sense out of their big data, simply because the time it takes to analyse it is too much of a limiting factor. Now, as businesses look to properly quantify their reams of data, they need to look at other ways of doing things, according to Alkharrat.

“The speeds of memory are 1,000 times faster than the speeds of disk. Now, you can literally build a HANA system with more than 15 or 20 terrabits of memory and you can compress and store pretty much an infinite amount of data, and then be able to look at it all within sub-seconds.”

Alkharrat claimed that nobody else has this technology right now. He said that the firm should have a lead of a couple of years over its competition when it comes to implementing in-memory database technology. The new real-time SAP Business Suite provides an open environment allowing operational analytics and reporting on live data.

There are already scores of use cases for HANA available on SAP’s website. The applications range from real-time financial planning through profitability analysis all the way up to genome analysis.

SAP has every confidence in HANA, then, but the firm admits that business owners may not jump at the chance to try it straight away.

“I think it will require at least a few months to educate the market on what HANA really does and what it means,” said Alkharrat, who explained the need to get new customers started out in the right way. For SAP’s existing customers, however, the Managing Director said that the firm has “a very clear, non-destructive migration strategy” to lure them onto HANA.

HANA is a core strategy for SAP, and Alkharrat expects the majority of the firm’s new customers to be using it within the next one to two years. However, SAP is not putting all of its eggs into one basket. The firm insists that it will continue to assist customers on any database, and that it could take time before HANA is used in the majority of transactions. Alkharrat also acknowledges that some customers may refuse to upgrade, though he expects that these will make up a small percentage of clients.

“We’ll be an open platform for all of our customers and some of our customers may not want to jump immediately onto HANA.”

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