Your best friend’s perfect girlfriend

Joe Lipscombe is in Florida for Sapphire Now

Thousands upon thousands of attendees rolled into the Sunshine State yesterday for the opening day of the Sapphire Now conference – SAP’s mega-tech-fest blow out – and all to see one special girl.

This is my second Sapphire Now, and although the previous event was in the Spanish capital, and somewhat overshadowed (for me, at least) by wild protesters in the city centre, this year’s global customer event has a few very familiar themes pulsating their way throughout the entirety.

Firstly, SAP just so happens to choose the largest of largest convention centres – the Orange County Convention Center is somewhat of a steel kingdom. There are more girders in this place than you can shake a stick at, and more staircases than the movie Labyrinth. Moreover, the press section (patronisingly coined the Global Communications and Influencers Theatre) is always at the very back. It’s a SatNav situation. Honestly, I’d swap hair with Boris Johnson for a town hall – just once.

The third familiarity that I noticed, and I say noticed like it was some kind of Sherlock discovery – it wasn’t – was that all SAP ever wants to talk about is HANA.

Have you ever been in the situation where your loyal buddy finally meets the girl of his dreams and simply won’t pipe down about her? You give yourself a few months off before meeting with him again, hoping that he’ll have something new to talk about, but when you get there it’s all about what him and HANA have been up to.

I once dated a girl called Hannah – my initial terror and sinking gut feeling I had when I wondered if I had too once blabbed on about her made my stomach feel funny.

However, there is a distinct difference between these two; SAP’s HANA is changing the way we live and work.

SAP announced that it is now 100 percent focused on HANA. It’s a marriage of Hollywood strength. And all the luck to it – SAP has poured out some incredibly high-calibre customers to speak on the subject of what HANA can do as a business model, and following the announcement this morning of the general release of HANA Business Suite as a database, that customer base is only set to grow.

Bill McDermott, Co-CEO, yesterday announced that HANA will now be the platform for every single thing that SAP does going forward. This is a massive announcement – this truly is SAP telling us that it has put all of its eggs in one basket and made the kind of leap only an incredible tech giant would make – and it looks as if, from where I’m sitting now at least, that it is paying off.

“HANA is the great innovation of the last 20 years in business,” stated Jim Snabe, McDermott’s Co-CEO, today during his keynote.

“Some people will try to cling onto disk – all I can say to them is that even the dinosaurs didn’t know what hit them.”

So, HANA may be becoming a tiring word if you’re a follower of SAP, however I can imagine that it’s much harder to hear if you’re a competitor. SAP has shown at Sapphire Now that its lust of innovation and commitment to in-memory technology really has got the world buzzing.

Retail, automotive, healthcare, and sports are just a few of the giant industry sectors that are singing the praises of the one they call HANA. And yes, this is a SAP event, and people might be a little biased – but the sceptic in me has been pulling its hair out to find fault in this technology – unfortunately this post will reveal no such findings.

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