By Alex Williams
SAP (SAP) HANA now serves as the core of the business software giant's strategy with the news today that SAP Business Suite will run on the real-time, in-memory database technology. Customers will have the option to run on HANA or keep what they currently use.
SAP Business Suite has lagged to some degree through its dependence on traditional databases. With SAP HANA, SAP Business Suite will have the capability to keep the functionality of the traditional database technology, but with the capability of SAP HANA.
Here's the catch. SAP HANA is not easy to implement. Big enterprise companies will hire a lot of consultants to get it up and running. But with SAP HANA comes an emerging developer ecosystem. SAP has an investment fund for HANA startups and has made investments to make SAP HANA on Amazon Web Services.
"Mission critical" is a popular term in enterprise circles. It often relates to old-school enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions that use batch processes to update the data with the software.
But as data has become increasingly abundant, the batch systems have slowed. SAP HANA changes that for companies like John Deere, which has implemented the new SAP HANA available on SAP Business Suite. John Deere is using the technology to get real-time updates on tractors that are operating with sensors that transmit data for real-time analysis.
SAP HANA does apply to a broad variety of business scenarios, including marketing analysis, financial close, receivables management, material resource planning, and consumer and social sentiment analysis. The news represents a significant shift for SAP, moving the company into a far more competitive space.
By making SAP HANA the underlying infrastructure, SAP now has a big data play that gives it new dimensions for growth. But the challenge will be in deployment and getting customers to adopt the revolutionary new technology.