Podcast – Debating the Value of SAP HANA

SAPPHIRE Now Madrid marked a milestone in the evolution of SAP HANA, with the first productive customer of BW on HANA (Red Bull) featured in the keynote of board member Vishal Sikka. However, behind the scenes, there was a more nuanced debate about the merits of BW on HANA.

For my latest JonERP podcast, I rounded up an opinionated group of HANA bloggers and practitioners to debate the value of SAP HANA. In addition to airing out some differences on BW on HANA, we sorted through some hype around HANA and “big data” and tried to set the table for the topics we expect to hear about next week in Boston at the SAP Influencer Summit that all of us will be attending.

Joining me on the podcast were: fellow SAP Mentors and bloggers Vijay Vijayasankar, John Appleby, and Vitality Rudnytskiy. We didn’t script the conversation, so what follows is a 55 minute talk that yielded a number of surprises. Below the embedded podcast player is a timestamp if you want to get to a key topic quickly:


The podcast covers eight main topics, in this order:

1: 30 Sapphire Now HANA takeaways/Influencer Summit burning questions
7:00  HANA, the cloud, and multi-tenancy
13:10 Debate: is BW on HANA a “killer app?”
20:54 HANA versus the Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA)
26:38 Should SAP market HANA as “Big Data?”
34:30 Our SAP HANA wish list for 2012
40:20 SAP extending HANA to developers – success/challenges
47:10 Epilogue: John’s latest Bluefin HANA use case (gaming industry)

If the embedded player isn’t working for you, you can download the HANA podcast on JonERP.com (a detailed transcript is there also). Or, if you prefer, you can get the podcast from my iTunes podcast feed. Or you can right-click to download.

Blog posts mentioned in this podcast: Vitaliy on HANA in-memory, John on “Project Orange” (BW on HANA), Vijay on real-time data and Red Bull on HANA.

Podcast timing: we taped this podcast the night before the SAP-SuccessFactors acquisition was announced. The cloud discussion at the beginning of the podcast should be heard in that light. Here’s John’s, Vijay’s, and my take on the SAP-SuccessFactors acquisition.

There’s no quick way to summarize the discussion since we came at the topics from different viewpoints, but here’s a few of the (paraphrased) memorable lines:

Vitaliy: “What I want to ask SAP next week: is HANA still the central piece in this future technology vision, or is it getting mature and giving way in terms of attention to mobility and cloud?”

John: “When SAP made available to me the BW on HANA software available in late October, what surprised me is that it worked the first time. It’s stable, it’s fast, and it was delivered to promise. That maturity made it interesting.”

Vijay:  “For me, it was the sheer amount of time it takes in a real customer situation to get BW on HANA working, it’s not the “do it in a weekend” time I expected…BW on HANA might be a killer app, I don’t think so, but it won’t take too long to figure out one way or the other. Even if only 5,000 BW customers move into HANA at $1,000,000 a piece, that’s a lot of money.”

Jon:  “We’re still getting the occasional hyperbole-filled blog post around HANA from SAP, but we’re seeing more customer stories and use cases now, which is good.”

Vitaliy: “I think it was quite bad that SAP marketing picked up this ‘big data’ term that was existing on the market but means something completely different, compared to what HANA intends to achieve.”

John: “For me, if SAP really gets it HANA right in the next year, it would be how it enables its key and core partners to take the technology out in a way that gets it stable, ready, and fast.”

Bonus video: at the end of SAPPHIRE Now Madrid, we shot a rapid fire wrap for JD-OD.com, which Dennis overlaid onto a fishy background. Vitaliy was not in the wrap video, Dennis Howlett was.  (More SAPPHIRE Now videos from JD-OD).

Disclosure: SAP paid my travel and accommodations to SAPPHIRE Now Madrid.



LinkedIn Twitter
Co-Founder at Diginomica, independent analyst and SAP Mentor. Named best writer by the ERP Focus 2014 and 2016 writer awards

One response to “Podcast – Debating the Value of SAP HANA”

  1. Vital BI

    I put few more structured thoughts on SAP HANA vs Big Data in the new blog post: http://bit.ly/soDa36

    Hope this is helpful,