When Thomas Edison had invented the phonograph, he had intended it to be used as a sort of Dictaphone like device. I.e. it was to be used to record spoken messages that could later on be replayed. In this way, he intended it to be a professional device, which was marketed as such.

Recording and playing back music was something he considered to be more or less a gimmick, a side effect.

From the phonograph to the gramophone, to tape reels, LP’s, CD, MP3, etc. it shows that it you can’t always predict how new technology and revolutionary innovations will be used.

This is the feeling I’m having after the first day of HANA training at SAP HQ in Waldorf (Germany). I’ve witnessed the excitement in myself from experiencing the tremendous increase in speed with which queries can be processed over tremendous amounts of data, much like the marvel experienced by the first witnesses of mr. Edison’s demonstration of his speaking machine.

It is like only knowing of crossing the Atlantic Ocean be ship and suddenly being offered an airplane, cutting travel time from, say, three weeks to eight hours. That tremendous increase of speed has to have value. Similarly, being able (using HANA) to process a query which would normally take several hours in under five seconds based on real-time data, has to offer opportunities. It has to offer possibilities for improving competitiveness and even allow for new business models.

The big question is which possibilities and which business models? So far SAP has been unable to show definitive advantages where this query performance increase can be leveraged.

To me that is only natural. As with any truly revolutionary technology, the effects cannot be determined up front. I am certain however that very quickly some organization somewhere will blow us away with their use for real time, instant queries or enabling a completely new business model.

So, imagine being able to analyze the data in your organization in real time, instantaneously, what would you do with it? What kind of radical use will you come up with? What new business models will be enabled? I’m curious to hear from you.