It’s widely acknowledged that HANA is “disruptive technology”. It’s guaranteed that SAP’s Business Intelligence capabilities, underpinned by HANA, will enable the processing and analysis of bigger data-sets, faster. The announcement of Business Suite on HANA earlier this month is highly likely to enable the current processes that a business runs to be driven faster and more times. But HANA is a technology and therefore it is essentially inert without effective appl(if?)ication to business problems. SO how will this happen?

Now some people may say that I’ve not considered whether HANA is the correct technology and that there are better more innovative technologies out there to which I respond that my clients are looking for business benefits and solutions to issues, not a discussion on technology. I believe that the technology is now available and is being developed at an incredible pace, the challenge now for companies is how to exploit it to beat the competition at their own game or to develop a new game. So let’s consider how we do this?

Taking the area of Business Intelligence and Analytics as a worked example since HANA has operated here for longer. The challenge has always been the dynamic nature of reporting (to use the old term) and how requirements can change quickly based on the information provided. HANA exasperates this situation because the amount of data that can now be analysed is increasing and therefore the volume of questions that arise is greater.

To address this the world of SAP needs to start to adopt a more flexible, agile (with a small or large A) approach to deployment. Firstly a sensible, but pragmatic, architecture must be established. In this context, HANA is not the only SAP game in town and such an architecture could include NLS for data that is not immediately required as well as the in-memory “stuff”.

Then how to deliver the information to the end user. Well, who is the end user? Typically, someone who has a smart device and wants immediacy and access to relevant data. To satisfy these requirements we must adopt the “App” concept and develop tools that are highly targeted to specific user groups. By exploiting managed mobility type offers this becomes a service that can be exploited with a low investment but with great effect.

And finally, it is important to reflect these changes back into how the IT organisation operates. Fundamentally a lifecycle approach must be adopted that recognises the full build, run, host model and optimises across it. The relevant Centre of Excellence structures must be in place that ensure appropriate governance and control but at the same time ensure that tools and facilities are available for innovation. Also, what are the best development models? How should the balance between in-house and 3rd party models be used? How should Factory based Services be exploited? All important questions!

So, now that SAP HANA is with us how do we get the best out of it? At Capgemini we know that this will cover a broad range of topics and the discussion is only starting but the “App Effect” that has happened in other areas of IT is a good starting point for this journey.