Right so HANA is faster and can process more data but……

How do you get the value? Where do I start? How do I take it to the next level? How do you make it stick? Where do I host it? Who has the new skills? Can I reuse my old skills? How will it help me increase revenue, reduce cost, gain competitive advantage, leapfrog the competition, keep my shareholders happy, etc. etc.

Essentially, how do I align my business challenges to my technology solutions?

Well, considerable on-line space has been taken about how disruptive the technology will be and how disruptive technologies can deliver disruptive business models and so on and so forth but there is also a significant disruption about to take place around the IT Operating Model of your typical SAP Competence Centre. We are already designing our first HANA Competency centre for a client!!

Firstly, just as HANA delivers faster applications the rate of change required to deploy these applications will increase and this will lead to a need for a different approach. The consumerisation of SAP business applications will drive the need for a move from the traditional waterfall based ASAP approach to implementation to a more flexible, agile approach. Experience so far shows that this is not as easy as finishing ASAP on a Friday and starting Agile on a Monday, the ability to choose the correct approach will often influence the outcome of the project. Also, even before we consider project delivery approaches innovation will be driven by the use of quick Proofs of Concept and pilots. These necessitate new approaches, tools and techniques and in a lot of cases investment in infrastructure, potentially on the cloud. So we’re immediately pushing the boundaries of the typical 6 – 9 month deployment cycle for an SAP project.

Secondly, the breadth of technology leads to a change of emphasis in the skills required within the IT teams of organisations. Current “I” shaped IT specialists, who are often focussed on modular lines, will need to expand their horizons and become “T” shaped business analysts with a broad business understanding and deep specialism in one area. But at the same time new technologies will necessitate the learning of new skills. Again the mix of skills required to exploit a HANA landscape is not your traditional FI, CO, SD, SRM, Basis, etc.

Next, the IT market is changing with cloud and “XAAS” type initiatives driving the creation of new factory based services for IT Departments to consume. This provides a challenge in that the IT team becomes orchestrators of IT services rather than the procurers of discrete projects. Yet again, another departure from the old ways.

I could go on……

So how should an organisation approach these challenges? With vigour!

As with other areas it is important to consider what are the wished for outcomes and expected benefits. Many IT organisations have already taken their first tentative steps towards becoming a business partner within the organisation rather that a supplier of services. Capgemini is working with a number of clients with SAP Competency Centres, or Centres of Excellence (call them what you will), with the intention of speeding up the rate of change. The basis of this change is being based on the definition of a set of expected outcomes, for example,:

  • Improved agility in delivery;
  • Pro-active innovation and thought leadership;
  • Lower cost of ownership solutions, the list goes on.


And now with HANA the rate of changed has increased even more. So it is even more important to take the best practices of the past, in this case a lifecycle approach, focus on the needs of the customer, in this case agreed outcomes and benefits, and be pro-active in driving forward innovation recognising that the kinds of technologies that were, in the not so distant past, only dreamt of are now here and available to use if managed correctly.