Today, SAP announced that suite will now run on Hana. It was my first event as an SAP employee and it was fun. I even joined Vishal on a blogger meeting . I just wanted to post some thoughts on what it means to SAP ecosystem to have business suite on Hana. It is not an SAP official position on the topic – just my personal opinion alone.
So what does this announcement mean to Customers?
It gives customers more choice now – technically and functionally. Technically – they now have an additional data base option, lower their TCO over time , make use of Hana’s platform features, eliminate performance bottlenecks and so on. But that is only one aspect – the bigger impact in my opinion is the opportunity to rethink business models. For example – if MRP does not take several hours, and can be run whenever there is a need to run it – then there are some tactical and strategic advantages. Tactically, it saves people having spreadsheets to manage demand and supply – usually several versions – between MRP runs and reconciliation. Strategically, it means you only use up working capital you absolutely need to, and you can inform your supply chain about your intentions a lot sooner.
If my CIO friends are reading this – this is a good time to make sure you consider Hana in your roadmap discussions – not just for software, but for infrastructure, skills upgrade of your team and so on.
Of course both business and technology changes come with the need to manage change. And it often takes someone who looks across multiple customers to figure this out in a scalable way. That is where the consulting partners can potentially come in to augment what customers and SAP can do. The consulting and SI business will see some disruption as more and more SAP products move over to Hana. There will always be some SI work – but the more meaningful opportunities will be for these partners to work with customers on defining how to adapt business processes to make use of real time and massively parallel processing and predictive capabilities and so on.
And it will be a good time for SAP functional consultants to start thinking outside suite transactions and IMG. A good case in point is warranties, maintenance etc. Typically when a warranty solution is created – it is primarily reactive in nature. Like how does a customer enter warranty claims, the workflow and so on. What mostly gets overlooked is to check if there was a way to have known that a failure is about to happen, so that proactive measures can be taken to minimize impact or even avoid it. This means you should also consider the option of seeing if a system like hana can somehow be upstream to the business suite to pick up and interpret signals before data even came to business suite. I would urge my buddies who are SAP functional consultants to start getting up to speed on what is possible with Hana so that they can educate their clients on art of the possible, in their projects.
And the basis experts of the SAP world will have a fun time learning how to install, administer and maintain Hana based systems. If you need to brush up your linux skills – now would be a good time to do that. Get an AWS instance spun up, and try a few things on Hana. Same for my ABAP buddies. Get a SQL book and learn how to do set operations etc. There are plenty of hana tutorials out there now. Even an obsolete programmer like me was able to learn from them – so it should be very very easy for programmers to get a hang of hana. And definitely don’t overlook how to develop cool stuff on XS – you will thank me later. I will tell you that it will be a bit frustrating since good programming in hana is counter to good programming in ABAP in some cases. But you will get there quickly enough.
Having been a consultant all my life, I know Hana cannot be the answer to everything. But I do know that it will be a great option to solve enough problems in the business world that it will make a difference. And that is what I have bet my career on.