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We recently conducted a customer webinar focused on how our customers and partners are fundamentally changing their customer interactions using SAP HANA in the high-tech industry. Customers, thought leaders and partners such as ebay, Cisco, and Adobe presented their use cases and success stories on implementing SAP HANA.


Below are some of the highlights from the webinar from my live twitter feed @sajal_agarwal:







1. First #Cisco presented on how @saphana helps its business providing Dynamic Insights for Sales Executives (DISE)









2. #cisco @saphana @SAPhightech high level architecture provides dynamic insights for sales





3. wonderful #testimonials from #cisco customers implement DISE with@saphana @SAPhightech








4. What happens in an internet minute? @ebay implements @saphana for early signal detection







5. foundation, consolidation and innovation: 3 steps for #ebay early signal detection using @SAPInMemory



6. Learn @saphana helps #adobe transition to a more personalized and relevant user experience





7. #adobe & its customers achieve tremendous benefits implementing@SAPhightech @SAPInMemory








8. Join us for customer roadshow on August 19th with @SAPhightech@SAPInMemory #ebay #adobe #Cisco #idc #intel. Agenda below:




The link to the webinar replay is here.

Look forward to a wonderful physical event in Palo Alto and other remote locations. Will share the details and invitation with you soon!


Sajal Agarwal

Twitter: @sajal_agarwal

Weekends, as I noted in an earlier blog, are great for catching up on reading, but so apparently are waiting rooms. Something I recently discovered when I came across an interesting The Economist article in my dentist’s waiting room. By the way weekends are also great for watching sports, like a  IFA World Cup final, which after a very good game and valiant effort by Argentina, Germany finally won. And working for SAP I found it particularly satisfying given that SAP had a role in helping the German team prepare. A while back I wrote a blog “Football (Soccer) Meets Moneyball – Big Data enables wining enterprises” that I commented on a BBC news article discussing how Big Data can be used to shape performance and success, and how SAP is helping a premier football club of lever Big Data. (read it here) SAP is also successfully doing this at the national level as evidenced by the  success of the German national team. In her July 15 blog “Big Data & Spatial Analytics Help Germany Score the World Cup” Marie Goodell does an  excellent job of detailing this. (read it here)


But, I digress. So I broken a tooth that required a crown and thus a few visits to my dentist. Ensconced in the waiting room I came across a May 24, 2014, The Economist article “Digital Disruption on the Farm” which talks about how Big Data is helping the world progress in even the most traditional areas such, as  innovating and deriving value in farming. (read it here) In brief, Monsanto has derived a prescriptive planting system they call FieldScripts that provides optimization information on what seeds to plant, where, and how to cultivate each acreage. Basically, predictive analytics for farming. And to use predictive analytics - well you need data – lots of data. From weather history and patterns to soil types and conditions, to seed and other performance data; some publically available some proprietary. So the farmer benefits as they get evidence based advice on what to optimally plant and where given the prevailing conditions. Monsanto benefits, as they not only sell the service, but most likely the seeds, and gain insight into demand on inventory, both of which likely see increased profits and strengthen brand loyalty. However, these are not the only ones who can benefit from Big Data.


There are opportunities for everyone in the chain to benefit from Big Data. From suppliers like Monsanto and the farmers to those that make farm  equipment; who can use big data to predict what kind of equipment will be needed for the season and how to equip and deploy it. To those that make fertilizer, irrigation and other products used on the farm to produce the crops; who can they use big data and predictive analysis to see how much of what type of product and material will be in demand for the coming season. Down to transportation and logistics – how much and what kind of transportation equipment will be needed from and to where. Rail and trucking companies looking to optimize loads and routes can benefit from big data. In short everyone in the chain needs to use big data – or they will be left behind as someone else grabs the competitive advantage.


One other example of Big Data in agriculture – or agronomics – is John Deere who wanted to go beyond being a manufacturer and become a big data company. They too are looking at innovations in technology and big data to help increase farm yield as well as diversify and drive revenue. There is a  really good June 5, 2014 article in V3 UK here. Quickly John Deere wanted to help its customers enhance productivity, improve crop yield and reduce costs as well as help dealers provide value added services. And John Deere itself wanted to increase its own profitability and drive brand loyalty. They produced a service offering for a growing market by using telemetric data from their farm equipment and agronomic data. They have something that can help them get insight into trends and needs, driving smart inventory and production and they can minimize downtime of machinery in the field by offering preventative maintenance. All the objectives for all three groups above are met by using Big Data. Once again the entire ecosystem around this from parts manufactures to transportation can and must lever big data to stay competitive an succeed. Big Data is a new reality and a necessity for everyone – at least those that do not want to be left behind. Even in the oldest and most traditional of businesses.


Take care. And remember to brush your teeth.


    • Learn how the SAP HANA Platform for Big Data can help you take a simplified approach to making Big Data work for you in deriving true value from Big Data for your business at www.sap.com/bigdata
    • See how you can leverage data science services from SAP to uncover new signals hidden in your data and drive performance and results for your business at: http://www.sapbigdata.com/services

In discussions with customers on SAP HANA platform often breakthrough innovation and business value take center stage. From an IT perspective also cost and manageability are frequently discussed. The good news is: Now first publications show that implementing and running SAP HANA can provide cost savings even to the IT organization.

Forrester Consulting conducted a cost analysis based on its Total Economic Impact (TEI) methodology to show how implementing SAP HANA could help organizations cut both their IT expenditure and their business overheads. The study provides examples of how much it would cost to implement SAP HANA and how much an organization could save by doing so. Forrester Consulting found that organizations opting to implement SAP HANA could expect to see their software costs fall by more than 70 percent, their hardware costs by 15 percent, and their administration and development costs by 20 percent. Forrester interviewed several customers with multiple years of experience using the SAP HANA platform and conducted a survey of 25 additional SAP HANA platform users. Drawing on the experiences of these customers, as well as own expertise in this area, Forrester constructed a financial model to represent the potential savings associated with using SAP HANA as a replacement for a traditional database platform in several different ways. In this financial analysis, Forrester looked into the impact of using SAP HANA in conjunction with the SAP Business Warehouse (BW), SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and a custom-developed application.

The cost savings were realized by reduced hardware and lower software costs, resulting six areas of simplification we have seen as being impacted from how SAP brings in-memory technology into business software: from a simpler data footprint, a simpler system landscape and simpler setup procedures for SAP HANA, as well as from more efficient application development processes and an increased productivity for administrators caused by simpler data processing and operations and a simpler user experience.

To learn more about how to unlock business value and deliver breakthrough Innovation while simplifying your IT and to download the Forrester study and ist executive summary, visit www.sap.com/innovation-and-me.

Oracle finally released their in-memory cache for the Oracle 12c database this week. With it, has already come a good quantity of anti-SAP HANA marketing, with the usual jousting that you would expect between enterprise software vendors. They released a comparison sheet between Oracle and SAP HANA, which is the usual mix of propaganda/marketing.


This is compounded because SAP has reseller agreements with Oracle and IBM, so they have to be very careful how they position SAP HANA's capabilities. I don't work for SAP, so I don't have to be careful. Furthermore, I didn't like the Oracle comparison because it's very database-centric, and businesses are application and process-centric. Here's an alternative view on the world.





Oracle 12c

Database in-memory



SAP Business SuiteOptimized for SAP HANA - 50% faster on average in response times.Not supportedNo support for BLU acceleration
SAP "S" SuiteSimplified Financials with SAP HANA - 50% less footprint including no totals or separate ledgers. Remainder of SAP Business Suite to follow.Not supportedNot supported
FioriFull support for free Fiori business applications including fact sheets and searchNo fact sheet support; search possible with HANA sidecar databaseNo fact sheet support; search possible with HANA sidecar database
SAP HANA LiveOptimized for SAP HANA, providing real-time operational reports for the Business Suite via virtual data models - no EDW required.Supported with a SAP HANA sidecar databaseSupported with a SAP HANA sidecar database
SAP BW (basic)Full support including full data model acceleration for all business areas including Inventory, complex calculation pushdown (exception aggregation), data load acceleration.Not supportedLimited support for BW InfoCube storage and acceleration
SAP BW (advanced)BW 7.4 is HANA-optimized including simplified LSA++ model, industry solutions e.g. Retail Point of Sale. Support for HybridProviders, CompositeProviders, integration with HANA Information Views.Not supportedNo advanced features
SAP BW Virtual ModelingComplete virtual modeling capability in BW.Not supportedNot supported
SAP BPCSupport for BPC 10.1 Unified Model (based on HANA PAK).Support only for BPC 10.1 Classic ModelSupport only for BPC 10.1 Classic Model
Code AccelerationSubstantial pushdown into the database for complex procedures using ADMPNot supportedNot supported
Data VirtualizationSupport for Smart Data Access data virtualization for Archiving/NLSNot supportedNot supported
Lumira ServerSupport for the Lumira Server analytics platformNot supportedNot supported
In-Memory PlatformHANA is an end-end cloud and on-premise platform with support for database, modeling, graph, predictive, spatial, text, search, integration and application services.Many separate components required for similar functionalityMany separate components required for similar functionality


Comparison Notes


Note that this is a comparison which is deliberately SAP application-centric. What's important to note is that "not supported" also means in many cases "not possible", in my opinion. For example, the "S" Suite of Simplified Applications is only possible because it's possible to calculate totals and ledgers on the fly. The design of Oracle and IBM's solutions mean that this simply isn't possible.


In the projects I'm working on, we find that the sheer number crunching capability of HANA means that we can solve problems we couldn't solve in DB2 or Oracle. For instance, we put together a real-time management dashboard for one company; this was based on 34 separate complex questions that displayed in one dashboard. Using the HANA platform, we could get an end-end page load on an iPad in under 3 seconds based on real-time data. There's no way that this could have been built on DB2 or Oracle - it took 30-40 seconds and that's not an acceptable response time for a mobile app.


The other thing that is worth noting is SAP's development direction. I recently spoke to a friend at SAP that put it nicely: "We spent the last 10 years optimizing our products for Oracle and IBM. Now we are spending some time optimizing for our database". Some customers have commented to me that they feel that SAP is investing overly heavily in R&D for HANA, at the expense of other databases, but I don't believe that is a fair assessment: HANA enables capabilities that other databases do not, and SAP is writing software to take advantage of these capabilities. If other databases could do the same things then SAP would enable them (and the software has in most cases been written to take this into account), but they can't do the things that HANA can do.


Oracle attacks HANA specifically on the topic of enterprise-readiness, but that's not what we see in the field. In fact HANA is so much easier to configure for High Availability that almost all of my customers use HA/DR scenarios. By contrast, I have almost never come across Oracle RAC, because it's notoriously difficult to set up. And in a recent customer, we had zero issues during user testing on a complex deployment. Not just zero open issues at the end of testing - not a single issue during user testing.


Some customers suggest that Oracle and IBM will catch up - but the reverse seems to be true so far. When I last looked at HANA and DB2 a year ago, SAP were around 2 years of development ahead of IBM, but that seems to have increased in the last year - HANA has become much more mature, and IBM haven't made any changes since the release of DB2 10.5. We don't see any SAP on BLU deployments at all or any live customer stories.


Final Words


This comparison will no doubt be controversial, but it's what we see in the field. I'd welcome feedback, or additional scenarios that aren't in this list. But my conclusion is that SAP are putting all their development efforts to optimizing applications on SAP HANA, and as a customer, you should take advantage of this.


Disclosure: I don't work for SAP and received no compensation for this piece, but I have consulted in the past with SAP on various areas of SAP HANA. I'm also a SAP Services Partner with a focus on SAP HANA though I have 16 years of experience with database technologies including Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and others.

Your business department was asking for the SAP HANA platform, your job as IT is the cost efficient implementation and seamless operation. You feel that the business is the clear winner in that game?


Think again and imagine what if there are use cases where also your department benefits from the SAP HANA platform.


Let me ask you some questions:

  • How often does your company experience IT issues that affect performance or productivity?
  • Would you say that the frequency of such failures impacting your area is: decreasing, staying the same, increasing?
  • How many times does a same/similar failure occur?
  • What is the impact for the business


You should continue reading if you think that there might be some room for improvement. And please dont get me wrong, I know you are doing already a great job. But take a couple minutes and think about your current data center operational setup?


Count the different hardware and software layers starting from storage, network, server and end-user devices followed by operation system, virtualization, application and service layers oh and dont forget specific facility sensors like, temperature, power usage,.


How many different vendor as well as generic management tools do you need for the daily operation?


All that is fine and for sure needed, but imagine you could do all this using one platform: SAP HANA? Managing the massive data volumes including structured and unstructured data provided from tones of event, configuration and external data sources daily? Identifying similarities holistically?Performing ad hoc real-time analysis? And predict critical events? Within and allover your data center layers?


Data Center Intelligence a data mart extension for IT based on the SAP HANA platform helps you to acquire, analyze and act on massive data volumes from, in between and along any data source in your data center in real-time.


  • Maximize IT responsiveness by enabling a holistic view within and allover different hardware and software layers as well as facility sensors to avoid business impacting situations.
  • Mitigate IT risk to ensure business continuity by proving transparency on device connectivity in real-time to detect threats or predict outages.
  • Optimize IT operations to drive cost-efficiency by acquiring, managing and acting on massive volumes of data to optimize resource and capacity management.


Identify similarities, perform ad hoc real-time analytics and prevent critical events causing business impacting situations.


You are interested? We currently start a co-innovation project for a limited number of customers. Take the chance and work close together with the SAP HANA development teams and SAP own IT departments.


You like to know more? Contact us to set-up a first informal briefing meeting and decide afterwards if and how to contribute to the co-innovation project to put ALL your logs into business action.


We're looking forward to get in co-innovation with you.

My colleague, Timo Elliott, likes to joke that a data scientist is a business analyst from Silicon Valley.   At SAP, I think our data scientists combine science (e.g. statistics, mathematical models, computer programming) with analytic artistry (e.g. predictive analytics and visualization) to explain the story that the data is telling us.

Data Science in Action -- An Example

Imagine that you are a retail store that wants to invest in a promotion.  To be successful, you want to understand how your customers will behave if you change the price. On one hand, you want to maximize revenue (sales from goods sold); on the other hand, you want to maximize profits (amount that exceeds the costs and taxes of the product).  If you drop the price enough, you'll increase revenue.  But at a certain point, you begin to lose profit.  So your goal is to be able to predict the highest price to charge for your product to gain the maximum profit.


retail image.jpg

You can use your "gut-feel" to set the price in the promotion.  Or you can base your decision on scientific analysis.  Working with a data scientist, you can create mathematical models that can analyze large volumes of historic point-of-sale data against a variety of variables such as target market, channel, season, competitor prices, and customer sentiment.


As these pricing models crunch through the Big Data, they begin to display trends that can better forecast how customers will respond to price changes.  A variety of pricing strategies can be visualized through analytic tools enabling you to:


  • Assess revenue / profit trade-offs based on customer demand
  • Optimize promotions (e.g. price, duration, timing) across target markets and channels.


With data science, you move from analyzing what happened in the past to predicting what will happen in the future.  In addition, you can optimize your pricing and promotional strategies to best meet your financial needs and improve customer satisfaction.


Data Science in Action -- Learn more

If you would like to discover other use cases (in retail, CPG, transportation, media, energy, and more), than join me on Monday, July 21st as I interview Dr. Helmut Linde, Head of Data Science Solutions at SAP.



In this webcast (part of the on-going SAP Big Data, Big Thinking Webinar Series), we'll explore how data science can help you move beyond traditional analytics to help you discover trends, predict outcomes, and optimize your business - enabling you to become more competitive and efficient.



Register for the live session:

Date: July 21st

Time: 4pm CET / 3pm UK / 7am PT

Or join us at your leisure by viewing the on-demand version after the broadcast!   Hope to see you there!   ~ Marie


About the author:  Marie Goodell is a Strategic Big Data Marketing lead at SAP.  Follow her on twitter @mhgoodell.

Textile Rubber and Chemical Company(TRCC) is debunking the myth that SAP HANA is not ready for transactions and analytics together. TRCC, an SAP® mid-market customer, is a privately-owned textile and chemical manufacturer who is a winner in the Trailblazer Innovator Category of the first SAP HANA Innovation Award.  They are a great example for the industry that companies of all sizes can capitalize on HANA’s speed, agility and effectiveness for transacting on and analyzing data.


TRCC implemented SAP Business Suite powered by HANA to replace their lengthy manual reporting processes using 22 independent Sage system databases facing end of life and multiple third-party products. In order to deliver an agile Business Intelligence (BI) environment that provides on-demand and real-time access to financial, operational and sales information at the detailed level, TRCC chose to implement the HANA Live feature of SAP Business Suite on HANA rather than costly and “stale data”  traditional data warehousing alternatives. They also turned to the expertise of Decision First Technologies™ (DFT), an SAP Gold Partner and recognized authority in the BI industry, to implement HANA Live best practices and lay out the roadmap for a successful BI environment.


Their resulting solution provides one source for all data and they do not require separate transactional and reporting databases.  This means that there is no delay in providing analytics for management; decisions are now made in real-time on real-time information, no matter how large their database grows.

What makes this story so amazing is that within 2 weeks of implementing the executive dashboard of HANA Live, TRCC found an operational inefficiency in one of their product lines which they were able to correct, saving the company thousands of dollars a day and producing an immediate ROI for the project. You can read the full case study by going to the following link:  http://info.decisionfirst.com/HANA-Site_TRCC.html




Share TRCC innovation award entry on twitter

I am glad to have had the opportunity to join the exciting “SAP HANA Business Application Contest” event at SAP Forum in Shanghai, China.  After two-months of preparation, seven customer and partner teams were selected to present their HANA applications on the stage competing for five awards.  Their presentations were each judged by a strong committee of six judges: two SAP VPs, two customer CIOs, one Intel director, and one VP from analyst/media company. The judges shared positive feedback and had valuable discussions with the presenters. This two-hour event was filled with a curious and engaging crowd.


Mark Gibbs, President of SAP Greater China, said: “We place great importance on growing and expanding the SAP HANA ecosystem. The success of the SAP HANA Business Application Contest demonstrates the openness of the SAP HANA platform and how it generates business value. We intend to leverage the collective power of our ecosystem to drive more innovation and unlock the potential of the SAP HANA platform. SAP will continue to co-innovate with our customers and partners to bring more customized applications to the SAP HANA platform.”

IMG_8041 copy.JPG



Five outstanding teams from Nippon, Yunnan Hongxiang, AdMaster, Kintiger Co., and Zoomlion Co., demonstrated strong scenarios and won the following awards:


Best Business Application Award: Nippon China used SAP HANA technology to expand their iColor website by collaborating with Hadoop to create a seamlessly integrated personalized color recommendation solution. SAP HANA's high-speed memory and in-depth analysis of unstructured data helps to recommend the color choice to improve user experience and provides deeper business insight. The following photo shows Ken Tsai, VP, head of HANA and Data Management Marketing, presenting the award to the winning team.



Best Business Value Award: AdMaster Technology team used SAP HANA to build a SaaS platform that provides customized analysis for personalized social counseling to customers in different industries. With SAP HANA’s analytical computing power and massive comprehensive text analytics, AdMaster was able to easily achieve real-time text data queries, sentiment analysis, entity extraction, and semantic analysis. Through data visualization, customers can quickly see the most intuitive and valuable results of data analysis.  Moreover, SAP HANA text analytics allows us to deal with international expansion without changing the structure.


Best Innovation Pioneer Award: Based on the SAP HANA platform, Yunnan Hongxiang technology team built an application that balances the inventory across different stores within a region.  It is comprised of the traditional corporate level macro-inventory allocation system and establishes a micro-balanced circle among retail stores to achieve a more proactive, targeted and timely allocation. This solution is great in planning and achieving optimization through real-time inventory data replication in SAP HANA.  It leverages the in-memory computing capabilities and predictive analysis algorithms to design an accurate micro level demand forecasting and dispatching route optimization. This effectively reduces the cost of cross-shop and helps enterprises respond to changes in inventory and procurement needs in a timely manner.


Best HANA Feature Use Award: Hangzhou Kintiger team built a SAP HANA solution for Century Sunshine Paper Co. to accelerate their monthly financial closing process with a BI platform. This solution uses SLT to synchronize SAP ERP data into HANA in real-time to accelerate key calculation models. The results are smaller amounts of data which is written back into SAP ERP to continue the business workflow. This solution implements financial closing algorithms within SAP HANA which significantly increases the calculation speed and makes the BI run more smoothly, efficiently, and accurately, bringing significant economic benefits.


Most Promising Application Award: Zoomlion Technology team uses SAP HANA to build a corporate level BI platform that covers all factory management, sales management, and service management teams. This is a typical business BI system that leverages the efficient data analysis capabilities and real-time data processing capabilities with unprecedented speed to process a large number of non-integrated, structured and unstructured data on SAP HANA. This allows companies to make real-time decisions and change the traditional management style. Businesses can create a data-driven business model and helps company to release new business insight. This allows companies to make real-time decisions and create a data-driven business model that changes traditional management.

All application details can be viewed in SAP HANA Business Application Contest website, including one project description page with one video link in Chinese.


In June, my husband and I had a delightful holiday in Germany visiting close friends. We had the privilege of watching the German National football team play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup from people's homes and in public viewing stands along the Rhine. We missed the Germany / USA game because we were on a flight home, but when we got back to San Francisco, we continued to watch each game at home on our big TV screen. What amazed me about the entire World Cup is how the Germany National Football team kept it simple and stayed focused. Congratulations to the German National Team!


How Big Data Helped the German National Football Team Train

Aside from great talent, exceptional teamwork, and dedicated training, the team took advantage of Big Data.  Working in collaboration with the German Football Association (DFB) and SAP, the team used SAP Match Insights based on SAP HANA technology. SAP Match Insights helped the team analyze matches by processing vast amount of data to help players improve their performance. Video data was captured from 8 on-field cameras and crunched into thousands of data points per second.  This enabled coaches to analyze performance metrics, such as player speed, position and possession time.  Coaches could then provide feedback to players via mobile devices to help them improve their game. Two recent press articles ("Germany's World Cup Tactics: Shaped by Data", The Telegraph and "Germany's 12th Man at the World Cup: Big Data", CIO) describes in detail how the solution works.




See How SAP Match Insights Works

If you happen to be at the Esri User Conference in San Diego this week, we'll be highlighting SAP Match Insights at our demo at this amazing spatial conference.  If not, check out some of these YouTube videos to see it in action and hear what others think about it:



It's exciting to see how Big Data -- including spatial analytics -- is becoming more main stream, enabling all of us to take advantage of "location" to run better.


Spatial Analytics Can Help Any Team, Business, or Organization

Today, the Esri User Conference, SAP announced new spatial capabilities across SAP HANA, analytics, mobile, and business applications to help break down the silos between GIS and business data -- enabling you to uncover new location-based insights and accelerate decision making.



SAP HANA is able to consume, process, and analyze transaction, spatial, and text data within one unified platform -- enabling organizations to analyze location-based, Big Data to better understand what happened and predict future outcomes. With new support for Esri Query Layers, business users can now run complex spatial queries on massive volumes of data in SAP HANA without having to move data between systems. In addition, SAP HANA integrates with Esri geospatial services and content to enable business users to gain value from location intelligence.  Developers can quickly develop high-performance spatial applications to help uncover new insights and accelerate decision making.



SAP Lumira has been enhanced to support geospatial analytics from Esri ArcGIS Online for agile innovation, enabling users to visualize data on a map to see new patterns and trends.  Check out how SAP Lumira was used analyze and predict the outcome of several games in the 2014 World Cup series!

In addition, SAP is now delivering spatial analytics to SAP Business Suite applications  through a GEO.e framework delivered by SAP Consulting.  As a result, business users and field workers can now visual business data about land parcels, buildings and work orders on maps from within SAP applications, such as  SAP Work Manager powered by the SAP Mobile Platform. To view these new innovations, stop by our booth at the Esri User Conference --- and discover how your organization can win big with Big Data.


About the author:  Marie Goodell is a Strategic Marketing Lead for Big Data at SAP.  Follow her on twitter at @mhgoodell (#SAP #BigData)

As you expand your system landscape to better address your business needs you are faced with a recurring question: make or buy needed extensions? SAP users in today’s Environment can create some exciting and innovative applications by leveraging the power of SAP HANA and their existing ABAP skills. As part of the 2014 SAP Middleware webcast series the upcoming webinar will give you insight on how to customize your on-premise and cloud system landscape with technology available in SAP’s development portfolio.


Attend this webinar to learn:


• How to use SAP development environments to extend your SAP systems

• How to make the most of SAP HANA Native Development

• How to re-use your investments and skills with ABAP on SAP HANA, thereby combining the best of two worlds


Date: Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Time: 11:00 am ET | 15:00 pm UK | 16:00 pm Central Europe


Featured Presenters:

Dr. Wolfgang Weiss, Director Product Management for SAP HANA Platform Extensions, SAP
Helmut Grimm, Head of MEE Global Centre of Excellence for Middleware, SAP

: 60 minutes

Register HERE for the live event and to get the recording.

Over the course of my last few blogs I have discussed and looked at how SAP HANA interacts with the Hadoop the Big Data world. Needless to say I was very excited when Databricks announced its partnership with SAP on July 1’st. You can read the Databricks press release here. This completes the trilogy – as SAP HANA now supports all three approaches to SQL on Hadoop - batch scale, disk optimized and now Spark in-memory. This means that SAP is able to work with Hadoop and NoSQL and meet the varied needs of customers as they adopt and begin to utilize these technologies in their data fabric. Integration with Hadoop just got better. And this is great news for SAP and Hadoop. Databricks has created a Spark distribution, based on Apache Spark 1.0, integrated with the SAP HANA. You can download it here

Someone at the recent Hadoop Summit North America show asked me if I felt that in-memory on Hadoop was a threat to SAP and SAP HANA. My response then, as now, is no it is not a threat it is a complimentary piece of the puzzle that makes things better. There are times when you must move your data around and times when you will want to access it in situ – and SAP HANA’s smart data access let’s you do just that. The only down side is the latency of the target system. You get instant results and speed from SAP HANA, but if the results include data residing in another system the query will be only as fast as the response from other system. Now with Spark providing in-memory for HDFS and NoSQL the responses back from the Hadoop systems will be faster. Less latency is better performance overall. The faster the response the more HANA’s smart data access will be used to join data optimally stored across the data fabric. The follow up question was, but will in-memory Hadoop not replace or mitigate the need for HANA. To which I noted no – they cannot. Would you really put your vital, mission critical data in Hadoop, which at this point, does not offer ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) based persistence to guarantee that database transactions are processed reliably. The Hadoop community may be working toward this but it is a long way off. Hadoop is a great place to store contextual data that can be combined with enterprise data to enrich it, and now Spark can provide faster access to that data. Besides SAP HANA is much more than just an in-memory data store – it is a platform providing an application server, web server, powerful libraries and processing engines, all where the data resides. So I see in-memory Hadoop as complimentary and enabling not a threat.

There is great power in bringing the compute to the data, rather than doing it the other way around; this is why SAP HANA was conceived and built. And in the evolving IT landscape that is an optimized data fabric that needs to woven together SAP HANA’s smart data access can help achieve this. The integration of SAP HANA and Spark provides a simpler process for developers and data scientists to start from a single system integrate data stored throughout the data fabric and bring the result sets back. SAP HANA provides Spark developers rich analytics capabilities that do not currently exist in Spark, (Text Analytics, OLAP, Geospatial, OLTP) and they can use HANA to do all the compute and return the results (not move the data) to Spark. As well they get access to the apps that are built on SAP HANA and use its smart access capability to access data in situ on a variety of data stores in the data fabric. This integration now means that those developing on SAP HANA can now enrich enterprise apps and analytics with insights derived from contextual data that store on HDFS and NoSQL systems; along with data in other data stores. And keeping with the open agnostic SAP approach that I have discussed and expounded previously – the Spark integration accessing HDFS can work with any Hadoop distribution so SAP continues to be agnostic and open around Hadoop. Though as I have often pointed out before we do have a reseller agreement with Hortonworks.


This integration is a beautify synergy and a nice step forward as we weave together the data fabric of your enterprise.


  • Learn more about SAP HANA's smart data access capability here.
  • SAP HANA Platform for Big Data can help you take a simplified approach to making data work for you along with Hadoop. Learn more about how you can derive true value from Big Data for your business at: www.sap.com/bigdata.
  • Download the Spark distribution integrated with SAP HANA platform (based on Apache Spark 1.0) Here


First I must admit that the title and the picture are taken from the newly launched solution overview by an also very new Sports & Entertainment IBU.

The IBU was established only at the end of the last year, but the offering is very mature and solid, since a lot of the work was done by embedding existing market proven solutions by 3rd parties. Since Israel is a vibrant hub for sports and media related startups and what my group does is co-innovation, it was a matter of time before we started engaging with S&E.

Hosting Fadi Naoum, SVP Application Innovation, S&E, as a speaker at the annual Socialize14 Summit gave us an opportunity to bring together SAP S&E and Israeli startups active in that domain.


Player Performance Portal, Match Insights, Web Ticketing, Arena Management – all those new solutions, backed up by the traditional ERP, CRM, Finance, powered by SAP HANA – provide real time performance insights on each level , from player, to team, to game, patterns, facility and fans management.



We had a full house in SOSA TLV presenting those solutions and featuring our partner PlaySight – Tennis Analytics integrated with SAP HANA. PlaySight has recently completed an investment round from top-ranked celebrities of the tennis World, such as Billie Jean King and Novak Djokovic, and is ready to explore with us what predictive technology will contribute to the tennis academies.


With new solutions to emerge both from SAP and our partners, it’s definitely going to be a year to remember.

We hope it will be a great year for the German soccer team as well:

Over the past two months, I have been (re)introducing SAP HANA via a series of blog posts that talk about why HANA is more than just a database, how it can massively reduce redundancy and complexity in enterprise data management environments, and how it brings real-time enterprise computing into the realm of the possible. With this entry, I am happy to report that real-time computing is no longer just  a possibility. It’s here.


At last month’s Sapphire conference in Orlando, we introduced SAP Simple Finance, which delivers a real-time financial solution set to enterprises everywhere via the HANA Enterprise Cloud. With SAP Simple Finance, users enjoy the simplicity of secure cloud delivery and a beautifully redesigned user interface, while leveraging new capabilities which promise to do nothing less than transform finance processes and finance departments.

How great can the impact of transitioning to real-time be? Consider the experience of Zurich Insurance: when they set out to improve their global processes for managing finance, they had a few top priorities in mind. They wanted to deliver a common consolidated accounting system for all countries. They wanted to provide globally consistent accounting and operational procedures. And they wanted to accelerate their core finance processes, especially reporting and close.


Zurich is an early adopter of SAP Accounting powered by SAP HANA. The team at Zurich were able to rapidly implement the new financial suite and found that it met their requirements for a common system and consistent processes worldwide. But it did much more than that.


The new HANA-native environment is transforming Zurich Insurance’s financial operations. General ledger data, which was once variously duplicated and distributed to support reporting and other processes, is becoming a live repository and single source of truth for all finance processes. Zurich discovered that they now have the flexibility to redesign (and simplify) finance processes on the fly. They were able to develop accelerated reporting and monthly close processes in short order and without the kind of massive, labor-intensive effort normally associated with such an undertaking. 


And yet, based on a recent validation project, the results they are seeing far surpass what you might expect from a standard optimization or retooling exercise. After implementation, Zurich will enjoy a 65% faster monthly close process and reporting that is 1000 times faster than the previous implementation. Zurich Insurance is experiencing firsthand the true power that is real-time computing.


In the new financials suite, all the different finance applications are seamlessly united on the same live SAP HANA platform, which provides a single source of truth. The tremendous boost in reporting speed that Zurich Insurance enjoyed owes to the fact that all the finance data is now in memory. So, for example, there is no need to copy the data, no need to perform a separate extraction to get it into the embedded Business Warehouse environment.


Additionally, the HANA virtual data model provides more seamless access to data than could ever be achieved using a traditional, static model. Reporting can now be implemented in a much more flexible way. Users can run BI tools directly on the data in the production system; there is no need for a separate reporting system. And where previous Finance architectures included a large collection of built-in calculations aimed at saving time by anticipating what questions the user might need to ask, the new suite supports any possible calculation into the dataset. There is no need to try to fine-tune the results. The answers are returned immediately.


But the shift to real-time finance processes goes beyond just cutting out the middle man (or middleware.) Typically, financial processes are implemented sequentially. So if your organization performs a monthly close, you have a full profitability picture only once a month. Any dependent or downstream processes are also constrained to that monthly timeline. But with financials running on HANA, users can accelerate and even eliminate sequential processes.

Some users are working towards a completely new model: near real-time close. In such a scenario, the closing process adds little or no additional information. The actual close becomes largely a formality. Empowered by real-time access to information, users are also moving from monthly close to a weekly one. Using traditional tools, some large financial institutions spend as many as 18 days each month on closing. Imagine the organizational transformation when enterprises such as these cut their close time to a few hours, and move to a weekly model.

And it doesn’t stop there. Many enterprises are already building a strategy around the implicit and explicit benefits they will be able to derive from closing their books every day.


Such capabilities may sound impressive, even amazing, but these organizations aren’t adopting radically new processes just to look cool. In an era in which disruption, high volatility, and accelerating change have all become the new normal, these capabilities are becoming basic requirements. Businesses need better and faster updates, and they need processes that don’t entangle or delay each other.


Forecasting and simulation are more critical than they have ever been before. Organizations often need to model every aspect of their business, including full accounting runs. In a standard environment, such a modeling exercise would require a subset of the data, or would take a very long time to process, or both. So either you get a picture based on incomplete data or you get a more complete picture that is out of date by the time you get it. Neither choice is particularly appealing. The HANA platform does away with that choice, providing the ability to develop accurate real-time models for integrated planning and advanced predictive analysis.


While this story begins with talking about finance processes, it does not end there. When you move the breadth and depth of functionality that is the entire SAP enterprise portfolio into a live HANA environment, amazing things begin to happen. Suddenly you have seamless access to data coming from all the different solutions. ERP, accounting, planning — all the applications can see each other’s data. So, for example, the planning system can essentially “open” the ERP system and build models directly from live data. At any time you can compare the plan with reality. There is no latency. The comparison is updated in real time.


Real time is here, and the story has only begun. SAP Simple Finance represents not just the next generation of SAP finance applications; it is a foothold in the future of how finance processes will be expected (and assumed) to work going forward. Moreover, these innovations are giving us a glimpse into the kind of business transformation that pervasive real-time computing will enable overall.


Twitter:  @i_kHANA

Innovation is what drives progress and what changes society; without it progress would come to a screeching halt.  Whether you are a leader or follower, innovation and disruption is going to happen. You need to lead with innovation, or be left to respond to disruption. These are the critical success factors in business today as the pace of change accelerates, and more importantly, innovation impacts how we perform our work and live our daily lives


However, innovators are most often the unsung heroes who dare to dream, possess creativity to envision new possibilities and the courage to seize opportunities presented by new technologies. The SAP HANA innovation awards were designed to showcase and honor customers innovating with SAP HANA.


The winners were announced on June 3 at Sapphire. Watch the video to experience the excitement as the winners are announced and the first place winners receive their “big cheques” for charity. Congratulations to the winners on your achievement.


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View winners on the award website , read the blog by Steve Lucas or listen to the session from Sapphire as Dan Lahl from SAP presents the HANA innovation award together with Steve Pratt from CenterPoint Energy, the first place winner of Big Data Innovator category.


Everyone loves a good contest

  • Customers using SAP HANA in production from 15 countries were invited  to enter their innovation story in 3 categories : Trailblazer Innovator; Social Hero Innovator; Big Data Innovator. Thanks to every one of you who participated and shared your story – every one of you is a winner!
  • Check out the 27 amazing stories that were shared by leading brands from 7 countries across the globe.  They provide a simple and powerful way for you to relate to their challenges and how they are empowering specific individuals by using SAP HANA.  More importantly they enable you to find your own inspiration to the possibilities of using SAP HANA to drive innovation.
  • 22 Finalists were selected by public voting format similar to American Idol and Dancing with the stars.  It was exciting to see how engaged folks got and how they mobilized colleagues and friends and even family to vote. The social buzz for the contest hashtag #HANAStory generated over 6M  impressions on twitter, 6.7K votes and 76.1K website visits - with a voting frenzy on the last 2 days of voting.

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  • The SCN team were engaged and developed missions for the SAP Community to get involved almost 1800 SAP Community members participated in the Ready for the Innovation.award mission.missions.jpg
  • SAP User groups were invited to nominate judges and user groups from  from Germany, Netherlands, Spain, UK and USA submitted nominations. We also had an incentive for user groups to spread the word and inform their members about the opportunity to participate in the award.  I am pleased to announce that ASUG has won the user group incentive for the most number of entries. Congratulations ASUG
  • 11 judges comprised of SAP User Group members and SAP employees reviewed and scored each of the 22 finalists using a score card to select the final winners. Thank you to all your hard work.

SAP HANA Innovation Awards - Be a Winner Next Year!


SAP and the community wants to learn from your amazing story.


Tell us how you are using SAP HANA to:

  • Transform and re-imagine your business or changing the world.
  • Improve business processes and performance
  • Overcome data management challenges
  • Drive new business models
  • Empower your workforce, customers and society


Stay tuned to more details about the contest


Last but not least please fill in the short survey on your experience and help us improve aspects that did not work so well. Link to survey



Thank you to everyone who supported this incredibly exciting project.

Finally, we are seeing a shift in focus in the enterprise. As the economy continues to improve, business leaders drive for growth and innovation, rather than focusing on simply keeping the business running.


According to the PWC study[1], innovation is now the most powerful driver of growth for business. The companies that strive to grow and remain competitive broaden scope of innovation to introduce new products, new services, new technologies, new customer experiences.  The challenge, however, is in delivering the innovation, bringing it to the market fast and scaling it.


That’s where enabling IT technologies play crucial role within the organizations. The power of big data, deployed via cloud and delivered in real time in the form of instant, actionable insight anywhere, anytime has the ability to transform traditional business processed and allow companies to capture new market opportunities and solve tough business challenges that were previously unsolvable.


We’ve identified 3 key growth opportunities that can be unlocked with technologies designed for real-time business.


#1: Customers

The challenge is to keep existing customers and acquire new ones fast and at a low cost. Customers of today are empowered. They are digitally connected, socially networked and better informed. And they are now getting their information about the products and services they need from their peers and social networks. Buying decisions are often made before your company is even aware of the opportunity.


What if you could connect with your customers before they make their buying decisions, if you could analyze the enormous amount of digital information customers are creating in real-time so that you know exactly what they want and engage with them immediately and deeply. In fact, companies that use customer data from social media, previous purchases, website interactions and event attendance show 31% year over year revenue growth. 


#2: Operations

In the always connected, always on world, with ever more complex business operations, the challenge is to stay flexible and responsive to market changes. That’s where ability to analyze the data from multiple sources – market research, point of sales, financial and sales forecast, etc. – in real-time can make real difference and put your company ahead of the competition. In fact, companies balancing supply and demand claim consistent business benefits such as up to 20% inventory reduction and up to 25% faster time to market.


#3: Risk Management

The risk landscape is clearly changing. Mainly due to globalization, risk events nowadays occur quickly and spread rapidly. Organizations that can understand and manage their risks effectively are better positioned for growth. Let’s take fraud management. It is estimated that global fraud loss tops nearly $3.7 trillion annually[2]. And yet, currently, 50% of fraud cases are detected by accident, after the loss has occurred[3]. You can make tremendous impact on the growth of the organization if you could expect unexpected by being able to react in real-time to the fraud events or, better yet prevent fraud from happening.



To find out how SAP can help, watch this 2-min overview of purpose-build, next generation HANA enterprise applications that can help harness the value of big data while simplifying IT, accelerating time to value and enabling business innovation:









[1] http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/issues/index.jhtml

[2] ACFE, Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, 2014 Global Fraud Study, 2014

[3] ACFE, Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, 2014 Global Fraud Study, 2014

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