Is SAP HANA the new iPad?

25 May 2012

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Before attending SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando this month I was clear about the focus areas for SAP - Cloud, Mobile and In-Memory. The key message from the event was that SAP HANA is the gel that ties cloud and mobile to In-Memory. This year SAP celebrates its 40th birthday and during the keynote by Jim Snabe we were shown a video on   the history of SAP. 

Over the last 40 years new technologies, methodologies and functionalities have been released. One of the most recent new innovations has come from Apple the iPad which is, as I am sure you know, a tablet computer. This got me thinking that in ten years time would people be judging SAP's HANA product as an industry changing product similar to the iPad?

Why SAP HANA In-Memory computing?

In-Memory computing is a new, and potentially revolutionary, idea. Increasing the speed of processing and reporting on data will not only improve current ways of working but will reduce future risks as companies produce more and more data. Using new innovative hardware will enable customers to reduce costs and consolidate complex enterprise architecture. History shows that where your competitors pioneer new successful ideas, they gain a competitive edge over you. SAP's competitors are also making signals that they plan to move in to In-Memory computing, following rather than leading SAP's move which indicates the potential 'game changing' process. SAP HANA is the first true In-Memory computing product produced by the large enterprise software suppliers. The usability, performance and up take of SAP HANA, positions SAP as the market leader in this space.

Why the iPad?

The iPad was not the first tablet to be produced however, it has been the most popular and the one other tablet's are often compared to. Fresh off the back of the successful iPhone and iPod, the iPad has a larger screen providing the user a mixture of a mobile phone and a mobile computer. The growth of free wifi spots and the improvement of broadband speeds can be seen as another reason for the success of tablets. Many people recognise the benefit of using the iPad for both personal and professional use. The cross-over of the product has certainly increased its appeal. . Vendors were also very supportive of the iPad as the numbers of "apps" both personal and professional were released. 

We are now into the third version of the iPad, and more 60 million devices have been sold which is very impressive. Other hardware vendors have been slower to market their own products, enabling Apple to take a controlling share of the tablet market and be recognised as the number 1 tablet.

Tablets and In-Memory computing

As one is a product and one is a solution, there is no direct comparison. There is a common perception that the volume of sales of tablets could soon really take off, eating into the mobile computer sector (laptops). Aligned to this thought pattern is the popularity of business ideas such as BYOD (bring your own device) where employees can use personal devices such as tablets of laptops for work purposes. In-Memory computing is similar in that it can change the way companies organise their hardware to support their reporting and enterprise software. In-Memory computing will change the system landscapes of many companies, both large and small. The timing is complimented by both new hardware and chips that are now available meaning what was once neither achievable nor affordable are now possible and inexpensive.

Apple and SAP

Both Apple and SAP are market leaders in their various industry sectors. Both are known for the quality of their products and solutions. Further to this, both are seen as innovative and pioneers regarding new products and technology. In the 1980's the walkman was the name for the personal cassette player. The walkman was Sony's name for the product but as they introduced the product to the market, their name was linked to personal cassette players. In ten or twenty years time I believe the iPad will be synonymous to the tablet, and SAP HANA will be synonymous to In-Memory computing.

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About the author

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Mark tells it straight - as an ex-boxer, what else would you expect?  Both his knowledge and experience of SAP products allow him to cut to the chase dispelling myths and hearsay.

As a result of working closely with various SAP Finance Product Management teams on product development, Mark understands these products inside out. This depth of understanding has led to him become a ‘thought leader’ in his field; after all, it is not often SAP consultants have helped shape and develop the very product they are selling.

Having such a strong relationship with SAP alongside being an SAP Mentor and Moderator means that Mark has an extensive network within SAP. For clients, this relationship proves to be a huge advantage and leads to configuration issues being resolved rapidly.

Mark has worked on short proof of concepts through to year-long multi-million pound global roll-outs. However, no matter how large or small the project, the true value Mark brings to his work is in the guidance he provides to senior stakeholders. In essence, he assists them to implement more effective processes and drive better behaviours within their finance teams.

Helping organisations transform their business with SAP S/4HANA is Mark’s current focus. The benefits of S/4HANA are numerous, including the simplification of tasks, embedded analytics and improved user engagement. Whilst the eventual move from SAP Business Suite into S/4HANA is inevitable, the journey to it is not always clear. Mark’s ability to understand an organisation’s needs coupled with his deep understanding of S/4HANA provides clarity and eases their transition.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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