10 Jan 2013, Shaun Nichols , V3
SAP has announced that it will make its Business Suite platform available on its HANA in-memory database.
The company said that the move will make the suite a real-time platform, allowing customers to gain greater insight into their business data without the need to wait overnight for analytics tools to run.
"It gives us great pride to say that Business Suite now runs on HANA," remarked Vishal Sikka, a member of SAP's executive board.
"It gives us an incredible opportunity to reinvent and rethink business processing."
The HANA database system has long been held by SAP as a central component to the company's long-term plans. The in-memory system looks to dramatically speed up the processes of data analytics and business intelligence tools, which are commonly required to run overnight.
In addition to its own software platforms, SAP has marketed HANA as a tool for third-party cloud providers. Last year the company inked a deal with Amazon Web Services to offer HANA on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The company hopes that by using HANA as the backbone for Business Suite, such tasks can now be run during working hours to provide firms with real-time analysis of their data.
SAP is also using HANA to take a shot across the bow of rival Oracle. The two firms have a history of legal feuding and in rolling out the release SAP founder Hasso Plattner said that Larry Ellison has plenty to worry about.
"Put yourself in the shoes of the CEO of Oracle," Dr. Plattner suggested.
"When you see this freight train HANA coming you have to do something, and they will do something."
SAP is not alone in its quest for real-time analytics. Researchers and vendors throughout the big data space are seeking to develop tools which can make the analytics process more efficient and practical for enterprises.
Ovum analyst Tony Baer said the move could be a "game changer" for the company and would offer its customers numerous benefits, both in routine capabilities like accelerating reporting functions, but also in other areas.
"The in-memory architecture allows data views to be generated on-the-fly, a benefit that not only reduces database footprint and storage requirements, but also potentially simplifies the modelling and deployment of data and the design of analytics or other complementary applications that run atop Business Suite," he said.
"HANA's in-memory architecture also allows analytics to be embedded with transaction processing, enabling companies to become more agile."
However, he noted SAP could face problems trying to convince customers of the benefits in upgrading versus the potential headaches this could cause.
"Few if any enterprises currently rank replacement of enterprise systems as top priority," he argued.
"Convincing customers that the "transformative" benefits of Suite on HANA will be non-disruptive technically is the challenge SAP faces with an entrenched Business Suite customer base. Companies don't swap out their database and ERP investments overnight."