SAP is "reinventing" the Business Suite thanks to the introduction of HANA support, SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner said during a news conference Thursday. "Im very happy that we see now a clear future for SAP for the next five to 10 years."
Motorized equipment manufacturer John Deere is one of a handful of initial customers taking advantage of HANA for the Business Suite. John Deere has been using HANA for other purposes for some time, and "had the good fortune to be involved some proof-of-concepts with SAP, including SAP on HANA,' said Derek Dyer, director of global SAP services, during the news conference.
HANA is going to help John Deere simplify its IT stack, deal with growing data volumes and improve its operations, Dyer said. "Real-time information means better decisions and crisper insights.
While Business Suite customers have written a "mind-boggling" amount of custom code to fit the software to their businesses, all of that will run fine on HANA, albeit perhaps not as quickly as core code that has been optimized for the platform, Plattner said.
A FAQ document (PDF) SAP released Thursday provides additional information.
For one thing, although SAP has certified HANA as well as the Business Suite to run on Amazon Web Services, right now they can't be used in conjunction on AWS, according to the document. That means customers looking for a cloud-based, HANA-powered Suite implementation will have to wait.
But then again, the Business Suite is used by the world's largest companies, most of which may be loath to put their core ERP operations in the cloud. SAP plans to court those on-premises customers with a new onboarding program that will provide extensive hands-on help from SAP.
SAP's announcement is "significant" for customers, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. "Speed is the difference between a five-day drug recall and a five-minute drug recall. Speed is the difference between a 30-day supply chain plan versus the ability to reroute two iPhones to your store in 30 seconds. The impact is huge if SAP does succeed."
While competitors like Workday have already done this for human resources software and finance, "for the entire SAP suite and given SAP's market share, this is a big deal," Wang added.
SAP has also positioned its Sybase ASE database as an option for running the Business Suite. Customers shouldn't worry about ASE's future now that HANA has gained Suite certification, Sikka said. "We have financial industry customers that run tens of thousands of ASE installations," he said. "This is an incredibly sticky product and they have long lifetimes."
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com