Before I take you through my fruitful experience with HANA, I would like to quote few words which I had read in one of the Newsroom discussions about HANA:
There is an incredibly exciting opportunity in front of us to build totally new the possibilities of Timeless Software and Infinite ROI...
These few words eventually inspired me to do some hands-on on the product and once I received the invitation mail for the HANA sandbox system. It has been now couple of years since I have been working on SAP BW and having little bit exposure to other tools, I was pretty much excited to learn a new thing and obviously one would easily get enticed when we are hearing things like HANA is going to replace BW or any other tool for that matter.
But anyways it was quite difficult initially to have a feel of the tool, especially when you don’t have prior training of it and only relying on experiences or blogs of other users and of course SAP standard product guides were always by your side. After initial hiccups and some basic understanding gradually I started picking up things at steadily pace and started playing around with it.
Well I must say it didn’t disappoint me at all in terms of GUI and User experience... One good thing about the standalone HANA version was we don’t have to remember t-codes/program names or Function Module/table names like in BW we have to :) :)
I started with creation of package then attribute view and analytic view it was simply like constructing a STAR schema more or less similar to what we had to think conceptually and always try to make images in minds, here everything is there is front of us and that to at lower abstraction levels as compared to BW
1) I can directly view my data by simple mouse clicks, also there are options as to how you want to view data either as table or in different forms of chart plus you can analyze the data from different perspectives which i guess can prove to handy for developer as he can easily keep track of things that whether the model design he is currently doing is yielding correct data according to requirement
2) Dashboard presentation in Administrative tool attracted me the most as it was just like a one stop shop where you can analyse whole system in matter of seconds at one go and icing on the top was GUI representation of status (similar to t-codes DB02,ST04 ,etc. in BW)
3) Authorizations on packages although in sandbox we can’t use it, but I can say that all different BW Roles would not be applicable here as we will be deal SQL statement which in my opinion 3-4 different role will suffice the requirement
4) With use of HANA Drivers(HDODBC connection) one can easily connect to Excel (Ex: Pivot tables) and BO Explorer and can henceforth analyze real time data
Obviously there are pro's and con's for everything there are few things which i don’t like about the tool.
1) Package is not created if your system language is different, I found this pretty annoying especially when I was starting with the tool but still SAP can add more detail in error message or they can simple use logon language when package is created, why to give option when you can’t create that thing
2) Sandbox system environment given to us gets applicable when HANA will be working as standalone system but if there would have been a BW sandbox system then we might have actually saw true potential of HANA from BW Consultant point of view.
3) Also the much talked about Sybase RT was not available as well in Sandbox :( :(
4) One thing that bothered me most was I will have to learn/master one more new language SQL, then i was wondering what will happen to my ABAP skill set of building routines?? What will be role Abappers here??
In the Nutshell it was really a very good experience for me to get my hands dirty on HANA studio client; I am grateful to In-memory development team for providing me the opportunity to do this. With this experience I will be little more confident to play and grasp new things in my future HANA trainings/seminars (if any)