Ever since SAP announced the arrival of “Suite on HANA” I have been on the look-out for information. I was lucky enough to be invited last year to test some of the new apps that run on the new solution and I was suitably impressed. I was also lucky to be invited by SAP to the press launch of the product back in January and I am aware that around 100 customers were selected into their Beta program.
To me SapphireNow was the time to bring a customer on stage during the keynote to describe what took place over the past few months and the benefits they gained by moving to “Suite on HANA”. There was a video clip from John Deere but I think a trick was missed by SAP here.
However the big piece of news in my eyes was not really drawn out. Customers could migrate to Suite on HANA via a simple Enhancement Package upgrade. Now I have heard this from SAP before, but I always assumed the customer would need some extra “kit” (Hardware) to make it work. From the conversations I had this is not the case. A Customer who is on say Enhancement Pack 5 – could “upgrade” to Enhancement Package 6H and replace their current database with a HANA database.
I am not a technical expert, so if this is wrong please correct me, but I heard this from different SAP employees on a few occasions so I am taking it as the gospel. I am unclear if there is a minimum specification the database needs to run on or if there needs to be any extra RAM. (This is an invitation to SAP to correct and update me PLEASE).
So what does this actually mean?
Firstly there should be no extra cost to move to Suite on HANA apart from the Enhancement Package upgrade. Some stats that I have heard bounded around are as follows. SAP has around 60,000 ERP instances across the world. Roughly 80% of these are on ERP 6 (so 48,000). From this figure roughly 75% have made use of the Enhancement Package functionality. It is worth pointing out that ERP 6 was released back in 2005, so non Enhancement Package versions are roughly 8 years old now. So we have 36,000 SAP instances (not customers) that could perform an Enhancement Package upgrade and move to Enhancement Package 6H. They would need to replace their existing database with a SAP HANA database and therefore the actual Enhancement Package migration is slightly more complicated. SAP have thought of this and offer an RDS for this – so fixed price, fixed scope and fixed time to migrate you from your current version to Enhancement Package 6H.
What are the benefits?
As far as I can see they come in three areas
1 – Performance. Firstly the simple migration to the SAP HANA database without any specific tuning of transactions will provide a factor of 3 improvements to standard transactions and reports. Not bad for a non-tuned system. Invest a bit more and you can look to tune Business Suite transactions and expect to gain more dramatic improvements on performance.
2 – New functionality. SAP have said they will continue to innovate on the non-HANA database solution, however the volume of new functionality will be released on Suite on HANA. As I mentioned earlier I spent time working with the product team on some of these apps such as Receivables Manager and
Working Capital Management. There are a number more of these apps that are only available on Suite on HANA and I believe there is no extra cost for the apps in isolation.
3 – Future proof. I think customers are getting their head round the fact that the future is HANA. They might not understand what HANA is as so many different products, platforms, solutions and databases seem to use SAP HANA. Personally it is a new SAP brand. When I hear the words SAP HANA I
replace it with “in-memory computing” and I feel much safer in the conversation. Anyway SAP HANA is the future and moving your system of record on to SAP HANA (database) could be a good entry point. The cost is minimal especially if you are planning an Enhancement Package upgrade and you are setting yourself up to be able to consume new Suite on HANA solutions.
If you attended SapphireNow did you get the same messaging that I did?
If you are a customer would you be tempted to move to the dark side and experiment with SAP HANA on a small scale?
My view point is simple – what is stopping you from moving to Suite on HANA?
Update - 21st May 13:00 CET
So it seems the comments provided to me were not fully accurate. Suite on HANA can ONLY be run on HANA kit which means for most clients looking at the migration to Suite on HANA investing in new kit.
Words like expensive are just an opinion, customers need to make decisions on facts - so the actual cost of the new hardware and it would be good for SAP to provide some example figures to become more open and dispel the rumour mill and negativity.