Most SAP HANA deployments are in the public cloud, UK research finds

© Centiq
© Centiq

A majority of UK organisations running SAP HANA are doing so on public cloud infrastructure, new research has found

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The majority of UK organisations deploying SAP's HANA database are doing it in the public cloud over on-premise or even SAP's own cloud platform, with a large proportion also preferring a hybrid approach.

The research was conducted by Coleman Parkes on behalf of Centiq, a UK-based SAP consultancy, which surveyed 250 organisations who are either existing HANA users or are looking to deploy the technology across eight sectors, including financial services, retail and technology.

The report found that customers are generally using HANA on a public cloud platform instead of SAP's own cloud platform. An 88 percent majority of respondents deploy SAP HANA either entirely in public cloud, or taking a hybrid approach with some on-premise or SAP Cloud solutions in their production environments.

Of companies running HANA in production most are running solely in public cloud at 34 percent, followed by 32 percent running hybrid on public cloud and on-premise. Just six percent are running on SAP's own Cloud Platform and four percent just on-premise.

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The research concludes that this is because: "Organisations are looking for more than just SAP HANA. Indeed, for organisations to get the maximum ROI from their SAP HANA deployment, they must be able to link it to other services, for example Enterprise Content Management (ECM), fulfilment and customer experience which are already hosted on public cloud."

It is important to note that we are talking about HANA here, not S/4HANA. The difference is that HANA is a new type of in-memory database - where data is stored in columns instead of rows - developed by SAP and released in 2010, and S/4HANA is a suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software which runs on top of that data store technology.

Either or both of these solutions can be run on SAP's managed private cloud platform, in the public cloud with AWS, Azure or Google Cloud, or a customer's own on-premise data centre.

Read next: What's the difference between SAP HANA, S/4HANA and HANA Cloud Platform

There has generally been a lot of confusion surrounding the HANA technology since its launch, but that appears to finally be changing.

Matt Lovell, COO at Centiq said: "On-time and on-budget projects have become the norm [75 percent, according to the research], and despite some shortages of key skills, the resounding message from our research this year is that SAP HANA is now delivering on the promises made at the time of its launch."

In his executive summary of the research Lovell also highlights some continued confusion over licensing issues which have dogged the vendor over the past few years: "Indeed, an even more significant concern identified in this year's report is the complexity, confusion and legal issues surrounding SAP HANA licensing."

"As a result, most organisations are still in the process of weighing up the most effective migration approaches from existing landscapes to SAP HANA or S/4HANA."

Read next: SAP responds to Diageo indirect licensing case with "modern pricing" approach

The research also found that when it comes to the cited benefits of HANA once deployed, 57 percent of respondents said 'design and deployment of intuitive apps' were a key benefit, and IT infrastructure and business cost savings were cited by 57 percent and 56 percent of respondents respectively.

Users are mostly using HANA as a real-time analytics engine at this point, with 61 percent stating that it is helpful when looking to 'process data for real time decision making', 60 percent to 'integrate data from multiple sources', and 59 percent to find 'deeper customer insight'. Also, 69 percent of organisations not yet live with SAP HANA said they hope it will assist with technology platform consolidation.

It is important to take this sort of research with a pinch of salt however. Centiq may brand itself a "fiercely independent SAP HANA expert" but its success as a consultancy is reliant on adoption of the technology.

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