Minority of UK SAP users plan to use HANA

Despite acknowledging a need for faster data-processing, only a minority of SAP users are planning on utilizing SAP’s HANA platform and less than half understand what value it could bring their organisation, a study has found.


Despite acknowledging a need for faster data-processing, only a minority of SAP users are planning on utilizing SAP’s HANA platform and less than half understand what value it could bring their organisation, a study has found.

A survey conducted by the SAP UK and Ireland user group found that over half of respondents did not think their organisation had the analytics skills (54 percent) and technology (51 percent) to make effective use of all their data.

The research, released today, revealed that the biggest challenge facing organisations was gathering data from multiple platforms across the organisation. The second priority SAP users identified was the speed needed to process unstructured data, yet only 15 percent were using or planning on using  SAP HANA’s in-memory database platform. 

In order to address the ‘big data’ challenge business face, nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) said they were currently using or planning to use SAP’s business or data analytics offerings. 

However, 39 percent stated that they didn’t know whether the in-memory computing capabilities of SAP HANA would benefit their organisation’s future business/data analytics strategy. A further 42 percent of SAP users didn’t know if SAP’s recently announced HANA Cloud Platform would make it more attractive for organisations to utilise HANA technology across their business. 

The most popular product was SAP BusinessObjects with 85 percent of users currently using or planning to use it. This was followed by SAP BW (78 percent) SAP BI (53 percent). 

Craig Dale, CEO of the UK and Ireland SAP user group told ComputerworldUK: “The survey shows that big data is a challenge that a lot of organizations are facing. But users need to be educated around what SAP HANA is and what value it can bring, and that will be driven by user case studies.

“Until our members see that they won’t be willing to take that leap into the SAP HANA space.”

Dale added that the main preoccupation for SAP users was migrating and cleaning their data and only then would attention turn to accelerating the process. “If you put rubbish in quick, you get rubbish out quick”, he added.

The research emphasises the need for the vendor to communicate its future plans for helping customers unlock the business value through unstructured information. Over half believed that SAP hasn’t been clear in communicating its business and data analytics product roadmap to users. 

Dale told ComputerworldUK that a visible SAP roadmap was crucial for customers with the amount of innovation in the IT space including cloud computing and mobility. He said: “There is so much new technology the roadmap does become more important than ever”. 

HANA was orginally marketed as a platform for analytics, however in 2013 it completed porting the software to support Business Suite's transactional workloads too.

SAP's aim is to convince customers using Oracle's database and other products underneath the Business Suite that HANA provides a less complicated solution that is high on power. It has pushed a free online course for users to get a taste of the database platform, to begin in June. 

SAP announced that an estimated 800 customers were using HANA by the end of last year - a considerable minority of SAP's total ERP customer base. 

SAP's flagship Sapphire conference in Orlando on 3 June will be a chance for the vendor to answer the questions surrounding SAP's path following the high-profile executive departures, reorganizations and shock lay-off announcement.

Christian Rodatus, SAP's senior vice president and Analytics general manager said: SAP welcomes the findings of the UKI SAP user group and continuously listens to our customers.

“Our own research also highlights that organisations still have a huge opportunity to drive greater value from the data that resides across their businesses. The UKI User Group’s findings that increasing numbers of customers are turning to analytics solutions from SAP to address this need is extremely positive and is indicative of our leadership in this market, as Gartner recently highlighted. SAP also recognises that we need to continually provide customers insight into our innovation strategy, vision and provide training.  Additionally, the SAP HANA AcademyOpenSAP.com MOOC trainings are just some of the many tools for developers, partners and customers to get started and learn SAPHANA.”  

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