HANA: Yes, No or Never! - Part 1
By Kishor Gummaraju
Client Partner, Head - BI Strategic Focus Area, Retail, CPG, Logistics & Life Sciences, Infosys
For all our customers on SAP, the house is clearly divided into 3 parts.
• One that says "We need HANA now! Or else we will miss the buss". This set believes that HANA is the cure for all the data ills of the past and it will magically solve for all past sins.
• The other that pragmatically asks "What is the business use case?" These are the rationalists who have realized that technology for the sake of technology does not make sense. They do not want an IT based business case, they want a Business Scenario based business case.
• The third is the business who says "What HANA? Forget it, add that money to my Trade Promotion Budget!"
Who is right? What should the roadmap be? What should these firms be doing?
There is no firm that has reached the end of the road, especially as SAP has itself just started. So whatever we say is based on some knowledge, and lot of common sense. But it has resonated so far and hence I thought of sharing it with you.
Will HANA solve all problems?
A large food distributor has not established basic KPI's across the business. How will an in-memory analytics tool that can process data quickly solve their problem?
A large CPG company has defined KPI's but is struggling to harmonize the data. Will HANA figure out how the data is to be harmonized?
The obvious answer is NO. You have to figure it out and then HANA can do it much faster.
Does the Business Care?
A large CPG company did a pilot on Inventory reporting and went to the business and said "Eureka! The report that took 3 hours now runs in 3 minutes!" The business said "So what? I don't need it in 3 minutes. I can't do anything with the report as my processes are run daily!"
The business does care for sure but only if the visibility enables practical action. Most often the use cases defined are very logical but not contextual. The use case needs to look at (1) other process dependencies, and (2) other systemic and organizational limitations.
Realizing true business value is not as simple as making power point presentations and in reality will take time and effort. This is mainly because the business also has to adapt to the speed of information availability.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog which includes a look at where SAP is headed and an answer to the question "Can I use Hadoop instead of HANA?"!