SAP's HANA suffered an image problem a few months ago when three-quarters of the members of the Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG) who had not yet purchased any HANA products indicated they were unable to identify business cases that justified HANA's cost.
Steve Lucas, president, SAP Platform Solutions, addressed the results of the ASUG survey in a blog post, writing that "asking people who don’t own HANA what they think of it, is like asking people who have never driven a car what they think about the speed and handling capability of a Porsche" and pointing out that nearly half of respondents using HANA said they found significant ROI in areas like simplification and cost reduction.
Lucas also said that SAP was committed to helping its customers find HANA use cases and also to helping them create environments to evaluate the HANA in-memory database management system. This was confirmed by Christof von Kalle, director of translational oncology for Germany's National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), when he spoke to Enterprise Apps Today in August about NCT's use of HANA. He said SAP had worked closely with NCT on building a pilot instance of HANA and then on creating an operational version.
SAP has been publishing the stories of notable HANA customers such as Cisco, Colgate and ConAgra, in an apparent effort to inspire others. Now, however, it is taking a more direct approach to getting potential HANA customers to evaluate the product by rolling out a program called Simpler Choice. The news release for the program quotes Lucas: "With programs like Simpler Choice, we are making it easier than ever for our customers to focus on innovation instead of integration."
Among the services included in the program: help in determining how HANA can lower data management costs, help in evaluating the benefits of cloud application deployments and trial versions of HANA for both cloud and on-premise environments. Other incentives include simplified licensing terms that, according to SAP, "allow customers to mix and match SAP data management products for deployment in various SAP application scenarios," services credit for database migrations and reduced maintenance costs during the period of migration.
In addition, SAP introduced 11 "Journey Maps" that walk customers through the steps involved in deploying HANA with applications including Business Suite, Business Warehouse and Simple Finance.
Dan Lahl, VP of Product Marketing told Enterprise Apps Today in August that SAP was "seeing good traction" in adoption of Business Suite, a bundle of CRM, ERP, HCM, product lifecycle management and supply chain management applications. More than 1,000 customers have purchased Business Suite on HANA, he said. According to the ASUG survey, BW was the top application among HANA users, with 65 percent of them using it, followed by Business Suite and custom analytics.
According to SAP, more than 4,100 of its customers and 1,700 startups are using HANA today.
In addition to HANA, the Simpler Choice program also encompasses SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise, SAP IQ software and SAP solutions for enterprise information management.
Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today and eSecurity Planet. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade, writing about everything from business intelligence to virtualization.