Setting The Record Straight on SAP HANA

Ken Tsai

visionary.jpgOn Feb 22, 2012 I read a blog from Oracle that creates a lot of FUD around SAP HANA (HANA).  Looks like we have touched a nerve there, as we are seeing the competitive response as a whole lot of trash talk from the competition.  It also means we are doing something right…

Should we even deem this with a response? We had tweets dealing with this blog, all with similar content:

@cochesdiez: #Oracle not telling the truth on #SAP #HANA #Inmemory See my tweets in responding to some simply untrue facts

@jdh2n: @oracleEPMBI @manangoel Might want to check your facts on some of the points. Sounds like marketing flare not technical facts. #sap #HANA

Even though SAP has traditionally taken the high road in these matters and while in keeping with that spirit I’ve decided to join the community and not let this disingenuousness pass. I will try to address the FUD factor and misinformation and set the record straight with facts instead of speculation and misinformation that was rife in that blog. Our customers will do the same for us and in the final analysis that’s what matters.

So here goes…

#1 HANA is first to the market with next-generation innovation in databases

SAP has had ample experience in first generation in-memory technologies with SAP APO, trex, ptime etc.   And yes these technologies and others, including TimesTen, BerkelyDB, and MySQL have been around for years.   SAP HANA is the next generation of in-memory and significantly advanced compared to these technologies – with many innovations and firsts.  Some innovation highlights are

  1. In-memory column and row-store
  2. No disk for operation
  3. Dynamic parallelism
  4. OLTP and OLAP together
  5. Standard SQL on structured and unstructured data
  6. Insert only
  7. Multi-node
  8. Lightning-fast Bulk load (something customers love and saying that this capability alone makes HANA worth it)
  9. Application server AND database server 

One can argue that iPhone was not new, but it was the next generation in “smart phones” and did redefine the category by putting everything together – entire database of songs, moving away from disk to flash, new apps. 

#2 HANA is growing rapidly in adoption and revenue

In 6 short months, we have more than 200 customers and $200 M in software license revenue – it’s a massive uptake and adoption of the product no matter how you slice it.  Our competition is comparing it to their mature cash cow product that has been leading the market for many decades.  Plus they are adding their hardware, software, and maintenance revenues while drawing comparisons.  Not bad for a new innovative product.  If HANA weren’t threatening their hegemony in the space you would not be reading this blog response.  HANA is the innovator and not the incumbent, plus we are focused on software innovation to simplify our customer’s landscape and not intent on selling more expensive hardware, repacking existing products into more expensive appliances and increasing our customers TCO.

#3 HANA is enterprise ready with manageability and reliability. 

HANA is available for scale out as of Nov 7th, its high availability is standard, it is fully ACID compliant, has failover to another standby in-memory system and has persistence to the disk in case of complete failure from which it can replay logs to recover rapidly. HANA schemes can be extended on the fly, no re-indexing needed, e.g. since there are no physical layers, structural changes are easier to implement.  Since this is a modern design with insert only and no updates – antiquated locking mechanisms are not needed and concurrency can be much higher than traditional DBMS such as Oracle.  HANA has been deployed for mission critical applications such as smart meter analytics (Centrica), customer segmentation for marketing offers (T-Mobile) and cost based profitability analysis (Colgate, Ferrero, Honeywell).  Our customers have stood up time and again and have highlighted how HANA has helped them deliver new business value while maintaining the enterprise manageability and reliability that SAP is known for. 

#4: HANA is non disruptive with plug and play on layers above and below.

HANA is open and offers customers real choice.  HANA is ANSI SQL compliant, that why companies like Medtronic utilized ERDs built on Sybase Power designer and have it deployed on HANA in no time.   HANA supports standard MDX interfaces.  In addition to SAP products (SAP BusinessObjects, SuccessFactors), BI products on top such as Tableau, data visualization software like TIBCO Spotfire, Salesforce analytics, MSFT clients like Excel and collaborative platforms like Jive, have all been tested to work with HANA.  Even competitive applications such as UFIDA are looking at HANA.  Oracle Exalytics in comparison is closed and packages in Oracle BI products only. Also, it works only on Sun, while HANA is plug and play with 8 hardware vendors.   SAP’s open ecosystem across hardware partners and partners building applications powered by HANA (coming soon) further confirm these facts.   Some more fun facts – HANA runs apps written for Oracle DB without any changes, Given Oracle says that Exadata runs 10x faster than its traditional RDBMS and HANA runs 1000x faster than Oracle RDBMS in customer situations on an average – one can approximate that apps on HANA run 100x faster than on Exadata.

#5: HANA is available as an appliance with proven ease of deployment

SAP provides level 1 support for SAP HANA irrespective of hardware or software issues. SAP HANA appliance configurations are pre-certified providing customers complete assurance on software + hardware design in addition to bringing open innovation, choice and cost competition from multiple hardware providers. SAP is going further by providing rapidly deployed solutions on top of SAP HANA appliance such as SAP CO-PA Accelerator – by using this RDS customers like Provimi have gone live in less than 3 weeks. That’s what we call ease of use and deployment.  Keep in mind that HANA runs on Intel architecture provided by 8 vendors (turnkey) on one operating system.  HANA runs both OLTP and OLAP on this single architecture greatly reducing TCO – and installs and runs in record time – all further underscoring ease of use and deployment

I do believe that this is an inflection point and companies need to rethink their data management strategy. Should they go with aging, and mature DBMS or bring in new innovation to deal with modern day challenges for doing real-time analysis on extremely large data sets, without pre-thinking the questions or queries and without prefabrication and tuning the old systems like Oracle DBMS need? 

Come to a SAP Forum in or near your city and you can see, touch, and feel HANA live in action.  Better yet – if you are looking for more info – including test driving HANA yourself – go to Experience SAP HANA for the real deal – from basic information to deep technical info on SAP HANA from practitioners, product managers, partners, and customers.  Check it out for yourself!



awareness , News

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13 Scary Statistics On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Jacob Shriar

There is a serious problem with the way we work.

Most employees are disengaged and not passionate about the work they do. This is costing companies a ton of money in lost productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. It’s also harmful to employees, because they’re more stressed out than ever.

The thing that bothers me the most about it, is that it’s all so easy to fix. I can’t figure out why managers aren’t more proactive about this. Besides the human element of caring for our employees, it’s costing them money, so they should care more about fixing it. Something as simple as saying thank you to your employees can have a huge effect on their engagement, not to mention it’s good for your level of happiness.

The infographic that we put together has some pretty shocking statistics in it, but there are a few common themes. Employees feel overworked, overwhelmed, and they don’t like what they do. Companies are noticing it, with 75% of them saying they can’t attract the right talent, and 83% of them feeling that their employer brand isn’t compelling. Companies that want to fix this need to be smart, and patient. This doesn’t happen overnight, but like I mentioned, it’s easy to do. Being patient might be the hardest thing for companies, and I understand how frustrating it can be not to see results right away, but it’s important that you invest in this, because the ROI of employee engagement is huge.

Here are 4 simple (and free) things you can do to get that passion back into employees. These are all based on research from Deloitte.

1.  Encourage side projects

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload. Let them explore their own passions and interests, and work on side projects. Ideally, they wouldn’t have to be related to the company, but if you’re worried about them wasting time, you can set that boundary that it has to be related to the company. What this does, is give them autonomy, and let them improve on their skills (mastery), two of the biggest motivators for work.

Employees feel overworked and underappreciated, so as leaders, we need to stop overloading them to the point where they can’t handle the workload.

2.  Encourage workers to engage with customers

At Wistia, a video hosting company, they make everyone in the company do customer support during their onboarding, and they often rotate people into customer support. When I asked Chris, their CEO, why they do this, he mentioned to me that it’s so every single person in the company understands how their customers are using their product. What pains they’re having, what they like about it, it gets everyone on the same page. It keeps all employees in the loop, and can really motivate you to work when you’re talking directly with customers.

3.  Encourage workers to work cross-functionally

Both Apple and Google have created common areas in their offices, specifically and strategically located, so that different workers that don’t normally interact with each other can have a chance to chat.

This isn’t a coincidence. It’s meant for that collaborative learning, and building those relationships with your colleagues.

4.  Encourage networking in their industry

This is similar to number 2 on the list, but it’s important for employees to grow and learn more about what they do. It helps them build that passion for their industry. It’s important to go to networking events, and encourage your employees to participate in these things. Websites like Eventbrite or Meetup have lots of great resources, and most of the events on there are free.

13 Disturbing Facts About Employee Engagement [Infographic]

What do you do to increase employee engagement? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Did you like today’s post? If so you’ll love our frequent newsletter! Sign up here and receive The Switch and Shift Change Playbook, by Shawn Murphy, as our thanks to you!

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee survey tool that helps companies improve their corporate wellness, and have a better organizational culture.


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Supply Chain Fraud: The Threat from Within

Lindsey LaManna

Supply chain fraud – whether perpetrated by suppliers, subcontractors, employees, or some combination of those – can take many forms. Among the most common are:

  • Falsified labor
  • Inflated bills or expense accounts
  • Bribery and corruption
  • Phantom vendor accounts or invoices
  • Bid rigging
  • Grey markets (counterfeit or knockoff products)
  • Failure to meet specifications (resulting in substandard or dangerous goods)
  • Unauthorized disbursements

LSAP_Smart Supply Chains_graphics_briefook inside

Perhaps the most damaging sources of supply chain fraud are internal, especially collusion between an employee and a supplier. Such partnerships help fraudsters evade independent checks and other controls, enabling them to steal larger amounts. The median loss from fraud committed
by a single thief was US$80,000, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).

Costs increase along with the number of perpetrators involved. Fraud involving two thieves had a median loss of US$200,000; fraud involving three people had a median loss of US$355,000; and fraud with four or more had a median loss of more than US$500,000, according to ACFE.

Build a culture to fight fraud

The most effective method to fight internal supply chain theft is to create a culture dedicated to fighting it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Make sure the board and C-level executives understand the critical nature of the supply chain and the risk of fraud throughout the procurement lifecycle.
  • Market the organization’s supply chain policies internally and among contractors.
  • Institute policies that prohibit conflicts of interest, and cross-check employee and supplier data to uncover potential conflicts.
  • Define the rules for accepting gifts from suppliers and insist that all gifts be documented.
  • Require two employees to sign off on any proposed changes to suppliers.
  • Watch for staff defections to suppliers, and pay close attention to any supplier that has recently poached an employee.

About Lindsey LaManna

Lindsey LaManna is Social and Reporting Manager for the Digitalist Magazine by SAP Global Marketing. Follow @LindseyLaManna on Twitter, on LinkedIn or Google+.


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What If Chelsea Manager Jose Mourinho Could Be Proved Right In Medical Staff Row?

Mark Goad

Big Data and the Internet of Things brings new level of insight to sports medicine

With the 2015-16 European football (soccer) season underway, we are already seeing the impact of the huge pressure to succeed. In some cases, it is boiling over even this early on, with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho getting involved in a very public row with his medical staff over the treatment of Eden Hazard during a match. As the season builds momentum, all clubs know one of the most vital aspects of winning trophies is keeping the best players fit so they can play at the top of their game as often as possible.

Last season, just like in every season, we saw injuries that affected teams’ results and possibly their final standings at the end of the season, while other teams capitalized. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger blamed injuries for the team’s failed title bid, while Real Madrid suffered injuries to players like Gareth Bale and Luka Modric at a crucial stage of the season and lost the title to Barcelona.

There’s no doubt that football clubs, especially the bigger teams, employ first-rate medical staff – physiotherapists, doctors, sports scientists, and so on – but they can only do so much to keep players off the treatment table. Players are human, after all, and keeping them injury-free for such long and grueling campaigns is a big ask. This season again will see players on the end of crunching tackles, over-exerting their bodies, and over-stretching.

What’s less talked about than lost games and league titles when discussing injuries is the salaries paid to injured players. The estimated average cost of player injuries in the top four professional football leagues in 2015 was $12.4 million* per team. Remarkably, every year teams lose an equivalent of 15%-30%** of their player payroll to injuries.

As salaries continue to rise, injuries are becoming just as much of an off-the-pitch boardroom issue as they are an on-the-pitch issue. Consider that if Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, the world’s highest-paid player, spends just a week out injured, the club still has to pay his weekly salary of around $1 million. Not only that, but there’s the huge potential for lost revenue from missing out on UEFA Champions League progress or domestic success because key players are out.

Just as winning seems to mean more than ever, so does football as a business. So with the spotlight firmly on “sweating the assets” – extracting maximum value from the entire squad – clubs are looking to Big Data and Internet of Things technology to consider how player injuries can be prevented with new levels of insight.

Prevention is better than cure

In July this year we saw what could be a huge landmark in the potential of monitoring the risk of injuries, when football’s international governing body FIFA announced its approval of wearable electronic performance and tracking systems during matches. As well as collecting data on statistics like distance covered and heart rate to determine decisions like substitution timings, this also paves the way for wearable satellite devices that keep medical staff updated on the likelihood of a player picking up an injury from over-exertion.

Emerging injury-risk monitoring software uses the concepts of Big Data and wearable technology to pull in and apply mathematical formulas to an exhaustive range of relevant data about players: fitness levels, recent levels of exertion, opponents, age, technique, hydration, even weather. This could help medical staff predict the risk of future injuries with much greater accuracy, allowing them to run simulations and take corrective actions in real time. Imagine a seemingly non-injured key player being substituted during a tightly contested match, only to find out afterwards that monitoring software had indicated he was at a high risk of pulling a muscle. This could very much be a part of the future of professional football.

Going back to Jose Mourinho and his reaction to the Chelsea medical staff running onto the pitch to treat Eden Hazard, it’s interesting to consider how in the future this kind of technology could either support or discredit his position in the dispute. It could help managers work more closely with physiotherapists, as they can visualize the data that shows the risk of injury to players. Although the pressure to win will likely keep on rising, the risk of expensive players injuries could see a big reduction.

SAP’s own injury risk monitoring software is currently in the proof-of-concept phase and will be entering development in the near future. The goal is to build IRM on the SAP Sports One platform as an additional component, and to provide integration to the existing modules of SAP Sports One solution. SAP Sports One was launched earlier this year and is the first sports-specific cloud solution powered by the SAP HANA platform, providing a single, unified platform for team management and performance optimization.

*Statistic calulated using 2015 Global Sports Salaries Survey

**Bleacher Report “Inside the 2014 Numbers of Each MLB Team’s Regular-Season Injury Impact” and NBA Injury Analysis


Mark Goad

About Mark Goad

Mark Goad, Value Advisory Associate, SAP Canada, is an experienced business analyst with industry coverage spanning telecommunications & retail, with a focus on digital business models. He specializes in synthesizing industry trends with a detailed analysis of client-specific data to help customers build out high-impact business & IT strategies. Outside of work, Mark volunteers as a lead management consultant for Junior Achievement of Central Ontario and contributes to a range of thought leadership publications.


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The Importance Of Leadership On Employee Engagement [INFOGRAPHIC]

Charmian Solter

Here at Switch & Shift we strive to illuminate effective leadership practices. We pride ourselves on creating cutting-edge solutions for employee engagement, communication, and creating company culture, to name a few.

Why are these topics so important? Well, according to The Importance of Employee Engagement infographic by NBRI, courtesy of Brandon Gaille, if leadership doesn’t step up and affect change and build trust and engagement, their employees will be busy doing anything but work while on the job! This infographic says it all.


For more on developing more engaged, loyal, and productive workers, see How Empowering Employees Creates a More Engaged Workforce.


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