Category Archives: HANA

SAP BW/4HANA – The Value of Agility

Thank you Neil McGovern, SAP Senior Director of Marketing for this article.

On August 31st, 2016 we released SAP BW/4HANA. A great deal of ink and pixels has been spilled outlining its capabilities, but I’d like to look at one of the key reasons we built this new product.
As we stated in our earlier post the Forrester research we sponsored showed a correlation between business agility and revenue growth.
In SAP BW/4HANA the option to deploy on SAP HEC and Amazon AWS (plus others to follow) in addition to on-premise, has given customers the ability to start a new BW/4HANA instance in under an hour.
BW/4HANA users also will have the advantage of enhanced modeling coupled with a dramatically simplified set of data warehousing objects and simplified governance that will enable agile data warehousing development, delivering better real-time business insights faster, and at less cost, than before. Business applications can either leverage “pre-built” data warehousing or “SQL-based” development environments that delivers faster go-to-market and lets applications work with other SQL-based solutions.
Agility is key for BW/4HANA. We have improved agility in three ways:
• The number of data objects is reduced –eliminates data redundancies, increases consistency, and results in a smaller footprint
• Administration efforts to maintain data objects and error-prone data flows are also reduced
• Customers can build their own HANA models on top of the BW/4 HANA models
• User interface will improve for administrators, as next generation HANA Studio and Browser front ends will be used instead of SAP GUI front ends
• Customers see great benefit in the possibility to expose BW/4 HANA models as native HANA views
• Customers will be able to use HANA in “BW” mode and in native “SQL” mode or a combination of the two
One of our first BW/4HANA customers is Fairfax Media. Fairfax are an experienced BW customer who had business challenges that fit BW/4HANA new capabilities. With BW/4HANA the project took half the time anticipated, three months instead of six. The flexibility and simplicity of the new object set and development environment, plus the ability to develop in the Cloud were key to this success. The resulting system was 10 times faster for end users and allowed cost savings to be identified in their expenses.

BW/4HANA, HANA Cloud Integration, and S/4HANA Finance are areas where Amick Brown can help your company succeed.

Learn more about BW/4HANA at


Dresner’s Advanced and Predictive Analytics Study Ranks SAP #1 for Second Time in a Row

By  Chandran Saravana,  Senior Director Predictive Analytics Product Marketing

For the second year in a row SAP has received the number one ranking in the Wisdom of Crowds 2016 Advanced and Predictive Analytics Market Study by Dresner Advisory Services. The Dresner study reached over 3000 organizations and vendors’ customer communities and 20+ industry verticals with an organization size ranging from 100 to 10,000+.

Study findings include:

  • Organizations view advanced/predictive analytics as building on existing business intelligence efforts.
  • Over 90% agree about the importance and value of advanced and predictive analytics.
  • Statisticians/data scientists, business intelligence experts, and business analysts are the greatest adopters of advanced and predictive analytics.
  • Regression models, clustering, textbook statistical functions, and geospatial analysis are the most important analytic user features/functions.
  • Usability features addressing sophisticated advanced/predictive analytic users are almost uniformly important today and over time, led by easy iteration, advanced analytic support, and model iteration.
  • In-memory analytics and in-database analytics are the most important scalability requirements to respondents, followed distantly by Hadoop and MPP architecture.

I find it interesting that the Dresner study finds “Hybrid roles are also evident” and confirms SAP’s customer organization usage of predictive analytics. The research study looked at core advanced and predictive features, data preparation, usability, scalability, and integration as key criteria to rank the vendors.  Though usability criteria looked at many things, I would like to highlight one key one—“Support for easy iteration”—that ranked as most important.

In the scalability criteria, “In-memory analytics” ranked as most important one followed by “In-database analytics” and “In-Hadoop analytics (on file system).”

Read the Complete Dresner Report

You can find lots more in the 92-page Dresner Wisdom of the Crowds report. I invite you to take a look.

SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA – Let’s Start at the Beginning

by Ashith Bolar, Director AmBr Labs, Amick Brown

Every week at Amick Brown, we are questioned about HANA There is a lot of confusion in the market with the multiple options. As well, there are many questions about timing and business application. You have asked, so we will start a series of HANA articles to address your questions.

grow blue suit

SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA, shortened to SAP S/4HANA,  is a big strategic play from SAP. Here is why you need to take heed.

The new SAP S/4HANA is supposed to replace the SAP Business Suite (formerly R/3) over the next few years. This announcement and the launch of the software lay a roadmap for SAP in the coming years.

What led to this launch?

SAP is a leader in ERP worldwide. However, in the recent past, a new trend is taking over in the business world. Cloud-based software services also known as Software-as-a-Service. SAP has SaaS components to it, but its main business model has been selling software the old way: software installed at the customers’ premise.

Other cloud companies  have been slowly chipping away at SAP’s market share. And this is SAP’s answer.


The R in R/3 stood for real-time. The S in the S/4 stands for Simple. This is the big idea. SAP is planning on simplifying the ERP system with this release.


While SAP R/3 Business Suite ran on any database, S/4 runs exclusively on HANA. SAP has spent considerable financial resources and effort on building up the in-memory database over the past few years. SAP HANA has tremendous performance advantages compared to the older disk-based database solutions. This large-scale change has enabled SAP to dramatically simplify both the data-model as well as the user-experience.

One significant aspect of HANA is that it is an in-memory appliance. This means data-access times (disk read/writes) are not an issue anymore, allowing developers to focus more on business logic than performance. This lends itself to the other motivation for S/4 – simplicity.

The Cloud

SAP S/4HANA is mostly a movement of SAP’s premier software from customer premise to the cloud. However, on-premise solutions will still be available. SAP offers 3 options:

  1. Public Cloud – Completely managed by SAP. Multi-tenancy shared by all public cloud customers
  2. Private Cloud – Partially managed by SAP. Exclusive database per customer.
  3. On-Premise – Software installed on client’s hardware. Client pays for user-licenses.


SAP S/4HANA will allow customization to S/4HANA on the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). This means ABAP developers will get to continue to use their skills. If you don’t know OO, it is a good time to learn it.


Let’s admit it, SAP R/3 has not been known for its stellar user-experience. UI on SAP R/3 has been clunky, rigid and unwelcoming. But the S/4HANA user-interface will be based on SAP’s Fiori UX platform. SAP Fiori, launched earlier in 2014, gives the software a new look-and-feel. The fact it does not have licensing cost should make it attractive to customers with an existing SAP installation.


Co-founder, Hasso Plattner said “If this doesn’t work, we’re dead. Flat-out dead.” This may be just Hasso Plattner being the passionate visionary that he is. But this indeed is a huge launch from SAP, one whose initial roll out is expected to be 3-5 years, and customer transitions lasting more 10 years.

The story on S/4 HANA continues here.  Watch this space and Follow Amick Brown on LinkedIn