In today’s digital economy, integrating processes and data can be critical to keeping ahead of the competition.
“Data and the analysis of data is the new Holy Grail,” said Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada (ITWC) and host of the webinar, Is your deployment giving you the full benefits of SAP HANA? Are you ready for S/4HANA?
Sponsored by Blair Technology Solutions, the webinar examined the challenges related to acquiring and analyzing data and the advantages of IBM Power for SAP 4HANA. Guests for the interactive session were John Blair, president and CEO of Blair Technology Solutions, and Dan Chase, solutions consultant at IBM Canada.
S/4HANA refers to the enterprise suite offering built on the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform. According to John Blair, the key to addressing today’s data challenges, and to boosting the bottom line by improving the user experience, is running in real time and running simple.
Running in Real Time
“We live in a real time world,” said Dan Chase, a subject matter expert who has been involved in dozens of SAP and SAP HANA installations, with activities ranging from building and documenting reference architectures to coordinating and managing multi-disciplined teams. “In order to make quick decisions we need quick, real time access to our information. We drive efficiencies by planning, predicting, and simulating on the fly.”
In enumerating the benefits of SAP 4HANA on IBM’s Power, both Chase and Blair concur that it answers a call from IT executives across the country for a solution that allows them to use their data to competitive advantage.
“CIOs tell me that they are not exploiting the data they have,” said Chase. “One of the main reasons is processing speed.”
It’s no longer acceptable to take days and weeks to crunch data, so many IT leaders are looking to SAP 4HANA on Power to help them present data quickly enough to make timely decisions.
“Prior to the release of HANA technology in 2011, data was lagging behind the way businesses wanted to run,” says Chase. “We used to keep data in multiple places and then would have to collect and present it. SAP discovered that traditional databases were cut up into too many different pieces.”
HANA took database, data processing, and applications to a single, in-memory platform. The next step was reorganizing the way data is set up and changing the way it looks. The result was a more efficient system without the need for extensive replication. Rather than have 10 copies of the same data, businesses could rely on one.
With SAP 4HANA on IBM’s Power, the complexity of data is further reduced in a more user-friendly interface. “When HANA was first introduced, it had an appliance approach,” says Chase. Customers purchased software from SAP and infrastructure from providers like IBM and HP. It was prepackaged and ready to go, but some found it didn’t match what they knew and resulted in having to train staff for a new skill set.
SAP 4HANA makes it far easier to deliver new applications and new insights, and customers appreciate the ease of a flexible, scalable and customizable infrastructure that allows them to use existing servers, storage, skills, and operating standards.
“We have four times as many threads in a core and four times the speed in the Power platform,” says Chase. “This reduces the complexity of both the data and the data management. Plus, there’s no need for spare disks. Backup is built into the Power platform. If there’s a failure somewhere, you sail over to a different ship and the system continues to run.”
For John Blair, it all adds up to a better way to help customers leverage an existing investment in IT, contain costs and stay competitive.
The thing to remember, says Chase, is that the transition to SAP 4HANA isn’t made in a day. “You may have multiple versions initially,” he says. “It’s a journey to get to a single database.”