SAP HANA: Powering Next-Generation Real-Time Analytics

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-04-25 Print this article Print

Another example is in smart meter analytics powered by HANA, which lets consumers watch their energy consumption on a real-time basis. It used to be that they looked at a monthly bill. Now users can look at consumption in real time and switch off things from their iPhone if they want to. I have talked about this before, but we are working to take this to a much larger scale. We must think globally about things like energy consumption, and we are doing this with HANA.

Internally, I am challenging our developers to build the next generation of applications. This includes solving what we might call traditional business challenges—and solving them in new ways—but it also includes solving longstanding challenges we face across the world.

Where do you see HANA headed in the future?

I envisioned the HANA road map in three phases. First, it was all about real-time analytics. This is about an evolutionary product that can do in-memory calculations and really blazingly fast analytics. The use cases were in data warehousing and how fast you can get the data sources coming in and how fast you can get the associated analytics. Together with BI tools on the top, that was the first wave.

Next, we moved past analytics-only to combine analytics and transactions, and become the platform for doing business. If the first phase was real-time analytics, the second phase was real-time business. Everything you see around you today—the phones and computers we use, the clothes we are wearing, the car we drive—they are all built using a material requirement planning (MRP) process. This is how you source raw products, operate your factory, ship products, at what price and how people buy these things. That's the entire MRP process. With the power of HANA coming in, MRP optimization which used to take hours and days can be done on the fly.

Imagine being able to do this to scale. SAP runs 70 percent of the world's GDP. Every single product is made this way at the end of the day. Planning, manufacturing and shipping are currently run as batch processing. Imagine it all runs on HANA, and if you could do this planning instantaneously and not across hours and days. If you could run it all on HANA, you can turn the planning process into real time. This gives the world a much more productive, agile, connected-to-consumer-demand system rather than bottlenecks everywhere. It will drive eons of productivity for companies and get them closer to their consumers like never before. We are in this phase right now.

Then we have this coming phase about real-time business networks, where HANA becomes a real-time system that powers cloud-based applications and solutions. We merge the power of cloud simplicity with the real-time nature of HANA. The cloud is always connected, always on, and the users' expectations are real time. So, now you can have real-time business networks enabling things like on-the-fly pricing and inventory. There is unlimited potential in what we can do with real-time business networks in the cloud, with HANA as a platform foundation.

If you look at the database market, it's kind of ambled on for 30 years without much of a shift in approach. Big shifts come when you combine changes across multiple parts of a business or methodology. Multidisciplinary change creates a quantum leap. The excitement is not only in what we are innovating ourselves; it is also in the power this unleashes for an entire ecosystem of innovators.



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