SAP is throwing more support behind its HANA in-memory computing platform with the introduction of eight new business applications, a mix of on-premise and cloud-delivered solutions.
At its Sapphire user conference in Orlando, Fla., SAP launched HANA apps such as the Sales and Operations Planning tool that translates demand fluctuations into plans for adjusting manufacturing, procurement and logistics accordingly. Also, the Cash Forecasting app analyzes financial data in SAP and non-SAP systems, such as ERP systems. The Planning and Consolidation app analyses large data sets to mine intelligence so companies can make planning decisions more quickly.
In-memory computing systems retrieve data from storage in the computer's memory rather than via disk storage. Main memory databases are faster than retrieval from disk storage because they need fewer CPU instructions. In-memory also reduces the input-output (I/O) traffic from server to storage and back.
HANA, introduced in 2010, is an acronym for high-performance analytic appliance. In October 2011, SAP rival Oracle introduced its own in-memory analytics product, called the Exalytics appliance, which is an all-in-one system of Oracle hardware, processors and software.
Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said at the time that Exalytics does "data analysis at the speed of thought." SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner took a few shots at Ellison and Oracle during a keynote address at the Florida event, according to news reports.
Also in the new suite of HANA applications is SAP Collections Insight, available through an early-adoption program, which helps salespeople manage payment collections from customers. The Sales Pipeline Analysis app integrates with SAP's CRM solution to better track where sales transactions are in the delivery pipeline.
Bank Analyzer is a big data play for SAP, enabling banking companies to generate detailed financial reports on assets and accounting performance. The Deposits Management app does transaction history analysis for financial institutions. The speed of business intelligence (BI) analysis using in-memory technology allows banks to combine the in-memory data platform and BI software, which helps organizations analyze multiyear information to gain business insights. Lastly, the SAP Supplier InfoNet app is designed to use business analytics to manage supply chains.
Also at Sapphire, SAP announced advanced support for and integration with Hadoop environments. Apache Hadoop is an open-source software development framework for developing data-intensive distributed applications. These big data integration capabilities are planned in SAP Data Services and SAP Information Steward software, SAP said.
Earlier this week at Sapphire, SAP introduced four new cloud-delivered applications derived from its acquisition of SuccessFactors in February. The apps deliver payroll, CRM, human resources and supply chain management capabilities.