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May 27, 2014

SAP customers struggling with big data ‘won’t use HANA’

UK & Ireland users want more customer stories, urges user group.

By Joe Curtis

More than eight in 10 British SAP customers won’t use the ERP giant’s HANA platform, despite many admitting they are struggling to process or use big data effectively, according to a survey.

More than half of 218 respondents to research conducted by UK & Ireland SAP User Group said their organisation lacked the business or analytics skills to make the most of big data, though 87% said their companies recognised the need to get more insight from their various data sources.

However, while 85% of users planned to use Business Objects to help them, just 15% said they planned to use the data-processing platform HANA.

User group chief executive Craig Dale told CBR that businesses needed more customer stories around implementing HANA, but added that more third-party apps on the platform would help.

"I’m not really surprised by that number," he said. "HANA is a relatively new technology and also there’s a cultural thing in the UK where we all like to see somebody else succeeding or even failing before we take the step. The crucial element is getting the early adopters in and getting those stories out.

"[Third-party apps] would certainly help with more and more new useability for organisations. There’s a lot of apps in development and more use cases makes a product even more saleable."

The research revealed that the biggest challenge facing organisations was gaining business intelligence from data spread across multiple platforms, followed by being unable to process and analyse data fast enough.

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Half of respondents believed that SAP hasn’t been clear in communicating its business and data analytics product roadmap to users, and 39% didn’t know whether the in-memory computing capabilities of HANA would help their future data analytics strategy.

A further 42% claimed ignorance when it came to whether SAP’s HANA Cloud Platform would make it more attractive for firms to utilise HANA technology across many different aspects of their business.

However, Dale added that it was crucial for businesses to understand and make use of big data.

"If you don’t do that then you could be missing out on a number of areas. Also your competitors that do do that are you allowing them to gain a competitive advantage on you?" he told CBR, adding that SAP must make its product roadmap as clear as possible for customers."

Chief Innovations Officer Adrian Simpson said last year that cloud subscriptions brought in €1.2bn revenue over 2013, and that the firm hopes to double that by 2015.

But in the German company’s annual results, announced in January, it revealed that just 800 customers were using its HANA-powered Business Suite since its launch in May 2013.

Christian Rodatus, senior VP for Analytics at SAP, said in a statement: "The UKI User Group’s findings that increasing numbers of customers are turning to analytics solutions from SAP to address this need is extremely positive and is indicative of our leadership in this market, as Gartner recently highlighted.

"SAP also recognises that we need to continually provide customers insight into our innovation strategy, vision and provide training. Additionally, the SAP HANA Academy, OpenSAP.com MOOC trainings are just some of the many tools for developers, partners and customers to get started and learn SAP HANA."

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