SAP has announced that customers can now use its HANA database platform to support applications such as ERP, CRM and SCM from the Business Suite range.
HANA, an in-memory database that SAP claims can perform analytical operations faster that conventional systems, was launched in 2011, but until now has only been available for use with the company’s analytics products, its data warehouse offering and some niche applications.
Speaking to Information Age today, SAP UK and Ireland’s chief innovation officer Adrian Simpson explained that the company has rewritten the Business Suite applcations so that some data processing that previously would have taken place on the application server is conducted by HANA at the database layer.
This means that data-intensive processes and transactions can be performed much faster, Simpson claimed. For example, a company could compile an end of year financial report from multiple data sources in "vastly reduced time".
"With HANA, we can process the integration of data quicker, and we can then process that data quicker," he said.
In future, HANA will allow more sophisticated analytical functionality to be built into SAP’s applications, Simpson said. In fact, using HANA to support business applications may preclude the need for a separate data warehouse for reporting and analytics, he added.
For customers that chose to use HANA to support their business applications, SAP will include the database pricing as a proportion of their per-user license cost, Simpson said. He claimed that pricing would "compare favourably" to existing database platforms such as IBM’s DB2 and Oracle’s database software.
HANA is a product of considerable strategic importance for SAP, as it represents a chance to expand into the database layer of the software stack – a possible source of future revenue growth.