- SAP and SAP consulting firms have made a large number of false claims around HANA.
- When confronted with these claims, HANA proponents continually change the topic and deflect to other claims about HANA that are also false.
Introduction to Deflection of HANA Claims
There is a popular trend afoot in the HANA community that comes from either HANA defenders in SAP or HANA defenders in the SAP partner community. I call this pretending you weren’t wrong about HANA. SAP and its partner community have generated so much false information about HANA over the past five years. Once called out on it, they need to respond not to be seen as either unknowledgeable or dishonest. There are important principles at work here. Let us take a minute to review them.
- There is HANA software to be sold!
- There are HANA services to be sold!
- It is imperative to be able to continue to mislead customers in an unmolested fashion!
In this article, I will describe the essential tactics that they employ.
First Some Background on the HANA DB
HANA DB was at some point around 2011 approved as the primary marketing tentpole for SAP. Since 2011 Dr. Hasso Plattner has written four books on HANA DB related topics. SAP marketing and sales have released a torrent of information about HANA. My research shows that this information has in just about every case been either inaccurate or exaggerated. Dr. Hasso Plattner seems to be a true believer in HANA. Somewhere along the way, he seems to have become obsessed with HANA DB technology. People at SAP did not stand up to him and tell him he is overemphasizing on one topic (to the detriment of other important issues). I have brought up on many occasions that processing speed is not even among the top ten items that plague SAP projects. And if you work on SAP projects, it is hard to propose the opposite.
Fear of Confronting Hasso
Instead of having anyone push back on Hasso, SAP went all in on HANA. The problem is that Hasso is not a reliable source of information on computer topics. I have concluded that Hasso Plattner makes up things about as much as Donald Trump. The major difference is that Hasso Plattner is considerably smarter. And he covers topics that are far more sophisticated than the subjects covered by Donald Trump. Thus his deceptions are much harder to ascertain. But if you study Hasso Plattner’s writing and speeches long enough, a pattern of intentional deception becomes impossible to ignore. The comments he made about a Chinese company that had an MRP run time of 24 hours, which SAP reduced with S4 running on HANA, many months before S4’s production planning module had even been developed, is symptomatic of provably false statements made by him. (I have a future example of a very long MRP runtime, but alas the conclusion is not purchasing HANA DB.)
Hasso is much like most of the partners at large consulting companies that I have met. They simply do not care what happens. What they care about is what they can pull over on other people. This is not idle criticism but is based upon quite a few conversations with partners at major consulting companies. What they care about the perception rather than the reality. And they have told me that this is the right way to think.
Follow that Money that Supports False Claims Around the HANA DB
As is usually the case, the vast majority of money resides on the side of those that make exaggerated claims. The money is squarely on the side of exaggerating expectations, not on telling people the truth. The truth us much less exciting and does not appeal to the desires of the audience. The audience wants to hear that the thing they purchase will have incredible performance. That everyone who uses it loves it, that it is leading-edge, has a low TCO, which will result in being able to cut overhead, etc..
Things have not changed much since the traveling medicine show salesman. Wall Street wants to hear that SAP is all about both driving innovations through HANA as well as delivering more and more applications through the cloud. Therefore, regardless of what is true, the data will be gerrymandered to give this impression. Quotas must be met, and stock options must be exercised. SAP can choose from an unlimited number of type people who will tell any lie SAP wants in any language it wants in return for money.
For this reason, people in conferences and private visits compete with each other to misrepresent reality.
And the competition is fierce.
SAP Conferences as BS Mills
Conferences like SAPPHIRE and ASUG are filled with false information. Lies were emanating not only from SAP and their partners but employees within customers. They compete in giving misimpressions on how much progress they have made with SAP’s newest applications. In interviewing companies that interact with SAP and SAP partners and I observe the information that is provided to these enterprises. I find one misleading statement after another. I should not be surprised. The lying in the documentation is simply repeated in the actual sales process.
There is all manner of problems with this overemphasis on HANA DB. But one easy item to point out is that the overall performance of the system does not match the database speed of the system. That is just because you can make the database run faster by say 100 points of measurement does not mean that this 100 point translates to 100 points in application performance. And whatever the improvement in application performance does not translate to business value.
False Performance Enhancements Applied Generally
Think about a Lamborghini Veneno. This $400,000 car has a 750 horsepower engine.
A Honda sedan may have a 100 horsepower engine. Does the Veneno get you around town 7.5 times faster? Of course not. The reason you can’t convince people to sell their house to buy a Veneno is that everyone drives and so they can’t be tricked into thinking their commute will drop to 2 minutes if they buy a Veneno. But not everyone has years of database experience. Thus it is easier to trick them into thinking that HANA might have such incredible benefits. But if they didn’t, and I was unethical, I could simply do the math that 750 hp is 7.5 times more than 100. I would then contend that people that have a 15-minute commute could have a 2-minute commute. That is 13 minutes saved each way, which is 26 minutes a day in extra time saved!
Imagine what you could do with that time back.
Hasso Plattner’s Falsehoods on In Memory and the HANA DB
In Dr. Hasso Plattner’s writings, he seems to propose a direct proportional benefit from database speed to a host of other benefits. This has lead SAP to exaggerate the benefits of HANA and the primary reason for this is to penetrate the database layer. That is, SAP is willing to mislead as many people as necessary to meet the sales quotas on HANA. People that buy HANA often don’t see the second act coming.
Here is the second act. SAP has some other databases and applications that it wants to sell as a follow-on to HANA. And of course, none of these things will work well with “other databases.” HANA is the wedge to all sorts of related items it wants to sell you.