Is the HANA Cloud Platform Designed for HANA Washing?

Last Updated on March 3, 2021 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • SAP introduced the HANA Cloud Platform and immediately began using it for HANA washing.
  • This makes it appear that everything related to the HCP is also related to HANA.


In this article, I wanted to cover a major strategy that seems to come from SAP marketing. This leads the HANA Cloud Platform to have the word “HANA” in the name and how SAP has been using this development environment to HANA washing its other applications.

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Lack of Financial Bias Notice: We have no financial ties to SAP or any other entity mentioned in this article.

  • This is published by a research entity.
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department. 

What is HANA Washing?

The industry term presents one’s revenues as more cloud-based than they are called “cloud washing.” This is something that SAP does quite frequently. In a previous article, I explained how the HCP is explicitly designed for cloud washing. However, HCP is also intended for HANA washing. HANA washing is not a commonly used term, but it seems like a natural extension of cloud washing. So I am introducing it in this article and hope it catches on. This is because SAP is continuously trying to make its installations seem more “HANA” than they are. HCP is a big part of this HANA washing. Its naming seems specifically designed for both cloud washing and HANA washing.

What is HANA Cloud Platform?

Some people incorrectly state that HANA is both a database/development environment and application. This is not correct, and one of the reasons for this confusion is because HANA was, for marketing purposes, added to the name of SAP’s connective development environment.

  • HANA is a database
  • HCP is a development environment
  • Neither is an application
  • Neither is it a platform

The HANA Cloud Platform is a development environment, but one tied to SAP’s hosting and the use of SAP HANA Infrastructure Services (HIS). HIS is something else, so let us tackle one topic at a time. This article is about the HCP, not the HIS. If we follow SAP’s logic, we will only smush everything together and say everything is a database or a platform or a PaaS or an IaaS, depending upon SAP marketing and sales’ flexible needs. This article is about the HCP, not the HIS.

Now a development environment allows you to code to create custom programs. The development environment needs to connect to things like databases. There are many development environments out there, and this is not something that SAP has historically offered.

And this tethering of the HCP to the HIS is a problem because it restricts what you can do with the development environment. The problem with using a development environment from SAP is that SAP wants to use the HCP to redirect the customer to make more SAP purchases and cut down the developer and the customer’s options overall. SAP seeks to tether the application to the database and then the development environment to the application provider. This constant tethering is designed to cut down the freedom of their customers and is textbook account control.

A development environment allows you to code to create custom programs. The development environment needs to connect to things like databases. There are many development environments out there, and this is not something that SAP has historically offered.

How Does SAP Use HANA Cloud Platform to Perform HANA Washing?

  1. There is absolutely no reason to put the term “HANA” in the HCP.
  2. HCP has absolutely nothing to do with HANA. HANA is a database, and HCP is a development environment that can connect to HANA, or 12c or any database for that manner.

SAP to call place HANA in the product name is simple to confuse people as to whether or not HANA is deployed. This is an example of merely a trick of HANA washing by SAP. Now for some time into the future, HCP will be used as the term to confuse customers and Wall Street as to how much HANA is being used. SAP routinely states that “with the HANA Cloud Platform, companies can” fill in the blank. SAP knows that people will read the words HANA in HCP and mistakenly think that the HCP has something to do with HANA. But their documentation and statements about the HCP go on to further confuse the issue. Here is a perfect example:

“With flexible subscription models and optional services for apps, database, and infrastructure, it provides instant access to the full power of SAP HANA.”

No, that is not true. One can access any of these things in any development environment. That is, you can use the HCP or use another development environment and access all the same things. The “full power of SAP HANA” (which is no better and seems to perform worse than Oracle 12c) is available from any development environment that one decides to connect to SAP HANA.

Purposeful Confusion

This confusion will persist for quite some time. I am still speaking with confusing S/4HANA with SAP HANA, which is easy to do because of SAP’s confusing naming.

Secondly, the HANA Cloud Platform is free, so there is no traceability possible regarding how much SAP HANA is being used. When SAP HANA started performing very poorly in sales, SAP stopped breaking out SAP HANA as a revenue item under McDermott’s logic that “everything SAP does now connect to HANA.”


  • SAP’s naming of the HANA Cloud Platform and its discussion around HCP is deliberate and deceptive.
  • HANA Cloud Platform is an example of both cloud washing and HANA washing — all in one product.
  • Almost no one uses the HANA Cloud Platform, so SAP can say whatever they want to about it. They propose 20,000 “developers” using it, but I know several people who created an account and logged in and aren’t developing anything in it. Most of SAP’s numerical claims, like the fact it has 3700 S/4 “customers,” are always inflated.
  • The HANA Cloud Platform will be used in SAP’s marketing offensives to mislead companies. Both regarding how much SAP installations are cloud based and how much HANA is deployed.
  • If the HANA Cloud Platform never rises above even a tiny fraction of users, this will not stop SAP from telling customers and Wall Street that it is revolutionizing projects. And even better, its growth cannot be tracked because it is free and will not have any revenues to report. I see the HANA Cloud PlatformHCP being saddled up by SAP marketing to be ridden for a long time.

The HCP Relaunch

It has been proposed that the SAP HANA Cloud Platform has been relaunched as the SAP Cloud Platform. Should customers be excited by this development? In this article, we will analyze this question.

False Information on the SAP Cloud Platform Website

The problem is that the SAP Cloud Platform has some false things published on its website.

For example:

Leonardo for the SAP Cloud Platform?

Leonardo is not anything, so it is not true that the SAP Cloud Platform will benefit from Leonardo. But the website states that Leonardo is a major benefit of moving to the cloud.

1300 Cloud Apps for the SAP Cloud Platform?

The 1300 cloud apps that are listed have very light usage.

I already analyzed this previously. Some vendors have complained to me about creating an app for SAP and how little they get back from creating an app for SAP. On SAP projects, no one is talking about “heading out to the SAP App Center,” and after checking the web traffic, the SAP App Center gets roughly 22,000 page views per month, which is low. That means that the SAP app center gets less than 1/2 of the Brightwork website’s page views.

Are These Really Apps?

Plus, once one needs to use more than the intro functionality, you go back through the usual process to acquire the application. Therefore, they aren’t “apps.” They are tiny portions of vendors’ functionality that can’t be used by itself outside of demos. SAP has repeatedly perverted the term “app.” Further evidence is found in SAP calling every workflow in Fiori an “app.” (not an app, a workflow)

The SAP Cloud Platform website’s main page has an alphabet soup of trendy items (IoT, Machine Learning, cloud integration services), all things that SAP has nothing to do with. So lies, basically. Looking at this, I have been considering adding items I have nothing to do with to my website — breakdancing, quantum physics, high altitude balloon racing. I never thought about lying on the Brightwork website, but SAP has opened my mind to the possibilities.

The Previous SAP HANA Cloud Platform

Reviewing the new incarnation now, it does not look much different, except the name has been changed, and a few things like “apps” have been integrated. Secondly, a consistent problem I have with using HCP or SAP Cloud is that SAP intends to dictate the IDE for development and its languages. You don’t want this. Again, AWS offers open development languages. SAP’s development advice leads to high expense and low development productivity. This is another reason to steer clear from SAP’s Cloud as they are trying to take their flawed development to the cloud.

SAP has no idea how to develop for the cloud, neither Fiori, oData, etc.. has seen uptake or are respected technically. SAP does not have a single successful cloud product that was not acquired and therefore already cloud.