Is the SAP HANA Cloud Platform Designed for Cloud Washing?

Executive Summary

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

Introduction

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

What is Cloud Washing?

The industry term for presenting one’s revenues as more cloud-based than they are is called “cloud washing.”

Vinnie Mirchandani, the author of SAP Nation, has explained that SAP presents itself as a cloud-based software vendor to Wall Street. But then eagerly sells on-premise software.

At this point, if a software vendor can, they want to present themselves and their applications as more cloud-based than they are. One of the ways that SAP, that has historically been an on-premises vendor is the following:

  1. Acquiring cloud software vendors
  2. Saying that applications that are primarily purchased as on-premises are available in the cloud.
  3. Adding cloud terms to the names of products.

What is the SAP HANA Cloud Platform?

Some people incorrectly state that HANA is both a database/development environment and application. This is not correct. One of the reasons for this confusion is because HANA was added to the name of SAP’s connective development environment. This was for marketing reasons. But it has caused people to become confused as to what part does what.

This is not correct. One of the reasons for this confusion is because HANA was added to the name of SAP’s connective development environment. This was for marketing reasons. But it has caused people to become confused as to what part does what.

One of the reasons for this confusion is because HANA was added to the name of SAP’s connective development environment. This was for marketing reasons. But it has caused people to become confused as to what part does what.

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

The SAP HANA Cloud Platform is a development environment and not a platform. A development environment allows you to code to create custom programs. 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.

Screenshot 2016-08-14 at 8.46.32 AM

This is a view of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. As you can see, the items that the SAP HANA Cloud Platform can be connected to are on the right. This includes databases.

Screenshot 2016-08-14 at 8.46.16 AM

This view shows the applications that the SAP HANA Cloud Platform can connect to. This is what development environments do.

Cloud9

This is Cloud9. It is another development environment that is in the cloud.

Just because a development environment is in the cloud, does not mean that everything the development environment connects to is based in the cloud. This is clearly misperception that SAP is trying to give its audience. Here are some examples of why this is misleading:

  • Almost all HANA instances are on-premises.
  • Almost all BW instances, the most common usage of HANA is on-premises.
  • S/4 is right now not a finished product (covered in detail in this article Why the S/4 Suite is Not Yet Released). However, most S/4 implementations are also on-premises.

What SAP would like people to think, customers and Wall Street alike, is that because customers use a cloud-based development environment to connect to on-premises installations (which HCP of course allows), that the overall installation is the cloud? If SAP is successful in doing this, it could potentially cloud wash many installations that have almost nothing to do with the cloud.

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

SAP consistently uses the idea that companies can use the HANA Cloud Platform to do all manner of amazing things. The HCP required little work on the part of SAP. They created a development environment that can connect to other items. Talk about lazy.

And from this tiny amount of effort McDermott and will use it as a discussion point to talk about how cloud SAP is becoming. And the difference between how much HCP is discussed versus how much it is used is enormous.

  1. We still have no idea of the HCP will even become popular, but this will not stop SAP marketing from using it.
  2. Developers may continue to develop in whatever environment they presently use.
  3. Should SAP dictate the development environment that developers use? Especially when it adds nothing over what developers already use?

SAP uses the term cloud incorrectly in everything from its videos to its press releases. Much of this audience does not know what an actual cloud implementation is. So it’s easy for SAP to misleading them, and this is SAP’s primary goal.

SAP has this video about the HANA Cloud Platform.

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

SAP consistently uses the idea that companies can use the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to do all manner of amazing things. The HCP required little work on the part of SAP. They created a development environment that can connect to other items. Talk about lazy. And from this tiny amount of effort McDermott and will use it as a discussion point to talk about how cloud SAP is becoming. And the difference between how much the SAP HANA Cloud Platform is discussed versus how much it is used is enormous. We still have no idea of SAP HANA Cloud Platform will even become popular. SAP may offer it for free. Developers may continue to develop in whatever environment they presently use.

Should SAP be dictating the development environment that developers use? Especially when it adds nothing over what developers already use?

SAP uses the term cloud incorrectly in everything from its videos to its press releases. Much of this audience does not know what an actual cloud implementation is. So it’s easy for SAP to misleading them, and this is SAP’s primary goal.

SAP has this video about the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

This video is completely misleading. SAP makes it sound as if the SAP HANA Cloud Platform can allow companies to magically connect to either SAP applications or nonSAP applications with the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. I have news for people. SAP is not giving companies anything they don’t already have.

Second, all of this is work. It is custom programming. SAP is simplifying things to a stupefying degree in these videos which will lead such projects to be considerably underestimated. They are showing electrical plugs going to applications and databases.

The script that goes with this image in SAP’s video is as follows:

“The SAP HANA Cloud Platform, the in-memory Platform-as-a-Service offering from SAP, enables customers and developers to build, extend, and run applications on SAP HANA in the cloud.”

This makes the SAP HANA Cloud Platform sound like a magic box. However, all SAP is offering is a development environment accessed from the cloud. This completely overstates what SAP customers that use SAP HANA Cloud Platform’s capabilities. We have gone through this so many times.

We have gone through this so many times.

  • There is no magic box for applications integration.
  • Applications integration has not been powered up by remote function calls, or by XML or by SOA (remember software oriented architecture) or any of these trendy things.

Where Did the Previous Savior of Integration, XML Go?

I can recall explaining to executives back in the late 1990s that what the salespeople told them, that XML would “take care of the integration” was untrue. XML is a document format, and after everyone got all bubbly about XML, you now barely hear about it. However, the salespeople I worked with told companies that XML would perform the complete application integration. I had to break the bad news to them that XML is only a document format.

Here once again talking about application integration as if it is something easy that is powered by some new trendy item. Every year since 2009, the number of APIs that support XML have declined.

Application integration operates through removing data from databases to where a flat file is created. This flat file is then imported back into the recipient database. Electrical plugs and magic don’t apply.

In this video, the presenter is making misleading statements throughout the video, and it is clearly directed towards people that know little about computers or software. Silly words like “Business Process APIs” and “Digital Applications” are used. It also repeats the incorrect assertion that Fiori is simply ready to use — when in fact, there is almost no one using Fiori presently, and it just a series of apps that every client must pick and choose.

This video is a continuation of SAP’s marketing material that presents a fantasy land to customers, prospective customers and Wall Street. I have been working on SAP projects since 1997, and this video has nothing do to with how things work on projects. One might as well watch Saturday morning cartoons.

The entire point of these videos is to make everything seem easier to accomplish than it is.

Who Provides the Hosting Again?

SAP states the following for everything connected to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

All hosting services are provided by SAP

So because SAP is hosting the free SAP HANA Cloud Platform, that means that every resource, every database, every SAP application that the SAP HANA Cloud Platform interacts with will be hosted by SAP? I don’t think so. The hosting that is performed for SAP products is mostly carried out by third-party partners or AWS. Most customers will not choose to host with SAP because SAP’s hosting is not competitive. SAP also has a very little hosting capacity. If SAP truly intends to restrict the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to only SAP hosted applications and databases than the adoption of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform will be far lower than it ordinarily would have been. It also brings up the question of why the HCP is not open? That is why can’t the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, like all other development environments that I am familiar with, access any application or database wherever it is hosted.

Conclusion

  • SAP’s naming of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and their discussion around SAP HANA Cloud Platform is deceptive.
  • Almost no one uses the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, so SAP can say whatever they want to about it.
  • The SAP 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 SAP 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 SAP HANA Cloud Platform being saddled up by SAP marketing to be ridden for a long time.

In the next article, I will cover why the term HANA was used in the name of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

The Problem: A Lack of Fact-Checking of SAP

There are two fundamental problems around SAP. The first is the exaggeration of SAP, which means that companies that purchased SAP end up getting far less than they were promised. The second is that the SAP consulting companies simply repeat whatever SAP says. This means that on virtually all accounts there is no independent entity that can contradict statements by SAP.

The Necessity of Fact Checking

We ask a question that anyone working in enterprise software should ask.

Should decisions be made based on sales information from 100% financially biased parties like consulting firms, IT analysts, and vendors to companies that do not specialize in fact-checking?

If the answer is “No,” then perhaps there should be a change to the present approach to IT decision making.

In a market where inaccurate information is commonplace, our conclusion from our research is that software project problems and failures correlate to a lack of fact checking of the claims made by vendors and consulting firms. If you are worried that you don’t have the real story from your current sources, we offer the solution.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

Neither this article nor any other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle, SAP or their competitors. As part of our commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research; no paid media placements, commissions or incentives of any nature are allowed.

Search Our Other SAP Cloud Content

References

*https://www.amazon.com/SAP-Nation-runaway-software-economy-ebook/dp/B00Q5MW21C

https://www.sapstore.com/medias/SAP-HANA-Cloud-Platform-FAQ-Technical.pdf

I cover how to interpret risk for IT projects in the following book.

The Risk Estimation Book

 

Software RiskRethinking Enterprise Software Risk: Controlling the Main Risk Factors on IT Projects

Better Managing Software Risk

The software implementation is risky business and success is not a certainty. But you can reduce risk with the strategies in this book. Undertaking software selection and implementation without approximating the project’s risk is a poor way to make decisions about either projects or software. But that’s the way many companies do business, even though 50 percent of IT implementations are deemed failures.

Finding What Works and What Doesn’t

In this book, you will review the strategies commonly used by most companies for mitigating software project risk–and learn why these plans don’t work–and then acquire practical and realistic strategies that will help you to maximize success on your software implementation.

Chapters

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 3: The Basics of Enterprise Software Risk Management
Chapter 4: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
Chapter 5: Software Sell-ability versus Implementability
Chapter 6: Selecting the Right IT Consultant
Chapter 7: How to Use the Reports of Analysts Like Gartner
Chapter 8: How to Interpret Vendor-Provided Information to Reduce Project Risk
Chapter 9: Evaluating Implementation Preparedness
Chapter 10: Using TCO for Decision Making
Chapter 11: The Software Decisions’ Risk Component Model

Risk Estimation and Calculation

Risk Estimation and Calculation

See our free project risk estimators that are available per application. The provide a method of risk analysis that is not available from other sources.

project_software_risk