How Accurate Was SAP on ERP SD Is No Longer a Transaction Processing Module?

Executive Summary

  • SAP made the proposal that the SD benchmark is no longer applicable because the way that customers used SD has changed.
  • We review the accuracy of this claim.


SAP’s stance on SD benchmarks is curious. In this article, we will review the history and accuracy of SAP’s claim regarding benchmark applicability.

The Position of SAP on its SD Benchmarks

“Hey guys keep your calm. let’s look at the benchmark issue first.

the current sd application of the sap erp suites reads tables without projection (didn’t matter in the past), maintains multiple indices (some via db, some as redundant tables), maintains materialized aggregates to achieve a decent response time for oltp reporting and still has some joining of tables trough loops in abap. all this is bad for a columnar in memory db. the current select ‘single’ is 1,4 times slower for a normal projection

(equal for a projection with one attribute, significantly slower for a projection of all attributes of a table with hundreds of attributes. the oltp applications have a large amount of supposedly high speed queries and transactional reporting. some of this had to be moved in the past to the bw for performance reasons. also planning activities should be part of the transactional scope, just think about the daily delivery planning.” – Hasso Plattner

Hasso’s English is a bit rough and while he is endorsing a particular statement here, the quotation from John Appleby is more understandable. (Appleby did not work for SAP, at the time this article was published, but he faithfully represented SAP’s position as Appleby lead a HANA consulting group at Bluefin and was a shill for SAP.)

“I’ve not run the benchmark but I believe it’s because:

1) SD doesn’t run well on HANA

2) SD doesn’t accurately represent how customers actually use systems in 2014

3) HANA does run well for how customers really use systems in 2014

SAP are in the process of creating a new benchmark which I understand will include mixed-workload OLTAP queries.

The BW-EML benchmark was designed to take into account the changing direction of data warehouses – a move towards more real-time data, and ad-hoc reporting capabilities.”– John Appleby

This quote is analyzed in more detail in the article How Accurate Was John Appleby on SAP BW-EML Benchmark?

The Very Serious Logical Problems with SAP’s Logic

Even though the vast majority of ERP instances are not on HANA (SAP claims 2000 live customers on S/4HANA, which even if true, would still be a tiny percentage of the total ECC live customers), the SD benchmarks are no longer representative of how companies use SD. This statement was made as far back as Nov 2013 by Hasso Plattner as we covered in the article John Appleby, Beaten by Chris Eaton in Debate and Required Saving by Hasso Plattner.

However, when we check the SD benchmarks, there is not a single HANA benchmark for SD, and we are now up to 2019.

Also, according to SAP, the appropriate benchmark for SD is the BW-EML/BWAML, which is an analytics benchmark. So somewhere around when HANA was introduced SD switched from being primarily a transaction processing module to being an analytics module? That is curious how a module can change its basic processing type retroactively. It’s almost like this entire proposal was made up out of thin air.

This is true even if SD on ECC has no analytics other than opening tables in SE16(n)?

Talk about a story that does not hold together.


SAP’s contention around the inapplicability of the SD benchmarks is false. It was done very obviously to create an excuse to keep HANA from competing with other databases and to hide the fact that HANA does not perform well for transaction processing as we covered in the article HANA as a Mismatch for S/4HANA and ERP.

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.

S/4HANA Implementation Research

We offer the most accurate and detailed research into S/4HANA and its implementation history. It is information not available anywhere else and is critical correctly interpreting S/4HANA, as well as moderating against massive amounts of inaccurate information pushed by SAP and their financially biased consulting ecosystem.

Select the description that best matches you.

Option #1: Do You Work in Sales for a Vendor?

See this link for an explanation to sales teams.

Option #2: Do You Work for an Investment Entity that Covers SAP?

See this link for an explanation for investment entities. 

Option #3: Are You a Buyer Evaluating S/4HANA?

For companies evaluating S/4HANA for purchase. See this link for an explanation to software buyers

Search Our Other HANA Content


TCO Book



Enterprise Software TCO: Calculating and Using Total Cost of Ownership for Decision Making

Getting to the Detail of TCO

One aspect of making a software purchasing decision is to compare the Total Cost of Ownership, or TCO, of the applications under consideration: what will the software cost you over its lifespan? But most companies don’t understand what dollar amounts to include in the TCO analysis or where to source these figures, or, if using TCO studies produced by consulting and IT analyst firms, how the TCO amounts were calculated and how to compare TCO across applications.

The Mechanics of TCO

Not only will this book help you appreciate the mechanics of TCO, but you will also gain insight as to the importance of TCO and understand how to strip away the biases and outside influences to make a real TCO comparison between applications.
By reading this book you will:
  • Understand why you need to look at TCO and not just ROI when making your purchasing decision.
  • Discover how an application, which at first glance may seem inexpensive when compared to its competition, could end up being more costly in the long run.
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the cost, categories to include in an accurate and complete TCO analysis.
  • Learn why ERP systems are not a significant investment, based on their TCO.
  • Find out how to recognize and avoid superficial, incomplete or incorrect TCO analyses that could negatively impact your software purchase decision.
  • Appreciate the importance and cost-effectiveness of a TCO audit.
  • Learn how SCM Focus can provide you with unbiased and well-researched TCO analyses to assist you in your software selection.
  • Chapter 1:  Introduction
  • Chapter 2:  The Basics of TCO
  • Chapter 3:  The State of Enterprise TCO
  • Chapter 4:  ERP: The Multi-Billion Dollar TCO Analysis Failure
  • Chapter 5:  The TCO Method Used by Software Decisions
  • Chapter 6:  Using TCO for Better Decision Making