Why Does S/4HANA Need B/4HANA for Analytics?

Executive Summary

  • For years SAP proposed that applications on HANA would remove the need for a data warehouse.
  • Now the message is changing, and B/4HANA is back in the mix.

Introduction

The original presentation of S/4HANA was that because of HANA, and the reporting schemas would no longer be necessary. The elimination of the data warehouse would be possible because S/4HANA would report directly off of the column-oriented tables, which were optimized for reporting.

Part of the point of S/4HANA was to minimize the use of the need for the data warehouse. The idea went, that if all SAP applications used HANA, and a company used all SAP applications than they would no longer need a data warehouse. SAP described this as using embedded analytics, which we covered in the article What is the Value and Future of SAP Embedded Analytics?. This vision, of course, left out entirely the reports that go across applications, which of course still required a central repository, which shall we call a “data warehouse.” We quote from the following to illustrate how on SAP consulting company explains this obvious fact.

“To achieve this, you need a system that can collect, merge and harmonize data from various sources. A single S/4 system cannot achieve this. SAP does not recommend using embedded analytics to consolidate data from multiple systems, and it is meant for operational reporting only. Even though the S/4 system comes with an embedded BW system, it is not designed to be used as your enterprise data warehouse.”

And illustrated in this slide.

And this quote from SAP.

“Most of us would have for sure thought for once that Embedded BW on S4HANA would replace BW as whole and would not need BW in future. Which is kind of myth looking at the basic nature and capabilities of the EDW(Enterprise Data Warehouse). Its correct the Embedded BW can be used to support certain business processes on SAP Business Suite and S4HANA like BPC optimized. However, there are many other reasons why we can’t use Embedded BW for all the EDW needs. Based on many documents and notes following are the major reasons for which it becomes obvious to use SAP BW4HANA”

Again, who created this “myth?” Lets not be coy about this. SAP proposed this myth.

Over a span of several years, I don’t recall telling people that HANA would lead to the elimination of the data warehouse. Quite the opposite, and those people telling me that I need to get with the “brave new world of analytics” within each application were SAP consultants. Even in private, with no one listening, the adherence to SAP talking points by SAP consultants never ceases to amaze me. 

Who Thought This Illogical Approach Would Work and Evangelized The Design?

Normally the less technical the resource, the more they thought this would happen, with salespeople who had never personally worked with databases or analytics software being the most vociferous that this was the future that HANA allowed. They topped this off by proposing that only SAP had the vision to make this happen. This following quotation is verbatim.

“Hasso Plattner always hated analytics systems. He saw them as a failure of the application to provide the reporting. His vision is to eliminate the data warehouse, and HANA is how he will do it.”

SAP Analytics Products are All Jumbled In

Another undiscussed issue is how many products are now part of this solution. Let us review a slide.

This slide is already a bit out of date as Lumira has been discontinued, and Cloud for Analytics is the replacement product. But let us review all of the products that are part of this design.

  1. SAP Cloud for Analytics
  2. SAP Business Objects
  3. SAP Lumira

How much are all of those licenses going to add up to? Is this us or does this appear like a confusing combination of items?

The New Reality of S/4HANA and the Data Warehouse

Years after SAP presented this vision, and they are now changing their story regarding data warehousing. SAP is now proposing that customers use something called embedded BW which is the junior version or BW/4HANA which is the more advanced version that is merely the rebranded stand along BW but which of course only runs on HANA and pushes out other database vendors from the mix. Embedded BW is implemented within S/4HANA and according to SAP is for “strategic analysis” rather than the standardly embedded analytics that are for more or less canned analytics.

We have been saying for some time that the embedded analytics in S/4HANA are simply for canned analytics. Because they are canned, they don’t even leverage HANA as they can be pre-compiled, with only net change information updated.

One of the reasons its very easy to overestimate the number of apps, or tiles of functionality included in S/4HANA is because so many of the tiles are really just reports, as the slide above illustrates. Once in the transaction/report, there is normally not much that one can do other than some basic searching or filtering. 

Why BW4/HANA?

It is understood that more analytics than the canned “embedded analytics” are required for non-standard reporting, but why did SAP port an obsolete product like BW to S/4HANA? One of the main points of HANA was that a heavy overhead BI environment with their very heavy maintenance overheads like the SAP BW was supposed to be no longer necessary.

Column-Oriented Tables: A Simplified Data Model

Recall the simplified data model? We covered the topic in the article, and contradicted the notion that S/4HANA had a simplified data model in the article Does S/4HANA Have a Simplified Data Model?

However, while the data model is no simpler, it is, that is column-oriented tables, are certainly more optimized for read access or that is for reporting and analytics. The idea that was presented by SAP was that a simpler lighter BI environment, for instance like Lumira (now discontinued), or SAP Analytics Cloud (not yet ready to be implemented) or a mature visualization product like Tableau or Qlik was supposed to be able to be used. So far the number of application of HANA has been for the BW, which speeds BW, but does little to reduce the lengthy reporting queues sitting behind most BW implementations globally.

Continuing to Work Off of Data Cubes?

Something else odd was that there are graphics that show both embedded BW and B/4HANA using data cubes. They also work off of Core Data Services that feed the data cubes which we covered in the article How to Understand HANA Lock in with Core Data Services.

Again why are either of these products using data cubes? Data cubes are actually not cubes, they are star schemas which are designed to speed row oriented tables. The point of using columnar tables is so that they can read accessed very quickly without any intermediate object such as a star schema.

SAP Backtracks on the Design Proposals of HANA

The story around SAP analytics keeps getting weirder and more complicated, and it contradicts what were supposed to be the original benefits of HANA.

With new articles coming from compliant SAP consulting companies, we have the explanation that companies still need a data warehouse, which means that SAP’s vision of entirely embedded analytics has failed. Alternatively, should we say, what SAP stated about doing away with the data warehouse because of the embedded analytics will never come true? We knew it would never come true, as it never made any sense. We told many SAP consultants this in discussions, but they overrode the concerns and told us this all made sense at SAP. Five or six years after the fact, SAP is finally changing its messaging (although not admitting it is changing its messaging).

References

*https://www.yash.com/blog/10-reasons-sap-bw4hana-is-unavoidable/

https://n-spro.com/blog/do-we-need-a-separate-bw-system-with-sap-s-4hana-embedded-analytics

https://blogs.sap.com/2018/04/24/why-bw4hana-is-still-required-even-after-embedded-bw-on-sap4hana/

https://www.adfahrer.com/files/2017/sap%20sbn%20hana%20reporting%20capabilities.pdf

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

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

How Accurate Was ASUG About Migrating to HANA?

Executive Summary

  • ASUG wrote a number of inaccurate statements about HANA and has provided really broken logic regarding SAP being a customer’s long-term partner, stating that other customers should move away from other vendors.
  • One thing that ASUG will not address is the TCO of HANA.

Introduction

As we have proposed for some time, there is no longer any difference between SAP and the marketing outlet that goes by the name of ASUG which poses as a user group for SAP.

In the article About Those Oracle Runtime Licenses That You Own, Geoff Scott proposes that it is time to migrate to HANA from Oracle.

“If you run your SAP software on Oracle databases, and you purchased your Oracle licenses through SAP (referred to as “runtime” licenses), your cost is now 7 percent higher than it was just two years ago.”

Creating that Burning Platform

So this is one part of the “burning platform” that ASUG attempts to create. And then comes the second part.

“Another important thing to note is that the SAP-Oracle database licensing agreement is again up for renewal in 2017.

What happens next can be anything from additional price increases to an end to the agreement, to something in between. In other words, uncertainty—which is a hard thing to plan for.”

So ASUG proposes here that the SAP-Oracle licensing agreement could be terminated? Did ASUG think this was within the realm of possibility when they wrote this or was this just FUD? If that did happen, what a massive change of the rules that would have been.

This article was written in 2016. However, when the agreement was reviewed, it was extended, which we covered in the article. How SAP Has Quietly Changed Strategy on HANA and Oracle.

He then finishes with:

“It’s hard not to conclude that if SAP is your long-term enterprise software partner, you need to make a move to SAP HANA, Suite on HANA or SAP S/4HANA. All of the other options are intermediate stop-gaps, which require time and money. Better to do this once and right than have to do it multiple times.”

Thus, the answer is to remove all other databases and replace them all with HANA!

Are Vendors Also Partners?

Did it occur to ASUG that these other vendors are also “partners” with these customers in the same way that SAP is a “partner”? In fact, the term partner is just misleading. SAP as with Oracle expects to get paid by their customers. Therefore, these are customers and SAP, and Oracle is vendors. This reframing of customer/vendor relationships as partnering is a highly inaccurate way to describe entities that pay and that are paid. Partners frequently team up to service another customer together. Partners often don’t transfer funds for goods and services.

The words in the English language have already been created to explain these relationships. Furthermore, many customers have had SAP as a vendor and have also had Oracle, IBM or Microsoft as vendors. Why is this logic to move more business over to one vendor versus the other?

What is the TCO of HANA?

Something that ASUG may be interested in knowing is that they think a 7% increase over two years is high, they should read the Brightwork HANA TCO Study which estimates that HANA is more than 2x the TCO of “AnyDB.”

Conclusion

Once again, is ASUG the user group that it claims and just looking out for their member’s interests, or are they a marketing channel for SAP. Was this advice offered by them looking out for the interests of their members, or only what SAP wanted their customers to do? We know that this article lays out precisely what SAP would like customers to do. There is just no way that following this advice would result in anything but higher costs and a worse value for the customers that followed this path.

ASUG receives a 1 out of 10 for accuracy on this article.

*This article was written without any consideration from any vendor of any kind. Unlike ASUG, we are independent of any entity that we provide information.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://www.asug.com/news/about-those-oracle-runtime-licenses-that-you-own

How Accurate are SAP’s Arguments on Code Pushdown and CDSs

Executive Summary

  • SAP on has made bizarre proposals regarding code pushdown (aka stored procedures) and Core Data Services.
  • SAP explains Core Data Services as something innovative when SAP is just using new terminology to something quite old.
  • As with Oracle, SAP is using CDSs to restrict the options of its customers to better lock them into buying SAP.

Introduction: How Truthful is SAP Being on Code Pushdown?

SAP has made a lot of noise about how important its code pushdown (aka stored procedures) in HANA are. However, an issue that has begun to arise in how SAP has begun to use the term to describe things that do not actually code pushdown. You will learn what is true regarding code pushdown.

What is Code Pushdown?

The first place to begin of course is “what is code pushdown.”

Code pushdown is an SAP term for putting code that was previously in the application layer into the database layer.

How SAP is Now Using the Term

As stated by a colleague.

“Code that was pushed down to the database becomes even more pushed down by “filter push down”, “limit push down” and “aggregation push down” This is plain old basic “anyDb” SQL wisdom. Reduce the amount of data as early as possible, especially before you join subqueries, that is at the “most inner” or “lowest” level of your SQL. “Filter push down”: filter each result set to be joined BEFORE you join them, do not join large sets and filter afterwards. I learned this in an “anyDb” administration and performance course about 15 years ago, and even then it wasn’t new.”

Multilevel Push-Down?

The first question that should arise when reading this is how is it that code has to be pushed down multiple levels in the database?

If the code is “pushed,” it is removed from the application layer and inserted into a table. Is there a level below a table? What is this quantum physics?

What SAP means is simply the reduction of data, not actually pushing code.

SAP on Core Data Services

SAP has published a document on ABAP Core Data Services of CDSs that can be found at this link.

But some of the things written in the document are required further elaboration.

For example, it states that Fiori apps are easy to create.

“Based on the OData exposure of CDS described above, it is then rather straightforward to create an SAP Fiori app using the development framework SAP WEB IDE (either locally or within SAP Cloud Platform). As depicted in Figure 4 the SAP Fiori User Interface connects to SAP Gateway using the OData services.”

The idea being the Fiori app will connect to the CDS view. The CDS is a database view with stored database functions that enable the retrieval of data. The idea is to improve on the limited ABAP dictionary views versus anyDatabaseViews have had for decades.

But instead of presenting CDSs as “catching up” with competing offerings, SAP decided to provide a deceptive explanation for the logic of CDSs. This is taken from the document ABAP Core Data Services on AnyDB.

“The CDS framework was introduced to leverage the computational power of HANA DB. Nevertheless, it can also be used with all other databases that support SAP NetWeaver (called anyDB in the following). This guide gives hands-on information on how to implement, run and optimize CDS based applications on anyDB.”

Reinventing the Wheel?

That makes it sound like SAP is bringing something that did not exist before — both for HANA and for AnyDB. The clear statement here is that other DBs can benefit from CDSs — making it appear as if CDSs are an innovation, not that they are bringing HANA to par (or attempting to do so) with AnyDB libraries.

That is one problem. The second is the phrasing that

“CDSs were designed to leverage the computation power of HANA, but nevertheless they can be used for other databases.”

This implies that other databases do not have HANA’s computational power. But let us leave that to the side for now.

The point we are emphasizing in is the presentation by SAP of CDSs as if other databases do not already have what CDSs offer. Clearly, it will take years for CDSs to reach parity with anyDatabaseViews.

Cost to Create Fiori Apps

Normally Fiori apps are extremely expensive to create, as was even pointed out in the Forrester study that SAP paid for, where Forrester states that Fiori apps should be used standard. This was addressed in the article What is Actually in the Fiori Box?

And we have numerous stories of the costs of making custom Fiori apps. Basically, this is not happening on projects to any significant degree. Customers that are sufficiently misinformed to customize Fiori apps normally soon run out of money. But these are custom Fiori apps with some complexity. Other Fiori apps are much easier to create than others, as observed by our colleague.

“A simple Fiori app consisting of a drill-down table (filterable, sortable, groupable) and navigation to a detail form is quite easy to build as long as you do not need anything extra. Fiori provides “SmartTables” and “SmartForms” widgets, their behavior can be controlled by annotations/properties in the metadata of OData services (e.g. filterable, sortable, label). These annotations can be defined at the level of the CDS View already (@Filterable, @Sortable, @Label) and are propagated to the OData service that can be generated from CDS Views by some SAP magic. This works quite well for Fiori Apps with almost no UI logic (especially drill down tables with detail views, no edit) that are built once and never touched again. However if you modify the data model you usually are best of when you rebuild your Fiori App from scratch.”

Laying Out Intelligent Fiori Usage

So if Fiori is laid out in terms of usage it is:

  • Use the standard Fiori apps, although those Fiori apps are quite limited (See the article Strange Changes to the Number of Fiori Apps to find out how SAP has exploded and exaggerated the number of Fiori apps.
  • Potentially use the SmartTable or SmartForm Fiori widgets to develop reporting apps.
  • Do not customize any Fiori apps that have any complexity, so business logic, data complexity etc.

The vision being pitched is to use the CDS and then do what you want in Fiori. There is a big question as to whether that will actually happen. If SAP was happy with customers using an efficient non-SAP app development environment then maybe, but then, SAP will dissuade that from happening.

Secondly, another observation about the CDSs is from a colleague.

“This way offers you a clean layered application and the chance to write unit tests without database persistence. SAP are throwing away accepted architecture paradigms. CDS are OK to look at and analyze (join, aggregate, partly filter) data. That’s it. CDS is a framework, not new technology.”

This brings up the topic of whether CDS will ever really catch on, or if they will end up being just another item that SAP introduces that just falls to the wayside.

The Benefit to Stored Procedures / Code Pushdown

CDSs as with stored procedures are a form of code pushdown. However, overall, we are still lost as to why SPs are a good thing. We keep pointing out that HANA is not addressing the hardware it runs on very well. So if you aren’t even addressing the hardware properly, why are we worried about SPs? Furthermore, SP’s bring up more portability overhead for different DBs.

This gets into the topic if how most of SAP’s proposals, particularly since the introduction of HANA, where SAP took an abrupt turn from Netweaver as their primary marketing tentpole and transitioned to HANA, have been focused on making architecture arguments around performance. This is incongruous, as the performance was never an SAP selling point. Today the majority of SAP software performs worse in terms of speed and usability of that speed versus competing applications.

Previous points of emphasis on SAP were reliability and business process/functionality coverage. But first with Netweaver (which focused on integration) and then with HANA, SAP essentially changed its historical message and value proposition.

Restricting Stored Procedures for Competitive Reasons

In fact, SAP restricting SPs of S/4HANA is the primary limitation to being able to port S/4HANA to AnyDB. SAP is allowing the CDSs to be ported, but not other SPs.

Code that was taken from the application layer in ECC and was pushed into the SPs used to belong to the customer when they purchased the ECC license. But with S/4HANA that code did not transition to the customer. were taken from the application layer in ECC and were pushed into the SPs used to belong to the customer when they purchased the ECC license. But with S/4HANA that code did not transition to the customer.

SAP has proposed that this is all new code, but it could not be. Else, how did ECC do these things before?

The question that no one seems to be asking is why SAP has control over code that was previously in the application layer but was migrated to the DB layer as a stored procedure. These are codes that SAP supposes to deliver for their customers who paid for their software. This is code that the customer should be able to use as they wish under the license. That is they should not be restricted by code that is in SPs that SAP controls how is run.

The Proposed Logic of the Importance of the Code Pushdown

Now let us switch from one type of code pushdown (SPs) back to another type of code pushdown (CDSs)

Let’s look at SAP’s logic for the CDSs. Here was a recent argument made in favor of CDSs.

Without CDS (labeled as “Classic Approach” in Figure 1), intensive calculations are done on the application layer avoiding costly computations in the database. This results in rather simple SQL queries between application and database layer. The drawback is however that lots of data need to be transferred back and forth between those two layers. Often, this is very time-consuming. “

Is it? With 2018 hardware? (or 2014 hardware as not all hardware is new).

What does SAP think its applications do? SAP does not compete in high-performance computing applications. These are not scientific applications, massively parallel scientific processing or even Big Data.

f there is a problem with transferring data between the two layers, then the entire application should be put in the database. Or most of it in the database. Is that such a good idea? We have software that performs much better than SAP on smaller hardware, and they do it with the standard division with application logic in the application layer and just storing data in the database.

Conclusion

SAP needs to police its use of the term pushdown or it will cease to have any meaning.

Performance is not what SAP has emphasized the importance of HANA. The evidence is how HANA has so vastly underperformed its performance hype as is covered in the article HANA as a Mismatch for S/4HANA and ERP.

What SAP cares about is using the idea of performance to push customers down the rat maze in a way that benefits SAP the most. SAP can use arguments about performance to make them accept that logic of the lack of S/4HANA portability to different databases because SAP’s help restrict that portability. That is at least to the laymen — if SAP wanted, they could share the S/4HANA SPs with Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft, and all of these companies would pay the cost of performing the porting of the SPs to their respective databases.

But SAP still will not release the SPs because they don’t want S/4AHANA ported, because they want to use S/4HANA as a wedge to get database sales that they would not otherwise get in an open competition.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://www.sap.com/documents/2018/02/de1db6cd-ee7c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html

**https://experience.sap.com/fiori-design-web/smart-table/

https://www.bluefinsolutions.com/insights/john-appleby/september-2012/building-the-business-case-for-sap-bw-on-hana

How Accurate is SAP on Only HANA Being an ACID Database?

Executive Summary

  • SAP proposes that the fact HANA is an ACID compliant database is a new thing for databases.
  • SAP is attempting to trick customers regarding fundamental concepts regarding databases.

Introduction

SAP has a long history of using the terms inaccurately.

In this article, we will evaluate the accuracy of this usage of something called ACID for databases.

The Statements About HANA and ACID Compliance

This is from SAP’s website.

ACID Compliance?

ACID stands for (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability). They are fundamental requirements of a database.

Every single one of the databases that HANA competes with is ACID compliant! And they have been for decades. This is tantamount to General Motors saying that its cars are better than competitors because they use spark plugs.

Why would SAP say such a thing? Most likely because their readers do not know what ACID compliance is, and therefore they think it is some type of differentiator.

Ding Ding Ding!

We award SAP a Golden Pinocchio for making this proposal.

The comment is so divorced from reality and so false that there is no other conclusion than to say SAP is undoubtedly aware they are deceiving readers by publishing these statements.

Conclusion

This is one of many statements meant to deceive readers about HANA. HANA is ACID compliant, but none of SAP’s competitors aren’t, and ACID stopped being an area of competition in databases decades ago. SAP goes further to imply that only HANA is ACID compliant. It depends upon the reading, but it is certainly intended to make it appear as if it is a differentiator.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://www.sap.com/cmp/ppc/crm-xm16-gam-it-bd/index.html

How Accurate is SAP in Calling Non HANA DBs Legacy?

Executive Summary

  • How SAP Uses the Term Legacy
  • Legacy When Applied to Non-HANA Databases
  • Ding Ding Ding!
  • Other Claims

Introduction

SAP has a long history of using the term legacy inaccurately. This is covered in the article How SAP Used and Abused the Term Legacy. However, SAP recently began using the term against non-HANA databases.

In this article, we will evaluate the accuracy of this usage.

The Statements About Legacy

This is from SAP’s website.

Here SAP proposes that all other databases are outdated technology. They also imply that only HANA has in-memory architecture and that it is revolutionary. We will address each of these claims.

This is where the term Legacy is used.

Evaluation of the Claims

First, SAP is a more recent database than IBM Blu, Oracle 12c, and Microsoft SQL Server. However, SAP is in no position to call any of these databases legacy. This is because these databases outperform HANA, as we cover in the article What is the Actual Performance of HANA?

Legacy means that the item is near obsolete.

This a ludicrous claim for any of these databases, all of which have many times more installations than HANA, and unlike HANA, all three of these other databases are used outside of SAP with non-SAP applications. SAP cannot claim this, which provides an inkling as to the competitiveness of HANA.

This claim is so exaggerated that….

Ding Ding Ding!

We award SAP a Golden Pinocchio for making this proposal.

The comment is so divorced from reality and so false that there is no other conclusion than to say SAP is undoubtedly aware they are deceiving readers by publishing these statements.

Other Claims

Now let us review the other claims made in the SAP statements.

  • All other Databases are Outdated Technology?: That is an enormous claim. What evidence has SAP produced that this is true? Information coming back from actual projects indicate that HANA cannot keep up with the performance of previous generation databases outside of data warehouse type queries, (where it loses against the updated versions of these other databases). The details of this are covered in the article HANA as a Mismatch for S/4HANA and ERP.
  • HANA has Revolutionary In-Memory Architecture: This claim is also false, as we cover in the article How to Understand Why In-Memory Computing is a Myth.
  • ACID Compliance?: ACID stands for (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability). They are fundamental requirements of a database. Every single one of the databases that HANA competes with is ACID compliant! And they have been for decades. This is tantamount to General Motors saying that its cars are better than competitors because they use spark plugs. Why would SAP say such a thing? Most likely because their readers do not know what ACID compliance is, and therefore they think it is some type of differentiator.
  • Only HANA Can Support High-Speed Analytics?: This is news to every database vendor that competes with SAP. All of these databases can support high-speed analytics. Again, HANA loses against its primary competitors in analytics, if those databases are the most up to date versions. The older version will lose against HANA in analytics because they lack the column-oriented store. SAP is continually attempting to have HANA compete against databases from vendors from six years ago when HANA was first introduced. Of course, HANA on new hardware will beat other databases on older hardware. Something that is quite obvious, but which is missed by IT departments that implement HANA on new hardware and discuss the improvements — without accounting for the percentage of performance which is solely due to the hardware. We covered this topic in the article How Much is Hardware Responsible for HANA’s Performance?
  • Only HANA Has Application Services?: Application Services are a bit of a nebulous term. But they are applications. Oracle 12C, IBM Blu, and MS SQL Server run applications. Applications sit on top of them. Therefore, this is a curious way to differentiate HANA. This seems to imply that HANA is unique because it can interoperate with applications. If it couldn’t then what would it be doing?
  • Only HANA has a Flexible Data Acquisition?: Why is that true? More flexible than competitive offerings? A database stores data. Data acquisition is normally performed by middleware. Of course, it depends upon the definition. If SAP’s definition of acquisition is that data can be loaded in different ways into the database, then again all of the competing databases have this ability.
  • HANA has a Single Platform?: HANA is not a platform. HANA is a database. If SAP means that both the applications are offered by SAP as is the application — then this is true. But because SAP is not as good with databases as their competitors this also means that buyers of HANA give up specialization and many other factors to buy their application and database from the same vendor.
  • Only HANA has no Data Duplication?: It is unclear why HANA offers less data duplication than competing databases. In fact, because of bizarre license restrictions, we are aware of scenarios where HANA has a 100% level of data duplication. This is explained in the article HANA Police and Indirect Access Charges. Here SAP requires companies buy a second license of HANA and replicate all data between the two HANA instances to allow data to be moved to a third database.

Conclusion

Literally nothing on this SAP webpage about HANA.

SAP receives a 1 out of 10 for accuracy on this proposals.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://www.sap.com/cmp/ppc/crm-xm16-gam-it-bd/index.html

How Accurate is the Hasso Plattner Institute’s Course Explanation?

Executive Summary

  • Course Description
  • Course Description Analysis

Introduction

The In Memory course offered by the Hasso Plattner Institute was recommended to us to understand in-memory computing. This was recommended to us even though we wrote the article How to Understand Why In-Memory Computing is a Myth and have observed and proven it is a deliberately misleading term.

In this article, we will analyze the accuracy of the description of the in-memory course offered by the Hasso Plattner Institute.

The Quotations

Course Description

“Week 1: The first week will give you an understanding of origins of enterprise computing. It is vital to know the historic development which lead to the emergence of current hardware as we know it now in order to understand the decisions made in the past. Many characteristics of current applications, like materialized aggregates and a reduction of detail in the stored information, have their roots in the past. While these measures were helpful in former systems, they form an obstacle which has to be overcome now in order to allow for new, dynamic applications.”

It is only the Hasso Plattner Institute that thinks this is true. An aggregate is a table of precalculated values. Hasso Plattner is very much opposed to aggregates. However, the reason he gives seems to be directed around making HANA seem to be less expensive than it is. This is because HANA is alone among databases being priced per GB. Aggregates take up space in the database, but they serve a valuable purpose. Without aggregates, constant recalculation is required. Hasso Plattner has stated that this is highly advantageous, but is it? What if those values very rarely change, such as a table of weight conversions? But this table must constantly be recalculated on the fly? If not some rule of excellence has been violated?

Hasso Plattner has stated compression values that have not born out to be true. This is covered in the article Articles that Exaggerate HANA’s Benefits.

Most HANA accounts can expect footprint reductions in the area of 30%. However, this is immaterial to companies as storage is extremely inexpensive, particularly disk storage. John Appleby, SAP proponent and head of an SAP consulting company, has made the statement that disks are a problem because they “take up a lot of space,” which is a claim we analyzed in the article What Was John Appleby’s Accuracy on Moving BW to HANA?

  • The long and short of it is that nothing Hasso Plattner has ever said about database aggregates has made any sense.
  • The focus on aggregates is a gimmick, designed to confuse the message receivers as to what is important in database management.
  • The entire aggregate discussion is a distraction.

“Week 2: Within the second week, the differences between a horizontal, row-oriented layout and a columnar layout are discussed. Concepts like compression and partitioning are introduced. Based on that, you will get an explanation of the internal steps performed inside the database to carry out the fundamental relational operations insert, update and delete. The week concludes with a fundamental difference of SanssouciDB to most other databases: the insert only approach. Following this concept, we circumvent several pitfalls concerning referential integrity and additionally gain the foundation for a gap-less time travel feature.”

This seems like good training.

“Week 3: The content of week 3 focuses on more advanced structures and operations within the database. The differential buffer, a means to prevent frequent resorting of the dictionaries and rewriting of the attribute vectors, is explained in further detail. Subsequently, also the merge process, which incorporates the changes from the differential buffer into the main store, is illustrated. The retrieval of information via the select statement, as well as related concepts like tuple reconstruction, early and late materialization, or a closer examination of the achieved scan speed, are also part of this week’s schedule. The description of the join operation, which is used to connect information from different tables, concludes this week.”

I have no comment on this section.

“Week 4: Week 4 is all about aggregation. Aggregations are the centerpiece of every business analytics application. Given that huge impact of aggregates on all parts of a business, it is of great importance to understand what aggregate functions are, why we remove all materialized aggregates and go for aggregation on the fly. You will further learn how to greatly reduce the costs of this on demand approach by using the aggregate cache and understand its connection to the differential buffer and the merge process. In the units concluding this week, you will see new prototype applications using the aggregate cache to deliver complex simulations in real time.”

With another week spent on aggregates, without any debate as to whether aggregate removal is a value-add, or worth the effort, this seems like a waste of time. Week 4 could be better spent on hiring a psychologist to analyze why Hasso Plattner is so obsessed with aggregate removal (or should we say reduction, as HANA does have aggregates, but does not call them aggregates).

Hasso Plattner either needs to come in to and speak to our Brightwork psychiatrist to get to the bottom of his aggregate obsession or he needs to admit the only reason he keeps talking about aggregates is that it is a gimmick to try to confuse and sell to customers who lack an understanding of databases.

“Week 5: Week 5 sheds light on some more inner mechanisms of the database. What happens in emergency situations, when for example the power is turned off? Logging and recovery are vital parts to know in order to understand why an in-memory database is as secure as a traditional disk based one. Further, the benefits of replicas are explained. We conclude the week with an outlook onto the implications that arise with the tremendously increased speed at hands.”

SAP promotes its HANA database which is not “in memory” but has more of the database’s tables loaded into memory. Therefore, SAP promoting the idea that a database with more tables loaded into memory is as secure as a traditional one is a marketing point. Therefore can anything that SAP says in this area be trusted?

HANA is far less stable than competing databases, although this is for different reasons. Are the reasons for HANA’s relative instability going to be explained in this course? Probably not.

“Week 6: Week 6 is centered on applications. The last conceptual unit is about data separation into active and passive. After that, we showcase several prototypes and sketch out potential fields to apply the technology, thereby also leaving the domain of pure enterprise solutions, by using main memory databases in weather simulations and medicine.”

Nothing objectionable there.

Conclusion

The purpose of the Hasso Plattner Institute is to educate and advocate as to why everyone should buy HANA. Its courses are to create devotes to SAP’s particular approach to databases. However, there is a problem. HANA is not what Hasso Plattner or SAP says that it is. SAP has presented no evidence that HANA can outperform competing databases. This means that for people taking this course, they are taking it from an institution that was started by a man who has made exaggerated and unsubstantiated claims about HANA.

  • HANA can’t meet the claims made for it by SAP. Will the course talk about that?
  • We receive emails from around the world which show SAP consulting companies providing false information about HANA to customers. Will the course cover that?
  • SAP has made so many false claims about databases that they have undermined rather than enhanced the understanding of databases generally.

So the question is why should the Hasso Plattner Institute be considered anything more than a propaganda apparatus for SAP?

SAP should spend more time trying to get HANA to meet its exaggerated claims versus trying to institutionalize or create a completely biased “HANA university” where receiving certifications or PhDs means agreeing with Hasso Plattner. It has been over six years since HANA was introduced, and the only thing HANA does well is speed data warehousing query performance, but only over previous versions of competitor’s databases.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

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References

https://open.hpi.de/courses/imdb2015?lipi=urn:li:page:d_flagship3_detail_base%3B7YmJ63B8S%2FaTlvIxFvm2mQ%3D%3

How Accurate is SAP on the Use of the Term Extensible for S/4HANA in the Cloud?

Executive Summary

  • SAP has proposed that Fiori makes sense to customize, that Fiori is extensible and that customization has been a major driver for R/3 and ECC acceptance. Furthermore, that R/3 was popular because it had cost efficient extensions.
  • In this article, we cover how all of these proposals are false.
  • SAP also proposes that it has improved the upgradeability of S/4HANA, which is also not true.
  • Finally, we analyze the statements around the SAP Cloud Platform’s health.

Introduction

SAP proposed in the document SAP S/4HANA Extensibility for Customers and Partners, some claims regarding S/4HANA and its customization.

In this article, we will review the accuracy of this SAP article.

The Quotations

Customizing Fiori?

“Customers using the side-by-side extensibility approach can use SAP HANA Cloud Platform to build completely new UIs based on the SAP Fiori user experience or integrate with other cloud applications from SAP.”

As we cover in the article What is Actually in the Fiori Box? Fiori is well known to be extremely difficult to customize. Projects where customization of Fiori are estimated end up being stratospheric and often get canceled. Regardless, this document is stating that customization is a good idea.

ABAP as a Good Value?

“They can also build completely new applications and business logic that natively run on the SAP HANA platform or that are loosely coupled to the ABAP programming language back end of SAP S/4HANA.”

As we covered in the article ABAP programming language back end of SAP S/4HANA.

ABAP is an inefficient programming language which is increasingly limited as development goes to the cloud.

Extensibility, A New Synonym for Customization?

“In SAP S/4HANA on premise, full flexibility to ABAP through ABAP in Eclipse (a development platform) is guaranteed.”

Extensibility means it can be extended, but all application are extendable. SAP can also be extended through using any programming language that can connect to SAP function modules. It is not SAP that guarantees extensibility, is the nature of any application.

SAP R/3 Was Popular Because of Cost Efficient Extensions?

“For many years, SAP has implemented successful processes for scalable and cost-efficient extensions in all product versions.”

Has SAP cost efficient extensions? Having been on SAP projects for decades, I am unaware as to what this is. Either these extensions are a secret or SAP is referring to customization.

Furthermore, does SAP seriously expect to leave with any credibility after proposing that customizing SAP is “cost efficient?”

That is odd. Becuase SAP projects are known for their exorbitant customization costs. Some failed SAP projects have run into the billions of dollars. How did that happen without high priced customizations?

This document must be referring to another company called SAP that sold an application called R/3.

Ding Ding Ding!

This statement by SAP regarding low-cost customizations earns our Golden Pinocchio for being as false and as deliberately misleading as a statement can be. 

Ease of Customization Was a Major Driver for R/3 Acceptance?

“This was a major driver of the large acceptance and adoption of SAP R/3 software, the SAP ERP application, and SAP Business Suite software (for example, by using the SAP NetWeaver technology platform for on-premise extensions of SAP Business Suite).”

SAP R/3 was adopted for many reasons, one being an arrangement between SAP and large consulting companies where the consulting companies sold out the interests of their customers so they could profit maximize at their customers. SAP was the vendor that allowed them to make the most money.

SAP is not more customizable than competing applications; it is less customizable. It has the highest cost of customization and maintenance of any vendor that we track at Brightwork. Furthermore, NetWeaver as a specific product never existed, as we covered in the article Did Netweaver Ever Exist?

SAP’s Proposal for Improved Upgradability of S/4HANA: A Whole Lot of Nothing

SAP performs a significant sleight of hand with the following few paragraphs. Now watch how the masters at SAP Marketing set up a false conclusion, without most readers ever noticing.

Step 1: SAP begins the deception by making a true statement.

“When implementing software extensions using a traditional approach, many organizations run large implementation projects with significant modifications to the standard enterprise software. At first, the high degree of flexibility may be regarded as a benefit. However, during subsequent phases of the lifecycle of the extensions, modifications may become pitfalls:”

This statement is mostly correct, but it glosses over the reason for the customizations. We won’t go into it now, let us see where SAP goes next.

“Since business experts usually do not implement extensions, interaction between the line of business (LoB) and IT often works like a waterfall model for large projects (no interconnected requirements determination and implementation phase) and thus increases time to value.”

Yes, the people writing the customizations (i.e., enhancement in SAP’s strange new vocabulary) are not the business. And writing customizations does increase the time to value, but that is true of all customizations. There is nothing new here.

“Large effort occurs for tests, validations, and adaptations necessary at every upgrade of the standard software to a new version due to (mostly) hidden dependencies between standard and extensions. The result is slow implementation of require-
ments from the LoB and delay of adoption of innovations due to the upgrade effort mentioned above.”

A bit of beating a dead horse, but also true. Once again none of the reason for the customization is given in this sequence. These are all negatives of customizations being listed by SAP.

“Today, this approach is taken to the next level with SAP S/4HANA: You can apply a tool-based and platform-based methodology, which is scalable for companies ranging from small startups to large enterprises and which intrinsically avoids the drawbacks mentioned above by using the following extensibility qualities:

  • “End-to-end tools:  Business users, experts, and implementation consultants can easily apply changes in their area of responsibility without risk.
  • Pace layer IT: Custom extensions are loosely coupled with core business processes; that is, they need robust data, process, and UI integration, but the software lifecycle of extensions is decoupled from stable systems of records.
  • The ecosystem of SAP partners: Customers get support to apply these principles and to implement differentiating solutions. In particular, partners often require a platform as a service (PaaS) for development, distribution, and maintenance of their solutions.”

The problem? None of these things lead to increased upgradeability.

  • SAP does not offer end to end tools that allow the entities mentioned to apply changes quickly. How would that even work? Customization must be adjusted in preparation for an upgrade. That means the code must be modified. Why is that all of a sudden easily applied “without risk” with S/4HANA in the cloud? That is just a marketing fiction.
  • Pace layers IT is made up. “tight data, process and UI integration” does not mean anything. And SAP has not had such a high cost of customization has not been because of “loose” data, process and UI integration.
  • SAP already has an ecosystem of SAP partners. This did nothing to ameliorate the high costs of customizing SAP in the past. In fact, it fed into it. That “ecosystem of SAP partners” is about billing as many hours for ABAP and possible. This would be like saying people will run faster before because now they will have legs. Yes, but they had legs before.

After all that build up the result regarding what SAP offers for S/4HANA regarding enhanced upgradeability is….nothing at all. 

A Comprehensive Set of Tools, Platforms, and Methodologies?

“SAP S/4HANA extensibility provides a comprehensive set of tools, platforms, and methodologies to serve the needs of customers and partners with the qualities outlined above.”

Perhaps, but how is it different from what was offered by ECC? Furthermore just because SAP provides something does not mean it should be used. For example, VW offers the diesel Golf, but we don’t recommend you buy one.

Again, SAP offered many tools for ECC and an SDK for iOS, but none of these items have proven to be competitive with using open tools.

“Since SAP HANA Cloud Platform is a full-fledged development platform, they can even build completely new solutions with a loose coupling to SAP back-end systems. SAP HANA Cloud Platform is designed to be 100% compliant with open standards (for example, using open source software from Eclipse and Apache).”

SAP’s development tools and related products have proven to be uncompetitive in the past and to increase the costs to customers. If SAP were in favor of open standards, they would make their applications accessible to already existing PaaS environments instead of channeling their customers to using 100% SAP items. The idea that SAP supports open standards is “fall laughing” amusing. It is a massive lie.

A Healthy Ecosystem for the HCP?

“When using SAP HANA Cloud Platform, you will therefore benefit from a healthy ecosystem of partners that contribute value to existing solutions and services. With this scenario, you can establish “best of breed” for small and large extensions. By definition, side-by-side extensions are loosely coupled with core SAP systems and therefore support a pace-layered IT.”

Does HCP have a vibrant ecosystem surrounding it? That is news to us.

Does ABAP have a vibrant ecosystem around it? Well yes, if the definition of a “vibrant ecosystem” is a huge group of consultants and employees who will charge customers to do things inefficiently. Furthermore, would anyone use HCP if the environment were not SAP? No? Then that tells you how competitive the offering is. HCP is a highly uncompetitive offering which is forced into companies through SAP’s pressure and by misinforming customers that the HCP is necessary for customizing SAP. SAP played the same tricks with ABAP for decades.

Conclusion

Upon reading the document, it is apparent that SAP plans to push companies from on-premises ABAP to using S/4HANA with the HCP. However, once again, SAP is dictating the programming environment, which has not lead to good outcomes in the past.

SAP presents itself as if it has all the answers on these topics when it doesn’t. For one, S/4HANA in the cloud has a small customer base. But secondly, the terminology used by SAP must be dissected. What is “extensibility?” It seems to be a code word for custom code. What happens when an application is customized? That is right, multitenant is out the window. And multitenant is a foundational underpinning of SaaS and a primary way it leads to cost savings through improved sustainability and lower maintenance. This is why S/4HANA customers in the cloud are small — they don’t customize.

Ding Ding Ding!

SAP receives a Fake Marketing Word Alert for its creation and usage of a new mysterious IT term called extensibility. 

Some are consulting companies that are trying to suck up to SAP and use an “implementation of S/4HANA” to get consulting business. That is they barely need S/4HANA but need Quickbooks, and invoicing system and HR system, all of which they could purchase in the cloud for peanuts.

With SAP using the word “extensibility” it makes it seem like it is not customization. Extensibility means it can be extended, but all application are extendable. This is SAP marketing working overtime to mislead customers by coming up with more deceptive words.

There is just all manner of inaccuracies in the document from SAP.

This document receives a 1 out of 10 for accuracy. It is a work of pure marketing fluff and relied upon an enormous number of inaccurate assumptions. It won both a Golden Pinocchio as well as a Fake Marketing Word Alert.

It is a document in search of soft targets.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://www.sap.com/documents/2015/07/2ad59b27-347c-0010-82c7-eda71af511fa.html?lipi=urn:li:page:d_flagship3_detail_base%3BShgR4b%2B1TmehKQvyr%2FsYQg%3D%3D

How Accurate Was Computerworld on Run Simple and S/4HANA?

What This Article Covers

  • Checking with Experienced Database Resources
  • The Typical Coverage Available

Introduction

The SAP Run Simple is a widely derided joke in SAP circles. In this article, we question how much ComputerWorld got right regarding Run Simple.

Quotations

“Nothing has earned a reputation for head-banging complexity among IT professionals more than ERP, but as enterprise-resource planning leader SAP tries to recast its image with the slogan “Run simple,” there’s no guarantee that customers will buy it.

SAP hammered the simplicity mantra home in virtually every keynote, conversation and bit of signage at its annual Sapphire user conference last week. Still, the fact remains that enterprise platforms like SAP’s are anything but simple, and neither are their customers. SAP sells to large, multifaceted enterprises, and implementations are a big deal, often requiring outside help.”

At this point, the article makes it seem that it is going to head down a truthful path. The Run Simple program was in exact opposition to how SAP’s software actually works.

“Most organizations don’t buy SAP because they have simple problems to solve,” said Geoff Scott, CEO of the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG). “You purchase it because you’re a complex organization with complex business processes.”

ASUG’s Independent from SAP?

ASUG is in SAP’s pocket, and this is an idiotic justification why SAP’s software is co complicated to use and so expensive to implement. It is false because there are many things related to SAP’s complexity that has nothing to do with the organizations that buy SAP, but instead to SAP’s design. However, ASUG only makes statements that are designed to defend SAP.

“It is nice to see that SAP acknowledged that it hasn’t always been a poster child for simplicity, and that clients have struggled in navigating the many offerings and resources available in this huge company,” said Monique Hesseling, a partner with Strategy Meets Action. But it will take time and effort for SAP to overcome the perception that it’s big, complicated, and sometimes difficult to work with, she added.

SAP did not acknowledge this with their Run Simple marketing program. Rather, they stated that customers could run more “simple” with SAP than with competing solutions. This seems to be a projection on the part of Monique Hesseling.

“She does see signs of progress, though, particularly in SAP’s delivery to insurance clients, which are the focus of her firm. Maintenance and service tickets get escalated and dealt with significantly faster than in the past, she said.”

SAP’s Support

This is false. SAP’s support has been in long-term decline as we covered in the article What to Do About SAP’s Declining Support. 

“SAP also responds faster and more accurately to requests for proposals, and she has found greater openness and interest in understanding the customer within the company at all levels.”

It is difficult to know what this means.

“Some of the credit for the pared-down approach goes to SAP’s new S4/Hana in-memory platform, which has simplified much of the technological foundation. By eliminating fixed database aggregates and redundancy, for example, the new system can reduce a company’s data footprint by a factor of 10, SAP says.”

This has nothing to do with the previous statement. One is a statement about being open and understanding the customer, and the transition is to a statement about a technology, which then launches into a nonsensical term called “in memory” which we covered in the article How to Understand Why In-Memory Computing is a Myth.

The Data Footprint Reduction?

The claims of data footprint reduction are also false as we cover in the article The Secret to Not Talking About The Cost of SAP HANA.

“By performing both transactional and analytic processing in the same system, the technology promises throughput that’s between three and seven times faster than the traditional SAP implementation. Analytics can be as much as 1,800 times faster.”

This is not what benchmarking on HANA indicates, as covered in the article HANA as a Mismatch for S/4HANA and ERP. SAP has no benchmarking or other data points to support the claim of analytics being 1,800 faster.

“Overall, SAP cofounder and chairman Hasso Plattner said in a keynote at the conference, the goal is to enable the “boardroom of the future,” where an entire corporation can be run from a smart watch or phone.”

We have already covered this as a “pants on fire” inaccuracy in the article Did Fiori and S/4HANA Actually Run on a SmartWatch?

What Compression?

“You’ve taken a 20TB database and compressed it to 10TB or 5TB — I get that,” he said. “But to us, simple is also about faster and easier configuration, getting people up to speed faster and getting changes into production super fast.”

What is SAP’s obsession with compressing databases? The answer is that HANA is priced per GB. But overall the topic of database compression is not very relevant to non-HANA databases. Oracle 12c and IBM DB2 have no size limit. Database compression does not translate to business value.

“That’s where I want to hold their proverbial feet to the fire,” Scott said. “SAP, if you can deliver on that promise, wow.”

Scott works for ASUG, which is a proxy for SAP. Scott will not be holding SAP’s feet to the fire on any claim.

“SAP needs to make software easier to buy and consume, with modernized deployment options, and it also needs to transform the services market so that software is faster to configure, without as much need for specialist consultants, agreed John Appleby, global head of SAP Hana at Bluefin Solutions.”

This has been proposed for decades, but nothing SAP has introduced, from ASAP to RDS has changed the complexity, implementation duration or cost of SAP implementations. For multiple articles on previous items that were presented to accomplish these objectives see the Brightwork research list A Study Into the Accuracy of SAP.

The Reliability of Jon Appleby?

“S/4Hana is a big step in the right direction,” Appleby said. “The user experience is modern and user-centric, the functional configuration is guided and therefore much faster, and deployment options are varied and meet the needs of modern businesses.

Appleby believes that most customers would embrace the paradigms of S/4Hana if they could, but some may have found their decision delayed by business events or other IT operational issues.”

Jon Appleby is one of the least reliable sources on SAP. He not only has repeatedly been found to provide highly inaccurate information on SAP products, How John Appleby Was So Wrong About His HANA Predictions, but he is Hasso Plattner’s “goto” guy to make massively exaggerated claims about SAP products.

The Reliability of Steve Lucas?

“Steve Lucas, global president of the SAP Platform Solutions Group, acknowledges the challenges associated with promising simplicity in a highly complex technological landscape.

“What we learned after 40 years of building apps is that the stack for building apps had become unreasonably complex,” he said.”

In 2015 Steve Lucas had worked for SAP for a short time, and he came to SAP through an acquisition. Therefore, this quotation seems a bit deceptive. But like Appleby, Steve Lucas has a long history of making inaccurate statements as we covered in the article Analysis of Steve Lucas’ Article on What Oracle Won’t Tell You About HANA.

In our analysis, Steve Lucas not only misleads listeners but does not understand many of the topics on which he speaks.

Conclusion

This article receives a score of 3 out of 10, for the acknowledgment that SAP’s applications are complex.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

HANA & S/4HANA Question Box

  • Have Questions About S/4HANA & HANA?

    It is difficult for most companies to make improvements in S/4HANA and HANA without outside advice. And it is close to impossible to get honest S/4HANA and HANA advice from large consulting companies. We offer remote unbiased multi-dimension S/4HANA and HANA support.

    Just fill out the form below and we'll be in touch.

References

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2923212/enterprise-applications/sap-touts-simplicity-but-customers-still-live-in-a-complex-world.html

How Accurate Was Clarkston on S/4HANA?

What This Article Covers

  • Clarkston on S/4HANA’s “Platform”
  • The SAP S/4HANA® “Ecosystem”

Introduction

As part of our continual series on accuracy on SAP, in this article, we review the accuracy of Clarkston Consulting on their article 4 Ways S/4HANA is Transforming the Wholesale Distribution Industry.

Clarkston on S/4HANA’s “Platform”

We recently participated in a SAP® partner workshop where SAP® discussed their cutting-edge solutions for the wholesale distribution industry and how these solutions enable wholesalers to compete and win in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

This first paragraph shows how compliant Clarkston is to SAP. SAP often likes companies to put the registered ® symbol in articles that are written about SAP. As you may notice, this is completely unnecessarily. As if it is unclear whether the name SAP has been registered at some point in history! No independent media entity would write this way. But companies that are part of SAP’s partner network do what SAP says, and communicates what SAP wants them to communicate.

The SAP S/4HANA® Ecosystem

SAP S/4HANA quickly became the cornerstone of any business transformation. No matter the business need, SAP S/4HANA and the applications connected within the platform’s ecosystem allow for the communication of business functions that were commonly handled separately to interact and learn from one another.

That is curious. Because Brightwork’s independent research into S/4HANA implementations shows just the opposite is happening. That few companies are successfully implementing S/4HANA.

This seems to be Clarkston repeating what SAP says without verifying whether it is true.

We reviewed the key solutions that were discussed and why this technology is now a necessary component of your business.

At this point of the article things really go downhill. Clarkston now introduces a number of things that are other SAP applications, and not S/4HANA. Wha are these things part of an article on S/4HANA?

1. Sales Leveraging SAP Hybris® Commerce

The SAP Hybris Commerce solution will provide an E-Commerce platform to enable key capabilities that include pricing procedures, web page personalization, contextual experiences and website content. Gartner predicts that by 2018, 40% of B2B digital commerce sites will use price optimization algorithms and configure, price, quote (CPQ) tools to calculate and deliver product pricing dynamically. By increasing the connection points with your customer and providing the same capabilities regardless of how or when they connect, you’ll be providing analytics and history across all channels and enabling an omnichannel experience. The capabilities of the web, mobile and social can then be leveraged by your field sales teams to provide the customer with all details of their interactions.

Right, not part of S/4HANA.

2. Marketing utilizing SAP Hybris Marketing

Marketing is an overlooked line of business within wholesale distribution. SAP Hybris Marketing provides the ability to take customer segmentation and predictive analytics to the next step with a marketing focus. This is especially true as wholesalers continue to explore B2C along with B2B. SAP Hybris Marketing allows a business to understand their customer segments and to build campaigns to focus on these segments.

Not part of S/4HANA.

3. Analytics for the Internet of Things Using SAP Leonardo®

The Internet of Things, now marketed as SAP Leonardo, can provide live insights, predictive capabilities, optimize processes and enable new business models. For wholesalers, Leonardo can provide unique capabilities around connected fleets or environment monitoring, meaning understanding the location of their fleet, truck temperatures, equipment health, efficiency in routes, and usage and consumption of inventory.

Leonardo is not part of S/4HANA. Leonardo is SAP’s grab bag of tools for IoT.

But it nice to learn that Leonardo is also a registered name. Yes, I was not sure if the name Leonardo has been registered yet. Now, thanks to Clarkston, we know.

4. Human Resources operating SAP SuccessFactors® HCM Suite and SAP Jam Collaboration

Lastly, SAP SuccessFactors cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solutions provide a comprehensive human resource solution for an industry which is experiencing an aging workforce and a need to market wholesale distribution to young millennials. Some of the capabilities include recruiting, which provides a strategic approach to attracting and engaging talent; and SAP Jam Collaboration which provides collaboration tools and a private social networking feature.

SuccessFactors is not only not part of S/4HANA it was not developed by SAP and is an acquisition.

Collaboration is one most critical elements in a business transformation. Wholesale distributors are undergoing significant changes in their industry, requiring a need for enhanced technologies. Leveraging SAP S/4HANA and its corresponding platform functionality from SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Leonardo, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Jam Collaboration and SAP Hybris Commerce, can help distributors differentiate their services for clients and prepare their organization for the digital economy.

Neither SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Leonardo, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Jam Collaboration nor SAP Hybris Commerce is part of anything called a “S/4HANA platform.” This is a marketing construction in its entirety.

Conclusion

Clarkston is so under SAP’s power that they simply repeat, much like a parrot, whatever new marketing construct comes down the pike from SAP. Publishing an article like this is also how an SAP consulting company shows subordination to SAP.

This article receives an accuracy score of 1 out of 10. Nothing in it is true, it makes no sense, principally because there is no S/4HANA platform.

References

https://clarkstonconsulting.com/insights/4-ways-sap-s4hana-transforming-wholesale-distribution-industry/

How Much Do You Know About?

SAP HANA Quiz

This quiz will ask basic questions around SAP HANA.

Our Work on HANA

We are the most prominent research entity that tells the real story HANA and S/4HANA. Both Forrester and Gartner take money from SAP, and Forrester created a false research report on how HANA reduces TCO in return for money. Companies like IBM, Deloitte, and Accenture have mindlessly repeated all of the SAP marketing talking points on HANA and S/4HANA have encouraged their customers to only accept HANA and S/4HANA so they can get the implementation business.

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Supporting Articles

This article is based on some my previous articles on HANA DB.

This article covers whether SAP’s relentless HANA push has paid off.

This article covers how HANA DB is marketed versus other databases.

This article covers what moving to the cloud means for HANA.

This article covers if HANA DB has a simplified data model.

This article includes what one gets from Fiori. This article goes into how Fiori has been misrepresented by SAP and its partners in the sales process to get people all bubbly about S4, and what a huge surprise so many companies will get if they rely upon Fiori.

This article covers how Gartner got Fiori so wrong. Gartner clearly did close to zero research to praise Fiori and recommend it, without having any understanding of how Fiori works.

This article questions which is faster, HANA DB or Oracle 12C.

This article questions the validity of SAP’s Run Simple marketing program.

This article discusses the exaggerated claims made in so many articles about HANA.

This article questions whether SAP will have to backtrack on limiting S4 to HANA.

This article describes how the HCP is designed for cloud washing to make SAP implementations seems more cloud based then they are.

References

I cover Gartner in depth in the following book.

The Gartner Book

 

GARTNER-1Gartner and the Magic Quadrant: A Guide for Buyers, Vendors, and Investors

How to Figure Out How to Effectively User Gartner

Whether you are a software buyer, a large or small vendor, or are wondering how Gartner can help you make better investment decisions, this book will give you new insights to Gartner’s research. By studying the methodology behind such popular analytical tools like the Magic Quadrant, you will understand how a vendor earned its rating and whether or not the ratings are justified!

Understanding Gartner, It’s History, and It’s Incentives

Starting with the history of Gartner and how it compares to other IT analyst firms, this book gives a realistic assessment of the value of Gartner research to a company and provides ideas about other resources that could complement Gartner’s analysis. You will also have the tools to level the playing field between large, medium and small vendors when using Gartner’s analysis in selecting software.

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: An Overview of Gartner
  • Chapter 3: How Gartner Makes Money
  • Chapter 4: Comparing Gartner to Consumer Reports, the RAND Corporation, and Academic Research
  • Chapter 5: The Magic Quadrant
  • Chapter 6: Other Analytical Products Offered by Gartner
  • Chapter 7: Gartner’s Future and Cloud Computing
  • Chapter 8: Adjusting the Magic Quadrant
  • Chapter 9: Is Gartner Worth the Investment?
  • Chapter 10: Conclusion
  • Appendix a: How to Use Independent Consultants for Software Selection
  • Appendix b: What Does the History of Media Tell Us About This Topic
  • Appendix c: Disclosure Statements and Code of Ethics

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

How Accurate was ComputerWorldUK on SAP Cofounder Hasso Plattner Defending S/4HANA?

What This Article Covers

  • Article Quotes
  • On SAP Not Being a SaaS Competitor
  • Hasso Answers with a Personal Attack
  • Selling the Future
  • Hasso Making Excuses for Poor Cloud Uptake
  • Why Companies Will Use Hosted for S/4HANA
  • SAP Leonardo

Introduction

On July 28, 2017 ComputerWorldUK wrote the article SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner defends S/4HANA cloud strategy, explains Leonardo and says Mark Hurd isn’t a “software guy”

In this article we evaluate the accuracy of the article.

Article Quotations

On SAP Not Being a SaaS Competitor

“The cofounder of the German software giant SAP, Dr Hasso Plattner, took to the stage at the Sapphire conference this week to talk about the company’s latest Leonardo product and why he sees it’s next generation ERP S/4HANA’s future as residing in the cloud

Mark Hurd, the CEO of arch rival Oracle criticised SAP’s cloud strategy back in December. As reported by Diginomica he said: “Their cloud strategy, which is most often referred to by the term S4/HANA, is fundamentally a hosting strategy. It’s really taking their core ERP on-prem app and hosting it in a data centre. It’s really the physical movement of a computer from here to there..

“That’s not cloud. That’s not SaaS. So I’m not sure that we really think of them as a core SaaS competitor.”

Yes, that is actually true. This lack of multi tenant capability and the fact that S/4HANA, as with ECC will require customization for the vast majority of companies that use it means that it will not be able to meet the technical definition of being cloud. It will be hosted. SAP uses the terminology “private cloud” to obscure this fact, but private cloud is simply hosted, and offering hosted ERP is not what Wall Street wants SAP to be moving to. This is covered in the article. Why S/4HANA is a Poor Fit for the Cloud.

Hasso Answers with a Personal Attack

“Plattner had earlier stated that “in the cloud is our version to aim for” when it comes to getting customers onto its next generation ERP solution S/4HANA, which works on top of the in-memory HANA database.

Later on, during a Q&A session, he responded to the criticism from Hurd by saying that Oracle is a competitor and that Hurd is “not a software guy”, before going into detail for how he sees SAP’s S/4HANA cloud strategy playing out now that the ERP system can be run on the three most popular public cloud providers (Google, AWS and Azure), as well as SAP’s own private Enterprise Cloud offering.”

So that is a personal attack rather than a counter argument. What Mark Hurd said happens to be true.

Selling the Future

Now S/4HANA can be run on three popular could providers (although this contradicts SAP’s earlier strategy of competing and beating AWS and others), but that does not address the problem of what happens when the system requires customization. Will Google, AWS and Azure offer a hosted/private cloud for S/4HANA? If so, won’t the price have to increase?

This is a common strategy by SAP generally to describe what “can be done” rather than what is likely to be done, or what makes sense to do.

Hasso Making Excuses for Poor Cloud Uptake

“Plattner, who can only make strategic recommendations as chairman of the supervisory board at SAP, admits that the company is still in the process of adapting to the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. “For forty five years the customer has operated the system, large systems. We do it now together with the customers and SAP is learning how to operate and we are getting better and better and we are getting profitable now,” he said.

SAP’s total cloud subscriptions and support revenue grew 34 percent year-over-year to €905 million (£769 million) in its Q1 2017 results.”

Why is support revenue included in this number? SAP’s support revenue is far more than €905 per quarter. What is SAP’s subscription revenue, that is the relevant question here. Support revenues apply to both on premises as well as cloud sales, so quoting the support revenue is deliberately misleading.

Why Companies Will Use Hosted for S/4HANA

“Although Plattner says that SAP now gives customers the “full spectrum” of cloud ERP options, he naturally believes that running S/4 with SAP is the better option for customers. “HANA Enterprise Cloud has more traditional flexibility for the customer, in the HANA public cloud there are more restrictions,” he said.”

Right, most customers will need to customize S/4, so they will need to move to the HANA Enterprise Cloud. The HANA Public Cloud is only usable for companies that have no customizations. Isn’t this basically what Mark Hurd said at the beginning of this article?

SAP Leonardo

“Ever the engineer, Dr Plattner calls Leonardo a “bounding box”. He explained: “It is a box around a set of objects, so this is a box around a set of tools to build a system which then, with machine learning algorithms, finds insights which we can attach to transactions.”

Plattner reiterated that what makes SAP’s approach to AI and machine learning unique is that customisers have all of the important business data right there underneath them, in the SAP transactional systems, and they don’t have to ferry data outside of core systems to run algorithms out at the edge.

He said: “It is the age of AI but we do it inside, we do not run around with our valuable data and go from system to system.” Plattner added that keeping the data in one place is the best way to safeguard it.”

There is really no evidence that Leonardo is anywhere right now. This is covered in the article Why SAP’s Leonardo Seems so Fake. SAP has shown no evidence it is even in the game for AI or machine learning. And SAP may have a different approach to these things, but where is the evidence of any payoff?

Conclusion

This is a standard article by ComputerWorld, and its parent company IDG. It allows SAP to say anything they like, and they offer no filter. ComputerWorld simply serves as a repeating mechanism for SAP. They may be paid by SAP, but they also are compensated by online ads. This would not necessarily be a problem, but they don’t seem to put any effort into writing articles.

Brightwork Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.

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References

[S/4HANA: What does SAP’s next generation ERP mean for customers? | Applications | Computerworld UK](https://www.computerworlduk.com/applications/s4-hana-what-does-saps-next-generation-erp-mean-for-customers-3596790/)