How SAP Admitted in Court Documents to Copying from Open Source MySQL

Executive Summary

  • While trying to win its case against Teradata, SAP admitted to copying functionality from MySQL.
  • We analyze the meaning of this admission by SAP.


The recent submissions to the court by Teradata outline what IP Teradata asserts was taken by SAP during their partnership with SAP. In one of the patent documents, they have claimed to have taken concepts from MySQL rather than Teradata. This is expressed in the following quotation debating one of the patents that Teradata is accusing SAP of violating.

pg 28-29, “MaxDB is an ANSI SQL-92 (entry level) compliant relational database management system (RDBMS) from SAP AG, which is delivered by MySQL AB as well.”  “MaxDB is targetted for large mySAP Business Suite environments and other applications that require maximum enterprise-level database functionality. MaxDB fulfills the needs for enterprise usage: safety, scalability, high concurrency and performance. It runs on all major operating systems. Over the years it has proven able to run SAP R/3 and terabytes of data in 24×7 operation. MaxDB is targetted for large mySAP Business Suite environments and other applications that require maximum enterprise-level database functionality. The homepage of MaxDB by MySQL is”

One might think that this is a good strategy. After all, it provides a direct explanation as to where SAP obtained the IP that does not subject them to liability in the Teradata lawsuit.

The problem (for SAP) is that SAP is not allowed to do this under the terms of MySQL’s GNU General Public License or GPL.

The GNU General Public License

This is covered by the following portions of the GNU GPL.

You may not propagate or modify a covered work except as expressly provided under this License. Any attempt otherwise to propagate or modify it is void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License (including any patent licenses granted under the third paragraph of section 11).

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program–to make sure it remains free software for all its users. We, the Free Software Foundation, use the GNU General Public License for most of our software; it applies also to any other work released this way by its authors. You can apply it to your programs, too. – GNU

And it is explained by Markian Jaworsky.

One can only use that argument of copying from a GNU GPL covered code base if you are planning to make your product open-source as well.  Open-source being protected by both copyright and contract law.

Open-source is protected by copyright, so you can’t copy it to make money, and then contract law states that if you use open-source IP in your product, then by license agreement contract law, your product must also be open-source.

Why This Clause in the GPL is So Necessary

If this clause did not exist, the private companies would routinely take from public projects and then claim they performed the invention or created the IP and then never give back to the public project. This needs to be made clear. For-profit companies routinely pretend to have innovative in areas where they have not and will steal as much from the public domain as possible, and claim the invention of things they had nothing to do with.

There is a lot of discussion about China stealing US IP, and they do. China’s industrial policy is to pull the manufacturing from the developing world, and all of the IP with it, while India’s industrial policy is to take as many of the IT jobs from the developed world.

However, faking innovation is alive and well in the US software industry and many other industries with pharmaceuticals being another major area. Currently, we are in the midst of an enormous AI bubble, with companies that have nothing added to AI, or faking the use of AI raising massive sums of money claiming that they do. SAP has tried to sell public domain machine learning algorithms that are decades old, under at least the impression that SAP had something to do with developing them, which they did not.

Fake Innovation and Getting the Fake Innovation Claims Repeated

While Gartner was being paid by SAP to write ridiculously flattering and ultimately false articles about HANA as we cover in the article How Gartner Got HANA So Wrong, and while companies like IBM, Accenture, Wipro and the overall SAP ecosystem were mindlessly repeating SAP’s false claims about HANA’s innovation, Brightwork Research & Analysis has been saying for some time that SAP did not create new IP when it developed HANA. We cover this in the article Did SAP Reinvent the Wheel with HANA?

SAP HANA still has major memory management problems that other databases do not have, meaning HANA is a significant step back for companies versus databases that were pulled out and replaced with HANA. Another report came in on HANA memory management just recently (and adds to HANA’s CPU management problems that we cover in the article How HANA Takes 30 to 40 Times the Memory of Other Databases). But these reports show the same issue, meaning that SAP is doing little to correct the design flaws with HANA.

Hiding Reality

All of this is hidden, with people only agreeing to share this information if their names are never associated with what I report. Any IT worker sharing information that is negative about SAP, whose name became public, would be reprimanded by their director of IT. No adverse information about customers can be published….until that is, and if the company seeks monetary damages against a vendor or consulting firm. Until that time, everything is censored.

The rule is the same for both IT departments workers and business users,

“sit down and shut up,”

..and allow the mega-vendors and their associated “ecosystem” rob your company so that the top brass in the IT department can continue to add the latest mega vendor versions to their resume. And to be wined and dined by the mega vendor and consulting account managers. Remember, as we learned from Hunter Biden, it is not real corruption, its just “soft” corruption. Or the cuddly kind of corruption. “Real” corruption only occurs when a suitcase of money is involved, not when you sell out the interests of your employer.

Failures are explained away with establishment articles from the Harvard Business Review that discusses the importance of a “shared vision,” “top management support,” and a host of other topics that never get to the information quality provided to software buyers. Or the account control used by mega-vendors and consulting firms against their customers.

Why the Case Between SAP and Teradata Keeps Delivering Information

Ordinarily, SAP gets to make their claims against a backdrop of paid off media entities and consulting firms that have no other information-sharing purpose than obtaining highly wasteful SAP projects. In this environment, everything is stacked in their favour.

However, in court, SAP is trying to win its case against Teradata, and this will force it to point out to other databases where it copied the things it lied about inventing internally. This is entirely inconsistent with their messaging to customers. The official story of HANA’s development has already been manufactured by SAP, as we cover in the article Did Hasso Plattner and His PhD Students Invent HANA? Why is the story now changing?

Keeping the Stories Separate

SAP wants to have the court documents keep undiscussed so that it can have two stories—one story for the court, and a separate, entirely inconsistent account for customers. And SAP’s compliant media entities will make sure they don’t cover the details of the case.

As anyone how saw Ghostbusters knows, you never cross the streams. Customers who bought HANA or plan to buy HANA should not “worry their pretty little head” about what SAP is now saying in its court case against Teradata. They should just rely on PwC or Infosys to explain all of it to them. 

This is much like the ZL Technologies case against Gartner, where Gartner said they could not be sued because their output was just “opinion,” as we cover in the article How to Best Understand Gartner’s Ombudsman.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

To see the full screen just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.



Currently, of the database base/data warehouse vendors, only Teradata is suing SAP. However, other database vendors were the victims of the same false claims made by SAP about HANA. The more the lawsuit persists, the more information comes available for other companies that SAP used incorrect information to market against. While the case has not gotten to this part of the Teradata complaint yet; SAP used the same anticompetitive tactics to block out of accounts as we cover in the article, HANA Used to Block Out Other Databases. We documented this behaviour of SAP on customers from multiple sources before Teradata ever filed their lawsuit.

Teradata is not the only database vendor with at least anti-trust claims against SAP for what they did with HANA. However, it should be noted that anti-trust complaints are now tried in court, as companies know that the FTC won’t do anything about enforcing the US laws on anti-trust. The current status on anti-trust is that the US society allows the most egregious abuses of power by the giant entities, and these same companies continue to tell us that they function in a “capitalist system” and compete in a free and open market.

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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


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

Executive Summary

  • SAP proposed 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.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

To see the full screen just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.



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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


SAP HANA 大裁员:它怎么了

Executive Summary

  • SAP recently had major layoffs in its HANA group.
  • We analyze what this likely means for HANA.

Chinese Version of This Article

This article was originally written in English and became very popular in China. It was translated at a website in China and before we had a chance to complain about the unauthorized copy, it was then removed for some reason. We copied a saved version of that article that we had to the site.


2019年3月6日星期三,SAP对其高级HANA职位做出了重大调整。SAP解雇了所有顶级HANA开发人员,并且解雇了HANA实验室的主管。加上最近解雇的SAP首席技术官Bernd Leukert。在本文中,我们将回顾这些变化的重要影响以及HANA的进展。


HANA是一个构思欠佳的数据库,其基本设计参数由一个完全没有资格设计数据库的人设定,Hasso Plattner。正如我们在文章中所述,Hasso Plattner和他所带领的博士生发明HANA?SAP为HANA的开发创建了一个有预谋的错误背景故事,Hasso在他博学的博士的帮助下发明了一个新的数据库。

Hasso has written this story in several books.


HANA以巨大的技术债务开始其生命,因为它的基本设计从未有任何意义。Hasso最终选择了另一位非常不合格的人来管理HANA的发展 – Vishal Sikka。 Vishal Sikka几年前离开SAP去了Infosys,但SAP在新任CTO Bernd Leukert的领导下,在HANA方面取得的进展很小,他没有资格成为CTO,甚至不如Vishal Sikka领导下HANA取得的进展。


HANA领导行业的唯一领域是Marketing Claims。在Brightwork,我们对主要数据库供应商以外的任何实体的HANA进行了大量研究,由于他们与SAP的合作协议,他们都无法发布他们所拥有的信息。我没有和SAP之外的任何一个不懂数据库的人谈过SAP的Claims。



技术公司夸大其技术创新是很常见的。正如我们在“公共云革命:开源如何取代私有IT巨型供应商”一书中所述,私营部门公司参与的一项主要策略是从公共领域撤出,并假装创新是他们的。从制药公司到软件公司的每个人都经常这样做。 SAP是一位声称因未参与的创新而获得赞誉的大师。

HANA是伪创新,正如我们在《如何理解HANA伪创新》一文中所述。 SAP已经对其他数据库进行逆向工程,并重命名项目以隐藏逆向工程设计,SAP为HANA花费的资金只是为了简单的重复造轮子?SAP已经无法为数据库创建新的贡献。它的设计与数据库设计的完全相反,正如我们在如何理解AWS的多基础与SAP的单基础方法中所述。这一切都不应该那么难理解,因为SAP关于HANA的陈述经常违反数据库理论。

今天,SAP关于HANA的许多声明都可以穿插Dan Quayle或Sara Palin的引用,而且看起来并不一致。Steve Lucas提供的一些最荒谬的内容,正如我们对Steve Lucas 文章的分析关于HANA Oracle不会告知你的事情。




HANA总是构思不佳,在市场上没有任何实际用途。我们对全球12个HANA实施报告的评估表明,它必须是市场上销售的最高维护数据库。我们跟踪的其他数据库都不是那么不稳定,需要很多其他组件才能正常运行 – HANA与各种创可贴相结合,这些辅助工具是将HANA推出市场所必需的,也是高度分散的开发领导力的自然结果。 HANA是数据库的黑洞,不断吞噬IT预算。我们跟踪的唯一适度成功的实现是针对HANA上的BW,但HANA仅在旧硬件上优于旧版本的Oracle和DB2。事实上,正如我们在文章中讨论的SAP HANA利益的多少硬件负责人所做的那样,大部分性能改进都不适用于更新和更大的硬件?




HANA的真正目的很简单。这是为了将促使Oracle退出他们的客户并为SAP获取更多的收入(SAP已经为Oracle的客户增加了收费)。Hasso和Larry已经陷入了长达数十年的根深蒂固的敌意,HANA是Hasso刺向Larry的一种方式……当Hasso的帆船在他们的一场比赛中遇到机械问题时,Larry可能不会停下来协助他。 老实说,Hasso受到自负和情绪的驱使,这可能是Hasso在头脑里第一次种下要开始做HANA的种子。这个假设最初是通过与Oracle / SAP领域多年经验的联系人向我提出的,但不希望被识别出来。





我们的观点是原罪是让Hasso设定了设计参数。正如我们一再声明的那样,Hasso不是一个技术性的头脑,他是我们在Hasso Plattner博士学位所涵盖的推动者吗? SAP的另外三位联合创始人更多的是技术人才。由于他是最后一位创始人,他基本上因为他们的贡献而受到赞扬。


解雇 / 裁员







多年来,HANA一直受到保护,因为每个人都担心与Hasso相矛盾,但随着Hasso年龄不断增长,HANA继续暴露,HANA的日子已成为SAP的核心重点。如果SAP认为过去的成功是基于差异化的技术实力,那就严重错误了。 SAP的主要区别在于它能够建立合作伙伴关系,并建立能够推荐SAP处于财务优势地位的大型和强大公司。从本质上讲,它是一个促进腐败的高功能机器。但SAP越来越认为它的成功是建立在技术差异的基础之上的 – 而且它正在给它们带来麻烦。










这是由彼得·戈德马赫(Peter Goldmacher)提出的,他解决了SAP多年前提出的会计技巧。他因为不知道自己在做什么而受到SAP的严厉批评,然后SAP在这个问题上变得黑暗。


我们认为最近的解雇是SAP认识到其与HANA的发展战略/方法不起作用。而且早就应该来了。但问题是很难看出HANA是如何恢复。它总是有不可能的设计参数,从那时起就一直在努力满足这些设计参数。问题是,它无法满足它们,这可能是所有抨击的主要原因。即使拥有比SAP更多数据库经验和人才的甲骨文也没有以满足SAP声称的方式推出多模式数据库。如果Oracle无法做到这一点,很难看到SAP或其他任何人这样做。我们的观点与Bloor Research的结论相同,正如我们的文章中关于Oracle内存中的Bloor研究的准确性,这与AWS的相同,即数据库应该专门用于处理任务。

如果我为某人设定了一项不可能完成的任务,那么他们就无法达到它。他们效率低下。这是因为不可能的目标会产生功能障碍,它会吸引像维萨尔•西卡(Vishal Sikka)或贝恩德•勒克特(Bernd Leukert)这样的人,他们会通过告诉Hasso和其他人他们正在取得进展而保持高调的立场。只有可实现的目标才是动机。 Hasso设定了设计参数,但后来却不知道如何满足它们。然后他把目标交给了另外两个也不知道如何遇见他们的人,但他们说过了。

我们一直在等待SAP将兔子从他们的帽子中变出来,已经八年了,没有任何兔子出现。多年来我们一直在讨论SAP资源,正如我们在如何避免您错过HANA这一文章中所述。很明显,那些人要么不知道他们在谈论什么,要么在撒谎。另一方面,SAP的许多人认为如果他们只是重复SAP的谈话要点,他们就会做好自己的工作。作为HANA周围虚假信息的最大传播者之一,John Appleby,我们曾在多篇文章中讽刺过,其中包括John Appleby如何错误地了解他的HANA预测,似乎已经从出版界消失了。

所有这些人现在看起来都很傻。最后,关于SAP是否具有在其他数据库供应商中并不是很优越的数据库知识,本书尚未公布。 SAP没有。







首先,我们先指出了事实。 SAP客户唯一要做的就是避免与HANA混在一起,而是阅读我们的研究而不是听Deloitte或埃森哲,他们生活中唯一的目标是最大化他们的计费时间。而且所有意图和目的都可以被高端鹦鹉所取代,正如我们在SAP咨询公司和鹦鹉之间的区别是什么?



The Problem with SAP User Groups on S/4HANA for AnyDB

Executive Summary

  • SAP took advantage of customers by restricting S/4HANA to HANA.
  • How can SAP be pressured to open up S/4HANA to other databases?


This is a perfect time for SAP user groups to bring the pressure on SAP to open S/4HANA to other databases. However, who can do this?

The Uselessness of SAP User Groups

Unfortunately, while the interests of SAP customers are enormous on this topic, no SAP user group is willing to confront SAP with this demand. Each of the user groups is too friendly with SAP and, therefore, cannot adequately represent the interests of the users. ASUG members, in particular, could ask, “what are you good for?”

ASUG is useless outside of setting up conferences and figuring out where booths should go, managing the catering for events, etc. You can’t trust them to moderate any disagreement with any objectivity with SAP because SAP tells them what to do. ASUG is a neutered entity and holding pen for CIOs that are between SAP gigs that care more about their relationship to SAP than any of the companies that are ASUG members, which we covered in the article How ASUG Lost Its Way and Sold Out to SAP.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

To see the full screen just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.



It this amazing when you think about it. Consulting firms, user groups, Gartner, and Forrester — SAP has infiltrated them all, and none of them represents the interests of customers. Only DSAG seems even to attempt to challenge SAP.

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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


What Will Happen to HANA Projects That Are In Process?

Executive Summary

  • We covered how SAP fired several top people in the HANA hierarchy.
  • So now, the question is what happens to HANA projects that are in process.


In the article SAP’s Layoffs and a Brightwork Warning on HANA, we covered what SAP’s layoffs meant for HANA. And it is not positive. However, it brings up an interesting question about what do do about planned HANA implementations.

The Background

Bernd Leukert is gone.  Bjorn Goerke is gone. Ken Tsai, who had global product marketing responsibilities for HANA, SAP Data Hub, SAP Vora, is now vice president of Adobe’s Experience platform. All of Bjorn’s product teams are slaughtered: ABAP, HANA, UI, JAM, Big data, Mobile and many more. Not just Neo, but any SAP proprietary service on any platform. Everything related to Cloud Platform & Mobile in North America was shuttered – several teams across several cities. Didn’t matter how old/young, good/bad. Layoffs announced in US, India, Japan, Hungary, Germany, Singapore, Canada, UK, China, Ireland, Malaysia, France, and Vietnam. SAP’s engineering culture died this week. – Ahmed Azmi

The Question

These high profile firings clearly mean something is wrong and SAP can no longer move forward with the current product leadership. You explained the reasons for the problems. What do you think SAP’s options going forward could be especially for customers who are currently implementing a HANA based system? SAP already removed HANA from the cloud platform a couple of years ago when they rebranded the HANA cloud platform (HCP) to the SAP cloud platform (SCP). Now, it looks like the on-premises product line is also taking a turn away from HANA.” – Ahmed Azmi

The Answer

“SAP is not going to change its strategy for in-process HANA customers, no matter how bad the value is for them. SAP can command many thousands of consulting firms to continue to promote HANA, none of them caring much what is true. I see them as continuing down the path they have followed of making false claims about HANA to anyone who will listen. But to your specific question, if a customer is in process, there is little that can normally be done. The IT department needs to pretend to the business that the purchase was justified. The number of IT departments that have admitted they ever made a mistake since the dawn of the computing age until two minutes ago still sits at about zero.”

And this brought up a question by Sam Bayer of Covisint.

“Actually incumbent CIOs never admit that they made a bad decision. Their successors get to proclaim that as they dance on the grave of their predecessor.”

To which we replied.

“Excellent point. This puts IT departments outside of the simply measurable realm. Basically the only time you hear about the details is when a customer files a lawsuit, and then, in that case, the fault is entirely with the consulting firm/vendor. Then the consulting firm/vendor says the fault lies entirely with the customer. This system, combined with where reviews are rigged on G2Crowd as we covered in the article Why G2Crowd Has False Information on S4HANA and Gartner as we covered in How Gartner is Similar to the Devil Wears Prada means that information about failures or limitations almost entirely come from personal connections. What I know about HANA is not public, it is because of people reaching out, but not high-level people, they are too far in The Matrix, rather I am contacted by those doing the work that have the unrealistic expectations placed upon them from their managers. The industry lacks any type of quality control. At many vendors, this is less of a problem because they do their own quality control, but at a vendor like SAP that constantly releases immature products, it a serious problem. As an example, I was recently contacted about a need for 4 EWM consultants from Deloitte. EWM is a dead application that has failed everywhere it has been attempted. But Deloitte is pitching it anyway, because their SAP consulting practice can only recommend SAP. That implementation is destined to fail before it begins.

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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


Why Did SAP Stop Reporting HANA Numbers After 2015?

Executive Summary

  • SAP reported customer numbers on HANA — right up until 2015.
  • The question we cover is what happened to this reporting and what it means.


SAP has two ways of speaking in general. One is when they are talking to a compliant audience, like at SAPPHIRE, to media they pay to cover them and on analyst calls. On analyst calls, SAP makes confident statements about the growth of its products, but the evidence usually is lacking.

In this article, we will address the peculiar decline in reporting on HANA implementation numbers.

The Diginomica Article

In Q2 of 2015, one of the last definitive statements around customer numbers was issued. Diginomica is paid by SAP, so they are a compliant media outlet for them. Every single time we evaluate the accuracy level of an entity that is funded by SAP, we find high levels of inaccuracy. And this has been true of every Diginomica article we have reviewed.

Here is a screenshot of the article from 2015.

The revenue growth from HANA is described as explosive by John Appleby.

“…the explosive revenue growth from HANA continues, even if average deal volume has decreased, because there are plenty of sell-ons to existing customers. Therefore your original projections are probably about right. This means that HANA is supporting core revenue quite significantly by now. But also, every deal is a HANA deal, and deals are bundled.” – John Appleby

John Appleby was a primary shill for SAP in the past. And at this time in 2015, he was a primary source of information on HANA.

After Appleby, one of the least accurate sources of information on SAP is Ron Enslin (how now works at Google), and he had the following to say.

“This quarter, the number of HANA customers surpassed 7,200 compared with 3,600 a year ago.”

So there is the definitive quote—7,200 customers in the 2nd quarter of 2015.

Dennis Howlett, the article’s author, stated the following:

“This is a crucially important point because now, SAP is recognizing the need to be aligned to ‘solving the unsolvable’ and ‘imagining the unimaginable’ problems that former board member Vishal Sikka, now CEO Infosys envisioned back in 2010-12 and which he is carrying through in his current company.”

This is a fantastic quotation, because it is a writer repeating another highly unreliable source, Vishal Sikka, without even filtering the observation.

Furthermore, even in 2015, it was known that Vishal left SAP under unusual circumstances.

Where Are the 2016, 2017, or 2018 HANA Customers?

We searched online for HANA customers in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and could not find any statements from SAP on HANA customer numbers. If the growth was explosive in 2015 — why did the reporting of customer numbers stop in 2015?

Interestingly, SAP appeared to change the narrative to S/4HANA and began quoting S/4HANA customers numbers rather than HANA customers.

The Customer Estimate from iDatalabs

We found that iDatalabs tracks the number of HANA customers. iDatalabs is a sales intelligence firm, so they profile the usage of applications and databases to sell the data to companies that want to sell into customers that have ABC or XYZ products already.

We have reviewed iDatalabs in the past and found their estimates seem reasonable, and they do not have an incentive to overestimate or underestimate the number of customers.

“We have found 7,370 companies that use SAP HANA. The companies using SAP HANA are most often found in United States and in the Computer Software industry. SAP HANA is most often used by companies with 50-200 employees and 1M-10M dollars in revenue. Our data for SAP HANA usage goes back as far as 3 years and 9 months.”

If this is accurate, it means that SAP has not grown its HANA customers since it last reported the HANA numbers in 2015. For another data point, we went out to DB Engines, which tracks database popularity.

Notice that HANA began to stall in 2015. Up until that point, SAP had a growth story, but growth was much more challenging to come by after this. Would this explain why SAP simply stopped reporting customer numbers? 

Customer Numbers Versus Number of Instances

A customer that brings buys a single instance of HANA is a customer of HANA. But one customer can have any number of individual HANA database instances. Therefore, the overall popularity would be measured by the total number of instances rather than the number of customers. Oracle, as an example, will typically have customers that use many instances of their Oracle database. HANA is not like this. HANA usually comes into the company through conversion for the BW, but then new HANA instances are slowed because the cost and expense and overhead of HANA become apparent. SAP tells massive lies to customers to get them to convert. I receive the documents that SAP provides through customers — materials that are not published on SAP’s website, but which tell customers that they HAVE to use HANA if they want various application benefits.

Top Customers of HANA

iDatalabs lists the following top customers for HANA.

“Royal Dutch Shell PLC Netherlands >1000M >10000
ICS Consultancy Services India 10M-50M 50-200
Mawai Infotech Limited India 10M-50M 50-200
Birlasoft (India) Ltd. India 200M-1000M 1000-5000
SuccessFactors, Inc. United States 200M-1000M 1000-5000”

Notice that three of these companies are SAP consulting firms, and a fourth (SuccessFactors) is an SAP company.

Faux Customers Through SAP Consulting Firms

Something that is not generally explained is that the vast SAP ecosystem adopts SAP products, not to use them internally, but to build skills. Therefore they bring up a demo environment to show customers, and they are counted as a customer of that product. We found this repeatedly in the S/4HANA space, where again, many customers of S/4HANA, particularly S/4HANA cloud, were SAP consulting firms.

Notice anything curious about the customers listed on this slide for S/4HANA? Why are so many customers SAP consulting firms? Do SAP consulting firms need an ERP system? Dickinson & Associates is not even a consulting firm; they are SAP recruiters. Recruiters require ERP systems now?

A representative from Dickinson & Associates debated me as to the benefits of S/4HANA for customers. For a person with a technical background, it does not get any lower than discussing a recruiter as to what is technically true and false. Its the equivalent of looking for a fight at a preschool.

These kids are not far off in their SAP knowledge from SAP recruiters. But where recruiters make up the difference is……confidence. 

As with S/4HANA Cloud, this means that a sizable component of the early growth of HANA “customers” was to the consulting ecosystem. It should go without saying that these are not real customers.

And when SAP has so many SAP consulting firms that it can transfer licenses to a little cost, this is a primary way that SAP rigs the growth numbers of new products to make them look more successful than they are. By the time the growth slows down (as has now happened with S/4HANA), SAP simply pivots the reporting to a new product, which again is early in its lifecycle and being adopted by the SAP consulting firms.

Project Examples with HANA

We have it from a reliable source that SAP won a head to head project that contained no HANA. The reason for this was that the SAP management had substantial compensation incentives for HANA the put it into the already confirmed and priced BOM. At zero discount and discounted everything else so HANA, a product not used or needed, was 30% of the total cost.

The salesperson did not achieve his targets when HANA was not included. Due to this, the salesperson told the customer price stays the same, and they threw in a new product at no cost.

SAP management made their HANA number, but the customer now pays a support fee (which is based on the list price, not the discounted price) for a product that they do not use. SAP counts this as a customer, even though HANA was not implemented.

The following is a quote from a person with intimate knowledge of the HANA deals made by SAP.

“Nearly all orders we filled were BS and customer didn’t need. Even on BW – the implementations were so complex and so much fine tuning as soon as the experts left, or the scope changed – problem.”

The Asian Airlines that Lost on HANA

“An Asian airline was implementing a new sap ERP a few years back and did not choose HANA. After buying SAP had another go and brought in their top people. It still didn’t make business sense and airline couldn’t justify the price. There was simply no ROI. Finally SAP played the “no future new functionality” card and said the module the Asian airline wanted (flight planning) was only available on HANA. At that point the airline felt they were essentially forced to buy.”

This quote paints another picture of SAP pushing HANA for SAP instead for any reason that the customer needs.

This story gets even stranger because there is no product in SAP’s product list that has the word “flight” on the list. Is it a secret product or perhaps vaporware?

Secondly, a planning module like that will be processor intensive, but it is not going to be read access intensive. So this is another example of SAP overgeneralizing the benefits of HANA. I have never run into flight planning before, but there is going to be best of breed solutions that are developed by people with years of flight planning experience that SAP won’t be able to compete with. Sabre has a solution. So SAP is going to compete with Sabre?

Furthermore, there are a series of free flight planning websites that are readily available online. Upon investigation, the number of flights that are planned on HANA globally is very close to zero.

Companies that Bought HANA, With No Intention of Using It

“The customer said they had no plans to use HANA, so I asked why, then, had they bought it. They explained that their procurement had negotiated all the SAP modules they wanted and the price. The final order docs came back from SAP with HANA added to the product list as the last line, the entire order price allocated to HANA, and the word “Included” next to all the products that they were actually buying – as if the ERP modules were components of some sort of HANA “suite”.

So SAP found a way to book millions in revenue to Hana even though their customer had no use for it and didn’t want it. This customer didn’t object as they were told by SAP that they were getting a free product that they might use/need one day and would mature over time. So they let it go.”

And why was this done? So that SAP could report to Wall Street that HANA is growing, much more than it is.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

To see the full screen just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.



SAP had grand plans for HANA, and when they did not pan out, SAP stopped reporting HANA customer numbers. Secondly, the numbers that were reported were significantly exaggerated because HANA was being adopted by consulting firms and other associated companies that are part o the SAP ecosystem that did not reflect real usage.

This is consistent that when the numbers are good, the figures get reported, and when they are not, they don’t get reported, and the company moves to report on other things. Growth is easy to attain in the beginning, but as a product gets better known, if it is less effective than advertised, its growth slows. And HANA was far less effective than advertised. We began our coverage on HANA’s inaccuracies around 2016 as evidence began to come in that all was not right on HANA implementations.

This article in Diginomica receives a 1 out of 10 for accuracy. Furthermore, at the time of this article was published, Diginomica was a sponsor. This is the problem with a compliant media, that is looking for income from the entity they are covering.

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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


SAP’s Layoffs and a Brightwork Warning on HANA

Executive Summary

  • SAP recently had major layoffs in its HANA group.
  • We analyze what this likely means for HANA.


On Wednesday, March 6th, 2019, SAP made a significant change to its senior HANA positions.

  • SAP fired all the top HANA developers
  • SAP fired the director of HANA labs

This adds to the recent firing of Bernd Leukert, SAP’s CTO.

In this article, we will review the important implications of these changes along with HANA’s progress.

Important Background on HANA

HANA was an ill-conceived database that had its basic design parameters set by someone entirely unqualified to design a database, Hasso Plattner. As we covered in the article, Did Hasso Plattner and His Ph.D. Students Invent HANA?

SAP created a premeditated false backstory to HANA’s development where Hasso, with the help of his scrappy Ph.D., ’s invented a new database.

Hasso has written this story in several books.

Hasso has retold the story at SAPPHIRE and innumerable articles. This story is entirely false, which means Hasso is lying every time he repeats it. The truth is all of the technologies were acquired a year before HANA was “created,” and these acquisitions are not listed on SAP’s acquisitions at Wikipedia.

  1. HANA began its life with enormous technical debt because its basic design never made any sense.
  2. Hasso eventually picked another supremely unqualified individual to manage HANA’s development, Vishal Sikka. Vishal Sikka left SAP several years ago for Infosys, but SAP has made very little progress with HANA under the new CTO Bernd Leukert, who was no more qualified to be a CTO than Vishal Sikka or to lead development on HANA.

Where Does HANA Lead the Industry?

The only area where HANA leads the industry is in the marketing claims. At Brightwork, we have performed the most research into HANA of any entity outside of the primary database vendors, none of whom can release the information they have because of their partnership agreements with SAP. I have not spoken to a single database knowledgable person outside of SAP that is impressed with SAP’s claims.

HANA is not used outside of SAP customers. This is strange if HANA is what SAP has said it is. If HANA were effective, why would its implementation only be limited to a small number of companies that were already SAP customers before they purchased HANA?

HANA as Fake Innovation

It is prevalent for technology companies to exaggerated their technological innovation. As we covered in the book The Public Cloud Revolution: How Open Source is Displacing Proprietary IT Mega Vendors, a major strategy engaged in by private sector companies is to pull from the public domain, and pretend that the innovation was theirs. Everyone from pharmaceutical companies to software companies routinely does this. And SAP is a master at claiming credit for innovation they were not involved in.

HANA is fake innovation, as we covered in the article How to Understand the Fake Innovation of HANA. SAP has been backward engineering other databases and renaming items to hide the backward engineering as we covered Did SAP Simply Reinvent the Wheel with HANA? With all of the HANA funding, SAP has been unable to create new contributions to databases. And its design is the exact opposite of where database design is going, as we covered in How to Understand AWS’s Multibase Versus SAP’s Single-base Approach. This all should not have been that difficult to understand, as SAP’s statements about HANA routinely violated database theory.

Today many of SAP’s statements about HANA can be interspersed with quotes from Dan Quayle or Sara Palin without seeming at all incongruous. Some of the most ridiculous provided by Steve Lucas, as we covered in our Analysis of Steve Lucas’ Article on What Oracle Won’t Tell You About HANA.

The fact that more people don’t seem to notice this shows the deeply propagandized nature of SAP consultants and resources. Any information stated by a high-level SAP resource must be worshipped.

Something odd happens to the brains of most SAP resources when a high ranking person from SAP makes a statement. They don’t seem to ask, “wait, does this make any sense?” Instead, the information gets mainlined directly into the brain without filtration. SAP resources have been repeating ridiculous things now about databases since HANA was first introduced. It’s odd because to SAP resources, these claims seem perfectly normal, whereas to us, these claims look like the proposals of someone who is merely making things up. 

The Problem With the Initial Conception of HANA

HANA was always poorly conceived, and it serves no real purpose in the market. Our evaluation of 12 reported HANA implementations worldwide indicates that it has to be the highest maintenance database that is sold in the market. No other database we track is so unstable and requires so many different components to run correctly. HANA is held together with various band-aids that were necessary to get HANA out the door and are the natural outcome of highly fractured development leadership. HANA is the black hole of databases, continually swallowing IT budgets. The only moderately successful implementation we have tracked is for BW on HANA, but HANA only outperforms older versions of Oracle and DB2 on older hardware. Much of the performance improvement is unaccounted for more updated and larger hardware, as we covered in the article How Much is Hardware Responsible for SAP HANA Benefits?

HANA has no performance advantage over competing databases, has enormous problems addressing the giant memory footprint it is sized for, as we covered in the article How HANA Takes 30 to 40 Times the Memory of Other Databases.

The True Purpose of HANA

SAP continually talks up the benefits of HANA to customers; however, after extensive evaluation, HANA has no benefit to customers. Any customer that replaces DB2 or Oracle or other databases with HANA will see no performance improvement in analytics (versus modern versions of DB2 or Oracle even on smaller hardware footprints). But customers will see significant performance degradation in both transaction processing and in processing intensive operations like MRP as we covered in the article How to Interpret the Performance Problems with MRP on HANA.

The real purpose of HANA is simple. It is to push Oracle out of accounts and to capture more of that revenue for SAP (SAP already upcharges customers for Oracle). Hasso and Larry have been in a multi-decade deep-seated animosity towards one another, and HANA was a way for Hasso to stick it to Larry. Perhaps for not stopping and assisting him when his sailboat had mechanical problems in one of their races. Honestly, Hasso is so driven by ego and emotions. This may have been the first seed in Hasso’s mind to start HANA. This hypothesis was first proposed to me by a contact in with many years of experience in the Oracle/SAP space, but who would not want to be identified.

I can’t prove it is true, but if true, it would explain a lot of things that don’t seem to make any sense without some ancillary reason.

If anyone has read other Brightwork articles, it will be apparent that we are no fan of Oracle. We think Oracle is a monopolistic vendor that should be broken up by the FTC. So these statements don’t come from any allegiance to Oracle, but the factual characteristics of the databases. And the same applies to IBM, another vendor whose business practices we are not high on. However, we don’t allow our disdain for Oracle or IBM’s business practices to influence our technical observations.

The Problem with HANA Development

HANA came out with a marketing campaign that was enormously exaggerated as we covered in Has SAP’s Relentless HANA Push Paid Off?

However, in addition to not being able to meet almost any of the initial claims, HANA still cannot meet these claims, and HANA is simply not making progress towards these claims.

Our view is that the original sin was having Hasso set the design parameters. As we have repeatedly stated, Hasso is not a technical mind; he is a promoter as we covered in Does Hasso Plattner Have a Ph.D.? The other three co-founders of SAP were more of the technical talent. As he is the last remaining founder, he has mainly taken credit for their contributions.

People that listen to Hasso or read his books don’t pay attention to the fact that he is just not particularly insightful in technology. We get the same impression when reading anything Bill Gates writes. Having large piles of money does not translate into insight, but this seems to be lost on people who don’t pay attention to the message rather than the power of the individual.

The Firings/Layoffs

SAP is having to lay off people in areas where they have been misrepresenting themselves. So if you work in Leonardo in SAP, you are probably going to have to transfer out or get laid off, because Leonardo is dead. And that is what happens to failed products.

The HANA group just got hit with layoffs. However, HANA resources should get laid off. This may sound harsh, but if you have a failed product that sucks the IT budget from other products that do meet expectations, other vendors can undoubtedly claim that they deserve those revenues. That is supposed to be how a competitive market works, not where incompetent products with exaggerated claims are kept on life support so that employment can be maintained.

However, most of the SAP consultants that I know and debate don’t seem to have any interest in a competitive market. They wish for HANA to be knighted as the best database in the world, without ever having to compete. They want to add hot skills to their resumes and get paid as much as they possibly can.

Things are going to get a whole lot more difficult for HANA. SAP cannot solve the dual mode processing, which puts its overarching strategy for S/4HANA in a serious pickle. And that is just one of the factors working against HANA. 

Why The Tide is Moving Against HANA

As we covered in the article HANA’s Time in the Sun Has Finally Come to an End, SAP has transitioned away from HANA as the primary marketing tentpole. However, with Leonardo dead, it’s unclear exactly what SAP will now transition to. But HANA’s exaggerations have finally caught up with it. Furthermore, the internal groups in SAP are rebelling against the overarching focus and disproportionate allocations of resources that go to HANA.

For years HANA has been protected because everyone fears contradicting Hasso. But as Hasso continues to age, and HANA continues to get exposed, HANA’s days are numbered as a central emphasis point at SAP. SAP is gravely mistaken if it leads itself to think that its past success was based upon differentiated technology prowess. SAP’s primary differentiator has been its ability to create partnerships and to place large and powerful firms that can recommend SAP in a financially advantageous position to do so. Essentially it is a high functioning machine for corruption promotion. But SAP increasingly thinks that its success was based upon technological differentiation — and it is getting them into trouble.

There is no doubt SAP would have been better off if the following had occurred:

  1. SAP should have stayed out of databases.
  2. SAP should have never developed HANA.
  3. SAP should never have acquired Sybase (more than 1/2 of which was for its mobility, which turned out not to be legitimate).
  4. SAP should have course corrected and dumped HANA when all of the early problems surfaced rather than doubling down.

Sick of HANA?

Other groups in SAP are sick of HANA.

The SuccessFactors management refused to move to it. The overall topic of SuccessFactors on HANA is rife with controversy, and we cover the item in the article Why Did SAP Move SuccessFactors to HANA?

HANA has been pulling revenues from other applications since its first introduction. As different applications had their discounts increased to reduce discounting on HANA, which has played havoc up SAP’s internal accounting — making it look like HANA is far more successful than it is.

This was called out by Peter Goldmacher, who figured out the accounting trick that SAP was pulling years ago. He was heavily critiqued by SAP for not knowing what he was doing, and then SAP went black on the issue, which we covered in the article Who Got HANA Wrong and Who Got HANA Right?

Our Warning on HANA

The recent firings are, in our view SAP’s recognition that its development strategy/approach with HANA is not working. And it is long overdue. However, the problem is it is difficult to see how HANA can be recovered. It always had impossible design parameters, and it has been flailing about to meet those design parameters ever since. And the problem is, it can’t meet them, which is likely a primary reason for all of the flailing about. Even Oracle, which has far more database experience and talent than SAP has not pulled off multimode databases in a way that meet the claims of SAP. And if Oracle cannot do it, it is difficult to see SAP or anyone else for that matter doing it. Our view is the same as Bloor Research’s conclusion as outlined in our article How Accurate was Bloor Research on Oracle In Memory, which is the same as AWS’s, which is that databases should be specialized for the processing task.

If I set an impossible task for someone, then they won’t reach it. They will be inefficient. This is because impossible goals create dysfunction, and it attracts people like Vishal Sikka or Bernd Leukert. Those who will say anything to keep the lie going and keep their high profile positions by telling Hasso and others that they are making progress when they aren’t. Only attainable goals are motivational. Hasso set the design parameters, but then had no idea how to meet them. He then handed the goals over to two other men who also had no idea how to meet them but said they did.

We have been waiting for SAP to pull a rabbit out of their hat for eight years, but no rabbit has been forthcoming. We have debated SAP resources for years, as we covered in the article How to Deflect That You Were Wrong About HANA. It is clear that those people either had no idea what they were talking about or were lying. On the other hand, many people in SAP think they are doing their job if they simply repeat talking points from SAP. One of the biggest disseminators of false information around HANA, John Appleby, who we have lampooned in multiple articles including How John Appleby Was so Wrong About His HANA Predictions, seems to have disappeared from the publishing scene.

And all of those people look quite a bit silly right about now. Finally, the book is closed on whether SAP has any database knowledge that is not far superior in other database vendors. SAP does not.

That article on deflecting about being wrong about HANA was written back in 2016, and HANA defenders have become increasingly scarce.

The Reality of Future HANA Development

So for customers of HANA that are stuck with their purchase and prospects, there is now a very low probability of future improvement in HANA that will allow it to meet its design goals. HANA is still not stable, and this is eight years into its introduction. The problems at this point can’t be chalked up to “getting the bugs out.”

This is why we are issuing this specific warning that the jig is up. SAP has been successful in getting short term money out of HANA, but this is not a sustainable strategy. And HANA overall has been a massive distraction for SAP.

What Now?

The question is what to do about HANA. Many readers will say…

“Well it is easy to point fingers, but what now?”

So first, we pointed fingers before the fact. The only thing that SAP customers had to do to stay out of this mess with HANA was read our research rather than listen to Deloitte or Accenture, whose sole objective in life is to maximize their billing hours. And for all intents and purposes can be replaced by high-end parrots as we covered in the article What is the Difference Between an SAP Consulting Company and a Parrot?

So this is not hindsight, we had foresight on this issue not because we are magic, but because we put the work in to do the research, and because we were able to publish what we found as we lack any corrupt association with SAP. That is a feature that separates us from nearly every provider of information on SAP.

As for specifics of what to do now, we recommend the following:

Tips for SAP

  1. Multimode databases are no longer a differentiator, and SAP has not gotten the memo because they keep releasing marketing literature that states that it is.
  2. There are excellent databases that are multimode that SAP could partner with/resell if they don’t want to port S/4HANA to Oracle. They could simply place their brand on another database, and get rid of HANA development except for support, porting any application to another database that they can mark up. This is where SAP is moving in the cloud, just marking up other people’s products as we covered in the article How to Understand SAP’s Upcharge as a Service Cloud. SAP could do this with databases also. HANA could be sunset and SAP could just have someone else do all the work, but mark that open source database up many times. SAP can come up with some phony backstory that SAP added some “secret sauce,” and most IT departments won’t check anyway if any of it is true. If it is blessed as “standard SAP,” it will undoubtedly get purchased. The only value add SAP is adding to database development is its customer base, so why not step out of the way and let someone else figure out databases for you? This would allow them to continue to punish Oracle (a major goal of SAP) and get an even higher margin on databases while not doing anything.

Tips For Companies on HANA

  1. For Prospects Looking at HANA: Stop any HANA purchases. If even 1/2 of the things we have documented on HANA were true, that should be enough to stall any HANA purchase.
  2. For Current Customers of HANA: The promised stabilization of HANA is not coming. If HANA is sitting under BW, then it will, in most cases, make sense to keep it. If HANA is sitting under other non-analytics applications, it should be removed.
  3. For Prospects Looking at S/4HANA: Customers should communicate to SAP that there is no way they will move to S/4HANA until it is opened up to other databases. We predicted S/4HANA would open to other databases in the article Why SAP Will Have to Backtrack on HANA. , which was written in 2016. All the leverage resides with customers as S/4HANA is still not ready to be implemented, so customers should wait on S/4HANA in any case. If enough customers push back, SAP will change its tune and port S/4HANA to AnyDB. And when this does happen, it will be introduced by Bill McDermott as either “showing empathy for” or “listening to” customers.  If there were any genuinely independent SAP user groups in the world, they would advocate for this. But none of the user groups have enough independence to do so.

Tips for Job Seekers on HANA

For years HANA was a hot skill to get on one’s resume. Despite this, there were never that many people working in HANA. So there was always more conversation around HANA, and setting up POCs that true HANA implementation work. HANA is, in a way, a dream for consultants because it is the highest overhead database that we track, which means that the consultants that are placed will tend to stay on projects longer. However, HANA stopped growing around 2016, so the projected growth never occurred. Because HANA is not as capable as anything, but as an analytics database, resources that choose to focus on HANA should focus on HANA for BW.

Because of HANA’s technological limitations, HANA will have a hard time growing out of this area. Many companies that had plans to extend HANA from BW halted those plans as they learned more about HANA.

HANA is the 20th most popular database according to DB Engines, but this overstates HANA’s popularity because part of DB Engine’s measurement method is to account for media mentions, which are exaggerated for HANA due to SAP’s marketing spend. For years HANA coasted on promises and hype, and that can’t continue forever. SAP can only allow HANA to disappoint so many customers before it risks its core business. Therefore, unless resources have a substantial amount of HANA experience on their resume already, it is something that makes sense to steer clear of making a focus on one’s career.

To find out what these changes mean for SAP development, see this article, Brightwork Notice: Changes in SAP Development Strategy.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

To see the full screen, just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.


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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


Is It Inhumane to Discuss HANA’s Lies on Post About Job Losses?

Executive Summary

  • SAP recently had major layoffs in its HANA group.
  • The question that is asked is if it is inhumane to describe the problems with HANA that lead to the layoffs.


This article is in response to a question we received about our comments related to critiquing HANA on LinkedIn shares for a leading HANA resource at SAP.

The Comment

“Shaun Snapp Ahmed Azmi Having tracked the HANA native dev job market for a year with very little showing up indicates to me it’s a dead end, so I agree with your sentiment anyone with a career invested in HANA needs to wake up. Perhaps sharing it in this specific thread opening with “rough 24 hours” was a little inhumane though. I would, however, object to any suggestion of HANA techie devs ripping off customers – I’ve seen for myself HANA native solutions delivering to customers what simply was not possible before. You put forward a case that should be discussed, that any SAP dev needs to start seriously thinking about, but you only alienate your arguments here given Thomas Jung and Rich Heilman brought such high-quality, hands-on education to so many, hence the hundreds of sincere wishes. Really sad so many losing their jobs and sad that HANA looks only to serve as a DB layer.”

Our Response

First I wanted to say that it seems to be your genuine view that commenting on this post was insensitive. You don’t appear to be using it as a pretext for censoring commentary. Moreover, if you think that then I respect that. What I don’t respect if someone using empathy as an excuse to censor a message. Although the term “inhumane” is a bit over the top. Here are synonyms for the word “inhumane.” ” cruel, harsh, brutal, callous, sadistic, severe, savage, vicious, barbaric, barbarous;”

There is no beating of puppies going on here. If you are using the same word to describe me physically beating up Thomas and stealing his favorite pet like in John Wick then it is probably inaccurate.

Furthermore, there are comments on this share asking “why,” and “seems strange” well if the question can be asked on the post, then the question should be able to be answered. It seems like a lot of SAP resources are not addressing the elephant in the room. This is called confirmation bias, when the individual disregards information that runs counter to their biases. And its on full display in these comments.

I want to address the part of your comment about objecting to suggestions that HANA techie devs have been ripping off customers. First, I did not say that. Thomas Jung is the Chief Product Expert, so he is not just some inwardly focused development resource. He serves as a marketing function for SAP. And a significant part of his job description is to push SAP. So I want to it framed adequately as to whom I am critiquing. Thomas Jung has/had a very good position at SAP, if he can make claims then he should be able to take criticism. I am not critiquing some homeless person here. Thomas Jung will do fine and land on his feet someplace else. Also, there are poor people in society that could probably use the sympathy being directed toward Thomas on this post.

Second, I have investigated numerous HANA implementations and don’t think your statement is possible. Every one of the evaluations that I have performed, the client did not account for key areas of the comparison. I don’t run into IT departments that have any idea how to perform benchmarking or measure results, so unless I see the data and review the case I am naturally suspicious. And I have good reason to be.

For instance, the fact that HANA has so much more hardware than the databased it replaced. Information coming in from global projects shows that HANA has not helped customers. Once the assumptions are controlled carefully, the claimed benefits disappear. So you can reach me offline if you like and I can incorporate your data points into our research. I don’t care either way. If your data points are convincing, I will state they have brought new information to light.

As for your last comment, HANA was never anything but a database. All of the comments around HANA being something other than a database were false, something that SAP has acknowledged (in a way), by changing the names of HANA Studio, HANA Cloud Platform to drop the HANA names as they never had anything to do with HANA. We were right on that, while the SAP resources debated the opposite as we covered here.

So it is worse than what you say. It is not only sad that HANA is just a database, but it is not even a very good database, and it is exorbitant in its price and its maintenance overhead.

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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


Is it True That Few SAP Customers Care About Databases?

Executive Summary

  • Should SAP’s Claims About HANA Not be Verified Because Most People Don’t Care About Database Performance?
  • How SAP Uses HANA’s Performance Claims to Push for Customers to Switch Databases
  • SAP’s HANA Claims Fact-Checked


In a recent article titled SAP HANA as a Mismatch for ERP and S/4HANA,

we received a response that seemed to minimize the importance of our verification of the claims made by SAP about HANA, as the commenter put it..

“…no one cares about the db outside of a very small tech bubble – it’s all about people and process.”

This statement seems to be an attempt to pivot away from the question of whether SAP’s claims regarding SAP are true.

How SAP Uses HANA’s Performance Claims to Push for Customers to Switch Databases

SAP has very aggressively promoting customers to move to HANA under the logic that the database is incredibly essential.

Here are a few examples.

  1. Restricting S/4HANA to HANA has been justified on the basis that no other database can offer acceptable performance versus HANA. SAP has stated that they need to design or optimize S/4HANA around a single database for performance reasons. According to Jon Appleby, who is a proxy for SAP, due to HANA’s capabilities in innovation and unparalleled performance advantage over all other databases that SAP is finished Oracle DB, as is covered in the article Why Jon Appleby Was So Wrong In His HANA Predictions.
  2. SAP is proposing, and SAP consulting companies are relaying the message word for word (I have many of the emails that are forwarded to me from the recipients of this advice). That solutions ranging from TPM to CRM need to have HANA, or the applications will not properly support the application’s functionality.

This is suspicious. It is dubious because other vendors that I track do restrict the database options of their customers in this way.

SAP’s HANA Claims Fact-Checked

Secondly, SAP’s performance claims for HANA are not only not holding up; every data point we obtain works in the opposite direction from SAP’s claims. One performance claim for HANA is true.

HANA will outperform a non-column data store database for analytics (but only within a data warehouse environment).

For all other database processing, the performance is worse. That is a serious issue that I am not sure how any pivot or alteration of the point of discussion can change what are now quite a few observations of this fact. We are not tracking performance issues with S/4HANA on multiple accounts. These observations tell a story of S/4HANA’s performance negatively impacting the project.

SAP is using the argument of HANA’s performance combined with what appears to me to be faux arguments about application compatibility between SAP’s applications and to their database to push existing databases out of SAP account. If you have read the Brightwork Study into HANA’s TCO, you might imagine that there are most likely severe implications for the customer’s IT budget to following this advice.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

To see the full screen, just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.



As this is a primary strategy of SAP, it would seem to be reasonable to validate if SAP’s statements about HANA’s performance are true. Therefore, we consider it highly relevant as to whether SAP’s claims regarding HANA’s performance are true.

The topic of the compatibility argument that increasing numbers of SAP’s applications are proposed by SAP and by SAP’s consulting partners to only be supported by HANA is another topic.

Financial Disclosure

Financial Bias Disclosure

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

Search Our Other Who Was Right and Wrong on HANA Content


How to Deflect That You Were Wrong About HANA

Executive Summary

  • SAP and SAP consulting firms have made a large number of false claims around HANA.
  • When confronted with these claims, HANA proponents continually change the topic and deflect to other claims about HANA that are also false.

Introduction to Deflection of HANA Claims

There is a popular trend afoot in the HANA community that comes from either HANA defenders in SAP or HANA defenders in the SAP partner community. I call this pretending you weren’t wrong about HANA. SAP and its partner community have generated so much false information about HANA over the past five years. Once called out on it, they need to respond not to be seen as either unknowledgeable or dishonest. There are important principles at work here. Let us take a minute to review them.

  • There is HANA software to be sold!
  • There are HANA services to be sold!
  • It is imperative to be able to continue to mislead customers in an unmolested fashion!

In this article, I will describe the essential tactics that they employ.

First Some Background on the HANA DB

HANA DB was at some point around 2011 approved as the primary marketing tentpole for SAP. Since 2011 Dr. Hasso Plattner has written four books on HANA DB related topics. SAP marketing and sales have released a torrent of information about HANA. My research shows that this information has in just about every case been either inaccurate or exaggerated. Dr. Hasso Plattner seems to be a true believer in HANA. Somewhere along the way, he seems to have become obsessed with HANA DB technology. People at SAP did not stand up to him and tell him he is overemphasizing on one topic (to the detriment of other important issues). I have brought up on many occasions that processing speed is not even among the top ten items that plague SAP projects. And if you work on SAP projects, it is hard to propose the opposite.

Fear of Confronting Hasso

Instead of having anyone push back on Hasso, SAP went all in on HANA. The problem is that Hasso is not a reliable source of information on computer topics. I have concluded that Hasso Plattner makes up things about as much as Donald Trump. The major difference is that Hasso Plattner is considerably smarter. And he covers topics that are far more sophisticated than the subjects covered by Donald Trump. Thus his deceptions are much harder to ascertain. But if you study Hasso Plattner’s writing and speeches long enough, a pattern of intentional deception becomes impossible to ignore. The comments he made about a Chinese company that had an MRP run time of 24 hours, which SAP reduced with S4 running on HANA, many months before S4’s production planning module had even been developed, is symptomatic of provably false statements made by him. (I have a future example of a very long MRP runtime, but alas the conclusion is not purchasing HANA DB.)

Hasso is much like most of the partners at large consulting companies that I have met. They simply do not care what happens. What they care about is what they can pull over on other people. This is not idle criticism but is based upon quite a few conversations with partners at major consulting companies. What they care about the perception rather than the reality. And they have told me that this is the right way to think.

Follow that Money that Supports False Claims Around the HANA DB

As is usually the case, the vast majority of money resides on the side of those that make exaggerated claims. The money is squarely on the side of exaggerating expectations, not on telling people the truth. The truth us much less exciting and does not appeal to the desires of the audience. The audience wants to hear that the thing they purchase will have incredible performance. That everyone who uses it loves it, that it is leading-edge, has a low TCO, which will result in being able to cut overhead, etc..

Things have not changed much since the traveling medicine show salesman. Wall Street wants to hear that SAP is all about both driving innovations through HANA as well as delivering more and more applications through the cloud. Therefore, regardless of what is true, the data will be gerrymandered to give this impression. Quotas must be met, and stock options must be exercised. SAP can choose from an unlimited number of type people who will tell any lie SAP wants in any language it wants in return for money.

For this reason, people in conferences and private visits compete with each other to misrepresent reality.

And the competition is fierce.

SAP Conferences as BS Mills

Conferences like SAPPHIRE and ASUG are filled with false information. Lies were emanating not only from SAP and their partners but employees within customers. They compete in giving misimpressions on how much progress they have made with SAP’s newest applications. In interviewing companies that interact with SAP and SAP partners and I observe the information that is provided to these enterprises. I find one misleading statement after another. I should not be surprised. The lying in the documentation is simply repeated in the actual sales process.

There is all manner of problems with this overemphasis on HANA DB. But one easy item to point out is that the overall performance of the system does not match the database speed of the system. That is just because you can make the database run faster by say 100 points of measurement does not mean that this 100 point translates to 100 points in application performance. And whatever the improvement in application performance does not translate to business value.

False Performance Enhancements Applied Generally

Think about a Lamborghini Veneno. This $400,000 car has a 750 horsepower engine.

A Honda sedan may have a 100 horsepower engine. Does the Veneno get you around town 7.5 times faster? Of course not. The reason you can’t convince people to sell their house to buy a Veneno is that everyone drives and so they can’t be tricked into thinking their commute will drop to 2 minutes if they buy a Veneno. But not everyone has years of database experience. Thus it is easier to trick them into thinking that HANA might have such incredible benefits. But if they didn’t, and I was unethical, I could simply do the math that 750 hp is 7.5 times more than 100. I would then contend that people that have a 15-minute commute could have a 2-minute commute. That is 13 minutes saved each way, which is 26 minutes a day in extra time saved!

Imagine what you could do with that time back.

Hasso Plattner’s Falsehoods on In Memory and the HANA DB

In Dr. Hasso Plattner’s writings, he seems to propose a direct proportional benefit from database speed to a host of other benefits. This has lead SAP to exaggerate the benefits of HANA and the primary reason for this is to penetrate the database layer. That is, SAP is willing to mislead as many people as necessary to meet the sales quotas on HANA. People that buy HANA often don’t see the second act coming.

Here is the second act. SAP has some other databases and applications that it wants to sell as a follow-on to HANA. And of course, none of these things will work well with “other databases.” HANA is the wedge to all sorts of related items it wants to sell you.

All of this fanciful talk about a brave new world with in-memory computing is part of a campaign to tie companies into a closed system. A system that will benefit SAP. I have seen many companies now with HANA on BW.

Putting HANA on BW

BW is probably the SAP application with the most predicted benefit from HANA. It has not changed things at these companies much at all. In most cases, the business continues to use Excel while the queue of reports that the BW/BI team has to work on continues to grow. This is because new technology was added without asking the fundamental questions about the problems with BW/BI productivity and report usability.

What this means is that software salespeople and those with a sales quota at most IT consulting companies feel perfectly fine in telling a constant stream of lies to customers. Every inaccurate statement is an arrow in their quiver. Even statements that have been proven quite some time ago to be incorrect.

SAP’s HANA DB Claims

The following are good examples of the items that are exaggerated claims by either SAP or SAP partners.

  1. No aggregates EVER!!!
  2. Extreme OLTP performance as well as extreme OLAP performance
  3. Need little RAM as we compress EVERYTHING to very small…
  4. A whole new user interfaces in Fiori.
  5. HANA will lead to business process simplification when used with S4 because the data model has been simplified.
  6. Updates are superfast as we update only one field instead of the whole record.
  7. Making use of CPU/RAM at the hardware level.

Every one of these proposals by SAP or by those that have some HANA quota to fill is false.

False Claims About HANA

  1. HANA DB still uses aggregates. There are, in fact, many good reasons for maintaining aggregates. Reference tables are aggregates.
  2. SAP is not releasing benchmarks on HANA DB for OLTP because, as per HANA’s design, these benchmarks are likely to be disappointing. But this does not stop SAP from claiming that HANA DB is equally effective at OLTP and OLAP (transactions and reports — excuse me “analytics”)
  3. SAP’s compression estimations are greatly exaggerated and require heavy archival (a cost) and will result in companies having to go back to SAP after the fact to purchase more HANA license GBs.
  4. Fiori is not a complete UI for S4. Instead, Fiori is a niche set of apps. A set of apps has yet to be demonstrated to work any better than the parts of SAPGUI they are replacing. And a set of apps that, in 98% percent of cases will only work with applications that sit on top of HANA DB.
  5. S4’s data models are not simplified. There are more tables than ever with a column-oriented database, as many of the columns have become their tables. Indexes are eliminated with column-oriented databases. That is a reduction in complexity. But other areas increase in complexity, including the need to rewrite every single adapter that connected to ECC. Simplification of data models (even if true) does not lead to simplified business processes (which is the SAP claim).
  6. SAP never mentions the need to update 20 fields in one record; we end up with 20 updates instead of one update on row-based databases.
  7. The CPU and the RAM are the hardware level. You cannot benefit from using something at a level if it is already used at that level. This would be like saying, “you will be able to use the steering wheel at the automobile level.” There is no other way to interpret this, except it is a purposely redundant statement that is supposed to sound technical and esoteric. It is designed to impress people who don’t know how the software works.

Selling Nonsense

If you sell nonsense for a living, you are not going to stop just because I call you out on it. You need to obscure the issue so you can keep selling nonsense. From financial advising to medicine to IT consulting and strategy consulting, nonsense is a great thing to sell. It is excellent for your career and your pocketbook. It is impossible to meet a quota without it.

 Saving that Face

Face-saving. As I learned when I worked in Asia, face-saving is prominent in Asian culture. And the term was used a lot when I worked there. But while I don’t support mean-spiritedness, people that make big claims that turn out to be the false need to own up to it and be exposed for being wrong. If not, we would not have science. We would be more concerned about embarrassing people who were wrong and never make progress. So to protect Stan’s face, we would continue to agree that the moon is made of green cheese.

This is presently a big problem in IT and IT forecasting. I like to say that the only thing anyone is held accountable for regarding prediction is meeting their sales quota. Gartner has quite a poor accuracy level in their forecasts.

  • They were responsible for priming the ERP bubble in the eighties.
  • The marketplace bubble in the late nineties.
  • They are currently pumping up the Big Data and analytics bubble as well as the IoT bubble.

But do you see Gartner paying a financial penalty for being the Helen Keller of IT forecasting? No, they are richer, more powerful, and more influential than ever.

Unfortunately, no entity calls out individuals or companies that knowingly distribute false information on IT topics. And this has lead to a bubble in buffoonery.

Diverting Attention from Previous False Statements

I have spent a good deal of time investigating the performance claims and many other claims on HANA DB. Here is what I have found.

  • The uniqueness of HANA’s performance has been explained in my previous articles as entirely manufactured by SAP. There was never any truth to it. The people that proposed this are diminished in my eyes for the lies that they told. At the tip of the lying spear is Dr. Hasso Plattner, but there are plenty of other culprits.
  • SAP has proposed that end of period close and MRP use is held back by not having a database like HANA. This is false as neither process is a bottleneck at the vast majority of companies. If, as a company, you have a system processing constraint with either of these processes, you are in the distinct minority. Instead of moving to HANA, you should try to find lower-cost ways of figuring out what the problem is. As soon as a person raises either of these issues, I know that one of two things must be true. Either they know it’s incorrect but are willingly stating that these things are the case. Or secondly, and perhaps what can be more forgiven, they are merely repeating what they read in some SAP marketing material. Let us discuss reasonable expectations. One should not expect account managers or partners who have never touched SAP in 10 years or been on an SAP project to be reliable sources of information on technology topics.

Backflushing is Performed Because of a Lack of Database Speed?

Recently SAP proposed that even backflushing is performed because of a lack of database speed. And that HANA was going to come to the rescue to all these poor companies that have had to perform backflushing because their ECC systems cannot perform goods issue due to system performance problems. This is truly ridiculous as backflushing moves the goods issue processing from real-time to be run in batch. Can SAP seriously think they can convince people that ECC sitting on a non-HANA database lacks the processing capability to perform something as simple as a goods issue in real time??

Backflushing has never been done (at least in the modern era) because of performance limitations. Backflushing is performed because the company wanted to carry out the activity first and record the issues after the fact. Backflushing is very common in process industry manufacturing. This is because it can often be unclear how much material will be consumed in the manufacturing process.

Diverting Attention

HANA proponents enjoy diverting the attention from the original topic. They gain the high ground by claiming other benefits that come from these other areas of “improvement.” The deflection mechanism is a consistent approach by those who have been consistently wrong on HANA. The algorithm looks like this:

  1. Standard HANA DB Pitch: If you find an uninitiated audience, give the standard line about how HANA is revolutionary due to its speed. Hide the fact that other database vendors have the same technology. Pretend that you invented the idea that data can be stored in an SSD.
  2. Dealing with Hecklers, Malcontents & People that Won’t Accept the Sales BS: If (on the rare occasion) you find an individual who knows this is not true, respond that HANA is much more than a database and about “much more than speed.” Do this even though you know that each of the items that are “not just a database” actually has their names like HANA Studio, HCP. And that these products have no logical reason to have the term HANA in their product name. And further, ignore that SAP’s first promotion of HANA DB has been based upon database speed.
  3. Misdirection: Having regained the argumentative high ground, now make false claims, but now in different areas. I call this maneuver the “Hasso Plattner.” Make so many claims in so many different areas that the person you are speaking to may not feel comfortable addressing them all. Force the respondent to perform research in many different areas to respond to your proposals. But you conduct no research at all! Simply repeat false statements provided to you by SAP marketing.
  4. Use Project “Proof”: Bring up illusory benefits that you have seen at all these clients you have visited. Where HANA is just transforming the way companies do business. This will also communicate to the LinkedIn community that you are a real expert in HANA. Don’t bring up any complications of HANA. And never discuss costs.
  5. Employ the Concept of Universal Virtue: Talk about how you are all about improvements. And that these things are necessary to make these improvements. Promote the concept that both you and SAP are all about “client value.” I had one commenter state that SAP should be allowed “maximum forgiveness” for any false statements that it made. The reason? Because it was all about moving companies to a “fill in the blank” (digital economy), (memory resident future), (IoT), (running simple),(integrated solutions).

Massive Exaggerations

If SAP has massively exaggerated the issue of HANA DB performance. Both of the perspective of the performance itself as well as the application or business case for that performance. Then that is a problem. It is not an adequate or honest response to respond to this particular criticism with a comment related to how HANA DB is “more than a database.”

That only starts up another discussion. It may or may not be, but the statement I made is regarding HANA’s performance and value. That statement needs to be answered without diverting into other areas because one can’t respond to the actual question with convincing evidence.

When faced with the inaccuracies from SAP, a few SAP consultants moved to a new approach to divert attention from HANA’s false claims. This was to declare that it was not relevant because the database was, after all, “not that important.” 

SAP’s Official Position the Database

SAP’s official position is that HANA is a massive differentiator. So if SAP says something and it turns out to be false, then that is relevant.

Since HANA’s introduction, it has been a steady drumbeat from SAP as to why the database is critical and why customers need to switch as soon as possible to HANA. ASUG’s position is that as SAP is the strategic vendor, those companies need to migrate to S/4HANA. There is no backing off of the emphasis that SAP has placed on the database since HANA was introduced in 2011.

The Logic for Limiting S/4HANA to HANA

Let us also remember the logic for limiting S/4HANA to HANA — that no other database vendor can keep up with SAP’s innovation. SAP is restricting choice and doing so for purely commercial reasons, all while telling people it is for technical purposes. This entire storyline is false and is provable as false.

SAP’s Credibility Hit Due to HANA’s Claims Being Found to be False

If what is true is important, then this is a problem not only for this specific subject but for companies that intend to listen to advice from either SAP or SAP consulting companies on other topics.

HANA’s Predicted TCO

Second, our research predicts that HANA will have a higher than 2x TCO versus competing databases. Again, SAP stated that HANA’s TCO would be lower — lower even than when HANA replaces an existing database and will implement faster than an already implemented database. The second sentence is impossible, and it should be obvious why. You don’t have to pay this extra TCO, but disrupting the database layer for what turns out to be negative reasons (that is, you are worse off as a company after you do it), but the customers do have to deal with this wasteful disruption. This means that SAP has been and will continue to misdirect IT budgets into HANA.

HANA’s Performance Problems with S/4HANA

A final reason to care about HANA even within the context you mention is that HANA has performance problems in supporting ERP, as we covered in the article The Mismatch Between HANA and S/4HANA and ERP. 

This fact alone means that S/4HANA’s value proposition is compromised. But once you include S/4HANA’s implementation history, how S/4HANA’s risk is so high, it is difficult to find a major application with higher risk right now.

The Issue with the Perceived “Importance” of the DB

We all tend to think that the “important thing” is whatever we happen to work in. I focus more on the application area myself. However, I am personally amazed by what databases can do. Databases are an amazing intellectual achievement. Once you spend time with a database person or developer who takes you through what is possible, they seem like magic. Non-database people tend to think in terms of spreadsheet tables with the tables just pointing to each other (as the ERD diagram).

However, that is a vastly oversimplified construct.

Many applications people tend to see development as something not to focus attention. They may say, “just give me the app.” I used to think that way myself. Better understanding development as I have in the past year or so leads one to question application design rather than accepting what is available. The current applications we have are just what someone thought made sense. They are not necessarily right or the best way to do things, and with development capability, you can make whatever you want, not what someone else thinks is right.

Taking Things for Granted

It is also easy to take things for granted once they have been mastered. Databases run far more smoothly than applications at this point, so it is easy to think that they are not as important.

It’s a bit like how often you think about your feet is how directly proportional to how good your shoes are. If you have good shoes, you do not think about your feet.

Understanding Pivot

It seems like there is a pattern that is established. It goes like this…

  1. The first position is that SAP is 100% correct, and this is the future. The first presentations were that SAP had the best database in the world with HANA, and everyone who did not switch to HANA was an idiot. Hasso Plattner had a popular blog post where he said those who question HANA’s value “just don’t get it.”
  2. When faced with evidence that undermines SAP’s claim, there is a transition to saying that there are some “misunderstandings” about SAP.
  3. When SAP is proven entirely wrong, and or to have deliberately misled people, and that the topic area is not important anyway. Then the pivot happens to another topic, and new claims are made that once investigated are also false.

Using this strategy means that SAP is never held accountable for what they say.

Advice on Enjoying the Quiz

To see the full screen, just select the lower right-hand corner and expand. Trust us, expanding makes the experience a whole lot more fun.



Getting quality IT information is a tricky business. There are a lot of overconfident and dishonest people out there who will unthinkingly repeat false information and then defend their positions if questioned. They will try to sell the future. They will pretend they have seen benefits where they haven’t. They will use unproven arguments like a new application that no one has performed a TCO calculation on automatically lowers TCO. They will use ad-hominem attacks. They will rely on concepts that have been long ago disproven (best practices, preconfigured solutions, rapid deployment solutions).

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.

What We Do and Research Access

Using the Diagram

Hover over each bullet or plus sign to see more explanation. To move to a different bullet point, just “hover off” and then hover over the new bullet.


Research Access

  • Do You Need to Access Research in this Area?

    Put our independent analysis to work for you to improve your spend.


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.


  • 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