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Advice for SAP ERP users: Trust that SAP HANA can do the job

SAP's HANA in-memory technology has evolved from that of an "elegant technical solution in search of a problem" to an application platform capable of solving real problems, says analyst Cindy Jutras. And current SAP ERP users' systems can make good use of it if they trust that it will work.

"They have to look beyond where they think the barriers are. Instead of assuming that what couldn't be solved before can't be solved, assume that it can," said Jutras, principal of Mint Jutras, which is based in Windham, N.H.

In this video from the SAP SapphireNow 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla., Jutras describes the concerns of her clients about HANA's relevance to their businesses. "Some of them can't come up with really good ways to justify it." Affordability is one common concern. "They need to be thinking about what they can possibly do with it," she said.

Read the transcript below.

We're talking today with Cindy Jutras of Mint Jutras. We're at the Sapphire Now conference. Cindy, what did you think of today's announcements? They talked about Fiori applications, I think it's like 25 to 30 applications, and also more about HANA and some of the amazing in-memory database work that they're doing.

Cindy Jutras: Well I think that the message was a good one today, in that HANA in the past has been presented as this elegant technical solution in search of a problem. And that's not the way people buy software. So making it about the applications that are running on the HANA platform is much more relevant message to most of the people, at least that I talked to, which are business executives and looking for solutions.

There's a lot of companies obviously that have either on-premises or some cloud ERP solutions from SAP. How should they get their minds around where HANA fits into all that?

Jutras: Well I think the big thing to look at is looking for problems that may not have been solvable before because there was either too much data or it wasn't organized in a way that an application could really go at it. Sometimes the data's in an application' sometimes it's also supplemented outside of the application. So they have to look beyond where they think the barriers are. Instead of assuming that what couldn't be solved before can't be solved, assume that it can and ask the question. Maybe having to ask the question of some of the experts. Because let's face it, adding the math kind of analogy, adding the kind of design analogy, requires a certain kind of creativity that may not be intuitively obvious to people. So they may have to look for some guidance in terms of what they may be able to do with it. But assume that they can do anything with it and then ask how, as opposed to asking what they might be able to do.

What are some of the concerns that you're seeing from your clients who are probably either implementing HANA or considering it?

Jutras: I think, I think some of the concern is whether it's really relevant to them. Some of them can't come up with really good ways to justify it. I talked, for example, with a Business One customer yesterday, saying, 'Of course I'd love to do that, and maybe ... they're a very small company ... maybe I'll be able to afford that in the future'. So in some respects, it's 'Can I afford it and can I really get the value out of it?' So they really need to be thinking about what they could possibly do with it.

Well thanks so much today for your time, Cindy.

Jutras: You're welcome.

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