SAP has invented software which it says can help businesses make sense of a deluge of real-world data from retail transactions, transport systems and social media, hoping to persuade customers to switch from rival database suppliers.
Dubbed the HANA Vora, the software is basically another database. This one is supposed to give businesses greater insights into the vast volumes of data organisations are collecting from customer feedback, along with sensors installed in products, vehicles and networks.
HANA Vora works with Apache Hadoop, an open source framework popular with serious software developers for handling huge sets of data.
SAP Chief Technology Officer Quentin Clark said that the new datasets that are emerging are going to have a profound impact on how a business is going to function, and its options.
Clark is a former Microsofty who escaped from Redmond last year where he was in charge of rival Microsoft data products.
Customers can now use visual analysis tools in HANA Vora to meld existing organizational data with less structured, external data imported from Hadoop to create more comprehensive views of trends affecting their business decision-making, Clark said.
All this is rather new for SAP which makes a pile of dosh from business planning applications that have always run atop databases supplied by rivals such as Oracle, IBM and Microsoft.
This changed in 2010 when SAP switched course and introduced its own database. S4 HANA, which runs SAP’s mainstay business planning software. It is apparently the company’s biggest new product bet in two decades.
It might have a few problems getting its customers making the switch. It is one thing to convince a manager that they need esoteric business software – they are already talking that sort of management rubbish already. It is quite another to suggest that the original database should be designed by the same people.
Gartner has stated that only 35 percent of SAP’s core business customers will be running on HANA by 2020 and most customers are waiting to be convinced that the database is reliable enough to handle their most vital data.