The global enterprise resource planning (ERP) giant SAP on Thursday unveiled a new database option for its system that allows for the capture and analysis of transactional data on a real-time basis.
In a three-city press conference, SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner described it as a breakthrough in line with the initial development of the company’s ERP platform that millions of businesses globally run.
The system relies on SAP’s HANA in-memory database technology, released in mid-2012, and essentially speeds computing power by basing memory on a network's main memory rather than a disk storage mechanism.
As of now, the real-time functions are being rolled out on SAP’s core Business Suite (its ERP) from February. Throughout 2013, SAP will extend the capability to other suites.
The impacts of SAP’s release on the provider’s supply chain management systems aren’t yet completely clear. SAP provides transportation, warehousing, inventory, and procurement systems that are used by freight transportation and logistics professionals. Users come to the system either through SAP’s ERP install base or as separate customers.
Kai Finck, SAP senior vice president of line of business solutions for corporate functions, said the essence of bringing the system on the HANA platform is that it speeds and simplifies process.
He told American Shipper
in an interview Thursday in New York (site of one of three press conferences) that the applicability to its supply chain suite might come through simulation, on a time or cost basis, and predictive analytics. He said the upgrade will allow third party data to be drawn in and impact, on a real-time basis, supply chain decisions.
SAP emphasized that ERP users will have the choice whether to migrate over to the HANA-powered system, in total or in part, or not at all. Finck said users may want to “test drive” the capabilities on certain functions, like supply chain management, for example, to get a side-by-side comparison of how much quicker the HANA database runs.
Upgrades were also announced for the user interface, with a more configurable dashboard that is meant to allow companies to better tie data generated by the ERP to those companies’ actual key performance indicators.
Plattner said that while increased speed and decreased waiting time for processes to occur is the essence of the upgrade, SAP also focused on improving the user experience. He said the rise of mobile computing necessitated both changes, with users wanting business processes to occur with the same speed and clarity that mobile phone functions occur.
The deployment of the ERP suite on the HANA platform is considered to be a fillip for SAP over rival Oracle, which is in development of its own system. - Eric Johnson