SAP has rolled out a new version of its flagship business suite – and it’s married to in-memory database Hana. The software giant announced SAP S/4HANA on Tuesday, with CEO Bill McDermott billing the fourth generation of its suite as the biggest launch in two decades.
The core, on-premise Business Suite for running finance, staff, operations and customer relationships has been updated for cloud and mobile. The biggest single change – and bet – is that SAP S/4 HANA will only run on HANA, SAP’s bet-it-all in-memory column-oriented data technology.
HANA has been a work in progress since 2005, distilled from technologies brought through the acquisitions of TREX, P*TIME and MaxDB. After its release in 2010, HANA has become SAP’s big bet in real-time big data.
But of 253,500 SAP customers, HANA is used by just 3,600 at the last count in August 2014.
In tying the latest version of its signature suite to HANA, SAP is clearly hoping to drive uptake of HANA as customers upgrade their SAP business systems. Given the relatively small adoption, it’s got little to lose. A public cloud version of the suite has been written to work with multi-tenancy for the cloud – running lots of users, securely, on the same instances of SAP.