SAP HANA is one of the most widely-used products in the SAP cloud platform lineup (and for very good reason).
SAP HANA’s in-memory database platform is made for processing high volumes of data in real-time. It uses in-memory computing to store compressed data in random access memory (RAM) instead of storing it in relational databases on disk drives.
In other words, SAP HANA can access real-time data 10,000 times faster than normal, allowing organizations to analyze massive amounts of data and process transactions in seconds versus hours.
Still asking yourself, “What is SAP HANA”? Read on to learn more.
What is HANA in SAP?
Let’s start at the beginning with SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner.
Plattner was on a mission to create a database that could process transactional and analytical data in real time, and the SAP HANA system was what he came up with.
Since its release in 2010, SAP HANA has transformed enterprise IT and changed the way companies work with data. It’s also gone through various updates (like the newest version, SAP HANA 2.0) and gained a few new-and-improved features along the way.
Available on-premise or in the cloud, the SAP HANA platform is used by companies of all sizes and industries. SAP HANA helps increase system productivity and enhance your digital supply chain processes by offering multi-tier data storage, seamless integration with other SAP applications, and connection to the SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW).
Benefits of SAP HANA
The SAP HANA enterprise cloud offers much more than just a tool for data modeling and data storage. Here are six of the top benefits of using SAP HANA:
1) Easily Handling of Big Data
With SAP HANA, you’ll not only be able to handle large amounts of data from any source, but you’ll be able to process a greater volume of data and act on that information.
SAP HANA’s built-in machine learning and advanced analytic capabilities allow you to incorporate unstructured data, including text, predictive, spatial data, event streams, and time series, helping your business arrive at better decisions.
2) Real-Time Data Analysis
HANA’s in-memory technology drastically reduces the time it takes to pull together the most comprehensive reports. With the accelerated business intelligence functionalities in HANA, you can process data in near real-time, so you can make business decisions that much more quickly.
SAP HANA uses dynamic tiering, which means that data that’s used frequently remains in memory while less-used data moves to disk when space is low. Not only is this an extremely cost-effective way to manage large data volumes, but when you factor in HANA’s advanced compression and columnar storage, it can result in a data footprint reduction of anywhere from 3 to 5 times.
4) Single Source of Truth
A deceptively simple benefit of SAP HANA is that it gives you the ability to minimize your data silos by bringing transactional and analytical data together on a single solution.
One source of truth helps to eliminate errors, reduplication of data, and a host of other headaches that often accompany outdated legacy systems. Improved data integration processes help save your ERP management team valuable time and energy…every step of the way.
5) Flexibility and Versatility
One of the most versatile data solutions available, SAP HANA can be deployed in a public or private cloud, on-premise, or in a hybrid scenario. SAP HANA is also compatible and easily integrated with multiple other cloud systems, including, but not limited to AWS, Microsoft Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It also supports hybrid transactional and analytical processing, as well as many other types of data.
Security is always top of mind for any modern organization, and SAP HANA has been designed to put those concerns to rest. From its secure setup to its comprehensive data and application security, you can rest easy knowing that your organization is safe in the SAP HANA cloud.
There are five key areas of SAP HANA security that should be considered: Authorizations & Roles, SAP HANA System Security Settings, Infrastructure Permissions & Access, Cloud Integration & SAP Cloud Platform ID, User Access & Authentication Management.
How is SAP S/4HANA Different?
Simply put, SAP S/4HANA is the next step in ERP management software.
More than just a traditional database with a strict relational model, S/4HANA stores data columns and runs on the SAP HANA in-memory database, allowing for real-time analytics that help its users make data-driven decisions more quickly and easily.
In turn, this helps to increase efficiency (as it doesn’t take as long to get the data you need) and productivity (because you have more time to use the data you’ve gathered), and a business that’s more efficient and more productive is more successful.
Enhancing the 5 C’s with SAP S/4HANA
Speaking of a well-functioning SAP digital supply chain, SAP has identified 5 C’s that are vital to a fully optimized ERP: Complete, Connected, Cognitive, Compliant, and Capable.
And, as you’d expect from the latest and greatest SAP solution, S/4HANA knocks all 5 C’s of SAP database enhancement out of the park. Here’s how:
SAP S/4HANA’s digital supply chain software can handle all of the systems and processes needed to manage production planning and scheduling, transport and warehouse management, as well as coordinating suppliers and logistics, all from a single system.
By connecting suppliers, employees, third parties (including third-party producers), logistics providers, equipment, and resources, S/4HANA increases speed and efficiency of the application development and data analysis processes as a whole, as well as the propagation of any needed changes.
Based on a single platform with built-in predictive analytics capabilities, SAP S/4HANA avoids the issues that arise from having separate data stores for transactions and analytics (helping to keep everything up to date and in sync). Since analytics works directly on the transaction database, you can rely on complete and accurate machine learning and enable artificial intelligence to do its thing.
Tracking log files, batches, and processes all need to flow smoothly for an accurate supply chain and to ensure end-to-end quality. Should errors occur, you need to be able to quickly track them down, figure out why they happened, and prevent them from happening in the future. S/4HANA uses advanced analytics to make that happen.
SAP S/4HANA works with a platform that is dynamic, real-time, and works off of HANA. Everything in it can be managed, monitored, and maintained by SAP, which makes upgrades easy and helps ensure system integrity and resilience. (There’s a reason SAP leads the ERP industry, after all.)
Other Ways S/4HANA Can Boost the SAP Digital Supply Chain
The five C’s aren’t the only benefits companies will see with S/4HANA.
As an SAP product, the solution also seamlessly integrates with multiple other SAP solutions, and the synergy of those complementary pairings offers an incredible boost to system efficiency and productivity.
Components you can pair with S/4HANA include:
A HANA-powered, cloud-based procurement system, Ariba connects goods or services suppliers with buyers and complements the S/4HANA’s MM component.
SAP IBP (Integrated Business Planning)
Another HANA-powered, cloud-based software solution, IBP allows users to expand control beyond what’s available in the standard PP and MM components and manage complex procurement and production planning processes.
SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management)
With capabilities like slotting or kitting processes that aren’t available in S/4HANA’s MM component, EWM helps you to manage the logistics and supply chain challenges that large and complex warehousing operations face.
Formerly known as SAP Hybris, C/4HANA is SAP’s HANA-powered, cloud-based end-to-end CRM software which works with S/4HANA’s SD component to help you optimize your sales and customer service processes.
SAP TM (Transportation Management)
In addition to managing end-to-end transportation for companies that have large transport networks or complex transportation processes, SAP TM also manages your third-party logistics and provides better visibility into them as well as transport planning and inter-/intraborder crossings.
“Leonardo” is SAP’s umbrella name for all of its next-gen technologies (IoT, machine learning, big data, etc.), and integrating it with S/4HANA offers plenty of futuristic advantages. By collecting massive amounts of unstructured data from installed sensors, data collection points and more, Leonardo can help companies come to actionable insights like predicting needed machine maintenance and anticipating delays in distribution due to rough weather or road conditions.
Partnering with an SAP HANA Consultant
SAP HANA is unique, powerful, and significantly faster than any other database management system on the market. With next-gen features and development tools, it’s sure to help keep your business competitive among other cloud-based database users.
If you’re ready to become a data-driven organization, SAP HANA is the platform for you, and our US-based, senior-level SAP consulting team is here to help. Or, if you’d rather integrate HANA with your current ERP system (whether that’s SAP S/4 HANA or something else), we are here for you.
How Can We Help?
Whether you need an extra hand migrating your data from a legacy system to your new SAP HANA database or additional support pairing SAP S/4HANA with other solutions in the SAP ERP system, our consultants have the skills and experience to get the job done.
Contact us today to learn more and get started.