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Accenture: SAP S/4HANA – Fast and Profitable

By Lou Weiwei, Business & Integration Arch Specialist, Shan Yu, Strategy Consultant, and Zhang Mengqiu, Strategy Analysist, Accenture (China) Co., Ltd.

Under the general background of global digital economy tide and China’s ‘Internet +’ initiative, the traditional enterprise digital driver development is unstoppable. Whether it is Big Data, the Internet of things, cloud computing, or other hot technology trends, or the traditional enterprise transformation with the business of the Internet, all are in urgent need of a speedy, flexible, and open state-of-the-art technology platform. SAP HANA platform uses in-memory computing technology, combines database and application platform functions perfectly, and has redefined transaction processing, analysis, text analysis, prediction analysis, and spatial processing, helping enterprises accomplish their digital transformations. So far, more than 10,000 SAP HANA customers have collaborated with SAP, embarked on the enterprise digitalization journey, and succeeded in their respective domains.

Growing at Speeds Beyond Expectation

SAP HANA is preconfigured in-memory, column-oriented software that users can implement in combination with corresponding server hardware. In the past decade, real-time data processing is playing an increasingly important role in the world of business, and the amounts of data are growing along with it. Luckily, hardware and software technology has also continued to advance in recent years. On the software side, column-oriented storage now offers a new way to compress and partition data. Users can apply this method to reduce large data volumes from 2.75 TB to 600 GB, to name a simplified example. In-memory technology, meanwhile, makes it possible to process data at a speed of 100 GB per second. It does so by storing information not on conventional, significantly slower hard drives, but in main memory (RAM), where it can be accessed directly on the motherboard. In-memory computing thus enables users to perform analysis and obtain the results almost instantaneously. On the hardware side, blade servers featuring multicore architecture and RAM-based storage support memory of 2 TB or more, which means it is possible to load all data into memory. With these technologies, HANA is thousands of times faster than a traditional database, and is able to process applications and run analysis in real time, with zero latency.

Since the first HANA product was shipped in 2010, SAP HANA is evolving at a faster pace than most of us can keep up with.

  • 2010 — First HANA product shipped in late November
  • 2011 — SAP Business Warehouse on HANA was available
  • 2012 — SAP announced a PaaS offering called the SAP HANA Cloud Platform
  • 2013 — SAP Business Suite on HANA became available by May
  • 2015 — S/4HANA on-premises editions were launched, followed by S/4HANA Cloud Edition
  • 2016 — SAP BW/4HANA — a next-generation data warehouse built entirely on HANA
  • 2017 — SAP HANA 2 enables 24/7 management of even larger volumes of data

HANA is leading the revolution of SAP product lines.

In addition to the impressive pace of new products, the number of customers also are increasing beyond expectation. S/4HANA, the next generation of SAP ERP software, regarded as the most important product of SAP in the last two decades, with a fast start for 370 customers by first quarter of 2015, has garnered 4,100 customers by the third quarter of 2016.

Applicable to Diversified Scenarios

Presently, SAP HANA can be used widely in multiple use cases including Big Data processing and business warehousing. Concerning future direction, HANA is the foundation for the SAP real-time data management portfolio. This platform will continue to deliver significant new capabilities to drive incremental business and IT value.

  • Big Data & the Internet of Things (IoT): More solutions to help organizations tackle their Big Data challenges including device connectivity, Hadoop optimizations, media (audio/video), MapReduce transformations, native parallel processing for HDFS, and advanced machine learning.
  • Platform capabilities: Monte Carlo simulation, linear optimization & solver, SAP Infinite Insight optimization, advanced spatial (3D & raster), advanced planning, and developer/modeling extensions.
  • SAP applications: Simplified & consolidated Business Suite, SAP BW, and applications further enhanced and optimized for SAP HANA.
  • Third-party tools & applications: Continued development of SAP HANA as an open platform for customer, partner, and ecosystem applications, solutions, and tools.
  • Data center & operations: Consolidated landscape & deployments, hybrid cloud/on-premises deployments, advanced security/encryption/privacy controls, extended support for partner cloud deployments, workload management, complex HA/DR scenarios, self-healing, and lifecycle management enhancements.

Helping Customers Tackle Data Challenges

In its short history, SAP HANA has proven itself capable of handling the major data challenges of our times. It is helping thousands of companies store and manage their data, and analyze it for better business insights.

Client: Huawei

Huawei is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company, offering network infrastructure, applications and software, professional services, and devices to telecommunication operators, enterprises, and consumers worldwide. It is one of the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturers in the world, with operations across 170 countries. Huawei’s annual sales revenue was CNY 521.6 billion (USD 78.2 billion) in 2016.

Product: HANA Platform

Client’s business challenges:

  • Need to manage and analyze large volume of business data effectively
  • Accelerate integration with key applications like delivery, manufacturing, and financing for the supply chain
  • Boost the ability of real-time data analysis to enhance decision-making for business

Benefits of SAP HANA:

  • Accomplish visualization and transparency from order to manufacture, boost the ability of processing and decision making
  • Faster key reports like financial reports which increase productivity
  • Cooperate with SAP, provide all-in-one hardware solution of HANA for customers across the globe

Quantified improvement:

  • Maximum performance improved 1,000 times
  • Real-time analysis with 10 TB data
  • Incremental, real-time synchronization of 400 GB data daily
  • Response analysis request of 100M records within 1 second

Client: Unilever

Unilever is a leading consumer goods company headquartered in London. It has over 175,000 employees and achieved €49.8 billion revenue in 2013. Its personal care products, including Dove, Clear, and Vaseline, accounted for €4.4 billion of a total €12.2 billion in revenue for the first quarter of 2013; food products such as Knorr, Lipton, and Hellmann’s amassed revenues of €3.4 billion. At the time, the company had 2 billion consumers using at least one Unilever product each day.

Product: SAP HANA

Client’s business challenges:

  • Double its business by 2020
  • Boost the ability of real-time data acquisition and analysis, enhance business decision making
  • Converge more than 250 ERP systems into four regionally based SAP ERP systems managed as one global platform, and maximize efficiency of core financial processes and reporting

Benefits of SAP HANA:

  • Implementation of core SAP ERP financials and other SAP HANA applications in parallel with the move to a global platform
  • Reduction of time spent on month-end financial close process, financial analysis, and product cost forecasting process

Quantified improvement:

  • Material ledger was cut by 66 percent
  • Cost center assessment time decreased by 39 percent
  • Top-down distribution products went down by 32 percent
  • Top-down distribution customers were lowered by 40 percent
  • Controlling and profitability analysis reporting is now 10 times faster with an improved user experience

Client: A U.S. Footwear Company

The client is a well-known U.S. footwear company that offers sportswear and lifestyle brand footwear.

Product: SAP HANA and SAP HANA Live

Client’s business challenges:

  • Need a new scalable ERP platform to provide appropriate controls for enterprise risk and compliance requirements across its global supply chain and within finance, and to support new businesses as they came online
  • Ensure that the complex transition from the old platform to the SAP Apparel and Footwear Solution (AFS) goes smoothly and meets an aggressive time schedule

Benefits of SAP HANA:

  • Incorporation of SAP HANA and SAP HANA Live into the platform to provide analytics-driven business intelligence in real time
  • Complete control over supply chain
  • Real-time and reliable visibility into product cost, upcharges and variances at the component level
  • Improve data reporting with both speed and quality to enable better business decision making
  • Leverage integrated global information to improve accounts receivable, reduce accounts payable, and achieve more efficient inventory utilization
  • Establish the base for near-term expansion goals into additional technology projects such as advanced supply chain planning and omni-channel e-commerce

These are just a few examples of how SAP HANA is enabling digital transformation through increased IT performance, simplification, mobility, and lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). SAP HANA will continue to accelerate, innovate, and simplify business across all industries and all applications. With SAP HANA, the future looks bright. 

SAP Testimony

SAP products go far beyond our expectations. The innovation cycle of S/4HANA is the shortest in the history of SAP and has become a catalyst for the promotion of all SAP cloud capabilities. SAP is a growing company. Regarding future growth, we have good reasons to feel confident.

— Bill McDermott, SAP CEO

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