Those that know me, know that I am not a bit & bytes kind of guy. Because of that, it is sometimes difficult to navigate, as a sales guy, within the software industry. Technology is constantly being force fed to you through the proverbial fire hose.
When my co-workers start to talk root directories, HTML, or some other inane acronym, my eyes either glaze over or I say, “Wow, that’s fascinating!” and go back to my call list.
So, the difficulty becomes, how do I as a software sales guy, talk to other non-technical people and explain the benefits of something I might not fully understand myself? That’s my HANA conundrum.
HANA is not new. We have been talking about it for a couple years now. So, what is it? Well, that’s easy. SAP Business One HANA is an in-memory, column-oriented, relational database management system developed and marketed by SAP.
See. That wasn’t so bad now was it. I can end my blog early today and go enjoy the fireworks! Huh? What do you mean, “So?”. I just explained it. Read it again.
Still not clear? Not ready to sign up just yet? Well, I don’t blame you. I really don’t know what half of that means, but it’s on this really cool marketing “slick” they sent out, so it must be important to somebody that gets paid a lot more money than I do.
Let’s back up a step. SAP Business One is a fully functional, world class enterprise resource planning (ERP) software by SAP, the largest business application software company in the world. SAP Business One utilizes an SQL database and there are over 50,000 companies using the software world-wide. It’s been very successful.
Now, SAP Business One, also comes on the HANA platform and is called SAP Business One HANA. Same software. New platform. The platform was developed by SAP and “optimized” for ERP use.
But, if you are a customer or prospect of mine, why would you choose SAP Business One HANA over the SQL version? Why would any of those 50,000+ customers want to move away from a platform they have been running successfully for years? How am I going to explain that to you?
Until recently, I probably would have said, “Well, SAP is committed to the HANA platform and it is their direction of choice for the future. Sooner or later, they WILL make it very compelling for you to move to the HANA platform, whether you want to or not.”
But, no one likes to be forced to do anything, whether SAP thinks it’s a good idea or not. Then, I started to review some Partner products written on the new HANA platform. They weren’t compelling just because they were written on the new HANA platform in and of themselves. It wasn’t until later that I was actually able to have my “AHA!” moment.
We were reviewing a barcoding application. Now, I can assure you that reviewing a new barcoding solution is not terribly exciting. There is not much difference when they guy goes, “Beep”, and scans the barcode, from all of the other barcode solutions out there.
But, after the demonstration I was able to ask a few questions. My first couple of questions were rather mundane. “Is this only for the SAP Business One HANA platform? Or, can it also be deployed on the SQL version?”
I was told that it could be for either. That’s good. I would rather sell just one potential solution and not have to worry about platform. One check mark in the “good” column.
Then I asked, “OK, normally, it takes about 10 days to implement even basic barcoding, how long will it take to implement your solution?”
“10 days.”, was the reply, but then he said, “In SQL. If you choose the HANA platform, we can do that in significantly less time.”
Hmmmm…..why? “Because a lot of the time we spend implementing barcoding is configuration to the hardware. Like those Intermec guns or whatever.”
“But you were just using an iPhone.”
“Exactly.” He says, “Because the application is written in the new HANA platform and it utilizes HTML 5, it becomes device agnostic. It sizes the screen automatically, deploys faster, which means cheaper. You can use a traditional device, your cell phone, an iPad, android, whatever.”
Wait a minute. Let’s back up a step again. I said a bad word in there, HTML 5. For those of you that are technophobes, like me, what does that mean?
It is easier to show you, rather than tell you. Because, to be honest, I couldn’t even tell you what HTML 5 is an acronym for….but I can show you.
HTML 5 allows you to build “responsive” things like websites. To illustrate, grab the corner of this web page, and re-size it smaller. See how it adjusts to the size of your screen? That’s a “responsive website”, which is one of the considerations we took when building this website. Go to another website and try the same thing. If it doesn’t resize, then it was built with older technology and will not responsively re-size. It will start to cut the image off when you bring it in too far. This website will start stacking the information vertically, if it can’t do it horizontally.
It’s a big deal. Trust me. My web designer said so.
Back to the main reason for the blog. Because the new HANA version for SAP Business One utilizes the latest technology, including HTML 5, other applications that extend the functionality, also written on that platform, will be cheaper to deploy.
Not just barcoding. Think portals for your customers, vendors, or employees. The world is going mobile. That doesn’t mean mobile phone. That means people are doing business where ever they are, utilizing a variety of devices. It could be an iPhone for messages and alerts. An iPad for checking your account status and to order products. Or, a small laptop when you are stuck at the airport and have down time.
SAP Business One HANA utilizes the latest technology to make those things happen faster and easier. It is optimized for your ERP system. It is perfect for not only data analytics, but for fast distribution of that data in a world that is increasingly focused on mobility. Those solutions will be developed faster. And, deployed less expensively.
Or, we could just stick with: SAP Business One HANA is an in-memory, column-oriented, relational database management system developed and marketed by SAP.
And, hope that if we say it enough, then the rest of the world will soon understand. I like my new understanding of it better. I hope you do too…..