SAP Launches Killer BI App for HANA

Michael Vizard

One of the first major business intelligence (BI) applications for the SAP in-memory High Performance Analytics Appliance (HANA) made its official debut this week at the SAP Insider Financials conference.

According to Bryan Katis, SAP vice president for enterprise performance management solutions, the SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation application will become one of the first "killer applications" for the HANA platform because HANA not only dramatically improves the performance of the application, it increases the amount of data the application can effectively analyze. That means users of the application can more effectively analyze business trends in real time right down to the product stock-keeping-unit (SKU) level, says Katis.

SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation is adding HANA support via the version of SAP NetWeaver that IBM added HANA support to late last year. Katis says that it will be essentially swapping out the relational database that the BusinessObjects application normally calls for HANA. SAP BI customers will on average see performance gains that are as much as 21 times greater than they are today. Much of those performance gains are derived from eliminating the need for a separate application server tier all together, says Katis. That level of performance will make it more practical to make the BI applications available via any mobile computing device anywhere in the world.

Over time, Katis adds that performance gains will continue to be provided as more functionality, such as application logic and calculation engines, become embedded inside HANA.

Katis says BI applications have been making tradeoffs between performance and the amount of data that could be effectively analyzed for years. With the rise of in-memory computing, it's now practical to analyze all the available data or any subset as layers of computing continue to get eliminated by relying more on in-memory processing.

In addition, the cost of running those applications should be substantially less, not only because the expense of acquiring all that middleware starts to disappear, but because the overall management of the IT environment itself should become a whole lot less complex and, by extension, more affordable to manage.

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