SAP Users Skeptical Big Data Is Worth the Costs, Survey Shows

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    Bad news for SAP’s HANA: The majority of SAP’s American User Group is skeptical that the Big Data platform is worth the costs.

    ASUG recently surveyed its member on SAP HANA adoption. It heard from more than 500 respondents, with 93 percent identifying themselves as ASUG members.

    Three-fourths of SAP customers said they have not purchased any SAP HANA products because they can’t identify a business case that will justify the costs. Ranked well below this concern (at 40 percent) were concerns about skill set, a roadmap and upgrade issues.

    ASUG membership can also include SAP partners, whose responses were separated out from customer survey results. Still, partner results share a similar concern. The top factor partners say could lead to more HANA purchases would be “better business case guidance.” (As one reader pointed out in the comments, the SAP Innovation Awards might help here, since the list provides nearly 30 use cases.)

    Bruce Guptill, SVP and head of research at Saugatuck Technology, says this will be a problem for all Big Data analytics companies through the next two years.

    “This is because, in most companies, Big Data analytics just can’t be widely used to deliver broad-based business benefits across the full portfolio – because user enterprises have huge challenges finding and managing their own data, let alone analyzing it,” Guptill writes.

    Guptill cites several examples that are quite troubling. For instance, he notes that HR divisions have the most regulated data, but Saugatuck’s experience shows many companies can’t easily find or manage that data. He also cites SuperValu, which revealed after a security breach that it didn’t even know what customer data it possessed.

    That’s why Guptill believes the “killer use case” for Big Data analytics will only come after companies have improved their integration with cloud-based business management software and services. SAP and other vendors know this, he writes, but for now they face an uphill battle in winning over adopters:

    “SAP, for one, understands that the long-term growth and influence of Big Data analytics will be part of Cloud-based business management solution platforms, and has emphasized that HANA is just that. But through at least 2016, the business benefits for most user enterprises will be limited, because they must build on company-specific, well-defined data sets until more, and better, data management solutions and practices are the norm.”

    In the meantime, what companies do have is a strong business justification for investing in data management tools, especially master data management, according to Guptill.

    Loraine Lawson is a veteran technology reporter and blogger. She currently writes the Integration blog for IT Business Edge, which covers all aspects of integration technology, including data governance and best practices. She has also covered IT/Business Alignment and IT Security for IT Business Edge. Before becoming a freelance writer, Lawson worked at TechRepublic as a site editor and writer, covering mobile, IT management, IT security and other technology trends. Previously, she was a webmaster at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and a newspaper journalist. Follow Lawson at Google+ and on Twitter.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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