SAP makes ERP real-time, catches up with Oracle - UPDATED

By Stuart Sumner
11 Jan 2013 View Comments
SAP building

Business software provider SAP has announced that its ERP suite can now run on its real-time in-memory database HANA.

Further reading

In the announcement, made yesterday, SAP claimed that this move "empowers customers to run their business in real time within the window of opportunity to transact, analyse and predict instantly and proactively in an unpredictable world."

While this represents an improved offering from SAP, and an opportunity to get at valuable business information more quickly for its customers, some analysts doubted that this alone would be enough to convince firms to upgrade, or switch to SAP.

"SAP Business Suite on HANA has the potential to be a game changer by making SAP much more relevant to its customers. But in the near term, SAP Business Suite on HANA should be seen as opportunistic upgrade for existing customers or greenfield opportunity for new ones," said Tony Baer, Madan Sheina, Nicole Engelbert, Carter Lusher and Warren Wilson from analyst firm Ovum in a joint statement.

"Few if any enterprises currently rank replacement of enterprise systems as top priority. Convincing customers that the "transformative" benefits of Suite on HANA will be non-disruptive technically is the challenge SAP faces with an entrenched Business Suite customer base. Companies don't swap out their database and ERP investments overnight," they added.

However, Philip Adams at the SAP User Group welcomed the new offering.

"It's great to see that SAP has listened to the feedback we provided as part of SUGEN [the SAP User Group] and incorporated that into the pricing strategy. We've been used to paying for databases in a certain way, so it's great to see that SAP providing similar licensing options.

"In terms of the solution itself, it looks great. In the first instance I'd expect those organisations that have a real need for speed to look at migrating. I'm sure new customers will also welcome the news as it simply gives them more database options," said Adams.

Angela Eager, research director at analysts TechMarketView was similarly positive about the potential impact of real-time ERP for SAP.

"With this move SAP is extending its revenue potential by making an assault on the database market - it is not disruptive but will make waves. It certainly raises the intensity in the long-running Oracle-SAP confrontation because customers will no longer have to look to Oracle (and other providers) for the database on which to run Business Suite," she said.

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