What are the HANA Skills Needed for Successful Projects

Because SAP HANA is a new technology the success of any implementation will depend in large part on your ability to locate experts who can fill any skill gaps on your team. Critical resources for an SAP HANA project will also vary depending on how you choose to leverage the SAP HANA in-memory solution, or which use case you select.

The following roles are specific to agile data mart use case implementations:

System architect/system administrator. This resource is responsible for the physical SAP HANA landscape, including the CPU, memory, and disk usage. He or she performs maintenance and system monitoring, along with configuration and application of any necessary patches. The system architect also performs SAP source system configuration and replication, and manages the SAP  Landscape  Transformation  (SLT)  replication server. Finally, he or she ensures that the SAP HANA database is backed up regularly, and also monitors and processes backup log files.

Solution architect. As the name implies, the solution architect is responsible for solution design. He or she gathers requirements for the use case(s) and creates the technical design documentation.

SAP HANA data modeler. The SAP HANA data modeler is responsible primarily for modeling solution design and development and unit testing of all SAP HANA models. He or she also performs SAP HANA model lifecycle management, which includes the various steps contained in the process of moving from development to production.

Data services/SLT developer. The data services developer is responsible primarily for the design and development of jobs to extract, transform, and load data into SAP HANA via data services or SLT. The developer also performs lifecycle management, which includes steps contained in moving from development to production.

Two other roles are specific to implementations of SAP BW powered by SAP HANA.

SAP technology consultant. This expert on SAP HANA technology, collaborates with the project manager to plan technical requirements for the project. He or she then implements these required technical tasks within the system.

Certified OS/DB migration consultant. This individual is responsible for technical planning and design of the in-memory infrastructure, including database planning, project organization, design, audit, and project review.

If you perform a custom development, you will need additional development skills:

SAP HANA developer. This expert builds your applications beyond pure data modeling using the different development capabilities of SAP HANA (SQLScript, Business Function Library, etc.).

Depending on the specific scope and the architecture of your project, you may need development experts in the specific application domain and advanced technologies, such as predictive analytics, scripting languages, etc. Implementing SAP HANA is a major step in dramatically improving your ability to obtain optimal value from your big data. With the right service provider, use case, implementation methodology, and skilled resources, you’ll be able to enjoy the power, speed, and performance of SAP HANA. Let’s conclude this discussion by examining some truly stellar examples   of successful SAP HANA implementations.

Putting it All Together — Examples of Stellar Projects

Now that we have discussed the SAP HANA technology and how to obtain the best business value from this technology, we will present some innovative ways that customers have “put it all together.” The first example is a chemical company that was able to improve compliance reporting by accelerating its standard SAP system. The second example involves a large university hospital that successfully implemented SAP HANA as the engine of a new custom application, enabling it to dramatically increase the speed with which it analyzed medical records. Finally, a financial services company used SAP HANA as a primary database for SAP Business Warehouse, with  impressive results.

  • SAP Business Suite Accelerator at a Chemicals Company
  • Custom SAP HANA Application in Use at a University Hospital
  • Primary Database for SAP Business Warehouse in Use at a Financial Institution

SAP HANA is a data platform which has strong analytic capabilities.

During the last segment of topics, we have discussed and reviewed the importance of selecting the right SAP HANA services partner — one who can help you plan and implement your solution and provide the right set of skill resources to ensure your implementation delivers on the value of SAP HANA. We’ve also reviewed some common use cases, including the agile data mart, SAP Business Suite accelerator, the primary database for SAP Business Warehouse, and custom SAP HANA applications. SAP HANA implementation scenarios can vary depending on your business need — from custom development to SAP application development to rapid deployment solutions. Next, we reviewed the importance of taking a systematic approach to your implementation and the benefits of following a methodology built on education, use case identification, solution approach, modeling, QA and testing, and go-live best practices. Prior to implementation, you’ll also need to identify your timeline, key activities, and skilled resources needed to implement SAP HANA. The key is planning and ensuring that you understand the entire scope of the implementation, while remaining flexible enough to leverage the latest in SAP HANA use cases.

In conclusion, we’d like to leave you with a short list of six key takeaways to ensure a successful SAP HANA implementation:

  1. Make certain that business requirements are completely understood and that  the use case  complements  the technical requirements. Remember, that technology intelligence doesn’t necessarily equal business intelligence!
  1. Establish ROI metrics early in the scoping process. Build them into the project/solution to ensure that success can be properly measured and quantified.
  2. Ensure proper collaboration across application delivery teams (EPR, BW, CRM, reporting,), depending on project requirements.
  3. Start with a focused use case to demonstrate business value, and then expand across other functional areas of the business. Establishing a quick win helps with sponsorship and funding for additional in-memory projects.
  4. Make sure that data quality is considered as part of overall SAP HANA solution planning. Acquiring data quickly can’t help the business if the data are not accurate.
  5. Define (or redefine) specific in-memory terminology with all users to make certain that each term is understood by — and means the same thing to — IT, developers, business users, and executive sponsors. Small clarifications on such terms as “real-time” and “self-serve” can go a long way toward preventing misunderstandings concerning both the functionality to be delivered and the value it brings.

Top Advice from SAP Mentors for SAP HANA Projects

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) & Return on Investment (ROI) Analysis

Do not limit the analysis of TCO and ROI to technical, IT, or infrastructure savings. Too often, when customers generate a business case to justify the acquisition of SAP HANA, they apply only those savings related to infrastructure items such as storage and hardware. Avoid this mistake! Be bold!  Explore  the holistic value of SAP HANA to your business processes. For example,  reducing the time to run a BW analytic report from 4 hours to 5 minutes means a lot to the business. Apply metrics to these savings. Engage SAP Value Engineering teams who can help translate the  speed of SAP HANA into true business value.

The well-known adage “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is especially relevant to value management. If you don’t identify, track, and ensure the ongoing value of a project, you’re unlikely to achieve its financial and operational objectives.

Cutting-edge Technology

SAP HANA represents a paradigm shift in how we know and use an RDBMS. It is also a new database technology – one that is evolving as SAP customers find new ways to challenge the speed and performance of the database. The SAP HANA platform is evolving very quickly, and SAP continuously adds new and innovative functionality. To enable customers to take advantage of this new functionality quickly and efficiently, SAP has made the process of upgrading very simple.

HANA Should Not Be Only an IT Project

Recognize the business drivers which catalyzed the decision to make SAP HANA the platform for your business. Although switching the database underneath BW is part of the formula for success with SAP HANA, the full value of a BW powered by SAP HANA solution is realized through additional activities such as optimizing in-memory objects and examining processes to re-architect the information layers. Such activities will help you save not only on the maintenance of these objects, but also on storage, resources, and memory. Ultimately they will enable your business to report more quickly and efficiently.

Executive Sponsorship

Buy-in at the highest level brings the authority and credibility that can mean the difference between success and failure for your SAP HANA project. Executive sponsorship helps drive the vision for SAP HANA in your organization, and it facilitates the change management that is required when you adopt a new technology. To secure and maintain this sponsorship, include the executives in project reviews at regular intervals to keep them up to date on project status. Also, make certain that they are involved in all follow-on endeavors.

Size Does Matter

Do not rely purely on the size of the data set on source systems to predict the size of the SAP HANA appliance. Instead, analyze ways to reduce redundant data before loading/migrating into SAP HANA. Examine solutions like near-line storage (NLS) that may help mitigate rapid data growth in SAP HANA. Invest in hardware that can be scaled instead of being replaced. Adopt realistic goals on sharing an SAP HANA appliance between applications. Finally, look into items such as backup and restore, patching, and performance when you are considering sharing a single appliance.

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