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By | Gavin Clarke 10th December 2015 12:37

CIOs aren't loving SAP's HANA. Yep, somebody's afraid of commitment

Platform plays aren't taken lightly

SAP’s all-or-nothing HANA is experiencing a Hadoop moment in the enterprise, with adoption of the business giant’s in-memory database layer being held back because customers either can't afford it or can't establish a business case for it.

One of the biggest problems is licensing of the HANA-oriented next version of SAP’s business suite, S/4HANA.

A survey of 1,253 customers by the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) has found CIOs unwilling to commit to S/4HANA because of concerns over licensing.

“No successful CIO can sleep easy at night without knowing all the ramifications of the cost/benefit calculations around any product,” ASUG S/4HANA community advocate Kevin Reilly said in a statement.

“SAP still needs to address this licensing question before many of the ‘wait-and-see’ customers hop on board the S/4HANA train,” he added.

HANA is the foundation of S/4HANA – the next version of the firm’s ERP suite. It will only work on HANA, and not – as has traditionally happened with SAP apps – database technologies from others, such as Microsoft, Oracle or IBM.

An ASUG survey of SAP customers found increased uptake of HANA, 45 per cent versus 40 per cent.

However, it also found 58 per cent hadn’t licensed HANA in 2015 due to "lack of business case to justify the investment".

Of this 58 per cent, ASUG found "budget issues or timing for funding to support a move to HANA" as issue for 48 per cent. A third reckoned on not having identified a "full set of optimisation scenarios requiring HANA".

Twenty-two per cent blamed a lack of understanding about the SAP roadmap, while 21 per cent reckoned they had to catch up on SAP upgrades first.

The spirit of the findings is startlingly familiar with a survey from Gartner in May finding Hadoop is also struggling to break out in enterprise uptake.

Hadoop is, like HANA and S/4HANA, a strategic platform commitment, with a substantial investment required by customers. Gartner found a lack of Hadoop sponsors inside organisations to champion its cause. One of the problems Gartner found is that Hadoop is simply overkill for the problems customers said they are facing.

As for S/4HANA, announced by SAP in February, 37 per cent said they don’t know or are unsure what impact a move would have while 39 per cent either had no plans to increase their investment in HANA or no plans to change their use of SAP.

Three per cent said they’d move off SAP rather than go HANA.

In a statement, SAP global president for the platform solutions group Steve Lucas called the year-on-year uptake of HANA "substantial and significant."

"SAP has thousands of use cases across dozens of industries that show the power of HANA and how our technology is transforming companies," Lucas said. ®

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