Late last week, my good friend Vijay Vijayasankar got in touch to tell me he had launched an SAP BusinessWarehouse (BW) on HANA trial. He was excited about it for a variety of reasons. Big deal you might say. Actually - it is. Here is why.
- This is a trial hosted on Amazon's cloud. As Vijay says in the video above, you don't normally expect to hear about BW as a hosted/cloud solution. This is therefore a break with the past.
- There's bags of content. BW on its own is not much good so the company has assembled a ton of content including many tutorials, business intelligence tools and sample data that allow anyone to kick the tires. Those who sign up can also provision their own data so they can test for themselves whether BW on HANA provides the kind of performance SAP claims.
- It is free. All that anyone has to do is sign up and pay the Amazon hosting charges. SAP? Free? This is a big one. If I wind the clock back to 1995, prospective customers would be required to pay SAP just to get a boardroom presentation and even that would be a slide deck. The very last thing SAP would ever show is software. Fast forward and it is show first, tell later.
Did it work?
The launch was a quiet affair by SAP standards. No big campaign, no endless retweeting. Instead, Vijay put out a post on the SAP HANA site and a few people tweeted about it. In the first day, something around 1,800 people landed at the post, resulting in a sign up rate well above industry averages. Twelve hours later and that sign up number had grown by a factor of three. Note: I was given access to certain of the numbers on condition they are kept confidential. Having crunched them and compared to industry averages I can confidently say the trial signup rate was much higher than industry expectations. What happened?
Vijay says that Vishal Sikka, executive board member SAP recently shared a vision where access to enterprise technology should take cues and inspiration from Apple's App Store. That is a huge ambition, given the size and complexity of enterprise applications. As Vijay notes, gaining access to a HANA system is not trivial either in time or cost. The ability to provision and become productive on a HANA system inside 30 minutes is a dramatic change. Early results suggest it is a popular approach.
The extent to which such trials turn into real deployments has yet to be determined. If they got the content right then it should be a substantial percentage. In the meantime it is good to see an enterprise vendor experimenting in this way.
In part two of this video recording, I ask Vijay to speculate about where this type of initiative might go. I also provide further analysis on where I believe this type of solution could usefully go and how SAP customers might benefit going forward. Coming tomorrow at about the same time.
Disclosure: SAP is a premier partner