If you had been reading this kind of article a few years ago, the answer to the above question may have read something like, “SAP HANA is a database with a unique in-memory architecture.” This is in fact still a proper answer, as SAP HANA uses a simpler data modeling system compared to the usual database.

Unlike other databases that store data on the hard drive, SAP HANA stores it in-memory. This means that when you need the data, the system can access it directly from the in-memory storage instead of calling it up from the hard drive. And this allows your system to run faster when extracting the information you need.

However, today SAP HANA has developed further—beyond being “just a database.” So, to define it solely based on a database architectural view seems rather outdated. In just a few years’ time, SAP HANA has been recognized by its many customers as a multifaceted platform that becomes the foundation of an intelligent enterprise.

The application services of the SAP HANA platform allow you to develop and run custom applications as well as manage the life cycles of your applications. And the latest version of SAP HANA is leveraging the advanced technology of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, which means even more functionalities and enhanced capabilities.

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The New Key Features of SAP HANA 2.0 SPS 03

SAP HANA 2.0’s newest innovations offer numerous solutions for your business objectives and can create a more seamless integration with your system. There are a number of new features for users to take advantage of in the latest release, grouped into the following four aspects.

  • Database Enhancement provides organizations with improvements on data administration and monitoring, workload management, and security. The newest High Availability and Disaster Recovery (HA/DR) will help organizations protect their most critical applications with a new multi-target system replication option, instead of only one. Moreover, the new enhancement will allow more advanced privacy protection with data anonymization. This will enable organizations to gain new insights while safeguarding data privacy.
  • Data Management Enhancement will benefit organizations with data integration, data modeling, and its multi-tier storage architecture. It enables organizations to integrate data between multiple sources, inside or outside SAP HANA systems. Moreover, with the new spatial data type in SAP HANA, organizations can leverage geospatial information to gain new business insights.
  • Advanced Analytics Processing enables SAP HANA to incorporate machine learning and predictive analytics into your custom applications. New algorithm parameters have been added to the Predictive Analytics Library (PAL) to enhance data analytics processing. Text analysis, graph, and geospatial features in SAP HANA will support more complex analysis of your data, and this will automatically improve the productivity of your data science team.
  • Application Development and Tools Enhancements provide new functions for several programming languages to enhance the application server performance, simplify the development tools, and expand use cases. For instance, the new SQL Plan Stability option will enable you to avoid performance regression and optimize the time for more complex queries.

Why You Should Move to SAP HANA

If your company wants to stay ahead of the competition, you should know how to utilize and manage your insurmountable amount of unorganized data. And without the right tool for analysis, you cannot properly leverage the great amount of data you have—and it will then mean nothing to your organization. SAP HANA is a solution for this predicament.

Companies like Hershey’s and Eissmann Group Automotive have experienced the benefits of migrating to SAP HANA. They’ve gained new insights and were able to explore market opportunities via SAP HANA’s data processing and analytics .

With its advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities, SAP HANA will not only enable you to handle a vast amount of data and gain insights from it but also access the information in real-time.

If your ERP system currently handles thousands of transactions per day, SAP HANA can reduce the time it takes to process the data needed. With its in-memory capability, SAP HANA will also be able to produce even the most comprehensive report with a much faster processing time.

This will allow organizations to make decisions based on real-time data and then take appropriate measures to overcome business challenges in a timely manner.


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So, SAP HANA can equip your organization with the best technology to process big data and, most importantly, make use of it. But then the next question is, how likely is it that this new HANA database platform will impact your current or next ERP strategy?

SAP HANA can integrate your data from both internal and external sources seamlessly. Plus, it also offers the flexibility of integrating it with other databases and ERP software, so you don’t have to give up your current system interface. However, as we all know, SAP®’s newest ERP, S/4HANA®, only runs on a HANA database. So, if you are not currently using HANA and want to upgrade your SAP ERP to S/4HANA, you have to migrate the entire database as well.

At the end of the day, all of SAP’s newest applications and software will run best on a HANA database, so moving to SAP HANA is a wise move.

The Challenges of Moving to SAP HANA

Now that you’ve had a glimpse on the benefits of SAP HANA, you might be more convinced to perform the migration. However, before deciding to make the move, you also have to be aware of the challenges you’ll face during the process. Here are a few things you should be careful about during your SAP HANA migration:

Planning: Pain Points

Many organizations fail to identify the actual paint points of their current database infrastructure and, as a result, miscalculate the scope of the project. This can lead to wasted effort and resources. Without a solid project plan and accurate estimation of project cost, you will not have a proper roadmap to digital transformation and can thus negatively impact your Return on Investment (ROI).

Technical Issue: Code Conversion

Other challenges come from the technical side of the migration itself. If your system is still using a non-Unicode language, then it will be a big challenge to move to SAP HANA. SAP HANA only supports the Unicode system, so all new SAP applications and SAP NetWeaver technology will only be available in Unicode.

Therefore, the prerequisite for Unicode system conversion has to be conducted carefully before migrating to SAP HANA. Many organizations lack knowledge about this conversion, resulting in system failures and waste.

Execution: Downtime

As in any migration project, it all starts with an initial migration in the sandbox for testing. Only then does the migration proceed to Development and Quality before finally moving into Production. The major concern when migrating to Production is the downtime, since users will not be able to access the system during this process.

If you don’t pre-test the new database system thoroughly, there might be a bigger chance of system failures during the migration—leading to greater downtime—or worse, failures are detected too late—resulting in even lengthier outages.

How Panaya Release Dynamix Can Help

In order to ensure a successful migration to SAP HANA, you need to keep a close eye on clarity, efficiency, and quality. Panaya Release Dynamix (RDx) can help you do this. RDx allows you visibility into the scope of a project, estimation of effort, and possible risks throughout your SAP HANA migration process. With its impact analysis and automated testing, Panaya RDx will help you avoid common pitfalls via the following features.

The Perfect Plan for Zero-Risk Migration

RDx’s precise scoping and accelerated testing enable you to accurately estimate the timeline, effort, and resources required as well as the risks of SAP HANA migration. With Panaya’s Impact Analysis and Big Data Insights, you will be able to determine the best possible strategy for your migration project. And all of this will allow you to create a reliable project plan with a zero-risk delivery, as achieved with Hershey’s migration to SAP HANA.

Go-Live Without Delay

Successful migration requires thorough testing of the system. Using RDx lets you determine which parts to test, reducing the time for QA testing by even 50%, as seen in this use case with Eissmann Group Automotive. Panaya’s RDx enables you to assess whether the release date is achievable or not, allowing you to go-live in a timely and predictable manner.


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Moving to SAP HANA will not only give your company a competitive advantage, but also ease your path to SAP S/4HANA. However, successful migration to SAP HANA requires clear planning and accurate estimation of time, risk, and effort to prevent unnecessary hitches during the project.

How can you achieve all of this? Panaya Release Dynamix, with its precise scoping and comprehensive test management, will help you identify potential risks of system migration at an early stage and enable you to gain better visibility of the project as a whole. This, in turn, will help you overcome the challenges of system failures and lengthy downtimes, allowing for a successful migration to your new SAP HANA database system.

Panaya Release Dynamix has assisted many companies in their journey to SAP HANA migration by enabling faster and better delivery. If you are considering a HANA migration, Panaya can prepare you for it.

Greenfield vs Brownfield

Greenfield vs. Brownfield

The Complete Guide to a Non-Disruptive Transition to S/4HANA

Get the Guide >

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