The age of digital transformation is forcing businesses to over-haul their strategies. They are faced with an increasingly modern and fast-paced environment to operate and ply their trade in. Further, the magnitude of businesses, the complexity of operations, and the relentless competition – also weigh in heavily on businesses, thus rendering the business quality inadequate vis-à-vis the delivery of services or offerings to the end-customer. That obviously impacts sales, revenues, and profitability. That brings us to the question as to what can businesses do in an increasingly transformative age of huge customer expectations?
In an evolving business era that has become gadget and technology driven indicating extremely diverse customer requirements, enterprise activity also needs to evolve. Therefore, there is no definite or fool-proof plan for keeping pace with the dynamics of business. However, there are ways in which companies can get closer to achieving the required business agility.
Some of them are:
- Striving for operational efficiency
- Understanding the respective business closely at every level, and as it happens, to figure out if there are additional business drivers hidden in the transactional and operational data
- Work towards future-readiness
How can one go about doing these?
Regardless of their size and nature of business or the operational area, or even the target customer segment they are catering to, enterprises have matured to be able to harness technological innovations that enable business-impacting solutions and yield more return on investment than any other operational investment known in the history of man-kind. Some of these advancements are in the field of enterprise resource planning (ERP), for which scores of ISVs are offering specific platforms to run businesses on.
These modern ERP systems are -as we know- agile, flexible, and interpolable, thus sufficiently equipped to power your business forward by facilitating an efficient operations infrastructure that is capable of handling the scale, variety, and complexity of contemporary business enterprises. We have the likes of SAP, Oracle, etc., to complement the efforts of your work-force.
Understanding business dynamics on-the-go
The sheer pace of changes taking place the world-over has made it imperative for businesses to align their operations accordingly. But keeping pace with such rapid and complex changes is not simple. Managements need to constantly know the pulse of their business, be seized of the undercurrents and, act and deliver suitably. To be able to do that, they require many reports. But conventional reporting tools failed to provide the required information. It wasn’t that business leaders weren’t up to speed with the latest: rather, it was owing to the incapacity of the systems in place. Although they were technically competent and new at the time, they were not capable of handling real-time data emanating from all the customer touch-points of a business. Or, in other words, they were not equipped enough to help managements take timely decisions through insightful information – simply because the platforms were slow.
Let us look at a very basic example that puts into perspective as to why older ERPs and their databases let businesses down:
Customers visiting a department store find that a specific product is not in stock, and go away dissatisfied. It was perhaps a result of the procurement staff not receiving in time the inventory report to able to replenish. What can such incidents do to business? Loss of potential revenue and, possibly, some goodwill damage too.
But, could the procurement team have helped matters if it had the reports well ahead of the cut-off time, or much before the re-order level was reached? Yes, of course.
So, who was the culprit? No one really.
The reporting systems (business warehousing on databases) back then lacked the wherewithal to be so fast. Therefore, the people entrusted with timely procurement and ensuring optimal stock levels at all times were handicapped by the systems they were using.
Was it the management’s fault then, for not having in place the right reporting apparatus? Not at all. Simply because there weren’t any better options for them to help their operations with. Hence, they were forced to just make do.
The above example puts it straight – what businesses needed was a system that could help them with real-time status updates. That is exactly what the revolutionary SAP HANA enables!
Is SAP HANA the right solution for addressing the need for real-time data updates?
Yes it is. SAP HANA, being an in-memory database, overcomes some technical constraints faced by real-time data processing such as data storage, speed of retrieval from disparate sources, and data management: thus greatly aiding business decision-making by enabling faster and real-time data processing and analysis.
The one and only SAP HANA!
We’ll see how businesses can be better prepared for the future a little later. But, for now, let us understand the beauty that SAP HANA is.
Some USPs of SAP HANA:
SAP HANA allows businesses to run real-time analytics on data coming from multiple sources. The ‘In-memory’ approach uses columnar databases that help in cutting down on the column repetitions as well aiding greater data compression, as opposed to row-oriented databases. Thus, consuming a lot less storage space.
Regardless of whether it is structured or unstructured, or whether it is from an internal source or an external one, it just integrates the data, ever so seamlessly!
Configurability, easy integration with a wide range of environments, and capabilities to easily handle data from other databases such as Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, etc.), and doing so irrespective of whether it is on-premises or on cloud, make SAP HANA one of the most versatile databases ever. Suffices to say that all the above factors make it the most suitable option for real-time analytics to generate insightful business reporting.
- Real-time analytics:
Facilitates SAP HANA help in achieving maximum business efficiency and profits. Faster processing of data, quicker report generation (reports that took days or weeks to be generated can now be made available in hours and minutes) leading to accelerated decision-making, which means faster time-to-market of products, services, plans, or specific measures (promotions, course-correction, etc.) – anything and everything that will help boost the business in general.
With SAP HANA in the picture, SAP customers using the SAP stack of applications, have everything under one roof. That not only takes out the cumbersome task of managing multiple vendors (Oracle, Sybase, DB2, etc.) and the efforts and costs related thereof, but it also cuts down capital expenditure to a great extent, thus appreciably reducing the TCO. Software costs cut by 3/4th while those of hardware and administration by about 15% – 20%. The money thus saved can be better employed elsewhere.
Runs on any hardware or with any software – means no binding whatsoever to buy supporting hardware or software. Thus, saving so much money for the company!
It is pre-designed to accommodate futuristic concepts like probabilistic and graph databases, thus also making your reporting up to speed with the times.
Any flip side?
Migrating to SAP HANA has to be a well-thought out and extremely well prepared strategy. For all we know, HANA requires designing new architecture, modeling, transformation, basis support, security and standards, and processes for optimal success. Therefore, if organizations jump onto it without proper planning and readiness, they are likely to face cost over-runs and other unforeseen issues leading to dismal results.
So, the answer is a definite ‘No.’ However, as outlined above, businesses need to tread on this path to probable business success with a tinge of precaution and a great deal of preparedness.
Businesses can be better prepared, to not only address contingencies arising in the future but also to achieve business performance, if their managements had the power to foresee and predict to a decent degree of accuracy the possible scenarios and operational environments well ahead of time. For, if they had this knowledge, they would do all in their power to design strategies, devise products and services, and take all steps required to both, ensure customer retention and greatly increased sales, as indeed to mitigate the possible damage owing to contingencies (as the case may be).
SAP HANA, with its real-time analytics capabilities across multiple platforms and itself being in a future-ready state by possessing the capacity for concepts like probabilistic and graph databases, is THE solution that every business worth its salt must have at its disposal to be future-ready.
– Vikas Sharma