SAP Watch

Jun 5 2010   3:12PM GMT

Users tout the benefits of in-memory at Sapphire

Mperkins Matt Perkins Profile: Mperkins

During his keynote at Sapphire Now this year, Hasso Plattner discussed plans to fit in-memory databases into customers’ existing landscapes. He referred to the initiative as “Enterprise 2.0” and even went as far as to make the claim that it would be bigger than the release of SAP R/3.

In-memory is expected to increase performance and reduce storage for users, who can create new tables and attributes quickly.

The question is, what are early SAP users saying about SAP’s in-memory strategy?

Shortly after Plattner’s speech, a number of SAP users discussed their thoughts on in-memory during a panel titled “In-memory Computing: Realized Business Benefits and the Road Ahead.” The consensus of the panel was that while in-memory might not yet be as good as it could be, the technology is on its way to revolutionizing business performance, bringing with it a large number of benefits.

“It comes down to a very simple thing: drive innovation,” Scott Allen, Strategic Relationship Manager of SAP Alliance at Intel, said during the panel. “In-memory has the incredible potential to drive a vast amount of innovation. “

Troy Maher, director of Business Intelligence (BI) for Grainger, also weighed in:

“For us it’s all about business productivity. We have a large SAP implementation, and we’re constantly working to tune the system to get the system to work to our users. In-memory allowed us to scale incredibly with the platform, at the same time apply our resources to better our efforts. It’s about reporting performance and ultimately their satisfaction. “

Early experiences with the SAP BWA point to in-memory’s potential

One of the questions raised during the panel was in relation to improvement of query time, specifically through using the SAP BW Accelerator (BWA). Maher said that using in-memory helped support certain business initiatives, which allows interoperability between CRM through BWA, which then quickly provides results back to the system. He said that about 60% of Grainger’s activity in SAP Business Warehouse (BW) is in BWA, which supports a vast majority of users.

“We went live with BWA a little over a year ago,” Maher said. “At the time we had 7,000 users per month 300,000 reports per month. In the last year we’ve gone from 300,000 queries a month to over 1 million. We could not have done that without in-memory.”

Maher said Grainger has gone from an average query time of 50 seconds to under 10 seconds. He added that while users are exceedingly satisfied, many are waiting for improvements in BWA (many queries lie in the one-to-three second range, but some still linger in the 50 second-to-minute range, Maher said).

“From the BWA perspective, we started in the last year,” said David Foster, who works for a global IT organization of Colgate-Palmolive on project called Colgate Business Planning. “In my entire career I’ve never heard so much positive feedback from users; they don’t believe you can go from minutes to seconds, but it really happens and makes a difference.”

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