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Gudmundr Insights

5 Reasons why SAP chose Birst cloud analytics for HANA

Charles Wilson - Friday, April 03, 2015
In late October last year, just as we were all getting ready for the holidays, German software giant SAP announced a forward-thinking partnership with cloud analytics veteran - and Gudmundr partner - Birst. Although this announcement remained somewhat under the radar, we are convinced that it should be shouted from the rooftops. 

Here are the five reasons why we believe SAP strategically chose Birst as the first and only third-party SAP Certified cloud-based integration with SAP HANA. These are also the reasons we think you should hear about it too. 

Reason 1. Eliminate Infrastructure Headaches 

If you do analytics on SAP HANA on premise (which is what most SAP HANA customers do now), you have to address massive infrastructure concerns. You have to buy and set up hardware. You have to evaluate and purchase software. You have to train your staff to use the software, then you have to ensure adoption. With Birst on HANA, not only you bypass the infrastructure headaches because you are deploying on the cloud but you now have a lot more time to focus on adoption and improvements, which is ultimately what defines analytics projects' success. 

Reason 2. Buy analytical capacity based on the use case 

If you chose to run HANA in-house, you have to make a huge initial investment in more capacity than you can use. Ironically, you then run out of capacity once you develop compelling use cases. Neither scenario is ideal for an effective analytics strategy. With a cloud-based business intelligence deployment of HANA you can buy analytical capacity based on your use case. You can start small, find a quick win to prove value, then expand as you go along. It's a win-win: you save upfront and invest in proven value later. 

Reason 3. Only buy what you need to reduce costs 

In our experience, the largest losses come from making big investments in software, which quickly turns into shelf-ware as the projects run out of steam or money. Plain and simple, there are significant cost savings in choosing a cloud-based platform like Birst on HANA in order to shift some of the initial cost burden to the vendor while you go through the learning and adoption curve. 

Reason 4. Eliminate complexity SAP wisely chose a cloud analytics veteran like Birst for a cloud analytics patner. When it comes to designing an analytics solution, the toughest and most time-consuming part often is the hardware and analytics connections setup in order to integrate all your data coming from various online and offline sources. Since we are talking cloud, there is no hardware installation required. Ever. Moreover, a platform like Birst is already built with best data integration practices in mind. It already has pre-built connectors to most popular data sources and formats. You can literally connect to and access your, for example, CRM data in minutes (instead of months). This in turn saves thousands in non value added costs. 

Reason 5. Get service guarantees 

What is unique with a cloud-based solution is that your interests are 100% aligned with the vendors' interests. Both of you want interrupted quality service up and running 24/7. In this sense, the quality and consistency of your analytics platform performance is guaranteed. To top that, while your data is 100% secure (and can even live behind your own firewall if you chose to), you are now part of a vibrant cloud analytics community with users who often have flagged and solved your performance issues from another time zone, while you were sleeping.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Bob Abernethy - Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I was recently watching a video about SAP HANA. I couldn’t help but notice and be impressed by the sincerity in the voice of the presenter, who was obviously a person with a technical background, when she described HANA as having “beautiful features” and being “a very wonderful database.” This was after she described HANA’s in-memory operations, column stores, parallelism, projections, dynamic aggregation, active and passive storage, real time replication, and SQL scripting. 

From a technical perspective, she is absolutely right. But her comments got me thinking about whether most executives and end users, and even power users, would be able to see the beauty in HANA, which to them of course is behind the scenes and not something they interact with directly, at least not knowingly. It led me to think about what would impress executives and other users and make them say “That is beautiful!” 

Because these users see and feel the front end rather than the back end (which would include HANA), they are going to see the beauty (or lack thereof!) in the front end while basically being oblivious to the back end and all the work that went into it. From the user perspective, the front end includes not only nice-looking charts and dashboards, it also encompasses their “experience” with it such as how easy it is to work with, how easy it is to get access to (including on their mobile devices), how long it took and what it cost to get the system up and running, how hard it is to add to it or change it or to share their work, and more. And most of all, whether it helps them get their jobs done better, at whatever level of the organization they are. 

These are just some of the reasons we are excited to be able to help your organization combine the beauty of the HANA back end and the Birst front end in one integrated and powerful cloud-based analytics solution. SAP and Birst have each created beautiful and powerful solutions, and we look forward to working with you so that someday your executives and users will say “Now that is beautiful!”

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