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In the immortal words of Vince Lombardi, “If it doesn't matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”  We can’t speak for every company out there, but for Optimal’s clients, winning or losing is everything – whether it’s capturing market share, launching a new product, or identifying hot trends that can be leveraged to create separation vis-à-vis the competition.

Increasingly, analytics is key to a strategy that creates competitive differentiation.  Yet, as they navigate a volatile global economy, today’s business leaders are arguably more judicious with their technology investments than ever before.  Just the same  -- as evidenced by SAP’s strong Q3 financial performance --  businesses today are spending on technology that is innovative, proven, and that demonstrates real-world value.

Today’s business leaders are more tech-savvy and results oriented than in years past, favoring an iterative approach over large-scale technology initiatives, and scrutinizing tech-deployment business cases. It has become common practice that before approving the cap-ex for a large technology project, business leaders require service providers to first deliver a ‘quick win.’

With a quick win, the business value of a technology investment is either there, measurable and significant. Or it is not. There is no in between and ties don’t make the cut.

With quick wins, the onus is on service providers to rapidly deliver solutions that immediately deliver value. Period.

With the help of SAP and ASUG, Optimal recently had the opportunity to showcase our ability to deliver real-world quick wins – live and before massive audiences.

Optimal won the HANA Real-Time Race at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas by migrating SAP BPC on SAP BW to SAP BPC on SAP BW powered by SAP HANA in 48 hours.

Optimal also won the first annual ASUG Developer Wars at the 2012 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects Users Conference in September by turning mountains of data into intuitive and stunning analytic visualizations that answered key business questions -- also in 48 hours.

As proud as we are of our victories, what’s more important is that these high-profile contests -- created and hosted by SAP and ASUG -- afforded SAP customers the opportunity to see live and in real time exactly what an SAP BPC on HANA and an SAP analytics/BI dashboard quick win look like.

SAP BPC Powered by HANA Quick Win

SAP BPC is used by more than 4,000 SAP customers for setting financial and operational performance goals in areas such as sales and production, along with other areas vital to success.  SAP BPC on HANA was launched at SAP Financials in Las Vegas on March 13, 2012, turbo-charging this already proven and popular EPM solution. According to Dave Williams, head of EPM product marketing at SAP, internal tests have shown 200 times faster execution of reports on big data.

Leveraging our deep expertise with the SAP BPC solution and hands-on experience with SAP HANA, Optimal used the HANA Real-Time Race to demonstrate: 1.)  How SAP BPC powered by HANA eliminates latency, yields faster and deeper insight into operations and provides turbo-charged financial planning processes; and 2.) What an SAP BPC on HANA quick win looks like.

In just 48 hours, Optimal took SAP BPC financial data in SAP BW, migrated it to HANA, restated the financial data, built reports and dashboards and even rendered data on mobile devices.

Key customer SAP BPC on HANA ‘Quick Win’ takeaways:

  • Speed and process of getting HANA hardware appliance in place is fast and painless.
  • Migrating/implementing a database or application on HANA— be it a traditional RDMS or SAP BW or some other application, is a relatively quick-and-easy endeavor, not nearly as challenging as some customers may think.
  • The overall stability of the HANA platform is strong, tested and proven, and HANA scales easily.
  • The performance improvement gained by migrating SAP BPC on SAP BW to SAP BPC on SAP BW powered by SAP HANA is significant, measureable, and yields tremendous business value.

For more information read: Key Takeaways from Optimal’s HANA Race Victory

SAP Analytics/BI Dashboard Quick Win

To win the 2012 ASUG Developer Wars, Optimal constructed an interactive dashboard that served the immediate operational and performance management needs of the Second Harvest Food Bank while concurrently demonstrating what an SAP analytics/BI dashboard quick win looks like.

The dashboard built by Optimal in less than 48 hours featured analytic visualizations that addressed issues for C-level executives, board members and regional and operational managers alike:

  • Visualization of year-to-year data comparisons enabled executives and board members to easily identify trends and statistically significant variances that confirmed or revealed gaps in the alignment of corporate strategy and business operations.
  • For regional and operational managers, intuitive, geographical-based analytic visualizations of expenses by region answered questions such as: Are expenses in line with the number and density of customers/region?
  • Another metric visualized in the dashboard provided clear comparison of transportation expense per pound per region, identifying business issues in need of immediate attention such as: Why is the cost of transporting 1 pound of product per mile 350% higher in region X than in region Y?

For more information read: Visualize This – Seeing is Believing at the 2012 ASUG Developer Wars