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In the last handful of months, more and more SAP and Esri customers saw the compelling advantages of ArcGIS on HANA and moved to realize those advantages in their respective enterprises.  Over the last 7+ years, SAP and Esri have invested and continue to invest in the capabilities these and other customers have embraced.  So, what are those advantages?  Read on to see what they are!

Update: In addition, download this paper created by IDC to learn more about how to gain new insights and seize opportunities by deploying the right tools that break down the barriers between GIS and IT silos.

The 4 advantages of ArcGIS on HANA

The main benefit of these four advantages for any GIS director or CxO is turning the GIS department from a reactive to a proactive organization.  Organizations are finding they can rapidly put these advantages to work in a non-disruptive way.  This makes GIS departments more strategic to the enterprise, substantially reducing data footprint and driving down TCO by leveraging ArcGIS on SAP HANA.


Free up 40% or more of the GIS department’s time by eliminating mundane DBA tasks.  Use that found time to run better, deeper analytics and provide more information products for the business stakeholders.  Since SAP HANA does not require result tables or secondary indices, the time spent writing, testing and getting approval for ETL goes away and there are no ETL jobs to run that might fail. GIS departments previously had to create result tables and secondary indices because other DBMSs don't offer good performance without them.  Thousands of customers worldwide have deployed HANA to achieve these benefits with non-spatial data.  Since HANA treats spatial as a native datatype, spatial use cases leverage these capabilities.


Ask questions “right now” – deliver insight immediately to business stakeholders.  No need to wait because there’s no ETL to write, test and obtain approval for.  This means the stakeholders get the answers they need right now instead of after the ETL successfully runs.

GIS Acceleration

Run complex spatial analytics in fractions of a second.  Other DBMSs may require intermediate tables or might require all data to be sent to ArcGIS Enterprise.  Instead of running 1 analytic in 10 or more minutes, run 5 or 10 different analytics in a handful of minutes when running ArcGIS on HANA.  A key part of any GIS analyst’s work is being able to analyze the same data in various ways – being able to iterate that quickly will increase the insight that can be extracted from the data.  For spatial analysts, being able to run clustering and concave hull analytics against 550,000 rows in 200 milliseconds means they can perform complex spatial analytics quickly. Running ArcGIS on HANA makes that possible.


Having your ArcGIS data on the same platform as S/4HANA or Suite on HANA makes it easy to expose asset status on a map in ArcGIS Enterprise.  This can be accomplished using ABAP CDS views - it is the supported way to access semantically rich S/4HANA data while respecting S/4 security.  And that is out of the box when the geodatabase is on HANA.  You can provide staff, including field workers, with real time asset status to help increase wrench time or enable emergency services like firefighters to never show up at a dead hydrant.  The City of San Diego saw the value of this to the city and implemented solutions that leverage this advantage. See here and here to learn why the City of San Diego uses ArcGIS on HANA.

UPDATE: Since this blog post was written in early 2020, we’ve learned from major utilities that virtual access to S/4 CDS views via SDI saves a significant amount of ETL because it’s no longer necessary to use ETL to extract data from the S/4 system to mash up with the spatial data in ArcGIS.  In most cases, the ETL eliminated because of this is greater than the ETL eliminated due to the on-the-fly aggregation capabilities of the HANA technology.

For a great example of what's possible with integration, check out Alexis Fouquier's excellent blog here.

The key point is these advantages are based on HANA capabilities introduced in 2011 and used by thousands of customers worldwide.  With the tight integration of ArcGIS on HANA, these advantages are available to any customer who uses ArcGIS, and S4/HANA, Suite on HANA or HANA.

Are you implementing cool use cases or have ideas for cool use cases of ArcGIS on HANA?  If so, please contact me!
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