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SAP began its first internal HANA deployment in 2010. Approximately six months before HANA was available to external customers, we began to investigate several HANA use cases for our LoBs. At this point in time there was an urgent demand to get more insight into SAP's sales pipeline and the ability to react faster to market trends. Therefore we decided to build our first HANA implementation around real-time sales pipeline analytics.

In the past, the sales data was extracted out of CRM and enriched with ERP data in a business warehouse system. The whole process chain was quite complex and because of long running extractions due to the huge amount of data, the pipeline info was updated only once a day. Prior to the introduction of SAP data exploration tools, the pipeline reports were put on power points by special reporting teams before the report was handed over to the executive management team, usually printed on a piece of paper. All these reports were highly aggregated – for example, by regions, countries or industries and there was no way to navigate or drill down to special cases or even line items. 

With the new scenario driven by HANA we wanted to get full insights into our sales pipeline with an easy to use front-end on mobile devices. For this scenario all CRM and ERP data was replicated in real-time to one HANA instance. Since HANA is able to deal with an extensive amount of data there was no need to aggregate or prepare the data. We are able to compute the data in real-time once a query is initiated.

Just to give you a sense of data volume: more than 600 million opportunity information data was replicated out of CRM into HANA containing all historical data and change logs.

With the new HANA sales pipeline reporting solution the sales executives are able to get real-time information about the sales pipeline. So every time an opportunity is created or changed it gets immediately reflected in all HANA reports. With this, they do not only get real-time data but they are also able to drill-down to individual line items which was not possible before. They are able to slice and dice the data by top deals, region, countries or industries and they are able to reach out to each and every opportunity.

The introduction of this scenario powered by HANA was a big step forward and the new user interface even allows sales executives - and these people are typically not BI experts - to dig deep into the data by themselves instead of always asking back office admins to create and print new reports.

This simplifies the overall process and the sale teams get real-time insights into market trends and are able to react immediately. And since we have full access to all data we were able to provide trend analysis and even predictive analytics based on historical opportunity data.

This is part one in a series ‘SAP’s Road to HANA’. Watch this space for more!

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