In-memory processing moves data into RAM, which provides a performance boost over reading off disk. Customers are eager to adopt the software, which can save them significant money compared to traditional databases, McDermott said. The pipeline for HANA is building quickly, he said. "We like what we see very, very much."
One customer McDermott recently visited realized that if he switched to HANA, he could save millions on database costs and then use the money for new initiatives, he said.
SAP has been building specialized analytic applications that will run on top of HANA. Partners, and customers will be able to develop for HANA as well, although the technical aspects of how that will work have yet to be determined, Snabe said.
Overall, executives stuck to a consistent theme, positioning SAP as a company aimed at growth by selling new products, not means such as acquisitions.
The ERP market is seeing continued consolidation with recent deals like Infor's pending $2 billion acquisition of Lawson Software. There had been speculation other vendors would counter-bid for Lawson, but no offers emerged publicly.
"We were completely uninterested" in buying Lawson, McDermott said in the interview. "It's an old model. Essentially, you buy this company and you can cut costs and consolidate your operations. It may be financially attractive, but doesn't innovate for customers.