SAP sticks fast to in-memory strategy

Software giant focusing on next ‘big disrupter’

SAP is driving its applications towards in-memory computing, and yesterday revealed more detail on a strategy that has become increasingly apparent in recent months.

"In-memory is becoming a big disrupter, just as on-demand and on-[mobile] device software is changing the whole enterprise software scene," Jose Duarte, Europe, Middle East and Africa president at SAP, told Computerworld UK.

SAP plans to release its first High-Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) in November.

"There are a lot of suppliers like IBM and Oracle that have built massive offerings on an established traditional hardware stack. But not us. These changes are exactly where we want to play and we're ready for them."

SAP has made clear it wants to offer customers a 'four-element' mixture of on-premise, on-demand and on-device applications, with the fourth element being better application orchestration capabilities. In-memory technology will be a crucial part of on-premise change.

Regarding in-memory, Duarte said, SAP is attempting to bring "the database of [acquisition] Sybase and the logic of SAP" right into the memory of the computer.

"We feel that it makes perfect sense," he said. "People want to reduce the number of moving parts in their IT infrastructure and increase reliability."

"You can take the hardware away from the users, and take the data from those disks and locate it in cheaper, efficient technology."

SAP will "cross reference" its research and development with Sybase to "develop the best technology", Duarte said.

Asked if SAP would look at further acquisitions for any of its four-element strategy, Duarte insisted it would focus primarily on organic growth. But he added: "If we see a piece of technology in the market that would help us with our four-element strategy, we will definitely consider it."

SAP released its results yesterday, showing profits up 12% to 501 million for the quarter, bolstered by new deals and the popularity of business analytics.

The company sees a "slow comeback" across the UK market, Duarte said. "People know they want more visibility into their business operations, and that's prompting investment."

SAP itself experienced continued "double-digit" percentage growth in the UK market in the last quarter, Duarte said, declining to reveal exact figures. "There's a lot of interest in business intelligence, and we have a lot of enterprise resource planning implementations here."

Customers with a large UK presence include BP, Shell, Pfizer, Unilever, Burberry, Premier Foods and the BBC.

SAP's approach to cloud computing has been the focus of much attention, particularly as users complained of the "slow" introduction of its Business ByDesign offering.

Duarte said: "The introduction was slowed down as we knew we had to reshuffle the product. But we're bringing it out for large businesses now and you'll see more and more quarterly growth."

Asked whether cloud computing was overhyped or really catching on, Duarte said: "People insisting on cloud or nothing are incorrect. The reality is each business will go for a mix of options."

With regards to pushing enterprise applications to mobile devices, a strategy SAP outlined earlier this year, Duarte said the company's acquisition of Sybase was crucial. "We can get business applications to whatever device you want, and it's an agnostic platform. It's part of the four-element mix, and that's where software is going."

This story, "SAP sticks fast to in-memory strategy" was originally published by Computerworld UK.

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