SAP in 2013: Five things to watch

HANA news could dominate the early weeks of the new year

By , IDG News Service |  Software

It was a typically busy year for SAP, with the company making headlines for strong sales of its HANA in-memory database, high-profile acquisitions and aggressive moves into cloud computing.

Now, here's a look at five things to watch as the enterprise software giant enters 2013.

HANA's honeymoon phase winds down; will the magic last?: There have been no new products more successful, and more hyped, in SAP's recent history than HANA. Since the product went into general availability in June 2011, SAP has sought to place HANA at the center of its long-term technology plans, both in terms of messaging and the technical development necessary to make it a full-blown development platform and a replacement for Oracle's rival database.

There's no question that SAP's HANA hype will continue throughout 2013, but in order for sales to keep rising, SAP may need to pull off a few things.

A broader range of high-profile customer case studies will be crucial, particularly ones involving mission-critical workloads versus experimental projects. These may be easier to come by later in the year, since SAP is expected to announce soon that HANA has been certified for its core ERP (enterprise resource planning) modules.

Another crucial goal will be to show credible evidence of a strong developer and ISV ecosystem around HANA. Many startups are now building applications with the database; if they can bring impressive products to market soon, it will only help HANA's image as a viable platform.

SAP may reveal its HANA road map for 2013 on Jan. 10, when it is scheduled to hold a major news conference.

All eyes on the cloud strategy: SAP spent much of this year announcing a number of new cloud initiatives, including a PaaS (platform as a service) based on HANA and a cloud-based data integration offerings.

Both may become generally available fairly soon, with some announcements likely to coincide with SAP's big Sapphire conference in May.

Sapphire could also see the debut for additional cloud applications from SAP, focused on specific business use cases and lines of business, as well as news on how well ones already in the market, such as the recently introduced Financials OnDemand, are selling.

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