SAP pitches HANA as a 'very open platform'

SAP's Steve Lucas has argued that while its newest Business Suite 4 has been built only for its HANA platform, it will give customers 'choice', as it will be available on multiple cloud platforms.

Customers looking to move to SAP HANA would require a heavy dose of lock-in, ZDNet has previously pointed out. However, SAP platform solutions president Steve Lucas argued otherwise.

Speaking to ZDNet about the company's recently announced Business Suite 4 SAP HANA, Lucas said that while SAP has intentionally designed S/4 for HANA only, HANA is a flexible platform.

"HANA is a very open platform," he said. "Up until this moment, until we announced S/4, we had almost 6,000 customers, many of whom are using HANA in areas that have nothing to do with SAP data. They're using it as a completely open and viable platform for non-SAP data, so the reality is HANA doesn't change in many respects because of S/4.

"What we're doing is bringing an open platform to our customer base, and saying 'here are some amazing and innovative applications that we've built on top of that platform'."

Lucas added that in terms of flexibility for existing customers already on HANA, SAP is giving customers "choice" by making the S/4 available on multiple platform technologies, whether that's on-premises, in a managed cloud, or in a public cloud.

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"We're giving tiers of choices," Lucas said.

S/4 HANA has been pitched by the enterprise software vendor as its "next-generation business platform" that will offer a suite of products -- with a large chunk to be released throughout 2015 -- to enable its customers to "reimagine their business" in real time, and in a simplified way.

According to Lucas, each module will be designed with mobile first in mind, and will be based on an HTML5 interface, which SAP has dubbed as Fiore -- Latin for flower -- to reflect the "simple and beautiful" user experience. The suite of products will be designed to target customers in specific lines of business, as well as industries.

Simple Finance is the first of these such products from S/4 HANA, and the target market is chief financial officers. Lucas said this is mainly because CFOs will be the biggest customer of chief information officers.

"What we're finding is CIOs across the world are rooting for us, in terms of making their lives easier to respond to things like reporting on financial systems and analysing data, a lot of that heavy lifting falls to CIOs, so as a business partner, we think that's great for both of them," he said.

Melbourne-based La Trobe University has been announced as the first existing SAP customer to deploy Simple Finance in its existing on-premises cloud. At the same time, Toll Group Australia is another company that is currently implementing SAP Simple Finance into its systems.

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