You’ll see quite a few references on this website to the SAP HANA database management system.

These include where we refer to customers with a version of the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) application having migrated from the Microsoft solution as their accompanying platform to SAP NetWeaver on HANA, for example.

You may also have heard that SAP HANA has proved an industry game-changer since it first became available in 2010. But if you’ve never used SAP HANA and are not a specialist in this area, you can easily be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about.

Here, therefore, is a brief explanation of the innovation.

SAP HANA is an in-memory, column-oriented, relational database management system. We have no doubt that it is today’s most advanced solution of its kind. It is therefore the ideal accompaniment for the BPC solutions we recommend and install.

The system was developed and is marketed by SAP SE, a German multinational software corporation that in our view makes the world’s best enterprise software for managing business operations and customer relations.

At the risk of stating the obvious, SAP HANA’s primary function as a database server is to store and retrieve data, as requested by the applications to which it is linked.

In addition, however, SAP HANA can perform advanced analytics, such as predictive analytics, spatial data processing, text analytics, text search, streaming analytics, and graph data processing.

SAP HANA also includes extract, transform and load – known in the industry as ETL – capabilities, as well as an application server.

Simon Bell, Opal Wave sales and marketing director, says:

“The reasons for our very favourable view of SAP HANA include that it provides an unrivalled combination of being able to operate at very high speeds and handle vast amounts of data. Moreover, it can perform these functions while running queries in real time, instead of daily or weekly, which was the most we could expect until fairly recently.

We also like SAP HANA because using the technology natively or via applications such as Opal Wave’s BPC Cloud or SAP BPC, powered by SAP HANA, allows users to interact intuitively with tools such as Microsoft Excel, which remains widely-used in business.

So, whether you use your BPC system for monitoring and planning budgets, sales and revenue, headcount, capital spending, expenses and salaries, cash flow or anything else, marrying it to SAP HANA is likely to optimise its performance.”

Opal Wave sells and implements the system – and SAP-certified HANA appliances – as well as providing other services and support for it. This is the case whether SAP HANA is working with SAP BPC or any other SAP product, such as SAP Business Suite 4, comprising a range of tools and often called S/4HANA.

Simon adds:

“We’re a SAP Value-Added Reseller for SAP HANA, with one of the additional aptitudes the title implies is our ability to add services or features to the system, based on client needs. We’re also a Partner Centre of Expertise for SAP HANA, a designation awarded only to the best qualified implementation and support practitioners.”

So, if this short explainer has whetted your appetite for SAP HANA, you now know where to come.