In a relatively quiet announcement, SAP recently announced free BW on HANA trials on the Amazon cloud. Is this an incremental step, or an underrated advance for SAP in its quest for openness, ease of use and developer engagement?

Who better to ask than Vijay Vijayasankar, a driving force behind the BW on HANA trials? In a two part virtual video series, Dennis got the inside story from Vijay on how the offering came about and how its success might be measured.

In the first video above, Den and Vijay discuss why this offering could constitute a significant breakthrough for SAP. As Den wrote in his diginomica post on the BW on HANA trial:

Vijay says that Vishal Sikka, executive board member SAP recently shared a vision where access to enterprise technology should take cues and inspiration from Apple’s App Store. That is a huge ambition, given the size and complexity of enterprise applications. As Vijay notes, gaining access to a HANA system is not trivial either in time or cost. The ability to provision and become productive on a HANA system inside 30 minutes is a dramatic change. Early results suggest it is a popular approach.

Vijay also explains some of the brass tacks of the offering, including the decision to offer BI 4.0 front end tools, as well as sample data and training content. The guys also talk about the relevance of the trial for both customers and aspiring developers.

As Vijay explains, it was during talks with customers that SAP realized they could remove significant barriers with a cloud BW trial:

One of those big things is that it takes a little bit of time to get hardware, load all the software, get a consultant to do your prototyping, and so on. As a percentage of the whole effort, the actual data modeling and reporting seemed to be the smaller chunk out of the total effort. This is kind of backwards. This is not very innovative if we let customers do proof of concepts this way. We wanted to flip it around and one of the easiest ways to do that in these days is to have a cloud deployment.

Show Notes for Part One: Will They Come?

:59 BW on HANA cloud trial – the backstory

1:55 Reducing the friction – by moving BW to the cloud for trials

2:43 The impact of customer feedback – adding the BI 4.0 instance

4:21 Inspiration for BW on HANA trials traces back to Vishal Sikka’s vision

4:49 “This happened in close collaboration with Walldorf”

5:28 – Evaluating initial traffic hits and marketplace visits

In part two of the video, the guys talk about how the BW on HANA trial can fit into current business use cases, such as financial users in need of real-time data analysis:

Show Notes for Part Two: What’s Next?

:58 BW on HANA use cases: financa and controlling example

2:12 Another example: analyzing bad debt in real-time and take action

3:33 HANA engagement driven by community interest

4:01 Vishal’s vision of modernizing applications not just by speed, but with simplicity

4:50 “We should have no reason to stick to status quo

Perhaps the most memorable quote comes from Vijay’s response to Den’s ‘This is not your mother’s SAP” comment:

I’m still relatively new to SAP, so the whole idea of “your mother’s SAP,” probably doesn’t apply as much in my case, given I still have a fair amount of external perspective. I haven’t been SAP‑washed quite yet. But one thing I can definitely say is that Vishal’s vision of modernizing applications not just by spearing it up, but also making it very, very simple for users. When I started this project, what he wanted me to do is try to find a way to do it in three days. That would have been a lot better than the three months it takes to do a POC now. We ended up doing it in a 30‑minute fashion.

Clearly this is a story to watch as TechEd season rapidly approaches.