Mar 17, 2014

7 steps to do nothing and ensure your HANA project success

For existing HANA customers: How often we get this email at 5am that something has gone wrong with your new BW-on-HANA production environment or your BI is down and will not meet business needs at 8am in accordance to SLA’s. Our normal reaction is to wake everyone else at 5am, et angry, shout at a few people and still not achieve the desired results by 8am for delivery.  At he end of it all we feel frustrated, angry, guilty and afraid all at the same time.
For potential HANA customers: How often we get this email to take a protocol decision on a topic that it totally outside our skill sets, i.e. a BW on HANA technical decision request to the CFO, VP Sales or other steering committee members. Or, similar from the CIO, BW lead and current SAP technical leads. It is important to remember that both groups that have very little idea on what works and what does not work in BW-on-HANA migrations. In fact on the planet there are few resources that clearly understand what works and what does not in HANA initiatives.
Your best solution to all such decision is to firstly stop from taking a knee-jerk reaction, take a deep breath and then do nothing.
All our governance instructions and guidelines tell us to take rapid decisions. Our productivity books tell us to take more and more decisions in a world that is already overloaded with decision in our areas of expertise.  As a Sales Super User I am already taking decisions on critical sales matters and now the company expects me to take tactical decisions on technical HANA issues about which I have not been adequately trained. Yes the sales reports fall under the jurisdiction of  the super user but is it their responsibility to ensure the 8am delivery – probably no.

Thus most time the best thing is to do : Nothing
However, underlying this statement are two fundamental assumptions

[1] “Plan your work and only then work your plan”, i.e. your basic global HANA methodology is documented, communicated and governed at a global level. If not then your start is defective.

[2] Your processes are not only clearly documents in RACI and SIPOC formats but also include clear ownership and accountabilities for tasks and escalations. Your resource role vs. skill maps are documented and available to decision makers to assign the right resource to the right task

In order to be effective you need not be reactionary but get into an elimination mode. In order to remain successful you need to plan your productivity by preassigned roles and responsibilities. The key is to not get involved in anything that can damage your productivity with a clear understanding that organizationally once you officially pick any baton you will need to run with it even if it is later found to be damaging to your role, ownership, accountabilities and productivity. 

Here is a checklist I recommend for when to do nothing. 4 things not to do and 3 to do’s:-


1.   Do nothing if you don’t understand the problem not own the solution: Most executives think that management needs to take decisions on anything thrown their way. This can be toxic. Firstly if you do so without understanding the problem or its ownership you are walking towards a cliff. Then if you take a decision without understanding tactical or strategic ramifications you will walk right off the cliff. Time to review your global governance model in order to identify who owns the solutions and then just hand it over. Good manager’s delegate, great manager manages.

2.      Do nothing when you’re angry, anxious or paranoid: Some executive’s thing that anger is a way to get things done, little realizing that anger is a sign of paranoia and anxiousness. Anger routinely freezes the recipients as it instantly puts them into a defensive mode. Thus rather than finding a remedy their concern is more not to make any mistakes. This causes a mental freeze and is not the mode you want your respondents to get into. Wait until anger settles down as anger blurs logic. Paranoia also freezes the brain to get into survival mode, as byproduct is anger and anxiety. Both are not conducive to building slow or rapid solutions. Fear causes a focus but paranoia does not have a direction and thus no focus. Use the same rules as for anger. Anxiousness causes one to react with haste or anger. It makes you communicate to people who need not be on that string. Everything is best served with patience and due diligence- even a crisis. Use the same rules as for anger.

3.      Do nothing when you are overburdened or tired: Sometime in 2008 each one of us got our hands wrapped around more than our jobs. Today, for most of us, it has become quite routine to work 12-14 hours a day and then some more. I was up till 1am the other night and then got an urgent call from one of my AE’s who wanted a resolution in 1 hour- and I was on a holiday on the other side of the planet at that time.  I was simply too tired and knew it would take hours to find a good solution so I took a 30 second break and recommended that the AE contact someone on the same time zone who would better serve her. There are times our families need to peel us off our keyboards and drag our minds out of the quagmire created by our complex obligations. Just as there are times to do things there are equally important times to simply say no. My 30 seconds decision worked. The alternative resource was fresh, spent the next 3 hours with various stakeholders and came through with a winning solution that he ran by me prior to submittal.

4.      Do nothing to win a popularity contest: We are all paid to get the work done but often we do things to keep someone happy, or to be liked. Each one of us has done things to be liked and mostly these are decisions that are not the most professional ones in our lives.  The path to a favor or flattery is an illusion that often leads to small or big nightmares – avoid it.

 3 TO DO’s

1.      DO find yourself a reliable strategic HANA advisor:  The best way for executives to take HANA decisions is to find a trusted ‘HANA Business Value Architect’ as their right had advisor. As a CIO your goal is to manage the IT environment and not take HANA specific decisions; as a BI manager your role requires you to know about current technologies and not become an experts on future options. As  CFO you role is to take financial decisions and not decisions on a HANA project in areas that are outside your expertise. Each one of these scenarios could lead you right off the cliff and they are not supposed to be yours to take. A good “HANA Business Value Architect” can save companies over 40% in initial investments and a same number in annual support costs by applying simple scientific methodologies. Once again a ‘Good manager’s delegate, great manager manages’.  The best advice I can give to any leader is to let the experts decide, define business goals and then own and deliver it. Good ‘HANA Business Value Architects’ will save companies hundreds of time more than their expense over strategic time scans. Send email to for this role vs skill definition. This is a key decision for success..

2.      DO start HANA project with a Global Methodology:  HANA is three things. [1] It is a net-new SAP Platform and no longer a database. [2] It will run optimally only on new standards and processes- and they need to be defined, documented, communicated and governed for all new developments. [3] Gartner 2013- What got you here will not get you there. “Fewer that 30% of current BI projects will meet business expectations” – translation- over 70% of reports in your production environment are not being used by business. Question: What is the business value of taking a 715 second report and accelerating this to 1 second if business will never use it? What if this represents 50-70% of the reports in your BI system?

3.      DO plan only for success: Whatever you put into place today is YOUR plan for the future. If the project fails in the future then failure is imbedded in your plans. If the project succeeds in the future then success was imbedded into your plans. Executive owners need to take ownership for the future as much with its success as its failure. BW on HANA is not longer an art but a scientific methodology. At each step of the project phase if is now possible to accurately identify defects and best practices and their impact on the overall HANA project. It is possible to guarantee a 50% reduction of TCO for BW customers, as it is possible to guarantee a 60% reduction for BW + BWA customers. Only experience can guide you through the meandering  decisions and options that make the difference in HANA success and or failure. Every project can meet technology expectations – i.e. a HANA technical installation. However, less than 30% will meet business satisfactions and therein lies the key to future success.
The choice is CLEAR and it is now yours to take.

Mar 4, 2014

How to-Build your next Billion $ idea with HANA

 anyone interested lets talk..p to success s in SAP and bilities and resources for ideation development. en with a firm plan anToday I am more interested in taking an ideation company that has the following qualifications
  1. Is an approved SAP partner and SAP focused..
  2. Have a strategic interest in HANA and a predictable growth model, i.e. at least a customer or two on HANA path.
  3. Has a desire or already on path to building HANA Applications – this is the point of mutual plug-in. Has offshore support capabilities and resources for ideation development.
  4. Then let’s talk and review ideation through the Rapid-Application-Delivery model for HANA applications
Look around more and more ideation companies are selling their IPO across the planet. Just as big-data is getting bigger so are applications in the big data world. SAP HANA is no different. In January 2013 Hasso Plattner announced placing a billion dollars into a fund for HANA startups. It is working well on solid foundations. I have opened a HANA Kickstarter group for the same.. You could take your next idea to a billion dollars in as fast as your ideation process and marketing methodology - a lot of it is freely available right now..
Executive brief to - Your roadmap to a billion:-
  • If you have an ideation product that shows what it can do – alpha stage is possibly worth under a million, if at all. The pudding is in the proof
  • If you have an alpha product on HANA then it is worth an investment- contact SAP or me for your angel advice for free. Funds if it is interesting.
  • If you have a product and 6 reference customers then you suddenly hit the 5-10 million depending on the idea, growth and customer retention.
  • Hit 200 customers and you are suddenly worth 500 million to a few billion once again depending on your growth stats.
This is my note and desire to build a hyper growth ideation processes, work with business stakeholder to build HANA applications that can be the ticket to the next billion dollar idea. I have led such developments to success before, have the right contacts in SAP and have a solid charter and roadmap to success. Its a process that can take the fast-track from day one. 
 There is a very scientific and proved process towards building HANA applications and this need’s so anyone interested lets talk..  

How 2: Eliminate HANA Mid-Project Crisis

... and post go-live crisis

Just like people have a midlife crisis so do many BI projects and BW-on-HANA projects.  We see them all around. These HANA mid-project crisis can be extremely painful, incredibly disruptive and demoralizing for the Core team and project owners all at the same time. Many traditional architects believe this to be inevitable but this does not have to be at all. 

A HANA project crisis is like an earthquake. An earthquake that starts first with the HANA sticker shock which is like a release of a financial tectonic plate and this can be followed by leveraging traditional approaches to a net new platform called HANA.

This is a brief on how one can totally avoid HANA crisis altogether. Arranged as concern and followed by best practice recommendations

  1. Sticker Shock: The overall cost of HANA is rather like a soft-mirage that can be professionally altered. Recommendations: The right 'neutral' advisors can today guarantee to reduce the HANA migration costs by 40%. This translates to 40% lower initial HW and SW costs, 40% shorter time to migrate and 40% reduction in annual support costs with HW and SW partners. In my last project we managed to reduce the cost by 72% but that was a very large BW installation with a BWA of 50 plus blades.  Recommendation 2: Ask for the Near-Net-Zero HANA Migration workshop and save yourself millions of dollars today.
  2. Leadership: The most critical decisions in any HANA project is what the Project owner and Steering Committee sign their futures on. Recommendation 1 is to get yourself a director for HANA with true goal being – Business Value Owner. If you are looking for a new CIO then let that person be HANA focused
  3. Think Custom RDS Solutions: Some of the highest business benefits I have realized to customers is in building custom business solutions that are owned, designed and driven by business owners and users. Recommendation: Ask for a custom RDS solution if current RDS solutions do not exactly fit your needs. Recommendation: Goal is (1) Design Thinking; (2) Business Opportunity identification; (3) Business Architecture and build.
  4. Gartner 2013: Gartner clearly lays down the roadmap for successful HANA migrations. ““This is a time of accelerating change, where your current IT architecture will be rendered obsolete. You must lead through this change, selectively destroy low impact systems, and aggressively change your IT cost structure. This is the New World of the (big-data), the next age of computing.” Mr. Sondergaard, Gartner Sr. Analyst. Recommendation: Get your HANA Business Value Architect well before you being to fall into the trap of having taken a decision
  5. Gartner 2003-12: Between the lines Gartner clearly states that there is very high probability that 50% to 70% of the reports in your Production BI environment are not being used or will never be used by business users. So there is ZERO benefit of accelerating a 700 second query to 1 second if no one needs it – critical strategic question. Recommendation: Ask for the IQDCT workshop to eliminate the Gartner’s BI nightmare
  6. Crisis is always planned: These mid-life crisis or post go-live crises are driven by executive naivety and need to be strategized accordingly.  Lack of professional HANA planning is the same as planning for a crisis. The old adage ‘Plan your work and only then work your plan” still stands true. The executives must own planning or lack of planning and its strategic impacts. . Recommendation: Get yourself the 2hr executive HANA workshop and access to the HANA executive checklists by each phase of HANA project and save yourself millions in the short term.

The key to avoiding these earthquakes and tectonic shifts is to release all the defect tensions prior to commencing the HANA project. Recently a net-new BW-on-HANA manager asked when should the BW team be on-boarded to a HANA project and here was my recommendation to them

  1. The full team only when you are at 80% ERP/ECC Configuration
  2. The BW on HANA Business Architect as the ECC HANA as the Project starts – this is to make sure that:-
    1. The reporting objects are imbedded into the ECC configurations
    2. Leverage the new Operational Reporting platform RDS for True Real-time reporting from ECC
    3. Executives understand the strategic impact of their decisions in HANA decisions. Start with executive 2x2 hr BoH Strategic HANA workshops
    4. Remember Gartner on ‘What got you here will not get you there”. HANA needs new architecture, transformations, data access and strategic planning. If your partner is using traditional BW methodology on HANA you are traveling on a path that is assured for 50% to 70% failure. If you use traditional methodologies and standards you will have signed off to wasting over 50-70% of your budget, and thus assets

By releasing the tension regularly and periodically, i.e. initial workshops followed by periodic Quality Assurance reviews of plans, methodologies, standards and processes we can eliminate all changs of failure.

By releasing the tension regularly, it isn't disruptive or painful. It becomes empowering and constructive.
The new ‘Binformed’, ‘BIOnTrac’ and ‘IQDCT’ workshops  to support and help executive stakeholders clearly understand the strategic ramifications of their decisions today with actual business cases and examples