Apr 23, 2015

5 Things that Cripple HANA Projects before it Even Starts

If you’ve ever been involved in any SAP project we know there are many things that can go wrong. It all came to focus when I was recently talking to a CIO who stated ‘It’s not about HANA..?

In almost all my experience it was never about SAP ERP, or SAP BW, or SAP BWA or now about SAP HANA. It was all about the decisions that were taken with each of these business enablers.

In poll after poll our results from customers and users have constantly come back with response that illuminates this point. When we asked whether they thought that SAP BW could meet their business needs over 95% of users have consistently answered ‘Yes’. When asked their own current satisfaction score the ranking stood somewhere between 18% to 36%. This is what the CIO meant by saying ‘It’s now about HANA..(That I’m worried about). We recently delivered a BI project where the user scored us at 102% (now that seems ridiculous as it’s a mathematical impossibility) but that is how we were scored. Also it was 21 weeks after go live. This is based on another report we published that reported that ‘98%

As we go into SAP HANA’s platform replacement or net new Greenfield implementations, we all know there once again are many places where things can go wrong again. How many of us have been involved with SAP BI projects where things went wrong.

We all also know that there is nothing worse than seeing a good project go bad. There is nothing worse than seeing protocol decisions that doom projects to failure before the project even begins. My book BI Valuenomics – the story of meeting business expectations is full of such business cases and examples and was written from the ground up for business stakeholders to take ownership and accountability in a scientific manner.

But there's nothing worse than seeing a project doomed to fail before the implementation even begins because of non-optimal decisions taken that have little to do with the new HANA platform, but more about how we have been doing things so far.

Customers worldwide are still grappling with the SAP HANA decisions.  Regardless of the region, industry or sector, we’ve see common mistakes that cause SAP HANA projects to not provide the anticipated Business Expectations, something we term as BVA or Business Value Attainment.   Here's a list of the top five mistakes that we've seen selection teams make during the procurement phase:

1. Not focusing on Business Benefits

Gartner stated it very aptly in 2010 ‘Without business in business intelligence, BI is dead’. Companies need to hold executive workshops of two to four hours for their key stakeholders, GPS workshops for their Business owners and IT owners to empower business to become part of the design, architecture and implementation process. We recently built two RBS® solutions, which are 100% custom business solutions and each of them scored in the upper 90% customer satisfaction score in a world dominated in the lower 30% (for customer satisfaction. Focus on Business Value and not only the data’

2. Treating SAP HANA as just another Technical upgrade

Our motto: ‘HANA is a strategic business solution not just a technical install’ has resulted in many large HANA customers deriving very high business value from their initiatives. If we don’t plan to extract business benefits from HANA then the platform will deliver exactly what you plan. The biggest mistake customers can make is to move all their current SAP applications to HANA ‘As-Is’. This is highly desirable for the triad partners- but not necessarily in the strategic interest of the customer and their business users. Start by asking what your strategic goals are, ie. What business will you be in five years from today? Follow through with how to get the Highest Quality at the lowest cost? Finally what did not work for other customers? There are far more lessons in failures than promises of success.

3. Canned existing Partners

We all come with deep alliances with their HW and SI partners. SAP is a zero option in this question as the SW partner- unless they are also your HW(Cloud) and/or Implementation partner. Gartner stated this eloquently “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 Nexus (big-data) the next age of computing.” Mr. Sondergaard, Gartner Sr. Analyst, said in 2013. In this time of change reconsider your partners in the strategic domain of Big-Data, Digital monetization, IoT and then HANA. Your HW and SI partners must take ownership, not of migrating you to HANA but delivering business benefits and benchmarked business satisfaction scores for the project to be considered as delivered. We call it the technology Acid Test.  

Another thing to remember is a famous statement ‘What got you here, will not get you there’ – this reasoning is buried within the statement by Gartner above. So using existing architecture, methodologies, architectures systems and costs structures will be a form of self-cannibalism bot by the enterprise and the key stakeholders.

4. Canned decisions

Many Companies first decide their partners and then get into negotiating. Time and time again we see companies sacrifice their negotiating rights until after the vendor is selected. Most companies simply go through the process of three vendors knowing fully well that the selection will be their incumbent vendor. The vendors know that too. We have seen executive decisions that ban business stakeholders from entering project rooms to instructions being given not to talk to any other vendors unless they are whetted by the incumbent vendor. All this simply delivers is what you currently have on a new platform. Our question is very simple ‘You tell us the benefit of accelerating a query that takes 1,500 seconds (actual case) to under 1 second. It business is never going to use it”. Here is a brief guideline for the modern CIO planning to move to HANA.

5. Not optimizing SAP prior to moving to HANA

Time and time again we see triad partners speed customers to move to HANA with more attractive pricing, deals and add-ons so they can close the deal in this month or quarter. Time and again we see customers get influenced by these recommendations. By moving to HANA in an ‘As-Is’ state customers are throwing away anywhere from 40% to 68%, represents actual results, of their assets that they could otherwise save and use elsewhere.

In case you are interested it is possible to reduce your BoH migration TCO by 40% with a probability of achieving this at 90%. In fact the last three BoH optimizations we have undertaken all were 100% over 40% reductions. This directly translates into a 40% reduction in your initial HW costs, 40% reduction in your initial migration costs and a 40% reduction in your annual support SLA’s. This represents is the cream of our services and our focus on TCO reduction – is is directly related to financial business benefits. In a $10 million HANA project this could represents an initial saving of $4 million and an approximate saving of $1 million in the next 5 years.

When it comes to your final decision demand IQDCT (Increase in data quality, decrease in Cost and Decrease in time for migration) as a deliverable and business benchmark.

We are so confident of our process that we often tell customer ‘ Don’t pay us a thing. You get your quote and then let us optimize- then you pay us 20% of what we save you”, we add “You’ll pay us many times over that what we will charge you for the service”. No one’s yet signed on our Free for 20% contract yet, and we’ve delivered 100% of the time.


‘Plan your work, and only then work your plan. You only get what you plan for so make sure business benefit is in your deliverable mix for your HANA project.

Apr 19, 2015

7 Critical Elements to a Successful Partnership

Today is as good a time as any to take a new idea, form new partnerships towards a common goal. A business partnership is very much like life itself, and it is the human factor that always makes or breaks any relationship, collaboration, alliance or partnership. Whether in business or in life, it’s the human element that makes or breaks any forms of relationship, collaboration or alliance. Companies don’t create alliances and relationships people do.  

Since the beginning of time humans have been social animals. Some say that humans are like termites that live on small mounds on this planet and we only make them bigger and bigger. While some see this as a negative statement I think that is exactly who we are. Humans are social animals and we grow best when we share, co-exist and thereby co-innovate. We would never have been where we are today if not for our being intrinsically very social animals. However being a human is not enough to succeed in a relationship or partnership. We can all get into relationships but few can maintain that relationship at a level of quality that is truly a synergy of personal and professional force multiplier.

Partnering is a lot like dating, and if you have not read my recent fun blog on dating and polling then do run by it – ‘How Big-Data is making Polling Obsolete’. The first part of dating is honesty, but evidence proves that being honest seems to be the responsibility of only 50% of the respondents. There is the question of ‘id’ and ‘ego’. Ego being our portrayal of who we want to be perceived as and Id being who we actually are- its briefed in the blog. Finally it boils down to what we have to offer any partner, what differentiates you from the crowd, are your details complimentary or competitive, and finally how dedicated are you to the partnership and not simply yourself and your ego. Partners is a great relationship need to be transparent, trustworthy, mutually complementary and desiring a great and profitable relationship.

 Here is a list of critical elements that make partnerships successful.

In my experience, after two decades of helping companies create multiple forms of strategic collaboration, I came up with 11 critical success factors that could make or break a partnership in business.

  1. The Business Value element: The only test of any new idea is the impact it has on your bottom and top line. No matter what your partnership plans to deploy, build or service there has to be a clearly identifiable business benefit for your customers. This will be the reason customers will come to you and remain with you, this is the reason they will tell other customers about your company and this is the way the partnership will ultimately be beneficial to its customers and the partnership. The second part of this element is it must be beneficial to both partners. Partnerships must be designed so neither party loses, even if they don’t initially make a profit.
  2. The Trust element Trust is like the parachute chord between you as the jumper and the parachute as the partnership. Having worked together for long or briefly but having a strong trust factor. People work as a tram with other people they like to work with and can trust. There are volumes of research that establish that humans chose people they like. We like to team with them, partner with them, have relationships with them, marry them, and love spending our precious times with them. They are basically trustworthy and fun to be with. You need to genuinely trust your partners and never feel that they are not putting their cards on the table or have an agenda all of their own. There are enough successful stories between the founders of major companies and it all boils down to professional and mutual trust.
  3. The Compartment element– The big question in most exceptional partnerships is the professional compartmental element. When we studied Duo partnership one was always the outgoing, sales and marketing personality and the other the doer. This mix works exceptionally well so long as both partners understand their compartment. The best partnerships like Steve Jobs and Woz are based on very tight, even in uncomfortable situations, compartments. Woz never wanted to be Steve and Steve never wanted to be Woz- perfection. Learn from the best. These two complemented each other to form what can be viewed today as one of the world’s greatest technology company. Though partners need a compatibility of trust, likeability, values and processes, they also need to be very separate in who is accountable and owns what aspect of the partnership. Too many partnerships crumble when one compartment thinks they can do the job better o their own.
  4. The Alliance element Alliances are the strength of companies as they start to grow and need specialized skills or needs. No group of individuals can be exceptional in everything. Just like each individual has their own skills and strengths so does a partnership. An important part of a partnership is in identifying mutual strengths and making them stronger, along with also recognizing our weaknesses that could make the partnership weaker. Alliances are one way of getting past this hurdle.
  5. The Fairness element: If you plan to get the cake it must not be at the expense of someone else getting the crumbs. No one likes to be taken advantage of in any situation. So the more ownership an individual or a group has on the overall success of the company the higher must be their share of the pie. Fair never means equal. All parties must feel they are treated in a fair and professional manner and get out of the partnership a quid-pro-quo that is proportionate to what they are putting into it and contributing towards the overall growth.
  6. The Strategic element: Without a strategy all winds seem to be good winds. This includes the tactical, mid-term and strategic goals, visions and expectations. When partnerships fail they often do so either because different people had different agendas or different expectations. Partners have to be clear and transparent to all aspects of the lifecycle of the partnership and the partnership.
  7. Clear Communications element: Some partnerships communicate others communicate skillfully- this leads to miracles. Communications is the lynchpin of all relationships. All too often partners either try to hold communication of bad news or just communicate it blandly. We recommend partnerships can postpone good news a little but broadcast issues immediately. This leads to early resolutions and eliminates unnecessary headaches.

Be brutally honest in your partnerships. Share your experience and profits and don’t cut corners. Great things don’t happen overnight. Focus on the light- the key question is do you see the light at the end of the tunnel- then you are on the right track.

The IoT Question: What Business are you Truly In?

This started as a Delphi discussion along with Scott Feldman from SAP, Alex Paleologoes a CTO from a Greek shipping company, Klaus Huber from Deutch Telekom and the undersigned over a round of beer in Palo Alto. We started discussing how IoT is already changing the very definition of any industry.

We started by asking the foundation question "What industry is the Ford company truly in?" Only to realize very fast that Ford is not in the automobile business any longer. Just like Kodak was not in the business of photography or Telex in the business of print replication. Ford and other automobile companies we agreed after a few minutes are in the business of taking a passenger, or a product, from point A to point B in a safe and timely manner. Using this as a baseline we then delved as to how the very definition of this industry is rapidly and predictably changing based on new IoT technology.

Google has been experimenting with over 10 driverless cars that have driven over one and a half million miles without a single accident, scratch or other issues. Each of you try and remember how many miles you had driven before your first scratch or an accident and we suddenly see a very different view of driverless cars. Imagine no more auto insurance, no more scratches, no more running out of gas, no more a whole lot of hospital bills and no more DUI or deaths on the road- what is the price for that assurance. Ten years from today when you have to buy a car for your 16 year old daughter will you buy a car that you get today or one that drives itself to where she need to reach in a timely and safe manner- and more.  At the same time Jaguar has built a car that tracks head and eyes movement and auto stops if the driver is falling asleep. And BMW already has a prototype self-parking car that works on streets as they are today with Zero changes. Its a driverless, self-parking version. You can drive to a restaurant, get out of the car and ask the car to park itself. The car will find the nearest parking spot on its own and park itself. You smart watch or BMW app allows you to step outside, walk around and when ready ask the car to pick you up. The car will self-drive to your location in driverless mode to pick you up. Now with all these changes the biggest disruptions to the Auto industry just might just be Google and Apple (Now that apple is planning on an Apple-Car (according to the Silicon Valley street talk).

Companies have to re-evaluate this new world of IoT that GE estimates to be $14 Trillion just in the IIoT space - that is the Industrial IoT, i.e. manufacturing sector only.  Cisco projects the IoE (Internet of Everything) as a $19 Trillion market. HRB predicts this to be a $14 trillion market. From our studies we see a $1-2 Trillion market in the SAP IoT Market area alone. So no matter how you slice these numbers the market is huge. Read the article by the anchor of global competitive positioning Michael Porter in HBR 'How smart connected products are Transforming Competition' and you will begin to get a feel of the disruption right around the corner.

Me thinks this is going to be as big a change as Computing was in by the mid 80's. The speed of change accelerates each year so adoption is going to be faster than computers.

Some sample disruptions we are already witnessing:

Smart IoT Hub: For the coming future we will see an explosion of smart devices from smart watches to Fitbits and other personal sensors. However the hub of all these personal IoT devices will remain the smart phone. The Apple and Android Apps will become all the more important. Data harmonizers will provide a single pane of glass to all your health apps that will surround you and your smart phone. We don't see this hub being replaced anytime in the near future- but then change is the only constant- who ever could foresee the disruption of the iPhone before it happened. event in the enterprise world this device will remain the personal hub of information for the near future with the maximum per capita penetration of all other devices with a easy UI (User interface)

Automobile: Our grandfathers used to drive a car which would often break-down without warning. It had to be towed to the mechanic who would take a day or so to find out what is wrong. A decade or two ago we fixes some sensors in our cars and a red light switched on when something was wrong, but the driver had no clue what was wrong till they took the car to a certified mechanic. The mechanic would shove a plug into the compute slot and carry some expensive decoder that would rapidly analyze what was wrong in the vehicle. Today we can get a gizmo that we can shove by ourselves and get that same level of detail on our IPhone or iPad. Companies like Tesla already have a dashboard console larger than a standard iPad that can tell us what is wrong.

In the future your driverless car will not only identify what may be wrong with a component but will simultaneously inform the car company, find a service provider, check their stocks and ask the owner that time slot is available for the car to self repair. At the same time it will talk to other cars to find out if this is a systemic problem or something isolated to this one case. with such a system we could avoid the Tekeda safety bag that some think turned out to be a grenade under the steering wheel in disguise from every happening.

Smart Healthcare: Patients will not become products with real-time IoT devices they carry or imbedded into their bodies. They will select providers not by loyalty by by crowd recommendations of quality versus cost. Patients will be walking data producers and broadcasters. All patients today are real-time IT data producers - a product for real time visibility across the entire health-care fabric.

Smart Farming: Farms are already becoming smart with precision seeding, fertilizer and watering undertaken with IoT sensors. This not only saves wastage and thus money but also results in higher yields. so its a win-win. All seeds, farm workers, soil condition, water saturation, fertilizers, finished product storage; transports are today becoming real-time IT data producers - a product for real time decisions across all the enterprise farms. add weather to all these examples.

Smart cities: Israel is the first country to go the smart Country way. Barcelona the first Smart city. Smart cities will monitor social security, buses, energy and water, parking, snow cleaning, crime, buildings, and a host of other areas with streaming sensors [places in all critical locations for real-time visibility of all critical flows in a city. All critical assets today are real-time IT data producers - a product for real time visibility across the city.

Smart Army: with guns, equipment and personal being tagged with sensors we can easily identify friend or foe in low visibility situations. we can identify friend down of the soldier stops moving and the weapon continues to move. We can track every shipment of ammunition and weapon from start to end and send real-time alerts when a shipment or part of the shipment is diverted into the wrong hands- all this in real-time. We are already building smart Army HQ's with 3D visualizations and tracking of every authorized and unauthorized entry into any room. This is the part we know. The soldier and all army assets today are real-time IT data producer - a product for our decisions.