Top 5 Reasons to Choose SAP HANA

SAP HANA is one of the fastest growing products in SAP’s history and is viewed by the industry as a break through solution for in-memory databases. SAP HANA boasts that it accelerates analytics and applications on a single, in-memory platform as well as combining databases, data processing, and application platform capabilities. You may be thinking, “So what?” or “How does this help my business?” In this blog post below, we look at what we consider to be the top 5 reasons why SAP HANA should be on your list of new software enhancements for your business.

1. Speed – Manage massive data volumes at high speed

A live analysis was taken of a consumer products companies data revealed how SAP HANA analyses current point-of-sale data in real time–empowering the organisation to review segmentation, merchandising, inventory management, and forecasting information at the speed of thought. SAPHANA
2. Any Data – Gain insights from structured and unstructured data.

SAP HANA integrates structured and unstructured data from internal and external sources, and can work on detailed data without aggregations. SAP HANA can be integrated into a wide range of enterprise environments, allowing it to handle data from Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server, and IBM DB2

3. Insight – Unlock new insights with predictive, complex analysis. Before SAP HANA, analytics meant:

  • Quickly and easily create ad-hoc views without needing to know the data or query type – allowing you to formulate your actions based on deep insights
  • Receive quick reactions to newly articulated queries so you can innovate new processes and business models to outpace the competition.
  • Enable state-of-the-art, interactive analyses such as simulations and pattern recognition to create measurable, targeted actions.

4. Innovation – The ultimate platform for business innovation.

SAP HANA is an early innovator for in-memory computing. Its configurability, easy integration, and revolutionary capabilities make it flexible enough for virtually anything your business requires. Some examples of this include: ENERGY MANAGEMENT Utility companies use SAP HANA to process and analyse vast amounts of data generated by smart meter technology, improving customers’ energy efficiency, and driving sustainability initiatives. REAL-TIME TRANSIT ROUTING SAP HANA is helping research firms calculate optimal driving routes using real-time GPS data transmitted from thousands of taxis. SOFTWARE PIRACY DETECTION & PREVENTION Tech companies use SAP HANA to analyse large volumes of complex data to gain business insights into software piracy, develop preventive strategies, and recover revenue

5. Simplicity – Fewer layers, simpler landscape, lower cost.

  • Reduce or eliminate the data aggregation, indexing, mapping and exchange-transfer-load (ETL) needed in complex data warehouses and marts
  • Incorporate pre-packaged business logic, in-memory calculations, and optimization for multicore, 64-bit processors
  • Spend less on real-time computing

If you are considering your in-memory database , why not book a consultation with our experienced SAP HANA team to find out how this can really integrate and improve your business. Contact us here

Big Data, Hype or Reality?

Invenio Business Solutions – HANA Labs Innovation

If you’re in any way associated with the technology industry then you’ll know that 2013 has been the year of “Big Data”. The subject has attracted massive interest (some might say “hype”!) and everyone, it seems, is talking about the potential benefits that can be gained by implementing a Big Data Strategy.

But despite the voluminous amounts written on the subject (1.9 billion “Big Data” search results on Google at the time of writing!), many company execs are still grappling with the question of how a Big Data strategy will help them improve their business’s performance.

278Naturally the Big Data trend has not gone unnoticed by large and small IT vendors alike. And SAP in particular have been at the forefront of developing solutions that can help manage Big Data. The SAP HANA solution was specifically designed to help organisations tackle the many challenges posed by Big Data. But, because so many firms are still figuring out what those “many challenges” are, we thought the time was right to invest in our own SAP HANA Lab so we can actually show its potential.

The best way to really get under the skin of HANA’s potential was to build and test a range of scenarios so we could measure what can be achieved. Only then can we show customers the ‘why’ of Big Data – and the potential impact this can have their organisation’s performance. And, preliminary tests conclude that the potential is huge.

Below is an interview we held with our Chief Technology Officer, Naveen Agarwal. Naveen has been tasked with leading the development of Invenio’s SAP HANA Lab and, in this interview, he shares with us his thoughts on what the Lab will deliver to our customers as they start to explore the potential of Big Data.

1. What is the rationale behind setting up the HANA Lab here in Invenio?
HANA as a solution is now 3 years old, and a lot of hype was created about it at launch. However, the adoption rate we are seeing is still very low – which we think is due, in part, to the fact that it’s a very expensive proposition. HANA started maturing as a product only in the last 12 months but even today, our customers are still struggling to determine an achievable, realistic ROI that will justify the high capital outlay it demands.

A knock-on effect of low adoption is that first-hand HANA skills are still rare. There are a lot of certified consultants who have attended courses – but very few of them have actual hands-on experience of implementing HANA.

The HANA Lab solves these two problems – helping customers to identify ROI and skilling up our Consultants on a live HANA platform. To do this, in Invenio style, we had to have first-hand, hands-on skills with the product, not just certifications. We have therefore invested in an expensive infrastructure, dedicated a high-calibre team, certified them and got busy developing real applications (Proof of Concepts). The result of this activity is that we now have a hands-on, experienced HANA team that really understands the product – and we can build multiple scenarios for our customers that showcases what HANA can do, thereby helping to de-risk a procurement decision

2. In what way will the HANA Labs benefit our customers?
Customers can see actual adoption of their application before taking a procurement decision. When they decide to buy, they can benefit from our first hand experience with the product for a successful deployment. We are also investing in ground breaking application developments which are only possible on HANA and not on a traditional SAP ERP platform.

3. What is your roadmap for developing Invenio’s HANA competencies?
The Lab is now well established and the team is working on our Proof of Concept for Fast Month End Close, Real Time Reporting and COPA processing. This will finish in early December. Thereafter we are embarking on development of a National Tax Fraud Detection System that a country like the UK for example can adopt to increase tax collection. As our experience grows, more ground breaking applications will quickly follow.

4. From a technical perspective, what are the advantages to CTO’s in embracing a Big Data strategy?
The main advantage of HANA is the magnitude of speed increase which is staggering. HANA has shown it can sometimes be tens of thousands times faster than traditional databases. That brings a whole new perspective of how an IT system can be used. For example, if an analysis of National Tax Payer database to detect fraud was previously taking months, it can now be done in seconds – even while a tax raid is underway.

Next Steps
Invenio Solutions are an SAP Gold Partner providing services and solutions worldwide. If you would like more information on our HANA Lab or other services please contact us.

Global and Local – Not VS – SAP Support

When it comes to SAP Support Services, you normally have two options to choose between: a global “one size fits all” supplier or a series of local, smaller services providers that deliver support across a few core areas of the system. This means you have to make the decision to break the contract down by location or have one huge support contract that you hope will service every area your business covers.

You’ll also naturally try and find the assurance that the partner (or partners) you select offer the right SAP expertise to help ensure your systems run efficiently. But finding these types of support suppliers can be a huge challenge. Not only do most support providers tie you into lengthy contracts, but they can make it difficult for your organisation to move on if the relationship doesn’t work. There may not be a dedicated team assigned to your organisation and, particularly in global service providers, you may find your team encumbered by unnecessarily prescriptive processes that negatively impact response times.

Invenio are different. We don’t normally shout about how great our SAP Support services are, (we don’t need to – our customers do this for us!). Since providing SAP Support, we have never lost a customer. And this isn’t because we tie our customers in – they are free to terminate their contracts at any time if they are not pleased with our service. This is because we provide a Global support service on a very local level.

Want to find out more? Check out the support presentation below to see how we do this and to learn what our customers think…

For more details on our simplified, streamlined support services contact the Invenio team, we will be happy to run through our services with you. Contact Us.

Invenio Joins the Government's G Cloud Programme for Specialist Cloud Services

READING, UK – 13 November 2013. Invenio Business Solutions are delighted to announce their inclusion in the latest iteration of the UK Government’s G Cloud initiative. Now in its 4th iteration, the GCloud programme will enable Invenio to offer a range of services in the “Specialist Cloud Services” category.

The G-Cloud framework enables public sector organisations across the UK – including central and local government and public agencies to procure a range of technology solutions and services via a publicly-accessible portal, the CloudStore. GCloud was first launched in February 2012 as part of the Government’s “digital first” strategy, and is delivering on its promise of simplifying the way in which Government bodies can source and select a wide range of Cloud-based software and services. The scheme has the added benefit of enabling many small and mid-sized firms to win more business by simplifying the way in which cloud software and cloud services can be offered to the public sector.

Invenio is an accredited SAP Gold Channel Partner specialising in SAP consulting, implementation and support services. The company’s Public Sector practice is led by experienced SAP veterans with extensive experience in providing tax and revenue management solutions to Central and Local Government agencies worldwide. The team also includes experienced SAP Tax and Revenue Management Consultants, with in-depth expertise in delivering projects to a growing public sector customer base.

Sunil Srivastava, Invenio’s Global Head of Public Sector Sales said “We are delighted to have been accepted onto the Government’s G Cloud Framework. We believe the scheme will allow us to reach a much wider range of public sector bodies who were not previously aware of our service capability and who will, in turn, be able to benefit from our services in an easier and more cost-effective way”.

Download Invenio’s official press release here.

Media Contact:

Laura Coles
+44 (0)20 7993 5086
laura.coles@invenio-solutions.com

5 Ways Our Invenio SAP P2P Solution Tool is Different

Managing staff, suppliers, services, orders, invoices etc. etc (the list could go on) takes a huge amount of time, resource and most importantly money. The recession has shown us that stricter controls need to be pursued within companies of all sizes, in all locations and in all sectors to maintain a smooth operation. It is becoming increasingly clear that huge difficulties arise when managing multiple business sections with systems that do not relate or “talk” to each other. This is why Invenio took the initiative and designed a Procure to Pay system, for SAP users, that can really integrate across the whole business.

As procurement increases in maturity and plays a more vital role in many organisations, companies are seeing the importance of one global P2P system. The Invenio’s P2P Solutions tool can offer a company the opportunity to do more than just shave a few pounds here and there (which is something most off the shelf P2P systems can help with). But it can actually re-engineer the way in which the process happens and is managed (on an international scale). Meaning you can save in areas not only from external suppliers but also internally as it reduces many of the heavy logistical and laborious tasks.

In this short 2 minute video below. We take a look at 5 ways our P2P tool is different from any other P2P system on the market and why you should consider this as an important financial tool to cut costs, save time and bring the whole supplier management together into one, global portal.

If this video has sparked some interest and you would like to know more about Invenio’s P2P Solutions, you can visit our Invenio’s P2P Solutions page for more details or see it in action for yourself with a live demonstration.

Digital First for the Financial Times

Financial data analyzing. Close-up photo of a businesswoman's hand writing and counting on calculator in office. Selective focus

An important landmark took place at the Financial Times last month, with a recent memo to staff declaring that the FT is now ready to launch their “Digital First” strategy. In simple terms, this will mean a restructure of the journalism team and the overall operations to enable the FT to transistion from a traditional “print first” focus, towards the faster paced, digital media arena.

The subscription business model at the FT was first introduced with some apprehension – and many critics believed the model would surely fail. The FT produced its first paywall in 2001 and although they experienced an initial dip in online visitors, the revenues have grown steadily – reaching a total of £216m in the first six months of 2012. This figure represents underlying year-on-year growth of 7%. It appears that the need for instant, accessible news stories – on the go – is indeed a market that can be capitalised on, and it is one on which the FT are prepared to focus on for their future growth and expansion strategies.

Can other media giants replicate the Financial Times strategy?

As many market commentators rightly point out, the FT is a very niche media player, whereas the current online news leaders that include the likes of The Daily Mail and The Guardian carry more popularist news stories. This will make differentiation a far more difficult task. Another consideration is whether the Heads of these news publishing companies are prepared for the possibility of a steep decline in online readership which may in turn see advertisers move their ad budgets to those titles boasting a larger share of the online audience.

A “digital first” strategy also requires a strong focus on growing and managing an online subscriber base. Within that strategy news publishers need to think carefully about how to maximise revenues from a much reduced audience. Factors that must be considered include:

  1. How to segregate content – would a reader need to sign up per content area such as sports or female content or have a “one size fits all” model?
  2. How to segment an audience based on diffent consumption habits that suits their lifestyle and interests.
  3. How to deliver premium content that delivers value over and above “the free journalism” offered by competitors.
  4. How to leverage subscription data to maximise revenues, and capitalise on readership trends and audience behaviour.

To help support emerging digital models, a good technology platform is essential – and SAP have been at the forefront of delivering a range of both traditional and digital media solutions for many years. SAP offers a diverse solution portfolio which is specifically designed to help drive revenue and strengthen loyalty by improving digital service capabilities. The result of deploying technologies such as SAP for media is an enhanced ability to deliver the right products and services to the right market – at the right time. With SAP solutions companies can gain a competitive edge with fast, cost-efficient, and targeted paid content, they can deliver and promote cross-media offerings and improve monetisation of their entire rights inventory.

These types of technologies, combined with Invenio’s expertise in the media industry can help news publishers make the most of the opportunities presented by the digital era. Invenio are a SAP Media prefered solution provider, we specialise in delivering cutting-edge SAP solutions that can accelerate and support strategies for a successful multi-platform business model – across multiple asset types. For more details please contact our media team direct.

The New Measures by which SAP Support Providers Should be Judged

A recent report by the technology analyst firm, Information Services Group (ISG), found that the number of IT outsourcing contracts that were restructured between July and September this year more than doubled over the same period last year. Commenting on the report, David Barker, IT Contracts Expert at Pinsent Masons, said: “Buyers are looking to change the scope of contracts and make the supply more relevant to what their business looks like today”. One of the key motivators for this change, said David, is “…the customer wanting ‘best of breed’ for each service they buy, rather than buying everything from one of the biggest players”.

In our previous post we talked about the advantage of “focus”, and how companies are moving away from large scale contracts to best of breed service providers that offer deep domain expertise over scale. In this post, we take a look at how those qualities that buyers cited as important are driving this trend. They are: agility, flexibility, vertical alignment, responsiveness and trust.

Agility
clockThe pace of business today is faster than ever before, and the technologies that support business are evolving at a rapid pace. A stark illustration of the pace of change can be seen in Research in Motion (RIM), the company behind the Blackberry smartphone. In the space of a few short years, RIM went from being top dog in the smartphone industry to an ‘also ran’. Shares slumped from an all-time high of $114 in 2011 to under $10 in May of this year as rivals such as the iPhone and Samsung out-innovated and out-performed them in almost every aspect. Although an extreme example, agility is fundamentally important across every facet of every business, everywhere. And service providers who support these companies must be able to match this pace to provide the right level of support for an agile business environment.

Evaluating Agility… Talking to a prospective service provider’s existing customers about their specific experiences is key here. Questions like: “how quickly do they respond to a change in support requirements”, and “are they prepared to accommodate requests normally outside the scope of your contract” can highlight how agile a support provider can be to a changing environment.

Flexibility

ThumbsupspeachBecause business today changes so fast, flexibility is paramount. Corporate business plans and strategies change, new markets and opportunities open up (and, of course, new challenges arise). This means that the ability to change accordingly helps to make a business less vulnerable when faced with an unpredictable business environment. Likewise, not all business decisions will prove to be right and so flexibility becomes a critical factor in making the necessary course corrections quickly.

To embed flexibility into an organisation means that every system that supports the business must match the speed at which it needs to respond to change. Software that allows a business to be more flexible is a critical factor in success, but so is how that system is managed and supported. Specialist providers, like Invenio, are usually more able to adapt and tailor the support they deliver to offer that level of flexibility. This versatility in delivering the right offerings is a critical aspect in allowing customers to maintain business as usual in an ever-changing environment.

Evaluating Flexibility… Overly prescriptive SLAs and an unwillingness to flex “standard” contractual terms during the evaluation and negotiation process is a good indicator of a service provider’s flexibility. However, it is wise to be wary of those service providers who don’t ‘push back’ on certain elements of the negotiations. According to Esteban Herrera, COO of HfS Research “Providers [who] don’t raise any objections or bother to delve into the details of the service agreement – that’s a red flag. The provider that says ‘yes’ to everything usually doesn’t know or doesn’t care what they are doing. At a minimum, they should seek clarification on some SLA and other performance commitments.”

Vertical Alignment
jigsawWe think it is better to do one thing really well – which is why we focus solely on delivering SAP services. But behind this focus lies another layer of expertise which can set best of breed service providers apart – and that lies in vertical (or industry) focussed service delivery. With so many different types of business and industry categories today, being able to offer deep domain expertise across a smaller number of industry verticals means service providers like Invenio can offer an enriched support service that takes into account the specific nature of a customers’ business. By having a detailed knowledge of regulatory and compliance practices along with common industry-specific workflows and processes, the support offered can be more specific and add more value to the relationship.

Evaluating Vertical Alignment… Ask the service provider to provide specific case studies and references of customers in similar industries. Requesting sight of the CVs of consultants that offer specific industry and SAP module knowledge will also help to give you a sense of the in-house skills available to support your specific requirements.

Responsiveness

timerAccording to the London Business School, customer responsiveness is “about being fast and being right”. Increasing competition, globalisation, digitisation and many other factors combine to make the business landscape more complex, and business decisions need to be made fast for a company to maintain its competitive edge. When systems fail and problems arise, fixes must be fast, efficient and effective. With the pace of change accelerating across every business, responsiveness becomes increasingly important and, with best of breed SAP support provision, deep domain knowledge means that customers can speak to the right person at the right time to get the problem solved.

Evaluating Responsiveness: How a potential service provider responds to your requests throughout the evaluation process can provide good insight into how they will respond if you decide to become a customer. A service provider that requests an extension or delivers a proposal late should be approached with extreme caution. “The inability to organise resources or meet timelines during the honeymoon period is a clear indication of bigger issues” said Ruckman of vendor selection consultants, Sanda Partners. Speaking to existing (long-term) customers about how a service provider beats – not meets – SLAs, is another key factor that should help influence a decision.

Trust

trustConsumer trust in many public and private corporations is at an all-time low. The authors of a report released by the Institute of Business Ethics states that: “Living up to the principles of trustworthy conduct across an organisation is a challenge”. Getting it wrong, they say, “can damage stakeholders’ trust, including that of employees, and also undermine the reputation of the organisation”. No service provider gets it absolutely right all of the time, but those providers that take the issues of trust and ethics seriously should be able to openly demonstrate how they build trust with customers by embodying the traits of trustworthiness and ethical behaviour right across the organisation.

Evaluating Trust: Ask to see evidence of how a potential service provider performs according to a stated set of principles and practices which prioritise relationships and ethical practices across the organisation. Seek out customer references that demonstate how a potential service provider deals with any failures and works to correct, protect and restore a customer’s confidence as quickly as possible.

If you would like to learn more about how Invenio can deliver a better support service for your SAP landscape please contact us.

The Top Three Challenges in Tax and Revenue Collection

martinCreating a sustainable tax system that can collect tax in an easy, efficient and cost effective manner is a goal that many Central Governments around the world share. To improve efficiency and reduce costs the UK Government have recently released a digital strategy outlining 25 services which will be improved with the use of digitisation. The 25 points include a number of items such as, land registry, power of attorneys, student finance and more. In the Government’s Digital Efficiency Report a huge £1.8 billion was identified in potential savings by increasing digital transactions to 82% of total Government transactions.

With this in mind, we take a look at the specific role of digitisation in tax and revenue collection. Below, are some of the top challenges that face modern Government administrations today, with suggestions on how the right technology can improve digital processes to reflect the needs of the modern taxpayer and help make tangible savings across the revenue collection process.

1. How do we make things easier for the taxpayers?
One way to improve efficiency in digital tax and revenue collection is to make the online process easier for the taxpayer. By deploying technology that is specifically designed to address tax collection within the digital era, revenue agencies can:

Simplify – Reduce the administration burden on the taxpayer through guided, automated online workflows.
Assist – Address specific taxpayer queries more efficiently through context-sensitive help, and use workflows to channel queries to the right people and departments for improved response times.
Engage – Improve taxpayer services through the proactive management of taxpayer or constituent relationships through e-reminders, notices and triggered alerts.

By linking all of the above, digital services can run 24/7 so taxpayers are able to pay the right amount of tax, at the right time with minimal revenue agency intervention.

2. How do we reduce internal costs?
The potential for Governments to make massive cost reductions to their internal costs by
reduce_costs “going digital” have already been identified.

Here are four key areas that savings can be made with the right technology infrastructure.

Improve – Rationalise, decommission and upgrade outdated technology for better system efficiencies, enhanced workflow and a modernised technology infrastructure.
Equip – Issue staff with the right tools and information that will help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively
Automate – Streamline, improve and automate tax collection and calculation processes whenever possible
Reduce – Minimise the carbon footprint by reducing consumable costs through digitisation

3. How do we improve collections and compliance?
Digitisation can help close the gap between taxes owed and taxes collected. Below are three ways that technology can help:

Self Service – Promote voluntary compliance and convenience through easy to use “always on” self-service models
Act – Deploy high performance analytics to uncover, track, analyse, and address non-compliance quickly and effectively
Adapt – Leverage data to research and improve compliance measures and better customise taxpayer services

For decades, SAP Tax and Revenue Management solutions have helped hundreds of collection agencies around the world to improve constituent services and revenue collection efficiencies. SAP’s focus on delivering the right technology for an increasingly digital world has seen them become the world’s fastest-growing enterprise cloud companies.

With the SAP Cloud portfolio, tax agencies have the agility and confidence to deliver services in a way that suits their citizens’ needs, particularly in terms of security and reliability — whether completely in the cloud or on premise or in a hybrid form. Cloud solutions are driving transformation across the private sector, and innovative government agencies that embrace them can fuel meaningful change in the way government business is done achieving cost reductions.

The public sector will continue to seek new and innovative ways to reduce cost, and improving efficiency in the highly complex world of tax and revenue management is an important factor in achieving this goal. Meeting the challenges of the digital era needs the right technology and systems to serve as the backbone that supports a digital strategy. And the right technology, such as an SAP platform, can create a strong foundation for improving and building upon current digital processes. SAP technologies continue to evolve and these, along with the service capabilities of SAP Gold Partner, Invenio, means that technology modernisation programmes today will not only help digital efforts now, but will serve to help government organisations to adapt and improve as the digital landscape evolves.

For more information on SAP Tax and Revenue contact Martin Sobotka Direct.