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Enterprise software company SAP has a big hit on its hands with its in-memory database software, HANA.Co-CEO, Bill McDermott, tells AllThingsD’s Arik Hesseldahl:
“We have 1,000 customers on it now, so it’s growing really fast. The last update we gave, we indicated that we think it could be a half billion US dollar business which would make it the fastest growing software product in the history of the world.”
It’s a bit hyperbolic to say it’s the fastest growing software of all time. (iOS, Windows 8, Android, come to mind as potentially bigger software products. Maybe he’s talking enterprise?)
But, it is true that HANA has grown very fast. It’s been on the market for about 18 months. At 1,000 customers, that’s double the number of customers SAP reported in October, when it said HANA had 500.
It’s also true that there are still plenty of SAP customers left to sell HANA to. It was only last week that SAP announced its core applications, called Business Suite, could now run on HANA.
SAP obviously hopes that its Business Suite customers will ditch their current database (often from Oracle, but also from IBM and Microsoft) and buy HANA instead. HANA is a new type of database that runs a lot faster. It can process information in seconds that used to take hours or days. A retailer, for instance, can now see which products are being sold across all stores in real time.
But, SAP may not be able to keep selling HANA to its current customers so fast, Wall Street analysts at Ovum say. It’s not an easy thing to yank out the database that runs your company and replace it with another.
They wrote in a research note:
“Convincing customers that the ‘transformative’ benefits of Suite on HANA will be non-disruptive technically is the challenge SAP faces with an entrenched Business Suite customer base. Companies don’t swap out their database and ERP investments overnight.”