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SAP looks to create 'distinguished engineers' for its HANA database

There are already about 1,800 consultants trained on the platform

By Chris Kanaracus
June 18, 2012 04:23 PM ET

IDG News Service - SAP is creating a new program that seeks to anoint consultants as "distinguished engineers" working with its HANA in-memory database platform, the company announced Monday.

About 1,800 consultants have already received HANA training since its general release one year ago. But the new program will provide a deeper level of engagement with SAP, according to an official blog post.

"SAP will support this organization by providing HANA briefings, development and roadmap updates, access to resources, and joint coordination of activities at conferences and other virtual and in-person technical events," the blog states. In addition, SAP will solicit experts' input "regarding real-world HANA implementation experiences to use as input to guide development and product management for future patches and releases."

The program is also meant to help top HANA experts share their knowledge and experiences, according to the blog. Criteria for membership in the Distinguished Engineer Program will be released soon, it adds.

"I think SAP wants to create a culture of excellence around HANA and they're aware without skilled individuals around these projects, they'll face the same backlash they have historically on ERP [software implementations] and still do to some extent," said Jon Reed, an analyst who tracks SAP skills trends and is a close watcher of HANA's progress. Reed will serve as one of the leaders of the new program.

"When you look at the people who are going to add the most value to a HANA project now, it's people who have been through a proof-of-concept or a go live," and that remains a fairly small group, Reed said. Those who have merely gotten certified on HANA "can't be the quarterback" on a project," he added.

So far, SAP has had a mixed track record on HANA education, such as the "severely lacking" product documentation available at the time of its general availability launch last year, Reed said. "I've never heard anyone describe the documentation SAP has provided as a strength of the product."

But SAP has succeeded in piquing the interest of its community, Reed added. "Most SAP professionals who are serious about SAP are interested in HANA and trying to understand it," he said. "They're trying to make sure they don't let the community down. But like everything else the report card comes in the follow-through."

This is just the latest bid by SAP to lure developers to HANA, preceded by its announcement of free developer instances of the database on Amazon Web Services. More than 200 HANA instances have been created there since SAP's mid-May announcement, company technology chief and executive board member Vishal Sikka said during a webcast event held Monday to mark the anniversary.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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