Spotlight: A Peek at Optimal’s Cloud Service Offering for SAP BPC

  • by Gary Byrne, Managing Editor, Financials Expert and SCM Expert
  • June 3, 2013
/HANA/IT/Mobile
Optimal Solutions Vice President Dmitry Faybysh answers some questions about the company’s subscription-based hybrid cloud offering for running SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) powered by SAP HANA.

At SAPPHIRE NOW Optimal Solutions launched a subscription-based model for running SAP BPC 10.0, version for NetWeaver on its hybrid cloud. The service enables users to run SAP BPC powered by SAP HANA without having to implement it on their premises. I asked Dmitry Faybysh, vice president of Optimal Solutions, to answer a few questions about this service.

What questions are your clients asking about investing in SAP BPC on the cloud?

The main questions we get are around cost and scalability of hardware. The other questions we are getting are around IT support and how we integrate the data between the customers’ internal (private) and external cloud.

Could you describe Optimal Solutions’ subscription-based hybrid cloud model for SAP BPC running SAP HANA?

There are two primary concepts: a subscription-based and a hybrid cloud model. The subscription-based model references the pricing around software and hardware. The subscription allows you to expense the cost versus capitalizing it and also creates a lower up-front cash outflow. The hybrid cloud refers to the connectivity between the private and external cloud environments. Most customers have their source systems (ERP, operational, and sales) running on their internal networks, and we would connect and integrate those systems to the external cloud for both data and meta-data. We have developed a process and accelerators that are prescribed and help expedite the connectivity.

Is the amount of memory available for SAP HANA in Optimal’s hybrid cloud offering for SAP BPC the same as the memory a client that buys SAP BPC directly from SAP would have? In other words, does Optimal’s cloud-based service provide memory similar to HANA One on Amazon Web Services?

We are using the standard requirements for the HANA and BPC system.

If any of your clients have been hesitant about moving their sensitive financial data to the cloud owing to security concerns, what would you say to them to convince them to make the move to the cloud? 

This is the main concern for our clients. We normally let them know that we have done extensive testing on security with our hosting partners. All of our partners are Sarbanes-Oxley compliant. Additionally, our clients do their own testing and due diligence on the hosting providers.

Optimal Solutions’ press release about the subscription-based hybrid cloud service refers to some of the benefits of using this solution as the ability to “better utilize internal IT resources, improve flexibility and agility in reporting and forecasting, and more easily extend BPC applications to mobile workers.” Could you be specific about these benefits, especially with regard to making reporting and forecasting more flexible and extending applications to mobile workers?

The cloud environment that we set up comes with the right version of software across the entire analytics and mobile platform. The cloud allows analytics and access to data any time and from anywhere with 99.99 percent uptime. 

VMware made some noise recently about its plans to offer SAP software in its vCloud Hybrid Service. Based on what you’ve learned about VMware’s hybrid cloud offering, how would you say your service is different? 

VMware primarily helps with client machine standardization as well as access from remote locations that have poor Internet connectivity locations. We may also leverage VMware as the hosting hardware provider. So we do not look at our service as competing, but more of a complement.

Does Optimal Solutions have any plans to offer hybrid cloud services for other SAP applications?

Yes. BPC is what we have started with and are working on a test pilot, but our agreements with SAP are not limited to BPC, and we plan to expand across all of the SAP product offerings for hosting.

You were part of Optimal’s development team that won the SAP HANA Real-Time Data Challenge in 2012. The challenge involved deploying SAP BPC data sets on SAP HANA. Without disclosing any of your secret sauce, could you describe how the experience in the SAP HANA Real-Time Data Challenge helped Optimal’s team with its work on the hybrid cloud offering for SAP BPC? 

To pull off the HANA Real-Time Data challenge required a cross-line of business teams with deep expertise. We engaged EPM, BI, Mobile BI, BW, Data Services, HANA, and Infrastructure teams. Although there was no real connection to the Hybrid Cloud, we leveraged some of the experience and knowledge gained from creating a world-class solution from the HANA Race into our hybrid cloud solution. We needed a place to scale quickly without having the constraints of software version, resource constraints, and more importantly, something that’s affordable for our clients.

Gary Byrne

Gary is the managing editor of Financials Expert and SCM Expert. Before joining WIS in March 2011, Gary was an editor at Elsevier. In this role he managed the development of manuscripts for Elsevier’s imprint responsible for books on computer security. Gary also has held positions as a copy editor at Aberdeen Group, a Boston-based IT market research company, and as an editor at Internet.com, a publisher of content for the IT community. He also gleaned experience working as a copy editor for International Data Corp., a Framingham, MA-based IT market research company. He earned a bachelor of science degree in journalism from Suffolk University in Boston. He enjoys traveling, sailing as a passenger onboard schooners, and helping his wife, Valerie, with gardening during summer weekends. He’s a fan of all the Boston sports teams and once stood behind Robert Parish in a line at BayBank. He felt small and didn’t ask for an autograph. You can follow him on Twitter at @FI_SCM_Expert. His online footsteps can also be found in the SAP Experts group on LinkedIn.

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