Lenovo and SAP: a partnership built on trust

Soeren Genzler

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Soeren Genzler, Lenovo’s Center of Competence for SAP Solutions Leader EMEA, offers an insight into the partnership with SAP and how it will change the way businesses use data.

Around a decade ago, if you wanted a report that incorporated customer records, sales data and other business intelligence for Monday morning, you had to kick it off on Friday. And you had to keep your fingers crossed that there were no power outages over the weekend.

Then SAP® launched a system called Business Warehouse Accelerator (BWA). It pulled out data from local storage and moved processing in-memory. The result was something much faster than if it was done on a disc: a report in minutes rather than days.

That was in the early 2000s and our team, which was acquired by Lenovo in 2014, was right there working alongside SAP, providing the server platform for BWA systems. We made sure we had a strong presence at SAP’s Walldorf headquarters, ensuring our systems passed SAP’s certification process.

We have now been working closely together for more than 10 years, from the introduction of BWA to making sure Lenovo systems can be used as an infrastructure server platform for SAP HANA®.

Embedding innovation

Now we have a team in Walldorf wholly dedicated to certification preparation, road-mapping and support. We have developers supporting customers in a feedback process that links straight back to our broader development teams. Whenever customers experience an issue, the developers instantly know. We have developers working on second level processor units, so whenever something looks odd, they see it in real time.

What else are we doing? Well, to a major extent our x86 servers are the basis of the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. This is the result of Lenovo’s major investment in the x86 server business at the beginning of 2014. The HANA Enterprise Cloud has already deployed in Germany and there are plans to push into the Chinese market and innovate in the cloud infrastructure space there.

There are also partnerships with CSC and with iOLAP in terms of data migration and data modelling. iOLAP is looking to strengthen its operation in Europe and they are working with SAP and Lenovo to help them do that. One of iOLAP’s notable recent achievements was to integrate Amazon Echo with SAP HANA, essentially getting Alexa, the voice of Echo, to present business data in boardroom meetings.

Learn more about Lenovo’s partnership with SAP:

Trust through reliability

We embrace our partnerships. When you are out there in the market, a customer is basing their business processes on trust. To trust SAP they automatically have to trust the entire value-adding chain behind that, which includes Lenovo. You have to trust your systems and your business partner in the delivery as well as the hardware. One of the most important things is that the customer has to be sure they won’t have any trouble with the product.

That’s why Lenovo’s ITIC 2016 Reliability Poll win is important, and we continue to be number one in terms of server reliability. We have a stable and solid system that is resilient, we know how to scale for analytics processing, and are working on solutions for transactional processing as well. We do a lot of development with SAP directly.

To grow it’s absolutely necessary to have good relationships with systems integrators, who can be trusted by customers to design business processes and ensure software works according to their plan. If a system integrator has a cool idea then it is very easy for us to partner with them and support them, hardware-wise.

Just as important as innovation is continuity. We still deliver systems on current hardware for BWA. Smaller enterprises may not want to make the leap to SAP HANA; they may want BWA for another four or five years. We can support them because we have certified systems for BWA. In fact, our servers can deliver BWA on Intel’s Broadwell micro-architecture.

The road ahead

In the future we will be looking to integrate with things like SAP HANA Vora®, data lake business analytics and big data analytics. We believe we have barely scratched the surface of all the good things we could do with the amount of data being collected and stored each day. It could be very useful for research and universities, for example, and look at things like customer analytics repositories, which was one of the first applications made possible because of SAP HANA. As a result, retailers could bring up a customer’s past purchases and tailor offers to them: if they bought dog food they’d get a discount on the leash.

But for now it’s time for us to go out and cement those partnerships, to keep doing what we do and do it well. That means delivering platforms that continue to let our partners enjoy their weekends, safe in the knowledge that the business intelligence they need will be waiting for them on Monday morning – or whenever they need it.

 Download Lenovo’s ITIC 2016 Reliability Report

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