Can you provide a brief description of your company and the role that you play there?
2isolutions is an SAP partner company based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Our main focus, at this time, is SAP BI solutions, but we also do SAP all-in-one and ERP [enterprise resource planning] solutions as well. For the last 10 years, we have done implementations for mid-sized companies to very big companies.
I am very much convinced that SAP HANA is a problem solver for the big industries. Of course, at this time, there's a cost problem for some firms. I feel SAP is great for banking.
As for me, I started my career after getting a master's degree in electrical engineering, and started SAP after that. For the last 17 years, I'm doing only one thing, and that's SAP. Within SAP, I've been working on the BI [business intelligence] application for the past decade, but I also did many other modules within SAP. In BI, I'm a certified HANA developer, BusinessObjects developer, and certified data warehouse person; I'm also certified for these SRM data certifications that SAP does.
What was the business challenge your company was facing that incited the need for this platform?
One example client is a bank that needs to do a lot of reporting for the government because of the financial scandal that happened seven or eight years ago. There are many regulatory reporting requirements on the banks that we need to do. Before these SAP BI solutions came into picture, this client of ours was doing it using some of their Excel tools and some other proprietary tool that they made up, which was very time consuming.
The SAP BI solutions consist of more than one product, and one of them is called SAP DW [data warehousing] and the second is coming from the BusinessObjects side of SAP Solutions, which we call the front-end solutions. Many SAP clients are still on the old product, which is SAP data warehouse. We are trying to move all our clients to the new product, called BusinessObjects. There's a lot of user benefit there to do that. I think HANA is the most popular tool, at this time, in the SAP world.
How does your company implement this platform or software?
This project is almost done now. We are using an SAP tool called Bank Analyzer and SAP Business Intelligence together. We've been in the situation that we can complete all of this reporting, every month, within a period of hours instead of days that we used to do before. That is the kind of achievement we have done and the kind of progress that we have made, which will make the life of our user group much easier, compared to the previous time. They used to go through a very tough time every month to put all of these reporting requirements together.
Additionally, we have done an implementation for a utility company and for a government agency. There was a lot of fraud happening, and we wanted to bring back all the data into the BI system, so that we can immediately see where fraud is taking place. We used the BI solution there to stop the fraud that was occurring.
Was your company considering other platforms? Why this platform?
We use only SAP. They have some limitations, but we do not use anything else. We are SAP and Cloud data partners, that's our specialty. That is what we do.
On an annual or monthly basis, how much does your company spend to utilize the platform?
The SAP solution is very expensive for most companies – even larger firms. It often reaches into six figures or even millions of dollars.
Can you share any success, metrics, or overall results of your implementation of this platform?
Our clients are satisfied with their decision to utilize this platform. We have seen more efficiencies, less fraud, and better reporting and forecasting.
Were there any software features or tools that really impressed you?
One of the specific tools I like about HANA is their SLT [SAP Landscape Transformation]. It has Smart Data Access. Smart Data Access SLT and in-memory processing is quite fast. I mentioned before that we do not need any more replication of the data, so the immensity of the data is no longer there.
Looking back, are there any areas of the software upon which you feel could be added or improved?
I am having some restrictions at this time that will be better in the future, and that is integration with other tools. I already know that they are working on that. They sent me that data on that system that we collect for example. At this time, it is a little tough to integrate some tools with HANA.
The other thing is that it is a little bit expensive, at this time, because it is in memory. We need to make it a little bit more cost effective. Other than that, I think it is pretty good. It is very different now because it has been more than five years since HANA's been on the market.
Have you had to interact with the platform's support team or reference their support resources?
I think their support is very good. I have no complaints at all. Additionally, because the technology has become actual now, we have a lot of information in the forum as well.
We have a few quick questions and, for each question, we ask you to rate the software on a scale of one to five, with five being the best. What would you give the software for functionality of the features available?
Four. Because HANA is coming up, and there are some things we need to improve.
What would you give the software for ease of use or ease of implementation into your business?
Three and a half. SAP is a little bit complex.
For support, as in responsiveness of the team or helpfulness of the resources available?
For overall satisfaction with the platform?
How likely are you to recommend the software to a colleague or similar business?
Five. For other SAP partners I would recommend it. At the same time, my experience is limited to SAP technology. For the last 17 years, I have only done SAP. From what I know in the industry, it is pretty good. The big companies are all going for it. I do not have any doubt about it.