User Group Board Meeting

Today we had a Directors board meeting of the user group and and spent 7 hours reviewing all aspects of the User Group – and in particular strategy, the annual conference and the results of our recent user group survey. There was a lot to go through and we will be sharing the survey results when we have had time to digest them fully – thank you for all those that completed the survey, it was a good level of response and is a great tool to shape the user group to ensure we meet the membership needs – thank you for all those that took the time to do it.

On the conference, we reviewed all the progress and hope to announce more keynote speakers shortly. As I have said in a previous post the size of the early response is amazing – we even have three organisations who have booked 12 places each – thank you to each of them!

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2011 Conference update

An absolutely astounding level of interest for our conference in November 2011……in March this year we have already acheived the number of  bookings that we had by August last year. Thank you to all of the hundreds that have already shown the confidence in the conference committee – and for those that haven’t booked yet, well don’t leave it too late – there is a finite capacity.

In memory computing – it’s now practical and it’s here to stay

It’s refreshing to see that SAP is backing the idea of in-memory computing (http://www.sap.com/about/newsroom/press-releases/press.epx?pressid=14907). It’s a simple fact that the amount of data never gets smaller : as a result, as organisations deal with more and more of it, so we all need more and faster ways to actually process and use that data.

The technical idea of in-memory computing, as explained by SAP, is pretty straightforward: rather than putting data on a hard drive and accessing it when needed, that data is instead stored directly in memory and is immediately available. But more than that SAP has worked with the hardware manufacturer and looked closely about how that data is shaped and conspired to develop a specialist appliance called HANA but basically, it means that data can be accessed, and so used, much faster. With the price of memory consistently falling, it is now possible to use machines with a huge amount of solid state memory instead of magnetic media, making in-memory computing feasible for complete databases, or the part of the dtabase that is most important to you.

Of course, the big question is then “what does this mean for my SAP applications?”. Essentially, it makes the bits you always wanted to work faster with, able to become real time and more capable of dealing with ever-increasing amounts of business data needed to give a rapid insight into decision making. As a result, real time analytics within the business process becomes a real possibility.

With in-memory computing, the decision to upgrade to the new technology seems to be less a matter of “if”, and more of “when”: part of this will depend on how quickly SAP roll out new in-memory application areas. The question for organisations is how can they use this technology to improve business processes and gain competitive advantage. Do they need to re-engineer processes to capitalise quickly? Can in-memory help them make better decisions faster? Of course, the SAP User Group and our SIGs will be on hand to help organisations share their experiences and provide answers to these questions and more.