SAP is in talks with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to implement HANA, an in-memory technology that allows enterprises to analyse huge volumes of data in real time.

Speaking to Computerworld UK at an SAP Forum event today in London, SAP's UK and Ireland CTO Adrian Simpson revealed that HMRC is in 'early talks' with the company to discuss how HANA could be used to cut costs and further the central government department's consolidation programme.

"We have been working on some HANA use cases for the public sector. We have been speaking with HMRC, who is a very big SAP customer, about how we could use HANA to help with their consolidation journey," said Simpson.

HMRC has a scheme called the 13 Machines, which aims to consolidate 650 critical applications into about 150, across 13 machines or platforms, some of which are SAP, over the next five years.

13 Machines began as a transformation programme branded Aurora, whereby HMRC sought to retire 40 applications, while spending as little capital as possible. This was achieved by using the cost savings from one retired application to fund the retirement of the next.

"There are two scenarios HMRC could use HANA. One would be data mining. They have lots of tax data and the ability to drill down into that across multiple years would be beneficial in terms of speeding up their reporting capabilities," said Simpson.

"The second scenario is around cost. If an infrastructure has layers of transactional systems, data warehouses, operational data store, there are bound to be cost savings if this can be collapsed down into a single HANA platform."

Simpson also said he had been speaking to other departments in the public sector about how HANA could be used for things like benefit fraud and security monitoring, but he was not specific about which departments these were.

HANA uses in-memory software to analyse huge volumes of data in real time. SAP began looking at in-memory capabilities four years ago and started developing the technology in early 2010.

A proof of concept was established in October of 2010, which saw SAP's data analytics improve by a factor of 14,000: a request now takes one second where it previously took five hours.

The increase in speed is gained by putting data analytics into a CPU, into 'memory', as opposed to being carried out on disk.

Queries sent to on-disk databases take longer because of the mechanical interaction that has to take place, which is removed when being conducted in-memory.

Simpson also revealed that the adoption of HANA in Europe, Middle East and Africa is largely made up of projects in the UK. The UK represented two-thirds of EMEA revenue for HANA last year, he said.

"HANA in the UK is doing extremely well. We are leading the EMEA charge in terms of revenue and adoption from the customers," said Simpson.

"It's quite encouraging because the SAP UK market is usually quite conservative in terms of adoption of new products. HANA is bucking this trend."

SAP's president of sales Robert Enslin also revealed this week that although HANA only made 250 million (£201 million) worth of revenue in 2011, it currently has more than 1 billion (£808 million) worth of HANA projects in the pipeline.