San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York perfectly summed up SAP’s mobile, cloud, social, and analytics strategies during the SAPPHIRE NOW keynote Tuesday morning while discussing his experiences as a fan at a Notre Dame football game.
Joined onstage by SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, NBA deputy and future commissioner Adam Silver and moderator James Brown of the NFL Today on CBS for the longest segment of the 90-minute keynote, York discussed sitting in the front row at the 50-yard line during a game at Notre Dame and yet feeling like he wasn’t on top of the action because he couldn’t follow the conversation about a controversial on-field ruling.
Think about that for a second: Front row. 50-yard-line.Not a better seat in the house, and yet not feeling connected. Having a “front-row seat” always has meant metaphorically being part of the action, an eyewitness to history. Being there was more than just enough, it was everything. Now, that “front-row seat” means being connected with the world; listening, commenting, and understanding what is happening in real-time. York’s intent wasn’t to disparage the in-game experience; he is, after all, the CEO of an NFL team building a $1.2 billion stadium. Rather, he was pointing out that today’s fan expects more.
McDermott hammered this point home during his opening remarks before a conference hall audience of 20,000, with an additional 80,000, including this writer, watching on-line. For businesses and consumers alike, access to real-time, actionable insight is the future. And for SAP, that future will be realized by the potential of SAP HANA, which McDermott characterized as “the fastest growing software product in the world,” the “intellectual renewal of SAP,” and the “platform for everything that SAP does moving forward.”
It is no surprise, then, that McDermott discussed the influence of the Millennial Generation, those 2 billion consumers born between 1980 and 1995 who, McDermott said, were “born into the mobile device.” Like the sports fan who expects instant up-to-date statistics, those consumers look at technology as purpose-driven, not product-driven; software, not hardware.
Summoning his inner Millennial, McDermott said that for that influential segment “technology doesn’t make me who I am; it allows me to do what I want.”
And that, really, is at the heart of SAP’s game-plan moving forward, evidenced by McDermott’s closing remarks when he said that SAP now defines itself as a B2B2C market leader with “user experiencenow our top priority.” For SAP, he said, its most important consideration as it touches 75% of all worldwide transactions that are conducted on the SAP Business Suite is that “behind every business process is a real person.”
So for all the talk of how SAP HANA can help businesses run “smarter, faster, and simpler,” McDermott’s message during the keynote was SAP HANA’s real value being derived from helping people improve their everyday lives. From the car that can help its driver find parking, to personalized medicine, to biometric shirts, to real-time sports stats, to the application that gives brewers real-time statistics on beer pours, SAP HANA helps transform heretofore “dark data” into meaningful data by making sense of intent to predict future possibilities. (For more on beer industry insights, check out the article on WeissBerger on Page 27 of SAPinsider’s special SAP HANA issue.)
After wrapping up his opening remarks, McDermott introduced his all-star sports panel for more discussion of SAP HANA. York and the 49ers of course teamed with SAP to develop the SAP Scouting mobile app, and Silver pointed out that the NBA statistics page on NBA.com is powered by SAP HANA.
And that fan experience that York unintentionally disparaged? Well, look also for SAP HANA to be front and center for the “new” fan experience at the 49ers new home stadium, Levi’s Stadium, scheduled to open in Santa Clara, Calif., in time for the 2014 season. (SAP is a stadium partner and owns naming right to the team’s practice facility). York said that fans can expect a “ticketless and cashless” experience during game-day, where they can create their own individual experience without leaving their seat; everything from ordering food and drinks to following a fantasy team to having their own sideline reporter.
This experience, McDermott said, is part of SAP’s strategy to “connect the league to the team to the fan in one integrated value chain,” as it rushes headlong from scrimmage into the sports and entertainment industry – the 25th industry it’s now a part of.
No different, really, from SAP’s recognition of the importance of a business’s customers, the “real person” that McDermott said is at the heart of every transaction with the SAP Business Suite and the SAP HANA platform that intends to make that customer’s everyday existence “smarter, faster, and simpler.”
No, customers need to invest in SAP HANA if they are serious about “raising the water line of your business,” said Steve Lucas.
And that, he said, is what SAP HANA will do.
Of course, aware that he was laser-focused on SAP HANA, Lucas regrouped after some opening comments and spoke briefly instead about big data, cloud computing and mobility - three megatrends that apply across all lines of business and drive use cases for investing in SAP’s in-memory technology.
He joked that he changed gears just a minute or two into his opening remarks “because I’ve already said HANA 17 times.”
But, Lucas reminded the more than 1,000 attendees, the evolution of the smartphone is akin to what SAP HANA does. Just like music players, phones, and cameras are all now ubiquitous on one device, SAP HANA blends existing technologies into something unique and innovative.
In explaining the rationale for creating SAP HANA, Lucas brought up an example of a manufacturer who needs to make snap decisions when a disaster causes production of a part to halt.
“This is why we created HANA,” he said. “So that when you’re on the phone with your supplier, before you hang up the phone you have answers to all of your questions. … We created SAP HANA for two reasons: To go faster, and to drive innovation.”
Lucas then sought to dispel what he sees as a major hurdle: customers who wonder about the “art of the possible.” In short, the answer to the question “What’s in it for my business?”
He said the “aha” moment for him came when he was speaking to the CIO of a utility company who told him that he doesn’t sit around thinking 24/7 about what SAP HANA can do. “Give me a menu,” he told Lucas. “Show me what it can do.”
“That really struck me,” said Lucas, “And in the last few weeks we’ve taken action (to remedy this). It’s time for HANA.”
Lucas then gave examples for the three main things that running SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA accomplishes. It is, he said, “absolutely smarter, it’s absolutely faster, and it’s simpler.”
There are, he detailed, more than 400 business optimizations currently enabled from running SAP HANA across all lines of business, and 23 industry-specific optimizations.
One optimization he pointed out was the ability for a business to combine all of its product data with all of its customer data in an instant and retrieve actionable business intelligence.
Among other benefits, SAP HANA, he said:
Allows a company to consistently and constantly model its business
Eliminates data duplication
Allows for intuitive multi-dimensional queries across a business
Gives a user a seamless dashboard with no filters or menus
Gives businesses a transactional, dimensional, analytic, predictive and text engine all on one platform
Lucas drove home that final point: running SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA is what a business needs to capitalize on breakthrough, transformative applications; with the understanding that the 400-plus that he mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg.
Later today, each line of business (CRM, SCM and Logistics, Manufacturing, and Procurement) will have their individual General Assemblies at the SAPinsider event. It's a safe bet that SAP HANA will be mentioned in all of them.
We’ll keep count on “SAP HANA” references and see if they match Lucas’s estimate from his own keynote. More later!
With Friday’s impending release of Windows 8, time will soon tell whether Microsoft hits a home run with its revamped operating system. Regardless of how Windows 8 is received, the timing of its release guarantees that it will factor prominently in what’s expected to be one of the top IT trends of 2013: mobile device battles.
Gartner released a list Tuesday of what its analysts expect to be the top 10 strategic technology trends of 2013, and to no one’s surprise the quest for mobile supremacy topped the list. Microsoft’s new release, of course, features a hybrid touchscreen interface designed with a nod toward mobility’s increasing influence.
Most of the strategic trends, mobility’s role in enterprise included, dovetail with SAP initiatives, such as cloud computing (SuccessFactors) and in-memory computing (HANA). To be included on Gartner’s list, the trending strategic technology – whether existing or emerging – must have the potential for significant impact on an enterprise in the next three years. Enterprises, of course, must decide which, if any, of these trends are worthy of their finite IT department resources. At least according to one recent survey, most are betting on mobility.
According to member-based advisory company CEB’s 2013 budget benchmarks, released earlier this month, CIO’s are expecting to invest heavily in mobile applications. In a survey of more than 180 companies representing $52 billion in IT organization spending, spending on mobile applications and making sure existing applications are ready for a mobile environment is expected to grow by 50 percent next year. Cloud spending is expected to rise by 7 percent (with the bulk of that devoted to SaaS spending, followed by IaaS). A separate report by consulting firm IDC, also from earlier this month, estimates that spending on cloud computing – which now accounts for roughly 1 percent of IT outlays – may triple in the next four years.
The IDC and the CEB reports both expect modest gains in IT budgets for 2013. CEB’s poll of CIOs reveals they expect a 1.8 percent increase in their budges (50 percent less than 2012 budget increases). The IDC report, which sampled IT spending from enterprises in 52 countries, expected IT spending to increase by 3.3 percent, with the majority of the net increase coming from emerging markets.
An interesting article in Information Week posted today takes a closer look at why IT department budgeting isn’t keeping pace with the changing roles and increasing demands placed on an enterprise’s IT organization, such as the growing expectation that IT should drive new business opportunities and revenue. One reason: “shadow” buying, where 75 percent of IT professionals surveyed say that technology budgets “unofficially” exist outside of IT. For more on “shadow” buying, SAP Press author Michael Doane describes the practice of “rebel, secret, under the table” budgeting in this Insider Learning Network podcast.
And what, pray tell, do those “unofficial” budgets spend their money on? You guessed it: mobility and cloud.
Several factors look to make 2013 a watershed year for the smartphone, but perhaps the biggest is their increased demand in emerging economies. According to a few recent reports that take a closer look at this growing smartphone demand, businesses that merge their mobility and globalization strategies to capitalize on the trend will likely not be lacking potential new customers.
Just how fast is smartphone demand accelerating globally? Market researcher IHS iSuppli predicts that smartphones will have eclipsed feature phones to account for the majority of global cellphone shipments by the end of next year – two years earlier than anticipated. (The forecast: smartphones will account for 54 percent of the total cellphone market next year, up from 46 percent in 2012 and 35 percent in 2011). The market share report cites a stronger than expected demand from emerging economies for lower-cost products as one of the factors driving that acceleration.
Results from the Accenture Mobile Web Watch survey, released Tuesday, suggest that demand for smartphones in emerging economies is driven by the desire for Internet access. A case in point is South Africa, where 57 percent of respondents reported that they intended to purchase a web-enabled phone in the ‘near future’ – 9 percent more than respondents across all 13 countries surveyed. (The survey polled consumers in 13 countries across Europe, Latin America and South Africa using a sample representative of Internet users across age, gender and incomes.)
Other research confirms that South African smartphone owners didn’t buy a device only so they could ditch their landline, but to access data online. A Mobility 2012 research study conducted by World Wide Worx reports that the average South African cellphone user’s spend on data increased 50 percent from the end of 2010 to the middle of this year, from 8 percent of total budget to 12 percent. Over the same time period, those same users cut spending on voice minutes from 77 percent to 73 percent.
“Spend on data is a barometer for the rapid increase both in the number of Internet users in South Africa and in the intensity with which experienced users engage with the Internet,” says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, which released its findings in late July.
Businesses in these emerging markets that recognize this increasing use of smartphones for data transfer and transactional activity can position themselves to make transformational changes. One company that recognized early how it could benefit from mobile growth was Standard Bank, which is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, and – with 15,000 employees and operating in 18 African countries – is the largest bank on the continent. Realizing they couldn’t bring brick and mortar banks to large swaths of the rural population in South Africa, Standard Bank harnessed the power of mobility to bring banking to the masses, so to speak.
As this insiderPROFILES story describes, a year ago Standard Bank deployed the SAP for Banking industry solution on the Sybase Unwired Platform to enable the origination of accounts on a mobile device in about eight minutes. The result is Standard Bank is originating more than 7,000 new accounts per day, and hopes to put a dent in the poverty level across Africa.
It’s a great example of how one company recognized a trend and capitalized on it for both their own benefit and that of their customer base.