This year’s SAP World Tour at Twickenham was timed to coincide with SAPPHIRE in the US and presentations were given by Tim Noble the UK MD and
also Bill McDermott, Jim Hagemann-Snabe and Vishal Sika in the US.

A number of big themes were outlined but the one that was dominant throughout was “data explosion” or “big data”.  A number of events were outlined as drivers for the rise of big data.

One driver highlighted is social networking and interaction, not just in the private lives of individuals but increasingly in enterprises too.  The picture was of everything and everyone becoming “ultra-networked”, and of the drive to capture and understand relationships.  There was a focus on the rise of people-centric applications to manage the relatively unstructured processes around people interaction.

A second driver cited is “global everything”, not just global sourcing and distribution by organisations but also consumers enabled by the internet to buy from anyone, anywhere in the world.

We at Red Olive are seeing these translated into a drive to use all the data collected to predict outcomes and needs, ever closer to real-time: real-time predictive analysis.  For example, “single view of customer” or “360 degree view of customer” encapsulates the desire to have visible an individual, all the relationships they have both in and outside work, their full transactional history and their current state of mind in a single view.  The point is to understand what they are likely to need and when, to enable the right person to approach them at the right time with the right offer to make a successful sale.  Red Olive have applied this thinking with a major telecoms and media company.

SAP outlined their response to the challenge of big data: moving to in-memory solutions using “HANA” (High performance ANalytical Applications).  There were recorded testimonials about HANA from companies including Colgate Palmolive, Caterpillar and P&G, and specific examples included:

  • Bosch using HANA to optimise customer profitability real-time globally, at product level, based on 1,500 terabytes of data.
  • Nomura Research using HANA for real-time traffic analysis across the whole of Japan, based on 360 million data points.

We can see great value in HANA for modelling strategic business decisions based on full detail.  At the moment the final step in the chain, the ability to automatically identify which parts of that data are the most relevant for your particular business problem, doesn’t seem to be covered in the SAP Business Objects stack.  That’s where we see specialist products like the one from KXEN adding value.  I’ll cover that in a separate posting.