Red recently attended the iRise Executive Roundtable in Monaco. With speakers from Facebook, American Express and SAP addressing a group of 40 global CIOs, there was plenty of insight and food for thought. I therefore wanted to share with you some of the key themes that I picked up, and balance that with how I see SAP helping organizations overcome these challenges.
Firstly, one of the greatest challenges for organisations is the ability to provide accessibility, security and flexibility whilst managing huge amounts of customer data. Today, enabling customers to analyse large quantities of data from virtually any source, in real time, is a pre-requisite. To stay competitive in an ever increasing globalised world, real-time enterprise information is fundamental in order to stay relevant and provide value to customers.
Secondly, with the consumerisation of IT, design of user interfaces and accessibility of legacy systems, a new and exciting challenge lays ahead for companies of all sizes. However, the control of private data is a key concern with businesses wanting an easier way to manage data just as consumers do with eBay or Amazon.
This leads me onto the next challenge. With an increasing focus on SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management), the key is how quickly one can access data. Speed and agility within an organisation is of paramount importance as is the ease in which businesses get customers to buy from them. Organisations are using social networking to identify demand – it is therefore important to use this market insight to ensure products meet this demand. In the consumer space human behaviour means that you can no longer foresee what will happen. Businesses have to stop thinking for people and start shadowing. Security, accessibility and trust are key.
And finally, after listening to SAP speak, it is clear that they are serious about empowering their partners to provide more of the service and distribution piece. With SAP increasingly focusing on small to mid size businesses, this presents even more opportunities for its partners. The days of very large scale projects are diminishing and partners have more opportunities as SAP moves into new categories and expands its footprint in the small to mid size enterprise space. It appears that SAP’s intention is to focus increasingly on developing and marketing software solutions rather than just being a software consulting and implementation house.
So how are SAP addressing these challenges?
Firstly, SAP has delivered the “real” real-time enterprise through it’s advanced in-memory technology called HANA. The SAP HANA platform helps companies churn through huge volumes of data in real time, enabling new levels of business insight. It analyses current point-of-sale data in real time, empowering organisations to review segmentation, merchandising, inventory management and forecasting information at the speed of thought. SAP’s ambition is to become the fastest growing global database company with SAP partners providing advisory, implementation and enablement services.
Secondly, SAP’s aggressive investments to continuously expand its service footprint with ground breaking in-house developments such as HANA and via acquisitions such as Sybase, Success factors or Ariiba present new opportunities to the leading ITC Ecosytem in the industry.
SAP ‘s move into In-Memory Computing, Mobility and the Cloud will help facilitate current shifts within the enterprise space. SAP’s focus is now not just on the enterprise but on the users and consumers.
And finally, SAP’s medium term ambition is to focus on the ecosystem and channel contribution. SAP is moving away from “businesses running SAP” to “SAP enabling business to innovate”. Through acquisitions and new innovations SAP is opening new opportunities for partners to generate more business than ever. With SAP being the leading player in existing and new enterprise business software categories, partners will get additional momentum and business opportunities going forward.
What are your thoughts? Do these challenges ring true for you? Is SAP getting it right?