As CIO for SAP Americas, Michael Golz travels extensively throughout the Western Hemisphere. He recently returned from trips to Latin America, where he presented as part of the SAP Forums, whose theme was “The Future of Business.” Bill Kozel spoke with Michael about his impressions and observations.
Bill: Michael, how were your trips?
Michael: Fantastic. I had the pleasure of presenting at the events in São Paulo, Brazil, and Mexico City. These are key markets for SAP, and I was really blown away by the attendance, the scale, and the energy. The programs were SAPPHIRE-like events, with 6,000 to 8,000 people, a large show floor, and big theater presentations.
Bill: What were the key topics?
Michael: There was a very strong focus on SAP HANA – both for SAP Business Suite on HANA and as a platform. In Mexico City, Bill McDermott launched SAP Business Suite for SAP HANA in Latin America, and that generated a lot of excitement. SAP is the only company offering anything like this, and it’s a game-changer for enterprise software.
Bill: How did the audience respond?
Michael: Our message resonated very well. People understand that running SAP Business Suite in memory is really unique, because it takes away critical boundaries and restrictions that have made IT solutions, especially high-speed transactional and analytics applications, complex.
Bill: What did you tell them about SAP’s experience in running SAP CRM on SAP HANA?
Michael: We showed how we run our internal SAP CRM system on SAP HANA for more than 14,000 registered users, and support up to 10,000 concurrent users. These people represent all lines of business, from marketing to sales and support to finance to field services – all running on and sharing the same system, and all working with the same customer data.
As a result, SAP’s team gets a 360o view of every customer, from the first lead throughout the entire buying process to ongoing support. With CRM on SAP HANA, all transactions are processed on the same platform as our CRM Analytics. This means that all data is available in real-time, without the need to pre-configure cubes, drill-downs, and accelerations – it is all available in memory in an instant for whatever analysis you would like to run. That’s something that a lot of companies would really love to have. And we can show them how it runs in real life. We have very good proof points on processes that were never possible before.
We also showed that with SAP HANA, infrastructure and applications are moving closer together and becoming interwoven. So from an organizational perspective, there’s less of a divide.
Bill: What kind of questions did you get?
Michael: People asked a lot of very detailed and insightful questions about SAP CRM on SAP HANA, especially related to disaster recovery, failover scenarios.
They also asked whether we’re really running SAP HANA as a database – which we are. Some people still think of the traditional “sidecar” scenario. So when we tell them that their ordinary database will go away, they’re surprised and think about the implications for the system landscape and their teams. But when we explain that all their well-established SAP mechanisms and practices – including backup and restore – will still work the same way, they become more comfortable. They need to see a live, credible reference, and SAP is one.
The most exciting discussions with customers in both Brazil and Mexico were about business scenarios in different industries, from Financial Services to Engineering and Mining. We talked about the possibilities that SAP HANA brings and how they can apply to new business scenarios in their industry.
Bill: Was this a sneak preview of your presentations at SAPPHIRE NOW 2013?
Michael: Absolutely. Attendees can expect to hear a lot more about how we’re using SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA. And judging from my trip, that’s what everyone is most excited about.
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