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Café Innovation – 2012 New Year Resolution

The last few days have been somewhat revealing. I have tried to catch up with some reading and upon reflection on this year’s excitement around Enterprise Mobility and SAP HANA, I believe 2012 will be even more fascinating.

This year it was proven beyond a doubt that SAP HANA is no fluke nor is it vaporware. It has been deployed by customers and is working. This coming year the discussion will likely focus a lot on the numerous business needs that it will directly or indirectly satisfy – many more beyond the few use cases we have seen being addressed this year. In my blog, 2012 – What Businesses will want from SAP HANA on the Experience SAP HANA site, I have mentioned some business scenarios that would be well-served by a SAP HANA-like solution – especially, if an organization is looking to derive competitive advantage.

Here is an excerpt (in italics) from that post:

If a retailer must interact with customers through websites, physical stores, kiosks, direct mail, social media, mobile devices, gaming consoles, televisions, networked appliances, and more, then the amount of data that they will deal with is mind-boggling. In order to be effective with customers and potential customers, this interaction has to be based on very relevant data that places a high premium on being timely. In other words, we are looking at a very remarkable combination of (a) large volumes of data, and (b) the need to manipulate them rapidly – in real-time or almost real-time. This is the sort of business problem that will increasingly become the subject of discussion as business process models evolve. Enter: In-Memory computing and technologies that enable very fast databases eliminating the need to have layers of data stores and the sort. I expect there will be many discussions in 2012 around this type of a business use case across various industries and business processes.

Interestingly, in this same issue of the Harvard Business Review there is another discussion, “Know What Your Customers Want Before They Do” by Thomas H. Davenport, Leandro Dalle Mule, and John Lucker. It talks about the value from using “increasingly granular customer data” to “create highly customized offers to steer shoppers to the ‘right’ merchandise  –  at the right moment, at the right price and in the right channel.” Again, this is a matter of working with copious amounts of data in near-real-time (if not, literally, real-time) mode, and using appropriate analytics capabilities. Again, this is a business problem that calls for a solution not mired in older paradigms of information management.


In these examples, there is almost an inherent expectation that the analytical capability and/or the actions based on the processed information shall be made possible via mobile devices. For example, the ultimate in steering shoppers to the “right” merchandise is the ability to communicate with them in a timely manner via the smartphone in their hands or purses. While 2011 was the year for us to understand the need and impact of a robust mobility platform, 2012 will be the year of looking beyond that requirement to more tactical deployment roadmaps. One business need, in particular, is likely to draw quite a bit of attention; this is around the topic of information consumption and ensuing action – this is not a trivial endeavor. There are multiple moving parts between a piece of raw transactional data and the final customized offer that can show up on a smartphone or tablet for a consumer that will actually drive their behavior in the retail store! Fortunately, this is something that can now be addressed effectively!

So, picking up that gleaming new smartphone and calling on your SAP contact to discuss how to benefit from SAP HANA and Mobility solutions should be a 2012 New Year Resolution!

Happy New Year.

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