March 11, 2013 // By: Andreas Schmitz
Learning from Facebook and Amazon
SAP is embracing the strategies behind Facebook, Amazon, and eBay to revolutionize the B2B sector. At this year’s CeBIT, SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe spoke about the shared economy at SAP.
When asked what the population of Hanover was, the young man at the SAP booth at CeBIT 2013 took a guess at two million. Unfortunately, he was hopelessly wrong; only about 525,000 people live in the city. The presenter moved on without asking any more questions – after all, the focus was on the show and not really on business.
But if the presenter had simply asked how much energy an average household in Hanover consumes, he could have easily made the connection to one of SAP’s key topics – namely to SAP HANA software. According to Snabe, the software is “one of the most exciting innovations in our portfolio in the last 20 years.” And a project that illustrates the energy consumption of households not in Hanover but in New York City shows precisely why this is the case. The buildings in the city appear three-dimensionally on a screen. Households that consume a great amount of power appear in red, while others that run economically are shown in green. SAP HANA makes the smart energy project possible by processing huge volumes of data at great speed, aggregating it, and displaying it so it looks both appealing and straightforward.
Many dreams and one SAP HANA
Another showcase on display at CeBIT is the “Database of Dreams” beta project, which is now underway, gathering people’s dreams via Twitter, Facebook, and the Database of Dreams network. Dreams will be collected from all over the world for a year. Later, a jury will select some of those dreams and may even make them come true. On the Web site, users can find out in which country people are more career-oriented, where the focus is on family life, and where people prefer to share their dreams via Twitter or Facebook.
Next page: 25% more mobile customers
Mobile, cloud computing, and in-memory technology were SAP’s three megatrends at this year’s CeBIT, with SAP HANA very much taking center stage. This is because it will “enable us to get rid of the slowest part of the computer, that is, the disk,” according to Snabe. He continued, “Disks made devices unnecessarily complicated and too slow to give business people information fast enough.” Computers are now 10,000 times faster than they used to be. This can be seen in examples like the analysis of the human genome, or in the transport processes at the bottled water company, NongFu Springs. It cut its transport costs by 30% after implementing SAP HANA. The announcement that SAP is slated to work with the German Football Association (DFB) coincides nicely. In the future, it will be possible for the DFB to analyze unstructured data from social media channels, enabling it to take a more targeted approach to marketing activities and also better understand the wishes of soccer fans. This will all be achieved thanks to SAP CRM powered by SAP HANA.
At the beginning of the year, SAP unveiled SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA, a milestone in ERP. The solution carries out both analyses and transactions in memory and is primarily with the goal of ringing in “a new era of simplicity,” as Snabe put it.
25% more mobile customers
As one of SAP’s three mega trends at CeBIT, mobile will become the new “front end for business.” After all, in 2012, the company’s sales in the mobile sector exceeded €200 million, and it had 6,000 mobile customers, up 2,000 on the previous year. Not only are business users destined to benefit, but also things – technical devices – will become equipped with greater mobile intelligence. The example at CeBIT was the BMW M6, which is more than just a snazzy means of transportation: it also serves as a “credit card on wheels, a point-of-interaction with the user, even with the option of ordering spare parts and organizing repairs using mobile applications” explained Snabe.
Next page: Jim Hagemann Snabe’s vision
Now let’s turn to SAP’s third and last CeBIT mega trend: cloud computing. Snabe confirmed that SAP has 20 million cloud users and, with annual sales of more than a billion U.S. dollars, triple-digit growth rates across all lines of products. He went on to explain that what makes SAP special is not only the trust that customers have in the brand, but also – and especially – the out-of-the-box integration between the existing on-premise applications and the enhancements for the cloud.
Jim Hagemann Snabe’s vision
But all the customers’ confidence and SAP’s ideas and promises are worthless if these three areas don’t work in harmony. And this is where Jim Hagemann Snabe identifies his vision of the shared economy, which will keep SAP busy for the next few years. He said: “What Facebook, Amazon, and eBay have achieved in the B2C sector, we are now endeavoring to realize in the business world by bringing together SAP applications, the Ariba Network, mobile, and in-memory technology using the cloud infrastructure to do all this.”