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How China’s Big Data and Mobile Innovation Powers a Global Business Engine

Every time you visit countries like China and India you get a fresh appreciation of what Tom Friedman meant when he said The World is Flat, and why it’s so true!  I recently had the privilege of visiting one of my favorite fast growth regions – China – as a keynote speaker at the big mobile event, GMIC (Global Mobile Internet Conference) that runs in two locations: Silicon Valley and Beijing.  While the one in the Silicon Valley is closer to home and familiar to many of you, the one in Beijing is even bigger, and an eye opener for me.  One of the most influential industry conferences in Asia, GMIC is where entrepreneurs, developers, investors and executives from around the globe meet to better understand mobile technology trends and build the business of the future.  Over 10,000 people were registered for the conference and probably another 100,000 were watching the webcasts to learn about the most relevant technology topics today: mobility and the world of big data.  What I find particularly interesting is when those two mega trends converge. 

/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/china_223243.jpgOver the course of the last 30 years, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions were used to automate the “resources” of the industrial economy giving rise to software giants like SAP.  Over the next decade, the focus will be on managing the “resources” of the information economy which include big data, called the “new oil” by some, and the capability to analyze it for predictive purposes with specialized analytics solutions.  These resources and their management tools will be delivered on mobile devices and consumed as social experiences, most often in cloud computing environments.  In the big data day and age, memory is the new disk, and flash is the new tape.  In analytics, real-time is the new right-time, predictive is the new report format.

New innovations in the hardware and software economy make this an exciting time for all economies across the world, but especially in fast growth regions with large populations born into a mobile world. For example, a global survey of IT decision makers recently revealed that China is one of the four countries most ready to leverage Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology to transform business and society. Reading such survey results is one thing; seeing how companies in China are actually doing it is something else. According to the survey, more than anywhere else in the world, senior level IT decision makers in China strongly support the use of M2M technology. Not only that, but China occupies a unique position when it comes to BYOD because the majority of Chinese businesses have already embraced this key trend.

I received first hand validation of how technology is transforming many parts of the Chinese economy in meetings with our customers.  One such customer was the CIO of one of China’s leading ICT solution providers.  This company’s products and solutions are deployed in over 140 countries, serving one third of the world’s population, about 2.3 billion people.  Their vision is to enrich life and improve efficiency for all those people by providing ubiquitous broadband for consumers, cloud based data storage for customers and BYOD solutions for employees.  With an ambitious agenda like that, this company needs a fail safe mobility portfolio especially in the security and app protection area.  They’re looking to us to provide that security and help them develop a BYOD strategy that aligns to their vision of bridging the digital divide with green solutions.  Together we can enable people to reduce power consumption, carbon emissions and costs which can add up to a lot when you’re looking at the number of people touched by this organization!  This kind of visionary approach to BYOD, for example, is what puts China in a position of global leadership as far as establishing innovative IT practices as standard operating procedure.

Speaking of power consumption and carbon emissions, our message about Big Data also resonates well with customers in China especially in industries struggling to get better insight into massive data volumes.  Our solutions are helping them span bridges from the industrial economy to the information economy.  A good example is one of China’s key utilities companies.  Their goal is to help build a ‘moderately prosperous society’ in China following a three-color corporate mission: red to serve society, green to serve technology and environment, and blue for innovation and international presence.  SAP Suite on HANA, for example, can help them better understand energy consumption patterns to drive greater energy efficiency.

I’m excited about the fast pace of technology innovation in countries like China from the business perspective, but I’m even more impressed when I think about the impact on society.  More than any generation before them, young people today can apply technology to help make the world better than before.  So if you are a millennial living in North America or Europe, probably the best thing you can do is spend 5 years of your life living in one of the fast growing economies, like China, India or Brazil – it will be a life-changing experience!

Sanjay Poonen is President and Corporate Officer, Technology Solutions and Mobile Division at SAP, and can be reached @spoonen on Twitter.

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      Author's profile photo Derek Klobucher
      Derek Klobucher

      Your attendance at GMIC seems to have been time very well spent, Sanjay! What do you think it is about Chinese, Indian and Brazilian societies that makes them so receptive to the types of innovation you discuss here?