I have been attending the SAP TechEd in Bangalore since 2005 but this is the first time that I attended the one in US at Las  Vegas. I have tried to capture some key aspects, specially in terms of the SAP product roadmap as I understood from the keynotes, in this blog.
The event was from 21st to 25th October and was kicked off by Steve Lucas, Global Executive Vice President and General Manager, SAP Database & Technology, introducing the guest keynote speaker Nate Silver – the renowned statistician who had caught a lot of attention in US by forecasting quite accurately the 2008 US poll results.
Nate Silver’s brief but interesting speech mentioned how there is a high amount of noise to signal ratio in the huge amount of data which are collected. For a proper predictive analysis to work, few basic rules need to be kept in mind.
  1. Think from a probability perspective, including margin of error.
  2. Need to take into account the time dimension since things change over time
  3. Need to be aware of the bias or blind spot of the analysts themselves as these might affect the predictions
  4. Predictive analytics is a lot about trial and error –  it needs to be adjusted. Applying 80 – 20 rule is also a practical approach.
According to Nate, the industries we would see more applicability of predictive analytics would be in retail, in healthcare etc.

Dr. Vishal Sikka’s speech was really very interesting as he shared SAP’s vision of the product roadmap, the latest changes to the development platform e.g.
cloud based IDE or the business impacts of using HANA based analytics – how that has been a transformational force.
Vishal’s product roadmap was focused on 3 things and I noted from his Amsterdam keynote also covered these :
The Product portfolio evolution will include the following, primarily :
  1. On-premise or cloud-based business applications like ERP, CRM, etc
  2. Remove major functionality from the business application to the HANA platform which includes
    • The database services (column store, massive parallel processing, calculation function, analytical function)
    • The application services which are part of the same infrastructure,
    • The application libraries including the industry specific ones like E&U, UI libraries, statistical, middleware libraries, master data processes, text
      mining functions etc.
  3. Provide completely new user experiences on Fiori in a non-disruptive way on top of on-premise business applications as well as cloud based applications like SuccessFactor.
  4. Last but not the least, provide HANA cloud platform as the single extensibility environment (natively integrated HANA services on top of HANA platform including the HANA development platform) .
The vision is to unify the landscape, simplify the landscape and simplify/streamline operational aspects of the landscape. Vishal took the example of SAP’s own ERP system which is running on HANA for 3 months and has achieved enormous simplification (remove aggregates, redundancy).

Almost all the data in BW is transformed data from ERP. There are 40% common tables between ERP & CRM and a third of the load is for reconciliation between these 2 systems. A combined system landscape of ERP, CRM, BW – this can be 30 times simple. When all of these run on HANA Enterprise cloud or public cloud, it provides elasticity.
Franz Farber , Executive VP for HANA platform at SAP mentioned the key innovations in terms of HANA SP7 which will be available in November while Bernd Leukart, head of Application Innovation and a member of the Global Managing Board of SAP AG , described how SAP is providing a consolidation and system simplification landscape and also mentioned that SAP promises to deliver the Most comprehensive cloud offering in the industry. The vision is to run
all/part of HANA based application on cloud, seamlessly integrate with cloud based, on premise and third party systems.
Sam Yen, Global head of Design and User Experience, showed quite a few demoes on various aspects e.g. one on the web-based IDE, one was on a detailed business process related to shipments/loading etc which was across applications and a dashboard from the HANA studio showing the KPIs for DHL, one was on an Extension package for SuccessFactor to include a function for creating reward for employees on the HANA cloud platform. There was another Fiori based application to show a new interaction paradigm on top of HANA which can showcase not only transactional, planning applications but also the KPI dashboards for a MRP cockpit.
Vishal promised to show a project the SAP team is doing leveraging River and power of HANA in Bangalore TechEd . I am looking forward to seeing it.
I am also keen to see how the system simplifications, the seamless integrations between cloud based and on premise, SAP and nonSAP applications happen.
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