More than half of the companies on the Fortune 500 list 15 years ago no longer exist, SAP’s Steve Lucas noted Monday night during his keynote address at SAP TechEd 2015 (#SAPtd) in Las Vegas. No matter what their industry, these powerhouses failed to beat often younger, more nimble competition.

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“Babies can be dangerous,” SAP’s Steve Lucas said during his Monday night keynote address at SAP TechEd 2015 in Las Vegas.

“Babies can be dangerous,” said Lucas, president of SAP’s platform and analytics group, noting that Uber doesn’t own any cars; Facebook doesn’t own any content; and Airbnb doesn’t own any hotels. “These are dangerous babies.”

The average age of companies in 1920 was 67 years old, Lucas stated. Now the average age is 15 years old (Remember the Fortune 500 companies?) — and it will be 13 by 2017.

“Every economy in the world is going digital,” Lucas said. “If you want to participate in your respective digital economy, whatever digital economy that might be — agriculture or finance or manufacturing — you must become a digital enterprise.”

The SAP You Should Know

There’s the SAP you knew, which included the Business Suite, Lucas stated. Then there’s the SAP you should know, which includes analytics and the cognitive business applications of S/4HANA. It now includes SAP HANA Vora, which bridges big data and transactional data.

“Vora … lets the business user explore big data in a hierarchical fashion, and do things like connect the seemingly inconsequential,” Lucas said. “So I can go from a strange ledger entry all the way into a big data construct through a business-friendly hierarchy using a tool like Lumira, and discover that information.”

Vora can also work without HANA, integrating with datalinks such has Hadoop, where many organizations store their information, as well as Apache Spark frameworks.

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“To be relevant, you have to be digital,” Amazon’s Martyn Mallick said.

“This is the first step to becoming a digital enterprise,” Lucas said. “This is the SAP you need to get to know.”

The Digital Imperative

“To be relevant, you have to be digital,” Amazon’s Martyn Mallick said, after joining Lucas onstage. “That’s the way we’ve built this business, the way we’ve interacted with our customers for some time.”

Mallick, Lucas SAP’s Austin Swope demonstrated how the voice command device Amazon Alexa can partner with SAP Cloud for Customer and Concur to streamline a forecast call, drilling down into problem areas — and even booking flights to send someone to solve the problem — without the touch of a button or screen.

“As you go digital, your organization will be smarter,” Lucas said as he closed the keynote. “It will become a thinking machine that will allow you to transcend, not just the company that you are, but the industry that you’re in.

“Let’s go digital together.”

Click here to see a replay of Lucas’ keynote address. And follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

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