With the economy still foundering it was nice to see the ballroom at the Hilton Chicago filled with over 1,300 attendees for the Chicago stop of the SAP World Tour. Bob Corteau, President of SAP North America, kicked off his keynote address covering the 3 key trends SAP currently views as dominating the market place: Big Data The Cloud Mobility & Social Media
This mirrored the discussion at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference in May 2011 (see Perspective: SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 – Adventures in Success in Manufacturing (IDC Manufacturing Insights, #MI229042, June 2011)).
Bob connected these topics with his own life, and the fact that his tablet is the cornerstone to staying connected, personally. He uses it to check flight delays, stay in touch with his family, watch his stock ticker, stay up on current events, and check email. He asked: why is it so easy to stay connected and collaborate with friends and family in one's personal life, and not as easy when it comes to connecting and receiving business-related information?
It's a fair question. The data is there, but the information, in context, is not always easily accessible. SAP is working to reconcile this through the 3 trends mentioned above. Regarding big data, SAP unveiled HANA in 2010 and there was a lot of discussion in this recent tour making sure customers understood what the appliance is, how to work with it, and its abilities to help customers with long-term planning, reporting, and analytics.
SAP's acquisition of Sybase in 2010 supports its mobility offerings for customers, and this was demonstrated further at the World Tour with the announcement of over 20 new mobile applications to be released for sales, HR, and supply chain business processes. Bob Corteau also shared an interesting factoid with the audience – there are 6 billion mobile devices in the world, and only 2 billion toothbrushes – ponder that.
The topic of the cloud seemed to take on 2 roles. It's here to stay and customers are using it. It's here to stay and IT doesn't seem to be aware customers are using it. As noted in Business Strategy: Cloud Computing in Manufacutring (IDC Manufacturing Insights, #MI228939, June 2011) 44.3% of manufacturers are either implementing or evaluating cloud options with over 20% already using the cloud. SAP had an entire track devoted to the cloud, how its line of business solutions work in the cloud, and how to integrate with HANA and mobile solutions in the cloud as well. The cloud is here to stay for SAP.
Growth & Innovation
It used to be that mobility, big data, and the cloud might not be topics grouped together in a single blog, never mind sentence; but the growth and innovation in technology that has made the world seem smaller and the supply chain more complex, has also brought seemingly disparate concepts closer together.
In today's world these trends are becoming complements of one another, as well as necessities, to run a successful business. Although SAP is not the only vendor to help you manage big data or bring line of business applications to your mobile device, it understands the trends and is moving in the right direction. Companies on the leading edge know that the right information, at the right time, to the right people, will give you an edge in an increasingly competitive market. The combination of data in context, available via the cloud, and sent to any device sounds like a fantasy manufacturing world, but in fact is becoming reality. Is it for you? We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback at the IDC Manufacturing Insights blog.