In a recent Information Week article, SAP shared the benefits that sports apparel manufacturer Under Armour is gaining from real-time and right time responsiveness. As an example, Co-CEO Jim Snabe highlighted the fact that "it could turn on dime when one team or another wins a playoff game or one player or another wearing particular shoes or branded clothing makes a big play. These sorts of [triggers] drive demand the week after the game, not the month after, so you need constant planning to react quickly enough."

 

If you rely solely on internal shipment and delivery information, and ignore what’s happening on your Retailer’s selves, you could be vulnerable to higher inventory costs, lost sales opportunities, and failed product launches.

 

Today, customer demand is constantly shifting and retailers expect their suppliers to respond quickly top new buying patterns.  Manufacturers need to be able to sense and respond to consumer buying patterns as they occur in the market, but latency and lack of granularity in demand information as it gets transmitted through the various layers of the supply chain make it difficult.  This requires a demand management solution that can:

 

  • Quickly access, aggregate, and analyze all demand data
  • Cleanse, harmonize, and enrich demand and market data
  • Get a holistic view of your marketing in real-time
  • Make sales and marketing teams more responsive to demand

 

If you’re looking for a solution that fits those requirements, SAP Demand Signal Management solution, powered by SAP HANA fits the bill.  Not only can this solution analyze internal and external data instantly, at any level of granularity, but it can present role-based reports and analytics to help managers answer complex questions across your entire enterprise to drive efficiency and effectiveness.  Attend the HANA Use Cases for Manufacturers Workshop at the SAP Manufacturing Industry Customer Value Network Forum in Chicago June 26-26 to learn more about this solution and:

 

  • Get an overview of the capabilities of SAP HANA
  • Hear how industry leading manufacturing companies are leveraging SAP HANA to optimize their manufacturing & planning processes, accelerate their supply chain, warranty management and predictive equipment maintenance
  • Learn how to identify your SAP HANA use case & build the IT/business justification and roadmap

 

The forum is complimentary, but space is limited, so please register today at: http://spr.ly/IMCCVN.

In June 2011, IDC released an Insight report predicting “SAP is poised to become a DBMS powerhouse.” It’s just two years after our merger with Sybase, and we’re seeing that prediction come true. I’d like to recap some of the highlights of that report and update you on what we’ve accomplished since then. Also, in this 4-minute video you can hear directly from our customer, the Colgate-Palmolive Company, how SAP HANA is "taking it to the next level."

 

Colgate Uses SAP HANA to Manage Sales Profitability and Analysis Reporting

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In this video, Tom Green, CIO of Colgate-Palmolive Company, talks about how Colgate-Palmolive is using the SAP HANA platform to manage sales profitability and analysis reporting. “The challenge for me is to be able to provide the business with the information they need, when they need it,” says Green.

 

With SAP HANA, salespeople can now run reports 100 to 300 times faster than ever before. SAP HANA simplifies the Colgate-Palmolive IT environment, providing consistency and greater accuracy in reporting when compared to spreadsheets. With instantaneous access to data, SAP HANA opens up the opportunity to analyze data that business leaders would not have considered before.

 

According to Green, “SAP HANA has delivered on the promise. It’s fast, and it’s going to help us really take it to the next level.”

 

It Takes Two: How the SAP and Sybase Merger Is Shaking Up the DBMS Market

Here are three examples of how our expanded portfolio of solutions continues to provide tremendous benefits for our customers by empowering them to conduct business in real time. 

 

 

1. System-wide optimization: The pairing of Sybase database technology with SAP transactional and analytic applications enables improved data connectivity as well as streamlined cross-database data management. So companies that have integrated both SAP and Sybase across their enterprise can take advantage of real-time business performance with systems that bring them integration of all data management assets, optimal performance between systems, and the ability to synthesize huge volumes of data into actionable information.

 

 

2. Mobile agility: SAP Sybase mobile technology allows companies to extend SAP business data management and analysis to the edge of the enterprise. This was an important offering that we were unable to provide prior to our merger, and it’s enabled us to close the loop on our real-time data management offering.

 

Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2014, there will be a 90% mobile penetration rate and 6.5 billion mobile connections. This new generation of users demands immediate access to enterprise applications from any location, at any time. We can now offer users a mobile platform that can support SAP applications and enable partners and customers to develop complementary applications to help them run their businesses better.

 

 

3. Comprehensive offering: IDC predicted that we would focus on expanding our offering of products that are integrated with the SAP HANA platform, and that has happened. Our business analytics solutions bring together a full complement of applications for business intelligence; enterprise information management; enterprise performance management; governance, risk, and compliance; and data warehousing and analytics. This breadth of solutions easily meets the needs of the entire range of decision makers and influencers involved in a software stack sale.

 

Two years after the SAP and Sybase merger, we’re well on our way to becoming the “DBMS powerhouse” that IDC predicted. Today we’re providing organizations with the powerful infrastructure they need to take full advantage of their data and respond in real time to their most pressing challenges and opportunities.

 

 

Like the Colgate-Palmolive Company, how is your company looking to "take it to the next level" with big data?

In the past few years, no other topic has been more urgent for IT leadership than data management. The onslaught of data rushing into companies from all directions – and the demand to understand it instantly – has made data management one of the top concerns for IT management at all levels of the organization. As Bill McDermott stated recently in a global affairs journal op-ed piece, "Big Data is literally the main ingredient … to do more with less.”

 

However, the limitations of IT budgets are often a more pressing concern. To get a more detailed picture of what IT managers are up against, IDG Research Services conducted a survey of 100 senior-level and 100 midlevel IT managers who represent a variety of business and government / nonprofit sectors and sizes.

 

First, the survey asked them to prioritize their top concerns for the coming 12 months. Here were their three top responses:

  • 56%     Managing costs and efficiencies across a complex infrastructure
  • 46%     Enabling better access and analysis of real-time data (both operational and aggregate data) 
  • 41%     Improving support for the remote / mobile workforce

 

The survey also asked about the biggest challenges IT managers were facing. Here were their top three responses:

  • 54%    Managing cost and budget constraints
  • 45%    Supporting the increase in data volumes
  • 33%    Integrating and managing siloed data and applications

 

Given the world economy’s ongoing problems, it’s not surprising that respondents named managing costs and budgets among both their top objectives and challenges. As IT leadership looks to solve the challenges of providing better access to real-time data, it’s important to remember that there’s more to total cost of ownership (TCO) than cost. Here's an example from one of the world's largest consumer products companies, Procter & Gamble.

 

How SAP HANA Is Changing the Game at P&G

 

P&G has operations in approximately 80 countries and sales in more than 180 countries. The sheer volume of data generated by these offices often meant that running reports could take days.

 

In this brief video, Jim Fortner, VP of IT Development and Operations at P&G, talks about how the SAP HANA platform gives P&G the potential to completely rethink the architecture of its transactional systems and their surrounding analytical engines. P&G has already begun applying SAP HANA to its financial management processes to enable real-time reporting. Reports that used to take several days are now available in seconds, generating greater depth and variety in what business leaders are able to analyze. Watch the 2-minute video:

 

 

TCO Helps Tip the Scale

 

For senior IT managers struggling to balance infrastructure costs with the demand for greater access to real-time data and analysis, it’s clear that TCO helps tip the scale. Doing business in real time will reinvent the capabilities and responsiveness of virtually every area of the company.

 

Real-time business means being able to gather and act on business intelligence, develop promotional and marketing tactics, control and adjust production processes, manage inventory, identify and manage business risks, close and fulfill sales, and meet customer needs – faster and more accurately than ever before. In other words, real-time business enables companies to do more with less, at speeds never before
possible.

  

To read the full report of the IDG survey, download Data Management Wish List: IT is Open to Big Changes.

As consumers, we’ve gotten used to getting what we need, when we need it. Stores are open seven days a week, sometimes 24 hours a day. The Internet answers our most urgent – and most trivial – questions immediately. News arrives instantly via Twitter, sometimes hours before professional news crews arrive to cover it. We talk face-to-face with distant family and friends with video chats.

 

The need for “instant information” is even more important in business. E-mails and texts follow us on our smartphones and tablets 24 hours a day, bringing round-the-clock demands and opportunities. The stakes are incredibly high, and “real-time business” – processes that allow companies to conduct a range of business activities instantaneously – is becoming the new norm.

 

How the Cisco / SAP Partnership  Gives

Decision Makers the High-Value Information They Need

In this interview, Padmasree Warrior, SVP of Engineering and CTO of Cisco talks about how Cisco uses SAP HANA and the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio to enhance its “explore and act” capabilities. In-memory computing lets Cisco analyze vast amounts of information at blazing speeds with no impact on transactional performance.

 

SVP and CIO Rebecca Jacoby says that Cisco is using the SAP HANA platform to serve more than 4,000 sales managers in locations around the world, providing self-service reporting and critical field access to data in seconds. SAP HANA enables the company to transform 700 million rows of data into valuable information that helps them make better decisions.

 

 

“Real-time” incorporates all aspects of business, including gathering and acting on business intelligence, developing promotional and marketing tactics, controlling and adjusting production processes, managing inventory, identifying and managing business risks, closing and fulfilling sales, and meeting customer needs.

 

It’s a new way of working that requires in-memory computing and a fully integrated software platform. Rather than storing information on various external disks and caching bits of data in a computer’s random access memory (RAM), real-time intelligence puts the data directly into RAM. This is the simple but transformative concept behind the SAP HANA platform.

 

Why Companies Are Moving to Real Time

 

To learn more about how companies are moving to real-time business, Oxford Economics conducted a global survey, sponsored by SAP, of 525 C-suite executives in the consumer products, high tech, oil and gas, and retail industries. It also conducted more in-depth personal interviews with senior executives in those industries. You can take a look at the full report, titled “Real-Time Business: Playing to Win in the New Global Marketplace.”

 

The survey found that “early implementers” – firms that have already adopted real-time business methods – have seen the benefits and are using real-time business methods across the enterprise. Roughly 95% of those respondents have some form of real-time business applications in place across all departments

 

The Benefits for Early Adopters

 

Naturally, obtaining a strategic benefit is a key driver for implementing real-time operations. Among early adopters, the survey found that growth in market share (77%) is the most frequently cited driver for adoption. This result is followed by building service and / or quality advantages (71%), expanding addressable markets (68%), and building cost advantages (67%).

 

SAP HANA is rapidly changing the way businesses work and raising the expectations for delivering better decisions and time to market. At GE Energy, work is under way to embed real-time sensing software and controls into equipment to run its plants. “There is a huge wave of activity that is taking place now around data collection,” says Dr. Peter Evans, head of strategy for GE Energy. “We are putting in place the frameworks for better decision making about how to run these plants at higher performance.” GE is also sharing the real-time data it collects from its fleet of over 1,000 gas turbines with clients so they can benchmark performance. “We collect and analyze the data, and turn it into a better solutions,” he says.

 

Real-Time Data Put to the Test What It Means for Real-Time Business

 

You’ve heard a lot about the SAP HANA platform and its incredible speed, and there’s been some discussion about how fast it actually performs. To settle the debate, we recently conducted a one-petabyte performance test that took place at Intel’s colocation facility in Santa Clara, California.

 

We installed 100 IBM servers in a single SAP HANA cluster, and loaded 10 years’ worth of sales and distribution data, at an average of 328 million transactions per day. That worked out to 1.2 trillion records – a petabyte of raw, uncompressed data. The result: incredibly fast response times of 0.43 to 0.50 seconds for ad hoc sales and distribution queries, and 1.2 to 3.1 seconds for more complex year-over-year trending data over different time periods.¹

 

In other words, “now” is the new opportunity for business – seeing a clear view of what’s happening with customers, products, manufacturing, marketing, and everything else they want to monitor, with greater understanding than ever before.

 

Putting Real Time to Work

 

So how are businesses taking advantage of real-time business capabilities? To find out, Oxford Economics conducted a global survey (sponsored by SAP), of 525 C-suite level executives in the consumer products, high tech, oil and gas, and retail industries. IT also conducted more in-depth personal interviews with senior executives in those industries.

 

One of those executives, Sunil Verma, CIO and SVP of U.S.-based clothing retailer The Children’s Place, found that real-time business is causing a major transformation. “We have a new mandate to elevate what we do both in terms of product and how we service the customer,” he says. Real-time operations are helping The Children’s Place deliver more personalized offers to customers.

 

“Having access to immediate customer data is a huge opportunity,” he says. In the past it took 30 days to know if a customer had made a purchase online or in a store. “Because a customer’s status couldn’t be updated immediately,” he explains, “they may have received suboptimal offers or incentives.”

 

Simple changes in real-time operations are driving big benefits in terms of revenue. In fact, companies that have implemented real-time systems are seeing revenue gains of 21% and cost reductions of 19%. Among early adopters, 77% report revenue gains.

 

Looking Ahead

 

Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2014, 30% of business analytics tools will use in-memory functions to add scale and computational speed – and 30% of business intelligence applications will use predictive forecasting. Can your business really afford to fall behind?


To see how other companies are implementing real-time business with in-memory analytics and a fully integrated software platform, download the Oxford Economics white paper titled “Real-Time Business: Playing to Win in the New Global Marketplace.”



¹This test was done in Santa Clara on 100 nodes of IBM x5 servers, each with 1TB DRAM, 40 cores. In a petascale performance test of SAP HANA in-memory cluster 1 PB of raw data was loaded onto 95 active nodes, five were used as standby nodes for failover.

At the turn of the year, the NY Times published an interesting opinion piece - "Can Social Media Sell Soap?" The NY Times points out that "social networks, like them or not, are fast laying out a new grid of personal connections." These connections change the ways businesses interact with us and beg the question, what drives a business to innovate? Social and mobile interactions with consumers, the need for analytics to gain competitive advantage, immediate access to business data, and the list goes on.

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According to Gartner, it is a confluence of forces. In this report, Gartner looked at SAP in the context of four interdependent trends – social interaction, mobility, cloud, and information – what they call the “Nexus of Forces” that is empowering individuals and creating a user-driven ecosystem of modern computing. Gartner states, “Although these forces are innovative and disruptive on their own, together they are revolutionizing business and society, disrupting old business models and creating new leaders.”

 

In the context of its Nexus of Forces, Gartner believes that SAP is uniquely aligned with this model, with a business strategy built around applications, database and technology, mobility, cloud, and analytics. Not surprisingly, the SAP HANA platform was the focus of much of the report, with Gartner noting that it’s “a disruptive, innovative change for the IT industry.” The in-memory processing of SAP HANA is completely transforming the way businesses manage data, with a platform that’s integrated and optimized across the full spectrum of data management needs.

 

Gartner also states that SAP HANA “will enable SAP to compete with thought-leading architectures and new high-business-value applications, such as SAP Customer Segmentation Accelerator and SAP Predictive Analysis. Although this vision is in the early stages of market acceptance, other vendors are validating the strategy with market hype and product releases to compete with [SAP] HANA.”

 

As our HANA customers share their experiences, we are seeing the Nexus of Forces at work in the marketplace.

 

Germany-based chemical company BASF was familiar with the benefits of in-memory computing; in fact, it had been an early adopter of SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse Accelerator, a predecessor to the SAP HANA platform. So when SAP HANA was introduced, Andrew Pike, CIO of Information Services, BASF Group, found its benefits “extremely compelling.” Eager to perform a cost analysis, BASF sent the entire database of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to SAP. The results showed that response time improved by a factor of approximately 120 – from about 620 seconds to five seconds in one case. Pike was convinced.

 

To hear directly from this customer, watch BASF’s Andrew Pike on why “SAP HANA is Definitely a Generational Change”

 

In 2013, we’ll write more about Gartner’s analysis of our new market position, recommendations for IT leaders, and why Gartner believes we are shaking up the application infrastructure market.  We also invite feedback on how your organization is responding to the Nexus of Forces. In your industry or job function, what impact are these trends having?

 

{This blog post was first published in Business Innovation from SAP on December 31, 2012}

 

Since the New York Times’ February 2012 article about “the intersection of data and human behavior”, How Companies Learn Your Secrets, I have had many conversations about what Predictive Analytics means for marketers.One key factor is the change in how we consume and share information about ourselves.  The accuracy of our message to our audience is infinitely more important – quality trumps quantity.

 

I have always been interested in pop culture and trends. I almost chose an anthropology major in college. In hindsight, that might not have been such a bad idea. I joined the ranks of IT marketers in the mid-90s.During the .com boom, I learned a lot about new markets - both start-ups as well as the e-commerce counterparts to brick-and-mortar stores. Over the years, IT firms have brought more discipline to marketing. We have progressed in our measurement of campaign results, integration of on-line tactics, and use of increasingly sophisticated B2B marketing benchmarks. I believe Predictive Analysis, the intersection of data and human behavior, is an opportunity to take our practice to the next level.

 

 

Predictive Analysis delivers greater business value to the business. It also gives us the chance to utilize new skills. Whether you like the right brain or left brain sides of marketing, targeting and delivering the optimal message requires both.

The tools used by retailers and the 2012 Moneyball Presidential campaign are enviable. I began to ask myself how to put this into practice. I have the feeling I am ignoring the disclaimer before Evil Knievel jumps and similar stunts, “don’t try this at home.” How do we try this at home? We gathered the tools available and took these 4 steps.

Step 1 – Historical Performance

We started with this statistical test that our database marketing team ran on campaign responders. It is no secret that the core audience for many IT campaigns is IT buyers. It is also no surprise that the quantity of messages this audience receives is enough to make anyone an avid “opt-outer.” Because the IT line of business in our target market is the only viable audience for our teams solutions, we needed to get smarter about how we were marketing to them. A .05% response rate to an email would not make a dent in our company’s sales goals.

 

Step 2 – What does the data tell us?

Based on lead conversion analysis, an ordering of IT job titles can be associated with solutions offered.

  • Down each column, the ‘best’ titles can be seen associated with each solution
  • Across each row, each title can be associated with a rank ordering of solutions

 

The team’s analysis showed us two key points:

  • ‘Strategic’ titles such as CIO and VP are associated with more strategic decisions (P1) – Solution 2
  • ‘Tactical’ titles such as Director and DBA are associated more with production solutions (P1) – Solutions 1, 3, 4

Step 3 – Use the Trends to Inform the Campaign Strategy

From the statistical analysis, it was clear that a strategic message would produce better results with the CIO/VP audience and a tactical message would resonate more with Director/Mid-level IT Managers. I know this seems like a “no-duh” observation but the practical matter of getting campaign messaging that does not suffer from “feature bloat”, as software product managers like to call it, is no small feat. We were now armed with the evidence we needed to hone our message to the key point.

 

We filtered the email for the CIO/VP to focus entirely on the TCO value of the solution, with one whitepaper offered. We tailored the Director/Mid-level IT Manager message to focus entirely on the reliability of the solution, with one brief offered. The results were 12x greater – 6% vs. .05% of contacts responded to our email offer.

Step 4 – What’s Next?

We are happy with the results and we plan to make this persona strategy a standard campaign process. But this feels like we’re at the crawl stage of using Predictive Analysis in marketing and sales. We’ll continue to share what we learn, both successes and failures, as we move from crawl to hopefully walk and run stages. I invite you to follow this blog, share your thoughts and experiences, and do try this at home!

In the recent discussions between Oracle and SAP after Larry Ellison’s comments at Oracle Open World, I came across a really interesting September interview with P&G’s CIO, Filippo Passerini, to whom this quote is attributed. What I found most interesting was his vision of making information interesting to business leaders. In the era of information overload, this is no small feat. So how did P&G do it and what can we learn from it? With SAP aiming to be the Apple of Enterprise Mobility, as IDG reported, this seems like a great example of how IT drives innovation within a company’s lines of business such as marketing.

 

 

First, Passerini  identified how IT could stay relevant to what’s most important to a CPG company like P&G - growing market share.  This is a visual he shared from the presentation which represents the findings of a 2010 MIT study on “Analytics, the New Path to Value.” He said that as CIO, he measures his organization’s success on how they deliver on what matters – digitize, visualize, and simulate. As a result of this, the ability to run the business in real-time is a must-have. “What matters” is delivered in the form of a daily dashboard for business leaders. This is the “single version of the truth” which is so critical to orchestrating in concert across a large organization, whether it is P&G or another large enterprise.

P&G1.png

 

Second, he gave an example of how real-time information is used in this market share simulation. For business leaders, understanding “why the results are what they are” is the first step to managing the business in real-time. To the right, a deeper dive on one country in one category offers visibility into the volume share and value share which are such critical data points to companies which must grow through incremental market share gains.

 

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So what does this mean to other companies that need to grow through increased market share and by managing their business in real-time? From P&G’s example, it seems to require a holistic approach. Passerini noted that the IT organization is integral to each brand and product line. This fundamental shift in how IT is incorporated into day-to-day business operations will make growth through innovation possible. As a marketing organization, we value the insights we glean from market share and similar reports that help us grow the business. What are you seeing in your organizations?

 

If you'd like to see for yourself...read and watch here, "Memo To Oracle, SAP: Listen To P&G's Language."

Stacy Ries

To Millenials and Beyond

Posted by Stacy Ries Oct 18, 2012

Like some other Gen Xers and parents I know, I have a love-hate relationship with technology. One of the things I love about it is how much easier it makes every day life - from shopping on-line for fall clothes, when the weather turns and you can't find time to hit the stores, to getting the newspaper without getting out of bed. One thing is certain, while there is a lot of talk about the impact of Millenials entering the workforce and the fact that their need for connectedness is a driving force behind changing business models, how does this impact the subsequent generation - my kids and many of my friends' kids?

 

Two inspiring events that I learned about this week are on the right path I think - one is run by my employer, SAP, and the other is run by a foundation and was featured in the Wall Street Journal, TechGirlz. I wanted to share their mission and find out if there are similar organizations out there. Anyone care to share?

 

Start 'em Young: SAP Coders in Middle School

I heard an interesting story on NPR the other day about theme songs for James Bond movies. Did you know that there has not been a chart topping Bond theme song since 1985? Bonus points for anyone who can name that tune.

 

Seriously though, the story went on to say that this might be due to the entertainment industry's use of market research to drive decisions. If a Bond theme song needs to blend adventure, romance, and intrigue, at what point does big data become too much of a good thing?

 

Listen to the NPR story, "Bond Movies And Their Memorable Theme Songs," and share your opinion - on analysis paralysis and your favorite Bond theme song. Mine is, drum roll please...

 

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There is a lot of buzz about how social media and the resulting big data is transforming businesses. With customer sentiment analysis at the forefront of that trend, companies that are using these feedback loops will be better able to serve us as individuals. Like politicians using public opinion polls to identify their strengths and weaknesses, companies now have access to data that will tell them where they are winning and where they are falling short.

 

Two interesting factoids on the social enterprise and big data to consider:

 

1. In Interbrand's "Best Global Brands 2012" Report from October 2012, they report that "'The wisdom of the crowd' is applied to everything from such brand staples as naming...to business basics like product development."

 

2. IDG's June 2012 survey of 200 senior and mid-level IT managers, "Data Management Wishlist: IT is Open to Big Changes," reports that "Improved access to real-time data and analysis tops the list of data management objectives" and "there is a strong preference for an integrated software platform for meeting data management needs."

 

What does this mean for business users and the IT professionals within their organizations? Likely greater demand for access to data and analysis that offers insights to customer preferences on everything from product features to pricing. In order to service this demand, both from the internal customer and the enduser customer, the information architecture has to be correct.

 

Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, many companies aren't yet able to use their data. To learn more about the tools required to start accessing and converting your data, tune in for the October 23rd Ziff-Davis webinar on "How to Realize Big Data ROI." Register here today. In addition to being eligible to win an iPad, webinar registrants will learn more about:

  • How companies are leveraging their Big Data to gain a competitive advantage
  • What challenges and costs companies face when it comes to storing and managing Big Data
  • Why most companies expect to see a return on their Big Data investments within one year

 

And take these before and after pictures of the Roman Pantheon as inspiration!

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