Keywords: Analytics, Applications, Big Data, Cloud, Co-Innovation, Innovation, Design Thinking, Ganges, High Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA), River, Rolta, TechEd, Startup, User Interface (UI).
ARC Advisory Group attended the SAP TechEd annual event, December 11-13, 2013 in Bangalore, India. Over 6,600 participants attended in person, plus about half a million online participants from over 500 companies, making it the biggest technology conference in South-East Asia. SAP TechEd is a premier educational event for IT architects and the developer community. It featured 657 unique sessions over three days, including product demos, hands-on workshops, and lectures.
The theme of TechEd revolved around how SAP HANA has matured as an in-memory computing platform since its introduction in Bangalore TechEd, 2010. According to SAP, SAP HANA is not only a new and fast database, but a platform that can solve real problems in real time, non-disruptively. The highlights of the event included SAP educational sessions about the latest offerings from the company and a "demo jam" of selected demonstrations on the latest SAP-related technology submitted by customers, partners, and employees of SAP, plus products that were co-developed with partners.
Keynote Presentation Highlights
Vishal Sikka, Member of the Executive Board, Products and Innovation, SAP, delivered the keynote address. Mr. Sikka started his speech by drawing an analogy between rivers, which have been a great connector of societies and a platform for flow of trade across the world, and SAP's new development languages, dubbed "River," "Project Ganges" and the "UI5." In his analogy between rivers and software, Mr. Sikka talked about the transparency and networking capabilities of rivers.
During the keynote address, Mr. Sikka highlighted the following topics, all elaborated upon by the subsequent speakers:
The SAP HANA effect - Mr. Sikka highlighted the ability of SAP HANA to scan 3.5 billion integers per second per core (on an Intel processor), its scalability, and enterprise readiness and readability as some important enhancements. He highlighted an example from Mobilistic Innovative Business Solutions Private Limited (MIBS), which is a part of SAP's Startup program and runs its applications on SAP HANA. One feature of its healthcare solution is to predict where an epidemic may spread after the monsoons, which would ensure sending and allocating the right resources like doctor, relief workers and medicines in a timely manner.
Future – The company plans to power all applications on SAP HANA and all user interfaces (UI) on Fiori. Fiori, which started with mobile experience has empowered many SAP applications, is also a frontrunner for machine-to-machine interfaces.
Gateways that help run SAP applications on a non-SAP platform have crossed 8,000 deployments.
The company is focusing on giving more power to the end users and letting them influence application development, either by co-development strategy or by giving them infrastructure to develop their own applications.
SAP HANA Cloud Platform is the common platform to extend all applications.
SAP HANA can simplify complex heterogeneous environments with cloud on-premise. SAP HANA is powered with application services, middleware services, libraries for applications and industries, and analytics which can bring real-time benefits for the end user.
Within the SAP Startup program, about 1,100 startups (158 in India alone) have developed their applications on SAP HANA.
All announcements related to three fundamental imperatives: Platform, Renewals, and New Frontiers. With these three imperatives Mr. Sikka says SAP can bring together and renew the entire portfolio of SAP products and landscape of customers, helping free IT personnel at customer sites to focus on critical business areas.
Next, Michael Reh, EVP of Business Information Technology, Product and Innovation, SAP, re-emphasized that SAP HANA is not just a database, but a new computing platform. He presented some statistics demonstrating the technology's momentum – 2,400 customers (about 130 in India including Ashok Leyland, Asian Paints, Essar, Hindustan Unilever, United Breweries, Tata Motors among others), 1,300+ implementations, 890+ SAP Business One powered by SAP HANA One customers (out of which 25+ are in 10K club, 4 in 100K club, 1 in 1 Million club), 550+ SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA customers, and 190+Fiori applications. Mr. Reh made three significant announcements:
Open sourcing part of SAPUI5 as OpenUI5. SAP is using it as the standard User Interface Control library in all its future applications that need a "consumer grade" user experience.
Availability of SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 (SMP 3.0). SMP 3.0 is an open mobile platform supporting offline OData, OSGi Spring, Apache Cordova, HTTP REST APIs and HTML5.
Availability of SP7 on SAP HANA. The company is set to widen the open application development experience. Developers will be able to take advantage of the core data services (CDS) and pre-packaged data quality libraries; while SAP takes care of Java scripting, user management, business function libraries (including application and industry services), search and geospatial.
Later, Michael Reh introduced Jake Klein, SVP, SAP HANA Platform and Applications, who announced River and the availability of River Definition Language (RDL) and River development environments.
Mr. S.D. Shibulal, CEO, Co-Founder, Infosys, was invited to discuss how the two partners drive business value using the new frontiers. Mr. Shibulal presented a couple of case studies. One involved a US utility customer with five million consumers. The utility company had a setback during a major catastrophe. A majority of its consumers lost power and the company was unable to predict the restoration time, let alone actually restore power. In another example, the biggest challenge an oil exploration customer faced was to reduce non-production time, 40 percent due to equipment malfunction. Both these customers of SAP and Infosys took advantage of the predictive capabilities of SAP HANA to help solve their problems.
Bernd Leukart, Member of SAP Managing Board, Head of Application Innovation talked about renewals. He was joined by Subodh Dubey, Group CIO, USHA International, one of the first SAP customers of business suite on SAP HANA. Mr. Dubey shared that by using SAP ERP on SAP HANA, the company improved computing performance by 11,000 times after going live in just 10 weeks.
Mr. Leukart further spoke about how SAP is enabling all the applications to be powered by SAP HANA and the UI with Fiori. The power of the technology must lie not in doing things better, but in performing tasks that have never been dreamed of before, he said. This requires a re-imagining of the user experience; not just prettier screens, but a fundamental shift. He added that SAP Fiori represents the new SAP user experience, designed to enhance user productivity and personalization. This can be used to create better user experience on top of the existing ERP, CRM, procurement, HR, and other business applications.
Mr. Leukart also focused on the simplicity of SAP HANA and shared some data points from the financials area. For SAP ERP on SAP HANA, the data footprint was reduced by a factor of 36; 18 times alone in financial accounting and controlling. Since operation reporting and analytics is embedded in transactional data, duplication is avoided, helping things move faster.
Abdul Razack, Head of Customer Engagement & Strategic Projects, SAP talked about the new frontiers. SAP believes that every customer has around 10-30 percent of custom development within their SAP implementations. In an effort to design software of choice for the customer, SAP has adopted the design thinking methodology. In this process SAP does not do 100 percent coding upfront but takes inputs from the customer at different stages of software design. One such example is Project Ganges which is the co-innovation product developed to connect the critical "last mile" in retail with distributors and CPG manufacturers. The project connects around nine million retailers in a network. Mr. Razack also shared that SAP is rethinking leading-edge applications like SAP CRM and SAP HCM. He also focused on learning and collaboration via the company's learning packages.
Sanish Mondkar EVP, Chief Product Officer, Ariba joined Mr. Razack on the podium. Mr. Mondkar talked about Commerce Graph, a network that connects more than a million suppliers, customers, and partners. He reiterated Mr. Sikka's river analogy to explain how a strong network is key for businesses. Mr. Mondkar focused on three SAP developments:
Supply chain business network - Releasing in the first half of 2014; collaborative business processes will help support the supply chain business network
Ariba network 2.0 - Bringing the power of all networks, b-process or Crossgate or the Quadrem network on the same platform
Single supplier information repository - Real-time information repository of all suppliers (not only supplier profiles but also transactional information) for choosing a better supplier
ARC Advisory Group attended an ecosystem and partner presentation by Bronwyn Hastings, Senior Vice President, Ecosystem and Channels, SAP Asia Pacific Japan, with SAP's partner, Rolta.
Ms. Hastings shared the enormous partner network of SAP, which has 13,000 partners. The company expects to have a million developers on SAP platforms by 2015, 370,000 partner service consultants (20x SAP), and 140,000 partner sales and marketing (10x SAP) people. It has six global service partners in India – Wipro, TCS, HCL, Infosys, Mahindra Satyam and Larsen & Toubro, with more than 230,000 certified consultants in India.
Many partners like Rolta, HP, CDP, CTG, TATA, Infosys, and HCL are a part of Managed Cloud as a Service (MCaaS) offering. MCaaS is a software subscription delivery of traditional SAP software. It is done on the partner's private hosted cloud, wrapped in managed services.
Key personnel from Rolta - Anindya Chatterjee (Divisional Director), Abhimanyu Prabhavalkar (SVP, Global Products and Technology Solutions), and Rajesh Ramachandran (CTO and President), were part of the partner presentation and showcased how Rolta has incorporated SAP platform technologies, including SAP HANA, in Rolta OneView and other Rolta's IP Solutions. They explained the Rolta OneView's focused solutions and key business benefits for the oil & gas, petrochemicals, chemicals, power, water, manufacturing and transportation sectors. The solution provides pre-built analytics by integrating data across various OT and IT systems. Rolta provides customers with Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics solutions to cover the entire spectrum of BI maturity roadmap. Rolta leverages its industry-specific know-how and other capabilities to provide integrated enterprise-level solutions designed to exploit the power of SAP's platform technologies.
The presenters explained how this strategic partnership creates significant value to customers.
End user empowerment, co-development activities using design thinking methodology, startup mentality, growing ecosystem, and openness in development were ARC's key takeaways from the SAP TechEd 2013. Speakers also made it loud and clear that "SAP HANA is not just a database." The event also helped SAP prove the point that it has come a long way from being conservative to open. Five years ago SAP was merely an ERP/analytics company. While these solutions are still important, the company's approach now is more innovative and customer- centric. SAP is articulating a new vision for enterprise software to meet the demand in emerging markets.
SAP and HANA are registered trademarks of SAP. Rolta OneView is a trademark of Rolta.
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