Rob Enslin tells MyCustomer.com SAP’s plans for Cloud domination and what the convergence of technologies means for businesses.
“There’s been an explosion in data, historically every two years but soon it’ll be every 12 months, then every six months and so on.”
Rob Enslin, SAP’s president of Sales, attributes the growth of data and the Big Data phenomenon to the sharp growth and evolution of mobile devices – 50bn devices are now owned globally, more than toothbrushes, he says. But companies now collect more data than they wish to or care to or know what to do with and failing to make efficient business decisions as a result.
“Data is historical in nature but with the internet and new technologies and social it becomes real-time,” he says. “A twitter feed is a Twitter feed now – if you don't know what happens and you wait two weeks to find out what someone said, it's two weeks too late
“Previously companies processed information by starting at night when the lights went out and running these batch jobs. They'd process information and in the morning when you wake up you get a report which says this is what sold, this was bought, this happened. Today, that’s not good enough anymore. Big Data means being able to utilise that to make real decisions.
“The biggest challenge for businesses today is the time it takes to get the information – by the time the information arrives it's too late. Previously businesses people ran everything historically, they understood the trend and then predicted from there. You can’t do that anymore because you need to be able to make decisions as things happen, which we call ‘real-real time’.”
The only way to do that is through a mobile platform, he says. Mobile is both responsible for and the solution to Big Data because anything that we consume needs to be in a consumable format, connected 100% of the time.
“When making a decision out of everything that’s happening you might want to know just one piece of information and you can’t wait overnight, you've got to be informed immediately,” he says. According to Enslin, SAP’s Hana in-memory platform is the key to delivering massive amounts of data instantly.
Convergence with the Cloud makes it more relevant, he adds, because it takes it data of the hand of IT professionals and puts it in a very consumable format which everyone can understand and base decisions on quickly.
“You don't have to wait for an upgrade to happen or complex board decisions to take place, it can change right now. From a business context, with the Cloud, if you change something everybody gets it but if you change it within your enterprise it's only for your enterprise.
“So the convergence of the mobile, the in-memory, and the cloud gives you the possibility to do many things that you couldn't do before. It allows SAP to redo applications, change the way applications are written and figure out cash positions instantaneously. Those are the things that will change how businesses operate and businesses make decisions and some businesses are going to lose out.”
SAP in the Cloud
SAP’s intentions for the Cloud are very clear, he says: “We will extend our lead in the Cloud by looking at which pieces of applications we could acquire in those segments that make sense for us or where we can develop fast enough so that we can be a leader like we are with Hana or in-memory. We have a pretty significant investment with over 5,000 people dedicated to the Cloud today so it's a significantly big environment.
“Look at cloud and mobile and in-memory as a delivery mechanism, a way to deliver apps in a different format so people can find it easy to consumer. They don't have to go to an IT department or ask people to do things for them. They can utilise those tools because they like to use them, they can understand them and consume them.
“The way we see the cloud is one, that employees are key. To make it easier for employees to communicate, understand how to find talent and manage talent the Cloud is a natural for the cloud environment. Sourcing and procurement is natural for the cloud environment, as well as customers and finance. Collaboration tools in the cloud will also be an opportunity.”
SAP’s already demonstrated it’s serious about the Cloud with the purchase of SuccessFactors in December last year for a tidy $3.4bn. “With Lars Dalgaard, he's got 10 years of developing Cloud applications so in some ways we've purchased the DNA. Lars is responsible for everything that has Cloud-based applications at SAP today which will extend our leadership in that space pretty quickly but also probably more importantly our leadership.
“At SAP we've been developing these applications for over 40 years now and they will morph o become more Cloud relevant than on-premise relevant. Cloud is going to be the next big thing but it's going to be part of in-memory and mobile, it's going to really change the way we do applications, create applications and our customers will use these kinds of applications.”