Bigger than Big Data: SAP CEO declares war on 'dark data'

16th May 2013

SAP doesn’t want customers be just winners, but champions in their field, said the firm's co-CEO Bill McDermott as he opened the SapphireNow conference on Tuesday. 

“The takeaway for you is this; to be winners and become champions in whatever you do, you need to ask three questions; do you have the idea? Is it feasible? And is it viable?" he said to the company faithful gathered in Orlando. 
"We here at SAP want to help you answer these and become champions.We are proud of what we’ve done – and we thank you all for being a part of that with us. However, we feel fresh and full of energy, we feel like we’ve just started. Everything we do shares one theme; it comes as innovation without disruption for you."
SAP will now be seen as a consumer focused business with a focus on individual customer experiences, he said, anticipating the launch 24 hours later of Fiori, a set of 25 lightweight “consumer-friendly” applications written in HTML5 to run on desktops, tablets and mobile devices. 
SAP has grouped the initial Fiori applications into four separate employee types, including manager, sales representative, employee and purchasing agent. 
“SAP is now a business to business to consumer software leader, user experience is now our top priority," said McDermott. "Behind every transaction you run is an employee, a customer, a supply manager, we need to be caring for the human – each and every human – this is the message.”
The theme was picked up by his co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe who said: "We’ve come a long way from the old SAP GUI. The challenge is clear. We are no longer benchmarking against some other business software, because most of them are not very beautiful.
"We are benchmarking against consumer software. We’re committed to providing the most exciting user experience in the industry.”
HANA to the fore
From a product perspective, users want their technology to be fast, secure, and smart, said McDermott, which leads to the push behind the HANA platform. 
“Smart in the way that it’s no longer about analysing data from the past – it’s the era of real-time, and predicting the future," explained McDermott. "Ninety-eight percent of your data is locked up somewhere you can’t access it – we call this dark data.
"HANA can unlock that and combine it with structured data to determine not only the sentiment of that data, but also predict the intent of that data.
“Secure in the way we need to ensure that merchants and banks are safe, and that consumer’s transactions are fully analysed. HANA tracks each card swipe and picks up on inaccuracies and uses innovation to bring peace of mind to the consumers – something we all need.
“And finally, speed. We can all agree on one thing; slow kills companies fast.”
The company plays to move all of its line-of-business Cloud applications to the HANA Cloud Platform. Supporting this, it's done some re-branding so that SAP Financials OnDemand becomes SAP Cloud for Financials and SAP Travel OnDemand becomes SAP Cloud for Travel and so on. 
All roads lead to HANA and unashamedly so. "Let's be clear on HANA," said McDermott. "HANA not only represents the intellectual renewal of SAP, it is now the platform for every single thing the SAP company will do going forward.
"We knew big data would be big business for you," "And that's why we invented HANA, to give you intelligent data at the speed of thought. The SAP Business Suite on HANA is at least 2,000 times faster than any other product on the market today. And, SAP HANA has become the fastest growing software product in the world."

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