Businesses need to optimise processes to free resources for innovation to enable growth in an uncertain and volatile world, according to Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-chief executive officer at SAP.
SAP believes now is the time for a breakthrough in technology, but is committed to delivering business value, not just technology, he told attendees of the Sapphire Now customer and partner conference in Madrid.
"We do not see our role as a technology role; success for SAP comes from understanding the business of our customers and delivering business value; it's about adding value, not features," said Snabe.
To achieve this, SAP is innovating at high speed in its core business suite, mobile computing, cloud computing and in-memory computing without disruption to the business, he added.
In all four categories, SAP is aiming at breakthrough innovation without disruption, but the "magic", Snabe said, was in combining consistency of the core with the simplicity of cloud, the ability of mobile to empower people to work anywhere, and the ability of in-memory to analyse data in real time.
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"Apple simple and Google fast," is how one SAP customer recently described it, said Snabe.
Speed is important, he said, because uncertainty is the new "normal" and businesses cannot wait for uncertainty to go away; they need to manage situations now.
Simplicity is also important because for many organisations, just simplifying business processes can improve efficiencies and reduce costs.
"SAP is betting on customer-centric innovation strategy; and innovating faster than the competition has delivered seven consecutive quarters of growth for SAP," said Snabe.
"With more than 1,500 customers engaging the innovation cycle, it means SAP is able to understand the challenges and get it right first time."
SAP is planning to accelerate this innovation even further, he said, moving from the current six-monthly cycle to quarterly enhancements for the core business suite.
While emphasising the importance of innovating in the core to ensure consistent information, Snabe said 10% of SAP revenues already come from cloud, mobile and in-memory.
The fastest-growing category, he said, is in-memory computing, which SAP believes is the architecture of the future for all applications.
Having proved the business case of SAP's Hana in-memory computing product, Snabe announced that the next phase will be business data warehouse replacement.
Taking away complex relational databases and storing all the data in main memory will take away significant costs and give tremendous speed, he said.
SAP, he concluded, is committed to breakthrough innovation to enable new ways of doing business.