SAP's 2012 vision: gas meters, Twitter and Aktiengesellschaft

SAP AG, or as I like to call them Systemanalyse And Programmentwicklung AktienGesellschaft (it’s just catchier) has had a pretty good year it seems — in terms of media recognition if not commercially, or indeed both.

Despite not always garnering the most positive headlines around, the company completed a positively received acquisition of Sybase, bolstered its HANA in-memory computing platform and hosted its SAP TechEd event in Madrid in November.

So, as is the way at this time of year, what does SAP see on the road ahead?

No surprise for a company that produces ERP-centric “systems of record” at the scale that it does, SAP sees data analytics (of Big Data) as key to producing business benefits — or (and it’s an expression that’s already becoming slightly hackneyed) “real-time insight” into applications and data.

Away from its corporate message set for a moment, SAP suddenly starts to get really interesting with practical real world examples.

The company talks about homes equipped with smart energy meters that transmit back to utility companies every 15 minutes, “Utilities will have to find a way to suddenly mange and analyse billions of meter readings, a phenomenal amount of data,” says SAP.

Retailers can now use GPS data from customers’ smart phones to know when they’ve entered a store and where they are — and then send them promotions appropriate to their browsing and buying behaviour.

Companies will be plugging into Facebook and Twitter to analyse sentiment and then using this insight to plot out and adapt marketing campaigns

Sounds like a valid point doesn’t it?

SAP also points to the UK government “midata” project, which is designed to transform the relationship between consumers and corporations.

According to SAP, “The plan is that all sorts of companies will make their data available and then other firms will help consumers to manage it and build useful applications and services on the back of it.”

Yet again, more “data analysis” being brought to bear.

Stream of consciousness/tag-cloud…

In other predictions SAP talks about tablets, mobile, iPads, mobile commerce,

Windows 8, 6.5 billion mobile workers by 2014, green tech and sustainability, challenges and emerging economies and guess what else?

Go on, guess what?

Cloud computing!

Well, you’d have been disappointed not to see that one on the list right?

But snide cheap journalistic naysaying aside, the data analytics stuff looks to be well thought through and is clearly going to impact programmers, administrators of all kinds and users in every niche.

So as they say in Germany — Froue Weihnåcht’n, und a guad’s nei’s Joah