SAP co-chiefs highlight innovation at Sapphire 2011

SAP's co-chief executives have highlighted in-memory computing, mobile access to data and people-centric collaboration applications at the SAP Sapphire Now 2011 conference.

SAP's co-chief executives have highlighted in-memory computing, mobile access to data and people-centric collaboration applications at the SAP Sapphire Now 2011 conference.

Now is the time for innovation, not consolidation, Jim Hagemann Snabe told the estimated 100,000 attendees in Orlando and online.

"We are committed to extending our innovation leadership," he said, noting that SAP has delivered innovation in all products on-premise, on-demand and on-device in the past 12 months.

In response, more than 40,000 new companies have decided to run their businesses better with SAP in the past year, said Snabe, with more than 500 choosing SAP's cloud-based Business ByDesign products. "A lot has been happening, and we are only at the beginning of our innovation cycle."

Business competition is too fierce for consumer information to be lost, said Bill McDermott. Brand equity and brand loyalty is too valuable for businesses to fail to keep up and analyse all the data they are collecting, he said.

Only by keeping up with this data, said McDermott, can businesses provide the right product at the right time, place and value to build loyalty through trust.

Fast-paced business

Businesses need to be able to analyse fast-changing data at the speed of thought, which, he said, is why in-memory computing is such a game-changing proposition. "It means that businesses are able to change their pricing policies on the fly, with processes that used to take weeks or days now possible in seconds to enable better business decisions."

Schools of fish are able to move in harmony, said Snabe, because they are closely connected to their neighbours and are able to respond fast to changes. "Businesses are no different, in that they need to be able to respond fast to events and opportunities to be able to move as one," he said.

The innovation of in-memory computing on top of core SAP installations, said Snabe, will enable businesses to take real-time to a whole new level.

"The two main benefits are the ability to do things faster and to run on cheaper hardware. We have seen processes at least 20 times faster on hardware that is 10% of the cost of competing products," he said.

The profitability of companies can be changed, said Snabe, by having the ability to predict changes, simulate responses, make decisions and take decisive action faster than competitors.

Mobililty is unstoppable

PC shipments remain in decline and mobile is an "unstoppable force", said McDermott, which means businesses need to mobilise their customer experience.

"Mobile applications are the way to stay close to customers and their customers, and Sybase's Unwired platform get you there."

By adding mobility to SAP applications, said Snabe, businesses can extend their reach. Mobility is no longer just a consumer play, and it is time to connect mobile devices to business processes and information, he said.

"Imagine if you can digitise the entire supply chain, and respond faster to change in supply or demand," said Snabe, announcing the next generation of the Sybase Unwired platform that enables businesses to connect mobile devices to SAP and everyone in their supply chain.

"The SDK (software development kit) will extend SAP to mobile devices of any kind, SAP will ship 40 mobile experiences in the coming year, while more than 1,000 will be available from the ecosystem (partners)," he said.

More than ever before, McDermott said it is important for businesses to connect processes from supplier to customer to optimise their entire value network.

Focus on collaboration

Snabe said SAP wants to add people-centric experiences because in today's world of work, almost everything is done through collaboration with other people.

"We believe it is time to connect business people to enable them to be more productive through a new category of applications designed around people and how they work," he said.

Snabe said these applications will need to be integrated with business applications, and they will also need to be mobile and analytic.

"We want to empower the front line to sense and respond to changes and opportunities, make decisions and act in harmony like a school of fish," he said, introducing Sales OnDemand, SAP's first people-centric application.

By combining in-memory computing, mobile and people-centric applications, said Snabe, SAP is aiming to enable the digitised enterprise of the future: "Our innovation strategy is based on the belief that technology will change the way people work and live."

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