• May 19, 2011
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Customers Show the Power of SAP

ORLANDO, Fla. (SAPPHIRE NOW) -- In their May 18 keynote that opened Day 2 of SAP's annual user conference, Vishal Sikka, a member of the SAP executive board, and Hasso Plattner, company co-founder and chairman of its supervisory board, introduced many customer successes that have been achieved with SAP HANA and in-memory computing.

HANA (High-Performance Analytics Appliance) provides users with a real-time view of key insights from the enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution in seconds. It can deliver 15 individual reports in real-time from the ERP system in four key lines of business: sales, financials, shipping and procurement.

"A great mentor of mine once said to me, ‘Make the customer your voice,’” Sikka said prior to introducing testimonials from a number of firms that have benefited from HANA deployments. Among them were the following:

  • Bosch and Siemens Home Appliances Group;
  • Canoe Ventures;
  • Central European Distribution;
  • Colgate-Palmolive;
  • Lenovo;
  • Medidata Solutions;
  • Medtronics; and
  • Nomura Research Institute.

Also during the second day of the conference, SAP launched SAP NetWeaver Gateway technology, an open, standards-based framework for extending the reach of its business software to an exponentially larger number of users, developers and environments. SAP NetWeaver Gateway enables customers to access their SAP applications from any environment, tool, or device. In addition, the technology enables developers to create new applications using the development tools of their choice.

"With the release of SAP NetWeaver Gateway, we are freeing SAP applications from the confines of the desktop and enabling developers to create entirely new applications," said Sikka. "With this technology, we reach an unprecedented level of openness that is unique among our peers. More than ever before, our customers can take advantage of new technology innovations that will change the way they work, the way they think about and design applications, and the way they compete and grow — all while ensuring the security of their essential business data."

SAP also used the conference to introduce partnerships with Amazon, Microsoft, and Accenture to expand its cloud-based offerings.

But in the long run, Sikka pointed out during the show that just about every product in the SAP portfolio "has benefited from the NetWeaver acquisition and from the BusinessObjects and Sybase acquisitions."

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the mobile space, according to Nicholas Brown, senior vice president of mobile strategy at SAP. "We want to foster a large developer ecosystem [that is] driving and building applications on SAP platforms," he said. "Our goal is to benefit our customers by getting a platform in place and allowing them to leverage apps from all the mobile providers."

The smartphone, Brown argues, is the wave of the future, but the industry will continue to operate on four or five very different platforms. Today, it's Windows Mobile, Android, iOS, and BlackBerry, and the fact that there are different systems "drives demand for our platform to manage all of them," he said.

Among the mobile apps that will be business essential in the near future are ones for employee productivity, including travel and expense management, requisitioning, time-off management, calendaring, contacts, and asset management. "These are very powerful apps, and an employee who's traveling shouldn't have to wait until he gets back to his hotel room to update these things on his laptop. He can do them right from his phone," Brown notes.

"We're rethiniking everything now related to the mobile device," he said.

That feeds off one of the key themes presented throughout the conference: That SAP wants to deliver "on-premises, on-demand, and on-device."

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