SAP’s ecosystem is in itself an absolutely massive market. Therefore SAP relies heavily on it’s partners to provide consulting services, conduct sales, and manage large scale implementations. There are three largely disruptive forces to this ecosystem and interestingly they all can be seen in SAP Business Intelligence:
- In Memory Technology
- Cloud Computing
- Mobile Applications
In Memory Technology – There is a huge market for OLAP and data-warehousing . The BI market is a multi-billion dollar industry. The in-memory technology (BWA and HANA initially) is largely disruptive to the way we store and report on data. SAP’s CTO Vishal Sikka commented on this by saying:
Together with our partners and customers, SAP is breaking down the boundaries between real-time events and real-time business decisions
SAP has made a strategic goal to eventually replace all reporting in the enterprise by use of the HANA (High-Performance Analytical Appliance). Many of my blog posts will centered around the evolution of this.
Cloud Computing – The buzz around cloud computing is absolutely crazy right now and for good reason. Unfortunately there are huge concerns for large enterprises to productively adopt the technology. For example: Big name firms form alliance to drive cloud standards Interestingly there is a large market for non-productive solutions, such as pre-sales, testing, proof of concept, etc. What’s even more interesting, SAP itself has been “eating its own dogfood” and has been utilizing cloud services for nearly 3+ years now:
Mobile Applications - Mobile applications represent a fundamentally different way that we interact with software. In enterprise ERP we often see feature rich (and subsequently clunky) applications. This is as SAP says “a game changer” as it not only means that there is a whole new way of developing software, but also their is a renewed focused on how we use enterprise BI applications.
So why will these save SAP? Three reasons:
- In-Memory: Other database/warehousing solutions are much faster than SAP’s current offering (such as NoSQL, Hadoop, MapReduce, etc) In-memory speeds this up.
- Cloud: IT infrastructure costs have grown enormously out of control. Cloud reduces that.
- Mobile: The adoption of mobile is quickly making itself into mainstream enterprise. Business is now done on the go. Mobile aids that.
The convergence of many of these technologies represents both a scary and opportunistic time for myself and the technologies SAP supports. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out and I’m glad that SAP has embraced disruption.