SAPphire 2011 was held last week (May 15th – 18th) in Orlando, with the tagline “Innovate for 2015”. During the keynotes SAP anticipated on what 2015 will look like for its customers. SAP announced three fundamental changes in business: in-memory computing, mobility, and people-centric collaborative applications. How can SAP’s partner ecosystem anticipate on SAP’s vision for the future?
1. Embrace in-memory computing – In memory computing accelerates the speed at which data is processed, used and analyzed. In-memory computing and SAP HANA (SAP in-memory software appliance) will be SAP’s flagship for the next years to come. This technology will be the foundation for the entire SAP portfolio. In-memory computing will be part of SAP’s strategy, technology, and product portfolio. At the moment SAP is working with its leading alliance partners to evangelize the message, the usual suspects being IBM and Dell. In-memory computing will, initially, be something for the hard core, on premise, data-intense SAP Business Suite users. Depending on the partner’s customer focus, partners may choose to delay in-memory adoption for the less data intense industries. Partners may opt to learn from others’ experience instead of their own mistakes. For the long term loyal and true SAP partners, to embrace HANA is the only option.
2. Mobility needs to be part of the solution offering – as SAP says: “mobile is the new desktop”. SAP’s acquisition of Sybase gives SAP connection to 4.5 billion mobile devices. SAP announced the introduction of a series of new mobile apps for the business suite, and announced the development of new mobile solutions together with Accenture’s Mobility Services and a mobile partnership with Verizon. The most important announcement in this respect may actually be the SAP NetWeaver Gateway, which enables customers to free up their SAP applications and access them from any environment, tool or device. SAP expects more than one thousand mobile initiatives from its partners on the Sybase Unwired Platform 2.0. What was lacking though, was concrete information that could actually prove that SAP is picking up gear here. A thousand mobile initiatives does not come close to the number of apps Google and Apple have in store (in April alone, developers added twenty-eight thousand new Google apps). Partners will need to explore the mobile potential, and SAP will need to accelerate mobile app development before partners can actually turn mobile technology into business opportunity.
3. People-centric collaborative applications – Social media shows us that we no longer live in a static organized structured environment. Business users need a new category of applications that help them manage unstructured data. SAP’s Sales-on-Demand is one of the first people-centric applications available in the cloud, focused on sales people instead of sales departments. Sales-on-Demand is SAP’s answer to its cloud competitors. SAP is late to the (SaaS) game, however, SAP was late with CRM as well. Thanks to its huge installed base and loyal partner ecosystem, SAP have always been able to make up for late entries with new technologies.
4. In the mean time, SAP Business ByDesign gets real – what SAP calls their next generation cloud – based on mobile, in-memory computing – is growing quite rapidly (in SAP terms, Business ByDesign is growing at double pace compared to R/3 at the time – but we assume sales cycles in in the nineteen eighties were a bit longer). At the moment SAP Business ByDesign has five hundred customers, on its way to reach one thousand Business ByDesign customers by the end of this year. Compared to the forty thousand customers that decided to run SAP Business Suite or Business Objects on premise, Business ByDesign is still very much in its infancy. SAP is accelerating the introduction of cloud ready applications, integrating them into mobile solutions, including sophisticated data analysis tools. SAP Business ByDesign is a valid cloud alternative.
5. Alternatively: Try the Subsidiary Scenario for the Cloud– SAFECHEM and Nokia Tej are the two customer case references who have implemented this approach. Worthwhile to explore the options. Though tried before with SAP Business One, SAP Business ByDesign is closer to the SAP origins and may actually be a better fit to subsidiaries.
In summary, the SAP message is strong – and for a large part corresponds with the METISfiles interconnected themes of the elastic enterprise, connected worker and partner ecosystems, so we definitely like the message. Elastic enterprises employ a flexible and mobile connected workforce. New partner ecosystems emerge to address the elastic enterprise and connected worker opportunity.
SAP is ready for 2015. Is the partner ecosystem ready as well? Are you? Let us know!