Sports Analytics Use Cases Applied to Business

sap_Next GenerationIn the immortal words of Vince Lombardi, “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score?”

This quote applies equally well to sports and business. For starters, success for both hinges on fielding a talented team, achieving a sustainable winning record, and growing a loyal fan base. Complexity, pressure, dynamic market conditions and fierce competition are constants for both, and ultimate victory is often determined by the smallest of margins.

While the specifics of ‘keeping score’ in sports and business can vary, collecting and analyzing mountains of data – across all aspects of sports/business operations – is how we measure performance, adapt processes, exploit opportunities, counter competitive threats, achieve efficiencies and chart a winning strategy.

Often-cited barriers to adopting analytics include the cost and complexity of software, hardware and systems integration; the lack of skilled resources, the extreme volume, variety and velocity of data growth, and — understanding that analytics is a continuous cycle of model discovery, deployment, and optimization — identifying an optimal use case for initiating and growing analytics capabilities that yield both immediate and long-term value.

To learn more about how sports analytics use cases can help drive your businesses’ analytics initiates, be sure to watch and listen to the ASUG & NTT DATA keynote on Sports Analytics (Sept. 22nd) and meet with NTT DATA at the ASUG/SAP Analytics & BusinessObjects Conference, September 22-24, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Read article by Jeremy Steirwalt: Sports Analytics Use Cases Applied to Business

Mobility in the Workplace

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Smartphones, tablets and laptops are ubiquitous in the workplace today, but intelligently conceived, uniformly enforced, cohesive, comprehensive, strategically sound enterprise policy for mobile app development and mobile device use is sorely lacking.

From its Sybase purchase to the present, SAP has made great strides in increasing options for SAP customers to mobilize their business.

And to satisfy strong customer demand, SAP has empowered its partner ecosystem to take the lead on the mobility front, authorizing select partners to rapidly design and sell cost-effective, innovative mobile apps with the SAP Mobile Platform.

Opportunities abound for SAP consultants with the right training, experience, and business-process  proficiency to lead mobility initiatives for SAP customers.

According to a report commissioned by SAPInsider, the percentage of SAP organizations with a comprehensive, enterprise-wide mobile strategy will more than double in the next three years, from 32% to 67%; and almost a third (32%) of SAP organizations will deploy five or more mobile applications in the next twelve months.

Vice President of Mobile Solutions for NTT Data Nick Katzenbach presents even more mobility trends in his article Four Pillars of a Mobile Strategy:

As reported in CIO, IDC pegs the number of mobile workers worldwide to reach 1.3 billion by 2015. That’s 37.2% of the global workforce, with more than 153 million mobile workers in the United States and Canada alone. According to Ovum, in 2014, enterprise mobile apps will become a core part of the enterprise IT application stack.

SAP RESOURCES & NEWS ARTICLES 

SAP Mobile Solutions

Mobile Devices Still Unsecured in the Workplace

Growing Number of Mobile Devices in the Workplace Placing a Strain on IT 

The Risks and Rewards of Personal Electronics in the Workplace

Mobile Devices in The Workplace: An Employer’s Dilemma

Mobile Devices Invade the Workplace of the Tech Savvy

Mobile Devices in the Workplace Not Reaching Full Potential

Big jump in mobile device use in the workplace escalates wireless LAN deployments

Employees Bring Their Own Device to the Workplace: Risk vs. Reward

Mobile Devices in the Workplace — Latest Facts & Figures

The Security Risk of Mobile Devices in the Workplace

Back-end, Front-end Simplification

minimal-desktop-wallpaper-simplifyIn his keynote address at SAPPHIRE NOW last week in Orlando, SAP CEO Bill McDermott wasted no time in setting the tone for the conference and establishing SAP’s mantra moving forward — “simplify everything.”

While McDermott’s unblinking confidence in SAP’s ability to usher in a new era of simplification in the dauntingly complex world of enterprise technology raised more than a few eyebrows, the great strides SAP has made over the past five years driving innovation powered by HANA across analytics, the cloud and mobility cannot be denied.

Today’s IT landscapes have become increasingly complex and costly, with multiple databases, datamarts and enterprise data warehouses needed to accommodate ever-increasing data volume generated by multiple ERP instances and numerous business applications — CRM, SRM, SCM, etc.

Announced at SAPPHIRE NOW to great fanfare, Fiori will now be included within underlying licenses of SAP software and provide a unique opportunity to simplify the user experience and build in efficiency for processing transactions. (Existing Fiori customers will receive a software credit redeemable against future software sales.)

Read article by Bhalchandra Bhosale: Back-end, Front-end Simplification

SAP Consultants to Lead ‘Simplify’ Charge

SAPPHIRE 2014

Held this week in Orlando, SAPPHIRE NOW, SAP’s annual conference held in collaboration with the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG), is billed by SAP as the “largest business technology event in the world.”

With an expected attendance of more than 25,000 (plus >90K virtual attendees), SAPPHIRE NOW consists of 3,700-plus member companies, SAP customers, end users, partners and, of course, hordes of SAP consultants.

Now sole-CEO Bill McDermott wasted no time in setting the tone for the conference and affixing the spearhead to SAP’s strategy moving forward — “simplify everything, do anything.”

McDermott’s confidence in SAP’s ability to usher in a new era of simplification in the very complex world of enterprise technology is well-founded. By every measure, the strides SAP has made over the past five years driving innovation powered by HANA across analytics, the cloud and mobility are impressive. The possibilities for simplifying, innovating and advancing business with SAP are literally unparalleled and boundless.

Just the same, a mandate is one thing. Execution is another.

In the end, fruition rests squarely on the shoulders of SAP consultants, who will draw on their expertise to identify opportunities for SAP customers to simplify and conquer.

Here’s a roundup of news stories from SAPPHIRE NOW 2014. Take our poll below to rank ripest areas for simplification.

SAP’s McDermott Pushes Free Fiori, Simplification

SAP’s McDermott: Say Goodbye To ‘Too Complex’

Behind the Scenes with the SAP M-Prize Winners

SAP’s Plattner Makes His Case for HANA

SAP Going Full Steam Ahead on Hana, the Cloud and ‘Simple’ Software

SAP Customers Showcase Cloud Success at SAPPHIRE NOW

 

 

Accelerate Innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW

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SAPPHIRE NOW has always been a great venue for SAP customers to get up to speed on SAP’s product roadmap and discuss their most pressing business challenges with the wealth of SAP experts on hand. SAP’s torrid pace of innovation over the past four years makes this year’s conference even more purpose-built for customers with questions.

With few exceptions, the days of massive, global, core ERP implementations are over. SAP customers are initiating smaller, smarter, more strategic engagements that yield immediate value and provide a path moving forward to accelerate innovation with HANA, mobility, and the cloud.

Having attracted more than 20,000 in-person attendees and nearly 90,000 online participants, last year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference set attendance records, according to SAP.

We have every reason to believe this year’s conference will set new records as pent-up demand collides with boundless opportunity for embracing innovation.

Contact NTT DATA to schedule a meeting at SAPPHIRE NOW or simply stop by booth 209 to learn more about how SAP and NTT DATA are helping businesses accelerate innovation today.

Read article by Bhalchandra Bhosale: Accelerate Innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW

SAP Pros – Keep Learning, Keep Earning

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If you’re an SAP consultant, and you’re not diligent about continuing your SAP education, it will just be a matter of time before your skills become outdated and your market value (earning potential) diminishes.

The accelerated pace of innovation at SAP, particularly with regards to HANA, mobility and advanced analytics, exacerbates this situation, placing even greater onus on SAP consultants to keep their skills sharp and up to date with ongoing education.

For its part, SAP has made great strides in making online training materials available to working SAP pros and those striving to become working SAP pros.

The new SAP Learning Hub, which SAP launched in January, provides easy access to comprehensive and up-to-date educational content on a wide range of SAP solutions, anytime, anywhere, making it easier than ever for SAP pros to stay on top of their game, ahead of the curve, and gainfully employed.

Earlier this week SAP announced the student edition of SAP Learning Hub, a cloud-based offering designed for students to incorporate the study of SAP solutions into university coursework. SAP donates licenses to over 1,500 UA Program member institutions and fully outfits their professors. According to SAP, more than 1,500 universities worldwide are SAP University Alliances program members.

SAP Education in the News:

SAP Brings Cloud-Based Learning to University Students

SAP Education Takes Learning to the Cloud

SAP Education Resources:

SAP Learning Hub

SAP Training and Certification Shop

SAP Training and Education

SAP University Alliance

Relevant Posts: 

Continuing Your Custom HANA App Education

SAP Consultants: HANA is Your Future, Design Thinking is Your Ticket

A Rosy Year for SAP Consultants

 

Enterprise Mobility Today

According to research firm IDC, the number of mobile workers worldwide is expected to reach 1.3 billion (37.2 percent of the global workforce) by 2015, with more than 153 million of those mobile workers in the United States and Canada.

MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global BYOD market to grow from $71.93 billion in 2013 to $266.17 billion in 2019.

Ovum reports that, in 2014, enterprise mobile apps will become a core part of the enterprise IT application stack, and according to a recent IDC survey, 80 percent of IT organizations say that skills for mobile app development and security positions will significantly change in the next three to five years as a result of mobile initiatives.

To be sure, enterprise mobility is a Gordian Knot of obstacle and opportunity — with increased productivity, reduced costs and new revenue opportunities fueling adoption while device provisioning, management, and security concerns pose significant challenges.

To help you get up to speed on the state of enterprise mobility, we’ve pulled together a roundup of analyst predictions.

Pundit predictions…

MarketsandMarkets forecasts the global BYOD market to grow from $71.93 billion in 2013 to $266.17 billion in 2019. In terms of regions, North America is expected to be the largest market in terms of market size, while Europe and Asia-Pacific (APAC) are expected to experience an increase in market traction, during the forecast period.

Kable forecasts the global enterprise mobility management market to grow at a CAGR of 22.4% from 2014 to 2018.  Key highlights from  Kable’s Market Opportunity Forecast to 2018: Enterprise Mobility Management include:

  • The retail Industry is expected to witness the fastest growth in enterprise mobility management spending, with this market growing at a CAGR of 28.7% from 2014 to 2018.
  • Mobile application platform management which currently constitutes the largest proportion (59%) of the overall enterprise mobility management market is forecasted to reach $9 billion by 2018.
  • Large institutions’ spend on enterprise mobility management is forecasted to reach $9 billion by 2018.

Ovum predicts mobile first, mobile enterprise apps, and corporate mobility policies to be top of the CIO agenda in 2014

Apps will drive the next phase in the evolution of enterprise mobility, creating new ways of working, and transforming existing business processes. In 2014, enterprise mobile apps will become a core part of the enterprise IT application stack. This will create challenges for the enterprise such as getting the UX right and enabling tight integration with internal systems. It also provides a big opportunity for app developers, systems integrators, and mobility management vendors.

Ovum also says that:

For organizations that already have a mobility strategy in place, the next phase will be to start mobilizing as many internal processes as possible to allow workers to perform their core tasks (beyond email) from whichever device they have to hand, from wherever they are.

Yankee Group observes that employees using a smartphone for work has doubled over the past four years to 60% but companies’ mobilization priorities are only very slowly moving beyond field/sales-force and customer-facing use cases. For more read: Yankee Group Top Enterprise Mobility Predictions for 2014

In a recent article published in Mobile Enterprise, Yankee Group analyst Chris Marsh says:

Increasing budgets for mobile projects hasn’t, in most cases, translated to cross-disciplinary involvement in a broad company-wide strategy. The reality is that company-wide strategy (as opposed to individual line-of-business projects funded by their own budgets) still boils down to executive management mandating that devices be provisioned to groups of mobile workers, and basic policy enforcement around, for example, device usage or the black and white listing of applications usage.

According to research firm IDC, the number of mobile workers worldwide is expected to reach 1.3 billion (37.2 percent of the global workforce) by 2015, with more than 153 million of those mobile workers in the United States and Canada.

Moreover, mobility will revolutionize IT skill sets, IDC says:

Mobile technology, along with cloud services, social businesses and big data analytics, will change the skills for 95 percent of IT roles over the next three to five years, predicts Joseph Pucciarelli, vice president and IT executive advisor at IDC.

The IDC survey found that over 80 percent of IT organizations say that skills for mobile app development and security positions will significantly change in the next three to five years as a result of mobile initiatives.

Gartner positions SAP as Leader in Magic Quadrant for Mobile Application Development Platforms. For additional Gartner insight into enterprise mobility read Gartner Highlights Mobile Trends in Smart Government, 6 Trends That Will Impact Enterprise Mobility Strategies in 2014, and Gartner: Be Wary of Nascent Managed Mobility Services.

Forrester reports that more than three-quarters of business leaders identify a mobile strategy as a moderate, high, or critical priority. For more Forrester perspective on enterprise mobility read  Enterprise Wearables Will Avoid BYOD Pitfalls, Aligning Your Enterprise Mobility StrategyIT Embraces BYOPC as Mobile and PC Management Merge, Enterprise Mobility — Are You Ready For The Ride?,and Embrace The Mobile Mind Shift

 

SAP’s HR Cloud Dominance

By Dennis Kehoe, Vice President, SAP Solutions at NTT DATA

On March 26th SAP announced plans to acquire Fieldglass , the leading technology provider for procuring and managing contingent labor and services. Based in Chicago with approximately 350 employees, the company’s cloud-based Vendor Management System (VMS) helps organizations better manage their non-employee workforces, including temporary staff, independent contractors and services arranged through statements of work.

Fieldglass leads a burgeoning market for sure. SAP cites that analysts peg the contingent labor and statement-of-work services as a high-growth, $3.3 trillion market in the US, growing nearly 30 percent over the next 3 years. According to a new survey by Ardent Partners, a total of 86 percent of respondents called contract talent a significant or vital component of their overall workforce .

Fieldglass experienced its eighth straight year of profitability in 2013, according to the company, and was recognized in The Forrester Wave™: VMS, Q1 as the highest-scoring VMS provider in Contingent Workforce Management/Vendor Management System (CWM/VMS) functionality and market presence. Staffing Industry Analysts reports that Fieldglass’ cloud-based solution is used in more than 100 countries and 16 languages, making it the current VMS market leader in total spend and global footprint.

HR Cloud Boom

IDC reports worldwide revenue for the Human Capital Management (HCM) applications market was $7.5 billion in 2011, representing growth of 16.6% over 2010. IDC’s revenue forecast for the worldwide HCM market is $11.0 billion in 2016, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.1% and outpacing most other application markets.

MarketAnalysis.com reports growth in HR software is driven by talent management sectors (recruiting, training, performance management/BI, and leadership/succession management) as well as by a shift to software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

A new report from Research and Markets forecasts the global, cloud-based talent management software market to grow at a CAGR of 17.59 percent over the period 2013-2018, driven in large part by budget constraints for IT, insufficient time to build in-house software, and cost advantages attached to hosted or on-demand software.

According to Nucleus Research, the HCM market continues to evolve from one dominated by point solutions for core HR, talent management, recruiting, and learning to one where vendors compete based on a holistic approach to the employee lifecycle.

Nucleus also reports “Users are increasingly looking for a single vendor solution that cuts across functional areas and eliminates the manual handoffs between recruiting, performance, time management, compensation, and more with a single employee system of record at the core.”

Fieldglass + SuccessFactors + Ariba = HR Cloud Dominance

SuccessFactors, which SAP acquired in 2012, provides a leading cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) Suite, and is widely acknowledged as catapulting SAP into a cloud-leadership position.

With approximately 25 million subscription seats globally, SuccessFactors serves 3,900 customers across more than 60 industries in more than 177 countries using 35 languages, according to the company.

The combination of Fieldglass and SuccessFactors extends SAP’s cloud-based HR offerings across the permanent & contingent workforces.

But that’s not all. Enter Ariba, the leader in cloud-based collaborative commerce applications and the second-largest cloud vendor by revenue, which SAP also acquired in 2012.

At the time of SAP’s acquisition, Ariba’s cloud-based global trading network automated more than $319 billion in commercial transactions and connected more than 730,000 suppliers. SAP pegs the market for cloud-based enterprise network and procurement services at $5 billion in revenue.

With Ariba – the world’s business commerce network – businesses can extend their processes and connect and collaborate with digital communities of partners, peers, and prospects from around the world.

In essence, with SuccessFactors, Fieldglass and Ariba, SAP’s HR cloud offerings now encapsulate permanent workers, contingent workforces, and the ever-growing business network of partners – the complete spectrum of internal and external resources that make businesses hum in today’s highly connected, fiercely competitive, increasingly global business climate.

Setting an ambitious new goal for cloud growth, SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott said SAP will reach $4.1 billion to $4.7 billion in cloud subscription and support revenues by 2017.

According to Mike Ettling, SAP global head of cloud and on-premise HR, “[SAP has] 14,000 on-premise customers and 4,000 cloud customers [using its] talent, core HR and employee-central solutions.”

Clearly, SAP’s Fieldglass, SuccessFactors and Ariba acquisitions will contribute significantly to SAP achieving its cloud revenue goal.

But SAP’s pièce de résistance for HR cloud computing is its recent launch of the full Business Suite in the cloud powered by HANA, enabling organizations to run their entire business in-memory, bringing together all transactions and analytics into one platform.

Obviously, for HCM as a part of ECC the potential gains via strategic integration with other core business functions will yield unprecedented innovation, efficiency and productivity – and will bolster SAP’s HR cloud dominance for years to come.

SAP Adds to HCM Cloud Offering with Fieldglass Buy

Field glasses

Attracting and retaining top-notch talent is the cornerstone to successful business. Historically, HR departments are in large part the business units tasked with executing this vital responsibly –- with the tools they use evolving as fast as the dynamic characteristics of workforces they manage.

Today, this means dealing with an increased proportion of contingent labor and growing networks of outside vendors.

According to SAP, companies are rapidly moving to more variable operating models that enable them to quickly dial up and down infrastructure, talent and expertise to accommodate changes in market dynamics, business needs and special projects.

To help organizations accomplish this, on March 26th SAP announced plans to acquire Fieldglass, the leading technology provider for procuring and managing contingent labor and services.

Fieldglass’ cloud-based Vendor Management System (VMS) allows organizations to better procure and manage their flexible workforces, including contingent labor and vendor services.

Already named a leader in HCM by Gartner and Forrester, among other analyst firms, SAP strengthens (and extends the reach) of its cloud HCM offering with the acquisition of Fieldglass, and builds on its HR cloud dominance achieved via its acquisitions of SuccessFactors and Ariba.

We’ve pulled together a roundup of news articles and pundit predictions to help bring perspective to SAP’s aggressive cloud strategy for HR .

News Articles

Q&A: SAP’s Mike Ettling Discusses SuccessFactors Cloud HR Strategy

SAP Agrees to Acquire Fieldglass in Cloud-Computing Push

Vishal Sikka: With Fieldglass Acquisition, SAP Expands Leadership in Public Cloud

SAP Acquires Fieldglass To Support The Increasingly Networked Nature Of Business

SAP To Buy Fieldglass, Cloud-Based Workforce Management Firm

SAP/Ariba to Buy Fieldglass: Initial Analysis

Could SAP, Ariba Build a New ‘Services Network’ with Fieldglass?

Looking Into the Crystal Ball: Life after SAP’s acquisition of Fieldglass

SAP Acquisition Expands Cloud App Lineup

HR Promises From the Cloud

How Cloud-based Systems Can Reduce Your HR Burden in 2014

Top 10 HR Technology Trends For 2014

4 HCM Trends to Watch in Retail in 2014

Analyst Take

“Over the next few years, the global HCM market is expected to grow 6 percent annually, hitting $8.1 billion in 2015.” (IDC)

“The market for HCM applications remains strong in most parts of the world despite high unemployment for a number of reasons,” says Lisa Rowan, research vice president, HR, Talent and Learning Strategies for IDC. “Chief among these reasons is the drive to lower total cost of ownership (TCO) through cloud, continued interest in talent management for optimizing scarce resources, and a push to modernize applications for improved usability.”

Paul Hamerman, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research says HR managers are now choosing cloud-based products almost exclusively. “SaaS adoption is already at very high levels, and really now companies will choose SaaS first,” he said. “Basically it becomes a prerequisite for any kind of solution they look at in HR.”

“The idea that HR departments will become more focused on the outcomes of their actions — the effect of what they do on the corporation versus the effect of what they do on HR — is a prediction that I would get behind,” Hamerman said.

Research and Markets: Global Talent Management Software Market 2014-2018: IBM Corp., Oracle Corp., SAP AG, and SumTotal Systems Inc Dominates the Industry

Human Capital Management Overview (Falvey Partners)

 

SAP Sitting Suite in the Cloud

sw_cloud_cityAny doubts about SAP’s commitment to the cloud were laid to rest last week with SAP’s announcement that it will soon offer subscription models for SAP Business Suite via the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud service.

This latest development extends a streak of major cloud-related announcements. SAP’s acquisitions of SuccessFactors, Ariba, Hybris and, most recently, Fieldglass are vital to the company’s cloud offerings, and these acquisitions complement the progress of SAP’s organic cloud strategy underway for many years now.

In fact, despite the cloud’s impressive growth numbers, IDC reports “two out of three enterprise cloud users have yet to decide how to formalize a strategy for cloud.”

As a consequence, many core enterprise systems today — think of the ERP boom in the ’90 — are flirting with overdue replacement cycles and/or upgrades, extensive and expensive customizations, rising maintenance costs and, most critically, a lack of flexibility needed to meet today’s changing business demands.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: SAP Sitting Suite in the Cloud

Perfect Timing for SAP’s Big Cloud Play

SAP’s Flagship Business Suite will soon be available via cloud subscription.

Business Suite includes SAP’s hugely successful enterprise resource management (ERP) solution as well as apps that support core processes for finance, human resources, manufacturing, procurement, product development, marketing, sales, service, customer relationship management, supply chain management, supplier relationship management and IT management, among others.

All Business Suite apps will be powered by SAP’s in-memory HANA Cloud platform (launched last year), which provides the speed, scalability, flexibility, cost savings and architectural simplicity businesses of all sizes need to thrive in today’s increasingly global, fiercely competitive business environment.

SAP has made it clear that it is betting the company’s future on the cloud, and SAP pros need to adapt and update their skill sets accordingly. We’ve pulled together some pundit predictions that will help SAP consultants understand why the timing is perfect for SAP’s big cloud play.

Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president of research at Gartner Inc.:

“More and more companies are questioning the foundation of their technology architecture. […] the word ‘agility’ is in every CIO conversation […] agility is driving the need to look at tech differently […] 51% of people who buy cloud software say they are doing it for “agility.”

The use of cloud computing is growing, and by 2016 this growth will increase to become the bulk of new IT spend, according to Gartner, Inc. 2016 will be a defining year for cloud as private cloud begins to give way to hybrid cloud, and nearly half of large enterprises will have hybrid cloud deployments by the end of 2017.

Gartner estimates that total spending on cloud services will increase from $110 billion in 2012 to $210 billion in 2016.

According to IDC, cloud spending, including cloud services and the technology to enable these services, will surge by 25% in 2014, reaching over $100B.

Over the next two years, there will be an explosive growth in the number of enterprise cloud computing projects, according to a study into cloud computing trends by TheInfoPro, a service of analyst firm 451 Research.

According to TheInfoPro, 69% of enterprises who have separate budgets for cloud computing are predicting spending increases in 2014, and the worldwide cloud computing market will grow at a 36% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2016, reaching a market size of $19.5B.

Optimal Doing Business as NTT DATA – Accelerating SAP Innovation

I’m pleased to announce that Optimal is officially doing business as NTT DATA, now one of the world’s largest SAP services providers.

Optimal merged with NTT DATA, a leading global IT services provider, on December 31, 2013 with the goal of creating a global SAP consulting leader. The integration of our team, our resources, and our IP has been squarely focused on driving meaningful SAP innovation for our clients today and in the future.

We encourage SAP customers (existing and prospective) to take full advantage of NTT DATA’s expanded reach, superior SAP solutions portfolio, and deep SAP consulting expertise that is 7,500 people strong and growing.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: Optimal Doing Business as NTT DATA – Accelerating SAP Innovation

SAP Consultants: HANA is Your Future, Design Thinking is Your Ticket

All SAP consultants getting up to speed on HANA have undoubtedly run across the term ‘design thinking.’

While the popular use of the term design thinking dates back to the early ’80s, and the first person to coin the term is debatable, SAP co-Founder Hasso Plattner made design thinking forever part of SAP lore when in 1970 he made it the centerpiece of the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany and established design thinking as the guiding intellectual philosophy and pragmatic hands-on process that would accelerate business innovation in general and HANA-powered innovation specifically.

In a nutshell, drawn from several sources, design thinking consists of three guiding principles, four rules and six steps. Design thinking principles: technical feasibility, economic viability and end-user desirability. Design thinking rules: the human rule (all design activity is ultimately social), the ambiguity rule (design thinkers must preserve ambiguity), the re-design rule (all design is re-design), and the tangibility rule (making ideas tangible always facilitates communications). Six design thinking steps: understand, observe, point of view, ideate, prototype, and test.

Got all that? Good. Because you’ll need to know it cold in tomorrow’s HANA- dominated world of SAP consulting.

But seriously, design thinking is really not all that complicated. In fact, it is an intuitive, even eloquent, new approach for solving today’s increasingly complex problems.

Put succinctly, design thinking is an intensely user-oriented, highly collaborative, team-based, highly iterative approach for rapidly designing and developing innovative solutions to complex, ostensibly intractable, and often difficult to define problems.

Still confused? No worries. We’ve put together a list of resources that will help get you up to speed on design thinking in no time:

Introduction to Design Thinking

Innovation Academy Design Thinking at SAP‬

Design Thinking at SAP

Design Thinking in Action

Design Thinking on Display

10 Golden Rules for Design Thinking

The HPI School of Design Thinking in Potsdam is the first school for innovation in Europe

Hasso Platner’s book: Design Thinking

SAP User Experience Community

SAP HANA and Design Thinking (SAP HANA Community Blog)

SAP HANA Use Cases (SAP HANA Community Blog)

The End of the Beginning- SAP HANA has “crossed the chasm” (Great post by Jeffrey Word)

Design Thinking Presentation

Design Thinking: A new Approach to Fight Complexity and Failure

Design Thinking Big in Madrid

Design Thinking at SAP with Daniel and Michael

SAP Services Forum 2012

SAP LUMIRA Brings Self-Service BI to the Masses

HANA Real-Time Race Pit CrewThe promise of analytics/BI – better, faster decision making – is now very much a reality, and businesses not moving forward on the analytics/BI front will find themselves consumed, commoditized or simply crushed faster than what was even imaginable ten years ago.

Among the biggest factors driving the increased adoption of analytics/BI is the ever-broadening array of workers throughout a business with access to analytics/BI solutions. From the early 90s until today, we’ve seen the reach of analytics/BI steadily extend, albeit a tortuously slow pace, from the C-level to frontline workers – and with this extension, a marked increase in use-case validation.

The days of (latent) IT production reports pushed out to managers are quickly coming to an end. The advantages of real-time, fact-based decision-making capabilities powered by intuitive, self-service analytics/BI tools in the hands of marketing, sales, supply chain management, manufacturing, engineering, risk management, finance, HR, frontline workers, and line-of-business pros are far too compelling to stall this movement.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: SAP LUMIRA Brings Self-Service BI to the Masses

A Rosy Year for SAP Consultants

When it comes to IT consulting, SAP consultants are the creme de la creme. No surprise here. For better than 41 years SAP has powered core systems and vital business processes for companies of all sizes across many industries.

Today, SAP has more than 251,000 customers in over 88 countries and is the global market leader in business applications.

SAP’s well-established footprint combined with its accelerated pace of innovation spells boundless opportunity for SAP consultants in 2014 — particularly for SAP pros possessing demonstrable expertise with existing SAP solutions and the self-motivation to stay up to speed on SAP’s rapidly evolving solutions landscape.

Before looking ahead to 2014, check out this snapshot of the SAP consulting landscape in 2013:

  • Approximately 27% of full-time SAP consultants earned annual salaries ranging from $100,000 to $119,000. (RedCommerce)
  • The average annual salary for an SAP consultant in the U.S. for 2013 was $91, 689 (JobStat)
    • The highest salary recorded was $160, 203.(JobStat)
    • The lowest salary reported was $51, 787. (JobStat)
  • The highest paying U.S. States in 2013 for an SAP consultant are as follows (JobStat):
    • California – $59,618 – $132,722
    • Georgia – $46,349 – $122,276
    • Illinois – $60,275 – $121,802
    • New Jersey – $55,000 – $123,000
    • New York – $52,186 – $121,066
    • Ohio – $36,000 – $124,639
    • Texas – $57,812 – $125,757 (Texas has the highest concentration of SAP pros in the U.S. ((RedCommerce))
  • Median hourly wage for an SAP consultant in 2013 was $42.99 (JobStat):
    • The highest hourly rate recorded was $70.
    • The lowest hourly rate recorded was $15.99.
  • 83% of U.S. SAP consultants are males while 17% are females (JobStat)
  • The U.S. is the country with the most SAP jobs available (ExpertPlug)
  • FICO is the SAP skill in highest demand worldwide (ExpertPlug)

So how will SAP consultants fare in 2014? Pretty well according to numerous sources predicting an uptick in IT hiring and spending.

In a recent survey conducted by Dice of 860 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters, 73% reported planning to hire more candidates in the next six months, and 24% percent said their additional hiring will be substantial. Dice notes that SAP roles remain hard to fill, which bodes well for SAP consultants looking for a new gig in 2014.

According to the 2014 Robert Half Technology salary guide, salaries in ERP applications development have risen by roughly 6%, compared with 4% in 2013. For SAP pros, Robert Half Technology salary guide recommends adding an additional 8% to their annual salaries.

A salary survey conducted by SaaS ERP integrator Panaya reports SAP pros received a raise last year, and also found that the highest salaries for SAP pros are in aerospace and defense, $126,000, healthcare, $110,700, and financial services, $110,000, while the lowest are in the public sector and education, $87,750, logistics & transportation, $86,400, and communications, $80,000.

According to the Panaya survey, the median salary for SAP pros with 10 years of experience is $120,000, while those with 1 to 3 years of experience earn an average of $53,500.

And if the positive correlation between IT spending and SAP consulting holds true (which it should), an uptick in global IT spending is good news for SAP pros.

According to Gartner, worldwide spending for IT and telecom in 2014 will total $3.8 trillion, with enterprise software spending driving the growth — totaling $320 billion and growing 6.8%. Global spending on IT and telecom products and services will grow 3.1% between 2013 and 2014, Gartner reports, compared to just 0.4% a year earlier.

Gartner pegs the IT services growth rate at a modest 2.2% for 2013, but predicts that pace will quicken to 4.6% in 2014 and 5.2% in both 2015 and 2016.

Acording to Forrester, which does not include telecom in its estimate, global spending on technology will rise 6.2% to $2.2 trillion in 2014.

Rounding things off, IDC predicts global spending on IT will reach $2.1 trillion in 2014, up five percent annually, with cloud, mobile and big data driving the lion’s share of growth.

IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IT consulting will expand at an annual growth rate of 4.1% through 2017.

SAP’s Focus on User Experience Yields a People’s Choice Award

Optimal Wins SAP HANA RACE 2The winding evolution of core enterprise systems has driven tremendous advances in how businesses run, but in many cases, the march of new technology has also resulted in a less-than-optimal user experience.

End users know the drill: it’s not uncommon to negotiate disparate applications with inconsistent screens, cluttered with excessive data fields using non-intuitive prompts – many of which are irrelevant to the vital, time sensitive task at hand.

Most recently, SAP won the prestigious “2014 People’s Choice Award” in design at the Interaction Awards with the SAP Scouting solution, an enterprise offering that enables sports franchises to improve their ability to identify and acquire talent.

For more details. read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: SAP’s Focus on User Experience Yields a People’s Choice Awarde

SAP’s UI Facelift

The proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise, the popularity of consumer applications such as Google, FaceBook and Twitter, and the dire need to reduce training costs and increase user adoption is driving wholesale change in the world of SAP user experience.

According to SAP, the company has a veritable spaghetti of user interfaces, with over 300,000 different input screens built during the past 15 – 20 years using more than 20 different UI technologies.

User experience is critical to the adoption of enterprise software, and consumerization is rapidly redefining the enterprise software experience. Across its entire roadmap, SAP is redefining the user experience, replacing complexity with simplicity, consistency, intuitiveness and mobility.

SAP consultants are well advised to get up to speed on the ‘consumer-grade’ facelift that is well underway at SAP.

To help with this, we’ve pulled together a selection of SAP resources and news articles.

SAP Resources:

SAP User Experience Community

SCN User Interface Technology

SAP Product Roadmap: UI Technology

SAP User Experience Design Strategy

News articles:

SAP’s UI Makeover: Taking a Measured Approach to 300,000 Screens

Should Customers Pay For A More Usable UI? SAP Thinks So

SAP Business Resource Planning Customers Can Now Snazz Up Their User Interface

Inside SAP’s UI Overhaul – with Sam Yen

Is the Enterprise User Experience Overhyped?

Does the Enterprise Really Need a Consumer Grade UI?

SAP Offers More Proof Consumer Software is the New Enterprise Standard

Newsbyte: SAP Wins Prestigious Design Award Sponsored by Interaction Design Association

Continuing Your Custom HANA App Education

Part of HANA’s beauty is that it is equally applicable to both the SAP and non-SAP worlds, and because of this, it is conceivable that in the not-too-distant future, there are likely to be more custom-built HANA applications touching non-SAP systems than commercially available ‘powered by HANA’ solutions marketed by SAP.

HANA’s ability to access and deliver information up to 100,000 times faster than what was traditionally possible, its unprecedented ability to run transactions and perform analytics on a single architecture, and its dramatic simplification and cost reduction of IT landscapes makes it too appealing, too transformative, too big for any single vendor or off-the-shelf format.

To assist you in continuing your custom HANA education, we’ve compiled a few helpful resources:

Don’t miss Optimal President Sam Sliman’s article: Custom Apps – HANA’s Big Future

Please feel free to drop us a note with more helpful HANA resources.

The Cloud: Powered by SAP HANA

SAP HANA EDUSAP has made it clear that it intends to be a leader in the cloud, and SAP’s fiscal performance in 2013 shows that the company is tracking well towards this goal. In combination with solid core performance, SAP’s fast-growing cloud business in 2013 played a key role in the company racking up its fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

SAP’s future cloud goals are clear and aggressive. For 2014, SAP targets $1.2 – $1.35 billion in cloud revenue. By 2017, SAP expects to earn $4.7 billion from the cloud. Over the next five years, SAP plans to grow its cloud market share thirty-fold.

SAP cloud solutions, powered by HANA, are tailored for today’s hybrid environment, enabling businesses to capitalize on the scalability and cost-effectiveness of cloud computing (private, public and hosted) while retaining the strategic value of keeping on premise some server operations, select business applications and sensitive data.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: The Cloud: Powered by SAP HANA

SAP Execs on the Company’s Cloud Strategy

In combination with solid core performance, SAP’s fast-growing cloud business in 2013 played a key role in the company racking up its fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth.

In 2013, SAP’s cloud subscription and support backlog increased 50% to approximately $1.6 billion, and deferred cloud subscription and support revenue increased 25% to approximately $600 million.

SAP booked over $1 billion in sales from cloud subscriptions and support in 2013, exceeding its full-year guidance and more than doubling total cloud revenue from 2012.

Based on the fourth-quarter total, SAP said the 12-month run rate for its cloud business now stands at $1.4 billion.

During SAP’s recent earnings call, Co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe underscored why SAP’s cloud growth is a crowning achievement: “We are one of the few global tech companies that has successfully managed the transition to the cloud while growing our core business and improving our profitability at the same time.”

SAP future cloud goals are both clear and aggressive. For 2014, SAP targets $1.2 – $1.35 billion in cloud revenue. By 2017, SAP expects to earn $4.7 billion from the cloud.

Gartner forecasts the worldwide cloud market to grow 18.5 percent this year to $131 billion, and SAP is determined to capture a sizable share.

To help SAP consultants and customers get a handle on SAP’s cloud aspirations, we’ve pulled together a roundup of articles containing some interesting cloud quotes from SAP execs.

SAP Going After Salesforce, Workday “with everything we have” Says CEO McDermott

SAP’s Master Plan: A Look at the Challenges Ahead

SAP Calls for Partners’ Help to Achieve High Double-digit HANA Growth

SAP Execs Predict More Innovation as Economic Outlook Improves in 2014

SAP Finance Chief Says SAP Could Look at Big Acquisitions Again

SAP CEO Envisions Younger, Greener, Cloudier Company

SAP Confirms 20 Customers Live on HANA Cloud, Hundreds in the Pipeline

SAP Sees Payoff In Cloud, Hana Bets

SAP’s Shift to Cloud May Just be Paying Off

SAP Partners Key to Growth in 2014

sap_Next GenerationOn January 21st SAP announced strong fourth-quarter and full-year financial results for 2013. Here are the main takeaways: Led by strong HANA, cloud and core solution sales, SAP notched its fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth and expanded its operating margin by 150 basis points (at constant currencies) to 33.5 percent.

Co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe anchored the announcement by underscoring what is perhaps their crowning achievement: “We are one of the few global tech companies that has successfully managed the transition to the cloud while growing our core business and improving our profitability at the same time.”

SAP aims to increase its total revenue to at least $27 billion by 2015 and targets $30 billion in total revenue by 2017.

This is an aggressive but reachable goal. In fact, Optimal believes 2014 could mark a significant inflection point in the market for SAP solutions and services.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: SAP Partners Key to Growth in 2014

2014: A Banner Year for SAP Consultants

When it comes to IT consulting, SAP consultants are the creme de la creme. No surprise here. For better than 41 years SAP has powered core systems and vital business processes for companies of all sizes across many industries.

Today, SAP has more than than 251,000 customers in over 88 countries and is the global market leader in business applications.

SAP’s well-established footprint combined with its accelerated pace of innovation spells boundless opportunity for SAP consultants in 2014 — particularly for SAP pros possessing demonstrable expertise with existing SAP solutions and the self-motivation to stay up to speed on SAP’s rapidly evolving solutions landscape.

Before looking ahead to 2014, check out this snapshot of the SAP consulting landscape in 2013:

  • Approximately 27% of full-time SAP consultants earned annual salaries ranging from $100,000 to $119,000. (RedCommerce)
  • The average annual salary for an SAP consultant in the U.S. for 2013 was $91, 689 (JobStat)
    • The highest salary recorded was $160, 203.(JobStat)
    • The lowest salary reported was $51, 787. (JobStat)
  • The highest paying U.S. States in 2013 for an SAP consultant are as follows (JobStat):
    • California – $59,618 – $132,722
    • Georgia – $46,349 – $122,276
    • Illinois – $60,275 – $121,802
    • New Jersey – $55,000 – $123,000
    • New York – $52,186 – $121,066
    • Ohio – $36,000 – $124,639
    • Texas – $57,812 – $125,757 (Texas has the highest concentration of SAP pros in the U.S. ((RedCommerce))
  • Median hourly wage for an SAP consultant in 2013 was $42.99 (JobStat):
    • The highest hourly rate recorded was $70.
    • The lowest hourly rate recorded was $15.99.
  • 83% of U.S. SAP consultants are males while 17% are females (JobStat)
  • The U.S. is the country with the most SAP jobs available (ExpertPlug)
  • FICO is the SAP skill in highest demand worldwide (ExpertPlug)

So how will SAP consultants fare in 2014? Pretty well according to numerous sources predicting an uptick in IT hiring and spending.

In a recent survey conducted by Dice of 860 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters, 73% reported planning to hire more candidates in the next six months, and 24% percent said their additional hiring will be substantial. Dice notes that SAP roles remain hard to fill, which bodes well for SAP consultants looking for a new gig in 2014.

According to the 2014 Robert Half Technology salary guide, salaries in ERP applications development have risen by roughly 6%, compared with 4% in 2013. For SAP pros, Robert Half Technology salary guide recommends adding an additional 8% to their annual salaries.

A salary survey conducted by SaaS ERP integrator Panaya reports SAP pros received a raise last year, and also found that the highest salaries for SAP pros are in aerospace and defense, $126,000, healthcare, $110,700, and financial services, $110,000, while the lowest are in the public sector and education, $87,750, logistics & transportation, $86,400, and communications, $80,000.

According to the Panaya survey, the median salary for SAP pros with 10 years of experience is $120,000, while those with 1 to 3 years of experience earn an average of $53,500.

And if the positive correlation between IT spending and SAP consulting holds true (which it should), an uptick in global IT spending is good news for SAP pros.

According to Gartner, worldwide spending for IT and telecom in 2014 will total $3.8 trillion, with enterprise software spending driving the growth — totaling $320 billion and growing 6.8%. Global spending on IT and telecom products and services will grow 3.1% between 2013 and 2014, Gartner reports, compared to just 0.4% a year earlier.

Gartner pegs the IT services growth rate at a modest 2.2% for 2013, but predicts that pace will quicken to 4.6% in 2014 and 5.2% in both 2015 and 2016.

Acording to Forrester, which does not include telecom in its estimate, global spending on technology will rise 6.2% to $2.2 trillion in 2014.

Rounding things off, IDC predicts global spending on IT will reach $2.1 trillion in 2014, up five percent annually, with cloud, mobile and big data driving the lion’s share of growth.

IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IT consulting will expand at an annual growth rate of 4.1% through 2017.

IT Predictions 2014 and Beyond

In today’s IT world, innovation moves at a breakneck speed. IT pros know only too well that resting on their laurels is a recipe for disaster.

More than any other large software vendor, SAP has been innovating to beat the band. And we’re not talking about minor tweaks to staid products. SAP’s ‘intellectual’ renewal, sparked by HANA but permeating every aspect of the company’s product portfolio, has been in full swing for several years now, and its pace of innovation shows no signs of slowing — from in-memory technology, to Cloud delivery to advanced analytics/BI to its tenacious grasp on a ‘mobility first’ strategy, SAP is leading the way in the rapid evolution of enterprise technology.

From the core to the edge and all points in between, SAP is driving tectonic business transformation and  driving measurable and meaningful real-world results. Perhaps more than ever before, SAP consultants are challenged with keeping abreast of the very latest technological developments — and more critically, helping SAP customers understand what this tsunami in product advances means to them now and down the road. So what will be the top IT trends in 2014 and beyond?

To help SAP consultants stay on top of their game (and earning potential), we’ve pulled together a roundup of the latest pundit predictions:

Top 10 Market Predictions For 2014

2014 Forecast: Business Gets Strategic About The Cloud

Gartner’s Technology Predictions for 2014, 2015 and 2016

Predictions for 2014: The Internet of Things, predictive Analytics and SAP HANA As DBaaS

2014 BI Outlook: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

Troubling, Challenging 2014 ERP Predictions

10 Predictions For the ERP Software Industry in 2014

Seven IT Predictions for 2014

2014 Digital Trends And Predictions From Marketing Thought Leaders

Gartner: The Top 10 IT Altering Predictions for 2014

IDC Predictions 2014

Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2014 and Beyond

See Clearly Through Big Data

SAP_HANA_Speed-300x225Deriving actionable insights — correlations, trends, outliers, etc. — in real time from terabytes of big data — operational, transactional, structured, unstructured — is vital to success for businesses of all sizes across all industries in today’s increasingly global, hyper-competitive, always-on, Internet-of-everything business world.

Businesses lacking the capability to effectively leverage big data are at a marked disadvantage. According to Gartner, most organizations are ill prepared to address both the technical and management challenges posed by big data, and as a direct result of this, few will be able to exploit big data for competitive advantage. Putting a finer point on this observation, Gartner predicts that through 2015, 85 percent of Fortune 500 organizations will be unable to exploit big data for competitive advantage

Given that the majority of organizations have invested significantly in core backend systems — ERP, EIM, EPM, CRM, SCM, HCM, etc. — and upstream tasks such as data capture, storage, and cleansing, it is reasonable to conclude that this big data impasse can in large part be attributed to systems integration complexity, analytics skills gap, and lack of proficiency with big data visualization tools — three fronts on which SAP has made great strides over the past few years.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: See Clearly Through Big Data

Optimal Solutions Leadership talks about ideal employees

consultant

 

Optimal Solutions Leadership talks about ideal employees

Big Data Drives Demand for Interactive Visualization

Big Data has moved well beyond hype. It is a top challenge businesses of all sizes must grapple with now — as in today.  Drawing insight and actionable information in a timely manner from the massive amount of data available can no longer be accomplished with static graphs, spreadsheets, and day-. week- or month-old reports.

According to Gartner, big data demand will reach 4.4 million jobs globally, but only one-third of those jobs will be filled. Gartner says the demand for Big Data is growing, and enterprises will need to reassess their competencies and skills to respond to this opportunity.

SAP consultants are well advised to hone their skills for building intuitive dashboards that integrate myriad back-end systems and enable non-techie business users to interact in real time with big data to drive big-time business value.

Here’s a roundup of articles and reports on data visualization to help you see clearly the importance of visualization:

Dashboard Development and Data Visualization Tools for Effective BI

Harness the Power of Data Visualization to Transform Your Business

The BI Collaboration Challenge

15 Data Visualization Trends

Top 10 Technologies & Predictions for 2014

Top 5 Predictions for 2014

Mobile Dashboards Best Practices

Crab Legs for Christmas? Barbies for Boys? SAP Can Make or Break Holiday Profits for Retailers

christmas-gifts-box-300

With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, retailers are on edge! They increasingly understand this narrow window of sales — historically one of peak shopping — could make or break their annual profits (and their stock price).

In the past, predictions regarding top seasonal sellers, timely promotions and location- and channel-specific product placements were left to marketing gurus. The gurus tended to draw on faulty or incomplete data, unfounded hunches and crossed fingers. This paradigm has changed.

With data volumes exploding, a shortened selling season, increased competition, and a growing number of tech- and social-savvy consumers shopping online (via PC and mobile devices), successful retail organizations must become adept at extracting maximum value from their data. With hordes of transactional, operational, and unstructured (social) data, retailers need to ensure they offer consumers a consistent, multichannel experience featuring the right products, at the right time, through the right channel. SAP solutions for retail make this possible.

For a selection of meaningful business benefits possible with integrated SAP solutions for retail read article by Jeremy Stierwalt : Crab Legs for Christmas? Barbies for Boys? SAP Can Make or Break Holiday Profits for Retailers

SAP’s Transaction Triumvirate and the Network Effect

In his article “SAP – Powering the World’s Transactions,” Optimal president Sam Sliman tuned us into the fact that “SAP is quietly and persistently cornering the market on transactions,” noting that “SAP infrastructure is responsible for powering approximately 70 percent of the world’s transactions.”

“Strategically, this is powerful stuff,” Sliman maintains. “If you are critical to consummating a large number of the world’s transactions, your options for leveraging this are seemingly unlimited.”

With its 2012 acquisition of Ariba, the supplier network connecting more than a million buyers and suppliers, SAP significantly bolstered its positioning as a vital enabler of global transactions, Sliman points out.

At Sibos last month, SAP announced that Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions has subscribed to SAP Financial Services Network (FSN), which provides secure communication for transactions between corporations and their financial institutions.

The combination of SAP’s strong heritage powering transactions, SAP’s ownership of the largest business network in the world (Ariba), and the burgeoning SAP Financial Services Network gives rise to a Transaction Triumvirate that ensures SAP dominance in the world of enterprise technology now and for generations to come.

SAP has more than 251,000 customers across 188 countries, and nearly 80 percent of the Fortune 500 use SAP software.

With 1.2 million companies connected and approximately half a trillion dollars transacted, Ariba is the world’s largest business network. If it were a country, it would rank in the top 25 based on GDP.

Available to financial institutions and their corporate customers since March 2013, FSN is an innovative on-demand solution that connects financial institutions and other financial service providers with their corporate customers on a secure network owned and managed by SAP.

The combination of the Ariba Network and SAP’s FSN should enable SAP to integrate the physical and financial chains of its customer base, solidifying, strengthening and building out this massive network.

SAP’s extensive installed base, particularly its Fortune 500 customers, are all potential nodes in this network.

Business networks play a vital role in today’s increasingly global, increasingly digital economy.

Given this Transaction Triumvirate, SAP and its customers stand to benefit greatly from Metcalf’s Law and/or the ‘network effect.’

Metcalf’s Law states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users .

Similarly, the network effect considers the value one user of a good or service has on the value of that good or service to other people, meaning the value of the network-based service increases for all participants with each additional network member.

SAP – Powering the World’s Transactions

power

SAP infrastructure is responsible for powering approximately 70 percent of the world’s transactions — not too shabby for a company that was at one time unknown outside the world of enterprise technology.

Fueled by ubiquitous broadband, smart phones and tablets, an ever-increasing amount of transactions today are conducted online. According to InternetRetailer, total e-commerce sales worldwide topped $1 trillion in 2012, and Forrester (conservatively) pegs e-commerce to grow at a 10 percent CAGR through 2013.

While a lot of press is focused on the SAP-Oracle dogfight and the encroachment of cloud computing onto SAP’s legacy turf, it is surprising (at least to me) that more analysts aren’t tuned into the fact that SAP is quietly and persistently cornering the market on transactions. Strategically, this is powerful stuff. If you are critical to consummating a large number of the world’s transactions, your options for leveraging this are seemingly unlimited.

SAP is making deliberate and intelligent moves in the enterprise technology chess game. Someday the market will understand just how these moves have positioned SAP to continue its success in the future.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: SAP – Powering the World’s Transactions

SAP Crushes Q3

SAP had a very strong third-quarter performance, record-setting in fact.

Net profit rose 23 percent to $1.04 billion in the July-to-September period, and revenue increased 2 percent on the year.

HANA grew 90 percent in Q3, and SAP’s cloud business hit triple-digit growth.

Q3 marked SAP’s 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth – that’s twice as fast as the closest competitor.

During the conference call on Monday, SAP co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe, along with SAP CTO Vishal Sikka and SAP CFO Werner Brandt, shared some interesting comments on company goals, market realities and the competitive landscape.

We’ve pulled together the highlights:

McDermott

“We are gaining market share with software and subscription growth that is 2x faster than our closest competitor.

“SAP is leading the rapid market transition to the cloud with triple-digit growth of 162% in cloud subscription and support revenue in Q3.

“We now have a cloud revenue run rate of over EUR 1 billion, and we have the largest subscriber base with approximately 33 million cloud users.

“In Q3, we overtook Oracle as the second-largest enterprise cloud company.

“With 90% growth in Q3, HANA remains 1 of the fastest-growing products in the enterprise software industry.

“SAP Business Suite on HANA is the most modern business suite in the industry, and with approximately 450 customers now the demand for Business Suite on HANA has exceeded even our own high expectations.

“We’re expanding the world’s largest business network with 1.2 million connected companies and approximately USD 0.5 trillion transacted on the Ariba Business Network.

“If the Ariba Network were a country, ladies and gentlemen, it would now be in the top 25 based on GDP.

“One has to always remember when we model our business, we’re very cognizant of the fact that upwards of 40% of our full year number happens in Q4.

“We are going to be the #1 business software company in the cloud in the world.

Snabe

Despite the mixed market macroeconomic environment, we remain committed to a double-digit growth company.

Sikka

“We are doubling down on HANA and the cloud.

“Optimizing SAP’s product portfolio on HANA in the cloud means a dramatic price performance improvement and a massive benefit of simplicity in the cloud for all of our customers.

“We see a really exciting future in front of us with HANA as the foundation and the platform for all of our products

 

SAP Pros: Find a Partner with the Right Stuff

SAP has publicly stated several aggressive business and growth goals it plans to achieve by 2015:

It will grow from $16 billion in revenue in 2010 to $25 billion; it will increase its user base of 500 million people to 1 billion end users; it will top $2.5 billion in cloud revenue; and it will remain the fastest-growing database company in the world.

Aside from a killer product offering and compelling product road map, SAP’s secret formula for achieving its growth goals is no secret at all. More than ever before, SAP will rely on partners with the right stuff to fulfill its vision.

To ensure partners have the right stuff, SAP takes a ‘surgical approach’ to recruitment, spending as much as $200,000 on a potential partner prospect.

To protect their livelihood, SAP professionals must continually educate themselves and seek out cutting edge projects with the latest SAP solutions (organic and acquired).

To accomplish this it is vital for SAP pros to align themselves (full-time or contract basis) with SAP consulting partners deemed worthy by SAP to lead the company’s revenue-growth charge.

Here’s a snapshot of the opportunity SAP envisions for its partners with the right stuff:

  • SAP reserves for partners all sales to customers and prospects in North America with annual revenue under $1 billion.
  • SAP claims that in just five years’ time, its global partner base will earn some $220 billion by selling its big data and analytics products and services.
  • Market researcher IDC calculates that HANA generated $4.2 billion in revenue for SAP channel partners last year and projects that number will climb to $10.5 billion by 2017.
  • SAP targets 40 percent of its software revenue to come from partners in 2015, up from about 33 percent in 2012.
  • SAP partners will build 80 percent of SAP mobile apps.
  • The SAP app store contains more than 2,000 applications from SAP and some 1,000 SAP partners.

 

SAP, Hybris Integrate For Omni-Channel Bliss

e-commerce_serviceOn June 5th SAP announced plans to acquire Hybris, officially closing the deal on August 1st. On August 6th, SAP execs held a press conference for media and analysts to discuss how SAP and Hybris plan to redefine commerce.

As history has shown, SAP is exceptionally good at integrating acquired products and organizations. Hybris is no exception. At its press conference in NYC, SAP announced that an initial integration between Hybris and SAP’s HANA in-memory computing platform is already complete. SAP will be making more integration announcements in October. SAP is moving fast on this because a fully-integrated solution is a significant differentiator.

SAP and Hybris customers (present, prospective, mutual, and exclusive) are eager to learn how the SAP/Hybris combo will positively impact their business. The full magnitude of the SAP/Hybris integration will play out over the next few weeks and months, particularly as qualified SAP partners get to work building productized, out-of-the-box, industry- and functional-specific solutions based on integrated SAP/Hybris technology.

Stay tuned as SAP reveals more about the nut-and-bolts here.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: SAP, Hybris Integrate for Omni-Channel Bliss

Analytics Skills Gap

There’s no shortage of pundit predictions on the exponential growth, complexity and potential business value of big data:

  • McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) estimates 40,000 exabytes of data being collected by 2020 — up from 2700 exabytes in 2012.
  • According to IDC, the digital universe will top 40 trillion gigabytes by 2020, up from 130 billion gigabytes in 2005, according to IDC.

The business value of big data is growing by leaps and bounds as well:

  • McKinsey reports that retailers effectively tapping big data can increase operating margins by as much as 60 percent and estimates that big data analytics could increase annual GDP in retail and manufacturing by up to $325 billion by 2020.
  • Walmart used big data analysis to drive a 10-15% increase in completed online sales for $1 billion in incremental revenue.
  • According to a survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review, top-performing organizations are twice as likely as lower-performers to apply analytics in their operations.
  • IDC forecasts that the big data market will to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015.
  • According to Wikibon, the big data market will reach $50 billion by 2017.

The problem is, many (perhaps most) pundits also predict that there will be a shortage of talent necessary for organizations to take advantage of big data:

  • By 2018 the United States will experience a shortage of 190,000 skilled data scientists, and 1.5 million managers and analysts capable of reaping actionable insights from the big data deluge. (McKinsey)

  • Most organizations are ill prepared to address both the technical and management challenges posed by big data; as a direct result, few will be able to effectively exploit this trend for competitive advantage. (Gartner)

  • So how will companies use this new [analytics/BI] technology? It will take having the right kind of people creating the queries and analyzing the results — developers who understand statistics and the business, or business people who understand statistics and can write queries — in other words, people with skills in short supply. (Gartner)

  • By 2014, 40% of spending on business analytics will go to system integrators, not software vendors. (Gartner)

  • 46% of organizations cite inadequate staffing or skills for big data analytics. (TDWI Research)

  • More than three-fourths of 169 executives surveyed say staffing and training issues are the greatest obstacles to making the most of big data. (Ventana Research)

  • While the majority of executives (58%) believe finding the right technology is the biggest challenge their companies face in analyzing data, the majority (56%) of IT decision-makers charged with implementing Big Data programs believe finding the right staff is a bigger challenge than finding the right technology. (Avanade)

  • 83% of data scientists surveyed felt that new technology would increase the demand for data scientists, and 64% believe that it will outpace the supply of available talent. (EMC)

  • The discipline of developing the models for predictive analytics applications isn’t within the skill set of the average business user or even the traditional business intelligence (BI) data analyst. The biggest shortage we see around big data is data scientists — people who know what to do with the raw information. (Forrester)

  • “Every single client I talk to tells me they are struggling with finding and retaining BI talent.” (Boris Evelson, analyst at Forrester Research)

  • Today there is a shortage of trained Big Data technology experts, in addition to a shortage of analytics experts. This labor supply constraint will act as an inhibitor of adoption and use of Big Data technologies, and it will also encourage vendors to deliver Big Data technologies as cloud-based solutions. (IDC)

  • There will be a 24% increase in demand for professionals with management analysis skills over the next eight years. The need for this specialized talent is being fueled by an increased use of business analytics by companies to better understand the explosion of data. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

By automating certain cumbersome, error-prone, complex analytics jobs — such as preparing analytical data, selecting algorithms, testing and fine-tuning analytic models, etc. — KXEN, soon to be acquired by SAP, combats this shortage, extending predictive analytics tools beyond data scientists to line-of-business users and other non-tech employees in the workplace.

 

SAP Advances Analytics/BI Continuum, Broadens Use

imageTwo things were made clear last week at the 2013 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Anaheim: 1.) An increasing number of organizations are moving beyond basic, descriptive BI reporting tools and embracing more advanced, diagnostic or predictive analytics; and 2.) The push has never been stronger to extend the reach of advanced analytics/BI solutions to more people within an organization.

IDC predicts the digital universe will expand in 2013 by almost 50 percent to just under 4 trillion gigabytes, 90 percent of which has been created in just the last two years, and Forrester pegs big-data’s growth rate at 2,200 petabytes per day. McKinsey reports that companies with more than 1,000 employees possess on average more than 200 terabytes of stored data.

McKinsey reports that retailers effectively tapping big data can increase operating margins by as much as 60 percent. Walmart used big data analysis to drive a 10-15% increase in completed online sales for $1 billion in incremental revenue, and according to a survey conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review, top-performing organizations are twice as likely as lower-performers to apply analytics in their operations.

Computing resources are plentiful and advanced analytics/BI tools are becoming increasingly easier to use. When focused on big data analytics and put into the hands of more employees, they can reveal some of the most stunning and profitable insights into customers, products, markets and competition.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: SAP Advances Analytics/ BI Continuum, Broadens Use

All Eyes on SBOUC 2013

All eyes in the SAP world were focused this week on the 2013 ASUG SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Anaheim, where hot news items included the general availability of BI 4.1; SAP’s acquisition of KXEN; SAP’s partnership with Intel and Hortonworks to redistribute Apache Hadoop; the SAP Demand Signal Management application for manufacturers; ASUG’s Ultimate Choice Program for realizing superior performance, reliability, efficiency and low TCO from SAP Sybase ASE; the SBOUC debut of Christian Rodatus, SAP’s SVP of global analytics solutions; and a killer concert from the legendary REO Speedwagon.

Keynotes delivered by SAP execs addressed dark data and the connected enterprise, and as we’ve come to expect, the event delivered education, entertainment and networking opportunities for ASUG members to learn from the experts, test drive SAP analytics and BI solutions, and influence future innovations.

For those who could not attend SBOUC this year (and those who attended and are still catching their breath), we pulled together a roundup of highlights:

SAP Plans KXEN Buy to Widen Appeal of Big Data

SAP Helps Redefine the Art of the Possible in Analytics

SAP Focuses on Stability, Data Source Support with Business Objects Update

SAP Helps Customers Achieve Real-Time Big Data Results With SAP HANA and Hadoop

SAP and ASUG Offer Members Exceptional Performance and Savings Through Exclusive Initiative

SAP Extends the Power of Predictive Analytics to Unlock Big Data With Acquisition of KXEN

SAP BusinessObjects 4.1: Now GA for All


BPC on HANA: Ground Zero for Predictive Analytics

data-illustration-computing-cover-370x229The promise of applying predictive analytics to big data is compelling – crunch large data volumes to unlock insight that supports predictions and guides decisions for boosting efficiency, the bottom line and competitiveness.

According to a new study by MarketsandMarkets, the predictive analytics market is estimated to grow from $1.70 billion in 2013 to $5.24 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 25.2% from 2013 to 2018. According to Gartner analyst Rita Sallam, “Those that can do advanced analytics on top of big data will grow 20 percent more than their peers.”

SAP is recognized as a leader in the EPM market by industry analyst organizations such as Gartner, IDC, Forrester and Ventana Research, among others, and on the analytics front, SAP is named a leader by Forrester in the “The Forrester Wave: Big Data Predictive Analytics Solutions, Q1 2013” and a leader by Gartner in the 2013 “Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms.”

SAP partners such as Optimal who have invested heavily and have demonstrable expertise in these solution areas are well-positioned to help businesses and organizations of all sizes reap value from big data.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: BPC on HANA: Ground Zero for Predictive Analytics

SAP Consultant Stats

innovation 4Did You know that about 82 percent of SAP pros are male? Or that when it comes to pay, male and female SAP pros are fairly equally compensated?

Another few additional interesting facts: Nearly one-third of SAP workers are on visas. Of the respondents, 54% were U.S. citizens, 31% were holders of temporary work visas, including H-1B visas, and 15% were green card, or permanent resident, workers.

As for the coin SAP pros make, freelance SAP consultants bank the most, reporting wages of $101 to $120 per hour.

Approximately 27% of the full-time workers say they earn annual salaries ranging from $100,000 to $119,000.

Texas has the highest concentration of SAP pros in the U.S.?

Check out these and other findings from a recent survey by Red Commerce.

MCaaS, More Than Just a Cloud Option

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The transition of corporate IT to the cloud is well underway for most organizations and progressing at a pace that is most likely faster than expected, as it has become common practice for business leaders to sidestep IT and procure non-mission-critical cloud services that address specific needs – web service tools, email/collaboration tools, app development/testing environments, etc.

In the beginning, this practice wasn’t terribly problematic. But times have changed. Cloud solutions have significantly evolved; cloud architectures have increased in variety and complexity; integration across an IT landscape is paramount; and businesses are now tapping the cloud with greater frequency to handle heavier workloads and drive core processes. While cost savings and the OPEX versus CAPEX aspect of MCaaS are certainly appealing, the decision to implement a cloud-based solution increasingly hinges on the question of business value – both near and long term.

At Optimal, we’re excited to add MCaaS to our portfolio of SAP solutions, and we remain committed to leveraging the full force of our 18+ years of industry experience, deep SAP expertise, and sustained investment in SAP offerings to ensure that our customers’ entire SAP journey — in the cloud and on-premise — aligns perfectly with their unique business needs and objectives.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: MCaaS, More Than Just a Cloud Option

Hybrid Cloud Model Gathers Steam

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A spate of recent reports confirms what we all inherently know — cloud computing has entered the mainstream and is prevalent among enterprises today.

According to CDW’s 2013 State of the Cloud Report, more than half of organizations are moving or plan to move specific apps or infrastructure to the cloud. The Everest Group concurs, reporting that 57 percent of enterprises are using Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and 38 percent of organizations have adopted Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions.

GigaOM Research expects the total worldwide addressable market for cloud computing to reach $158.8 billion by 2014, an increase of 126.5 percent from 2011, and Forrester predicts 22 percent annual growth in cloud computing through 2020, when it will top $240 billion.

SAP intends to dominate the cloud by providing the most comprehensive cloud-computing portfolio on the market and the best services and solutions to help guide customers through their cloud journey – from planning to implementing to optimizing and maintaining. The company’s cloud revenue totaled $454 million in 2012 and is forecast to more than double in 2013. Looking ahead, SAP targets $2.6 billion in cloud revenue by 2015.

On a July 21 analyst call, SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott confidently proclaimed that SAP “will have the highest-performing cloud in the world.” It is clear that SAP has a strategy in place to achieve this goal.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: Hybrid Cloud Model Gathers Steam

Poll: Got SAP Cloud Concerns?

According to CDW’s 2013 State of the Cloud Report, more than half of organizations are moving or plan to move specific apps or infrastructure to the cloud. The Everest Group concurs, reporting that 57 percent of enterprises are using Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and 38 percent of organizations have adopted Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions.

In fact, most industry pundits are bullish on the cloud. Gartner cites cloud computing as one of the biggest developments impacting the IT world over the next five years, and Forrester predicts 22 percent annual growth in cloud computing through 2020.

SAP is well ahead of its peers in providing non-disruptive, enterprise-class cloud solutions in the areas that matter most — from SuccessFactors to Ariba to SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand, SAP Financials OnDemand, SAP Sales OnDemand, and SAP Services OnDemand, among many others.

Understanding that the future is in open clouds, not proprietary hardware, the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform bring massive scale for mission-critical applications and serve as a unified foundation for the full portfolio of integrated SAP cloud solutions.

With a pragmatic eye toward hybrid on-premise/on-demand landscapes, SAP puts customers in the driver’s seat for their cloud journey by offering a simple, flexible model for extending current on-premise solutions to cloud applications.

SAP’s cloud revenue totaled $454 million in 2012 and is forecast to more than double in 2013. SAP forecasts $2.6 billion in cloud revenue by 2015.

There’s no stopping cloud migration, that’s for certain, but there are a few concerns that are forcing many to proceed with caution as they embrace the cloud.

Wherever you are in your cloud journey, take the Optimal SAP Cloud poll. Share your top cloud concerns and learn from your peers what gives them pause as they move forward with their cloud plans.

The Evolution of Optimal Labs

Labs

Optimal has achieved many important milestones over the company’s 18-year history of SAP consulting, but the official launch of Optimal Labs on June 27th 2013 marks an achievement of special importance – a seminal moment that forever changes how our clients explore, evaluate, test and purchase SAP.

To fully understand the significance of Optimal Labs, it helps to know a bit about how Optimal Labs evolved — from the development of a single SAP All-in-One solution to the fully populated landscape of Optimal Labs featuring a complete set of integrated SAP solutions powered by HANA running on state-of-the-industry hardware contributed by Cisco, EMC, VCE and Motorola.

The six months leading up to the launch of Optimal Labs featured a frenzy of activity in connection with pulling together the Labs’ extensive hardware and software components, but the inception of Optimal Labs began five years before this, in 2008, when Optimal invested in its first pre-configured SAP solution.

We are the largest consulting firm in the world focused exclusively on SAP. We run better as a company because of our investment in SAP. But we will achieve our goals only by helping our customers achieve theirs.

In this spirit, we welcome our customers to visit Optimal Labs and test drive all of the latest SAP products and product releases, experiment with HANA, mobility and the cloud, and most importantly — using their own data and focusing on their unique business requirements — quickly build a defensible business case for deploying SAP technology.

As always, we’re happy to share with our customers lessons learned over 18 years of implementing SAP for companies of all sizes across many industries, and we’re equally pleased to share lessons learned over the past five years during our first-hand journey as an SAP customer.

Read article by Optimal CEO Gurvendra Suri: The Evolution of Optimal Labs

Optimal Labs Poll

By Rory Doherty, Editorial Director, Optimal SAP Advisor

On June 27th I had the great honor and pleasure of attending the official opening of Optimal Labs. Located in 3,500 square feet of dedicated space in the Optimal headquarters in Irving, TX, Optimal Labs features more than 50 instances of SAP powered by HANA and equipment contributed by Optimal, SAP, Cisco, EMC and Motorola.

All of the latest SAP products and product releases – from ECC 6.0 to the complete Business Suite to the SAP Mobile Platform to SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.1 to HANA Enterprise Cloud, SAP Fiori and more – are up and running in the Optimal Labs, providing Optimal customers with a state-of-the-art, one-stop facility to test drive the latest and greatest SAP solutions, experiment with HANA, Mobility and the Cloud, and most importantly — using their own data and focusing on their unique business requirements — quickly build a rock-solid business case for implementing SAP.

Optimal customers in attendance at the launch event included representatives from Sysco Foods, Pepsi, Texas Instruments, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, DART Container, TetraPak, Network Services Company, TOMs Shoes and Turner Construction.

I had the great pleasure of meeting with many of these customers, and their reaction to Optimal Labs was off the charts. (More on this in future installments.) Suffice it to say, wheels were spinning as they considered what HANA-powered application and/or functionality they plan on test-driving first.

In this spirit, we invite all SAP customers, partners and pros to take our Optimal Labs poll.

Optimal Labs Officially Opens for Business

optimal labs 5The pace of change in business today is equaled only by the blistering speed of technological innovation, and no major technology vendor has flexed its innovation chops more over the past several years than SAP. From HANA to mobility to the cloud and beyond, SAP is transforming the way businesses run by providing solutions that drive innovation at an unprecedented scale.

It is against this backdrop of critical questions and boundless opportunity that Optimal is proud to officially open Optimal Labs — a state of the art facility featuring a wide array of integrated SAP industry, line of business, analytical, and technical products where SAP customers can experience live demonstrations of the very latest SAP solutions, build business cases for investing in SAP, test enhancements to their existing SAP landscapes, and learn first hand how mobility, enterprise performance management (EPM), enterprise information management (EIM), the cloud, analytics and the power of SAP HANA can drive process improvements, efficiency gains, competitiveness and profits.

Optimal Labs features more than 50 instances of SAP and equipment contributed by Optimal, SAP, Cisco, EMC and Motorola. Our goal is to provide a tightly integrated environment where our customers can simultaneously evaluate all components of their IT landscapes. At bottom, Optimal Labs is a highly collaborative effort orchestrated by a broad array of partners to ensure the success of our mutual SAP customers.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: Optimal Labs Officially Opens for Business

ASUG news on Optimal Labs

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Technology decisions for companies today carry more weight than ever. How they make those decisions can be especially difficult if they don’t have a way of truly seeing and experiencing the latest SAP innovations within the operations — before they make related purchases.

Optimal Labs gives you an easy way of getting that advance insight, including with your own data in a secure test environment. Optimal Labs, however, provides much more than SAP solution demos in real-world scenarios. We provide customized business case justification with tangible ROI projections as well as implementation guidelines, best-practice recommendations and timetables specific to your unique operations.

Here is what ASUG news reports on Optimal Labs: Test Drivers Wanted: Optimal Labs Opens!

SAP + Hybris : The Big Picture

By Rory Doherty, Editorial Director, Optimal SAP Advisor

On June 5th SAP announced plans to acquire hybris, a rapidly growing, Swiss-based business specializing in multi-channel e-commerce technology that helps businesses strengthen brands, solidify customer relationships, and grow revenue by presenting a consistent, real-time personalized experience across all customer touch points — the Web, mobile devices, call centers, physical locations, etc.

SAP’s already strong offering of CRM solutions has many wondering about the strategy behind this acquisition. We’ve pulled together some eye-opening statistics on CRM, e-commerce, and cross-channel performance that will help bring big-picture perspective to SAP’s bold move in the ever-expanding, increasingly vital e-commerce/CRM space.

CRM is strong and growing

Gartner estimates the 2012 CRM market at $12 billion. (Gartner)

The 2012 global CRM market of $18 billion grew by 12.5 percent over 2011. (Forrester)

The 2012 CRM software market was approximately $18 billion. (IDC)

A recent survey revealed that CRM has edged past enterprise resource planning (ERP) as the top application software investment priority. (Gartner)

Despite the sizable amount spent on CRM to date, the CRM market has ample room to grow. Of 455 large companies surveyed in Europe and North America, only 55% have installed a CRM solution (Forrester)

The CRM market grew from an installed base of 36 percent in 2009 to an installed base of 51 percent in 2011, an aggressive growth trend expected to continue though 2016 and beyond. (Computer Economics)

Gartner predicts a growth rate of 500% for mobile CRM by 2014. (Gartner)

50 percent of all CRM applications will be Web-based by 2016. (Gartner)

Datamonitor forecast double-digit compound annual growth for cloud CRM software of 17.4% through 2013. (Datamonitor)

CRM is the most mobilized business application in the manufacturing sector, with over 35% of manufacturers already mobilizing their CRM software applications. (IDC)

Mobile CRM apps are the most suitable business applications for mobile deployment as the CRM software is tightly linked to email, often delivered from the cloud and typically used by salespeople in the field. (IDC) [Read more…]

Why Hybris Acquisition Makes Sense for SAP

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On June 5th SAP announced plans to acquire Hybris, a rapidly growing, Swiss-based business specializing in multi-channel e-commerce technology that helps businesses strengthen brands, solidify customer relationships, and grow revenue.

Hybris has operations in 15 countries around the globe and over 500 customers, including global B2B sites W.W.Grainger, Rexel, General Electric, Thomson Reuters and 3M as well as consumer brands Toys”R”Us, Metro, Bridgestone, P&G, Levi’s, Nikon, Galeries Lafayette, Migros, Nespresso and Lufthansa, according to Hybris.

According to SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott, the Hybris acquisition is a part of SAP’s plans to “take over” the CRM software market, and will serve as “a defining step in SAP’s evolution to a business-to-business-to-consumer company.”

The secret sauce that gives these statements gravitas and leaves competitors shaking in their boots is, at bottom, no secret all. It’s SAP HANA; specifically, it is HANA’s tested, proven and unique ability to process massive data at lightning speed and HANA’s unparalleled capacity to simultaneously process both operational & transactional data.

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: Why Hybris Acquisition Makes Sense for SAP

SAP Aims for CRM Dominance with Hybris Acquisition

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On June 5th SAP announced that it plans to acquire hybris, a rapidly growing and widely recognized leader in e-commerce technology. While SAP has not gone on record with the purchase price, it is widely reported that SAP will pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion for the Zug, Switzerland-based company — a figure many financial analysts cite as ‘premium,’ but one that SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott claims is “a fair price” and “consistent with other fast-growing assets.”

Hybris’ main attraction is its ability to provide a similar customer experience across all channels — from brick-and-mortar locations to smartphones to tablets to contact centers and Web sites. A selection of hybris’ big-name customers includes Procter & Gamble, Nespresso and Levi’s, among many others.

Known for its philosophy of growing organically rather than by acquisitions, SAP has shifted its stance as of late — spending about $9-billion (U.S.) on acquisitions, about 10 per cent of its current market capitalization, in the last 18 months.

With an already strong offering of CRM solutions, including the recently launched SAP 360 Customer powered by SAP HANA, there’s no shortage of commentary on why SAP is making such a bold move in the CRM space.

Here’s a roundup of recent news articles on SAP’s planned hybris buy:

SAP Press Release: SAP to Acquire hybris to Deliver Next-Generation Customer Experience

SAP Buys e-Commerce Vendor hybris in Strike Back at Oracle, Salesforce.com

SAP’s Purchasing Power Play

SAP to Acquire hybris to Deliver Next-Generation Customer Experience

SAP to Buy hybris to Fight Salesforce in E-Commerce Push (2)

SAP Buys hybris – Enterprise Irregulars

SAP to Acquire E-commerce Player hybris to Target ‘Consumer Economy’

SAP Needs hybris, but will they fit together

SAP enters e-commerce space with hybris acquisition

SAP Eyes B2C Commerce in hybris Buyout

SAP announces acquisition plan for hybris

SAP Paying Top Dollar in a Buying Spree

CFOs to Flock to BPC in the Cloud

CFO bpc cloud

Corporate performance management (CPM), also known as business performance management (BPM), or enterprise performance management (EPM), helps companies use the insight gleaned from BI and other systems to align strategy and execution, which ultimately improves efficiency and the bottom line.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC), the centerpiece of SAP’s EPM portfolio, combines the most common EPM needs of the office of finance. With a customer base of more than 6,500 (and growing rapidly), BPC’s market success can be attributed to several factors: It supports Microsoft Office tools (eliminating tedious, error-prone, manual Excel-driven planning and consolidations processes); easily integrates with SAP and non-SAP environments; and enables accelerated planning, consolidated financial reporting and advanced forecasting capabilities – all in a single application.

Upping their game, SAP announced BPC (NetWeaver Edition) powered by SAP HANA in 2012, empowering organizations to easily tackle today’s big-data deluge. And, never resting on their innovation laurels, with the help of select partners such as Optimal, SAP BPC is now available in the cloud – an offering sure to resonate well with today’s CFOs.

An Aberdeen study conducted in 2012 found that best-in-class organizations are 2.5 times as likely than all other organizations to be using cloud financial management solutions. Top reasons for doing so are lowering the cost of optimizing infrastructure, efficient collaboration across geographies and the ability to respond quickly to business demands, according to Aberdeen.

In the pursuit of maintaining a lean balance sheet with optimum cash flow, CFOs are aggressively exploring opex options — such as paying a monthly fee for cloud delivery of SAP BPC. Shifting capital expenses to operating expenses reduces costs, saves money, and makes financial statements look better, which is why Gartner forecasts that, to get around limitations on IT and capital spending, more than 50 percent of enterprises will have some form of SaaS-based application strategy by 2015. BPC in the cloud + HANA = happy CFOs!

Read article by Optimal President Sam Sliman: CFOs to Flock to BPC in the Cloud

Want IT Projects Green lighted? Impress the CFO

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For an increasing number of organizations, the CFO is instrumental in technology decision making.

According to a survey of finance executives conducted jointly in 2012 by Financial Executives Research Foundation and Gartner, 41 percent of CFOs are the actual leaders of groups responsible for IT investment; another 41 percent are part of a group responsible for that function; 16 percent provide advice; and 2 percent are the sole decision makers.

Suffice it to say, when it comes to green lighting technology purchases and IT projects, CFOs are a force to be reckoned with. The upside of CFO sway in IT decision making is that head bean counters are more tech savvy than ever before.

According to the survey, seventy-two percent of CFOs plan to invest where they see the possibility of IT helping them create a competitive advantage, and more than one-third of organizations see IT as being a strategic driver of business performance.

To help you win over your CFO and move forward with that choice IT project, we’ve compiled a list of insightful articles and surveys.

CFOs Have Expanded Role in IT Spending

Gartner Says Business Intelligence/Analytics Is Top Area for CFO Technology Investment Through 2014

Magic Quadrant for Corporate Performance Management Suites

Top 10 Findings From Gartner’s Financial Executives International CFO Technology Study

Capex Planning: What Works Best for Today’s CFOs

Survey: CFOs Expect Growth, Technology Investments in 2013

U.S. CFOs Plan Technology Investments in 2013: Survey

The Deloitte CFO Survey – Q1 2013

Duke, CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey

Bank of America, Merrill Lynch 2013 CFO Outlook Survey

Grant Thorton CFO Survey Spring 2013

CFO Quarterly Global Outlook Survey 2013

CFOs Ready for Business Expansion Through Technology

How CFOs Categorize IT Spending and Why They’re Leaving Money on the Table

Taking SAP BPC to the Cloud

SAP Ariba Network Transformation CloudPlanning, budgeting, forecasting, and consolidating financials across a fast-growing business with numerous offices, multiple business units and diverse, geographically spread operations are, to say the least, challenging tasks. They are also core activities every business must execute in some way, shape or form, and given today’s dynamic business climate and turbulent global economy, the speed, efficiency and accuracy with which a business executes these activities has become increasingly vital to competitiveness, growth and viability.

More than ever before, businesses need a proven, easy-to-use tool for streamlining financial reporting and forecasting processes — one that delivers rapid ROI and measurable business value, and SAP BPC, the centerpiece of SAP’s EPM portfolio, is the best tool for the job. 

Available in versions for both the Microsoft and SAP NetWeaver platforms, SAP BPC combines planning, budgeting, and forecasting capabilities with management and legal consolidation functionality in a single application, providing business users with the intuitive, role-based tools, structured processes and centralized data they need to integrate corporate and departmental planning, shorten budget cycle time, close the books faster and ensure compliance with regulatory and financial standards. 

SAP is recognized as a leader in the EPM market by industry analyst organizations such as Gartner, IDC, Forrester and Ventana Research, among others, and as SAP and its partners bring more core EPM solutions such as SAP BPC to the cloud, the company’s status as an EPM market leader is sure to grow even stronger.

Read article by Optimal Vice-President Dmitry Faybysh: Taking SAP BPC to Cloud

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