Realizing the Next-Generation Digital Transformation

Paul Martin Marriott

Posted by Paul Martin Marriott on

Chief Operating Officer, SAP Asia Pacific Japan

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The Problem of Complexity

Whatever industry you’re in, whatever geography you’re in, whatever business you’re in, we have all been trying to solve the same fundamental business problem: How do I manage my customers more effectively, how do I drive better business performance, how do I make the business agile and yet remain compliant?

Now, the challenge organizations have had over the last 40 years is complexity—particularly how the data in business applications is managed, which layers complexity on complexity. For example, we run business applications on isolated database systems for each business function such as finance, customer management, supplier management, then we duplicate the data into another database system when we need to perform basic daily intelligence.

To perform more advanced analysis, we duplicate the data again—creating enterprise data warehouses, then recreating more downstream data systems to meet specific needs of the business. If this level of duplication is not enough, we then further duplicate the data into multi-dimensional database formats to perform more sophisticated analysis.

Obliterate Complexity

With massive duplication at work, there is no surprise we end up with huge data complexity, the consequence is enormous time delays—days, weeks, or even months—between when the data is created to when the data is ready to be used for analysis, this has become a massive business insight challenge.

At SAP, we’ve addressed this crippling complexity with SAP HANA. SAP HANA removes all of the data complexity by bringing all of the information into a single platform, where all of the data is in one place. Now when a transaction happens in a business application, it is immediately available for real-time analysis.

By removing the burden of maintaining separated legacy systems and silos of data, SAP HANA offers simplicity to the business, but that’s not all that is revolutionary about SAP HANA…

Harness the Power of External Data: SAP HANA Vora

So far, I discussed the more ‘traditional’ internal business data. In today’s digital age, we also need to harness unstructured data from external sources such as social media, machine-to-machine (M2M), sensors, and more from the Internet of Things (IoT) that enable a business to better differentiate their services.

Such external data is typically brought into a business using open source technologies like HADOOP. While HADOOP can perform that function, it is problematic: firstly, the data is managed in batch so provides no immediacy for data that needs to be managed in real-time; secondly, the unstructured data is managed separately from the internal business data so it can’t be easily correlated; thirdly, HADOOP is a complex platform to develop on with limited governance making it difficult to integrate with the wider IT systems.

To overcome these challenges, we have an extended capability—SAP HANA Vora—to join together the traditional business data with all of the unstructured information into a single, integrated real-time platform. That means incoming data from customers, partners or smart devices can be immediately integrated with any internal enterprise data, giving companies better context with which to make decisions in real-time, a very powerful mechanism to deliver real-time business insight.

The Digital Business Foundation: SAP S/4HANA

Operating in the digital economy has heightened the urgency for businesses to undergo a true digital transformation. The SAP HANA platform—solving all of that complexity—has allowed us to build next-generation business applications called S/4 HANA that helps organizations become a true digital enterprise.

S/4 HANA functions as the digital core, powering digital business processes across the organization, enabling a multi-channel customer experience, increasing workforce productivity, supplier optimization through efficient business networks and connecting though IoT to manage your assets more effectively.

Together, the SAP HANA platform and S/4 HANA applications give businesses a single, integrated capability to deliver on next-generation digital transformation.

The Numbers Speak for Themselves

That’s why we have over 10,000 SAP HANA customers today. That’s why S/4 HANA adoption is surging, now exceeding 3,200 customers. This, clearly, is a testimony to how SAP is helping our customers run better and realize their digital transformation.

You can view a whiteboard video to learn more about transforming your business for the digital economy.

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