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Beer, champagne, and SAP’s new product strategy

by Sarah Cenedella

November 10, 2010

Sarah Cenedella, Insider Learning Network

No alcohol was consumed during this keynote or during the writing of this blog (to my dismay) but SAP senior vice president, Kai Finck, did cleverly use both beer and champagne to illustrate how SAP is incorporating mobile, cloud, and social media into their existing portfolio of solutions.

He gave the 1,200 attendees of SAP Insider’s HR, FIN, GRC, and Reporting events, a sneak peak at SAP’s new product strategy. Their focus is on three key areas:

1. On-premise: Represented here are SAP’s core Business Suite and ERP solutions. To illustrate how deeply integrated and widespread SAP is within core businesses processes, Finck divulged some key statistics and fun facts. Did you know that SAP has a hand in supporting the production of:

  • More than 75% of all beer in the world
  • 40 million barrels of oil per day
  • 350 million retail transactions

To explain how SAP is evolving their on-premise solutions Finck highlighted their work on:

User interfaces: Building state-of-the-art user interfaces that resemble the UI you might see on Facebook or on the Web. Finck previewed a particular UI design that they are rolling out for their Talent Management and Employee Self-Service applications.

Investment protection: Finck highlights the fact that with the new enhancement pack architecture, customers will only have to activate what they need and avoid changing their entire infrastructure when new features and functions becomes available.

Rapid deployment: SAP is going after the reputation for length and complexity of implementation by rolling out SAP Rapid Deployment options for various SAP solutions. The goal, according to Finck is to reduce the time to implement to less than 90 days.

2. On-demand: SAP will continue to invest in their Business-by-Design Solution. The sweet spot of this market is small and midsize companies or larger organizations that are looking for integrated, hosted solutions for their subsidiaries or remote locations.

3. On device: Smartphone, iPad, BlackBerry ... Proliferation of these devices has created a new market for enterprise mobile applications that goes beyond just e-mail, calendaring, and scheduling. Finck says that SAP is “drinking its own champagne,’ when it comes to mobility, and they are starting on the sales side of the house. Key managers – from co-CEO Bill McDermott down to regional and solutions sales professionals – within SAP will have access via their iPads to up-to-date sales pipeline information wherever they go.

SAP’s investment and focus on mobility is hardly a surprise given their 5 billion dollar plus investment in the purchase of Sybase. SAP is in a unique position to serve the mobile market now that they have a portfolio of mobile development.

So how does it all fit together? Finck’s closing message was how to achieve remarkable results using solutions and technology to improve your business. Finck quoted Tom Davenport, who stated that 77% of high performing companies have greater than average analytical capabilities, and previewed the new releases of SAP BusinessObjects: BI and EIM 4.0. Available the end of the year, these new releases will focus on an integrated UI and architecture that unifies the different solutions that sit underneath this portfolio, a new semantic layer, and HANA.

*A special thanks to Rizal Ahmed for making this blog possible

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