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BI 2017: One-on-One with Chris Dinkel of Deloitte

by Nicole D'Angelo, Assistant Editor

March 23, 2017

Chris Dinkel, SAP Analytics Leader at Deloitte Consulting LLP, has been attending SAPinsider conferences for roughly ten years and has been a keynote speaker for four.  At this year’s BI 2017 event, I had the opportunity to sit down with him for a conversation about what technology trends he’s most excited about.

We started with a discussion of the event itself and, in particular, what keeps Dinkel coming back year after year. For him, it has a lot to do with building relationships with customers. He wants to be sure that Deloitte has a constant presence at these events for the customers, and he enjoys watching customers move along their digital journeys. For example, Dinkel spoke of how he witnessed the initial hype when SAP HANA was first rolled out. Now, he still maintains contact with many of the customers that he helped with their SAP HANA implementations. He said that customers are now looking to continue that journey by implementing solutions that build off the foundation that SAP HANA provides.  

When asked what technology trends he was most excited about, Dinkel mentioned dark analytics and cognitive analytics. “I’m an analytics guy by trade,” he said. “So those are the ones that are most compelling and exciting to me as a first step into starting to take advantage of analytics to provide potential predictive scenarios and prescriptive scenarios for end users and customers.”

Of those two, Dinkel said he expects dark analytics to enter the mainstream first. According to him, dark analytics poses little risk while creating major opportunities for businesses to take advantage of unstructured data, including audio, visual, or Internet of Things (IoT) data. “It’s allowing you to take advantage of data sets that . . . were too expensive or too costly or too painful, to put them into some sort of system and build information off of that,” he said.

To take advantage of these trends in analytics, Dinkel said that businesses need to pay attention to the concept of “unbounded IT” — IT that’s not just devoted to systems maintenance, but is rather focused on innovation and agility. He stresses the importance of freeing up IT assets to try new things and potentially take calculated risks.

“You’ve got to unleash your IT assets to be able to have the confidence and the willingness to go take those kinds of activities on,” he said. He then stressed that in an innovative IT department, projects often fail — and that’s ok. “The thing is, you will fail. So you’ve got to wrap your mind around that from an executive level and understand that failures will occur, but you want those failures to occur relatively quickly so that you don’t drop a bunch of money down a dead-end hole.”

This is the kind of IT department that Deloitte, with its in-depth knowledge of emerging technological trends and practical experience in making those trends become a reality in enterprises, brings to its customers. When asked about what Deloitte brings to the table, Dinkel emphasized his company’s expertise in SAP HANA. “We’ve been on the forefront as a leading customer integrator for SAP of, specifically, the SAP HANA platform and SAP S/4HANA,” Dinkel said. “We have a wealth of experience from the fact that we’ve been doing this since 2011.” And Deloitte’s expertise isn’t just theoretical — the company runs its own instance of SAP S/4HANA. It is taking that journey right alongside customers and experiencing the benefits of new technology trends as its customers experience it. 

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