Greg Petraetis, SAP's VP of Analytics for North America, visits with SAPinsider Studio during the Reporting & Analytics conference in Atlanta in October, 2014, to discuss aspects of the SAP analytics portfolio in the cloud. Topics of the discussion include:
- The SAP vision for driving agility and reducing complexity
- How the SAP cloud portfolio is geared toward predictive and prescriptive analytics
- SAP HANA as a differentiator as an analytics cloud platform
View the video, and read the transcript of the conversation here:
Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider, and I am here at the SAPinsider Reporting & Analytics conference 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. This afternoon, I am pleased to be joined by Greg Petraetis of SAP, North American Vice President for Analytics. Greg, welcome.
Greg Petraetis, SAP: Thanks. Happy to be here.
Ken: I was hoping we can start with something we heard in the keynote yesterday at this event, that the entire SAP analytics platform is now available in the cloud.
Ken: I was hoping you can address what this means for the SAP customer in terms of opportunities available.
Greg: So, I think it’s a terrific opportunity for our existing SAP customers and net-new SAP customers. The way that I think about the cloud, is I think about it in terms of three things. Agility, leverage, and synergy. So, agility; first and foremost, it’s really about speed. It’s about speed to provisioning, speed to value, and reducing the mean time to results. We can bring somebody up on our cloud offerings very, very quickly, get them up, get them running, and get them experiencing our analytics in a very short period of time.
Second thing that I think about in terms of leverage is not only are they going to be able to leverage the existing business intelligence platform, reporting, query and analysis tools, management dashboards, data visualization, data discovery, predictive analytics, EPM, GRC – but they’re also going to be able to take advantage of the enterprise information infrastructure, importantly HANA and all of the other elements of the real-time data platform to include the capabilities that we have around data acquisition, data management, data processing, that will enhance the value of those business intelligence and analytic capabilities to be able to offer solutions at scale for their enterprise.
And then finally, it’s about synergy. So it’s being able to access, analyze and share information across the portfolio of the other cloud applications, both on the apps and the network side that we offer our customers that make this a truly special and heterogeneous offering for their enterprise.
Ken: So we hear these days a lot of customers talking about the increasing importance of predictive analytics. Can you talk about what SAP has done in terms of predictive analyses in their analytics platform?
Greg: Predictive is particularly important to all of our customers that are thinking about new ways that they can either become more sophisticated in the analysis in the application of the data that they have; thinking about ways to be able to use new combinations of data to be able to extend the value of their existing business processes. And most importantly I think customers that are looking to innovate around data, and thinking about new ways that they can use data to be able to innovate around their existing business models to help them to be able to differentiate and compete. So if I think about what it is that we’re doing with predictive, I think about a few things. I think about the ability to integrate predictive into the data visualization and data discovery experience, and being able to bring predictive analytics not to just the statistician, but to be able to bring this to mere mortals, business users that need to be able to have these capabilities at their disposal so they can make insightful business decisions not just based on what it is that’s happened in the past, which we’ve all classically identified with as being traditional BI, but about what is likely to happen in the future and then being able to go and move beyond just predictive analysis to prescriptive analytics and being able to optimize for the best possible business result we can achieve based on what it is we believe to a high degree of certainty will occur. And then we’re taking it a step further; we’re moving beyond predictive and we’re starting to think about prescriptive analytics in alignment with the business process. So based on what we believe will occur, how it is that we model for the best possible business result, and then taking this to the next step and beginning to proactively affect a change at the application layer and then being able to model the results of that change throughout the continuum of the downstream business process. And that is extremely powerful because that’s when companies can start to think about how it is that they truly become agile enterprises in being able to use data as a differentiator and as an enabler for their business. And that’s really going to be the difference for a lot of companies.
Ken: With SAP HANA kind of as the key that unlocks this opportunity; is that the differentiator then?
Greg: I think HANA is an enormous differentiator. I mean, if I think about HANA and what makes HANA truly special, it’s the ability to be able to transact, to be able to record those transactions, to be able to analyze those transactions, to be able to combine that transaction data with third-party data for analysis. And if we’re talking about a best-in-class application anywhere mobile experience, which is what most customers are looking for when they think about these next-generation analytic applications, there is no other technology on the planet that is a greater enabler than HANA. And if I think about predictive analytics, our ability to take the predictive libraries and the models that we have built inside of our infinite insight technology today, for example, and expose those to the underlying infrastructure with the HANA engine and being able to have a bi-directional exchange of value at the tools and applications layer, and at the database layer, and being able to using Smart Data access configurabley decide on the fly where it is that we are best suited to be able to run those predictive analytic jobs either be at the application layer or at the database core, again is incredible power and leverage that we’re going to be able to achieve with that infrastructure. So I look at this synergy between enterprise infrastructure, most importantly HANA, the cloud as not only a deployment option but as an option that increases accessibility and a level of agility that customers will achieve on a cost-effective basis, and then I combine that with the investments that we’re making around analytics which has us in a position as SAP to be able to offer our customers the most powerful, the most comprehensive, and the most elegant experience around analytics in the market and I think that it’s a triumphant, unbeatable combination.
Ken: Greg, thanks for sharing your insights with us.
Greg: I’m excited about it. Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.