SAP unveils the future…….

An interesting couple of days at SAP SELECT in Berlin. An event where Hasso Plattner, and Bill McDermott unveiled the latest set of solutions. S-Innovations or the simple set of business functional areas represent a completely redesigned set of enterprise functionality designed to exploit the full potential of HANA. What was quite astounding was the way this technology changes the rules for how IT is run, and at the same time throws away the rule book for businesses.

Firstly imagine an enterprise IT system where that data compresses from 1TB to 9GB, runs on a single server, has almost instant response time, where data updates no longer take place, where records can’t lock and batch jobs no longer exist. As the data doesn’t change then development and testing take a completely different path. That is pretty remarkable!

But it’s what that means that is so important – as everything is a calculation on the fly – how you work can change, dramatically. So to work out sales and see profit – instantaneous or nearly so – a press of a button. So as long as the actions have taken place – billing, cash movements, payments, stock entries etc. – you have your financial position. So period ends become simply a different date filter selection. And then of course you can execute simulations of business changes with the live data, as these won’t change the data – just the result you see.

With billions of connected devices, the internet of things, with this type of capability collecting and using the data directly from many more billions of sensors in them becomes practical in your enterprise system.

Is this a fairy tale, a story of slide ware, of future technology? No, it is here now, and only those who take the journey of investment early will capture the real benefits of this scenario where early adopters really will prosper.

Hopefully more news around this at our 2014 Conference in 7 days time.

 

 

2013 Conference – selling very well!

Get in quick to get your tickets. If your supplier or SAP partner is exhibiting or an affiliate member contact them to see if they have a discount code arranged before booking.

Apart from the excellent conference sessions (especially looking forward to Jim Snabe and Mandy Hickson), the Gala Dinner and Evening will be the best we have ever run to celebrate 25 years of success and growth as a User Group.

NOTE: The main conference hotel – the Birmingham Crowne Plaza has sold out already – still spaces in other affiliate hotels.

conf 2013

Fighting Fraud with SAP

SAP recently announced its new Fraud Management tool, an analytics application designed to help users improve fraud scenario analysis and adapt to changing fraud patterns. By using this to execute complex analytics on big data sets, using in-memory computing and other advanced processing techniques, the tool is designed to help SAP users better prevent fraud .

Currently in “controlled” (limited) release, the final version is expected to come in three initial flavours of Fraud Management: an insurance claims fraud offering, another designed for use in the public sector and a cross-industry application (for use in, for instance, the purchasing function). It’s certainly true that fraud is a pervasive risk in businesses:  according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the typical organisation is at risk of losing up to five per cent of its revenues to fraud. If that figure sounds surprising, it’s even more so to hear that that this translated to a total global fraud loss of more than $3.5 trillion in 2011. While not all of this fraud may be addressable, it’s clear that the cost of fraud can add up for businesses in many sectors.

Here at the User Group we await to hear more about the product ahead of its final release later in the year.  If you are an SAP user wanting to find out about the latest product updates network with your peers, please check out our current calendar of webinars and SIGS taking place throughout 2013.

Going Mobile

At Mobile World Congress last month in Barcelona, SAP made a number of announcements concerning mobility.  Here is a roundup of some of the notable ones:

SAP announced the launch of its new Mobile Documents app, an enterprise-level app which gives users a single point of access to files and file-sharing capability from any mobile device. When combined with SAP Afaria for mobile device management, it promises to provide businesses with a complete system for securing mobile devices, apps and content.

In addition, SAP also announced a new partnership with Ericsson, which aims to jointly market and sell their cloud-based, Machine to Machine (M2M) solutions and services to enterprises through operators. The aim is to help enhance enterprise efficiency in business processes such as maintenance, remote service, inventory, logistics and road transport management, vending and customer experience management. Clare McCarthy at Ovum noted that, “The solution already has endorsements from Telenor and 3UK, so it is clearly fulfilling a market need.”

SAP even went as far integrating its take on Near Field Communications (NFC) technology into a vending machine to show how users can purchase soft drinks with NFC-compliant devices. Indeed it seems like we have only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes what we can do with mobile applications!

Mobility will again be a big topic at this year’s User Group Conference, so make sure you sign up to take advantage of the current early bird offers.

No need to be disappointed that Sapphire Now is cancelled

We recently heard the news that Sapphire Now 2013 is being cancelled in Europe. It’s a shame that SAP has decided not to host its annual event, as many users have found it a good forum to hear the latest from SAP senior management. However SAP did instead announce a ‘renewed focus on dedicated customer-centric events’ for its 2013 strategy, alongside plans to expand its SAP Forum events in order to compensate for the loss of Sapphire. Hopefully we’ll hear more about these soon.  However, the good news for UK&I User Group members is that we have SAP’s co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe confirmed as a keynote speaker at our User Conference in Birmingham this November.  

It looks like this is going to be the biggest year yet for the conference as we move to the ICC for the first time. We’ll be providing users in the UK and Ireland with the opportunity to hear from SAP’s experts and its partners on the latest innovations, with over 70 breakout sessions on a wide range of topics. At the same time, users will have the chance to network with peers and speak to them regarding how they are using SAP technology. Remember there are some cracking early bird deals at the moment, only available if you book early, saving up to £300 per person.

For more information about the SAP User Group conference, click here.

Business Suite on HANA : What does it mean?

SAP started off the New Year with a bang with a notable announcement around the launch of a new version of its Business Suite that allows database reporting via HANA. The reported goal is to help enterprises businesses to run in real-time on a single in-memory platform and instantly complete transactions, analyse and forecast data.

This announcement has been greeted warmly by most industry experts.  Ray Wang from Constellation Research commented: “The analytics and crunching capabilities is what’s driving organisations to seek faster speed.  Speed is the difference between a five day drug recall and a five minute drug recall.  Speed is the difference between a 30 day supply chain plan versus the ability to reroute 2 iPhones to your store in 30 seconds.  The impact is huge for customers if SAP does succeed. Given SAP’s market share, this is a big deal as this reduces the need for separate business intelligence systems.  The performance difference will create a huge competitive advantage for those who adopt versus those who do not.”

CBR offered the analyst perspective, noting that Ovum described the news as “a potential game changer” by making SAP much more relevant to its customers, but noted that it will be crucial for SAP to avoid confusing the marketplace as it has evolved from a database to an analytics platform to simply a “platform”.

Ovum went on to argue that a further challenge will be convincing customers that the “transformative” benefits of Suite on HANA will be non-disruptive technically. Computer Weekly  reiterated that while the benefits of the SAP Business Suite on HANA are clear, convincing customers that these benefits will deliver more than incremental innovation is where the challenge lies. This is particularly true given that intensive people and technology training to identify the patterns and algorithms required to serve up insight on demand will be needed in order to
realize the full benefits.

From the perspective of the User Group, it’s great to see that SAP listened to the feedback we provided as part of SUGEN and regarding the pricing of HANA on Business Suite and incorporated it into its pricing strategy. We’ve been used to paying for databases in a certain way, so it’s great to see that SAP providing similar licensing options. In terms of the solution itself, it looks great. In the first instance we’d expect those organisations that have a real need for speed to look at migrating. We’re sure new customers will also welcome the news as it simply gives them more database options.

2012: A year in review

2012 was another busy year for SAP with further acquisition activity and a number of new product updates being brought to market.  So here is a brief look back at some of the key goings on in the world of SAP over the last 12 months.

In February, SAP’s offer for SuccessFactors was accepted in full. This undoubtedly raised the company’s cloud credentials, but as our recent member survey revealed many users still aren’t clear how the acquisition will benefit their business.

In March SAP unveiled a partnership with Samsung to make its Android devices safer to use as corporate tools.  At the same time the company also announced updates to its Afaria mobile systems management tool – good news for customers who are becoming increasingly mobile.

April saw SAP celebrate its 40th birthday.  What began as a five-man operation is now one of the world’s largest independent software providers!

June saw SAP announcing its intention to buy cloud-based B2B trading network, Ariba.  The acquisition stands to vastly extend SAP’s network of integratable supplier systems, but also complement the company’s cloud strategy. In 2013 we wait to see what this really means for end-users.

In July, SAP announced a stronger-than-expected rise in profits driven by a rise in software sales, with the growing customer demand for cloud solutions being cited as a big reason for this success.

October saw the User Group release the results of our member survey on licensing, which showed a staggering 95% of SAP users believe that the company’s software licensing policy is overly complicated. In 2013 we will  continue to engage with SAP on what is a challenging topic for all concerned

And finally, November brought about the 2012 UK & Ireland SAP User Group Conference. Taking place in Manchester, licensing, mobility and the cloud were some of the big themes covered over the course of the 2 ½ day event. The conference was a great success, and we are already looking forwards to this year’s event in Birmingham.

We are only a couple of weeks into 2013 and it is already looking like it will be another busy 12 months for all things SAP. In addition, this year also sees the 25th anniversary of the UK & Ireland User Group J

Here is to a successful and prosperous 2013!