Creating the Platform for Innovation

innovation keynote

It’s the SAPInsider conference this week in beautiful Nice in the South of France.

Christian Rodatus, SVP & GM, SAP Analytics opened the conference with a keynote on Creating the Platform for Innovation.

Industries today are being disrupted by technology. Companies like Uber are using mobile applications, analytics and new business models to disrupt the highly-regulated taxi industries around the world. They are now probably the biggest taxi operator in the world, yet they don’t own a single car themselves.

One of the big advantages they have over their traditional competitors is that they have lots of information about their customers: geographic location information, routes, ratings systems for drivers and customers, how customers respond to different pricing strategies, etc.

image g7 application

Taxi organizations and governments around the world are fighting against Uber’s inroads into their business. Sometimes this takes the form of crude attempts to protect local monopolies, but the savvier authorities and taxi companies are responding by introducing equivalent services, while respecting the needs for some regulation.

For example, Paris-based taxi company G7 has an application that combines easy payment and single-button taxi hailing with the benefits of a massive network of fully-licensed taxis — with the non-negligible advantage of being able to use Paris taxi lanes.

Rodatus points out that every industry is being “uberized” to some extent – organizations have to look at new approaches to innovation in their business.


SAP aims to help its customers take advantage of the new technology opportunities, like internet of things, big data, cloud, and mobile, while leveraging the robust infrastructure they have invested in over the previous decades.

New opportunities include the ability to run existing business applications in real-time, using the HANA platform; flexible on-premise or cloud deployments with the HANA Enterprise Cloud; and easy mobile access to applications.

In particular, financial department can greatly contribute to the corporate strategy using these new technologies. Today, 42% of accounting staff time is spent on tactical tasks. By making it easier to access and manipulate data, more time can be spend on added-value analysis.

Birgit Starmmans joined Rodatus on stage to do a demonstration of SAP Receivables Manager. The mobile iPad application lets users create their own fully personalized dashboards of financial KPIs. Each user can decide which KPIs are the most important, such as the top ten customers that are overdue by 90 days.


Users can drill down to see individual customers, annotate the data, and share it with others via email or social sharing. Another application, SAP Customer Financial Fact Sheet, can show a full view of a customer financial activity.


Next Austin Swope came up to give a demonstration of “predictive profitability,” with a combination of SAP COPA running on SAP HANA, the planning and consolidation tools, and predictive analysis with SAP Lumira.

Using 500 million rows of data from COPA using HANA, Swope first demonstrated that it was easy to use Lumira’s interactive visualization to view the top customers or most profitable products.


He then showed how to use predictive analytics to build a model and forecast current activities, based on actuals data and any external data feeds. The results can then be compared to the  information compiled across the organization from the planning and budgeting process (the two projections on the far right of the photo below).


Rodatus then talked about the advantages of the new SAP InfiniteInsight product, which allows organizations like Vodafone Netherlands do faster, more iterative marketing campaigns:

Another demo showed off the new infographic capabilities of SAP Lumira to create truly user-friendly, responsive HTML5 representations of the data that automatically adapt to the device being used.


Rodatus then gave an update on the SAP Lumira Trusted Data Discovery strategy, with a new product – SAP Lumira Server – that provides a bridge between standalone data discovery desktop tool and the existing SAP BI Platform (BusinessObjects, WebIntelligence).

The new platform gives users best-practice agility, data visualization, and predictive capabilities, while giving IT organizations the ability to govern BI landscapes and ensure trusted data.


To help organizations deploy these solutions more flexibly, the full range of SAP analytics solutions are now available on the SAP HANA Enterprise cloud platform, on data centers around the world:

  • Enterprise BI: Rapidly connect individuals, data and processes to help drive better decisions by offering users the power to engage with their data on any device and across any platform
  • Agile visualization: Intuitively explore and visualize data to reveal new insights at-a-glance with trusted data discovery that enables real-time understanding of data both big and small
  • Advanced analytics: Anticipate what comes next to drive better business outcomes by applying predictive analytics to all information and processes
  • Enterprise performance management (EPM): Help achieve a better top and bottom line through agile financial planning and analysis and an accelerated financial close to disclose
  • Governance, risk and compliance: Help reduce cost and effort of managing risk and compliance initiatives while protecting revenue streams and optimizing performance

In the second half of the presentation, Irfan Khan SVP & GM, SAP Database & Technology and Big Data, talked about the HANA Platform strategy.

He started by explaining that the costs of complexity continue to rise, while the costs of hardware and data storage continue to fall. The platforms of the future have to take advantage of new technology to provide simpler, more agile business processes.


The SAP platform gives organizations everything they need to take advantage of new technologies, without massive disruption:


Khan gave examples of how organizations have been using the new platform to transform the way they do business:


He also explained SAP’s Big Data differentiators, including the availability of a full staff of Data Scientists available to work with customers.


Austin Swope came back on stage to give a demonstration of SAP’s smart vending platform, combining the best of internet of things, mobile, analytics, transactions, logistics, and customer information systems to provide new opportunities that are limited only by company imaginations.


The conclusion of the presentation: SAP aims to help organizations of every size and every industry make their business faster, smarter, and simpler, with an innovation platform powered by SAP HANA