Q&A With Vishal Sikka @vsikka

Summary of this morning’s keynote (replay available online within 24 hours):

  • Have seen “HANA effect” over past 2.5 years, and see HANA is being not just a commercial success for SAP but a change in the landscape for enterprise customers. A key technology to help people do more.
  • Partnerships with SAS, Amazon, Intel, Cisco, Cloud Foundry.
  • Enterprise cloud and cloud applications.
  • SuccessFactors Learning products.
  • 1000 startup companies developing products on HANA.
  • Team of 3 teenagers using HANA Cloud and Lego to build shelf-stacking robots.

Vishal Sikki keynote

Q&A with audience (in person and online):

  • SAP has always had an excellent technology platform for building applications, used to build their core enterprise applications. HANA is the latest incarnation of that platform, and one that they are now choosing to monetize directly as an application development platform rather than only through the applications. HANA Enterprise Cloud and HANA Cloud Platform are enterprise-strength managed cloud versions of HANA, and HANA One uses AWS for a lower entry point; they’re the same platform as on-premise HANA for cloud or hybrid delivery models. I had a briefing yesterday with Steve Lucas and others from the Platform Solution Group, which covers all of the software tools that can be used to build applications, but not the applications themselves: mobile, analytics, database and technology (middleware), big data, and partners and customers. PSG now generates about half of SAP revenue through a specialist sales force that augments the standard sales force; although obviously selling platforms is more of an IT sell, they are pushing to talk more about the business benefits and verticals that can be built on the platform. In some cases, HANA is being used purely as an application development platform, with little or no data storage.
  • Clarification on HANA Cloud: HANA Enterprise Cloud is the cloud deployment of their business applications, whereas HANA Cloud Platform is the cloud version of HANA for developing applications.
  • SAP is all about innovation and looking forward, not just consolidating their acquisitions.
  • Examples of how SAP is helping their partners to move into their newer innovation solutions: Accenture has a large SuccessFactors practice, for example. I think that the many midrange SIs who have SAP ERP customization as their bread and butter may find it a bit more of a challenge.
  • Mobile has become a de facto part of their work, hence has a lower profile in the keynotes: it is just assumed to be there. I, for one, welcome this: mobile is a platform that needs to be supported, but let’s just get to the point where we don’t need to talk about it any more. Fiori provides mobile and desktop support for the new UI paradigms.

As with the keynote, too much information to capture live. This session was recorded, and will be available online.

Back At SAPPHIRENOW – Day 1 Keynote

It’s been a couple of years since I last attended SAP’s huge SAPPHIRE NOW conference, but this week I’m here with my 20,000 closest friends at the Orlando Convention Center (plus another 80,000 watching online) to get caught up. The conference kicked off with a keynote from Bill McDermott, SAP’s co-CEO, and it’s all about HANA and cloud: everything from SAP now runs on HANA, and combined with their cloud platforms realize the dream of realtime, predictive supply chains. HANA is also at the heart of how SAP is addressing social enterprise functionality, allowing a company to analyze a flood of consumer social data to find what’s relevant.

They highlighted some of their sports-related customers’ applications — which definitely allowed for some good lead-in video — with executives from Under Armour, the San Francisco 49’ers and the NBA. In part, sports applications are about helping teams play better and manage their talent through play/player data analysis (think Moneyball), but are also about customer engagement online and in the stadium. The most traditional usage of SAP on the panel is with Under Armour, which manufactures sportswear and sports-related biometrics devices, but their incredible growth means that they needed enterprise systems that they won’t outgrow. An interesting new industry vertical focus for SAP.

The keynote finished with Bob Calderoni, CEO of Ariba (recently acquired by SAP) talking about how cloud — in the form of private business networks, of course — drives productivity. Good focus, since too often the current technology buzzwords (social, mobile, cloud) are discussed purely as the end, not the means, and we can lose sight of how these can make us more productive and efficient, as well as fully buzzword-enabled.

As usual, wifi in the keynote area is impossible, and since I’m tablet-only, I couldn’t even plug into the hard-wired internet that they provided for we guests of Global Communications – I’m not the only one in this section with a tablet rather than a laptop, so imagine that they’ll have to do something in the future to allow the media to consume and publish during the keynote. T-Mobile’s iPhone coverage is resolutely stuck at EDGE in this area, so I can’t even reliably set up a hotspot, although that would just contribute to the wifi problems. The WordPress Android app works fine offline, however, so I was able to take notes and publish later.