Changing the Way We Work to Get Results: A Glimpse into SAP Influencer Summit 2010

Tomorrow we will be talking to numerous media and analysts at SAP Influencer Summit 2010 to share what we have in store for 2011 and beyond. We will talk about our road map, where we plan to invest in innovation and how we envision business analytics solving problems and helping to manage the complexity of making decisions in today’s rapidly evolving business environment.

Let me illustrate this through a simple example. In doing my job, if I take any moment during my typical work day, I have half a dozen applications open on my desktop, e-mail streaming in faster than I can answer it, additional information coming in through social networks and business data arriving through various other applications all at the same time.

I’ve been talking about complexity for some time now and frankly, at times, it is weighing us down. There is so much data available – Facebook alone has over 500 million users. What do you do with that data? Do you rely on it – and if so, how heavily?  How do you manage it? And it’s not just data. We are operating in a 24/7 environment in which the regulations we need to comply with are growing by the day.  More people need information to make decisions and take action, and yet the complexity and risk of these decisions are rising.

In addition, businesses have been forced to re-evaluate their business models to compete during these very challenging economic times. We have been through the hardest times since the 1930s and business will never be the same. We need to be in touch moment by moment with the realities of our business, on top of our data in ways we’ve never been before.

How do we achieve this? What would it take to reduce complexity and make our work simpler? And how do we manage the complexity that surrounds the decisions we — and by “we” I mean all of us, people throughout the enterprise — need to make every day?

We believe technology holds the key. Significant technology innovations are fundamentally changing how businesses are run and how decisions are made.  One of the biggest opportunities with technological advances is speed: in-memory databases, for example, deliver information 400-times faster than traditional databases and can bring enormous volumes of data to our fingertips in an organized fashion that responds to our specific business queries.

In addition, social media and cloud access have the potential to significantly shift the way decisions are made, questions are answered and actions are taken, as well as how we collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders – if the technology is used in the right way.

Did you know that SAP is harnessing these capabilities to deliver a visionary new approach to business analytics?  It’s an approach that helps us change the way we work, that helps us operate in the way we need to today and in the future.  And we are helping ensure that approach brings the power of analytics to everyone in the organization, from the boardroom to the shop floor, from HR to marketing and sales.

The bottom line is, in a world of increasing complexity, how do you and your company achieve remarkable results? What will set you apart from other organizations and your competitors? How does this become easier and simpler for you?  Is that even possible?

We think it is.

Imagine being able to:

  • know the minute a competitor had a stock-out or a plant that went down, or rumors of an acquisition as soon as someone blogged about it.
  • respond immediately to a compliance alert  by collaborating instantly with all stakeholders, adjust operations or plans as necessary and move on about your day before it becomes a regulatory issue – ultimately preventing fines and public announcements, among other liabilities.
  • instantly prevent an oil line from breaking or instantly predict the number of high-risk loans in a quarter.
  • be notified when there’s a shift in the economy and the effect that might have on your company for the quarter.
  • as the head of marketing, know the behavior of your customers by doing a simple analysis of last week’s data from their Facebook or Twitter activity — then launch a campaign around their needs.
  • as the head of HR, analyze and better respond to changing workforce needs within dynamic market conditions.
  • as the head of sales, increase productivity by identifying potential problem areas as well as opportunities earlier in the quarter.

This is where the future of business analytics for everyone is going: a future in which there is one place to go, one experience for all your information needs no matter which role you hold in your company and what type of information you need.  And, this applies not just to the information you think you want – but the information that the system knows you need.

Picture a future in which you can interact seamlessly with your colleagues and co-workers, where the system knows that you’re all working on different aspects of the same end-to-end process or activity and helps ensure that you have the right information, in-context, at your fingertips.

Imagine a system in which you would work and not even realize it is analytics you are doing – whether you are looking at the root cause of a problem, forecasting the best possible plan or choosing the best possible campaign with your team.

Finally, imagine a future in which this extends to your marketplace, where you can interact with your customers, suppliers, partners and even prospects, and a place to download other interesting analytics that will help you do your job as easily as downloading an iPhone app — all without going to a different environment or system!

SAP has the capability to do just this. We are developing networked analytics that are intelligently shared among individuals and embedded as part of your end-to-end processes.  The early foundations of this are available today.  This is what we will cover in detail at SAP Influencer Summit 2010, and we hope you can join us. If you can’t be there in person, please join us virtually starting at 8:00 a.m. PST on Tuesday, December 7; feel free to comment and pose questions below or follow the conversation @businessobjects and at #sapsummit on Twitter.