Information MAnagement, Analytics,SAP Gets Sexy with Hadoop Partnerships, Big Data Roadtrip
What’s SAP doing at TechCrunch Disrupt -- it’s not exactly an Enterprise audience?

But then again, we’re living in an age of disruptive technologies -- Big Data, Cloud, Social, Mobile, Geospatial visualizations and touchpoints, the Internet of Things -- you can have an anxiety attack just thinking about it all.

Or you can be inspired.

The Big Picture from Techcrunch Disrupt

SAP, with its super-fast, in-memory HANA database and platform is helping its customers take the latter route: the company has inked deals with Hortonworks and Intel to resell their Apache Hadoop distributions, making it easy to work with structured, semi-structured and unstructured data at the same time.

They also announced a new, revolutionary, Big Data-enabled application for manufacturers the likes of which they haven’t seen before (it’s worth reading on to find out more). And, SAP has brought together its 100+ data scientists from throughout the organization, and created a center of excellence of sorts, so their customers can get counsel from experts who not only get Big Data but also have industry-specific expertise.

And that’s not all.

SAP also had something to offer the geeks in the TechCrunch Disrupt audience -- inspiration, demonstrations, competition and incentive to use data to derive meaningful insights that drive change.

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The Big Data Express, bringing HANA to a city near you

And finally, there was the SAP HANA tour bus where attendees could go check-out HANA for themselves. (It also started its nationwide tour; you can soon get some hand-on experience at a city near you.)

That’s the summary of SAP’s TechCrunch activity. Here is the skinny, it will get sexier as you read:

SAP Partners with Intel, Hortonworks to Bring Big Data Capabilities to Enterprises in Short Order

With all the talk about Big Data and Hadoop, you’d think that Enterprises couldn’t stay in business without them; but here’s the cold truth, there are more companies drowning in Big Data than there are leveraging it to innovate and win business.

Earlier this year, CIO Journal reported that only 10% of the CIO’s who attended a recent conference said they were tackling Big Data, even though many of them believed it could inspire their companies to create new products and services.

Add to that, that the New York Times recently ran an article asking whether Big Data could live up to its expectations. "Is Big Data An Economic Big Dud?" read the headline.

The reality is that Big Data will one day help companies reap huge rewards, but that right now it’s “really, really hard to use.” We learned this from Continuuity CEO Jonathan Gray; he’s an Apache and HBase commiter, a Carnegie Mellon Grad, and has companies like Facebook on his resume. It’s not exactly fair to ask every Enterprise IT professional to have curriculum vitae like his. And if he thinks working with Hadoop is hard …

So what SAP is doing through its partnerships with Intel and Hortonworks is near-genius -- they’re delivering Hadoop to their customers in a more familiar wrapper and offering support from experts who Enterprise users already know and trust.

SAP’s Demand Signal Management Application Makes Manufacturers Smarter, More Informed, and Able to Act Quickly

Unlike most Big Data databases, SAP HANA can run transactions and analytics at the same time which is, no doubt, a manufacturer’s or marketer’s dream.

But they (will) have bigger dreams as well.

Organizations are struggling to turn Big Data insights into tangible results,” says David Jonker, Director of Big Data at SAP. “And SAP is taking this problem very seriously,” he adds.

So seriously, in fact, that the company is building Big Data-informed and enabled applications around processes and people.

It used to be that manufacturers relied on information from retailers and distributors to predict demand, says Jonker. And with only that much data available it was a smart plan.

But this is the Age of Big Data and manufacturers have so many other data points at their disposal. They can literally listen to their customers directly via social media ("what are people on Facebook saying about Brand X?"), they can look at customer support data from calls, they can process text for sentiment analysis.

They can then take this data and combine with Enterprise 1.0 data in other formats, normalize it and use it to gain insights. Without Big Data this is hard to do.

“This is a Big Data problem,” says Jonker.

It’s one that SAP’s Demand Signal Management application, powered by SAP HANA, solves. The solution was made generally available earlier this week.

Jonker says that there are many other applications like it still to come.

SAP Taps Top Data Scientist Talent to Help Customers Drive Value from Big Data

Want to reap rewards from your Big Data? Then hire a data scientist. The good ones are hard to find; and, chances are, they won’t have deep insights into your industry or direct experience with the problems you need to solve.

This is why hiring SAP to do the work for you might be a great idea. Their experts will know your industry, your business, your customers, how to work with large data sets, machine learning, the list goes on ….

And, oh, there’s something else too. SAP‘s 100+ data scientists use a smart methodology. Instead of telling you to implement HANA and Hadoop and then begin looking for problems to solve, they look at business problems and see how Big Data can be used to solve them.

How Do You Get A Big Data Geek to Strut His Best Stuff?

Inspire him/him to do their dream projects. Have a cool contest. Offer them the spotlight and a great prize. (How does 10k sound?)

That’s precisely what SAP announced at TechCrunch Disrupt.

From the press release:

To inspire the data community to discover and tell the most compelling stories using data, SAP has launched a new contest where participants can use new visualizations and big data technologies to demonstrate how they have turned data into meaningful insights that drive change, however big or small. In the “Big Data Geek Challenge,” participants will have the chance to win US$ 10,000 or a trip to SAPPHIRE® NOW by demonstrating how they can tap into big data to drive new innovations for a specific business process or opportunity. Additional prizes will be awarded for submissions that highlight a Big Data use case to further a good cause, as well as one for the top partner submission.

This set-up is highly appropriate for the budding entrepreneurs at TechCrunch Disrupt. Maybe we’ll see the winner on stage at the conference next year.

Title image courtesy of Mikhail Kolesnikov (Shutterstock)