The company that leverages data best will win the future. That’s the business credo of 2012. It’s easy to say, but not so easy to do, especially at the enterprise level.
So while internet companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and the like crunch data and make recommendations with incredible speed (split seconds), your typical enterprise can take as long as a week to come up with a similar answer, says David Jonker, SAP Director, Product Marketing — Data Management & Analytics.
“And by then the customer has usually made his decision. They’ve missed the boat,” he adds.
It Only Takes a Minute to Lose a Potential Customer
Take for example, today’s resourceful customer who typically does a little research before they go out to buy something they’re not familiar with. If they go to the product website they’ll find generalized information, much like they would in a catalog or brochure. Rarely is the experience personalized and aimed toward addressing an individual consumer’s wants and needs.
That same customer might also log on to Facebook or Twitter and mention that they’re in the market for something like a single cup coffee brewer and ask friends or followers for recommendations. In the span of a few minutes, they’re likely to have all the info they need to make a choice, and they’ll make a purchase shortly thereafter.
All the e-mails, coupons, special offers and product demo invites that will come once the vendor figures out who and where they are won’t make a difference. The opportunity to influence this particular buying decision is gone.
The right information was not there at the right time and business might have been needlessly lost.
It’s not exactly a reality that companies want to live in. But without the databases, tools, appliances and analytics needed to leverage valuable data in real time, it’s where they are.
SAP's Big Data Solutions
But it’s not where they have to stay, says Jonker. At least if they fully leverage big data and analytics solutions like the ones that SAP unveiled at its user conference, SAPPHIRE® NOW, being held in Orlando, Fla.
Earlier today the software (and now database) vendor announced advanced support for text and unstructured data analysis and strong integration with Hadoop environments. These Big Data capabilities are planned to be enabled in the upcoming 4.1 releases of SAP® Data Services software and SAP® Information Steward software, through work with partners such as Cloudera and with the release of service pack stack 4 for SAP HANA.
Steve Lucas, Global Executive Vice President and General Manager, Database & Technology, SAP said in the announcement:
Groundbreaking innovations like SAP HANA help our customers access and deliver information at unprecedented speeds — up to 100,000 times faster than before — and empower them with fundamentally new ways to run their businesses better. The SAP real-time data platform delivers an information value chain that uncovers and harnesses the right information at the right moment by moving data among SAP HANA, the SAP Sybase IQ server and Hadoop file systems.”
Is it a disruptor? We think so, and it’s not only the big data part. Consider that almost every enterprise is talking about collecting all of its data (including mobile, social, location, weblogs…everything), storing it in cache, applying Hadoop (or Hadoop-like) batch processing, and leaning on data scientists to determine what’s valuable. Not every vendor then pairs it with an implementation of an in-memory database technology like SAP HANA which can then be leveraged instantly.
It’s this latter part that SAP is probably banking on. After all, its big, Big Data solutions/services will come from partnering and co-innovating with best-of-breed partners like Cloudera. The future it seems, at least through SAP’s actions, is in analyzing and leveraging the kind of high-value information that lives in SAP HANA.
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