ORLANDO, Fla. — First things first. SAP is more than an enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider.

Tom Roberts, SAP vice president of global ecosystem and channels, relayed that message to the audience this morning at the SAP keynote in the Ritz Carlton Hotel here at the 2013 OpenText World Enterprise Information Management Conference. “Many of you know SAP as the ERP company — and that sort of thought process is a bit behind the times,” Roberts said. 

More SAP Innovation

So what is it today? SAP is adding more innovation back to business, and it's strategically partnering with several organizations to do so.  “And on top of that task is the cloud,” Roberts said.

Customers, he said, want to get their value in the enterprise right away. Because of that, SAP has become the biggest cloud company on the market. Business partnerships such as OpenText, Success Factors and Ariba “put us into a cloud leadership position, and we expect to continue to push on that.”

The SAP HANA platform got a boost earlier this fall when SAS and SAP partnered.  The combination of SAS advanced analytics running on the HANA in-memory data and application platform can be expected to yield high-value customer results.

The more the organization drives into the in-memory age, the more analytics efficiencies will emerge, he said. HANA is doing both transactions and analytics out of the same package, which changes what’s possible in the enterprise.

SAP Innovation

“As we bring structured and unstructured data together, there are new ways to solve problems that didn’t exist before,” Roberts said.

Rainer Ehre, vice president of enterprise applications for OpenText, told the audience SAP resells 12 of OpenText’s products. Also, OpenText handles SAP’s five cloud products, and it produces HANA and mobility offerings with its SAP ECM Suite.

Ehre said his teams are focused on helping businesses get more efficient in the enterprise mobile world, such as improving invoice filing and management.

Outsider’s View on SAP

Joshua Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting in Berkeley, Calif., told the audience SAP is recognizing the need to bring more innovation to a greater number of stakeholders in the extended enterprise. 

SAP is “taking what they know” from its core ERP and giving it to partners in the enterprise, he added. “Usability and functionally has to go to the broadest number of stakeholders,” Greenbaum said, “and that is fueling a lot of innovation inside the SAP ecosystem.”

Further, SAP is working on making unstructured data usable in the enterprise.“They’re taking that data and making is usable,” Greenbaum said. “They’re blending structured and unstructured data and extending it to the greatest number of users.”

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