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SAP Launches New IoT Solution: SAP Connected Goods

Marcin Tkaczyk

SAP has recently launched SAP Connected Goods, a new cloud-based IoT solution delivered on HANA Cloud Platform. It is designed to automate core processes by connecting with smart devices, for example vending machines, ensuring adequate stock levels, proper storage conditions, monitor performance, utilisation, and proper functioning.

According to 2015 IDC Worldwide Internet of Things Forecast, by 2020, there will be a projected 30 billion connected devices, appliances, machines, and other physical objects. Not just smartphones and tablets, but almost anything with a sensor on it – coffee makers, cars, cattle, machines in production plants, jet engines, oil drills, wearable devices, and more. Communicating over the Internet through embedded sensors, these objects are expected to help generate 403 trillion gigabytes of data per year by 2018.

SAP solutions for the IoT are built on the SAP HANA platform. HANA supports natively smart data streaming and access, dynamic tiering, smart data integration and quality, series data, multitenant database containers, graph engine modelling, L2 delta optimisations, and predictive analytics. SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the IoT is extended with a rich set of services, for example services for the connected car, and includes remote device management, message management, and application enablement with a set of APIs. In SAP IoT portfolio there is also a number of solutions dedicated for specific use cases, like SAP IoT SIM management for SAP HANA (SIMM), connecting devices with SIM cards.

In addition to the features described above, the on premise version of IoT platform includes technology to connect to physical objects located at the edge of the network. These include:
• SAP SQL Anywhere solutions – allows to capture and store data locally on connected devices, and exchange data using highly scalable, session-based synchronization technology
• SAP Event Stream Processor – capturing machine data at the source with a standalone, complex event processing engine
• SAP IQ software – managing data volumes at the petabyte scale with a high-performance, columnar-structured analytical database
• Integration to Apache – direct access the Hadoop distributed file system and the MapReduce programming model with user-defined functions in SAP HANA.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network that connects people, data, processes, and physical objects. IoT deals with machines, devices, appliances and their services, middleware software that connects them, IoT-oriented data analytics, and business applications that can use this data.

SAPPHIRE 2016 - It's All about Empathy for the End User

Marcin Tkaczyk

Bill McDermott at this year’s SAPPHIRE: “everything has to start with that ultimate empathy for that end user and the experience that they are getting from your company”. Message, which translates into focus on the frontend layers, whether it is Fiori, or, for example, Web UI experience. Personalised, easy to use and configure with minimum development effort.

Strategic directions for SAP that have been outlined at the conference include making its products easier to use, principally through the more user-friendly ERP suite, S/4HANA, and software as a service (SaaS) offerings which are meant to simplify delivery of SAP technologies, including the HANA in-memory database. SAP would also become more of an organic innovation machine.

Looking back at the origins of SAP HANA and its continuous success, Hasso Plattner envisions an In-Memory Future: “The Boardroom of the Future is not a collection of KPIs. It is real-time information providing an instantaneous glimpse into any part of the company”.

Automation Potential

Marcin Tkaczyk
McKinsey analysed detailed work activities for almost 800 different occupations in the US market, ranging from CEOs to fast food workers, to estimate the percentage of time that could be automated by adapting currently demonstrated IT technology. They found 2,000 individual work activities, and assessed them against 18 different capabilities that could potentially be automated. In their analysis, they found that 45% of work activities can already by automated based on proven existing technology.

The direction outlined by the research is less about automating individual jobs wholesale, than it is about automating the activities within occupations, and redefining roles and processes. Four key findings have been presented in the study:

1. The automation of Activities – 45 per cent of work activities could be automated using already demonstrated technology. If the technologies that process and “understand” natural language were to reach the median level of human performance, an additional 13 per cent of work activities could be automated. In many cases, automation technology can already match, or even exceed, the median level of human performance required.

2. The redefinition of jobs and business processes - fewer than 5 per cent of occupations can be entirely automated using current technology. However, about 60 per cent of occupations could have 30 per cent or more of their constituent activities automated. In other words, automation is likely to change the vast majority of occupations at least to some degree, which will necessitate significant job redefinition and transformation of business processes.

3. The impact on high-wage occupations - automation potential doesn’t correlate with low-skill, low-wage jobs. Doctors (23%), nurses (29%), and even CEOs (25%) all have significant amounts of their jobs that can be automated. Almost half (47%) of what pharmacists do, can be done by a robo-pharmacist, and 72% of commercial pilot activities can be done through computers.

4. The future of creativity and meaning - capabilities such as creativity and sensing emotions are core to the human experience and also difficult to automate. The amount of time that workers spend on activities requiring these capabilities, though, appears to be surprisingly low: just 4 per cent of the work activities across the US economy require creativity at a median human level of performance.

Current State of the Internet? Social Media Internet

At the age of the internet, social media have become an essential part of most marketing strategies. This process evolved from the early 2000s, when sites like LinkedIn gained wide popularity, and resulted in an increasing variety of social networks today, many of them allowing for cross-posting. Facebook, started in 2004, is still on top, accounting for 96 per cent of B2C and 88 per cent of B2B companies which are using it. However, other social services are on the rise, like Instagram, established in 2010, with 42 percent of B2C enterprises using the site, or Pinterest, also started in 2010, being used for marketing by 90 percent of specialty businesses in the US, and 84 percent of luxury brands.

In addition to choosing correct platform that fits best the company profile (type of audience; visual, audio, or/and interactive content), there are still significant challenges for marketers, especially for measuring the effectiveness and presenting the value gained from social media campaigns, or demonstrating its ROI. If not done correctly, it can make companies become sceptical of the benefits of using it.

SAP has gone through a number of iterations by trying to fill the market needs in the social media area and to provide for new CRM capabilities. First steps were taken in 2010 when SAP integrated Twitter with its CRM 7.0 system, and delivered a number of reusable APIs.

SAP Social Media Analytics was next big step - solution that was developed in partnership with NetBase, can collect and combine structured data from database – mainly SAP CRM, but also SCM and Finance, with unstructured data (Natural Language Processing techniques), in order to run conversations, and further analyse them. Light version of the product, called SAP Social onDemand is also available (via RDS delivery). SAP HANA Sentiment Intelligence has similar capabilities and since launch in 2012, is becoming more popular, as more customers meet its prerequisite, which is the HANA database.

Most recent product, SAP Social Engagement solution is offered under cloud-based model. It combines online and in-house customer data along with enterprise-wide collaboration, which allows to understand the full context and effectively respond in minutes. It can route as well as prioritize messages from multiple channels, and provides native integration with Twitter and Facebook.

To Cloud or to Uncloud

Marcin Tkaczyk

Cloud, or on demand model, is becoming recently even more popular and this increasing trend among companies is actively supported by big software vendors, including SAP, that promote it - by developing and offering new products via this type of delivery only.

There are a lot of benefits by choosing the cloud, although not for every solution and not for every customer. Some customers learned this lesson and are surprisingly going back to on premise architecture - we know about one case.

Sending customer data and setting up applications on the cloud requires usually much less effort and time than the reverse process. Depending on scale, such a migration will also require more or less involvement of vendor, including scheduled downtimes, which is not required with the opposite process.

We were very interested in the reasons for undertaking the uncloud project, and these were provided by the Customer, from most to least important:
• Not possible (or not in line with company policy) to integrate cloud applications with on-premise ones
• Not possible to access certain cross-application processes, including BI data due to security
• Increased cost, and estimated future increase in cost
• Concerns about security and data sovereignty in general.