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SAP Announces €2 Billion IoT Investment Plan

Marcin Tkaczyk

SAP has recently announced investment plans of €2 billion over five years to help business and government entities benefit from the proliferation of sensors, smart devices and Big Data that is transforming business with the Internet of Things (IoT), market, which is estimated to reach €250 billion by 2020.

Bill McDermott: “With billions of connected devices, we now have the potential to reshape society, the economy and the environment. SAP HANA is the data platform we knew would unlock the Internet of Things. Today SAP is making another bold investment to help our customers seize the benefits of live business. Only SAP empowers businesses to innovate from the core to the edges to the networks.”

The outlined strategy will focus on the following key areas:

• SAP IoT: From Information to Insights, Action and Live Business.
Use of Big Data for machine learning and integration with S/4HANA; connecting people, partners, things and the physical environment; real-time, live intelligence; more immediate customer and stakeholder value.

• Innovation in New Solutions: Industry 4.0 Solution Packages.
The jump-start package to monitor equipment effectiveness and provide insight into shop floor operations, as well as the accelerator package that adds an automated, paperless, manufacturing execution and control environment, performance analytics and advanced plant maintenance, are already available. Both packages are complemented by the SAP Distributed Manufacturing application for additive manufacturing 3D printing services. SAP plans to introduce the third Industry 4.0 solution package, the “advanced” package, to provide advanced manufacturing insight and controls, machine learning functionality and predictive analysis for quality and maintenance operations. SAP also plans IoT package solutions to address the unique digital operations of cities, agriculture and energy industries.

• Innovation in the IoT: PLAT.ONE, Fedem.
SAP has acquired PLAT.ONE, an enterprise-grade IoT provider that simplifies the process of creating, deploying and managing complex IoT solutions. PLAT.ONE provides expertise and technology to accelerate the availability of key IoT capabilities in SAP HANA Cloud Platform. SAP has also recently acquired Fedem Technology, specializing in advanced engineering analysis and building software for multibody dynamic simulation and lifetime calculation of structures and mechanical systems under the influence of complex loads. With this acquisition SAP plans to build an end-to-end IoT solution in which a digital avatar continuously represents the state of operating assets through feeds from sensors, replacing the need for physical inspection with a digital inspection.

• SAP IoT Labs: Enabling Global IoT Transformation Across the Globe.
SAP plans to establish locations around the world to collaborate on Industry 4.0 and the IoT with customers, partners and startups. SAP IoT labs are intended as lighthouse locations and primary access points for IoT research, development, proof-of-concept modeling and incubation, with IoT showcases, thought leadership, expertise and infrastructure for strategy and product co-innovation. Planned locations include Berlin, Johannesburg, Munich, Palo Alto, São Leopoldo and Shanghai. The labs are intended to provide customers with access to co-innovation resources including design thinking experts and workshops, and interactive demos of IoT-related technology including autonomous systems (such as drones and robotics), IoT security, machine learning and 3D printing.

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.