How SAP Will Disrupt the Enterprise in the Big Data Age

And while that’s oversimplifying it a bit, the statement certainly lacks a “cool” factor. But if we look at the products and services we use every day, there’s a good chance that SAP’s technologies have been involved somewhere along the way -- from the manufacturing plants that use SAP’s ERP systems, to the marketing pitches that leverage SAP’s customer analytics, to the Financial powerhouses that use Sybase.

But that’s yesterday’s news and SAP knows it. They know something else too -- that if they’re going to remain viable in computing’s next era, they have work to do. Not only that, but they also have to keep their current customers happy as they move to the age of big data, mobile and cloud.

For that to happen without disrupting the people who pay their bills in a negative way, SAP has to make things pleasant and easy. "Simple" is the word that SAP likes to use. And that’s why they’ve put their Guinness World Record Breaking HANA beneath not only their analytic solutions but also their business applications. Wherever SAP customers go, the power of HANA, big data and predictive analytics will, simply, be there.

And to some extent, SAP’s big data solutions already are there. SAP is the fourth largest Big Data provider in the world.

SAP HANA Powered, Big Data Informed and a Beautiful Face

And to the current end user, this big data power will come from behind two beautiful faces: SAP Fiori which, as of yesterday, is free to SAP customers and SAP Lumira, which transforms big data analytics into beautiful visualizations that inform decision making. The latter is available in SAP’s Service Pack 8.

This kind of disruption, customers don’t mind. It’s like moving from a cell phone to an iPhone that instead of Siri has Watson (or in SAP’s world SAP InfiniteInsight) inside of it.

This is the kind of “Simple” that SAP CEO Bill McDermott was referring to when he spoke about SAP’s Simple Finance.

Could Choice Be Yet Another Disruptor of Platform 2?

Now while everyone’s talking about big data, mobile, social and cloud being the big disrupters that will lead us into computing’s next age, our journeys there, the platforms we choose to do business on, and total costs matter as well.

And in that world, choice is becoming the default setting. Providing choice is a big deal.

That’s why SAP is today announcing that with Service Pack 8, there are many routes and landing places for SAP HANA. There is a large ecosystem of partners, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Intel E7v2 processor-based systems, multiple third-party high availability and disaster recovery solutions and an expanded network of 20 partners certified to support solutions powered by SAP HANA in the cloud.

It’s worth noting too, that SAP’s partnerships involve a lot more than signing some paperwork and exchanging some cash. In the case of SAP and VMWare, for example, it means that with the push of a button customers can be up and running in minutes.

“HANA becomes plug and play,” is how Steve Lucas, an SAP President puts it.

In the case of Intel, it means that the chip has been designed and engineered for SAP HANA. It also means that with SAP’s new Red Hat relationship customers have the choice to run on Linux, which can lower costs and provides access to more vendor choices such as Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, IBM and NEC. And -- when engineered optimally -- HANA can be as much as 30 percent less expensive to run.

How will SAP disrupt the enterprise in the age of big data? By disrupting itself without disrupting its users.

Tricky, eh?