“Impressive and impressively vague.” That’s how Jon’s recent blog post described SAP’s lofty goal of building a big data organization, as outlined on Day One of Sapphire Now 2013. Steve Lucas, EVP for Database and Technology at SAP, took the time to join Jon at Sapphire Now to tell him exactly what building a big data organization means.

These days, Steve says, SAP has a classic analytics organization that focuses on BI, dash-boarding, reporting, EPM and GRC. And it also has a classic D&T organization with integration and storage tools – HANA, Sybase, middleware and EIM.  Citing some surprising feedback from customers who aren’t considering SAP for their big data fix, Steve  saw that he clearly needed to be more relevant in this area – part of which means not confining the focus to SAP technologies, but extending that to other, classic big data-associated technologies like Hadoop.

In terms of enabling transaction and other unstructured data to come together, Steve cites an example of a customer taking social commentary and news feeds and dumping it all into Hadoop – while, at the same time, looking at running their business suite on top of HANA.  If a customer’s past purchase history, stored in ERP, could be married with their social commentary sitting over in Hadoop, a company might be able to take advantage of cross-selling potentials. To do that, all of the pieces and parts need to come together — a bit of big data, a bit of HANA, a bit of analytics – which, Steve admits, means there’s still some work left to do.

Steve also talks about his role taking over SAP Analytics (again), and what his plan is going forward. Stability of the platform is one thing, but what is the growth potential?

The guys talk about whether Steve’s vision might spread his efforts too thinly, a point he suggests can be mitigated as like-minded colleagues step up and lead. And, having lived through the whole enterprise-BI wave, Steve sees people shifting back to very fast BI purchases – department-centric and very tactical. They want their answers now, with high-quality visualization, the ability to go mobile and the option to predict.

Steve’s  #1 Challenge to his analytics management team? Attract 250,000 followers on Twitter – something that, Jon notes, won’t be the product of press-release blasts. Nor by purchased followers, either, adds Steve. Given the need to move quickly, Steve says the JD-OD Team should check back on his progress no later than by Tech Ed time.

Show Notes

:37 First day’s sports-themed presentation hit the right notes, Steve says

1:36 Big data presence means offering solution packages that match up with solutions like Hadoop

3:19 Combining big data, HANA and analytics to meet customers needs

4:50 Steve: SAP is number one in the world at analytics – and must lead like they are

6:34 Like-minded analytics folks at SAP to be given the opportunity to step up and lead

7:27 People want answers now, with high-quality visualization, mobile and predictive tools

7:58 Steve’s #1 Goal: Analytics management team must have 250,000 followers on Twitter

8:46 Check back in 3 months – if SAP is going to go fast, they should have advanced the story by then