“SAP is only great because you make it great,” SAP’s President of Platform Solutions said to the developers, engineers and technologists assembled in Las Vegas on Monday. “So we’re going to celebrate you tonight.”
Steve Lucas was only a few minutes into the keynote presentation that kicked off a week of SAP TechEd && d-code (#SAPtd), the company’s premier SAP tech conference. But he was already setting the tone for an evening that would focus on how others employ the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to solve real-world problems.
So SAP partners and customers joined Lucas on stage to talk about how they fixed issues that trouble people every day at work. Issues they’ve tackled include infant mortality, unwieldy data and workplace hazards.
State of Emergency
What do you do when only three of 50 states have higher infant mortality rates than yours? If you’re the State of Indiana, you start scrutinizing a high volume of data from a variety of sources, such as medical and vaccination records; birth and death certificates; Medicaid benefits and much more.
“We didn’t have these capabilities before — nothing could give us the real-time ability to analyze the 5 billion rows of data that we’re now analyzing,” Paul Baltzell, Indiana’s CIO, told Lucas and the #SAPtd audience. “Our next focus is being able to take the same datasets we have, add some more to those, and go after child fatalities.”
Baltzell looks to accomplish this with mobile solutions for case workers. Data entered into tablets, phones or laptops could return the probability that children would suffer under particular circumstances, enabling case workers to act on more than gut instinct.
Seeing It Through
You should have access to organized data so you can answer useful business questions, according to Brad Peters, chairman and chief product officer of Birst. But the San Francisco-based on-demand analytics provider has found that developers and other techies do the structuring of their enterprise’s data, making it difficult for their less technical colleagues to use.
“The goal here was to produce something that was beautiful, simple, 100 percent in-cloud, and also affordable,” Peters said. “We sought to combine our agile analytics platform with the most agile data platform we could find.”
So with the help of SAP, non-technical, non-analytic users can easily see information about their company’s performance with visualizations on Birst’s dashboard, which offers a single view drawn from multiple data sources. This means all of the enterprise’s data is on the cloud and ready to use, be it data from Salesforce and SAP or supply chain and manufacturing.
“We believe that sensors in everything can change how we care for people,” Lucas said, following a Flextronics demonstration of sensors in plants. Sensors in the chairs of volunteers in the keynote audience transmitted their heart rate and breathing data, illustrating how medical monitoring system provider EarlySense intends to elevate the level of care for patients by helping nurses monitor everyone in a ward from a single station.
And to keep you out of the hospital, SAP partner SK Solutions built a real-time dynamic interface that allows automated SPYDERCRANES working on construction sites from harming people. Lucas proved the point by donning a high-visibility yellow construction vest and an RFID-enabled hardhat as two SPYDERCRANES worked around him without incident.
“SK Solutions uses Sybase technology, where we’re making these decisions before the data is even committed to the database,” Lucas said. In a nod to SAP ESP, he added, “It’s literally an event stream that we are processing, and making these decisions in real-time to cause alerts and stop movement.”
In The End, There Was You
To be fair, Monday night’s #SAPtd keynote talked about more than just “you.” Lucas frequently extolled the virtues of SAP HANA Cloud Platform — the simplified platform with the simple URL — that can extend and customize any SAP application.
Further, SAP’s Global VP and GM for Business Intelligence Jayne Landry trumpeted KXEN’s predictive algorithms, which help SAP Lumira suggest the most appropriate visualizations to users. And SAP’s CTO of Global Customer Operations Irfan Khan made several announcements about how SAP is simplifying the way its customers use their data.
But in the end, the keynote presentation really was about “you.” Lucas, Khan and Intel’s Shannon Poulin gave away a 2014 Ford Mustang, 2015 Super Bowl tickets, a football jersey signed by NFL Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk and a guitar signed by #SAPtd’s Thursday night headliner Huey Lewis and the News.
“You truly are amazing people doing unbelievable things with purposeful technology,” Lucas said in closing. “Have a great, great TechEd!”