Sramana Mitra: How much of that are you doing inside SAP today?
Oliver Bussmann: We have over 1,200 projects that have been or are being implemented. We were the first HANA customer in 2010, by moving our customer relationship database into the HANA appliance. In this case we have 4,000 people in sales updating customer information. Every time they touch a customer, they have to update their opportunities. This way we know if there is a chance to achieve our quarterly goals, if there is a shift in the book of business by country, by life cycle, etc. We know at any time of the day if the business is moving. There is always a question, for example, if there are trends in the European Union from a demand perspective. We can see that. We can immediately see if there is a shift, and we don’t wait for the end of the month or the quarter if there is a major shift in demand by region, by customer, by product, or by life cycle.
That was the first big change in 2010. Then we moved into quarter-end processing and possibility calculations to see our product profitability, customer productivity, etc. In the past we took three to four days to calculate that. Now it is less than four hours, and we have much more information and more details. Then we moved into a business warehouse to accelerate the data loads and data type relations in those warehouses. Step four, which we also announced, is the implementation of our in-memory technology and our business speed. We are in the middle of the implementation of HANA technology to increase our business speed. I would say internally we are front-runners, and we are also showcasing to our customers what can be done using in-memory technology.
SM: What is happening at SAP vis-à-vis the functional media revolution?
OB: A lot. Let me share my observation of what is going on. What we see on the consumer side is now happening in exactly the same way on the enterprise side. What we see on the Facebook side is that you have a secure and professional collaboration tool based on your communities and also your family members. The same we are now also seeing in the corporate world. We are investing in software called GEM. This brings Facebook- and Twitter-like interaction within SAP. With 10 million users, you can also collaborate in a secure way with your peers outside of the company: customers, partners, or vendors, just as in Facebook or Twitter. The interesting development here is that there is a race between different parties to determine who gets the most critical mass of users.
Collaborating outside of your own company is the injection or integration of social into the business processes. You want to have one central place where you can post information out of your other business applications anytime you have important information you want to post with one click. Similarly, what you see today in the consumer world, you have a new side where you can share news and comment on it – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – the same experience we are now building into business processes. For example, GEM is now integrated into the customer relationship management systems. Whatever you find about your customers, you can post it into one social media channel, through GEM. If you have any dashboards on the analytics side and if you have findings, you can also post them into GEM like on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. The key trend at SAP is to have a critical mass – we have more than 60,000 internal users on GEM and more than 9 million external users wherein people can collaborate similarly to as on Facebook or Twitter, share news, and be in touch.
Number two is that each application should not have its own collaboration space like sales or financial information, but you should have only one place that is always interconnected to your business processes and applications. As an end user, you would have a hard time managing so many collaboration spaces.
Those are the trends we see from a social perspective. In my experience (and I am the number one social CIO according to Forbes), there was an article published a while ago which looked at CIOs and their social media activity, especially on Twitter. I am the most engaged executive, with more than 7,000 people following me on Twitter, and more than 20 million impressions on those social media activities. I am engaging with my communities outside of SAP because I am learning from them and they are learning from me. My communication activities have changed dramatically in using social media tools internally and externally.