Chris Carter is the chief executive officer of Approyo, a company specializing in big data analytics. He is also member of the SAP Startup Focus Program, and a premium member of the 1M/1M program. In this interview Chris talks about Approyo’s view on big data and presents several use cases from various industry verticals, specifying how the company generates big data insights that help drive better business outcomes and ROI. Approyo focuses on SAP’s Hana platform, and is a good example of the platform eco-system trend that we’re seeing everywhere in the technology industry right now. This interview also touches upon Approyo’s evolution from a horizontal Hana solution provider to a more advanced developer of vertical solutions with real domain insight in industry segments such as energy management at hospital facilities.
Sramana Mitra: Chris, let’s talk about your company and about your background.
Chris Carter: Approyo is an SAP Hana big data analytics organization. What that really means is we work with customers to take this big monster, which is big data, and all their data that has been provided by their different APIs, and we bring that all together into a predictive analytics solution that allows them to understand all that data together in a clean, concise mass, rather than in individual pieces whose touch points they may not be able to correlate. It really allows us to see the whole picture rather than just one small pixel inside that picture.
SM: And you are doing this in the context of SAP Hana. The Hana technology is something you specialize in?
CC: That is correct. We chose that specific big data solution after many years of experience with Hadoop and different Hadoop flavors. We saw the ability take so much data and bring it in to one solution – SAP Hana. That solution could then work with structured and unstructured data at the same time to get a holistic view of what a customer’s issues are, for example, from a deeper history and bring that forward.
SM: Who are your customers? What industries do you cater to? What kind of problems do you solve? I would like you to do three use cases.
CC: Healthcare is a strong one, especially with what is going on with the new Obamacare [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] and the different ways that you need to deal with healthcare in an online world. Personalized patient treatment is one of the items that have come to the forefront – managing a patient’s care costs effectively. We have other aspects where hospitals are looking at specific costs per patient. Patient costs are always increasing.
So, these are three different touch points in one area – in healthcare. Let me give you an example of a hospital system we work with. They wanted to know what the challenge to control cost was and deal with the indirect cost reductions within the organization. What were the average energy costs? What was being done with the healthcare spend in those particular hospitals? We were able to show them that they can take the data they have from their different hospitals, and by looking at everything – from housekeeping down to their cafeterias, maintenance and repairs – and we were able to find a 28% reduction they could bring forward in their costs or bring it forward as a profit, since it is a for-profit organization.