Lots of folks focus on HANA as a competitor to Oracle, and it is. Even if HANA adoption and sales were to completely devastate SAP’s biggest competitor (Oracle) that would not be HANA’s biggest impact–, the HANA product has the potential to disrupt entire industries in the context of Big Data.
Unlike Big Data, I’ve been skeptical about the benefits and use of social media in the enterprise, writing about it in Why Social Media Marketing Success Is Elusive for Business and Social Media Fads and the Risk to the Enterprise. On the other hand, Big Data hasn’t gotten anywhere near the attention even though it has a fairly clear business case. Big Data has the capability to transform enterprises, organizations, and even entire industries. We are not talking about abstract “build it and they will come” theories here either. We are talking about a revolution in the way business is done.
Big Data will have huge impacts on customers, products, even whole regions of the world. What do I mean when I refer to Big Data?
BIG DATA: The ability to analyze large volumes of both structured data (like transactional data streams) AND unstructured data (social media, industry information, news trends, etc.) leading to market makers and market losers across virtually all industries.
This ability to synthesize structured and unstructured data streams with technology advances WILL transform companies and industries.
Over the next 5 – 10 years:
- Computing power will continue to grow.
- High speed memory processing (like in SSD drives) will improve.
- Massive memory storage will come down in price.
- In-memory database technologies will mature.
This “perfect storm” of Big Data know-how and technology advances will lead to the ability to identify:
- Subtle and even unknown market segments.
- Market and sales trends.
- Customer sentiments, needs, and wants.
- Leading to new product or service opportunities.
- Competitor strengths or weaknesses.
- Etc., etc., etc.
Big Data will be part of the ERP iii [FN1] technology innovation driving customer focus related to customer acquisition, customer retention, and marketplace performance. Big Data represents a business transformation shift in how business will be done in the future–, it represents a potential seismic shift in business performance in the marketplace.
The Big Data Revolution
The struggles are the semantics in how to synthesize the information and filter the nuggets from the noise. Big Data allows you to understand what the keys are in terms of words, concepts, and ideas. It then allows you to synthesize those keys with the various data sources.
In other words, how do you take the product sales information (transactional data), customer demographics (transactional), corporate market knowledge (unstructured internal), key word search (semi-structured internal and external such as with Google or Bing), with marketplace intelligence (unstructured external, including external social media), and innovate new or existing products and services? That is the challenge that some folks are beginning to work on today. That is the challenge that SAP’s HANA product enables for the future enterprise.
Big Data means “Business Intelligence” will finally become, well, intelligent!
[FN1] For more information on ERP 3 see this comprehensive ERP treatise ERP vs. ERP II vs. ERP III Future Enterprise Applications.