Live from SAPinsider Studio: Clemens Praendl on SAP Cloud for Analytics

Clemens Praendl, SAP Senior Vice President and General Manager, Analytics, joins SAPinsider Studio at Reporting & Analytics 2015 to discuss the business value cycle in the context of SAP Cloud for Analytics.

This is an edited transcript of the discussion.

Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider and I am here at the SAPinsider Reporting & Analytics 2015 event. Here with me is Clemens Praendl, the Senior Vice President and General Manager , Analytics, SAP. Clemens, thanks for being here.

Clemens Praendl, SAP: Thanks for having me.

Ken: Clemens has just delivered the keynote address here to a big crowd here at R&A. In that keynote, you discussed the Peregrine Car Company, a fictional company, as an example or how-to for organizations to enable data-driven insights throughout the entire organization. In that, you mentioned the context of the business value cycle. I was hoping you could talk to our viewers a little more about what the business value cycle means, and why it’s so important to consider analytics in the context of an overall business strategy?

Clemens: I think customers today still have a lot of unintegrated point solutions. So this is often creating challenges in organizations as they have these islands of information and they are not consistent. And this makes decision making very difficult in organizations. Therefore for us the business value cycle is very important, so that customers can look strategically in the whole analytics portfolio and take a more strategic approach, which means you build your plan on a planning solution but when you finalize the plan it should be immediately shared with all the contributors in the organization. That can be done with business intelligence and visualization, and as well predictive capabilities that you can even look forward to see whether you will reach the plan, and which adjustments you need to make. And this is all governed by our GRC solutions. That’s the uniqueness of our offering, and this is what the business value cycle describes. I think customers should look into this and to go with us on this journey, and we can support them with SAP services that we can really come from a very complex environment which is hindering customers to really provide business value to the end users to really have a true business value cycle implemented in the enterprise.

Ken: And so in the keynote you brought home this business value cycle with a lot of demos and examples with SAP Cloud for Analytics. This is really the first opportunity since about three weeks ago at TechEd that SAP Cloud for Analytics was released; so here at this event it’s really the first time customers have had a chance to see it in action. I’m wondering how should customers think about SAP Cloud for Analytics in the context of their existing BI and analytics suite.

Clemens: First of all, we are continuously innovating on our on-premise portfolio so we are right now in the ramp-up phase for SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence 4.2, we have a new Lumira version coming up and therefore it’s really dependent where the data sits. So if a customer has on-premise data warehouses and uses and leverages our BI suite for example, that’s the way going forward as well. But if the customer is interested as well to start new projects, or extensions in the cloud they should look into Cloud for Analytics because that’s the solution to go to. And brand new customers, if they want to have the analytics solution from the very beginning in the cloud, Cloud for Analytics would be the solution. The good news is, that for the customer whether they want to have it in the cloud or on-premise, we have best-of-class solutions for them to fulfill the requirements of the business value cycle, and we can even run this for customers in a hybrid version, like I explained during the keynote that customers are using BPC at group level for planning and consolidation but they use Cloud for Planning in subsidiaries and then bring it all together in BPC, just as an example.

Ken: So it’s not intended to replace any existing environment, yet can enhance an existing environment any way the customer chooses?

Clemens: Absolutely. So we know that customers have heavily invested in our on-premise solutions and the analytics market is still an important on-premise market but the cloud business is growing very fast, we see increasing demand from the market, it’s growing very fast, and that’s what we’re addressing with Cloud for Analytics.

Ken: Kind of along the same line, I want to ask you about the importance of SAP HANA as the underlying, unifying solution underneath the entire analytics platform. It seems that to get full value of this business value context, SAP HANA is an integral component. Address that, and does a customer need to have SAP HANA to experience that full value of the business value cycle, or can the customer just have HANA for a part of their BI footprint?

Clemens: First of all, with our analytics portfolio we have clearly an agnostic approach. So customers using our analytics solutions on different databases, and that will still be the case going forward. That’s very, very important for our customers to know. HANA obviously is unique and has great advantages for our customers, so if you think about real-time scenarios like I described with the outlet from a supermarket where you want to push a real-time campaign when the consumer is in the supermarket. It would not work without a real-time database like HANA, and HANA is so unique to that. So therefore it’s not required to build a business value cycle in an enterprise let’s say for on-premise solutions. But there will be use cases where you will not be able to deliver this to your consumers or to business users without HANA. But that’s just because of the real-time component. Our Cloud for Analytics solution is built on our very powerful HANA Cloud Platform, so in a sense this requires then HANA, but this is then data in the cloud and this is not any more relevant for the customer where the data sits. It’s more about this one user experience and one product and the simplification that they can really use planning, BI, predictive, and risk in one solution with one user experience. That’s very important for customers to know.

Ken: Lastly, you mentioned a lot of global travel recently after TechEd and the release of SAP Cloud for Analytics. In your travels, what have you been hearing from customers, the excitement level and feedback. You mentioned I think it was 600 or 800 customers who have already signed up for a trial basis? Where can viewers start on this journey and get more information?

Clemens: The last two weeks I’ve traveled to Australia and Japan and around the world there’s great excitement around Cloud for Analytics. We have now over 1,000 customers signed up for the trial, so this really shows the interest of our customers; they’re excited and we’ve had great feedback from analysts and the whole team is excited. The beauty is really that we innovate on both sides, Cloud for Analytics is really a strong solution in one product, and simplifying it for the customer, but we are innovating as well in our on-premise portfolio. If the customer is interested in signing up for the trial, they should go to

Ken: Clemens, thanks for joining us today.

Clemens: Thanks.