The Future Looks very Bright…

I have spent 3 weeks now full time at Virtustream, including a week in Barcelona, last week, at SAP FKOM (Field Kickoff Meeting) for EMEA. My conclusion thus far is “The Future is Very Bright”…

Bright Roadmap

Interesting feedback from SAP field teams as well as SAP Partners in Barcelona around where the cloud computing market is going and Virtustream’s ability to lead the way around cloud for SAP and HANA.

For those whom I got a chance to talk with in the last 3 weeks, you may have heard me say that at Virtustream there is both a “Pull & Push Effect” from clients, partners and across the ecosystem.

When large clients consistently “Pull” us into conversations to help them build their cloud roadmaps, you start to realize what an incredible global “Business Wingspan” Virtustream has in the market, which is refreshing.

One of the key elements of the positive feedback from the ecosystem around Virtustream’s cloud capabilities is the idea of turning CapEx into OpEx and creating a consumption-based utility model with flexibility around clients’ cloud usage patterns, through our MicroVM patented technology. If you haven’t had the opportunity to understand the Virtustream xStream Platform and MicroVM innovation, please take the time to view this short video to learn how to create a “standard unit of measure” of IT resources, which in my opinion, has the opportunity to set the global standard for IT in this area.

In today’s IT environment, the nature of changing business dynamics and constantly changing requirements, makes it very hard for an IT organization to predict future demand. IT wants the ability and flexibility to only pay for what the business is using, but also quickly provision capabilities to increase or decrease resources for their applications – which reduces the risk for the clients and helps IT innovate in areas that matter most to the business.

Even though the future is bright, there is a long road ahead with various turns along the way, which is going to be fun and incredibly rewarding from a learning perspective…

Long Road Ahead

One of the areas I am excited most about in 2016 is Virtustream’s extended partnership with SAP – which offers a secure, flexible cloud infrastructure service for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC)

We launched this service in EMEA & MEE for the European markets this past week at the Barcelona FKOM event, and we are launching the same service in North America this coming week at the Las Vegas FKOM event.

The feedback so far from SAP has been positive, especially once we shared with them Virtustream’s experience, skill set and ability to execute around SAP and HANA Cloud (i.e., over 200 production customers in a multi-tenant cloud, over 500 HANA migrations, First S/4 HANA in a cloud deployment etc.).

Several key areas are unique to Virtustream’s SAP HANA in the Cloud offering, which delivers HEC workloads together with SAP, as they provide industry leading support and certification for “Regulated Industries” including:
Government: FedRAMP and FISMA certification
Commercial: PCI-DSS certified
Healthcare: HIPAA certified
As well as Financial Services, Regulated Utilities, and many others.

Another key area is around “Faster Time-to-Market” with our rapid deployment capabilities, which enable us to meet the most aggressive deployment timelines. There are some very cool innovations in this area, where our Application Automation teams are driving innovations at incredible speeds.

A third area is the ability to support Heterogeneous Application Environments. The reality is that most existing SAP landscapes are mixed environments with SAP applications, SAP HANA and legacy SAP on “anyDB” environments, as well as connected non-SAP applications. This also includes the ability to provide short-term transition landscapes for non-HANA DBs.

The last area is the ability to support a wide range of SAP HANA sizes. Regardless of ScaleUp or ScaleOut, and regardless of Virtual HANA or Physical HANA, we support the highest capacity available from the SAP approved OEM vendor certifications. And we continue to push innovations in this space to be able to handle the most demanding HANA client requirements.

In my humble opinion, this makes Virtustream’s HANA Cloud capabilities simply the most mature, flexible and cost effective in the industry! We welcome the opportunity to engage with SAP field teams, clients and SAP partners to have conversations in these areas to prove out our capabilities in greater detail.

What is also very exciting is that for Virtustream’s parent company EMC Corporation “The Future is Bright” (EMC acquired Virtustream in July 2015).
In October 2015, Dell announced a bid to combine Dell & EMC taking EMC Private
Just last week, Michael Dell and Joe Tucci’s shared their perspective on the future ahead of the larger combined company: “The Opportunities Are Massive”

Speaking of the future ahead, between Christmas and New Year’s 2015, our family had the opportunity to visit Sedona north of where we live in Phoenix. If you haven’t been to Sedona, I highly recommend a visit. We spent some quality time by Oak Creek River coming down the mountains, which is an incredible beautiful force of Nature.

Sedona

I found myself staring at the River admiring its determination to move forward in an aggressive but controlled pace. I came to the realization that there is nothing that can stop the water flowing down the mountain…
I am fortune to be a part of Virtustream and the EMC Federation Cloud Journey…and I am certain that there is nothing that can stop us paving the way for driving innovation in the cloud for our SAP customers.

See you this week at FKOM Las Vegas!

Happy 4th Birthday SAP HANA

June 18th 2015 marks the 4-year anniversary of the SAP HANA Platform, which became first generally available on June 18th 2011.

It has been an incredibly interesting and rewarding journey to follow the birth of SAP HANA 4 years ago, leading up to today. These 4 years, in my opinion, have been the best in my business and IT career due to the dynamic nature of technology and the disrupting forces of constant change. This constant change represents a massive opportunity to learn and transform yourselves but also participate in the transformation for clients and partners. It’s interesting to see which clients and partners embrace this journey to transform sooner vs later. I believe the “Innovators” and “Early Adopters” will benefit from leveraging the HANA Platform in various scenarios as a way to leverage their data, people and processes to innovate and transform themselves into new areas and possibilities.

What has become clear in my mind (…and I keep hearing the same from many clients and partners) is that this Journey is about building a sound “HANA Roadmap” that makes sense for each individual organization. In my opinion there is no question if it’s a good idea to develop a HANA roadmap, realizing that SAP is pouring the majority of their development efforts into applications running on HANA.

There is a ton of evidence of this:

There is a great opportunity to simplify the Application, Database and Infrastructure stack to focus on tasks that drive business outcomes. This can all be achieved with the SAP HANA Platform.

In my opinion there are two ways you can build an SAP HANA Roadmap:

The Right Way…
IMG_6054

…or the Wrong Way
IMG_6049

One of the key starting points in building out an SAP HANA Roadmap “the Right Way”, is building a sound business case in order to begin the journey. There are many great resources available from SAP and the partner ecosystem who are eager to help. One of the many resources I recently came across was John Appleby’s book on “Building the business case for SAP HANA”, which is an excellent guide for this purpose.

John Appleby Book

The business case also involves understanding what uses cases makes sense in the HANA adoption curve combined with having a sound strategy on how to deploy and operationalize.

18 months ago, I shared a blog post on how to best “Deploy & Operationalize” SAP HANA. Since then, we have been fortunate to extend our capabilities in this space with additional solutions across the board including;

– Incremental support for various EMC Storage platforms for HANA TDI with VMAX3, XtremIO and Scale IO (in addition to VNX2) 

– Data Protection Capabilities with Replication options, Backup with Data Domain and Networker, as well as various HA solutions

– There are also many cool VMware capabilities to virtualize shared HANA infrastructure and I believe we will see a lot more on this topic later this year

As organizations want to accelerate the time-to-market of solutions built on HANA, there is a need to create an “On-Demand” or “as a Service” model for more flexible and faster ways of creating Business Outcomes for clients. Realizing this, we have built better relationships with HANA Cloud providers to leverage EMC and VCE platforms including: Dimension Data, CapGemini, T-Systems, Canopy and others globally, now running on EMC and VCE Platforms as well as on May 26th 2015 we announced an intention to acquire Virtustream to exapand our capabilities in this space primarily from a software perspective.

IMG_6573

The partnership with Virtustream is not new. At the SAP FKOM Conference on Jan 20th 2015, EMC and VCE announced a partnership with Virtustream to build out solutions using Virtustream’s xStream Cloud Management Platform with VCE Vblock solutions for end user SAP clients and Cloud Service Provider Partners focused on SAP and HANA workloads.

Our ability to “package” these solutions for HANA whether it’s an On-Prem, Off-Prem or Hybrid deployment, in either a CapEx or OpEx model, becomes key in succesfull HANA Roadmap. I believe SAP clients are looking to simplify the way they engage with their internal business users to get value from the platforms they deploy, faster, as well as simplify the engagement with ecosystems partners for maximum agility.

It is also very timely with SAP launching HANA Service Pack 10 (SPS10) this week on HANA’s 4th birthday! Learn more here about this new HANA release here from Michael Eacrett – SAP VP of Product Management: “SAP HANA SPS 10 continues the transformative SAP HANA in-memory platform. Adding to enhancements from SAP HANA SPS 09, we have focused innovation on the areas of running mission-critical applications with confidence, connecting with the Internet of Things (IoT) at enterprise scale and security, and seamlessly processing big data at speed to enable our customers to innovate next-generation applications.”

Happy Birthday SAP HANA…can’t wait for the next few years. The Journey is just becoming really interesting!

SAP & EMC Keeping it Simple at FKOM

This past week I was fortunate to attend SAP’s FKOM (Field KickOff Meeting) event for Latin America in Riviera Maya (just south of Cancun). Riviera Maya better Prior to leaving for the event, we got some feedback that SAP’s theme was going to be “Simple Wins”. We also received feedback as an attending partner, that the dress code was “relaxed”, thus being acceptable to wear jacket & jeans at all FKOM events globally. This made me think of Steve Lucas’ keynote Monday afternoon at SAP TechEd in October in Las Vegas. Steve was wearing Jeans, and the majority of the speakers that came to the stage were also wearing Jeans; including John Appleby, Vijay Vijayasankar, Chris Paine and others, which was awesome! Of course some of us started to have fun with that using the #JeansDay hashtag. Thinking of this and having a quick chat with my partner in “trouble making” crime: Sylvie Otten Sollod (@sylvie75015) we decided to create a fun image that we can use in social media during all FKOM events around the world which also showcased our message and theme: “SAP & EMC Keeping it Simple”. Sylvie and her behind the scene PhotoShop expert husband went to work on it and came up with the following (of course there is an additional message, which is all SAP field sales folks need to succeed in 2015, is an EMC business card): JeansDayEach morning at FKOM I got a chance to take a jog on the beach to clear my mind and get ready for a full day of action. I have to say it was one of the nicer beaches I have ever been. Beach Day 1At FKOM’s keynote by Rob Enslin (President of Global Field Organizations) we heard about SAP’s vision in 2015, to help clients build “the Perfect Enterprise” with the next generation HANA Platform now known as: S4HANA. Simple Finance (sFinance) for HANA is the first prebuilt solution with S4HANA and Simple Logistics is right around the corner. In one of the breakout session, Thack Brown of SAP did an incredible job walking through the value proposition of Simple Finance on S4HANA. He set the bar for how to communicate in a “simple” way why it make sense for clients to deploy sFinance. The innovations SAP is building on top of the HANA Platform are impressive, and I personally believe they will help drive adoption in client sites. This, of course, needs to be combined with the right use cases as well as a strong business case and plan on how to deploy. I thought Sven Denecken also gave a great talk on how S4HANA and SAP’s Cloud strategy will play out in 2015. S4 HANA Best I thought SAP did a fantastic job with the S4HANA message and the overall FKOM LatAm event. SAP’s passion to go above and beyond the normal is contagious. It is very cool that partners such as EMC have an opportunity to attend to better understand and align with SAP’s field organization at the global FKOM events. Although EMC (and EMCs Federation with VMware, VCE, Pivotal & RSA) may not fall in the “regular” partner category where SAP is most focused on; including SI’s (small and large), VARs (resellers) of SAP software, and Cloud hosting Partners, I personally believe EMC is closely aligned with SAP.

We at EMC are committed to evangelizing the HANA platform as the next phase of our existing SAP clients’ Business and IT Journeys. We are also 100% committed to help our existing SAP clients simplify & reduce the cost of their infrastructure by driving a Cloud strategy: On-Prem, Off-Prem and Hybrid with our own Infrastructure Platform solution. We are also working with Cloud Service Provider Partners globally who run those same Infrastructure Platforms to host SAP Cloud offerings. There is no better way to deploy HANA than on EMC’s Virtual Platforms On-Prem or Off-Prem with EMC powered HANA Cloud Providers.

At FKOM San Diego next week you will see us launch another set of SAP Cloud Provider offerings including one specifically in North America for SAP clients. It’s interesting to note that some of these partnerships both enable SAP Cloud offerings (including HANA Cloud) powered by EMC for the Service Provider as well as provide “how to build” blue prints on how to deploy HANA in clients’ own data centers. This of course enables Hybrid scenarios for SAP clients for maximum flexibility and choice. As Sven Denecken said in his FKOM Keynote: “The world is going to stay Hybrid for a very long time”. We believe SAP clients will continue to have integration points to SAP applications in SaaS or other off-prem deployment scenarios and to some extent non-SAP applications on-prem or off-prem, which all need to be integrated.

There are over 15,000 Global SAP clients running on EMC platforms today (and growing rapidly), including the majority of Global 1,000, based on our track record with those clients we have proven to earn Credibility, Trust and Relationships and deep reach into many organizations. This is why our ability to take the next generation of SAP Solutions such as S4HANA, put them on top of our proven EMC Infrastructure platforms to help our clients innovate, simplify and reduce cost, is unmatched in the SAP Ecosystem.

One of the many examples, is our internal EMC IT HANA story which we are now live on Sidecar, BPC, BW and S&OP for HANA and are actively moving to CRM and ECC on HANA to replace Oracle DB. We tend to tell that story to other SAP clients every day including that it runs on VCE’s Vblock Converged Infrastructure using Virtual HANA and TDI (Tailor Data Center Integration).

While we were at FKOM (our Americas SAP team in Riviera Maya and our APJ SAP team in Singapore) it was so cool to see (on Twitter) that SAP’s CEO, Bill McDermott showed up with EMC’s CEO, Joe Tucci to speak at EMC’s Leadership conference in Boston. I heard Bill did a great job talking about leadership, and of course told inspiring stories from his new book “Winners Dream”. A very surreal situation for me sitting at an SAP conference while SAP’s CEO is meeting and speaking to EMC executives…especially considering I had a copy of that same book in my lap (since it was given to all FKOM attendees). 🙂 Tucci & McDermott

Can’t wait to hit FKOM San Diego this coming week and hear more on the #SimpleWins theme from SAP.

If you are attending FKOM San Diego next week (for SAP employees) and you want an invite to EMC’s reception on Tuesday evening, please come find me and follow me on twitter (@henrikwagner73). We will be giving away some cool prize…of course through a Social Media contest. Pay attention to the @EMCSAP twitter handle. Rumor also has it that “HANA Truth Serum” will be served! See you in San Diego where I’ll be wearing my jeans and discussing why #SimpleWins!

What will we see more of in 2015?

There are many things to be excited about in our EMC for SAP business as we wrap up 2014… and as we enter 2015!

Here are a few things I am excited about:

Private Cloud & Hybrid Cloud for SAP solutions built on VCE’s Converged Infrastructure: Vblock VCE has been around since 2009, however in my opinion, it wasn’t until the release of VMware’s vSphere 5 in the summer of 2011 that it made sense for SAP clients to consider virtualizing their SAP landscapes onto Vblock Systems (this is when VMware started to support 32 vCPU’s and 1 TB of Memory). Since 2011/2012 timeframe, we have been fortunate to help many SAP clients run on Vblock Systems and achieve great results. Intel keeps innovating the x86 chipset and VMware keeps adding performance with improved capabilities with each vSphere versions in the last 2-3 years. In 2014 though, I believe we hit the tipping point, a ton of large Fortune 500 SAP clients deployed Vblock Systems and made the decision to go all converged Infrastructure for SAP. This year in 2014, the conversation we had with those clients was “how” do we get from current state to future state of a Virtualized SAP landscape, it wasn’t “if” it was a good idea or if it can perform/scale. With the addition of Production support for Virtual HANA & SAP HANA TDI (Tailored Data Center Integration) becoming mainstream in 2014, the value proposition of running both “traditional” SAP workloads and SAP HANA workloads on the same Vblock System started to become clear; hence another reason why I believe we hit the tipping point in 2014. This year as well in October 2014, VCE became an EMC company. Cisco still retains 10% ownership (reduced from 35%) lending it’s support and commitment to VCE. This new arrangement will fuel even more growth opportunity for VCE. Additionally, according to IDC, total worldwide spending on converged infrastructure is growing at 32.8% annually and will reach approximately $14.37 billion in 2017 (up from $5.4 billion in 2013). VCE is the clear leader in integrated infrastructure systems according to Gartner and IDC. We see tremendous opportunity with Vblock for SAP as we enter 2015!

EMC’s XtremIO Platform for SAP In Nov 2013 EMC launched XtremIO solution, and immediately various teams at EMC started to look at how an All-Flash Array (AFA) like XtremIO would fit for SAP client workloads. Very quickly in Q2/Q3 2014, advanced Data Services capabilities were added to the XtremIO platform as well as compression and deduplication. I am pleasantly surprised about the positive response we have already received from SAP clients who are running XtremIO for SAP deployment scenarios to improve performance, drive consolidation, reduce TCO, and simplify overall deployments. It defies logic to deploy AFA Storage for SAP and at the same time reduce TCO, however we have learned that this is possible due to advanced functionality including compression, deduplication and advanced writeable snapshot technology.  Check out Axel Streichardt’s Blog “Redefine SAP with XtremIO – A Reality” for further details on this topic. Our XtremIO For SAP business is “ON FIRE” and I expect that momentum to grow in 2015 including Vblock 500 Series built on XtremIO.

Service Providers for SAP Business Hosted Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud and HANA Cloud (HANA Enterprise Cloud). I am intrigued to see the ever-increasing number of SAP clients asking for hosted SAP Cloud options for their entire, or a portion of their SAP environments. Based on this increased demand, we have worked very hard in 2014 to enable a set of SAP service providers using an EMC’s SAP Service Provider Reference Architecture. This reference architecture is based on VMAX or VNX TDI certified storage arrays which leverages Virtual HANA for the most flexible deployment and operations models. We are very excited with the portfolio of SAP Service Provider partners that are EMC & VCE powered so we can fully engage to help our clients deploy their SAP landscapes in the most flexible and agile way that makes the most sense for them.

To learn more about these topics and engage with our SAP team in 2015, don’t miss 2015 SAP Week EBC events, which is one of the efficient and effective ways we engage deeper with our clients and partners!

See you at SAP FKOM LatAm in Cancun Jan 10th-12th & FKOM US/Canada in San Diego Jan 20th-22nd.

Happy New Year!

10 Years with EMC this week…

This week was a milestone in my career with EMC, hitting the 10 year mark on Monday Feb 17th. I thought it definitely deserved a day off for me (something about a President’s day for others that also took the day off…).

Would be interesting to reflect on the last 10 years. Given we live in a world of real-time outcomes and social media, I am not going to attempt to reflect on the journey it’s been, but rather continue to look forward.

One thing I have learned from great leaders at EMC is to push the envelope and attempt to be a change agent, which I am incredibly grateful for and will continue to do. I will admit though, although I have always believed in challenging the status quo for valid reasons, I also like to have fun (doing the same thing all over again is just plain boring!). I think the main reason I am still with EMC after 10 years (through EMC ups and downs) is that I am having fun at EMC, especially with my friends in the #SAPPosse!

Spending 6 ½ years in direct sales as an AE (Commercial & Enterprise orgs) as well as a Global Account Manager and now over 3 years in our Global SAP practice in a client facing role have been very rewarding. Staying close to our SAP client’s requirements, challenges and initiatives gives you a perspective of reality, which I believe is necessary to be relevant. Now what’s really cool in the last few years is that social media, with tools like Twitter, gives you an opportunity to stay close even without face-to-face interaction.

Social gives you a communication vehicle with no boundaries which is just awesome! Some of my friends at EMC and in the Ecosystem sometimes joke that it’s easier to reach me on twitter than email…what some people don’t get is that it’s true. I probably miss 100+ emails per week. Way more productive to communicate in real-time using 140 characters or less. One day perhaps others will realize this and email will be for dinasours.

One interesting reflection from earlier this year in 2014 was that I was incredibly fortunate to get nominated by peers and inducted to the EMC Elect class of 2014 which is a community of Social EMC evangelists.
For those who don’t know the EMC Elect community. Check out it out. It may not be appropriate to say this, but being recognized by my peers to the EMC Elect community means more to me than reaching a 10 year milestone with EMC.

EMC Elect Picture
If you are interested to engage with the #EMCElect community check out our upcoming Crowdchat on Feb 28th. Even EMCs “Dean of Big Data” is joining us 🙂

So what about the next 10 years…

I was just fortunate to attend SAP’s Sales kickoff for APJ (in Singapore) and Americas (in Las Vegas) in the last few weeks. Let’s just say it gave us a ton to think about in the SAP & EMC relationship.

The “Imagineering” has been hitting a max rating for me since and you can expect more cool things to come. Especially around Big Data for SAP client. There is no secret that the opportunity to drive better insight from data for business outcomes is Massive! Stay tuned on this with our Project Jupiter Platform.
Catch me on twitter, or join us in 2014 somewhere in the world using our SAP Travel Guide!

Value trumps vendor Olympics for SAP HANA!

I often ponder why clients, partners and internal EMCers often ask us what SAP HANA infrastructure (Appliances) we can provide for a said SAP HANA project. Many of us jump straight into the speeds and feeds of our SAP HANA appliance offerings: Cisco/EMC, VCE Vblock and most recently a TDI (Open HANA) with EMC VMAX. Clients and partners then want to immediately talk about how our appliances compare with alternative vendor appliances (“Vendor Appliance Olympics”).

I thought the days of IT just providing technology infrastructure for a particular use case or project were over.

I believe that SAP clients want to get business value out of their Projects such as an SAP HANA platform deployment. For most clients there has to be a clear plan with a business case in order to get justification and ability to initiate a deployment. Customers are also thinking about how to leverage the “Data” in order to further innovate and draw insights for their businesses.

When we get these questions I suggest we instead talk about what role we can play around SAP HANA…why don’t we start by asking the question and trying to better understand:
– how is the client looking to Deploy SAP HANA?
– how is the client looking to Operationalize SAP HANA?

Let me explain…

There is a set of categories that we need to better understand with regards to the client “Deploying SAP HANA”:
– What is the client use case? As a Sidecar, an Agile Data Mart, BW, or Suite on HANA?
– Who is driving this use case and business case for the client? SAP Consulting, SI or boutique BI shop?
– Do you need to run a PoC to validate the use case and technology platform? If so, what metrics will be in place?
– How is the client looking to migrate to HANA based on their use case? Starting with test/dev?
– Does the HANA project fit into a larger Big Data or Analytics initiative?
– Is the client looking to deploy HANA on-premise or off-premise?

Then there are a set of categories that we need to better understand with regards to the client being able to best “Operationalize SAP HANA”:
– If the client is looking to deploy SAP HANA on-premise, how is the client looking to deploy SAP HANA infrastructure: Appliance model, TDI or Virtual HANA?
– How is the client looking to protect the SAP HANA environment? HA, Backup/Recovery, Disaster Tolerance? What’s the desired RTO/RPO?
– Does the client want to manage the SAP HANA infrastructure, SAP HANA platform and/or functional use cases internally or are you looking for outside help to run the platform on-premise, in order to just take advantage of the business value of the SAP HANA platform?

What I have found is that if you take this simple solutions approach, you will probably have a more intelligent conversation with your client about their project, gain credibility and will probably get an opportunity to tell a more strategic story on how EMC can help an SAP client be successful in their HANA project.

Here is an example…

Mr Customer, did you know?:
EMC partners with SAP and SIs and boutique consulting firms deliver an end-to-end strategy on how a client can Deploy and Operationalize an SAP HANA platform in order to maximize business value, accelerate the deployment, reduce risk of the project and build out the right TCO model.

With EMC partnerships, including our consulting partners and our Infrastructure partners: Cisco, VCE, VMware and Intel as well as our entire solutions portfolio including EMC Data Protection, I sincerely feel that we are in the best position to help our clients be successful in their SAP HANA projects with the most flexible and agile set of solutions. We also have a set of Service Provider Partners including HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud) offerings for those clients looking to deploy SAP HANA off-premise. Another indvidual piece of the larger picture is to leverage EMC and VMware including Virtual HANA in HANA Deployment and Operations model.

One way of engaging with us in this more intelligent way is at our SAP Week (#SAPWeek) events where we have our top SAP resources as well as the partners to help clients be successful in their SAP HANA projects. Here are two of those upcoming events in the Americas. Stay tuned for dates for EMEA and APJ.

SAP Week Atlanta Feb 11th-12th & SAP Week Santa Clara March 4th-6th

I am also looking forward to having this conversation with SAP executives at FKOM (SAPs Field Kickoff Meeting) in Singapore next week Jan 14th-15th and then at SAP FKOM Las Vegas Jan 21st-22nd.
See you there!

Getting Inspired at SAP FKOM in Las Vegas last week

Not only did SAP finish 2012 with a big bang, last week at FKOM they also walked through a 2013 strategy, updated solutions portfolio and sales energy going into 2013 which was beyond anything I have seen in the past. I was inspired by the positive energy at the event…and of course by catching up with some good friends in the SAP ecosystem with whom I very much hanging out.
It’s incredible to watch how fast SAP moves and strives to drive innovation for their customers to transform their organizations. Of course there is the desire to sell more software licensing, however, it is crystal clear that an SAP account team is measured on delivering customer value. In my opinion the only way to do this is to first invest in understanding their customers businesses in various industry verticals and then leverage vehicles like Design Thinking and Value Engineering to help customers transform. SAP sales leaders urged their sales teams to find ways to use “Co-Innovation to help customers meet their aspirations”.

The overall GTM strategy is also crystal clear: HANA (…and HANA & HANA :)), Cloud and Mobile

Rob Enslin and Vishal Sikka walked through very large HANA customer wins and unique use cases that are changing the way companies do business. The Jan 10th Business Suite on HANA announcement was also a massive step forward in SAP’s HANA strategy which many of us are still trying to wrap our arms around to understand how In-Memory computing will transform how customers run both OLAP and OLTP on the same platform. It’s very interesting to see SAP offer SAP ASE included in a purchase of business suite…like John Appleby states “2013 – the year of the SAP Database”. Vishal also said that seeing Business Suite on HANA announced was in his mind compared to “Walt Disney one day in the past drawing a mouse and then seeing a $100B company being built”.
My light bulb moment during FKOM was when Vishal spoke about the speed of Intel’s innovation and the co-innovation SAP is doing with Intel. He walked through the use case where his 100 node HANA cluster, with a per node cost of $40K, added additional nodes within 6 months of the initial deployment, and the new per node cost went down from $40K to $32K while per server performance increase based on a new chip set. That’s close to a 20% price reduction with improved performance within a 6 month period…with this being a fact: Can someone tell me why anyone would ever deploy UNIX platforms for SAP going forward? You may hear me use this story in presentations and conversations going forward 🙂

SAP states that Cloud is revolutionizing how to manage People, Suppliers and Money. It has become very clear for us at EMC that when SAP speaks about Cloud they are not talking about the Private Cloud, Public Cloud or Hybrid Cloud for SAP solutions we evangelize for our SAP customers. SAP is speaking about their ability to host business application and processes in a Public cloud using their offerings from their SuccessFactor and Ariba portfolio. It will be interesting to see how the private cloud for SAP journey that many SAP customers are making in 2013 will impact their decisions to move application workloads to the SAP Public Cloud model.

It’s also clear that SAP is committed to their Mobile strategy. The number of mobile users keeps increasing and the opportunity to provide value to those end users based on having them connected to the central “Crown Jewel” SAP system is clear.

SAP made a big point of communicating that they are embracing the Partner community, which has been said many times before, the difference this time from an infrastructure vendors perspective, is that I believe the SAP sales teams are starting to understand the value of working together on HANA campaigns and Cloud/Virtualization projects…which was very refreshing. With close to 20,000 EMC platforms for SAP customer bases, together we can make “wine out of water” transforming our joint customer’s businesses!

There are a few key people in the SAP ecosystem that I am fortune to know and got a chance to catch up with at FKOM as well. Some of these people are extraordinary technologists, visionaries, innovators, thinkers… They challenge the status quo in everything they do. Some of them apparently have a shining light on them at all times.
FKOM
To quote one of them from last week saying: “let’s go for big bold ideas to change the game”…I was of course smiling ear-to-ear and reminded myself that the only limits that exists are based on my own ability to imagine what the future can be like!
Next off to drive massive change in 2013. Game on!…Who is in?!!