Can SAP play a part in stimulating the global economy?

24 October 2011

Mark Chalfen

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

It's hard to avoid current commentary that is pointing to a slow down for the global economy. Economists are encouraging governments to invest in infrastructure to re-direct the economy towards a more positive state of affairs.  When I think of infrastructure, I envisage roads, bridges and railway lines. These are the more traditional areas a government would look to invest in. However, in the modern world the requirement for faster broadband can be just as beneficial. This got me thinking - could SAP investment assist in the global economy?

OK before I start, let's get one thing clear...I'm not saying the rollout of new SAP products will save the dat. What I am saying is that, this could be one of many things to stimulate the economy.

What does infrastructure mean?

"Noun: The basic physical and organizational structures and facilities (e.g., buildings, roads, and power supplies) needed for the operation of a society or enterprise"

What is SAP focusing on?

It's evident that mobile solutions and 'in memory processing' are a current focus for SAP. Both can provide significant benefits that could promote growth within the world wide economy. This is not to say SAP is focusing on these areas to stimulate the worldwide economy, but are focusing on these areas as they believe they can provide substantial benefits to organisations.

Mobile

The use of mobile apps has really taken off over the past few years. . New mobile handheld devices and tablets enable end-users access to real time data at their finger tips. Having a mobile app that allows an engineer to service an asset and record their actions in real-time removes duplicity within the process. In turn this will speed up their activities meaning an engineer could increase the volume of assets that are serviced or processed within a day. Further to this providing real time reports on mobile devices allows a salesman to make better decisions when visiting a customer, increasing their productivity and using their accurate information to ensure the customer buys the correct products according to their trading history. Mobile devices are cheaper than laptops and are easier to use. It's  simple to see that in the future, people will become even more reliant on the use of mobile devices, and with the release of the new 4G networks data can be received and processed via mobile devices in timeframes that benefit the end user and provide extra efficiencies for organisations, increasing productivity and reducing costs.

In-memory

Over the past 18 months or so, noise around in-memory has been getting louder and louder. Some of the achievable benefits are so significant that customers are reviewing how they currently perform as processes and reports that were seen as unachievable are now realistic. There are plenty of statistics that prove that the volume of data being produced today is at record levels and the trends only point to large volumes of data being produced and consumed in the future. Chips have been evolving to cope with the demand of the extra data, but perception of what is acceptable and achievable can easily be changed. If a business user accepts that it takes an hour for a report to be run and that is achieved then they will be satisfied. However when they learn that a competitor can achieve the same report in a few seconds, the expectation levels change and the user will be asking questions around performance. Providing more detailed data in a quicker period of time will free up the time of business users. It could also remove users performing long and arduous tasks to create and run reports.

Summary

It's clear that SAP, or any software house, can't stop the potential world economy slowing. They can however contribute to creating new jobs and increasing the productivity of some large organisations which in turn could make a small impact. Personally this should be encouraged. Forward thinking organisations not only become more productive, and in turn more profitable, but they are seen as pioneers and trend setters. These organisations should be encouraged to invest in IS and IT as others will not doubt follow. Traditional infrastructure should not be overlooked as this can move large sways of workers who are unemployed into employment, leading to more cash floating around in towns and cities but the new infrastructures should be invested in as well.

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About the author

Mark Chalfen

Former SAP S/4HANA Global Lead

Mark tells it straight - as an ex-boxer, what else would you expect?  Both his knowledge and experience of SAP products allow him to cut to the chase dispelling myths and hearsay.

As a result of working closely with various SAP Finance Product Management teams on product development, Mark understands these products inside out. This depth of understanding has led to him become a ‘thought leader’ in his field; after all, it is not often SAP consultants have helped shape and develop the very product they are selling.

Having such a strong relationship with SAP alongside being an SAP Mentor and Moderator means that Mark has an extensive network within SAP. For clients, this relationship proves to be a huge advantage and leads to configuration issues being resolved rapidly.

Mark has worked on short proof of concepts through to year-long multi-million pound global roll-outs. However, no matter how large or small the project, the true value Mark brings to his work is in the guidance he provides to senior stakeholders. In essence, he assists them to implement more effective processes and drive better behaviours within their finance teams.

Helping organisations transform their business with SAP S/4HANA is Mark’s current focus. The benefits of S/4HANA are numerous, including the simplification of tasks, embedded analytics and improved user engagement. Whilst the eventual move from SAP Business Suite into S/4HANA is inevitable, the journey to it is not always clear. Mark’s ability to understand an organisation’s needs coupled with his deep understanding of S/4HANA provides clarity and eases their transition.

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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