The applications cut across lines of business for marketing, sales, planning, risk and availability challenges specific to retail, banking, health care, telecommunications, defense and security and the public sector.
It's not unusual for customer input to drive product innovation, but SAP went to lengths to emphasize the collaboration among many global customers. The event included presentations and statements from the CIOs and spokespersons from P&G, Johns Hopkins, Levi Strauss, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and others.
Keith Costello, SAP EVP and GM of SAP analytic solutions, says SAP has been busy incorporating and cross-selling Business Objects products since the BI provider was acquired in 2008, but it became clear that customers were clamoring for more than toolsets, and were willing to be involved in custom development that could be packaged for quick deployment.
"They weren't just saying, 'build it and then we'll see if we like it or not,' they wanted to innovate with us," Costello says. The goal was to end the year-long turnaround times of in-house IT projects, replace them with configured analytic applications that are a 70 to 80 percent fit, according to Costello. "From there they can identify remaining gaps and use the architecture to build additional functionality or integrate additional sources in IT."
Costello says any "golden nuggets" of client intellectual property in the form of data or a specific algorithm were excluded from the packaged solutions. "The agreements we sign with customers for co-innovation are pretty open but we don't want anything that's specifically proprietary."
But he says the applications are nonetheless powerful and quick to put to use. For example, Costello says the SAP BusinessObjects Quality Management for Healthcare application tracks 250 key performance indicators specific to health care in a way that is consumable to a hospital COO, clinical or nursing head.
"The drilldown is easy and it really helps with many of the compliance issues that are creeping into health care and demanding a lot of attention," Costello says. Similarly, for-profit health care institutions such as client Mayo Clinic need to track services that lose money and need to be financed or augmented by other areas of business. Normally, this would take a year for a large institution to build with a toolset, Costello says, but is now packaged for deployment.
SAP system integrator partners including Capgemini, CSC and Fusion Consulting along with technology partners HP and Teradata were also highlighted out at the event.