Recent software analyst and IT media reports, including insights from a recent SAP Americas User Group (ASUG) survey, suggest that SAP’s HANA Big Data service / platform is not yet seen by a majority of ASUG members as benefiting their business (relative to the implementation cost of implementing), or driving enough revenue growth for SAP. SAP has, very smartly, issued a careful rebuttal explaining how, where, and why customers see value in HANA and more importantly, offering to work with any customer to help them understand and realize business benefits from the offering and its associated apps.
We believe that, through at least 2016, this type of approach is the most effective way of getting user enterprises to understand the value of any Big Data analytics capability; i.e., develop company-specific and operationally-specific business cases in order to enable and develop business value. This is because, in most companies, Big Data analytics just can’t be widely used to deliver broad-based business benefits across the full portfolio because user enterprises have huge challenges finding and managing their own data, let alone analyzing it.
Why is it Happening?
No one having any familiarity with business IT can recall many complaints about an overall lack of data. Inexpensive, Cloud-based software and services, the explosion of sensor-delivered data, the increasing integration of mobile devices into consumer and business life, and the expanding linkage of business systems globally have ensured that there will always be larger and larger mountains of business data.
But while most Big Data analytics systems are robust enough to tackle challenging and disparate types of data, it usually takes a unique combination of Development and Data to make their use beneficial. Development is a substantial challenge for many firms, because it is custom to the project at hand, and there isn’t yet enough cross-project code standardization to significantly reuse development efforts. But a challenge of equal or greater size is that too many user enterprises do not know what data they have, or even where it is, even when it comes to critical and tightly-regulated data.
For example: A recurring theme in HR / HCM software provider briefings with Saugatuck is that companies can’t easily find or effectively manage HR data. Given that HR data tends to be some of the most-regulated data regarding knowing what exists, where it is, and how it is used, the fact that this is a key value proposition for HR providers is telling.
The continuing news regarding customer credit card data security breaches is more telling. Retailers such as TJX, SuperValu, and Target, for example, indicate that they may not be able to even learn, let alone report, what data is missing or has been compromised, even weeks, months and years after incursions. The lack of data knowledge and governance goes deeper; in the case of the recent SuperValu breach, news reports indicate that the company is offering a year of credit protection services to affected customers but is unable to contact those customers, because it cannot determine what customer data it possesses.
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Originally published by Saugatuck Lens360 blog on Auguts 21, 2014. Published with permission.