SAP Lets Enterprises See What Customers Really Feel – in Real Time

SAP on Wednesday unveiled a rapid-deployment solution for marketers.

It lets users analyze customer sentiment from social networking sites, communities, wikis, blogs and other sources. Users can combine the information with CRM text data and, if they so choose, business intelligence applications to get results in real time.

The results are displayed on mobile devices or desktops.

The SAP rapid-deployment solution announced on Wednesday incorporates pre-configured content, best practices and pre-defined services to let customers deploy the solution quickly.

It “is a real time analytics package that’s all about providing information from massive datasets at near-instant speeds,” Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, told CRM Buyer. “Its biggest advantage is likely performance.”

About SAP’s Ubermarketing Solution

SAP’s rapid-deployment solution consists of its High-Performance Analytic Appliance (HANA) software, SAP Data Services Software and SAP BusinessObjects Explorer.

Text data from Twitter, Facebook, the SAP StreamWork application, and any other Web channel with a publicly available API is loaded into HANA. The system then applies semantic analysis using SAP Data Services. SAP BusinessObjects Explorer lets users then visualize customers’ sentiments toward their products and brands in real time.

The solution can analyze all types of unstructured data, including HTML, XML and text files, in forums, blogs, wikis and company websites on an intranet or the Internet.

That data can then be integrated with structured data such as sales and marketing campaigns in the SAP CRM application.

What’s a HANA?

HANA was launched in December 2010. It uses in-memory data processing and can be deployed either standalone or bundled with other applications.

In-memory databases store data in a computer’s main memory rather than on a disk. In-memory databases are faster than disk-optimized ones. IBM launched its solidDB in-memory relational database package in June 2008, and Oracle announced its Oracle TimesTen in-memory database in January of this year.

SAP offers several of its own applications, such as Sap NetWeaver and the CO-PA Accelerator, with HANA as required by customers, company spokesperson David Hull told CRM Buyer.

Further, the company’s working with third-party providers and also with startups that have developed their own custom applications based on HANA, which may or may not have any additional SAP products combined with HANA, Hull said.

HANA must be deployed on SAP-certified hardware, Hull remarked. Currently, seven vendors offer such hardware, and SAP “has worked in conjunction with Intel to come up with an open blueprint for hardware partners to innovate on top of with the solutions that benefit their customers.”

EMC, Cisco Offer HANA Solution

One such third-party solution is available from EMC and Cisco. It consists of Cisco’s Unified Computing System running on VNX 5300 unified storage systems from EMC bundled with HANA.

This is what’s known as an “appliance” — a self-contained plug-and-play bundle of hardware, software and communications. The appliance “is dedicated to SAP HANA and no other SAP software can run on it,” Jay Chitnis, director of the EMC Solutions Group, told CRM Buyer.

“This is an IBM-class solution formed through one of EMB’s unique partnerships,” Enderle stated. “None of the partners could this alone. You need an appliance approach, or the implementation time will likely exceed the currency of the technology, which is moving very fast.”

Buying Into HANA

In July, SAP said about 500 customers had purchased HANA systems and 100 of them had gone live with the technology. One of the main growth drivers for the product is SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse, a business intelligence, analytical, reporting and data warehouse solution from SAP.

The appliance approach SAP has taken with HANA “allows for rapid implementation,” Enderle continued. “Everything is already tested and designed to work together so implement testing takes weeks, not years.”

Further, HANA “is very flexible … one of the implementations is for a firm monitoring the performance of pacemakers to avoid catastrophic failures,” Enderle stated.

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