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2/2/2012
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SAP's Bold Bet: Rule Cloud, Mobile, Big Data

SAP President Sanjay Poonen makes the case for SAP's dominance beyond just the traditional software market. Check out our video interview.

SAP has bold plans. One of the world's biggest software companies has been moving aggressively into mobile, cloud computing, and big data through acquisition and organic product development. The company's executives have committed to becoming the leader in each market by 2015.

The ERP giant has even proclaimed that SAP will be the number two database company (behind Oracle) by 2015. That's a big bet from a company that acknowledges that 60% of its own software customers run various types of SAP software on Oracle databases; and that 80% of its Business Objects customers run that software on non-SAP platforms.

But that's where Sanjay Poonen, SAP Global Solutions President, sees the opportunity. And Hana, the company's in-memory data appliance, is the linchpin to converting customers, Poonen said in our recent interview with him on InformationWeek's Valley View, a monthly live web TV broadcast. (To register to watch our Feb. 16 show, please view our Valley View registration page and also get entered to win some cool gear.)

Poonen discussed how SAP is already starting to see customers (such as Red Bull) move more traditional database and data warehouse applications to the Hana platform. (For an excellent read on the SAP product's origins, read The Wall Street Journal's "Inside SAP's Skunksworks As It Takes Aim At Oracle".

(Earlier this year Oracle announced its TimesTen answer to Hana. We hope to have Oracle President Mark Hurd on an upcoming Valley View episode to talk about the aggressive moves Oracle is making in this space as well.)

SAP's recent financial performance backs up such talk--showing not only a 25% bump in software revenue (the best financial results in the company's 40 year history, according to Poonen), but also a significant upswing in Hana sales.

SAP also has a long way to go to cloud dominance. Poonen's view is that SAP is only in "the second or third inning," but that SuccessFactors, because it touches 15 million users, gives SAP a strong customer base to exploit with other cloud-based offerings. SuccessFactors, which plays in more of a niche market (talent management) than Salesforce.com (sales force automation), goes beyond just sales employees, Poonen said, presumably giving it a long-term advantage.

That's a bit of a stretch, but it sure does give SAP something to build on. I'm sure Salesforce.com will have a little something to say about that--we'll have that company's co-founder, Parker Harris, on our March 28 show.

Watch our interview with Poonen in the video embedded below.

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