This announcement generated a lot of attention in the business world: SAP and Google are going to collaborate in the field of cloud computing. Bernd Leukert, Executive Board Member at SAP, wrote in his recent published article “[…] a strategic co-innovation partnership between our two companies to help global enterprises run their businesses on a highly secure public cloud with best in class flexibility, scalability, and speed.” (Full article) Sure, Google is best known for consumer products and is not as established in servicing enterprise customers. In my opinion, this is certainly one of the reasons why this partnership is happening. I am also convinced that the Google-SAP partnership will have an overall positive effect on the cloud market. With a cup of coffee in my hand, I started to think about the impacts on our enterprise customers. At the end of a brief brainstorming session with myself, I came up with three reasons why the Google and SAP collaboration is a good thing from an enterprise customer standpoint. Let me share them with you.
#1: The Cloud has Massive Potential for Enterprise Customers
As Bernd Leukert mentioned, flexibility, scalability, and speed are the key success factors to running any business in the cloud. Since the amount of data will rise dramatically due to the increasing number of things becoming connected in the near future, there is a need for resources that make sure everything is up and running at tremendous speed in real-time. So why not source both infrastructure and software in one service? Instead of pouring huge investments into perpetually evolving technology, enterprises will just pay a monthly fee. In my opinion, every enterprise should focus on things they are experts in and procure services beyond their expertise externally.
SAP is an established specialist in enterprise processes and Google has a proven track record of processing online data. Thanks to this partnership, enterprises will have the opportunity to make use of sophisticated technology (e.g., in-memory computing based on SAP HANA) in a highly secure public cloud environment, and probably at less cost compared to running such an environment in-house. This also means that the ability to access and analyze big data, and turn it into useful information is not only limited to huge players with never-ending IT budgets. Hopefully, this opportunity will foster the notion that big (Goliath) does not necessarily beat small (David).
#2: Driver for Artificial Intelligence and Community Development
Why should any enterprise customer care? Gil Press, a Forbes contributor, nailed it with the term “data-tsunami”. This data-tsunami can make your ship sink or let you surf ahead of it thanks to technology. Due to digital transformation, business models will have to be rethought. BTW: In case you don’t believe that business models are changing right now, please check out record labels’ revenue trends for LP, CD sales, and direct MP3 downloads (keyword: music-as-a-service).
Google is aiming to become an AI pioneer. How? Well, Google is using swarm intelligence to foster innovation. Code is accessible to developers all over the world. This democratization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will speed up its adoption by enterprises through making Google’s AI skills available to enterprise customers for their individual scenarios. Gil Press, named above, wrote an article for Forbes about this topic, read it here.
#3: Joint Capacities to Accelerate Digitization
By having two major IT players in one partnership, budgets for innovation will increase across the board. I am predicting acceleration of digitization because of it. But what can be reaped from digitization? Please allow me to switch from the enterprise world to “smart cities”, because the following case left me inspired.
Mississauga is a city in the vicinity of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. About 800,000 people are living there. In addition to a variety of smart city applications, they implemented a cloud-based city-wide network of LED streetlights. These streetlights are equipped with radios and sensors which enable the “smart” regulation of brightness. Furthermore, they are able to send an alert in case a streetlight has to be replaced. Another keen scenario involves a sensor network in their waterways that detects threats, i.e. from heavy rainfall or pipe leaks, and sends alerts to city workers and emergency responders to react in time and limit the impact as much as possible. A perfect example of preventive maintenance.
Google and SAP: My Bottom-Line
The world is changing rapidly and data is the key driver of change. I am convinced that the global partnership between two giants, Google and SAP, will accelerate that change, and will speed up the process of cloud adoption at the same time. In any case, enterprises will benefit from having a choice when it comes to selecting their cloud vendor and platform. Enterprises big or small will benefit from having access to the latest disruptive technologies and innovations like AI, and in-memory computing – all in a high performing, flexible, and secure cloud environment. Ultimately, enterprises will be able to use and analyze big data in real-time to quickly react to changes in consumer behavior, prevent equipment malfunction, or identify new business opportunities. It’s all about staying competitive in a fast paced environment which is why enterprises should look into cloud computing today!