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IoT and the big data explosion

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Kathy Gibson reports from SAP TechEd in Barcelona – Analysts tell us that literally billions of devices will be connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) within the next few years. But they largely fail to talk about how companies will process and analyse the billions of data streams that will be produced.

SAP’s Björn Goerke points out that IT has to move beyond the slow-moving, well-governed IT department where SAP solutions are deployed, successful and running well.

“Customers are talking about digital transformation, about opening up their systems to suppliers and customers, and connecting to the billions of IoT devices out there.

“They want to be able to innovate faster, with no risk to their core IT systems. This means adding an agile innovation layer so they can move solutions forward with a different paradigm.”

SAP is enabling this strategy, with SAP S/4 HANA as the digital core, capable of supporting the new and innovative solutions. “We need the core applications to be ramped up to manage the new scenarios, processes and workloads of the digital enterprise,” he says.

SAP delivers HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) as its agile innovation platform, that delivers the capabilities to extend SAP applications and to integrate them on-premise or in the cloud.

“This allows IT to connect field-based line of business applications with cloud solutions and with on-premise ERP applications,” Goerke explains.

This means that customers can build completely new solutions to match specific requirements, secure in the knowledge that they can integrate seamlessly with the digital core.

But extending the data centre in this way brings a new set of challenges relating to the new volumes of data that are thus generated.

“You need big data management,” says Goerke. “And this is why we’ve included that in HANA 2.”

The recent acquisition of IT Scale has added more big data capabilities to the SAP portfolio, he says, including the ability to manage a variety of big data sources.

With HANA 2, SAP is extending IoT functionality on to HCP. A new set of capabilities allows developers to easily connect devices, onboard and offboard them, manage security and push software to those devics.

“Users will also be able to ingest data out of those devices into the data store and use it to build applications and solutions based on realtime analysis and predictive scenarios,” Goerke says.

“And we are providing these capabilities in an open environment.”