New Year, New Role With SAP Predictive Analytics

- - SAP

th-23It’s a new year and I have a new role, brand new for SAP and for me. As of Jan. 1, I’m the Global Sales Lead for Predictive Analytics and Business Intelligence. But, you can just call me Kurt.

BI is the third single best selling SKU at SAP, second only to ERP and SAP HANA. It’s a very important piece of the business, representing about +60% of Analytics sales globally.

To be clear, Analytics at SAP includes Business Intelligence, Predictive, and also our solutions for the CFO–Enterprise Performance Management, Governance Risk and Compliance solutions and our finance line of business solutions.

What excites me most about the role is not just the sheer size and importance of the business, which is key, but also that it becomes a little bit more of a focused conversation and at the same time it’s a broader application.  Business Intelligence can fit into virtually anything and everything that we do where we need to have better visibility with what’s going on in our business.

My two major audiences used to be the CIO and the CFO. Now I can talk to the CMO too—not that anyone has ever restricted me; it just wasn’t my core audience so it was harder to find the time.

I’m excited about the possibilities for predictive, and SAP is innovating a lot in this area. We have a number of Predictive solutions, and toward the end of 2013 we bought a Predictive Analytics company called KXEN.  For those that are skeptical check out this video from Vodafone – no one says it better that a paying customer.

The SAP road maps will all come together in the near term and will leverage the best of Infinite Insight from KXEN and SAP’s Predictive Analysis to become one solution.

KXEN is a very exciting solution. It can run on HANA, and in the cloud. It can run on other databases as well, so you don’t have to just have HANA. But really, it’s about predictive, which is considered the next wave in the advanced analytics space.

The role is still evolving, but I’ll be leading the sales teams that joined us from KXEN. It’s a relatively small sales team, about 30 or so folks that will be selling our predictive solutions globally around the world, working not only direct sales, but with the ecosystem and partners to make sure that people understand the offering, and also going helping create awareness and close deals. I’ll also be adapting the Global Business Intelligence Center of Excellence into a more of a strategic resource as we go to market with the combined predictive solution.

This is very similar to the experience I had when I sold my company, Pilot Software, to SAP. I know what it’s like to go from a big fish in a small pond to a tiny fish in a massive pond here at SAP. This is what a lot of what the KXEN team is experiencing right now, and they don’t know what to do or even how to get it done. There are all these new systems, new vocabulary, and how do they navigate them and be successful? They were successful when they were independent, and we want to continue that success and just make it bigger.

So that’s certainly a personal experience that I can draw on to help them all be successful. But it’s also a big change and it’s a personal change. So helping them through that is a big part of it too.

I’ll be going through my own change at the same time, as my family and I will be saying a bittersweet goodbye to Singapore, but not to friends and colleagues there. California is still home, but we had an amazing adventure in APJ. We’ll be returning to Palo Alto but I’ll be traveling globally and dropping in from time to time.

The big thing that we’re going to focus on this year is Analytics Plus, a program I helped launch in APJ, which was about offering our existing customers in the regions an outstanding opportunity to get on to the latest platform, SAP BusinessObjects 4.1, in order to take advantage of all the technology innovation that’s been happening at SAP.

We’re going to take the same program and run it globally, focusing initially on getting the largest Business Objects customers that are still running on the 3.0 platform over to 4.1 – but to be clear it is for everyone running on a legacy BusinessObjects platform.

That’s the role. I’m hopeful that it means that I will get to spend more time with the mentors, which was one of the highlights of my time in APJ. It means I’ll definitely be doing the TechEds, Sapphires, and Insiders—the whole SAP social calendar, only on a global scale.

I’ll be traveling as usual, logging 40,000 miles by Valentines Day. And, I’ll be social as usual. It’s all part of building a community, so follow me on Twitter @bilafer, connect with me on LinkedIn and read my blog as I share my new adventure.

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