SAP CEO touts tighter Google ties

SAP Store and partnership with IBM also revealed at Sapphire 2015

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SAP is deepening its partnership with Google and will collaborate with the search giant on new projects focused on business analytics and enterprise applications.

The new collaboration will result, for example, in tighter integration between Google Apps and SAP's Lumira analytics platform, according to SAP CEO Bill McDermott.

Users can already combine Google Sheets with enterprise data through the SAP Lumira extensions framework for visualisations, dashboards and insights. Now, the two companies are working to let Lumira visualisations and infographics be saved in Google Drive, where Lumira files could be accessed and shared. Companies will also be able to store the files as native Google Docs.

The collaboration on other enterprise applications, meanwhile, will focus initially on SAP's SuccessFactors software for human capital management and its Fiori user interface. Among the goals there will be to integrate the SuccessFactors suite with Google Drive and to let employees use Google Apps from within Fiori. 

"If it makes it easier for people to use Google tools and SAP data together on their devices, that will make work life better," McDermott said during a keynote speech Tuesday at the company's annual Sapphire user conference in Orlando. He called the partnership a "prime example of SAP's change agenda".

SAP has already been working with Google to support Android for Work. It recently released SAP Mobile Secure 2.7 with Android for Work support.

Much of McDermott's speech continued the "run simple" theme SAP has been articulating for some time already as part of its marketing for its Hana in-memory data platform. 

"As SAP sees its competitors getting more complex, it's clearly trying to establish its own turf at the other end of the spectrum," said Robert Eastman, a research manager with IDC. "Whether customers also feel it’s simple remains to be seen." 

SAP Store unveiled

Also unveiled at Sapphire Now in Orlando on Tuesday was the SAP Store. Its goal is to allow enterprise users to buy software from SAP without the need for a purchase order, invoice or lengthy request-for-proposal process.

Built on SAP's own Hybris Commerce Suite and available across devices, the store offers a one-click online agreement and transparent pricing. Individuals can configure their new applications -- usually in a few hours or less, SAP says -- without needing help from their IT department or outside consultants.

Hand-in-hand with the SAP Store launch, the company on Tuesday also unveiled what it calls its first digitally native app: SAP Digital for Customer Engagement, a simplified cloud customer relationship management tool aimed at individuals and small teams.

"You can go from 'I want to buy it' to 'I'm live on it' in 15 minutes," said Jonathan Becker, SAP's chief digital officer. 

SAP Digital for Customer Engagement costs $29 per user per month. Also available on the SAP Store are the SAP Hana cloud platform, SuccessFactors Perform & Reward for talent management and the SAP Learning Hub educational offering.

SAP get’s closer to IBM

There SAP and IBM share a long history dating back to the very roots of SAP, and on Monday that allegiance got a little closer with two new IBM Power Systems server configurations tailored specifically for SAP's Hana in-memory data platform.

SAP's Hana is already supported across all POWER8 servers from IBM. The new series, which will launch initially in two configurations targeting data warehouses of different sizes, aims to offer tailored support of SAP Business Warehouse version 7.31 or higher.

"The commodity servers used today by many organizations are increasingly stretched to their limits by new workloads, in the cloud or on premises," said Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems.

The first new offering is based on the IBM Power Systems S824, with 24 POWER8 processor cores and up to 1TB of memory; it's designed primarily for the SAP Business Warehouse application running on SAP Hana, with databases up to 512GB in compressed size. The second new entry, based on the IBM Power Systems E870 with 40 POWER8 cores and up to 2TB of memory, targets databases up to 1TB in compressed size.

"Our internal testing has shown that SAP reports run significantly faster when using SAP Hana on Power," said Bhala Bhosale, senior vice president of Enterprise Services at NTT DATA. "Queries that took an hour to run can now be completed in just minutes."

Pricing and availability details were not immediately available.