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Leaders at the highest-performing companies already know that nothing beats the business value of accurate, fast data. However, taking full advantage of all the precious data from machine learning, internet of things (IoT), social media, and more, is easier said than done. In this VIDEO interview onsite at the recent SAP TechEd 2019 event in Barcelona, I watched a demonstration of how companies can quickly understand what’s going on across their business and make decisions for a better future. The show floor display of two bicycles flanked by large, colorful monitors attracted far more than exercise enthusiasts. That’s because IoT-based sensors on the bikes live streamed data from each rider’s performance, surfacing priceless intelligence immediately.

“The beauty of the SAP HANA database is that it’s the foundational technology for the intelligent enterprise. It allows easy data sharing between different systems, including third-party data,” said Angela Harvey, senior director of SAP HANA Marketing. “In this scenario, we’re looking at race data from connected bikes. A bicycle company could use these technologies to manage their entire supply chain of products, capturing data from manufacture and assembly, through delivery and beyond. They can quickly see what’s happening with their business in real-time and crunch historical data for future planning scenarios The business impact is profound.”

Accurate data in, quality business results out

Admittedly, it was hard to take our eyes off the live streaming data, displayed on screens with colorful charts, as we stood next to the two amped-up racers who were furiously pedaling to win. Credit for the live race data went to the customized application running on SAP HANA service, which fed into SAP Analytics Cloud for more detailed analyses. Harvey told me that software engineers, developers, and other technologists were excited about the ability to build customized applications on top of SAP HANA or extend existing solutions.

“This is the kind of flexibility that companies need to turn data into business results,” she said. “Developers can easily build an analytical application on top of SAP HANA for their individual business demands or use our pre-built applications like SAP Analytics Cloud or SAP Data Warehouse Cloud. It’s a one-stop shop for analytics that includes predictive analytics planning and visualization.”

Leave no data behind

Once the race was over, Harvey directed my attention to the big screens that were collecting the bicyclists’ data. Those visualizations represented what’s possible for any business.

“The manager of the racing team can see which bikes are likely to fail at a particular point in time, replacing them with new bikes and making repairs before anything fails,” said Harvey. “These capabilities translate to any business. Companies can bring in all kinds of data, whether it’s collected from IoT-based sensors on everyday appliances or industrial machinery, customer and employee sentiment from social media or surveys, or text and images from documents in different systems. SAP HANA Cloud makes this even simpler.”

While I haven’t ridden a bike for many years, Harvey made a solid case for cloud-based platforms ─ but only when they help companies bring all of their data together for results that matter to the business and most important, their customers.

Follow me @smgaler

This blog also appeared on the SAP News Center

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