​SAP to deliver data-as-as-service with Sybase 365

SAP is entering the data business with the launch of SAP Digital Consumer Insight that will rely on insight collected from the company's Sybase 365 arm.

SAP may be known as software company, a platform company, or a as a services company, but now the German business application powerhouse wants to be known as a data business, too.

SAP chief digital office Jonathan Becher has confirmed the company is entering the data business, saying it should be no surprise to the market given that 76 percent of the world's transaction touches an SAP system and therefore gives it access to a lot of data.

"Given the ridiculous amount of technology we have for data such as HANA and Sybase technology, we have some unnatural advantages. So, we are getting into the data business but in a very consumer like way," he said.

To mark the occasion, the company has announced the launch of SAP Digital Consumer Insight, a pay-as-you-go data service that will charge customers $439 per insight, or $1,429 for five data files.

The payment model is similar to one the company offers through its SAP Digital CRM product, which was announced around the same time last year. It was packaged up for $23 per use per month, with a minimum of three months. Becher said over the last year, the company has seen more than 5,000 people sign up to the offer.

The data files offered through SAP Digital Consumer Insight will come from data aggregated by Sybase 365, an independent subsidiary of SAP and a global interconnectivity and interoperability service provider to some of the largest telcos, social media networks, and financial institutions.

Sybase 365 president Sethu Meenakshisundaram touted the company collects approximately 40 terabytes worth of anonymous global data daily, which is made up of 2.1 billion transactions that are carried out on its network by 97 percent of all mobile subscribers across 230 countries.

Becher explained the data files SAP will provide is the physical world version of the information that is tracked online by browsers.

Some of the specific insights that will be available through Digital Consumer Insight will include details on where consumers are coming from, age groups, gender, the devices they are using, and comparison with other locations and competitors.

According to Becher and Meenakshisundaram, the potential use cases for the insights could include helping businesses on advertising, proximity marketing, location planning, and sales strategies and campaigns.

Initially, the service will be based on US mobile data, but SAP said there are plans to add data from additional geographies by the end of the year.

Earlier this week, SAP CEO Bill McDermott predicted over the next five to 10 years the hype will be around machine learning, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality.

"I think very strongly that intelligent applications will fundamentally change the way you do work in the enterprise and the way you collaborate with your trading partners outside of the enterprise," he said during his keynote at 2016 SAP Sapphire Now on Tuesday.

He went on to say it's no longer viable for businesses to just automate internal processes, rather the future needs to focus on using automated systems to make intelligent predictions.

"We need the system to tell us what to do. Based on algorithms of that data and inputs that are in that data bank, we need to be able to advise you on what the next step for your sale cycle, who you should meet with, and what the expected outcomes are and what the level of probability would be on you striking a deal," he said.

Following this prediction, the company reshuffled its analytics business model, rebranding Cloud for Analytics to SAP BusinessObjects Cloud that will see analytics and its software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution combined; while also announcing SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise for on-premises analytics.

Leukert explained the objective of it was to simplify how analytics are accessed in order for businesses to be able to make appropriate decisions.

"How good are insights on a legacy system if you can't react to it, or if the reaction comes too late? Obviously this means analytics will become even more [critical] for all your business needs," he said.

The company also announced it will help businesses tackle gender bias using machine learning.

Disclosure: Aimee Chanthadavong travelled to 2016 SAP Sapphire Now with SAP.