Digital business transformations are arguably the single most strategic conversations occurring between business and IT leaders today. The simple fact is most business leaders lose sleep worrying rightfully about what new potential competitors will emerge out of nowhere to disrupt their entire industry before their company can react. Ideally, business and IT leaders want to take advantage of digital business disruption before someone else ever gets the opportunity to disrupt them.
Most innovative businesses today are aggressively applying advanced analytics running in memory against transaction data in real time to not only make better decisions faster but also drive entirely new innovative processes that previously would never have been possible.
As simple as a real-time approach to analytics sounds, achieving that goal requires a profound change in the way data is processed across the enterprise. Instead of processing transactions and analytics separately, modern applications are leveraging in-memory computing to apply analytics in ways that generate actionable intelligence in real time.
At the SAP Sapphire Now 2017 conference, this month in Orlando, the Converged Platforms and Solutions Division of Dell EMC will showcase how the melding of real-time analytics and transaction processing is accomplished.
New advanced applications from SAP HANA and S/4 running in-memory that drive digital business transformations require modern IT infrastructure. It should be noted that while SAP HANA and S4 HANA represent to the new digital core for SAP applications, IT needs a modern infrastructure strategy that enables consolidation and simplified IT running legacy client/server SAP solutions and SAP HANA.
Built on top of the SAP HANA in-memory database, SAP S/4 is driving a wave of digital business transformations across a broad range of industries. By making maximum use of the latest generations of Intel Xeon class processors and Flash memory technologies, these in-memory applications, running on our servers or converged infrastructure, can achieve unprecedented levels of performance and scale. In fact, a recent study published by IDC confirms that four times as many applications can be run on converged and hyper-converged infrastructure as legacy IT infrastructure.
Of course, digital business transformation is not just about scale. IT organizations are now required to respond to rapidly changing digital business conditions. This same IDC study confirms that converged and hyper-converged platforms from Dell EMC reduce the amount of time it takes to deploy applications by a factor of four.
A separate study conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) finds organizations that have modernized their IT infrastructure are three times ahead of deployment schedule than organizations that continue to rely on legacy IT systems. Perhaps most important of all, the study notes that organizations that have made this transition are seven times more likely to have IT viewed by the business as a competitive differentiator and profit center.
The key to achieving that level of agility comes from the benefits of eliminating compute, storage and networking silos that’s enabled by software-defined data center (SDDC) architecture. Dell EMC uniquely makes it possible to apply templates to automate broad swaths of data center functions in a way that creates highly repeatable IT processes. In fact, those processes are so robust, IT organizations can now provide self-service capabilities that allows application developers to invoke IT infrastructure on demand within the confines of policies and parameters defined by the IT leadership. The result are digital businesses taking advantage of SAP applications to simply run better.
Case in point is HolySys Group, an engineering services firm that is deploying SAP ERP applications on appliances from Dell EMC. The primary reason for making the shift is to provide business executives with instant insights into transactions that would enable them to make smarter decision faster. Not only are business reports now delivered 70 percent faster, the total cost of operating a global IT environment that is growing at a rate of about 200 GB a year has dropped significantly in part because HolySys opted to standardize on Dell EMC.
In a similar example, Energy Future Holdings Group (EFH) chose to invest $20 million in a hybrid cloud computing project based on converged infrastructure. Prior to making that investment the energy services provider has been managing 300 physical servers distributed across three major data centers requiring a total of approximately 40,000 sq. ft. of space. Now EFH is running over 3,000 virtual machines to run a variety of applications alongside its investments in SAP applications. Those virtual machines run on Dell EMC Converged Systems equipped with XtremIO storage arrays .
Regardless of the path chosen partnering with Dell EMC enables IT organizations to both scale up and out as needed. That latter capability is critical because despite the rise of in-memory analytics the traditional data warehouse is as important as ever when it comes to comparing new data being analyzed against historical data. Much of that historical data is migrating into Hadoop and Apache Spark platforms that provide SAP S/4 applications with access to massive repositories of data. The challenge facing IT organizations today is balancing the various types of analytics application workloads that are now more distributed throughout the data center environment. Without that capability making the transition to a digital business capable of reacting to events in real time simply isn’t possible.
Whether it’s to provide a superior customer experience or automatically react to changes occurring at the edge of the network within the context of an Internet of Things (IoT) deployment, enterprise IT will never be the same. Silos of compute, storage and networking result in not only increased costs, but also a lack of visibility for the business. By opting to run SAP applications on modern IT infrastructure IT organizations can deliver more business insights than ever at substantially less cost.
Every digital business initiative today shares one common mandate. The IT organization is being tasked with a requirement to deliver more business value in a way that essentially pays for itself. The days when business leaders were willing to throw money at IT problems are long behind us. Business leaders now expect IT leaders to be able to fund new innovations by reducing the cost of acquiring, deploying and managing IT infrastructure.
SAP has promised customers it will make digital business transformations simpler. At CSPD, we know that simplification process starts with the IT infrastructure employed to deploy SAP HANA and SANA S/4 applications. After all, if the IT infrastructure environment is too complex to manage, the promise of application simplicity will simply never be realized.