Accenture, SAP execs talk analytics trends

By:  Kathleen Lau On: 25 Aug 2010 For: ComputerWorld Canada

Businesses are getting increasingly creative with how they perceive, manage and apply their analytics functions, discussed some execs at a roundtable in Toronto.

While business analytics tools are becoming cheaper and easier to use, organizations are still facing the underlying problem of understanding the data sources that feed these systems, said an executive with professional services firm Accenture PLC.

The injection of in-memory technology in the area of business analytics will “feed the gap” in helping organizations understand real-time, unstructured data, said Nicola Bianzino, who heads Accenture’s SAP business intelligence practice, at a roundtable discussion in Toronto on Tuesday.

Whether it’s greater awareness about analytics or continued challenges regarding data quality issues, the state of business analytics is nonetheless influencing what organizations do.

For instance, Bianzino said organizations are not only affording their employees analytics tools, but they are also starting to bring in third-party experts to help with challenges like data quality issues.

Another impact is that greater awareness of the business benefits of analytics has moved the discipline from the chief financial officer’s accountability to that of the CEO or chief operating officer, said Bianzino.

“(Before) it was very much focused on producing financial reports,” he said. “But now we are seeing business performance officers and other types of roles starting to come out.”

Bianzino has also observed businesses get more creative with their use of analytics. Asset-intensive industries like telecommunications and utilities are increasingly applying business intelligence to better understand and control business processes to, for instance, prevent outages or ascertain the optimal utilization for particular assets.
But as a partner of SAP, Bianzino said he’s especially “excited and curious about the Sybase acquisition and how it will play out” for the requirements organizations have regarding real-time, high-volume unstructured data. The Germany-based software vendor acquired mobile and database technology company Sybase ASA this year and recently announced their first joint offerings.

Also at the roundtable, Business Objects country manager Margaret Stuart, mirroring the excitement, said the merger is about “delivering not only analytics but transactional systems in a mobile environment. That’s the power that now is part of the SAP solution that we will continue to roll out on.”

Sybase is a “huge part” of SAP reaching its goal of one billion users by 2015, said Stuart.

On the topic of how the state of business analytics is impacting organizations, Stuart said exponential data growth has forced IT and the business to work more tightly together in ways it hasn’t before. “IT must realize the vision that the business has put together,” she said.

But business leaders do also need new and effective tools to make “active decisions” that fuel growth, said Stuart.

SAP-Business Objects’ approach to analytics has four pillars at its foundation, explained Stuart. One, is about getting the data source right with governance, management and quality.

Two, providing the right tools to the right users at the right time. That can vary from users who want deep dive capabilities to those who just want to build esthetically pleasing reports, said Stuart.

Three, providing pre-built analytics for quicker time to value. Fourth, providing tools that ensure governance, risk and compliance.

“Until you have those four areas covered, you don’t have a good data analytics strategy,” said Stuart.

SAP Labs Development Architect for Networked Solutions

Architecture – Palo Alto, CA

For personal consideration contact: kevin.daprile@sap.com

PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES

Networked Solutions (NWS) is our product strategy of delivering applications on-premise,

on-demand, on-device and for orchestration with the key differentiator that all “Pieces fit

together”

The Architecture & Innovation Services Unit is responsible for ensuring that the NWS strategy

becomes reality and its ongoing refinement.

The NWS Architecture Teams are responsible for defining the overall consistent architecture of

NWS by Network Qualities and Network Standards.

They do so in close cooperation with the teams responsible for building Networked Applications,

evolving the Business Suite or establishing the central components of the Network Fabric.

For the Overall Architecture and Network team we’re looking for development architects (f/m) to

complement our team.

As main stakeholders of NWS, e.g. LOB OD are located in Palo Alto, we’re looking for a small

team as a bridgehead within that location.

EXPECTATIONS AND TASKS

The job involves conceptual, architecture and design aspects in strong collaboration

with the relevant application and technology development projects.

The tasks in detail:

  • Stakeholder management and alignment within Palo Alto.
  • Ensuring constant information flow between Palo Alto and Walldorf.
  • Define the big picture of NWS Architecture.
  • Work on cross-cutting architecture concepts, like Reuse, Security, Platform Decision,
  • Extensibility, System Landscape.
  • Drive the NWS Architecture Network to ensure consistent Roll-In and Roll-Out into the SAP

Architecture Community.

  • Architecture Knowledge Transfer into the NWS development teams including coaching and

guidelines.

  • Participate in architecture projects to define the Network Standards.
  • Actively contribute to proof of concepts to verify new concepts in the Network Standards.
  • Definition and alignment of respective technology requirements and detailed design work in

cooperation with other topic owners and NetWeaver contacts.

EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS / SKILLS AND COMPETENCIES

  • Profound understanding of the complete Software lifecycle.
  • Profound business process know how and expertise in SAP solutions.
  • Deep knowledge on SAP technologies as well as modeling tools and methodologies (UML, ARIS).
  • Fluency in written and oral English. German in addition would be an advantage.
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to work conceptually and independent.
  • Excellent team player and proactive networking abilities – strong network within SAP

organization required.

  • Strong communication / presentation skills.

WORK EXPERIENCE

  • At least 5 years experience in Software Development and Architecture, at least 7 years
  • professional experience – track record and references required.
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