SAP seeks innovation 'outside its walls'

Start-ups

by Joe Curtis| 19 February 2014

ERP giant wants to benefit from allowing startups to use HANA.

SAP hopes to drive innovation by looking outside of its own "cocoon", it said today as it kicked off this year's London startup forum to encourage more big data startups to use its in-memory database.

The ERP firm's second SAP Startup Forum one began near Spitalfields this morning after the first one took place in 2013, and the company said it hopes to find new ideas by encouraging big data startups to use its HANA platform.

The technology began as an in-memory relational database to speed up response times on business applications, but SAP is now expanding its use into new fields like product development and using it as an analytics engine.

And Gary Parnell, head of global startup recruiting, told the forum audience today that SAP hopes to add more startups to the 1,200 who already use the platform to develop big data-based technology.

"SAP can't do it on their own," he admitted. "SAP cannot have all these ideas within this SAP cocoon. We need to be talking to people outside our walls. Startups are the fuel of what we're doing within SAP.

"We're not looking for a sale, we're not looking for a cheque. We're looking for HANA[-based] big data startups, to make sure this is a win-win situation."

Three early-stage firms specialising in web-based work training and analytics spoke at the event, but while they said they wanted to find out more about HANA, none had concrete ideas of how it would benefit their firms.

Chief Innovation Officer Adrian Simpson recently told CBR: "A lot of what we do in terms of new technology comes from co-innovation."

And Parnell echoed the message, adding that HANA is being used as a development platform for startups working in various big data fields.

Business intelligence and market insight accounted for 25% of those startups, followed by social media/gaming at 17%, predictive analytics at 13% and the internet of things at 10%, he explained.

The SAP Startup Forum continues tomorrow (details here).

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