Ramon Álvarez
Director General
SAP Mexico
View from the Top

Real Time Business Intelligence Solutions

Mon, 10/21/2013 - 17:19

Q: What drives the company’s innovation strategy after 40 years as a leader in providing ERP solutions?

A: Over the past 40 years SAP has become the world leader in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions for companies looking for efficiency in resource allocation. With the idea of adding value to the 25 industries that SAP’s ERP solutions already serve, three years ago the company revolutionized its business strategy to become a co-innovation company, changing the perception of the company from an ERP provider to a company providing innovations. SAP analyzes its clients’ processes and either innovates or co-innovates with them in order to transform and add functionality to the business dramatically. In order to drive SAP’s co-innovation strategy, the company has divided its work into five market segments and acquired expert companies to support the service provided to each segment: applications, analysis, cloud computing, database technology and mobility.

Q: How is SAP working to make sure that its systems can provide immediate information to its customers?

A: Ever since database technology was invented 40 years ago there have been continuous improvements in the efficiency of the hardware used to run the databases. The technology has remained the same, however; the information is stored in a database, and transactions are made to retrieve it. Even if companies put in place ERP systems and databases, decision makers tend not to have instant, real time information. In order to address this SAP created HANA, a revolutionary technology that has redesigned the 40 year old concept of databases. HANA has taken databases out of hard drives and made them available in the memory of the machines, saving 40% of the time it normally takes to extract information, and allowing CEOs, General Directors or Presidents of any company in any industry to function in real time. The information can be instantly correlated and cross-referenced, allowing impactful analyses.

Q: What benefits do SAP solutions bring to the business of its clients, and to the mining sector specifically?

A: Regardless of the industry, SAP’s ERP solutions serve to control and connect the different areas of a company, such as finance, human resources, accounting, manufacturing, and logistics, but in order for the CEO to make instant decisions real time information is necessary. Technology will continue to be dominated by mobile devices, and SAP has decided to make its ERP solutions available on portable devices

The mining industry was an early adopter of SAP for managing administrative and financial operations, and with the latest mining innovations the industry is now moving downstream. Specifically for mining we have created SYCLO, which is a mobile application that combines HANA and our business intelligence solutions with the objective of providing real time information on the company’s machinery and equipment. Given the cost of equipment, mining companies must monitor and track movement and metrics, and look for the most efficient ways of using them. Mining companies no longer need to wait until the end of the day or the week, as SYCLO provides such monitored information in real time, allowing mine directors to instantly correct or reduce inefficiency. Grupo Mexico is one of our clients and its goal is to reduce its operating costs by 35%. In order to reach this ambitious aim, they are investing heavily in IT solutions. 15 of its companies are already running on SAP, and the next job is to implement solutions in all of their mines in Mexico, the US and Peru. After analyzing their processes we have identified some areas of opportunity, for example we plan to improve the company’s procurement structure by consolidating the three purchasing units it currently has into one. We will do this progressively, by adding service providers at different times.

Q: What are your goals and ambitions for SAP in the medium and long term?

A: SAP’s goal is to continue to grow – the company grew 74% in 2011 and 50% in 2012, and we have already grown 30% in the first semester of 2013. SAP is already present in 25 industries, but we can still transform those industries dramatically, by offering our innovative solutions to our installed client base. Based on experience, we estimate that about 35% of the costs in a mine come from maintenance, and our strategy is now focused on creating or co-innovating solutions that will have a direct positive impact on our clients’ ROI.