SAP urges startups to join the Big Data bandwagon

Data analytics has become an increasingly important area for UK startups, with companies using the technology to blur the lines between channels across various industries, SAP's chief technology advisor Mark Darbyshire told IT Pro.

Ahead of the SAP Startup Forum event taking place in London on Wednesday, Darbyshire outlined the importance of in-depth analytics for UK startups looking to gain insight into end users, speaking about the shift in attitude among businesses in terms of when to start using analytics.

"Traditionally, analytics has been kind of a day two' solution... and maybe that's fine if you know exactly what you're doing," he said.

"If you look how IT traditionally ran a business, it was an electronic copy of what we did with people. If you start with analytics, you might end up with an entirely different approach to how you run your business. Increasingly people are taking a bit more of an analytics first' approach."

Talking specifically about SAP's HANA platform, Darbyshire pointed to the increasing ease of analytics when combined into one platform, making it easier to consume, share and make use of in a business sense.

"What's nice about SAP is that you can use the same technology, HANA, to run the business, operate the business and analyse the business," he continued.

"If I'm running the business and I'm using the same system to look at the business, I can make decisions very quickly and get insights very quickly about customers."

Amy Lai, founder and CEO of retail insights mobile app Wittos, told IT Pro about using analytics to create a "dynamic Wi-Fi captive portal experience" that can create targeted content and services using data collected at internet hotspots. This, she said, gives retail stores a new advantage.

"We're used to this kind of monitoring when we're looking through a website, with the website telling us and guiding us through the different content zones.

"We get a lot of communication from a website, but in a local space it should be no different. You've made a conscious decision to walk through the door of a retail store, so when you're in the store you expect to have a curated experience as well."

Warwick Analytics' Dan Somers working in predictive analytics for the manufacturing industry also spoke to IT Pro at the event, noting that retail and the financial services have been the quickest to take up analytics as a business tool, along with manufacturing.

He said: "There is so much opportunity in manufacturing because the products are becoming so complex... it's really being able to harness and pull this together to get insight and predictions.

"We underestimate the human factor in all of this. There will be smart people making smart decisions, and I think that eventually things will reach a new equilibrium," added Somers.

"I think across pretty much all industries, analytics is becoming increasingly important," Darbyshire added, "and I don't think anyone can really stand up and say, analytics isn't important to us.'"

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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