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Cloud Solutions and Technology

An exclusive Q&A with Sven Denecken, Vice President, Strategy and Co-Innovation Cloud Solutions, SAP AG

"Regulations and compliance are key trust topics with regards to cloud solutions and technology," noted Sven Denecken, Vice President, Strategy and Co-Innovation Cloud Solutions, SAP AG, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Computing Journal. "But it is also more than security of access - it is portability of data and a clear definition of where the data resides."

Cloud Computing Journal: The move to cloud isn't about saving money, it is about saving time - agree or disagree?

Sven Denecken: Cloud of course does support more cost effective and quick approaches to a solution, if done right. Though the main business benefit is velocity, the right speed and direction is a combination that enables dedicated business functions, for example, HR, sales, finance and procurement, with the right solution, dedicated to their need, integrated into the existing environment (hybrid) and the ability to consume at the right speed.

Cloud Computing Journal: How should organizations tackle their regulatory and compliance concerns in the cloud? Who should they be asking/trusting for advice?

Denecken: Regulations and compliance are key trust topics with regards to cloud solutions and technology. As a leading vendor in this space we do invest more than many of our customers could. But it is also more than security of access - it is portability of data and a clear definition of where the data resides. Supporting global processes as well is not a simple task, especially when it's beyond a simple translation when local regulatory requirements come into play. It's better to ask a vendor or partner who understands these requirements on a global scale. For example, in our case, we are wherever our clients want to go, a big benefit if you want to scale fast in a connected business environment.

Cloud Computing Journal: What does the emergence of Open Source clouds mean for the cloud ecosystem? How does the existence of OpenStack, CloudStack, OpenNebula, Eucalyptus and so on affect your own company?

Denecken: Cloud landscapes are heterogeneous and will be for the foreseeable future. We recommend that you look into open interfaces and Platform as a Service offerings (PaaS, e.g., using a Java development environment) that support flexibility and extensibility.

Cloud Computing Journal: With SMBs, the two primary challenges they face moving to the cloud are always stated as being cost and trust: where is the industry on satisfying SMBs on both points simultaneously - further along than in 2011-12, or...?

Denecken: Yes, adoption rates that are beyond triple digit clearly show that cloud is a viable option for SMBs, as well as in Two Tier ERP scenarios from larger clients. There are recent examples where solutions to run the entire business in the cloud have helped SMBs generate efficiency, beyond pure cost attractiveness. We expect this trend to accelerate and have accelerated the roadmap of the respective offerings, engaging our ecosystem to sell, configure and extend the solutions.

Cloud Computing Journal: 2013 seems to be turning into a breakthrough year for Big Data. How much does the success of cloud computing have to do with that?

Denecken: Very much so, we recommend assessing the benefits of Big Data - same as for analytics, mobile and social collaboration - in the context of dedicated cloud solutions. In our case we converge to a common platform - Sap HANA Cloud platform - the only one available on HANA in memory technology. All innovations that SAP brings in this platform and as a leading technology vendor going forward will be leveraged in the cloud first. But Big Data needs to be brought into context, not only the fast access to data - especially the business context and the smart analytics capabilities - paired with mobile - lead to entire new use cases.

Cloud Computing Journal: What about the role of social: aside from the acronym itself SMAC (for Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) are you seeing and/or anticipating major traction in this area?

Denecken: Yes, very much so. As the leading provider of social collaboration solutions (SAP JAM, 8 million users in the cloud) we see the power of collaborative solutions done right. But they need to a) come with a business purpose and b) be natively integrated into the LoB solutions. An additional tool on top can just be more noise. We have defined dedicated use cases (e.g., in onboarding, learning, sales, supply chain, etc.) where the benefit is tangible and quickly accessible. As above, it is always a combination of tool and content to come up with the right solutions in context.

Cloud Computing Journal: To finish, just as real estate is always said to be about "location, location, location," what one word, repeated three times, would you say Cloud Computing is all about?

Denecken: This is simple, for me the one wow for cloud is velocity, velocity, velocity. The best opportunity for companies to leverage state-of-the-art technology and networks to run in the right direction, at the right speed, to win.

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