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How Can SAP Software Help Distributors Harness Big Data?

September 5, 2013BY AMS Editor

Most distributors don’t have the internal capabilities needed to reap the benefits of Big Data, but SAP software can help bridge the gap.

According to an article on the Data Informed website, a recent survey found that 76 percent of distributors believe Big Data represents an opportunity, yet only 15 percent have a database that can store more than a petabyte, the amount the authors believe is necessary. IT departments tend to see Big Data as a problem rather than an opportunity because of the infrastructure needed.

What’s interesting, according to the article, is that executives often view Big Data through the wrong lens. Executives see it as a way to redefine demand rather than supply, but the fact is the biggest gains to be made now are in supply-centric applications, including traceability and visibility.

As explained in the article, few companies have the internal resources to handle Big Data. Therefore, it is understandable that IT would see Big Data as a problem, as most companies do not currently have the infrastructure to store and analyze the data. The investments that would be required to handle this internally would be substantial.

But consideration should be given to new technologies that have been made available to store as well as process these huge data volumes. SAP software is addressing this with products like HANA, an in-memory computing platform, and Cloud for Social Engagement, a cloud application that allows organizations to monitor social media activity and “listen” to their customers.

Big Data really plays into social media. There are billions of tweets on Twitter, posts on Facebook and comments across other networks. Not only is the data big, but it’s also unstructured. The challenge for retail distributors is to make sense out of all that data being generated every second. That’s where social analytics tools like Cloud for Social Engagement come into play — they help take that data and turn it into usable information.

For retail distributors, social data is important because many tweets and comments are about their products. The ability to analyze that information allows distributors to not only react to those comments and improve customer satisfaction, but also to use that information as they plan for future products.

Source: Data Informed, August 2013

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