How Big Data, IoT and ERP can leverage Real-Time Actionable Intelligence

Mobile, social, analytics, cloud, the Internet of Things, nanotechnology, 3D printing and more manufacturers are facing a barrage of information about how new disruptive technologies will change the face of their industry. But for manufacturers to embrace these technologies, they must have a clear understanding of the technology value-add within the context of today’s business environment – what I like to call “purposeful innovation.”


Big data and the IoT as technology concepts are exciting, but what do they mean to manufacturers from a practical application perspective?As digitization becomes defacto on the manufacturing floor, there is great potential to improve responsiveness and agility, and adapt more quickly to customers’ changing needs. As more digitally controlled technologies are introduced, we build more connections.As we become more connected, building the IoT, we generate big data. And as the volume of data grows, we need new and faster ways to drive insight and actions, and easier ways to arrive at decisions.

So while these disruptive technologies are expected to improve responsiveness, they create new challenges in managing an increasingly overwhelming volume of data that must be converted into actionable intelligence. Manufacturers can’t afford to allow these technologies to inadvertently slow themdown, as this would be contrary to the afore-mentioned goal.

When it comes to the IoT, it’s not about the dataperse, it’s about what you can do with that data. As Industry Analyst Nigel Fenwick at Forrester Research has said, “It’s important to note that digital isn’t just about gathering new external connections; it’s about having the operational agility to act on them.”

Some of the manufacturing purists may argue that IoT is not new to them – after all, machines have had sensors for a long time reporting back information to the user – like the ubiquitous laser jet printer that tells you exactly how much ink is left and even where to order replacement cartridges. However, what’s new is we now have the technology capabilities to enable the integration of information across the entire product lifecycle – from design, through engineering, manufacturing, delivery, and service — to deliver immediate and actionable information to the necessary departments and functions with greater speed, accuracy, and efficiency than ever before. Imagine the new printer that prints your production schedule at the beginning of the shift when it detects you have arrived on the shop floor and automatically emails you a PDF of that schedule?

This is about gaining instant access to information “in context” to the task or decision at hand.The value-add is aggregating data quickly to make meaningful decisions today that manufacturers couldn’t make yesterday.What’s “new” and notable with the IoT is this abilityto aggregate data, analyze it and even use it for predictive modelling.

With all this talk about the IoT, manufacturers may wonder – where does ERP fit into all of this new digital frontier? The reality is ERP is more relevant in this equation than ever before – as it’s the key to unlocking the value of IoT. To be able to realize the full value-add of big data/IoT initiatives, manufacturers need the ability to contextualize data and integrate it into downstream process flows. This is what ERP has always done, however today next-generation ERP platforms are more approachable and more powerful than ever– functioning as the fabric that connects people, processes, data and things in an intelligent and strategic manner that allows manufacturers to create value from new data streams.

To do this however, ERP systems must be re-imagined to meet the needs of new and emerging technologies in the business of manufacturing. Responsiveness demands simplicity and mobility with tools designed to meet the specific needs of specific users. It demands new levels of collaboration throughout the supply chain, inside and outside the enterprise. It demands choice in the way information is presented, applications are accessed, and solutions are deployed. With an ERP system that delivers all this and more, manufacturers can check off a big box on their IoT readiness checklist and make good on the promise of real-time actionable intelligence.

By Himanshu Palsule, CTO and Executive Vice President, Epicor Software

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Flexibility, Scalability, Speed: SAP and Google Announce Strategic Partnership

Today’s digital transformation is driving rapid change across all industries, and its effects are profound. We are witnessing a paradigm shift with the commoditization of cloud computing and how its openness, flexibility, and scalability is driving digitalization globally.

With billions of connected devices and the copious amount of data they generate, we see an ever-increasing demand to store and process distributed data in real-time.

Disruptive technologies – such as in-memory computing and machine learning – make it easier to uncover valuable information and enable companies to turn big data into smart data.

Whenever I speak to customers today, they all have the same concerns: How can we stay competitive in today’s fast pacing environment? Does our IT landscape have the high performance, computing power, flexibility, scalability, and security to meet current and future business needs?

Armed with the power of cloud computing, enterprises are now able to react quickly to business and operational insights derived from big data and turn these into new business opportunities. In contrast to the past, no company, be it a start-up or an established enterprise, can tackle the challenges and opportunities that come with digitalization alone. In a digital economy, it is not about going solo, but about partnering, cooperating, and co-innovating on a global scale.

And today, it is all about such a global partnership. During the Google Cloud Next ’17 conference in San Francisco, Diane Greene, SVP Google Cloud, and I had the honor to announce a strategic co-innovation partnership between our two companies to help global enterprises run their businesses on a highly secure public cloud with best in class flexibility, scalability, and speed.

“SAP and Google are helping global enterprises run their businesses on a highly secure public cloud”

Let’s have a look into the details of this partnership that creates value for our customers and ecosystem across multiple areas:


SAP flagship products to run on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and benefit from the extended reach and speed of the network.

I am excited to announce the general availability of SAP HANA on GCP to deliver real-time insights and run mission-critical applications and analytics on a scalable and secure cloud infrastructure. GCP will provide an automated provisioning capability of certified SAP HANA instances to deliver enterprise-grade security, high availability, disaster recovery, and scalability.

We will make use of the Google Cloud Launcher Marketplace, Google’s marketplace for enterprise-grade partner applications, to offer products to developers and customers, starting with the developer edition of SAP HANA, express edition. SAP HANA, express edition comes with a fully functional application development environment where you can develop and build data-driven applications before deploying productively in the cloud.

But our cloud partnership does not stop here. We are working on making SAP Cloud Platform, our platform-as-a-service offering, also available on GCP. We recognize Google as a frontrunner in topics like containerization and scalable data processing. Our SAP Cloud Platform unit will work closely with Google on making technologies such as Kubernetes work for enterprise workloads. SAP Cloud Platform on GCP represents a tremendous opportunity for our customers to build enterprise cloud applications from the endless combinations of services and APIs GCP and SAP Cloud Platform offer. You will hear more about this in the next couple of months, so stay tuned!

SAP and Google partner in the area of infrastructure-as-a-service to lift enterprise cloud applications to the next level.

Both SAP and Google are fully committed to protecting the security, privacy, and integrity of customer data in the cloud. As another element of this partnership, we are collaborating to offer data visibility and data custodian capabilities for SAP on Google Cloud Platform, over time, leveraging SAP’s expertise in governance risk and compliance initially.

Our strategic intent is to work on extending GCP’s robust set of existing capabilities through jointly developed solutions that bring global visibility and access control to our customers for improved governance, risk and compliance management.


SAP and Google partner to integrate SAP applications and Google’s G Suite to get the best out of both worlds.

With everything we do, we want to provide our customers with choice. G Suite is an important enterprise productivity suite both in the marketplace and for our customer base. With the Gmail and Google Calendar integration, we are giving customers the ability to emulate day-to-day business processes to increase user productivity and enhance flexibility and usability.

SAP Cloud Platform’s Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution is now integrated with Google Suite and GCP. This allows customers to easily and securely connect SAP with Google Suite or GCP and give access to their users to any application from any device at any time.

With the size, scope, and scale of both our companies, we see a great opportunity to completely transform the way end-to-end business processes and enterprise software are run in the digital economy. And this is only the start. With machine learning becoming increasingly important, SAP and Google will also collaborate in this area, taking full advantage of the business and technology capabilities of both industry leaders – more about this at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW event!

At the end of the day, it is all about offering our customers the highest flexibility and choice to enable them to stay competitive in the digital economy. We are ready to partner, cooperate, and co-innovate – and we are ready to succeed together with our customers!

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Pentaho Ends Machine Learning Gridlock

Pentaho, a Hitachi Group Company, today announced orchestration capabilities that streamline the entire machine learning workflow and enable teams of data scientists, engineers and analysts to train, tune, test and deploy predictive models. Pentaho’s Data Integration and analytics platform ends the ‘gridlock’ associated with machine learning by enabling smooth team collaboration, maximizing limited data science resources and putting predictive models to work on big data faster — regardless of use case, industry, or language — whether models were built in R, Python, Scala or Weka.


Streamlining four areas of the machine learning workflow
With Pentaho’s machine learning orchestration, the process of building and deploying advanced analytics models maximizes efficiency. Most enterprises struggle to put predictive models to work because data professionals often operate in silos and the workflow — from data preparation to updating models — create bottlenecks. Pentaho’s platform enables collaboration and removes bottlenecks in four key areas:

  • Data and feature engineering — Pentaho helps data scientists and engineers easily prepare and blend traditional sources like ERP, EAM and big data sources like sensors and social media. Pentaho also accelerates the notoriously difficult and costly task of feature engineering by automating data onboarding, data transformation and data validation in an easy-to-use drag and drop environment.
  • Model training, tuning and testing — Data scientists often apply trial and error to strike the right balance of complexity, performance and accuracy in their models. With integrations for languages like R and Python, and for machine learning packages like Spark MLlib and Weka, Pentaho allows data scientists to seamlessly train, tune, build and test models faster.
  • Model deployment and operationalization — a completely trained, tuned and tested machine learning model still needs to be deployed. Pentaho allows data professionals to easily embed models developed by the data scientist directly in a data workflow. They can leverage existing data and feature engineering efforts, significantly reducing time-to-deployment. With embeddable APIs, organizations can also include the full power of Pentaho within existing applications.
  • Update models regularly — According to Ventana Research, less than a third (31%) of organizations use an automated process to update their models. With Pentaho, data engineers and scientists can re-train existing models with new data sets or make feature updates using custom execution steps for R, Python, Spark MLlib and Weka. Pre-built workflows can automatically update models and archive existing ones.

Hitachi Rail uses Pentaho with Hitachi’s Hyper Scale-Out Platform to fulfil its pioneering “Trains-as-a-Service” concept, applying advanced IoT technology in three event horizons: real-time (monitoring, fault alerting), medium-term (predictive maintenance) and long-term (big data trend analysis). With each train carrying thousands of sensors generating huge amounts of data per day, the project’s data engineers and scientists face many challenges associated with big data and machine learning. Although the project is not yet operational, Pentaho is already helping to deliver productivity improvements across the business.

According to Philip Hewlett, Project Manager, “Hitachi Rail conservatively estimate that Pentaho’s  orchestration capabilities for data preparation, engineering and machine learning have already delivered wide-reaching productivity improvements and specialized development ambitions which will translate into value-added services for our customers — and this is at a very early stage in the project.”

David Menninger, ‎SVP & Research Director, Ventana Research, commented, “According to our research, 92 percent of organizations plan to deploy more predictive analytics, however, 50 percent of organizations have difficulty integrating predictive analytics into their information architecture. Pentaho offers a robust platform to help companies take advantage of machine learning algorithms throughout their organization, helping business units and IT to work together with the common goal of making predictive analytics deliver value to the enterprise.”

Wael Elrifai, Director of Worldwide Enterprise Data Science, Pentaho said, “In 2017 we’re working with early adopters looking to transform their businesses with machine learning. Fortunately our early foray into big data analytics gave us the insight to solve some of the toughest challenges in this area. As part of Hitachi, which has a large team of data science experts, we will continue growing our machine learning capabilities as this market matures.”

The machine learning orchestration capabilities are available in Pentaho 7.0.

Source: Nasdaq GlobeNewswire

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