SAP Sharpens Focus On IoT with $2.2B Bet To Expand Partner Ecosystem

SAP is quickening its charge into the Internet of Things market, saying Wednesday it will invest $2.2 billion in the next five years to accelerate its IoT solution portfolio, increase sales and marketing, and grow its ecosystem of partners and startups in the IoT market.

’This announcement shows the investment that SAP is making in this space, it shows that we have a vision in place to address the IoT space and embrace the full environment,’ Hans Thalbauer, senior vice president of extended supply chains and Internet of Things at SAP, told CRN. ’[As part of this] our partner network is very important, and we want to create a huge ecosystem as we work with partners to build specific applications in certain industries.’

As part of its IoT drive, the Walldorf, Germany-based company said it will build out global IoT development labs to better collaborate with partners and startups. These labs will be ’lighthouse locations’ for IoT research, development and proof-of-concept modeling. These labs will also provide partners with access to interactive demos of IoT-related technology including autonomous systems, like drones and robotics, IoT security, machine learning and 3-D printing.

[Related: 5 New Tools Partners Will See From SAP's Blockbuster $2.2 Billion IoT Investment]

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In addition, the company launched IoT solution packages for particular industries to accelerate customers’ digital business strategies. SAP said two packages are currently available – the Jumpstart package, which enables enterprises to initiate system connectivity to monitor equipment and analyze data operations; and the Accelerator package, which adds automated capabilities to existing connected systems by supporting manufacturing planning and execution, performance analytics and advanced plant maintenance.

SAP said it will offer a third industry solution package that it plans to introduce ’at a later date’ -- the Advanced package, which will provide advanced manufacturing insight and controls, machine-learning functionality and predictive analysis for quality and maintenance operations.

The company also said it is planning IoT package solutions to address the unique digital operations of cities, agriculture and energy industries. All solution packages will be available through SAP’s channel partners, according to a spokesperson.

SAP has also marked the start of its IoT investment with the acquisition of PLAT.ONE, an Italian-based enterprise-grade IoT provider that simplifies the process of creating, deploying and managing complex IoT solutions.

SAP said PLAT.ONE’s expertise is essential to benefit its SAP HANA Cloud platform, with new capabilities like advanced life-cycle management for IoT devices, broad device connectivity, and rapid development tools for IoT applications.

The company’s IoT platform hinges on infrastructure for IoT systems, including its SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things and line-of-business and industry applications. SAP also offers software for IoT, including the SAP Connected Assets and SAP Connected Logistics applications.

’With billions of connected devices, we now have the potential to reshape society, the economy and the environment,’ said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, in a statement. ’SAP HANA is the data platform we knew would unlock the Internet of Things. Today SAP is making another bold investment to help our customers seize the benefits of live business. Only SAP empowers businesses to innovate from the core to the edges to the networks.’

Tomas Fertig, CEO of Seidor, a Spring, Texas-based solution provider and SAP Platinum partner, praised SAP’s blockbuster investment, saying he sees widespread interest across his customer base in IoT.

’This is very promising for the future,’ said Fertig. ’A lot of vendors are investing in IoT, everyone sees it coming. SAP has had their HANA cloud platform for IoT, but with this new investment they are committing to more acquisitions and building labs around the globe to further develop that platform.’

In May, SAP added to its Internet of Things portfolio on the channel front with HANA-based software packages for partners building IoT networks – including an IoT Intelligent Edge Processing Bundle for SAP HANA, a collection of technologies that run at the edge of networks and link to the IoT Foundation system.