At the SAP TechEd && d-code conference today, SAP announced an alliance with Facebook under which it will feed membership data from the popular social network into an SAP analytics application running on top of the SAP HANA in-memory computing platform.
Kevin Ichhpurani, senior vice president and head of business development and strategic ecosystems for SAP, says marketing organizations need access to a platform that can process that data in real time not only because they are processing large volumes of data, but also so they can make offers based on the attributes of individuals while they are actually using the social network.
Marketing organizations, says Ichhpurani, will also be able to correlate all that Facebook data against their own customer data to better target their marketing messages using an SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence application, which SAP plans to deploy on top of HANA. That application will also include elements of the e-commerce software that SAP gained when it acquired hybris, says Ichhpurani.
The SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence application will invoke Facebook application programming interfaces (APIs) to make better use of the Custom Audiences targeting capabilities that Facebook provides to advertisers that want to leverage membership data to better target their marketing messages using Facebook’s Lookalike Audience Advertising service. That data can then be correlated against the data that marketers already have about their existing customers in their SAP applications to better refine those Lookalike advertising campaigns, says Ichhpurani.
While there has been debate about the ROI derived from marketing on social networks, applying analytics applications against Facebook data should improve the ROI on those investments by making it easier for marketers to identify potential customers with similar attributes.
Ichhpurani says this application is just the beginning of what he describes as a strategic alliance between Facebook and SAP that will yield additional predictive analytics applications that can be used to better inform product development using social networking data.
The alliance between SAP and Facebook is the latest instance where the marriage of analytics and social networking data appears to have a profound impact on every aspect of the digital business strategies with which most companies today are struggling. The real challenge will come when organizations start to apply all that data to optimize their existing business processes in ways that eventually lead to a massive re-engineering of existing enterprise applications and systems across the board.