Israeli exec of software giant SAP shares vision
Franck Cohen says European companies must make adjustments to comepete with Asian rivals.
shekel and dollar exchange Photo: REUTERS
European companies must reinvent themselves if they are to compete with their
Asian rivals, Franck Cohen, president of German multinational software firm
SAP’s Europe, Middle East and Africa division, told reporters in Tel Aviv
“They will not be able to outspend companies in the
Asia-Pacific, so they have to outsmart them,” he said.
SAP aims to
achieve this by focusing on three major technologies that are all approaching
maturity at the same time: mobile, in-memory computing and cloud computing,
Mobile is becoming more business-oriented, and SAP is starting
to think about developing mobile business applications that could be deployed on
a mass scale through all kinds of tablets and devices, he said.
computing technology, which the company is developing through its HANA solution,
would revolutionize the way people manage big data, Cohen said.
combine these three dimensions and look at what these three new technologies can
bring when they are put together, you can change the IT landscape forever,” he
said. “And that presents unprecedented opportunities to companies like SAP – and
also to our customers – to reinvent themselves.”
Unusual for a European
business executive, Cohen spoke to reporters in both Hebrew and English. Born in
Algeria, he moved with his parents to Sderot in 1960 and finished his schooling
in France but returned alone to Israel at age 17. He served in the IDF
Paratroopers Brigade and studied electronics and electrical engineering at Tel
Aviv University. He joined SAP in 2009, armed with 22 years of experience in the
enterprise resource planning industry.
SAP’s Israel division is
functioning very well, and was even voted best performer out of all the
company’s European branches this year, Cohen said. SAP Labs Israel has been
behind a number of inventions, he said, and more than 100 local developers are
participating in the development of the HANA in-memory solution.
developers were responsible for the creation of the Real Time Offer Management
solution, which combines with mobile and in-memory computing technology to
personalize promotional offerings. The system is being tested by French
supermarket chain Casino.
The system recognizes, via loyal customers’
mobile devices, when they have entered the store, Cohen said. It immediately
recognizes purchasing behavior by examining the customer’s past purchases and
Based on this information, it makes a personalized
promotion to that customer. For example, if the customer is a chocaholic, the
system might offer them an exclusive 10 percent discount on chocolates.