Play Connected (Beer) Pong, Integrate Cloud-Based Data for Business Value

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If you thought beer pong, integrated data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) didn’t have much in common, think again. All three are at the epicenter of an information explosion across modern business.

Forrester researchers predicted 85 percent of companies will forge ahead with IoT this year. But the only way enterprises can get value from all the data they’re collecting from IoT and other cloud-based services is by making the right connections across daily work flows.

“Companies need easy ways to build bridges between systems, whether people are collaborating through various messaging and document sharing tools, tracking bugs in software, responding to IT tickets, developing top talent, and managing any business process like customer service, purchase orders, or field maintenance,” said Joe Binkley, senior director of Marketing for SAP Cloud Platform.

That’s where beer pong comes in — otherwise known as “connected pong.”

Connected Pong Makes the Right Connections

Binkley showed me the value of integrated data in this video interview at SAP TechEd, where we played a game called connected pong. Inspired by beer pong and running on the SAP Cloud Platform, the game consisted of ten sensor-based plastic cups connected to cloud-based applications using SAP Cloud Platform Open Connectors. The cups were laid out on a slanted table in an uphill triangle. Every time players landed white balls inside a cup, the sensor relayed the movement of data and other activities between various applications. A scorecard on an adjacent screen captured all the action.

“Every business has a lot of balls in the air at the same time. While applications like SAP S/4HANA, SAP C/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Ariba are the systems of record for many companies worldwide, people may also use other smaller services and solutions,” said Binkley. “We’re making it simple for companies to incorporate data from all of their applications for seamless workflows.”

When my ball landed in the cup connected to Dropbox, the system simulated files shared between people who were communicating from different applications. After landing in another cup, the program sent an SMS message using Twilio to update a customer on a specific project. Other cups simulated information sharing such as expense items in SAP Concur, purchase orders from SAP S/4HANA, and an employee record from SAP SuccessFactors.

Open, Secure Systems Mean Better Collaboration

The brightly-colored display captured the level of openness developers need for innovation and businesses require to become intelligent enterprises.

“We are the connective tissue between data in a company’s systems of record and these other important services that have emerged with digitalization,” said Binkley. “Developers can easily connect third-party applications with pre-built connectors to over 150 applications including SAP cloud and on-premise solutions, as well as non-SAP products. Developers can also build their own connectors to other applications.”

Business Case for Integration

Data integration is top of mind for anyone doing business in a world where cloud-based capabilities are increasingly the norm. As each bright and shiny innovation flares up, people on the ground realize they have to connect information from these various systems together.

“All the data generated from intelligent chat bots, IoT, and other innovations is connected to business processes,” said Binkley. “For example, when you create a purchase order, that often triggers another step in a different but related system. Companies need to manage these connections easily so they’re sharing data where it counts for real business value.”

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