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SAP HANA cloud to power City Football Group

Parent of Manchester City F.C. and three other clubs will develop business and sports-analytics applications with SAP HANA cloud, while Dell and SGI partner up to boost S4/HANA.

SAP will bring its SAP HANA cloud technology to City Football Group (CFG), helping the soccer conglomerate develop applications and technologies to run its business, improve team performance, and enhance fan experience.

City Football Group operates four professional soccer clubs worldwide: Manchester City F.C. of the English Premier League, New York City F.C. of Major League Soccer, Melbourne City F.C. of the A-League, and Yokohama F. Marinos of the J-League.

According to a press release, SAP will become the CFG's official cloud software provider and begin a multiyear partnership to implement a variety of applications based on the SAP HANA cloud and HANA in-memory database platform to run the business. A key part of the partnership will be collaboration to co-innovate and develop new applications that can analyze and improve on-field performance for players and coaches.

"We believe that the partnership between SAP and CFG is going to be a bellwether for the way that teams and partners work together to get a result that's truly powerful," said Chris Burton, SAP's vice president of global sponsorships, in a press conference. "SAP will work with the four teams to use our cloud solutions and have an advisor to identify ways that fans consume the content on any given day.

"The important thing for us in this partnership is how the visionary team at CFG is going to find consistent ways in which to get a result across the fan experience, across player performance and, most importantly, operations."

In the first year of the partnership, the applications will focus primarily on business operations across all four clubs, such as finance, human resources, communications, and business analytics, said Toby Craig, a spokesman for CFG. Applications that deal directly with on-field performance will be developed in upcoming years.

"We have the capacity to deal with lots more data now, and we can see if something is working well with one club, then implement it with the others," Craig said. "For example, if one club has fewer injury problems or players recover from injuries faster, they can analyze that data and bring the insights to the other clubs. This is not really new. We've had technologically advanced systems for analyzing and improving player performance, but working with SAP has the potential to take this to a much higher level."

The partners will also develop applications intended to enhance the fan experience by taking advantage of the vast amounts of data that are now available to fans through various channels, including mobile. "In the last two-and-a-half decades of working in the sports business, I've seen how rapidly the amount of information that's available to fans has developed, and how hungry fans are for better and more information," said Tom Glick, president of New York City F.C., in the press conference. "SAP has a track record of transforming the fan experience and for fans of golf, tennis, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and racing."

SGI deal with Dell broadens HANA deployment options

A new partnership between SGI and Dell may make it easier for large enterprises to implement SAP's new S4/HANA ERP platform. The deal, which was announced this week, marks the first time that Dell has distributed SGI UV 300H high-performance SAP HANA appliances.

"We are delivering to Dell and their customer base scalability and mission-critical structure, and those are two things that [they] had been limited in [their] ability to achieve," said Brian Freed, SGI's vice president and general manager of its High-Performance Data Analytics unit. "So, what we're allowing Dell to deliver is the vision of Suite on S4/HANA at a scale that meets the business requirements of the largest enterprises."

According to the company, SGI UV 300H is a factory-integrated, in-memory computing platform for large or growing enterprises that runs SAP HANA. It uses differentiated single-node architecture to deliver high performance and scalability for very large-scale HANA environments. It is certified by SAP as a 4-, 8-, 12-, or 16-socket, single-node system with up to 12 TBs of in-memory computing capacity.

The appliance is already being used by some life-sciences and research institutions, including the Hasso Plattner Institute, the namesake of SAP's co-founder. The deal with Dell makes the appliance more available to any enterprise that is interested in taking advantage of HANA's computing power and real-time analysis capabilities, according to Jorge Titinger, SGI's president and CEO. "We're bringing technology capability and a different-shaded product into the hands of probably 20 or 30 times more salespeople than we had internally," he said. "So, it's increasing the go-to-market capability significantly for us and rounding up the portfolio for Dell with what would be the most important customers that want SAP."

The appliance is available now, but pricing and terms were not released.

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