Adobe, Microsoft, SAP Demonstrate First Open Data System

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The Open Data Initiative, announced last autumn to create a common data model for customer data, could pose a competitive threat to Salesforce

Adobe, Microsoft and SAP have demonstrated a working system using a common data platform the companies announced last autumn.

CNBC said on Tuesday it had seen a demonstration of the system developed by the Open Data Initiative, which aims to pose a challenge to Salesforce, the market leader in digital sales tools.

Microsoft’s senior director for the Power Platform series of products Richard Riley demonstrated how the system could allow users to easily send data from software including Microsoft Dynamics, Adobe Experience Platform and SAP’s C/4HANA to Microsoft’s Azure Data Lake public cloud data warehouse.

The data is aggregated in a common format, allowing it to be processed by analytics tools and sent back to tools from Microsoft, Adobe and SAP.

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Azure boost

The system could boost Microsoft’s cloud-based Dynamics 365 for Sales against Salesforce’s Sales Cloud, as well as driving more traffic to Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Microsoft said the open data tools would allow companies to reduce the resources they spend on preparing data for processing and analysing the data.

HP, Unilever and others have reportedly expressed interest in using the tools.

Microsoft, SAP and Adobe announced the Open Data Initiative at Microsoft’s Ignite developer conference last year, saying its focus was to “eliminate data silos and enable a single view of the customer, helping companies to better govern their data and support privacy and security initiatives”.

Customer data

The model is intended to deal with CRM information, but also purchase behaviour and other customer data, the companies said.

There is currently no standard way of structuring such information, making it more difficult for data from different sources to be pooled and analysed together.

New data protection legislation in Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), could boost the use of data generated by direct marketers of the kind served by SAP and Salesforce, since it places restrictions on data gathered by the online advertising industry.

Under the GDPR, online ad data can only be used and processed with the user’s informed consent.

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