We get used to talking with our cars, having an encyclopedic recall in our smartphones, gesticulating with our tablet computers, and checking photovoltaic power generation at the beach. Just one generation ago this would have sounded like science fiction … or magic. ‘Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic’ is a quote from Terry Pratchett’s great book ‘The Science of Discworld’, and was a statement during my SAP Runs SAP
presentation in London last week.
The Magic Circle theatre is headquarters of the premier magic society of the same name in Euston, close to London’s West End. The society has an international membership of around 1,500, all dedicated to promoting and advancing the art of magic, an entertainment as popular today as when the famous club was formed back in 1905.
This was the location for the ‘It’s Not Magic, It’s SAP Best Practice’ event organized by SAP UK on March 14. SAP experts for implementation, optimization, and innovation came together from the UK, Germany, and other parts of the world to share their expertise with SAP customers in the UK. I had the great pleasure to speak about innovation in the area of SAP Runs SAP.
But what would The Magic Circle theatre be without stage magic? David Redfearn, a member of this club and a fabulous magician, opened the event. I still need to check what’s written on page 43 of the Harry Potter series, but see for yourself:
[David Redfearn on stage at The Magic Circle]
Matt Dobbins and Gary Allen started the SAP content presentation in the area of implementation. They highlighted the customer-centric approach to offering not just one but more best practices for SAP implementation. You can choose between the established ASAP, agile rapid deployment methodology, and tailor-made solutions for your company. Optimization was next on the agenda, and Ben Lingwood, Luzian Kern, and Paul Moakes provided a comprehensive overview. The lunch break followed these two exciting sessions and allowed for networking and discussions with the SAP experts at the booths in the club room.
What is innovation? What does SAP have to offer in the area of innovation? And how can you leverage this in your company? This was the key focus after the lunch break and saw another great show from David Redfearn.
List of speakers and topics for the innovation presentation:
- Aoife O’Brien – Design Thinking
- Achim Seemann – HANA
- Matias Garay – Advanced Analytics
- Phil Parfitt – Mobility
- Matthias Wild – SAP Runs SAP
When you browse through the list of topics, you may think: Ok, no SAP event without HANA, and mobile solutions are still all the hype. But analytics fall under the category of commodities. And why is SAP Runs SAP on the innovation list?
You missed Design Thinking! Just because we don’t refer to it as technology? Yes, but it lays the foundation for thinking out of the box and uses technology in a customer-centric way. You are of course right about HANA. Mobile solutions as such are no longer innovation, but the speed of technology innovation in this area makes it easy to innovate new solutions. Advanced Analytics is much more than the Business Intelligence you have known about for years, and SAP Runs SAP does not just mean that SAP runs its own ECC and CRM – rather that SAP Global IT is tasked with the responsibility of being the place for real innovation projects.
Let’s do a quick poll: Hands up, who believes IT brings about innovation in your company? Ok, I can’t see your hands, but I did this poll in London and only a few people believed that innovation is the primary attitude of their IT department. What makes this different at SAP Global IT? Is it magic? Well, I have seen a lot of technology in the last few months that was close to magic, but the secret of SAP Runs SAP is great leadership, a dedicated IT innovation budget, and strong collaboration between IT and the lines of business – because there is no true innovation without a business use case (not a business case, don’t start ROI calculation before you innovate).
SAP HANA, Advanced Analytics and Mobility are fascinating building blocks to innovate business processes. The roll-out of CO-PA Accelerator, planning powered by SAP HANA and real-time sales pipeline reporting have been just some of the magic moments I could share in London.
Matthias Wild – proud to be part of SAP Global IT where SAP runs SAP.