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The Road to SAPPHIRE: What’s Cooking in the Retail Kitchen?

This is the second blog post in the “Road to SAPPHIRE” series chronicling the SAP Retail team’s efforts before, during, and after the SAPPHIRE 2013 conference.  Click here to read other posts in the series as well as additional writings by Michael Schulze.

People in the restaurant business have a term for what goes on behind-the-scenes in their kitchens any given night:

Choreographed chaos.

It’s not meant to be a negative term, but it does describe what goes on when you have dozens of specialists working as fast as they can in an enclosed space to create made-to-order dishes that delight customers.

According to Colin Haig, SAP Program Principal for Retail Solutions, there’s a little choreographed chaos going on as our retail marketing teams gear up for SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, FL.

“There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes,” he said.  “There are hundreds, if not thousands of hours we put in to make this happen.” 

Colin is working with a fantastic team under the leadership of Michelle Schooff from Global Marketing to provide our customers with engaging content that’s immediately relevant to their business objectives.  This year, they’re pushing the envelope like never before by presenting our retail and consumer products offerings together under one roof.

“It’s not a marketing effort so much as an intellectual exercise to come up with relevant information regarding trends and issues our retail customers are facing – things that will help them with their adoption of SAP solutions,” he said. 

This year at SAPPHIRE NOW, we’re not just going to be presenting at you.  Customers have made it clear to me that there are only so many slide decks they can handle – I think they’re right.  Come to Orlando this May and drive product demonstrations yourself to see how you and your customers can run better using some of our new mobile applications, such as:

Customers Take the Lead at SAPPHIRE Now

We’re particularly proud of the reputation and relationships we’ve forged with our customers in both the retail and consumer products industries.  The lineup of retail customers eager to lead sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW are a testament to that.  Doug Shirra, our National Director of Enterprise Marketing,  has been working very closely with Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada’s leading provider of grocery, drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. 

I love the story of transformation and innovation Loblaw has been forging with SAP over the years. David Markwell, Vice-President of Information Technology will be among the executive spokespeople at SAPPHIRE NOW, sharing Loblaw’s journey as Canada’s best food, health, and home retailer. Loblaw has consistently exceeded customer expectations through innovative products at great prices, earning the Tech Innovation Award for Supply Chain by Progressive Grocer magazine at the 2012 National Retail Federation conference.

Joining Loblaw in their attendance at SAPPHIRE NOW will be a host of top-tier retailers, including Kingfisher, Maidenform, Charlotte Russe, El Dorado, Marks & Spencer, BCBG, and more.  SAPPHIRE NOW is your opportunity to sit in on these customer-led events, including theater presentations, micro-forums, and my personal favorite – the “Meet our Customer” pavillion.  This is your chance to have a one-on-one, “no holds barred” conversation with a customer executive without anyone from SAP to get in the way.

Discussion topics can touch on change management, governance, people, processes, technology, and more.  It’s a unique opportunity because customer executives are making themselves available to have those one on one conversations.  I appreciate the time they are willing to carve out of their busy schedules to provide their industry leadership at SAPPHIRE NOW.

So that’s what’s cooking in the SAP Retail kitchen.  It’s a choreographed chaos at the moment, but we’re working to serve up exactly what our customers have ordered – simple, fast, beautiful solutions that make it matter for you and your shoppers.

Register for SAPPHIRE and ASUG (May 14-16, 2013 in Orlando, Florida).

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