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Greetings from sunny Orlando!

I’ve just spent a glorious first day at the SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference and wanted to share some of the experience.

I’ll be writing a summary after each day of the conference, with the purpose of netting out what I’ve seen and heard during the day, starting with each morning’s keynote.

So let the games begin!

Keynote: Bill McDermott


Today’s keynote kicked off with SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott discussing how SAP is defining the next generation of customer experience in professional sports. You may have heard over the past year that SAP has been working with leading sports teams and leagues around the world – not as a traditional sponsorship (ie, just brand awareness) but as a true partnership bringing groundbreaking innovation to leagues, teams, and fans.

To demonstrate that we are investing serious “skin in the game,” we have just announced that Sports & Entertainment will be SAP’s 25th and newest vertical industry.

The theme of Bill’s opening remarks was “Customers, Fans, and a Better-Run World.” SAP is working with some of the most forward-thinking visionaries in professional sports to both transform the fan experience and help teams and leagues become best-run businesses. 

This also marks an SAP shift from a B-to-B (business to business) company, to a B-to-B-to-C (business to business to consumer) company.  Our Chief Marketing Officer at SAP, Jonathan Becher calls this simply B-to-P (business to people).  What’s it mean? Essentially, that we’re focused not just on our customer companies, but on our customers’ customers … the eventual beneficiaries of SAP’s solutions, products, and technologies.

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After Bill’s opening remarks, we were treated to a lively panel discussion moderated by “NFL on CBS” sportscaster James Brown and featuring industry leaders:

  • Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO (and the next NBA Commissioner effective February 2014)
  • Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers
  • Kevin Plank, CEO of Under Armour, Inc.

The panel discussion was fascinating and focused on how technology can and will empower the value chain for fans, teams and leagues

In addition to the 15,000 or so attendees here in Orlando, there were tens of thousands more who watched the keynote online (watch the replay!).


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As usual with SAP events, the buzz surrounding the keynote was engaging, educational, and constructive (remember to follow the #SAPPHIRENOW hashtag all week long).

You can also learn more about our emerging Sports & Entertainment solutions here.

Ariba Keynote: CEO Bob Calderoni


After the panel discussion, the keynote switched gears as Bob Calderoni, CEO of Ariba (an SAP company), took the stage to talk about how business networks are providing a new and scalable way for companies to discover, connect, and collaborate.

If you’re not familiar with Ariba, it is a cloud solution dubbed the “eBay for business” and was recently acquired by SAP. As a key component of SAP’s cloud strategy, Ariba has over 1 million companies in 190 countries currently on the Ariba Network. 

Bob explained the value of being an Ariba buyer and/or seller company, and he hosted SAP and Ariba customer Disney, and Ariba marketing head Tim Minahan.

See for Yourself!

Again, you can watch replays of all the keynotes at your convenience.

ASUG Keynote: Seth Godin


Today was an embarrassment of riches when it came to featured speakers!  In the early evening we were treated to another excellent keynote courtesy of our friends at ASUG which is co-locating its annual conference alongside SAPPHIRE NOW. We scored with speaker Seth Godin, who is well known author, entrepreneur, and thought leader. 

His blog is required reading for many business people, and his customer-centric philosophy of marketing is very much in line with SAP’s own transformation as it relates to our emphasis on pull marketing and humanizing our brand. 

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Other Observations from Tuesday:

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  • Packed show floor!
  • Great weather!
  • Enthusiastic attendees!
  • Too much stuff and not enough time!

Wednesday plans:

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