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Today’s keynote kick-off at SAPPHIRE NOW featured a strong focus on simplifying business. SAP CEO Bill McDermott raised the charge to crush the complexity that’s strangling business agility. Management layers, processes, and culture were all cited as culprits. To emphasize the problem, Bill quoted a study from Bain, which found 70% of CEOs reported that complexity in their organizations was leading to all types of costs within the business.

But how do companies tackle a problem that feels intractable?

Bill pledged that SAP will do its part by streamlining and integrating its eco-system of applications. Leading the way will be cloud-connected solutions. SAP has heavily invested in a deep bench of cloud solutions and Bill’s talk was a showcase of these offerings. The Ariba Network’s transaction volume was on full display. A collaborative demo with Varian Medical Systems offered an insightful and amusing presentation. A new partnership with eBay was also unveiled.

Analyst and tech influencer R. Ray Wang poked fun at the array of topics covered in this tweet:

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But the pledge for simplicity that Bill made during his talk really came to life at today’s panel discussions, micro forums and customer presentations.

ExxonMobil talked about how it’s delivering an easier, more intuitive procurement process for its 2,600 employees by connecting its suppliers to the Ariba Network. With over 60% of its supplier base on the network, ExxonMobil is delivering a simpler shopping experience for its employee that has resulted in lower costs, fewer approval steps, better spend visibility and faster payment to suppliers.

Jo-Ann Fabric shared how its deployment of SAP Jam unleashed employees to create and share product demo videos to help store associates better answer customer questions at its locations. By connecting employees, Jo-Ann Fabric has created a learning culture that’s fostered by a “bottoms up” versus “top down” approach. With an employee base whose average age is 47, Jo-Ann Fabric found that SAP Jam offered an intuitive way to collaborate for a workforce demographic that hasn’t grown up in a digital world.

During a talk about SAP Cloud for Sales, Bentley Systems and AzkoNoble discussed how gaining a 360-degree view of customers with easy-to-use mobile apps drove strong adoption among their respective sales teams. With iPad accessibility of the CRM tool, AzkoNoble reported that 80% of its salesforce are daily active users.

This tweet from R. Ray Wang sums it up best:

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Welcome indeed.

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