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Motivated by response to my key takeaways blog of SAPPHIRENOW 2013, repeating the same for SAPPHIRENOW 2014.  Once again very difficult to pick only 10, but for simplicity sake its best to keep it simple 10.

1.Run Simple

The overarching theme of sapphirenow 2014 is moving sap customers from “run better” to “run simple”. Simplicity has the charm, and the biggest endeavor of all CEOs who have built complex businesses and built more complexity to run business better, is to move towards simplicity.

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP did a great job in his keynote explaining simplicity with many examples. Its like a mission and best quote I liked is “Simple is a race without finish line” by Bill to highlight its continuous process. One nice aspect he covered was –  to unleash simplicity, you need to first reveal
complexity. Hasso Plattner in his keynote mentioned Simplicity to beat complexity is not a marketing slogan : its a design objective

Watch replay of Bill’s  90mins keynote to understand more on #runsimple

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2. Fiori is free

SAP listens to feedback. Fiori, one of the greatest #runsimple innovations,the next generation user experience built on top of sap applications, was charged earlier. Bill announced that based on the feedback, Fiori will now be available free for maintenance paying customers. He also highlighted that customers who already licensed Fiori will get a credit back. Official announcement: SAP Fiori included in SAP software

3. Empowered SAP Managing Board

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Great people build great companies, especially if its software company. One of the important takeaway is the leadership style of Bill and the message at SAPPHIRENOW was that SAP now has “Empowered” Managing Board. Right from his keynote start where Bill introduced each of the board members, thanked them and into the analyst sessions they addressed, it was very clearly evident that this a great empowered management team, looking very aligned and understand the SAP strategy and the way to execute on it. Their answers were clear and concise.

4. Industry Cloud >>> Integrated Cloud

Key point for realizing #runsimple is how SAP transitions as cloud company and takes the customers to cloud. Cloud certainly brings lot of simplicity. Industry Cloud was unveiled as the key GTM strategy for taking SAP customers to cloud, through public, hybrid and managed cloud. Industry Cloud is a good strategy and this Forbes article really highlights the advantages of going vertical in cloud. Here are some examples from SAP on Industry cloud.

Now the best part of SAP with its powerful HANA platform is to offer integration of Industry clouds which the niche vendors will not be able to do. Bill in his keynote and Simon Paris who heads Industry cloud highlighted several examples around this..connecting Successfactors to Ariba, Cloud for Sales to ERP Financials etc. Customer gets the best choice to go with a Hybrid strategy that suits their business. Integrated Cloud is key differentiator for SAP.

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5. Customer Engagement and Commerce

Salesforce automation is old CRM, no more relevant. My favorite Bill’s quote on this was “we can no longer sell yesterday’s methods to
achieve tomorrow’s dreams”.
Omni-channel customer engagement and commerce is the next generation wave of enabling software to enable engaging with customers (B2B) and consumers of customers (B2C), in this Age of Empowered Customer.
SAP is taking big steps forward in this area with solutions coming from SAP + Hybris portfolio, “See Why” acquisition and partnerships with Adobe. This is a huge step forward to bring unified experience to be given to customers across the channels they interact, and leverage HANA underneath for real time and prediction capabilities.

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Nayaki Nayyar wrote a nice blog on the holy grail of customer engagement and Brian walker from Hybris talked about listen and engagement

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6.  Line of Business regains attention

“A” in SAP is applications, a very strong business application company that SAP is, regained huge attention back to Line of Business (LoB) innovations at this year Sapphirenow. This was welcome change for many who were a bit skeptical of too much platform focus in recent times. There was some amazing customer centric innovation sessions. One of the favorite was around Supply chain transformation, where SAP are leaders.
Customers such as Colgate, McKesson and Beiersdorf AG shared their innovation journey in Sales & Operations Planning, Inventory Optimization and Demand signal management. More in this blog post.

Many more LoB innovation across 11 LoBs built for 25 industry verticals got very good focus. HANA power essentially was kept in the rear view, explaining its value in the context of LoB innovations.

7. Simple Finance.

Extending on the LoB innovations, one noteworthy takeaway which needs specific mention is SAP Simple Finance. Offcourse it got into my top 10 because I am a finance guy J but more importantly it was big step forward on simplifying the architecture (e.g. removing aggregates), and to do more innovation on cloud.

Simple Finance is a great step forward to get the often complex and most old financial applications  into a more simplified, easily consumable, cloud based solution offering. Simple Finance covers a broad spectrum of the financial value map across transactions, planning, cash management focus, with a more intense rapid cycle roadmap ahead.  More details on what is included in there in this blog. Also check Mark Chaflan post on 3 values out of this.

Hasso explained in his keynote that no aggregates in finance opens up unlimited fantasy possibilities. He shared that a  $22 billion customer is running Simple Finance without disruption for past few weeks. Certainly he categorized this as Disruptive innovation and not sustainable incremental innovation. Prof Clayton from Harvard, author of innovators dilemma who was on stage for the keynote acknowledged the same.On top is the cool Fiori user interface

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8. Network Economy ….90 trillion size

Bill shared that network economy will generate $90 trillion economic impact by 2020. How can SAP support this. We already do a fair bit with Ariba. The step forward that got announced was the partnership with eBay. A cool demo was shown where when you don’t have the stock in your own inventory, how you can tap into the marketplace in eBay to quickly get other suppliers to bid for the item in real time. Now this is feasible combining Ariba with eBay. The other cool announcement was on getting away from age old payment by checks (60% of remittances in US are still in this old style mode), through real time payment by Ariba Pay .

Combining this with the Integrated cloud will be significant differentiator for SAP.

9.One Digital Experience

The world is moving towards getting seamless experience for customers across different channels …web, store, mobile,everywhere. Why not for the people who engage with SAP. Maggie Fox, Chief Digital Officer at SAP unveiled the One Digital Experience, with a roadmap for sap.com to move into this direction and she encouraged everyone to experience this digital transformation with few examples. Moving towards “what customers want” than “what SAP wants to push”.This is a great step towards #runsimple with SAP. More to come in this one digital experience. Universal single identity is one of the key things in this experience.

Explore some examples here, same look and feel, including when you are accessing from your mobile:

Retail : http://hcp.sap.com/retail.html

Human Resources : http://hcp.sap.com/hr.html

HANA Market Place : Overview

10. HANA is center of everything

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HANA is at the center of everything that SAP is doing, and this does not change. Bernt Leucert shared the entire product strategy revolves around HANA as a simplifier on cloud. Bill mentioned that successfactors and ariba goes 50% faster with HANA, allowing users not having to stayback on weekends. HANA
also extends into as a great platform that SAP partners and many startups can start building innovations on top. Conagra shared amazing journey on how they are leveraging HANA for what ifs and modeling the future.

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Hasso also did a great forum for HANA startups panel titled Compete and Win Through Innovation Like That of a Startup ,which was moderated by Aiaz Kazi.

Favorite quote from Hasso “Startups have the freedom to fail and hence the freedom to innovate”

1500 startups, 117 validated solutions, in 57 countries across 22 countries generating about 10 Mio Euro revenue. This is huge for 3 yr old platform.

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HANA is great simplifier, and No Aggregates = Simplicity

To know on what it really means, you should watch this enlightening discussion by Prof Clayton from Harvard and Dr.Hasso Plattner, in a intellectually simulating talk. The takeaway there is that there is enormous opportunity to relook at organization boundaries in finance, supply chain, customer engagement without aggregates. The one i really loved is the possibility to reorganize on the fly to align with customer’s intent.

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You can watch replay of the keynote shortly here.

Do share if you have other takeaways that you want to highlight.

Hope the above gave you a quick run down into how SAP is enabling #runsimple and continuing its innovation journey….

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21 Comments

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  1. Aiaz Kazi

    Nice summary Muthu.

    Will send you the link to the opening panel Hasso was on as part of the Think Like a Startup Forum as soon as we have it.

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    1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author

      Thanks Aiaz. The startup session by Hasso was really amazing. I would be glad to include the link in here.

      Actually was really thinking i should have a separate takeaway for startup focus, but later decided to combine with the overall HANA at the center piece.

      regards

      Muthu

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      1. Aiaz Kazi

        Muthu:

        Here’s the link to the session as promised.  ow.ly/xYFQy  for those who couldn’t be there

        While it was a packed house as you know, this session with Hasso was added last minute so a lot of people have heard feedback from people like you who attended about how insightful the panelists (in addition to Hasso we had head of Enterpreneurship – Prof. Josh Lerner from HBS, and CEO of GigaOm Paul Walborsky) were.  I had a lot of fun moderating the session.  Even though we finished on time, this conversation could have gone on another few hours easily.

        A

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        1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author

          thanks Aiaz. Startup is huge for SAP HANA as a platform. This discussion was certainly very much a fun. And Hasso looked like he was just starting off with a startup, inspite of building such a mamoth enterprise software giant.

          Already posted into the blog

          regards

          Muthu

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  2. Ramesh Ramaswamy

    Hi Muthu,

    A good, neatly packaged content rich summary.


    In particular am impressed with Simple Finance.It will be great to have the line item data at the OLAP level.This has been a distinct pain area,meaning,we are compelled to work with aggregates in the present set up.I guess this also will help the granular analysis,for example, deriving patterns such as spending pattern of a particular cost center.


    Am also thrilled that going forward every thing will get simplified –  The individual clients need not to have complex applications,complex interfaces and the associated pain of maintaining them.The cloud model is sure to place the client community in Cloud Nine.

    If I see this right I think SAP is trying to give a new meaning to,new perspective of and possibly a new definition of “SIMPLE”.

    Appreciate your good efforts in updating the user community.

    Regards

    Ramesh

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    1. Muthu Ranganathan Post author

      Thanks Ramesh for excellent comments. Yes i guess only ECC experts with financial knowledge, like you, can really appreciate the impact of what “simple finance” can bring to CFOs, as it can enable on-the fly aggregations vs. rigid things in the past. Also the cloud play is huge as you can see. Looking forward to experts like you taking up “Simple Finance” forward with customers and finance organizations.

      Adding few more info from #Simplefinance, we all love Finance, don’t we 🙂 , Thanks Philipp Nething for compiling these info for benefit of the community.

      Panel Discussion: Embrace the Future of Finance with Innovations Supporting the CFO

      Employ SAP Simple Finance to Empower the Finance

      Interview with Kai Finck on the Future of Finance (4:18)

      Interview with Peter Maier on Digital Business goes into the Cloud (5:02)

      James Fisher on Finance Solution Innovations (1:31)

      Why Finance Operations Shined at SAPPHIRE NOW

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  3. abilash n

    Thanks Muthu for sharing the updates.  I didnt got chance to attend the sapphire and was eager to know about the event. Your blog shared the event highlights…..

    After attending sapphire 2014 you are following sap bill saying – “Run Simple” , as your takeaway is also “Ran simple” …

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