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As we wind up 2014, I thought of sharing a dozen recaps that I was fascinated, inspired, impacted and moved by, that makes SAP continue on its innovation journey and stay relevant in the enterprise software arena.

1. Co-CEO to sole CEO

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From a Co-CEO model that existed for few years with Bill and Jim, this year we moved into a sole CEO model.

I always will cherish Jim Snabe, he was an amazing product strategist and his communication style was fantastic – his speeches never looked too detailed/tech or too high level /sales – we will miss him.

Bill McDermott, our CEO is certainly driving a huge mission of #RunSimple  and we are already seeing some great impact on how Business Network is taking shape as the biggest cloud use case, we are learning from his life story that he shared in his book Winners Dream and most fascinating aspect about him for me to learn is – how does he get all this energy. Lastly I enjoyed reading his Linkedin post on Big Ideas 2015 on simplification/business network, and happy that he is turning out to be a great digital CEO.

2. Tech visionary leaves

One of the most significant impact for us all in 2014 was when Vishal Sikka decided to leave SAP. He was a great technology innovation leader and visionary, and the best part that many of us admired about him was the sense of urgency instilled by him, like there is no tomorrow.

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3. 2 CDOs

SAP has two leadership roles : Chief Design Officer and Chief Digital Officer.

Sam Yen, Chief Design Officer, continues to drive design culture and SAP Fiori is becoming the defacto industry standards for role based Ux in Enterprise software. Sam has extensively got design thinking culture across SAP.

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Jonathan Becher, Chief Digital Officer, and our social executive takes on the new challenge of tapping into our digital customers. Digital channel for delivering products, services and education is going to be pioneering effort for SAP in the coming year.

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These two roles proves that SAP is ahead of his peers creating new leadership roles to drive new possibilities and innovations.

4. Power of 2 Leadership

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One of the best decision that happened this year is the power of 2 leadership, where we got to see 2 leaders identified for each major businesses. Right from the board, where we have Rob Enslin and Bernd Leukert ,for Industry Cloud we have Simon Paris and Christoph Behrendt or strategic business such as Customer Engagement and Commerce, we have now 2 leaders Ariel Luedi and Carsten Thoma – one from the product &innovation side and the other from customer & GTM side. This is definitely a great approach around our run simple strategy as it helps connect the product innovation strategy closely with the customers, to result in customer based innovations, through a close feedback loop.

5. SAP Mentors continue to make an impact

While in the previous points I talked about SAP leadership, another most influential group that shapes SAP strategy, roadmap and gives an outside in view, are the SAP Mentors. This is a group of 130+ global experts who are part of customer organization or they work day in day out with SAP customers. SAP Mentors continued to provide very early feedback to SAP management and help clarify some of the new products and technology either through events such as SAP Teched, SAP Inside tracks that occurs in every part of the world, through blogs and discussions in SAP community network and other possible avenues. SAP Mentors have both consulting as well as technical expertise and play a significant role in providing direct feedback to product /development teams in SAP.

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Some of the content published by SAP Mentors have been quiet significant. Couple of my favorites are one on Fiori and Ux by Aviad Rivlin and Common Microsoft Excel for BI blog by Tammy Powlas.

Its been great to be part of this elite group in 2014 and had shared my SAP community journey as part of this.

6. Business network is key for cloud success

One of the most significant move for SAP in cloud this year has been driving Business network as the key use case, continuing the momentum we have with Ariba.

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SAP acquired field glass in the workforce management space and Concur in the business travel expense management space. With these acquisitions we will have largest business network in cloud. Business network is very powerful and will open up several possibilities to improve business process, solve unsolved problems and certainly leverage the power of cloud, mobile and internet. Its rather the most important ways of simplification to handle a rather a complex interconnected business world.  The most inspiring aspect would be to address the network of business of all sizes.

7. Hybris rocks

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One of the most differentiating acquisitions for SAP has been Hybris. Like the impact we saw with Business Objects in 2007-2008, Hybris has allowed SAP to get into a leadership in E-commerce space. And its been very appropriate timing, given CMOs and every enterprise has an active digital transformation project, and most companies including SAP have created a Chief Digital Officer roles to tap the Digital sales channels. Omni-channel commerce across digital and enterprise systems is definitely huge differentiator for customer engagement and commerce.

http://www.news-sap.com/sap-moves-beyond-crm-customer-engagement-commerce/

One of the big move this year was the announcement around Commerce as cloud service. This is going to be an important step forward as you will get different deployment options – on premise and cloud.

Here is a great video to know more about commerce as cloud service architecture

8. HANA goes multi-tenant with SP09


This is great news and potentially customers can benefit by building multiple applications or instances with SAP HANA. The post by Dennis which includes an interview with Irfan Khan explains it very well –

For a more detailed technical view, this session at SAP Teched on Multi-tenant database container is very interesting –

9. Internet of Things foray

Internet of Things is the next big trend in software industry.  For SAP, given it’s a enterprise software company, we are focusing on the industrial Internet of Things. Businesses are getting ready to leverage IoT.

We already have couple of big examples that have been built working with big enterprise customers.

One is in the predictive maintenance space where the applications allows for preventive maintenance that can handle exceptions

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The other solution is Smart Vending that allows vending machine to recognize the customer with a great personalized experience and it connects back to the supply chain for stock replenishment. Check this forbes article

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10. Know your customer – Customer Engagement Intelligence

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While Hybris rocks in the customer experience management area this year, a home grown innovation Customer Engagement Intelligence suite of products enables and supports Marketers to get big data insights and facilitate segmentation, personalized recommendation and 1×1 engagement by knowing their customers better. This solution has been received significantly well by our customers across different industry and is going to see much more adoption in 2015.

11. S-Innovations kicks off with Simple Finance and more

SAP has the most comprehensive business suite that can handle any business process for all Line of Businesses or Industries. S-Innovations is the approach to leverage this strength and take it cloud by combining this functionality with role based fiori ux to support it. Simple Finance is the first of this innovations that came out this year and we will have more to come in 2015.

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Once again an excellent post by Dennis that gives great perspective on s-Innovations

12. Integrated Business Planning

With significant success with SAP Sales & Operations Planning which was a home grown innovations built on SAP HANA, this solution is extended into a broader vision and solution of Integrated Business Planning in supply chain. This solution has been a key highlight and success in 2014 and will continue to have great momentum in 2015

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This article written in sap insider is great one to understand about this solution

While I just highlighted things I have been staying close to, I would encourage others to share other insights from 2014, with some details, that would help understand SAP direction better….

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