SAP Canada hosted two events last week focusing on the theme of running simple and innovating business processes in a complex global world. They featured fascinating success stories from SAP customers and an eye-opening presentation from TED fellow and Complexity Scientist Eric Berlow on embracing complexity to come up with innovative answers to big data challenges.

Eric kicked off proceedings with his intriguing perspective on how we can leverage the explosion of data to build a ‘data-scope’ which allows us to connect the dots and see simple patterns that are invisible to the naked brain. He calls this ‘finding simple’ from complex causality and multi-dimensionality, a theory that can be applied across digital media and business strategy. He closed by saying that businesses need to focus on being intelligently simple rather than merely simplistic. In other words, IT has to be distilled down to offer real business insights, rather than simplified down to nothing at all.

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Positioning SAP as the go-to intelligent business simplifier

Snehanshu Shah, Vice President, HANA Centre of Excellence, SAP Global, moved the conversation to the cost of growing complexity in business. He introduced SAP’s S/4HANA business suite as the on-premise and cloud solution designed to give organizations the freedom and drive to innovate their business processes. By taking the core functionality of R/4, simplifying it and applying the streamlined Fiori interface, S/4HANA delivers less hardware at lower cost while providing faster answers. This is business intelligence and analytics at the fingertips of every line of business.

Sam Masri, Managing Principal, Industry Value Engineering, SAP Canada, continued the discussion by calling complexity business’s most intractable challenge today – a rising view across many industries. While so many enterprises are throwing a vast portion of their IT spend at keeping the lights on, they’re missing out on achieving a lower TCO of up to 22% by failing to invest more in innovation.

Sharing our customers’ success in simplification and innovation

The event was rounded off with some valuable insights into how some of SAP’s key customers are using our software to run simple. First, Albert Deileman and Jason Leo of the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan (HOOPP) told us of their search for a ‘pixie dust’ solution to the organization’s complexity challenges. For them, the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) solution is all about simplicity with results; real-time data speed and agility, perfect replication, rapid queries and modelling, and faster time to market.

John Harrickey from CSA Group was next up, telling us how the transition from ERP to HEC fuelled the company’s growth and expansion into Europe and Asia. It has enabled better employee engagement by mobilizing applications and improving insights, and better customer engagement by enhancing collaborating and responsiveness. He explained how the company has been able to build HANA upon existing SAP technology to create a seamless experience with high functionality, resulting in reduced complexity and a more productive business.

Wally Council of HP Converged Solutions spoke of the company’s need to flip IT investment from keeping the lights on to funding innovation. He brought up the point that the operational complexity challenges faced by huge and geographically-diverse modern enterprises have to be tackled head-on by a major rethink of key business processes and user experiences.

To top it off, our own Mike Golz, CIO, SAP Americas, reminded us that SAP itself runs SAP, and remains our first and best reference customer.

The richly-attended talks were held in the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto on March 12 and Flames Central in Calgary on March 10. If you would like to find out more about SAP’s Simplify to Innovate initiative and the S/4HANA business suite, please visit the event landing page and www.sap.com/HANA. The presentations from the event are available on SAP Canada’s JAM page.

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