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Beware of the Bear: 5 Key Ideas from SAPPHIRE NOW 2015

Idea #1: Stop Reporting the Past and Start Predicting the Future

Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP discussed some of today’s burning business questions. The following question and discussion resonated with me “When will my data stop reporting the past and start predicting the future?“. Most of my customers fall into the category of reporting the past. They use that data to show how effective their business processes are. And that is a good start. A smaller percentage looks systematically for trends in problem’s root causes. However, what if we could predict the future? What if we could predict the problem before it has an impact on our business? And what if we could propose and rate possible solutions? S/4 HANA is THE platform that can enable us to do exactly that. S/4 HANA is the new generation of SAP Core and replaces SAP R/3. Below is an example screenshot of how S/4 HANA recommends and proposes solutions. This is an example how SAP is evolving from a system of record to a system of decision. For the full demo, check out the whole demo in Bernd Leukert’s keynote. Fast forward to minute 12:30.

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Recommended and rated solutions to a stock shortage (Source: SAPPHIRE NOW Online | SAPPHIRE NOW ONLINE)

Idea #2: The internet of things powered by S/4 HANA will revolutionize the business

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most exciting things that I took away from the conference. The idea is to connect physical devices or sensors to the ERP system and use the stream of data to make better and faster decisions. Here is a great example of the power behind this concept: Centerpoint Energy is using S/4 HANA and thousands of sensors to detect and predict problems in their electricity grid and then to act upon those. With this tool Centerpoint Energy is able to predict and prevent incidents such as transformer spills. Check out a quick demo in Bernd Leukert’s keynote. Fast forward to minute 50:30.


Centerpoint’s Diagnostics Dashboard (Source: SAPPHIRE NOW Online | SAPPHIRE NOW ONLINE)

Idea #3: Beware of the Bear – Looking beyond today

Keith Sturgill, Vice President & CIO of Eastman Chemical Company started his keynote with an account of his recent trip to Alaska and watching bears eat salmon. Then he showed a picture of a bear that one of his friends had taken and asked what this heavy bear might represent. For Keith, the BEAR represents the STATUS QUO. Just like the bear is concerned only about today, so is status quo. Status quo wants to keep you exactly where you are. It wants you to fear the future. It wants you to fear change. Status quo wants you to believe that what made you competitive today will make you competitive in the future. But times are changing fast. The ERP system of the past will no longer be enough to make you competitive for the future. With the explosion and availability of data, SPEED is needed. Speed to process billions of data points to drive decisions and create a new future. This is time of great opportunity. It’s the time of a new revolution. The idea of SIMPLE is at it’s core. Simplified hardware. Simplified applications. Simplified user experience. SAP has that vision, the engine with S/4 HANA, the expertise, the ASUG network, and the leadership to help companies to embrace that new future.

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Beware of the bear (Source: SAPPHIRE NOW Online | SAPPHIRE NOW ONLINE)

Idea #4: Playing with LEGOs and finding the cure for Cancer

In my presentation, I compared SAP to a huge set of virtual LEGOs. And depending on how you stick those LEGOs together, you can create entirely new solutions and solve entirely new business problems. SAP has the right platform, the right tools, and the right people to help businesses and organizations innovate solutions to solve today’s most pressing problems, like Cancer for example. In Hasso Plattner’s keynote, SAP invited a professor from the renown German Max Planck Institute. He talked about how they use HANA to analyse data from Cancer patients. Research that would have taken years to complete, takes minutes now, just because of the speed of HANA and the ability to sieve through millions of records with nearly zero response time. Check out Hasso’s keynote to see the demo. Fast forward to 1:00:00. Another exciting project related to cancer is Cancerlinq in North America which will be a HANA-based solution pulling together data from 500,000 patients. Expected go-live is by the end of 2015.

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Mutations shown on a circus plot displaying all the different chromosomes in each cell. Data represents 3 billion base pairs of the human genome. From a database with 100,000 patient data records (Source: SAPPHIRE NOW Online | SAPPHIRE NOW ONLINE)

Idea #5: It may be Improbable but NOT Impossible

The last idea that I want to leave you with is a message from Michael Strahan – an NFL Hall of Famer. And that is that things may seem totally improbably at first. But when you bring the right attitude, the hunger to learn new things, and a sense for team play, then everything is possible. If you shift your mind from hoping to win to EXPECTING to win, then great things can / will happen.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear what resonated most with you at SAPPHIRE NOW? What was the most inspiring message/story you heard?


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