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In a recent blog, I paid homage to the famous actor Leonard Nimoy and his quest for key innovations. Plus, I shared a small subset of innovation topics and experts featured during SAPPHIRE NOW that would make Nimoy proud. One of the topics explored at the three-day event was the phenomenon we are all experiencing – the rapid and disruptive change brought about the 3rd Platform and the pillars of change: cloud, Big Data and analytics, social and mobile technologies.

Unfortunately, for only the second time in 15 years, I missed SAPPHIRE NOW. However, I certainly did not miss out on the amazing learning opportunities and insights into the future of SAP solutions, business, and more by leveraging the “virtual” SAPPHIRE NOW event.


The new role of SAP: Reimagining your business

SAP CEO Bill McDermott kicked off the event with his keynote on Run Simple.  Poised, confident, and charismatic as always, I loved his incorporation of one of my favorite brands – Under Armor.  A true growth success story, the company now has a market capitulation of $20 billion and is one of the premier brands in the world. It is now a truly digital business – with more than 130 million customers participating in its consumer community and a workforce standardized on one platform, SAP HANA.

With this customer example, McDermott discussed how we must all bridge the digital divide and shift traditional enterprise resource planning (ERP) from a system of engagement to a system of innovation.  This is road map to reimagine any business and leverage new innovations.

McDermott also mentioned that approximately 70% of world’s GDP flows through SAP software. Although we’ve changed our major advertising to “Run Simple,” we should do one reprise of the older “Runs SAP” campaign and call it “Earth Runs SAP.”  Now, that’s a reimagined business for sure!


Are businesses that Run Simple sentient entities?

A sign of a good keynote is making points which are thought-provoking. And this year’s didn’t fail to deliver.  The services marketing professional in me loved the call-out of how a solution strategy comprising SAP HANA is done with a combination of design thinking and a mindset on planning what’s possible.

This is very consistent with the continued demand for tangible business outcomes. With a focus on both  desirable and feasible results, road maps need to be collaboratively co-authored by IT and the line of business.

How do we bring the right people together?  That’s the role of a successful services and support team, in my humble opinion. The business outcome is really the only outcome that matters.  McDermott’s keynote noted that an average person works 90,000 hours throughout a lifetime. We need to make sure our lifetime’s work is impactful indeed!

The business or organization that Run Simple makes life Run Simple. To do that, everyone must work as  one seamless and intelligent entity.


Read my Storify virtual trip report that highlights my parallel social media coverage and commentary during the event.


About Fred Isbell

FMI BLOG Pix.jpgFred Isbell is Senior Marketing Director for SAP Services & Support Marketing for Thought Leadership, Demand Management and Planning for the worldwide Services & Support Marketing team. A 15-year veteran of SAP, he formerly led SAP Global Services Marketing Field Engagement, the North American SAP Services regional marketing team and SMB Channels Marketing for the SAP Small and Midsize Business team. Prior to SAP, he held a variety of senior solutions, services, and partner marketing roles with Compaq and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Fred is an honors graduate of Yale University with a BA in Economics and Political Science, and has an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business where he was a Fuqua Scholar. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he is a MA/USA Hockey advanced patch coach and includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life

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