SAP’s annual user conference, SAPPHIRE Now, wrapped up last week, and as always it was an invigorating celebration of our customers, partners, new technologies and new ideas. Here’s a quick list of my top six favorite moments of the week in Orlando.

  1. Customers. Since SAPPHIRE Now is the largest SAP conference geared towards our customer base, it’s no surprise that the people we serve are my Big Data Word Cloud.jpgnumber one favorite thing about the show. Our customers are brilliant and creative, and provide great feedback of all sorts. They force us to dig into details we’ve never noticed and solve problems that we’ve not thought of. SAP CEO Bill McDermott’s keynote on Tuesday emphasized the focus that we need to have on truly listening to our customers, and empathizing not only with them, but with their customers. Being a successful business means understanding your customers, and understanding requires listening – and there’s no better venue than SAPPHIRE Now for bringing all the right people together.
  2. Winning. SAP Telco customer Vodafone won the HANA Innovation Award 2016 in the category of Digital Trailblazer. Vodafone was recognized for their co-innovation with us on Big Data Margin Assurance, and the work they are doing to leverage big data and analytics to drive business insight and improve customer engagement. The victory was sweet, as there were more than 100 entries in the category. We are thrilled that Vodafone has been recognized for their vision and hard work. The new solution will be generally available in July of this year.
  3. New accounting rules. IFRS15 is the belle of the ball as far as telcos are concerned. With new revenue recognition rules going into effect on January 1, 2018, carriers are looking for ways to not only comply with the new regulations, but also to leverage the disruption to rethink and retool how they handle their financial systems. SAP has been working with forward thinking companies to assess and deploy IFRS compliant systems. As a result, we have a robust product and services offering that is far beyond what the competition can offer.
  4. Predicting the future. It’s no longer good enough to “drive by looking in the rear view mirror” – or make decisions based solely on analyzing the past. Today’s enterprises need a comprehensive (yet granular) view of the entire business, accessible in a beautiful interface, and displaying current and historical data in an interactive way. They also crave analytics that will help them predict the future and play out future scenarios before making key decisions. At SAP, we understand the need to run in real time in dynamic markets and geographies. As a result, we’ve developed the SAP Digital Boardroom solution. SAP Digital Boardroom is designed to provide C-level executives in the digital economy with real-time business intelligence, ad-hoc reporting, and what-if analysis to make decisions for today and drive change for the future. Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
  5. Partners. As the saying goes, make new friends, but keep the old. SAPPHIRE Now provides a veritable cornucopia of SAP partners, new and old, large and small. As an outcome of our recently announced partnership, Apple was on site to jointly demonstrate new SAP apps developed natively for iOS. This partnership holds great potential for our telco customers, and we’re already seeing interest from major global carriers looking to provide pre-loaded Apple devices to their business customers. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella appeared onstage with Bill McDermott, to discuss the latest news in our partnership with them. In the telco industry specifically, we are seeing Increasing engagement with SI’s like Accenture, global NEP players like Ericsson and Huawei, and nimble and focused players like Digital Route that provide mission critical functionality.
  6. The main stage. SAPPHIRE Now keynotes set the tone for the show and for the company overall. On Tuesday, Bill McDermott made it clear that SAP’s success relies on our ability to put our customers, and our customers’ customers, at the center of our thinking. Empathy for every one of our millions of end users needs to be at the heart of what we do, even as we work to solve some of the world’s most complex business problems. On Wednesday, Steve Singh, President of SAP Business Networks Group, announced a new connected healthcare initiative, designed to accelerate the development and delivery of innovative, patient-centered solutions for improving health outcomes, reducing costs and delivering connected healthcare services. Of course, no SAPPHIRE Now event is complete without Founder and Board Member Hasso Plattner’s hour in the spotlight. As always, he was passionate, articulate, and pointed us all towards a future filled with opportunity and creativity.

Now that it’s all over, what’s next? The Telco Industry team is hard at work on some key initiatives. You’ll be hearing much more about our Big Data Margin Assurance solution over the summer, as the product is released to customers. We’re also working on new ways to strategically engage with our top customers so that we are better able to paint a joint vision of the future of telco, and create a clear technology path for achieving that future.

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