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Author's profile photo Bernd Leukert

Where Employee Commitment Meets Customer Satisfaction: SAPPHIRE NOW 2018

Another SAPPHIRE NOW has come to a very successful end. Once again, our biggest customer event exceeded all our expectations. We successfully introduced our intelligent enterprise strategy, showcased our latest innovations to our customers, and demonstrated our ongoing commitment to making the world run better.

Along with many other exciting announcements, we introduced SAP C/4HANA to help businesses serve and retain customers, and the SAP HANA Data Management Suite, the industry’s first comprehensive data management solution that enables companies to turn data sprawl into business value. SAP C/4HANA allows customers to connect the front office with the delivery in SAP S/4HANA and the related supply chain and manufacturing solutions. This is unique in the market. Other remarkable highlights include extensions to SAP Leonardo, the availability of SAP Cloud Platform on all major cloud infrastructure providers, enhancements to SAP Analytics Cloud, and new machine learning offerings.

As an update to the Google partnership, we announced the availability of the SAP Cloud Platform, SAP Data Hub, the SAP HANA Database service on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and the early availability of the Android SDK. In addition, we have worked with Google Cloud to provide larger scale SAP HANA instances, and also launched SAP Data Custodian, a GRC Solution for Cloud Data transparency.

I’d like to share my five highlights of this year’s event in Orlando with you:

Intelligence needs to be comprehensive and integrated.

The only way to consistently bring insights to enterprise processes is with intelligence. However, machine algorithms can only provide context and insights on the data they can see. That is why intelligence needs to be connected across your entire value chain. To connect, we need integration – and we heard our customers loud and clear: Integration can be inadequate; master data duplicated; and the user experience inconsistent. Hence, we are moving from integration through data exchange to integration through data sharing, so that we can provide you with “ONE Experience” — the intelligent suite experience. The Intelligent Suite gives you all the flexibility of independent solutions, while delivering a suite experience when used together. As part of this intelligent suite, SAP C/4HANA is a unified suite of cloud solutions that manage the customer experience based on one trusted customer data model. It combines SAP’s front office cloud solutions with SAP S/4 HANA powered by artificial intelligence.

Intelligence in enterprises needs a stable core.

With more than 1,800 customers live, SAP S/4HANA is THE game changer in the ERP world, with our fastest cloud implementation completed in just six weeks. However, the value proposition is not just about reduction in implementation time – it’s about the business value. Recent analysis of SAP S/4HANA projects by Forrester concluded that the average ROI on our next-generation ERP solution exceeds 300%. SAP S/4HANA is the digital core of the Intelligent Suite, and, of the many things we are focusing on, leveraging SAP Leonardo Machine Learning capabilities to make it intelligent is a top priority.

Intelligence needs a secret sauce.

The secret sauce is our foundation: SAP Cloud Platform is our foundation and key to realizing the vision of the Intelligent Suite. Customers can use it as the go-to platform for any business extensions they choose to build with SAP S/4HANA, SAP C/4HANA, and all of SAP’s cloud LoBs. Three key differentiators set SAP Cloud Platform apart from our competitors:

  • How we sell it: We offer a consistent customer experience to find, try, buy, and consume platform capabilities via a marketplace, with customers only paying for what is consumed using self-service – truly a modular suite.
  • How we enable innovation: SAP API Business Hub is the central place where developers and partners expose APIs. Using these APIs and managed business services, you can build world-class enterprise solutions.
  • How we run it: SAP Cloud Platform is the ONLY open multi-cloud business platform that protects you from vendor and data lock-in. We offer our customers the choice of SAP data centers, Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure.

Intelligence needs data.

The challenge today is that data is generated everywhere, resulting in a huge volume of distributed data – data that is not just in transactional systems, but distributed across products, machines, and people. Data that must be ingested, prepared, and made enterprise relevant. Our answer to this is the SAP HANA Data Management Suite, comprising SAP HANA and SAP Data Hub. SAP Data Hub enables success with big data environments in three simple ways:

  • Before, there was only one way to process data, because we assumed data was centralized: read-process-write…read-process-write. SAP Data Hub processes data on-the-fly, as it allows to process data with operators in a data stream without any need to store it between process steps like in the traditional read-process-write approach.
  • We can tap the massive parallelization power of cloud computing, to scale data processing by processing data in parallel in decentral containers, across data centers, regions, continents — all automatically.
  • Customers waste precious time cleansing data because of incompatible formats. SAP Data Hub resolves metadata conflicts dynamically, across legacy systems, where changing the data can be painful.

Intelligence needs a purpose.

We want to turn thinking into doing. Therefore, we are focused on not just building intelligent systems, but embedding them in your real-world business processes. As we move from a world of code-driven to data-driven intelligent applications, we are bringing together the three layers of our strategy: The intelligent suite with SAP Leonardo, SAP Cloud Platform, and SAP HANA Data Management Suite. We know this is a massive undertaking, but SAP is no stranger to achieving what others might consider to be impossible. We have over 26,000 engineers focused on this challenge, and I can only repeat the pledge I gave on stage in Orlando: Our customers are front and center of everything we do. Making them successful is what drives us – every day. This is our joint journey, and we have only just started.


SAPPHIRE NOW was a tremendous opportunity to showcase SAP – and as one team, we delivered BIG this week. The feedback I received from customers, partners, media, and analysts alike was extremely positive, and this is thanks to all the teams at SAP that have given it their all. The commitment of the colleagues at SAP never ceases to amaze me, all of whom once again went above and beyond this year. Similarly, the buzz on the show floor, the great demos, speeches, and sessions I had the privilege to see, and the dedication and team spirit I have experienced over the last few months, weeks, and days convince me that we are on the right track to deliver what our customers deserve: the best in class in software.

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