Top 9 takeaways from #SAPPHIRENOW 2021 Keynote
SAP welcomes Julia White, as Executive Board Member
The energy and vibe that Julia brought to SAP in a short time frame, was quickly evident at this year’s Sapphire event – in two ways. One, being the Chief of Marketing for the SAP Brand and channeling the articulated SAP’s message clearly. Two, being the Chief of Solutions and having a crucial impact on what solutions SAP will pursue now and in the future.
On the first, SAP’s customers shared their experiences in a discussion with Julia. AmerisourceBergen on advanced track and trace. Roche and tenthpin on collaboration as a consortium on clinical supply chains. Both, from the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. allbirds, an eco-friendly footwear and apparel company was also on stage sharing their success and approach towards sustainability.
On Solutions side, Julia and Christian (SAP’s CEO) went on to layout SAP’s innovation portfolio highlighted for this year. And with Hasso (Founder, and Chairman of SAP’s Supervisory Board), discussing the evolution and current dominance of cloud-based enterprise applications delivery and how customers are migrating to the cloud and the outlook for the future.
- S/4HANA is on a hockey stick trajectory
Hasso touched on the historic perspective of SAP’s journey to the cloud. The culmination, and key takeaway – agility, richness in functionality, and cost reduction. Impressive results observed for those businesses that have embraced cloud deployments. SAP, for its part did re-write the flagship SAP ERP product for a cloud ready world – the S/4HANA, and for the most part this massive undertaking is already 90% done. Not a minor feat!
From observed and reported adoption of S/4HANA by customers, it is fast approaching the ‘hockey stick’ moment. The ‘hockey stick’ owing to its curvature, is used frequently in synonym to show adoption rates of a product or service in the start-up ecosystem when they reach a critical mass of users and at the beginning of rapid acceleration.
- SAP Modular ERP and Business Solutions
SAP is a critical software for many businesses. A business exists to create value to its customers and gets compensated accordingly. Activities differ in many industries. In almost all cases, some form of revenue generating activity (lead to cash), purchasing activity (source to pay), managing assets (design to operate) or managing people (recruit to retire) exist. When these solutions work seamlessly, it feels like a well-oiled machine. Any of these falters, then the business will be in a difficult position.
Delivering these needs – now in a more intelligent manner not only to stay competitive, but to grow, requires advanced capabilities in tune with industry trends and customer needs. Think of new business models like streaming or the proliferation of home delivery. To enable these new models, a ‘modular thinking’ makes the best argument to deliver the capabilities needed in a prioritized manner.
- Top-line solutions (Revenue generating) for businesses get prime-time at Sapphire
Business transformations accelerated during COVID. Companies that were planning to create new digital channels to sell a product or create a new streaming services based on subscription, sped up and grasped the opportunity to transform in this new reality.
The revenue generating aspect (lead to cash) was front and center in their digitization journeys for all type of companies, and SAP did exactly highlight those capabilities that cater to this area.
- (new) SAP Upscale Commerce
- SAP CPQ – Configure Price and Quote
- SAP BRIM – Billing and Revenue Innovation Management
SAP increased its focus and built robust roadmaps for these key solutions that touch the end customers of a business. Each of these solutions do come with pre-built connectivity and integration to the broader SAP Modular ERP and business solutions – be it on the fulfillment side of what the customer was promised OR on the Corporate side to know what financial implications is there for the businesses to engage in delivering the promised goods and services.
- BTP – Business Technology Platform
When several solutions and products come together to fulfill the needs of a customer, they must be integrated and work seamlessly – much like lego block pieces come together to form the desired outcome.
The BTP plays this crucial role of bringing these building blocks together. BTP does this by using a common language for the data, one SAP data model, where exchange of data happens between the blocks. It also supports integration and continuity of processes from one block to another forming the bases of the Enterprise Planning Foundation.
The BTP is, in addition, a portfolio of products, capabilities and tools, that include:
- Databases and data management products
- Analytics solutions
- Application development and integrations tools – from pro-code to no code tools
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) capabilities
- Business Process Intelligence is taken to the next level
Let’s say a customer goes online and orders a product. Several steps take place – including browsing the products catalogue, choosing a product, the check-out process, and payments. This business process of creating an order is powered by software.
Once captured in a digital format, the deployed business process in productive use should address all needs of the customer. A feedback from the individual users on their interaction with the software provides a mechanism to understand if the customer’s experience is being met by the software. (Here comes Qualtrics).
To know that all these activities are working as planned, one must also see that the stated outcome is achieved (Here comes SAP Process Insight).
The next iteration of this process is business process intelligence. Here SAP takes both feedbacks (one from the user, and one from extensive data mining of the processes), explores the situation, compares with other industry peers/standards, makes simulations, and provides an output. Such output will be an ideal mix of adjustments and additions to fit the needs of the company’s processes (Here comes Signavio).
- RISE with SAP – Business transformation as a Service, coming to more areas
Businesses choosing the right modular application sets to transform to the cloud need to identify the set of products and technologies that will make this happen. Second and equally important, businesses need a mechanism for the transformation to support their growth. SAP offers such commercial packages for business transformation as a service dubbed ‘RISE with SAP’ to achieve their goals.
The first RISE with SAP package for S/4HANA was introduced earlier this year and had a great feedback. Learning from this, SAP announced several RISE packages at this year’s sapphire.
Announced at sapphire are a dedicated RISE package for HXM and Industry Cloud packages for 5 industries (Retail, Consumer Products, Automotive, Utilities and IMC – Industrial Machinery and Components).
- The future of Business Networks includes Logistics and Assets
To achieve their stated purpose, businesses should allocate resources to accomplish several tasks. Three of these tasks include procurement, logistics, and asset management.
Procurement, it ties mainly to suppliers of materials and services for the ‘cost of goods sold’ that make up the bases for the inventory of inputs for the businesses’ end products. The Ariba Network does exactly the work of connecting with a company’s suppliers and service providers, and has proven itself over the years, especially during highly disruptive times such as COVID.
Logistics management is even more challenging. Global shipments of goods and services are highly affected by disruptive changes and unforeseen events such as what occurred to M.V. Ever Given at Suez Canal. SAP Logistics Business Network (LBN) brings visibility and added benefits to both shippers and consignees to available options for their logistics needs. LBN also supports logistics providers by making their services available for a wide range of new customers.
In Asset Management, digitalization and availability of advanced sensors connected in real-time has made it practical to share the status of the assets back and forth between operators (owners and/or the end user of the assets), the asset suppliers (OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturers) and third party service providers in a seamless fashion. This is achieved by the SAP Asset Intelligence network (AIN).
SAP is now bringing these three networks: The Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network (LBN) and SAP Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) – into one unified network.
- Innovations on Sustainability are being embedded in SAP Solutions
SAP is acting now with the goal of zero emissions, zero waste and zero inequality. SAP is putting sustainability as a standard dimension in corporate management, just as much as productivity and growth. SAP has committed to make climate protection measurable, diversity and inclusion visible, and equality transparent.
In line with this commitment, SAP announced new products for:
- Sustainability reporting and performance management
- SAP responsible design and production
- SAP product footprint management
- Green Token by SAP
The reporting will include all World Economic Forum (WEF) sustainability reporting components with a view to build them into a global standard.
The insights on sustainability gained from the design stage, production stage and the overall product’s footprint will be embedded directly within core SAP Applications like S/4HANA.
The Green Token by SAP will address multicommodity supply chain transparency and tracing for the most complex of material flows, that cover all emission scopes.