Digital transformation was at the center of the world’s biggest aviation trade show in Paris. SAP was there for the very first time to show customers how they can make best use of the new digital reality.

Throughout aviation history, some of the aerospace industry’s most important events have been held at Le Bourget airport, which lies north of Paris. In 1909, it served as the location for Paris’ first air show. Today it is both the oldest and biggest aviation trade show worldwide. It was here, at Le Bourget, that Charles Lindbergh touched down after completing his historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. Le Bourget once again became a huge center of attention this year. More than 350,000 visitors attended the 51st Paris Air Show from June 15 to June 21, where 2,300 exhibitors not only presented their companies and products, but also sealed the deal on contracts worth a combined 130 billion dollars.

Customers Expect a Seamless Digital Experience

In the last 100 years, aerospace has developed into a global industry. With state-of-the-art manufacturing processes and complicated supply chains, it is now one of the most complex industrial sectors, employing hundreds of thousands of individuals who hold a wide range of skill sets and responsibilities. Today, this pool of customers expects a seamless digital experience – from placing an order within the manufacturing process to booking flight tickets and reserving seats.

The trade show’s motto “Transformation Through Innovation” emphasized the forces that are shaping the industry today. Visitors had the opportunity to experience what digitalization means for their future business models, their products and services, their employees, and their business networks.


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Controlling Complexity in a Data-Intensive Industry

SAP helps industry suppliers get ready for the new digital reality, offering solutions for more than 900 aerospace companies worldwide. This year, SAP took part in the Paris Air Show for the very first time to present innovations for this industry. Eighty SAP customers joined the company there.

Torsten Welte, global head of Aerospace & Defence Industry at SAP, had this to say about SAP’s presence in Paris: “Our premiere at the Paris Air Show reflects the huge demand for our solutions. Getting to grips with complexity in the aerospace industry, which is very data-intensive, is one of our customers’ top priorities and represents the central focus of our activities. SAP solutions help customers simplify their workflows. Hundreds of companies in the aerospace industry have already optimized their processes, resulting in competitive advantages for them and increased innovation for their customers.”

With SAP HANA as the defining element, SAP is already helping leading companies to develop strategic visions for digitalized aviation, and to modify operations in the air and on the ground to create a premium experience for passengers. One SAP customer, for example, is pushing the digital transformation within the company forwards through his plans to open an innovation center in Silicon Valley, where he hopes to win over technology experts as potential partners. The defense industry is also interested in innovations, the area of data analysis being just one example.

Shaping the Digital Transformation with SAP

Beyond showcasing many innovations, SAP also demonstrated how companies in the aerospace industry can profit from the digital transformation, thereby allowing their customers to profit in turn.

Some of the innovations that SAP presented hold specific significance for the aerospace industry:

  • Predictive Maintenance and Service: Used to analyze large volumes of telemetric, logistical, and environmental data, and for applying predictive insights in real time for decision support.
  • Connected Logistics: Supply chains, which are evolving into highly adaptive networks managed in real time by intelligently connected people, processes, data, and devices, call for a self-contained logistics business network. It enables hub operators and others to monitor traffic in real time while facilitating communication between all parties.
  • SAP S/4HANA: Analyzes data in real time and dramatically accelerates business processes. SAP S/4HANA accurately anticipates change with powerful predictive tools to gain a deeper understanding of customer sentiment and other important business requirements.
The SAP booth at the 51st Paris Air Show
The SAP booth at the 51st Paris Air Show

The digital transformation opens up huge opportunities for an industry that generates hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue. SAP and its partners are optimally prepared to capitalize on this potential by helping aerospace companies make the most out of the transformation their industry is currently going through.

Image sources: Thomas Pohl, SAP, and SIAE (featured image)