Today at SAP TechEd Barcelona, SAP Chief Technology Officer Juergen Mueller and onstage guests took the audience on a spectacular innovation ride — from a “moonshot” experience prototype to the latest technologies powering the company’s intelligent enterprise strategy.
The spotlight was on how the technical foundation of the SAP portfolio ─ including SAP S/4HANA, SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Leonardo intelligent technologies, and SAP Cloud Platform ─ frees customers from the past with integrated, easily extensible innovations.
“You need to manage customer operations, have the right employees in place, manage your financials, manufacturing, supply chain, and procure materials. In all these areas, SAP offers a modular yet integrated suite. You can buy one, two, or all of our solutions,” said Mueller. “SAP S/4HANA supports your business today and in the future. You can consolidate your complex ERP landscapes, replace custom extensions with built-in functionality, and support new business models.”
Mueller detailed how the company’s intelligent enterprise strategy brought together experience data (X-data) from Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics) with operational data (O-data) from SAP ERP, so decision-makers can understand not only what is happening with their business, but why.
“We want you to become an experience company, so your customers become fans, your products become obsessions, your employees become ambassadors, and your brand becomes something like a religion,” he said.
Business Power of Operations, Intelligence, Experience
First up was Bella Rae, a 17-year-old next-generation SAP developer who shared her experience building a prototype algorithm with SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Leonardo to identify teenagers at risk for depression.
Mueller brilliantly picked up where he left off at the SAP TechEd Las Vegas, showcasing the business value of SAP’s vision with numerous customer examples, solution demonstrations, and insightful fireside chats. He shared the latest announcements around the four pillars of intelligence that make up the SAP business technology platform: database and data management, analytics, intelligent technologies, and application development and integration. Everything he said reinforced the company’s strategy and culture change toward business-centricity and outcomes.
Watch a replay of Mueller’s keynote for his ingenious thread documenting a brewery’s innovation journey with SAP.
Among the announcements was SAP HANA Cloud, which Mueller said would be available later this year as a subscription or pay-as-you-go offering. He demonstrated how this cloud-native solution used microservices, containerization, and Kubernetes, lowering total cost of ownership (TCO) while increasing data storage and federation options.
“SAP HANA Cloud gives you the flexibility to scale up and down compute and storage capability independently,” Mueller said. “You can create hybrid deployments and mix your on-premise and cloud setups. [It’s] a very non-disruptive transition to the cloud.”
Equally emblematic of the intelligent enterprise strategy were three additional upcoming releases: SAP Analytics Cloud capabilities embedded in SAP SuccessFactors solutions, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, and SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.3.
SAP S/4HANA Delivers Real Benefits
Joining Mueller onstage, Head of SAP S/4HANA Jan Gilg outlined the compelling technical and business reasons why customers are moving to SAP S/4HANA. One company reduced billing time by 50 percent, while another decreased approval time by 90 percent.
“Customers have the ability to consolidate and massively simplify their IT landscape,” said Gilg. “SAP S/4HANA is purpose-built for SAP HANA… to leverage all of the capabilities of that database in highly integrated ways. [This] enables businesses to be much more dynamic in the way they can react to market changes ─ opportunities and threats alike. The benefits are real.”
Against an impressive on-screen backdrop of measurable customer outcomes, Gilg explained the various tool sets SAP provided to ease SAP S/4HANA adoption, including SAP Readiness Check. He said that many of SAP’s largest customers have already begun their SAP S/4HANA implementation projects — in some cases, moving their entire business suite.
Customer Praise for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud
Gerrit Kazmaier, head of SAP HANA and Analytics at SAP, came on stage with Mueller to talk about how companies have used the beta version of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to maximize the value of data. Planned to be generally available later this year, SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, which will include SAP Analytics Cloud, was designed for modern companies with more distributed, heterogeneous, and larger data sets. Mueller said existing customers can quickly connect to current on-premise landscapes, at the same time gaining planning and predictive insights from SAP Analytics Cloud. In a compelling video, customers shared their experiences with the beta version.
Further amplifying the value of SAP Analytics Cloud, Mueller invited Michael Emerson from SAP Planning on stage to demonstrate how a brewery could use its new planning capabilities. Emerson showed how the company could align large amounts of X-data and O-data from different systems to identify which beers weren’t selling and why, and explore simulations for reversing downward revenue trends through diversification.
Integrated Data Delivers Value
Throughout his keynote, Mueller showed how easy it is for companies to become insight-driven in a heterogeneous world. One example was a European-based brewery that used a suite of integration tools from SAP to securely connect data from both SAP and non-SAP systems and meet changing country-specific regulations. This company built 1,200 integration flows using SAP Cloud Platform, achieving data transparency around customer accounts, service incidents, and sales opportunities.
Hyperscaler Partnerships for Openness
Mueller emphasized SAP’s partnership with hyperscalers like Amazon Web Services (AWS). Dave Brown, vice president of Amazon EC2, demonstrated the two companies’ long-time co-innovation strategy, highlighting joint customers using SAP S/4HANA on AWS.
“You can leverage the best of both worlds: the scale and flexibility of hyperscalers plus the business-centricity, business content, and business technology of SAP,” said Mueller. “We assessed all hyperscaler services and whitelisted the ones you can use with neither the fear of being locked out of SAP innovation, nor the fear of being locked into a hyperscaler offering.”
And about that brewery: Mueller said its success is no long shot. Since integrating all cleansed data from SAP and non-SAP applications and bringing in analytics from SAP for real-time insights plus intelligent technologies, the company has become insight-driven, discovering new investment areas for global growth. More than anything, this is the business opportunity of the intelligent enterprise in the experience economy.
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