At SAPPHIRE NOW, we introduced the industry cloud portfolio as the open innovation platform for SAP, our partners, and our customers. In the past four months we have seen a lot of momentum as we work with customers to enable resilient and transparent business operations. At the same time, innovative leaders are looking ahead how to turn disruption into competitive advantage by creating new digital capabilities to expand and transform their business models.

German utility giant E.ON will use industry cloud solutions to optimize its energy distribution network with efficient and consistent business processes across the enterprise and beyond. This will help create a better customer experience, but also empower the employees of E.ON and energy retailers to deliver better and more timely services, resulting in a greater employee experience.

We are co-innovating with life sciences leader Roche and our partner Tenthpin to streamline clinical trials and optimize clinical supplies chains, using the generated data for better and faster decisions. We expect to accelerate clinical research while supporting regulatory compliance to keep patients and the population safe.

Today we announced availability of solutions suitable for three more industries as part of the industry cloud. Each is impacted by the current pandemic in very different ways.

Professional services providers are responding quickly to the disruption of their classical business model, which normally relies on delivery of projects and services with onsite consultants and staff. They are now moving to digital project delivery and new ways to virtualize operations by complementing offerings with other players in their ecosystem. New industry cloud solutions for managing project teams and outcome-based models will play an important role in this transformation.

Industrial machinery and components manufacturers are moving from making and selling equipment to delivering tailor-made solutions at scale and as a service. Outcome-based business models drive a profound change in engineering, manufacturing, selling, delivery, and service. The COVID-19 pandemic unlocks digital change in the service business, making remote and digital service a viable and accepted alternative to onsite services delivered by technicians. I expect to see a lot of innovation coming in the manufacturing industries, certainly accelerated by Industry 4.0 trends that generate data and insights for next business practices powered by industry cloud solutions.

Retailers and their customers are driving an accelerated shift to online business with multichannel fulfillment. This pandemic-driven landslide is rewarding front runners that have invested in omnichannel platforms that create a consistent customer experience and enable process efficiency. This includes full transparency of inventory levels, consistent pricing and markdowns, and customer choice of delivery options.

SAP’s industry cloud is also ideal for startups looking to innovate. I had the opportunity to engage with a number of young partners that offer innovative solutions that extend the end-to-end processes in the consumer industries, focusing on creating new digital experiences for their customers. For me, Israel-based aiola stood out. The company creates solutions to make promotions more effective and close the loop with research and development using customer sentiment and experience data.

Over the past few months I have seen great innovation spirit, entrepreneurship, and fascinating technologies that generate solutions that make a difference to the core business of our customers in their industries. I am looking forward to seeing many more applications, serving more industries and enabling companies to benefit from the opportunities of digital transformation.

I encourage everyone to regularly check out sap.com/industrycloud for news and updates. See you there!

Peter Maier is president of Industries and Customer Advisory at SAP.