SAP CEO Christian Klein at SAPPHIRE NOW: Together We Are Reinventing How Businesses Run

Yesterday, SAP CEO Christian Klein kicked off SAPPHIRE NOW, showcasing how SAP is helping organizations worldwide become intelligent enterprises by connecting with a community of networks and running sustainable business. Above all, Klein expressed his gratitude to customers, partners, and employees for their commitment throughout the pandemic.

“Together, we are reinventing how businesses run and also demonstrating the big heart of our community. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the pandemic, and our thanks to all those who are making extraordinary contributions in our community,” Klein said. “Technology has helped communities and families, and helped business quickly adapt. SAP has been working hand-in-hand with you, our customers around the globe, whether it was helping you to make your supply chains more resilient, reimagining your business model to create new customer experiences, or to enable remote work. Together, we’ve got this.”

SAP’s premiere customer event is being held virtually this year throughout June across regions worldwide. During his fascinating keynote, Klein unveiled a series of announcements that included the global industry expansion of the company’s business network strategy for fast innovation, sustainability tracking solutions, and industry-specific additions to the company’s popular business transformation-as-a-service offering, RISE with SAP. He and special guests welcomed a plethora of customers who demonstrated how they were already relying on SAP to become intelligent enterprises.

Business Networks and Sustainability Drive Growth

Klein announced the next phase of SAP’s strategy to create world’s largest and most comprehensive business network, along with upcoming sustainability reporting standards and tools. He put both announcements in business context, based on learnings from companies that have weathered a storm of challenges encompassing the pandemic, geopolitical tensions, social injustice, inequality, loss of biodiversity, and climate change.

“The most resilient companies were those that embraced technology to transform their business processes. COVID has underscored the urgent need for every company to become an intelligent enterprise,” he said. “Insight number two was that no business does business alone. We win together as a community. But the value comes from the network and millions of interconnections it facilitates in real time. The third insight is that we must act now on sustainability with the goal of zero emissions, zero waste, zero inequality.”

Announcing that SAP Business Network will bring together Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network, and SAP Asset Intelligence Network, Klein predicted that industries will be revolutionized as  businesses turn into communities across entire supply chains, able to respond to any disruptions in real time. He said that sustainable business was equally important as he announced the company’s portfolio of upcoming sustainability-specific solutions.

“We already run the world’s largest supplier network with more than 5 million connected enterprises. And because our applications run supply chains across every industry, we have the most relevant data and expertise,” said Klein. “It’s time to build sustainability into the fabric of how we do business to make sustainability a standard dimension of corporate management. The SAP community has the power to protect our planet and create a future our children want to be part of. We have created a new sustainability portfolio to help you drive sustainable practices inside your organization and across your entire value chain.”

How SAP Customers Are Digitally Transforming

In a series of fascinating conversations featuring real-world SAP customers and solution demonstrations, Julia White, chief marketing and solutions officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, and Paige Wei-Cox, senior vice president and global head of SAP Business Network, shared the Intelligent Enterprise in action.

One retailer used SAP Upscale Commerce to deliver an omnichannel shopping experience for consumers, with embedded artificial intelligence (AI) for personalized offerings based on a 360-degree view of customer data, including social sentiment and purchase history. SAP S/4HANA Cloud capabilities integrate data across supply chain planning, inventory, ordering, and invoicing for real-time visibility and faster delivery.

A global pharmaceutical leader collaborated in SAP’s industry cloud to develop an advanced track and trace solution for sustainable medicine returns and launch a single platform for data sharing across partners. Another SAP customer, a large agribusiness organization, used SAP’s business network to find 140 new suppliers in a few days when the pandemic disrupted supply chains last year. Executives from two life sciences and biotech organizations shared how they’ve collaborated with SAP to launch an industry-wide clinical trial network to connect seamlessly across complex supply chain partners for faster time-to-market.

RISE with SAP Expands with Industry Expertise

Responding to high customer interest, Klein said that SAP has expanded its transformation-as-a-service offering RISE with SAP beyond SAP S/4HANA Cloud to human resources and procurement, as well as a dedicated package for human experience management (HXM).

“Many customers want a holistic, modular cloud ERP solution,” he said. “All of this is delivered with one data and security model, and business process intelligence to ensure your processes are fully optimized and running industry best standards.”

In addition, White announced RISE with SAP for industries focused on retail, consumer products, automotive, utilities, and industrial machinery and components (IM&C).

“We’re bringing together the best of SAP’s 50 years of deep industry expertise and the best of our partner ecosystem to provide industry-specific cloud-based solutions as-a-service,” she said. “These solutions are built on SAP Business Technology Platform to give you the benefits of integration, extensibility, analytics, and one data model. They work natively with SAP S/4HANA Cloud so every customer can get the full set of industry-specific solutions needed in their cloud deployment.”

Connected Insights Speed Up Digital Transformation  

White also had a candid conversation with Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE, about how organizations can use SAP technology to bring people, processes, systems, and data together for transformational business results. Plattner advised companies to explore transformation using simulations with active data models, which is now possible using experience information from Qualtrics, the business process intelligence SAP solution portfolio, and process management and mining from Signavio.

“The whole notion of cloud systems is such a gigantic improvement,” Plattner said. “With new ways to visualize business processes and to get feedback, we have a better chance to move forward faster. We can monitor systems, and see what’s missing and make changes…even on the fly.”

Innovation Networks for Sustainable, Profitable Business

Klein’s vision for the future was clear: connected intelligent enterprises will reinvent how businesses run.

“We will jointly build networks with you that champion diversity, inclusion, and human rights. We will make carbon footprint tracking available in the business network so that you can go to true net zero,” he said. “Together, we can reinvent how industries run by connecting intelligent enterprises into an industry-wide business network, making profitability sustainable and sustainability profitable.”


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