In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I want to show some love and recognize some very important people who helped the world run better and improved people’s lives in 2021: our customers, our partners, and their awesome teams.

With everything we are all dealing with, it is crucial we stop sometimes and take a moment to celebrate success. One special way we’ll be doing that is with the SAP Innovation Awards in 2022.

To help us with that, we have some great news to share: Claudio Muruzabal, president of SAP’s new Cloud Success Services organization, is joining Scott Russell, Stephanie Nashawaty, and me as an executive sponsor for the SAP Innovation Award program this year!

Nobody knows yet who the winners will be, and that’s part of the fun. The innovation stories our customers are sharing with us this year are truly outstanding. We are seeing people all over the world make great strides in the way they’re bouncing back from the pandemic, in the way they are creating a more sustainable future, in how they’re building better supply chains, and in how they’re transforming their enterprises using RISE with SAP.

Here are just a few fantastic examples:

Building Resilience

As COVID-19 kept evolving in 2021, it continued to disrupt the global airline industry. Air Canada was already on a journey to unify its procurement function with an integrated suite of SAP Ariba solutions. Its employees were able to switch overnight to working from home on a shared system in the cloud. The airline eliminated manual processes, streamlined operations, and enhanced efficiency from source to pay, while controlling spending and finding new ways to save costs. Ariba Network also helped Air Canada safeguard supply chain continuity and reduce their risk during the pandemic.

Smart, Sustainable Agriculture

PepsiCo knows that a steady, sustainable supply of crops is central to its business, and the company sources crops from millions of acres across 60 countries. The old way of collecting field data manually just was not cutting it. Using SAP Business Technology Platform, PepsiCo developed a technology-enabled approach to farming with an SAP Fiori App connected to an SAP S/4HANA back-end system and SAP Analytics Cloud that observes, measures, and analyzes the needs of individual fields and crops. This increased potato yields by seven percent and resulted in a 15% overall water saving. And PepsiCo can sustainably source 100% of its key ingredients.

The Definition of Big

“Big” could apply to SAP customer Carrefour. This French global food retailing group has 321,000 employees and 12,225 stores in more than 30 countries. And yet the company stays as close as possible to its customers by continuously adapting retail formats and channels to suit their needs. Powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) is important to the group, and Carrefour Brazil’s needed updating. The company decided to move its old on-premise system to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud. Using RISE with SAP, it implemented in just three and a half months to meet a Black Friday deadline, and is boosting sales and engaging shoppers with personalized offers by building a recommendation engine, cutting running costs by 30%, and even reducing energy consumption by 45% by moving from on-premise data centers to the cloud.

The Announcement is Coming

The entry submission period closed on January 31, and now the SAP Innovation Award team is working to select the finalists that will be revealed on March 16. A panel of 29 distinguished judges will then have just four weeks to determine the winners — the big announcement is on April 14. It will be a tough job for everyone as we have dozens of great entries! In honour of all participants, SAP will donate up to US$20,000 to the charity Theirworld.

Want to Know More?

Maybe you’ve worked with one of this year’s entrants; maybe you know of a customer who would be a perfect fit for next year’s SAP Innovation Awards; maybe you’d like to see more of these inspiring stories — if you want to dig deeper, check out the SAP Innovation Awards website. And stay tuned for the announcement of the winners on April 14. It’s a feel-good moment every year, and we all need more of those.

Dorit Shackleton is global head of Customer Advocacy and Adoption Marketing at SAP.