Here’s to 10 years of innovation work with customers and partners! After a week of events and activities, SAP AppHaus received a lot of feedback.

Since its inception in 2013, SAP AppHaus has been a hub for fostering a culture of human-centered innovation. With the help of design and architecture thinking, the global team aims to bring sustainable customer solutions into the hands of people. On November 28, 2023, SAP AppHaus opened its doors to customers, SAP AppHaus Network partners, analysts, guest speakers, and SAP colleagues to not only celebrate the past decade of successful customer co-innovation but also allow for a look into the future.

10 Years SAP AppHaus, 10 Years Successful Customer Innovation

The evening kicked off with a video message by Juergen Mueller, CTO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. He congratulated the SAP AppHaus team on their ability to stay curious, flexible, and at the forefront of new technologies, all while maintaining a focus on SAP’s customers and partners.

After a warm welcome, Anja Schneider, SVP T&I COO, handed over to Andreas Hauser, SVP and head of SAP AppHaus Network. In his keynote, he focused on the team’s ability to constantly adapt to a changing and evolving technology landscape. Through stories and anecdotes of customer projects, he showcased how the team initially started working on user experience (UX) improvements 10 years ago. He continued describing how it is now focusing on helping customers identify specific use cases for generative artificial intelligence (AI) built with SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), keeping the human in the center, and designing new methodologies that can empower teams to empathize with end users, identify their pain points, and co-create solutions that can truly address their users’ needs.

Before closing his keynote, Hauser shared his personal moment of gratitude. A few weeks back, Tim Brown, chair of IDEO, who brought design thinking into the business world two decades ago, congratulated SAP AppHaus, saying “Congratulations to 10 years of SAP AppHaus! It is remarkable what you achieved. All your competitors tried it, but you succeeded.” This quote builds the bridge to when Professor Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE, introduced design thinking to SAP in 2004.

The Power of Collaboration

To bring together diverse perspectives and expertise, SAP AppHaus invited customers, analysts, and partners to participate in a panel discussion. Their different views served as a catalyst for meaningful conversations and provided good advice and insights. Here’s what the panelists had to say.

Andreas Hauser, SVP and head of SAP AppHaus Network, during the panel discussion. Photo courtesy of Thomas Biedermann.

“When working with the SAP AppHaus team, we noticed that they came to help, not sell, in the first place. Until today, our most successful digital solution we have at Rolls-Royce Power Systems is the one we jointly developed with SAP AppHaus.”

— Daniel Eberle, vice president of Digital IT
at Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG

“I think we must empower every employee to become an innovator. The mindset SAP AppHaus conveys and the tools provided are supporting this mission. Furthermore, we must encourage future thinking since it is the best way to create the desired future for all of us.”

— Harriet Kasper, researcher at Fraunhofer IAO

“Thanks to the collaboration with the SAP AppHaus team that facilitated a very helpful generative AI exploration workshop, Döhler was able to design and build a solution with SAP Business Technology Platform and generative AI that revolutionized how we manage our extensive product portfolio. What’s more, the new solution also streamlines the process both for our customers and sales teams. The generative AI workshop was a crucial turning point, expanding our understanding of challenges beyond just technology. This partnership has not only improved our efficiency but also opened new avenues for innovation and customer engagement.”

— Pierre Wiese, member of the IT Leadership team and
head of Business Applications Commercial &
Group Management at Döhler Group

“Human-centered innovation, as pioneered by SAP AppHaus, is what truly differentiates SAP to its customers. Everything must be designed, from our products and services to how we engage with the market. As technologists, we often focus on what technology can do. With human-centered innovation, the focus shifts to what humans can achieve with technology. It is the application of technology and not the technology of applications that is important.”

— Paul Saunders, head of Product Strategy and chief evangelist
of Cloud ERP for SAP, former lead analyst for SAP at Gartner

“As an SAP partner with a clear focus on the topics of user experience and SAP Business Technology Platform, we never completely fit into one of the established partner categories. With SAP AppHaus Network, this really changed. Finally, we found a home for our UX activities within the SAP ecosystem. Together as a network with more than 15,000 people, we have a lot more power to follow our mission: to convince customers of the great benefits of human-centered innovation.

— Christian Heinrich, member of the Executive Board of sovanta AG,
SAP AppHaus Network partner, Marketing & Solutions,
Experience Management, and Design Labs

“As dedicated member of the SAP AppHaus Network community, we at AGILITA take pride in the collaborative spirit that inspires us within this dynamic network. It’s a platform where ideas flow, methods elevate, and innovation is cultivated. Together we rise, fueled by the collective strength of shared insights and methodologies, bringing the transformative power of SAP’s cloud innovations with SAP BTP to our customers, crafting a future where ingenuity knows no bounds.”

— Sandra Völler, CEO and founder of AGILITA AG,
SAP AppHaus Network partner, Switzerland

A Look into the Future of Generative AI with Aleph Alpha

A special guest one evening was Jonas Andrulis, CEO of the Heidelberg startup Aleph Alpha. He gave a talk on his view of the possibilities and constraints the current rise of generative AI brings.

SAP AppHaus, as an incubation hub for new technologies and methodologies, has already developed a generative AI workshop format that aims to explore and identify opportunities for specific business use cases together with customers.

Work Hard, Play Hard

SAP AppHaus has achieved remarkable milestones over the past decade, thanks to the unwavering dedication, hard work, and collaborative spirit of its team and network. To express gratitude and celebrate this success, SAP AppHaus invited current team members, alumni, and SAP AppHaus Network partners to an afterwork party on November 29. With Music@SAP setting the tone, the evening was filled with lively conversations, infectious laughter, and lots of dancing.

The SAP AppHaus team showcased their combined creative power by transforming the workshop space of SAP AppHaus into a stage, a vibrant dance floor, and, on the third day, an interactive exhibition showcasing the different innovation methodologies. From designing the decorations to orchestrating the entire anniversary week, the whole team made all the different events come to life. Typical for the SAP AppHaus team, it was also a testament to the belief that those who work hard are allowed to have a great time!

The Only Constant Is Change

In her closing remarks, panelist Harriet Kasper shared her observations: “Your customer focus was the only constant while everything else changed. […] Innovation initiatives need to evolve and adapt. They require more change than other parts of the organization. To me, SAP AppHaus represents a certain mindset. You can sense and observe this mindset, always adapting and transforming. This is a great example, especially coming from a company like SAP, which wouldn’t be the first to come to mind when you think of innovation.”

Looking back on 10 years of innovation work and a week of celebrations, one thing is clear for the SAP AppHaus team: although external factors, such as the strategy or technological landscape, might have changed, the way SAP AppHaus works, placing the human in the center and making innovation real with SAP products and technologies, has never changed. It will certainly be exciting to see what the future holds.

Connect with SAP News on LinkedIn