Last week, to a virtual audience of nearly 50,000 employees, the Executive Board of SAP SE announced the 2023 winners of the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award, the company’s most prestigious employee recognition.

Three teams were selected for outstanding and innovative projects in the categories Go-to-Market, Operational Excellence, and Products and Technology.

In 2023, 115 nominations involved more than 750 employees from 35 countries. Eight teams consisting of 81 employees from around the world made it to the final round.

In honor of the three winning teams, SAP will make donations to three charities selected by the team members. The €30,000 total donation – €10,000 per team – will be split between Better Shelter, World Central Kitchen, and Embrace Global.

Meet the 2023 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award Winners

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Meet the 2023 Hasso Plattner Founders' Award Winners

Go-to-Market Winner

Reimagined RISE with SAP Business Case with SAP Signavio and SAP Value Lifecycle Manager Integration

When shifting to a cloud-first approach, it can be a challenge to pitch the cloud to customers due to the comprehensiveness of the solution spanning across the entire value chain of an enterprise.

To apply a more streamlined and dependable method for crafting compelling value propositions, the Value Advisory team at SAP implemented the SAP Signavio portfolio of cloud-based business process management solutions within their practice to demonstrate value to customers through data-driven insights.

The team created a system where business metrics from SAP Value Lifecycle Manager and process performance data from SAP Signavio solutions were merged and applied to business KPIs to identify cases of suboptimal performance. This allows customers to more easily see the connection between business outcomes and the process capabilities, supported by data.

The approach offers a robust and repeatable performance diagnostic that can be used to identify, clarify, verify, and amplify value throughout the customer value journey, helping customers better understand the value of the cloud and RISE with SAP. The innovation helps build customer trust and intimacy while also helping our business operate at scale. To date, this process-driven value management has impacted more than 190 customers.

“Our future focus involves enhancing usability and capabilities to comprehensively cover the customer value journey,” Nitin Singh, team leader and Value Advisory principal, says. “We extend our sincere gratitude to our leaders for fostering a culture of innovation, our colleagues for experimenting and navigating challenges with us, and prior colleagues whose work paved the way for this journey. We genuinely stand on the shoulders of giants.” 

Operational Excellence Winner

Plutus: Rate Optimization and Management

Cloud services are a critical part of SAP’s recent evolution, with the company dedicating extensive time and resources to seamlessly integrate all essential services into the cloud. This effort aims to enhance customer experiences – and Plutus serves as the cornerstone of these endeavors.

Plutus, which leverages SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), is a one-stop solution for major hyperscalers. It’s crafted to empower lines of business by providing smarter and more efficient advice for optimizing cloud services. Plutus can centralize the management of cost optimization and intelligently navigate users through cloud expenses, providing top-notch recommendations and comprehensive end-to-end management. It caters to users’ needs from guidance to execution, helping to ensure cost savings every step of the way.

The Plutus team used cutting-edge technologies to create a 24/7, fully integrated, user-centric cloud service hub and a smooth user interface platform that can operate across various channels. Plutus provides simplified financial operations processes by offering an intuitive interface across all platforms, working to eliminate pricing disparities and provide reliable cost-saving solutions. These efforts strongly emphasize SAP’s commitment to advancing global digital sustainability through innovative enterprise solutions.

The solution uses machine learning to provide smart recommendations. The team also plans to integrate a versatile digital chatbot based on generative AI to help ensure seamless and comprehensive user support in the future.

Plutus allows for a new approach to SAP’s cloud cost optimization strategy, unlocking new avenues for significant cost savings and margin improvements. To date, Plutus has generated over US$920 million in net savings for SAP, with projections reaching $1 billion in Q1 2024. It has also achieved and maintained remarkable, best-in-industry cloud utilization and coverage rates – exceeding 97% and 90%, respectively.

“Winning the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award reflects our dedication to teamwork and innovation,” Donghua Chen, Plutus team lead, says. “Our journey to this point has required a lot of hard work. But as we celebrate this achievement, we remain committed to continually analyzing cloud usage to maximize savings for SAP through rate optimization.”

Products & Technology Winner

CAP and capGPT – SAP Cloud Application Programming Model and Generative AI

The SAP Cloud Application Programming Model (CAP) was started in 2018 as a project to address the lack of guidance for developers building apps on what is now SAP BTP. At first, developers could choose from a huge number of technologies, which made integration with the platform services a relatively high effort.

As a development framework, CAP automatically solves about 80% of the problems backend developers face – such as multitenancy, expandability, or business features such as localization and translatability. But thanks to CAP’s domain-driven approach, it is no longer necessary to always change the coding in each of those cases. And for special use cases that CAP doesn’t cover, the coding can be easily added to build in this functionality. To help safeguard customers’ investments, CAP offers the possibility to interchange components, such as runtime or the database, without changing the actual implementation.

CAP, as a centerpiece of Golden Path and SAP Build Code, is now an integral part of the consumption experience of SAP BTP. Today, thousands of internal and external developers use CAP to build business applications on SAP BTP, driving higher developer productivity and easier SAP BTP service adoption.

“This award is a great testament to the hard work and dedication of the whole CAP unit and a recognition of the impact we have both internally as well as for our customers and partners,” Ole Lilienthal, team lead, says.

To make prototyping even easier, in spring 2023, SAP software architect David Kunz applied ChatGPT’s large language model to writing code for business apps.

capGPT, as the new functionality is called, allows users to write in natural language what they want their app prototype to be able to do. In as little as 30 seconds, they can receive all the code – which previously had to be written by hand – and access the prototype to test it. This can not only save experienced developers an amazing amount of time, but can also enable non-developers to create prototypes of the apps they need. capGPT can also generate user interfaces in addition to backend applications. It will soon be available to customers through integration into SAP Build Code as part of AI-development assistant Joule.

“Seeing capGPT go from an idea to a Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award winner within a year is a true testament that everything is possible at SAP,” Kunz says. “I feel very proud and I’m energized to continue to push the limits of what generative AI can enable.”

Photo courtesy of SAP employee Fateh Kassab

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