In their SAP Sapphire Orlando keynote, Executive Board Members Muhammad Alam, SAP Product Engineering, and Juergen Mueller, chief technology officer, shared how the latest SAP innovations will help businesses drive true, end-to-end digital transformation and address their toughest business challenges.

Taking Business to the Next Level in the Era of AI

In the keynote, which featured several real-world product demos by SAP employees, Alam and Mueller touted the value of SAP’s best-of-breed solutions with an outlook of what the next 50 years of innovation by SAP may look like.

Who better to inspire the keynote than Hasso Plattner, co-founder and recently retired chairman of the SAP Supervisory Board, who both Alam and Mueller invoked during the session. To spell out SAP’s legacy and vision for the future, Mueller quoted Plattner’s farewell message: “Keep innovating, keep pushing boundaries, and keep making a difference in the lives of our customers and the world at large.”

Keep Innovating

To kick off his first SAP Sapphire appearance as the head of SAP Product Engineering, Alam began by describing the importance of harnessing innovation to deliver an end-to-end picture across all business functions and unlock true value.

Simply put, businesses exist to build and deliver products and services to customers, he explained. But the materials, assets, people, and processes that come together to achieve this task is far from simple. “The reality is that each part of the business is deeply and intricately connected to all the others,” Alam said, meaning a pain point in one area impacts the rest. That’s why SAP’s modular cloud ERP approach is so successful: “We allow our customers to drive true digital transformation as opposed to running systems integration projects disguised as digital transformation,” he added.

Alam presented GROW with SAP as an example of this composability and extensibility, as it can work for and scale to many sizes and types of business. And now, SAP Sales Cloud and Concur Expense are natively integrated into GROW with SAP, making the offering even more comprehensive. Sinit Foto, product manager for UX, Cloud ERP at SAP, joined Alam on stage to show how GROW with SAP and SAP Business AI can help achieve integrated processes, demoing use cases such as communicating with customers about sales quotes, creating expense reports, and supporting financial analyses. In fact, Alam announced that SAP is implementing the demoed application internally to manage sales worldwide. And Mueller emphasized: “We are committed to helping you in this transformative AI moment by creating business outcomes that were unthinkable before. That’s why we’re embedding SAP Business AI deeply in our processes and analytics.”

Keep Pushing

AI was woven throughout the entire keynote, with both Alam and Mueller discussing SAP’s strategy and product enhancements in this space. AI must be high value, easy to adopt into the flow of work, and trustworthy for it to truly transform how we do business, Alam said. “Equally important is whether it’s done in a way where it keeps your data secure and private – and is executed in a responsible manner,” he added. “And that is really the core promise of SAP Business AI.”

There’s no doubt that AI is a powerful technology, which is why it’s essential that businesses view it as a “responsibility” not just an “opportunity,” Alam said. Megan Fife, executive solution advisor for SAP SuccessFactors, showed how SAP executes on its responsible, reliable, and relevant business AI by demoing how SAP’s AI copilot Joule in SAP SuccessFactors HCM can help fill skills gaps and collaborate across teams, among other meaningful tasks. Key to this endeavor is SAP’s expanded partnership with Microsoft announced earlier in the day, which Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Cloud and AI at Microsoft, discussed with Alam on stage.

Mueller echoed the importance of responsible AI, saying that the technology depends highly on data that is reliable and that allows customers to look at their business end-to-end. Here, SAP Datasphere and SAP Spend Control Tower – which was demoed by Orla Cullen, product marketing manager for Data and Analytics at SAP – can help simplify data management and view and manage spend and sustainability data holistically.

This transformation is supported by SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP), and Mueller demonstrated the newest generative AI features in SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Integration Suite, and SAP Build solutions. He showed how Joule can help create and summarize financial reports for controlling teams; generate integration flows between SAP and non-SAP applications; and create custom skills and content based on specific business needs. Greater insights, faster reaction times, and increased productivity are the result. Soon, Mueller added, it will even be possible to enhance and extend Joule’s knowledge by creating custom skills using SAP Build and having the copilot interact with data housed in SAP and non-SAP systems, helping businesses run even more efficiently.

SAP BTP is the key to being “innovation-ready,” maintaining a clean core, and tailoring standard offerings to unique needs, Mueller explained. More than 24,000 companies running live on SAP BTP, including Blue Diamond Growers and Lufthansa Technik, can attest to this.

“SAP BTP’s extensibility and enterprise automation capabilities can help businesses turn process insights into actual improvements,” Mueller said. Cecilia Huergo, product manager for SAP BTP, showed this in her demo on how identifying improvement opportunities, realizing needed changes while maintaining a clean core, and gaining an up-to-date view of your IT landscape can be enabled with the combined power of SAP Signavio solutions, SAP LeanIX,, SAP BTP, and ABAP Cloud.

Keep Making a Difference

The innovations demoed and discussed in Alam and Mueller’s keynote, in addition to the many others announced at SAP Sapphire in 2024, are just the latest steps forward in SAP’s journey to bringing out the best in its customers. “The future is here, and it’s defined by those who innovate first,” Mueller said. “And we are here to give you the right tools at hand, such that you can be a leader not just today, but also tomorrow.”

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Gillian Hixson is an integrated communications specialist at SAP.

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