Over the last year interconnectedness has become key in helping people, relationships and resources come together to solve the world’s greatest challenges.

Christian Klein, CEO of SAP, points out that the last year has showed us just how fragile many businesses and society can be.

“What is clear is that the way we live, work and consume will never be the same again.”

Technology has played a massive role in holding communities and families together, and helping businesses to adapt over the last year or more.

“Since the pandemic hit, SAP has been working with customers across the globe,” says Klein. “Whether helping to make supply chains more resilient, creating new business models, or enabling remote work – together we have made it happen.”

He outlines three key insights that have been learned over the last year.

The first is that the most resilient companies were those that embraced technology to change their business processes.

“But business transformation is a pretty overused term these days. Migrating to the cloud on its own doesn’t change a business process.

“What Covid has underscored is the need for every company to become an intelligent enterprise.”

Klein says intelligent enterprise are those that have the courage to leave traditional business models behind and change how their run their business. “They are enabled by integrated, agile business processes powered by data with embedded AI.”

The second insight is that no business does business alone.

“We win together as a community,” Klein says.

“One intelligent enterprise on its own can achieve great things. But we live in an interconnected world. I have talked to many CEOs and it is clear that many of the issues last year came from global supply chains.

“Over 75% of all companies reported such disruptions as a result of Covid.

“Many enterprises still manage complex relationships in their supply chain as static one-to-one connections. But Covid showed us how crucial it is to have realtime transparency across the supply chain.

“The real value comes from the network and the millions of interconnections it facilitates in realtime.

“But no-one has yet done this for businesses doing businesses together,” Klein explains. “The next part of our strategy is to create the world’s largest and most comprehensive business network.

“We think business will be revolutionised when businesses turn into communities.”

The third insight, and the one Klein believes is the most important for the future of the planet, is about sustainability.

“We must act now on sustainability. This is the decade during which we must act. We must build sustainability into the fabric of how we do business.

“Given the importance of supply chain and sustainability, the SAP community has the power to save the planet to create future our children will be proud of,” Klein says.

To enable this goal and operationalise sustainability as a core business process, SAP has announced a portfolio of new sustainability-specific products. This includes the SAP Responsible Design and Production solution to ensure product designers can make sustainable choices from initial product concepts to production; the SAP Product Footprint Management solution to track sustainability through a product lifecycle; and the SAP Sustainability Control Tower solution to provide end-to-end visibility.

Julia White, chief marketing and solutions officer and member of the executive board at SAP, believes that only SAP can enable all the innovations needed to achieve the dream of an interconnected and sustainable intelligent enterprise.

The company has announced a number of new innovations to help customers transform business processes, drive improved performance and run their best.

They include:

Business process intelligence solutions now offer SAP process insights – As part of the business process intelligence (BPI) portfolio, the SAP Process Insights solution enables organizations to analyse and improve their real-world business processes.

* Verify, a New SAP Concur feature, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to simplify expense auditing – It also automatically identifies potential expense report issues and anomalies. The AI models are built from analysis of more than $1-trillion in spend and tens of millions of expenses and receipts. Verify can approve expense reports that have no issues while flagging anomalies for auditors to review. This AI-powered experience means auditors don’t waste time reviewing compliant expense reports, but can detect issues of compliance or fraud.

* SAP Upscale Commerce is a no-code solution enabling direct-to-consumer engagement – Midmarket retailers can create an omnichannel shopping experiences in minutes. With built-in AI, retailers can provide personalised offerings based on a 360-degree view of their customer from social sentiment and purchase data. With a headless API architecture, retailers can provide customers real-time information about their purchase and delivery through any channel. SAP Upscale Commerce is integrated with SAP S/4HANA to help ensure customer-facing experiences work with back-end finance, logistics and fulfilment systems to deliver a smooth customer experience

* A trio of new SAP business technology platform capabilities surfaces insights from data – The SAP Analytics Cloud solution now offers operational workforce analytics and planning capabilities and integration with SAP SuccessFactors solutions. These capabilities link operational, financial and people data to give organisations more comprehensive insights into their workforce. The new data marketplace for the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud solution lets customers and partners connect to data providers across industries and lines of business to gain insights for better decision-making. SAP is also expanding its low-code/no-code offering: SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation services can now capture and automate user interactions and integrate with SAP Process Insights to identify high-impact automation opportunities.