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Bernd Leukert Explains SAP S/4HANA Road Map to Digital Transformation

Feature Article | May 7, 2015 by Susan Galer

Bernd Leukert, Member of the Executive Board, Products & Innovation, SAP SE, has a clear message for companies fearful of being relegated to widget-makers: disrupt now or be disrupted later.

In his keynote at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, Florida, Leukert told the packed audience: “We are at a make or break moment. Now is the time to reimagine your promise to customers and your future in a profoundly changed digital world. This can only happen with software. Companies have to move from selling products to selling outcomes, and S/4HANA is the only path to make this transformation.”

Acknowledging that existing SAP customers have questions about how to achieve the new vision, Leukert laid out a three-step transition plan.

“The first step is to migrate to SAP HANA,” he said. “Next, upgrade to S/4HANA to eliminate customization and replace that with standardization. Third, choose your deployment option, whether on-premise or cloud.”

In a speech liberally laced with examples of leading companies already realizing the benefits of digital transformation, Leukert showed how organizations are becoming data-driven and changing business models to impact the entire value chain.

“To be a leader in the digital economy you have to spend less time of non-value added tasks, and introduce a fourth generation of applications that allow you to renew the customer promise. S/4HANA is that revolutionary product that is way smarter and super-intuitive to use,” said Leukert.

Leukert told the audience to use the connectivity of sensors to build a new business on the SAP HANA platform, along with business networks to extend existing applications.

“SAP HANA is the one common platform, the foundation of this fourth generation of software that eliminates complexity, enabling you to process and access information and insights anytime, in real-time,” he said.

With over 400 customers on SAP S/4HANA, Leukert said that SAP is focused on making available solutions for all of its 25 industries, and will deliver quarterly innovations. In addition to the cloud edition of SAP S/4HANA, SAP will expand offerings beyond SAP Simple Finance to include supply chain, procurement, sustainability, R&D and more.

Asian Paints reimagines business with SAP HANA and SAP Simple Finance

Leukert invited Manish Choksi, CIO of Asian Paints, on stage to share his company’s cloud journey. Serving thousands of customers across 60 countries, Asian Paints is using SAP S/4HANA and SAP Simple Finance to transform its fast-growing business.

“We wanted to go from being a coatings company to being a supplier of dream homes and décor to all our customers across the globe,” said Choksi. “We needed a new platform that would enable us to deliver products as well as services. We reimagined our business with the customer at the center.”

Asian Paints will go live on SAP Simple Finance in June this year, and Choksi sees this as just the beginning.

“We look forward to delivering new capabilities of real-time transactions with analytics to the entire organization, supporting the way we look at our product line, geographical structure, and the global consolidation of accounts. But we won’t stop there. The next stop will be Simplified Logistics.”

Siemens Launches SAP HANA Cloud Platform for the Internet of Things

Touting the SAP HANA Cloud Platform as the platform for IoT, Leukert was joined by Peter Weckesser, CEO of Customer Services at Siemens AG, who explained how his company was using it to create the Siemens Cloud for Industry.

“Digitization is not only relevant for consumer industries, but for manufacturing and process industries as well,” he said. “It’s a business model change, from selling products to providing performance commitments over the life cycle of the product. The requirements of our customers go beyond products. They need the capability and technology platform providing output commitments for their machines and plants.”

The Siemens Cloud for Industry is a dynamic, open development platform where customers, partners, end-users can build applications, essentially an ecosystem with millions of connected devices and thousands of applications.

“Through our Siemens Cloud for Industry platform powered by SAP HANA, we have an excellent answer for the convergence of IT and OT in this century,” said Weckesser.

Walmart’s data-driven strategy controls cost

Karenann Terrell, CIO of Walmart, was Leukert’s next special guest, discussing the results of her company’s strategic partnership with SAP. Serving 250 million customers each week across 11,000 locations, Walmart relies on a combination of SAP HANA and Hadoop to gain transformational speed and transparency.

“The success we’ve had in using SAP HANA, putting the data structure with Hadoop’s view of data, and visualizing that is transformational for our overall business,” said Terrell. “Going real-time and being fast with high-end analytics, we’re finding HANA is a technology that actually has a lot of capabilities outside of just floating it on top of ERP.”

Walmart is an SAP HANA Innovation Award winner, recognized for its Data Café that breaks down data silos, providing a single enterprise-wide view of timely information for a large cross-section of operational staff looking to resolve daily issues.

In closing, Leukert told the audience that winning in the digital age depends on having a fourth generation enterprise system. The foundation is the SAP cloud platform providing product connectivity that allows companies to introduce new business models, getting closer to customers and reimagining industries.

Follow me @smgaler

Read more from SAPPHIRE NOW.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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