Apotheker’s keynote underscored the business value and industry insight that attracted a total of close to 22,000 attendees to SAPPHIRE ’07 in Atlanta, Georgia, April 22-25, and in Vienna, Austria, May 14 – 16. Apotheker emphasized three key qualities that make SAP the trusted partner for more than 39,400 companies of all sizes and industries across the globe: the right engagement model, the most innovative products and services and the strongest ecosystem. “SAP delivers business value via innovation and a deep commitment to each individual customer,” said Apotheker, whose speech illustrated the numerous ways in which SAP is executing today on its industry-leading vision of the business process platform as competitors attempt to follow suit.
Customer commitment and product road map are “All About Business”
Apotheker began his speech with a look back five years ago, when SAP first embarked on a product road map driven by customer needs to embed IT in business. The executive board member responsible for customer operations referred to the thousands of meetings in which customers expressed the need to pursue strategic business aims − growing their businesses, achieving competitive differentiation and adapting to changing market demands − while also improving operational efficiency and ensuring flawless regulatory compliance. At the same time, customers emphasized that system upgrades would have to take a back seat to maintaining continuous operations and lowering costs.
Continuous, non-disruptive innovation; SAP ERP maintenance extended
By executing on its vision of an open business process platform based on enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA), Apotheker proclaimed that SAP is already reconciling this long-standing contradiction between greater IT flexibility and lower costs. As an example, Apotheker cited SAP’s evolved delivery model of SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP, enabling customers to leverage innovation “on the fly,” without having to re-implement or re-conceptualize systems. During his keynote, Apotheker announced that maintenance on the latest versions of SAP’s flagship ERP product, SAP ERP, has been extended until March 2013.
The extension of the ERP service offering is in keeping with the requests of SAP customers who − while seeking continuous innovation − want to maintain a stable core solution. The market’s embrace of SAP’s vision is further underlined by the more than 13,000 customers that are running their applications and integration projects today on the SAP NetWeaver platform and the nearly 2,100 customers that have adopted SAP ERP since its release less than one year ago, marking the fastest uptake of any SAP product ever.
Efficiency out of the box and built-in integration
Citing a “duty to help customers tap business value from technology,” Apotheker spoke of how SAP solutions enable customers to readily adopt and run best practices and quickly adapt and create their own next business practices. “We enrich the business process platform with composite applications that leverage the platform components to build more flexible business process applications that can be reassembled to suit your precise needs and evolve at the speed and at the pace of your business and of your industry,” said Apotheker.
Underlining the value of integration in helping companies and their information workers save time, cut costs and improve decision making, Apotheker cited the extended partnership with Microsoft on Duet software, as announced at SAPPHIRE ’07 Atlanta. Apotheker outlined the road map of the jointly developed product, citing how customers and partners can count on richer business scenarios, new collaboration features and simpler, more flexible ways for information workers to leverage their organization’s business processes and information.
Discussing a key component of SAP’s strategy of co-innovation − industry value networks (IVNs) of customers and partners − Apotheker illustrated the IVNs’ ‘invent, adapt, adopt’ approach that offers the ecosystem “a unique opportunity to accelerate innovation not only for an individual customer but for an entire industry with a structured innovation and ‘productization’ cycle.”
Established road map to usher in wave of business network transformation
Apotheker also underscored two of the predominant customer challenges − the accelerated speed of change and the need to differentiate through innovation in a networked business environment. With a road map on track to largely service-enable all SAP Business Suite applications in 2007, Apotheker underlined SAP’s continuing commitment to innovate without disruption for customers, helping them achieve business network transformation and greater competitive edge.
Collaborative transformation at successful SAPPHIRE conferences
During the past three years, attendance at SAPPHIRE has grown from more than 9,000 in 2005 to nearly 22,000 in 2007 as attendees saw this year’s events transformed from a vendor conference to a collaborative industry forum addressing IT and business challenges. For the second year running, SAP and the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) co-located their premier events in Atlanta, where the 2007 ASUG Annual Conference took place from April 22 to 25. Together, the SAPPHIRE conferences in Atlanta and Vienna featured a total of:
- more than 230 presentations from best-run businesses and public sector organizations
- more than 180 Village sessions and 11 partner sessions during partner hour (held Monday and Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. CET)
- more than 140 demo stations on the conference floors offering interactive presentations featuring topics such as creating applications for enterprise SOA using SAP NetWeaver, defining and documenting services and business process integration