Technology Can Help Counter Crisis

May 14, 2009 by Frank Völkel

Evening event in Orlando: The SAP.info editoral team welcomes Léo Apotheker. (photo by Markus Elsen)

8,000 registered online participants

Around 8,000 people are currently taking part in SAPPHIRE 2009 on a virtual level. Can’t be there directly but want to get in on the action? Click here for free registration.

Apotheker opened with a look at the current economic situation and the latest solutions from SAP. Right from the start, the SAP Co-CEO made it clear that the continuing crisis would remain the major concern for companies.

There are also good things to be gained from the slowdown and this is where SAP comes in, maintained Apotheker. With the global recession a constant reality, companies have to find a way to hold their own in a difficult environment.

Software applications can help companies facing hard times to get in shape for the future – a win-win situation for both SAP and its customers, old and new.

Apotheker hopes for a more rapid recovery in the Asian markets – with early indicators boding well for China in particular – while relief in Europe and the US is unlikely to come so quickly, according to the SAP Co-CEO.

Apotheker also stressed that the world’s governments were working hard to reinvigorate the markets und that these efforts, above all, would help companies to keep the economy in their individual countries above water.

Léo Apotheker on CNBC

For the main part, however, SAP customers are cutting back on their investments and interest in software is on the decline, said Apotheker. A fall-off in SAPPHIRE participants from around 16,000 in 2008 to an estimated 10,000 in 2009 is another indicator that, for the moment at least, some customers and partners are setting aside the funds they would normally invest in these types of events.

Key factors for mapping business processes in software. (all photos by Frank Völkel)

Here Apotheker called for renewed trust in employees, customers, stakeholders, and governments – and ultimately more efficient, flexible and transparent business processes. To this end, SAP is offering a powerful solution in the latest version of SAP Business Suite.

SAP BusinessObjects Explorer: Handles like iTunes

The data analysis software, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, is as intuitive as iTunes – according to SAP Co-CEO Léo Apotheker.

Among the newest products on show at this year’s SAPPHIRE is the data analysis software, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer. Apparently as easy to use as Apple’s iTunes, the software is suited to users without specialized knowledge.

The idea is to pull together information from different business areas quickly and easily – with the option of presenting the data graphically.

The solution aims to take the strain off IT departments processing user enquiries. With SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, self-service is the aim.

There was also talk at SAPPHIRE of SAP’s plans to offer SAP BusinessObjects Explorer as a combined hardware and software solution through its partners. This could involve companies such as Dell, Fujitsu, IBM, or HP.

Reporting CO2 emissions and energy footprints

The recent purchase of the company Clear Standards, announced at SAPPHIRE 2009, represents a new direction for SAP. Clear Standards specializes in the production of environmental indexes, which SAP plans to integrate into the data sets of its software in the future.

In this way, information on factors such as carbon dioxide emissions, or water and energy consumption could be called up alongside a product. During the SAPPHIRE presentation, the demo compared a group of similar products according to their different ecological footprints.

Unique features of new SAP Business Suite

Structure of SAP Business Suite

The SAPPHIRE keynotes presented the unique features of the latest version of SAP Business Suite, most notably the suite’s harmonized user interface that operates across all SAP applications.

In practice, this means that integrated analysis tools are able to generate critical information on supply and demand, production, enterprise resource planning, and sales and distribution.

ASUG Impact Award 2009: The winners

The Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) presented the winners of its 2009 Impact Award.

Honoring the best of SAP’s users with the ASUG Impact Award 2009: US Navy (second from left), Newport Corporation (middle), and Hewlett-Packard (second from right)

The prize singles out companies that have improved their business processes with the help of the ASUG community. In the category “Large Enterprise”, Hewlett-Packard took first prize.

Among the small to medium enterprises, Newport Corporation came out on top and in the category “Public Sector”, the US Navy claimed first place.

SAPPHIRE participants concentrate on the C-level.

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