SAP Co-CEO Léo Apotheker and Business Objects CEO John Schwarz Lead the Discussion on Connectivity, Collaboration and Co-Innovation at SAP® TechEd 2008
LAS VEGAS and BERLIN — Before audiences totaling record numbers of developers, partners and customers, Léo Apotheker, co-CEO of SAP AG (NYSE: SAP), and John Schwarz, CEO of Business Objects, an SAP company, and member of the SAP Executive Board, spoke at SAP® TechEd 2008 about harnessing the power of the collective knowledge and resources of the SAP ecosystem to become catalysts for transforming the way businesses work. At keynote sessions in Berlin and Las Vegas respectively, Apotheker and Schwarz emphasized that in today’s economic climate, businesses need both the value and results that SAP’s powerful portfolio delivers.
The keynote presentations, hosted by Zia Yusuf, executive vice president of the Global Ecosystem and Partner Group, were made at SAP TechEd 2008, SAP’s largest ecosystem education event, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept. 9–12, and Berlin, Germany, Oct. 14–16, 2008.
SAP Co-CEO Léo Apotheker Showcases IT as Enabler of Strategic Agility
Speaking October 14 in Berlin to a diverse audience of more than 4,500 attendees, SAP co-CEO Léo Apotheker highlighted the business necessity of an IT infrastructure that offers great flexibility, efficiency and insight. In an increasingly connected and “flatter” world, with boundaries shifting or disappearing and connectivity among people—across continents, cultures and industries—thriving, companies must adapt their business practices and processes to achieve strategic agility.
Apotheker described the SAP® Business Suite family of business applications as the “backbone of the entire environment,” a reliable, scalable, secure and globalized business process platform that drives both efficiency across the connected business network and the innovation to meet new expectations.
Moving a step deeper for the technical audience, Apotheker praised the value of SAP’s enhancement packages and their ease-of-use, made possible with the switch framework of the SAP Business Suite. The switch framework puts customers in control of the functionalities they want to use, providing flexibility and negating the need for complete upgrades.
“Enhancement packages enable customers to continuously consume innovations without disruption to ongoing business operations,” said Apotheker. “Companies want the continuous stream of innovation at their own speed and without risk. SAP is delivering on that with its enhancement packages that completely move companies away from traditional ‘all-or-nothing’ upgrades. Our customers praise SAP enhancement packages as simpler to implement than a support package.”
Additionally, Apotheker highlighted the momentum among companies continuing to embrace the flexibility of service-oriented architecture (SOA) to accelerate innovation, standardize business processes and drive competitive differentiation. Companies such as Vinzenz Gruppe are utilizing SAP Business Suite applications, together with the SAP NetWeaver® technology platform, to take advantage of an SOA strategy and optimize business performance. With the SOA-based flexibility of SAP NetWeaver, users are able to empower and connect people, manage and deliver information, and integrate and adapt processes, enabling collaboration in the business network across technical boundaries.
Apotheker cited the example of the SAP® ERP Human Capital Management solution (SAP ERP HCM) as one of many instances where SAP is providing streamlined, end-to-end processes for use by companies in all industries. While it includes components that SAP has delivered historically, SAP ERP HCM brings together SOA, the SAP NetWeaver technology platform as the integration vehicle, and packaged services to provide a single solution able to connect to other parts of the enterprise inside and outside of the organization that meets the end-to-end requirements of human resource executives.
Apotheker demonstrated how the SAP NetWeaver® Business Process Management (SAP NetWeaver BPM) component further strengthens the SAP NetWeaver technology platform and provides the business process flexibility needed to enable customers to turn strategic business insight into real-world execution. Describing SAP NetWeaver BPM as “the foundational element to connect business and IT,” Apotheker praised the component for allowing users to design, execute and monitor business processes across the enterprise. In addition, SAP NetWeaver BPM users can interact with peers through the SAP Business Process Expert community to foster collaboration with a group that currently totals more than 425,000 members.
Highlighting the importance of the unique SAP ecosystem, Apotheker addressed the launch of the SAP® EcoHub site to underscore the continuous expansion of the SAP ecosystem in driving collaboration and co-innovation. The site provides SAP customers an online marketplace that enables them to discover, evaluate and purchase partner solutions complementary to their SAP installations. SAP EcoHub connects and engages the community with full transparency through the use of user feedback and ratings and demos, and delivers breakthrough value to SAP customers. (See Oct. 14, 2008 press release, titled “SAP Launches SAP® EcoHub, a Community-Powered Solution Marketplace.”)
Apotheker also stressed the importance of insight to accompany SAP’s efficient and flexible processes. Citing customer need for insight as one of many reasons for the success for the combined SAP and Business Objects portfolio, Apotheker echoed the message that John Schwarz, CEO of Business Objects and SAP Executive Board member, delivered last month at TechEd 2008 Las Vegas.
Business Objects CEO John Schwarz Heralds the Benefits of Closed-Loop Strategy
At the first SAP TechEd event to include Business Objects, John Schwarz spoke in September in Las Vegas to an audience of more than 6,000 attendees from 49 countries, providing insight into business processes that support solid decision-making and align operations and strategy. Schwarz stated that the combination of Business Objects’ expertise in providing customers with broader insight into their data, aligned strategy and optimized decision-making, with SAP—long known as the leader in business process efficiency and flexibility—is the ideal match for customers around the globe. Business Objects and SAP solutions enable businesses to meet the challenge of closing the loop between strategy and execution for optimized business performance, critical today more than ever.
Schwarz discussed three key trends that are affecting organizations’ ability to optimize performance. They include the changing nature of information, the changing nature of how people work and the changing nature of how businesses connect. In combination with SAP, Business Objects provides solutions that leverage these trends to provide broader insight, aligned strategy and improved execution—regardless of the underlying transactional systems.
“The value of Business Objects inside the SAP world is primarily to do three things,” Schwarz explained. “First, provide access to unified information. Second, connect people to information, which fosters collaborative decisions—critical since it is rare that one person or one company has all the information needed to make an informed decision. And finally, allow business network optimization, which means vendors, customers, suppliers, partners and more are connected and sharing information in a meaningful way to determine the best solution.”
Business Objects’ four product lines—information management, business intelligence, enterprise performance management, and governance, risk and compliance—enable these critical actions as well as empower everyone from the business user to the C-level suite to gain the necessary insight to drive strategic agility by setting clear and actionable direction for the entire business network. Business Objects has an ongoing commitment to interoperability with any database, application data source or IT system, and support for the heterogeneous computing environments that companies are increasingly encountering as they engage in business network transformation.
Additionally, Schwarz praised Business Objects’ portfolio of solutions for its diversity and growth. With availability announced from the event in Las Vegas, BusinessObjects™ Metadata Management XI 3.0 software is one such example of how Business Objects is continually providing new and innovative offerings to its customers (see Sept. 9, 2008 press release, titled “Business Objects Launches New Version of Metadata Management Solution.”) Metadata Management XI 3.0 enables organizations to support data governance by providing a central view of metadata assets and their relationships, and includes the industry’s first “metapedia,” an encyclopedia that translates metadata into business definitions, allowing for easier navigation and data discovery by business users. The software improves users’ capabilities to understand and manage metadata. With the help of this offering from Business Objects, users gain the insight necessary to successfully implement a data governance strategy.
Furthermore, announced October 14 in Berlin, collaboration between SAP and Cisco is building upon the growth of offerings that empower business users with the freedom to access trustworthy data and utilize it to improve business effectiveness, while ensuring that controls are in place to maintain compliance (see Oct. 14, 2008 press release, titled “SAP and Cisco Deliver Data Privacy Application.”) The Data Privacy composite application from SAP and Cisco brings together Cisco intelligent network services with SAP® solutions for Governance, Risk and Compliance (SAP solutions for GRC) to help organizations proactively enforce data privacy across the business network. SAP solutions for GRC are part of Business Objects, and, combined with the Business Objects enterprise performance management and business intelligence solutions, deliver a comprehensive portfolio for business performance optimization.
Next Major Events: The SAP TechEd 2008 Conference Series Continues
In its 12th year, the SAP TechEd 2008 event season continues next month with conferences in China and India. Vishal Sikka, chief technology officer of SAP AG, will speak at SAP TechEd 2008 Shanghai, being held Nov. 5–6, and Jim Hagemann Snabe, member of the SAP Executive Board leading the Business Solutions & Technology organization, will present at SAP TechEd 2008 Bangalore, being held Nov. 12–14.
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