As SAP Sapphire Now 2021 progresses over the next week, Ignite SAP will be making available some transcripts of our pick of the highlights of the Sapphire Now 2021 event for the convenience of our community members.
These transcripts are will contain useful information about SAP’s product strategy and new releases, along with customer success stories in interviews with business and organisations who are SAP partners, providing insights into the experiences of those who have recently completed large SAP implementations.
Our first choice, “Drive Toward the Intelligent Enterprise” from the IT content track includes a discussion between CTO Juergen Mueller and CIO Thomas Saueressig in which some key points are raised:
“We have significantly enhanced our low-code/no-code capabilities on SAP Business Technology Platform”
“We’re also helping companies to automate their business processes at higher speed with new capabilities in SAP intelligent robotic process automation.”
“With SAP process insights, we now offer you visibility into your current challenges and help you determine which of our technologies can provide the biggest benefit for you.”
“We are launching the data marketplace for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.”
“We’re very proud to announce Rise with SAP for Human Experience Management”
“We’re so proud to announce the first applications as part of our climate 21 initiative, with the SAP [carbon] footprint management, but also the SAP Responsible Design and Production to also have circularity in all of the processes embedded as well.”
The interviews in this broadcast include contributions from:
- Lou Meshulam, Head of Cloud, SAP North America,
- Michael Mahoney, Head of Services, SAP North America,
- Mickey North-Rizza, Program Vice President, Enterprise Applications and Digital Commerce, IDC,
- Ivo Totev, Chief Product and Marketing Officer, SUSE,
- Srinivas Sai Nidadhavolu, VP & Global Head, SAP Business for Wipro Limited,
- James Taylor, Co-Founder and CEO, Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS)
So if you missed this broadcast and need to catch up IgniteSAP encourages you to dig in at your leisure to our pick from the IT content track.
SAP Sapphire Now 2021 IT Track: Transcript
Hello and welcome. We’re live in the Sapphire Now Studio. This is the IT Show and I’m Melissa Chan.
Now, we know technology leaders have a full plate every day. Your business users needs are always changing. While you are trying to maintain existing systems, you’re also under tremendous pressure to invest in new innovations to keep your business competitive. You need a technology partner who can guide you through your transformation journey and help you solve the challenges of disruption.
In the next hour. You’ll hear how you can do all that and more. Now, this is a live show. And we want you to be involved. One of the best ways is by our social media wall where the comments and questions will live for the next hour. Here’s your social media host, Claire Richardson.[Claire Richardson discusses the Sapphire Now Social Media message board interactions]
Thanks so much Claire. So let’s go straight to the top here are SAP executive board members, Juergen Mueller and Thomas Saueressig to tell us about making your job easier with the newest innovations.
Welcome to SAPPHIRE NOW 2021. First of all, I hope that you and your loved ones are well, and that you have been navigating safely through this pandemic. As the Chief Technology Officer of SAP, I speak with a lot of companies, and I hope that your company is well too!
Over 90% of digital leaders say technology is very important to stay competitive, and systems that provide real-time, end-to-end views of business processes are the make or break factor for success.
As technology leaders, you really did wonders in the last 12 months in supporting your company getting through this pandemic. And you will remain in the driver’s seat. But you need to take your employees with you on that journey. You have to empower them so they can adapt business processes themselves quickly and easily. And that’s why we have significantly enhanced our low-code/no-code capabilities on SAP Business Technology Platform.
Citizen developers can now select from new pre-built process content packages in SAP workflow management without writing a single line of code. These packages span many lines of businesses to address the most common workflow needs such as in procurement for example, the approval of purchase requisitions or invoices without purchase orders.
We’re also helping companies to automate their business processes at higher speed with new capabilities in SAP intelligent robotic process automation.
Zuellig Pharma was faced with a massive increase in manual sales orders when the pandemic hit. So they started using chatbots and SAP intelligent RPA which helped them increase the sales order processing volume by a factor of 30. And that is up to 100,000 sales orders per day, all in order to provide patients with the health products they need.
But often, companies struggle to understand where technology can really make a difference.
With SAP process insights, we now offer you visibility into your current challenges and help you determine which of our technologies can provide the biggest benefit for you. If you want to see process insights in action, please watch Hasso Plattner’s keynote from last week.
And we also have great news for our customers and partners with development know-how, as part of SAP extension suite, we delivered important innovations for SAP BTP’s ABAP environment. And these have companies like Delaware to transform legacy extensions into intelligent cloud solutions running on SAP BTP. Customers can also now run their analytics, accessing live data and they can improve their operations through the tight integration with SAP focussed Run.
Now, let’s talk about data. Customers like Zalando work with us to combine data from various different sources so they can make informed and valuable decisions. And that’s why I’m excited to share that we are launching the data marketplace for SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.
The data marketplace gives you access to external data assets, really in a matter of clicks. And you can connect with the data providers, and share your data is with your stakeholders: from HR benchmarking data provided by PwC to supply chain visibility data from GPO, to e-commerce data from data…, which all connects like a database to your SAP data warehouse cloud with the data marketplace.
On top of that, you can take advantage of pre-built industry and line-of-business content. We have over 20 packages spanning across data warehouse cloud and analytics cloud available today, covering a variety of use cases for lines of business such as financial analytics, margin optimisation and sales, procurement, analytics, and supply chain monitoring, as well as industry specific content, like metre to cash for utilities, and customer value management for.… And we have more in the pipeline. Together with partners, we are continuously growing our library of content packages, so you can focus on your end-to-end analytics scenarios right away.
With the capabilities of the SAP Business Technology Platform, we aim to provide you with a seamless experience, while getting most value out of your data and third-party data. Let me also quickly talk about integration.
Many of you trust our integration suite to connect the different systems that power your business, SAP in third party. Gartner just recently named as an enterprise leader in the sector of integration platforms as the service. But most importantly, we are amazed by all the scenarios that you are implementing on top of our technology. To ensure this strong customer focus in everything we do, we work in close alliance with the engineering teams who build all the great business applications from SAP. And I’m very happy to have Thomas Saueressig, the head of SAP product engineering here with me today. Welcome, Thomas.
Thank you, Juergen . And also thanks for having me in this opening for the Sapphire IT track.
Yeah, you are more than welcome. Our team has worked very closely together to help customers become intelligent enterprises. From your perspective, what does that mean?
I think intelligent enterprise they have two very important dimensions. The one is integration. And the other one is innovation. And for both actually, the SAP Business technology platform is the centrepiece and foundation because we integrate the entire SAP portfolio with the help of the SAP BTP, but also, we leverage the capabilities of artificial intelligence to embed it in all of the business processes. In the end of the day, we want to help our customers with their business transformation.
And that’s the reason why we launched [at the] beginning of the year Rise with SAP. And now we are able to extend the scope to full modular cloud ERP, including all the assets of our portfolio.
And also actually, for our business transformations, we know it’s actually also a people transformation, because we need to think about the skills to change management of the people.
That’s the reason why we’re very proud to announce Rise with SAP for Human Experience Management. And also, we are cognisant of the fact that every industry is disrupted in this critical time. And that’s the reason why we’re bringing the Industry Cloud together under the umbrella of Rise with SAP for industries as well. So [it is] the concierge-service empowered business transformation.
Thomas, you mentioned Rise with SAP a couple of times. So if you [the audience] have not familiarised yourself yet, please do that. Also, we did a lot on the user experience side. And I understand we are going even further. Want to share some thoughts out there?
Absolutely Juergen. I mean, user experiences is super strategic for us, because we know we want to provide a delightful and enjoyable experience. And that’s the reason why we also want to bring the entire intelligent enterprise right to your fingertips on a mobile device. Let me show it to you![visually demonstrates app on ios/andriod device on screen]
So basically, what is very important is that we actually want to leverage the native mobile capabilities what you already see are widgets which you can use to get first hand information because in the end of the day, it needs to be action driven. So directly you can jump to the respective situation. And you see basically that you need to do a certain activity in the task which you can solve.
Already you get a notification, which is very important. So you get dragged to the specific situation, of what you need to do. This is also part of the new experience. And for sure, in a modern world, you need to collaborate, which means you directly can basically share that and work together in teams together with your, with your colleagues.
Also, what is very important, is the SAP start application is bringing the entire intelligent enterprise together. So we have one inbox where you get all the notification situations and workflows from all the applications at hand.
What is also very essential for us, the intelligent enterprise has to promise to get a 360 degree view on the supplier, the customer, the employee. And as an example, we can then for short, directly jump to this information at hand to get first hand information, analytics and insights to really drive the action, like also working on the accounts receivables in the system as well.
And fundamentally, the result of that is that in a collaborative way, you can solve the business problems in a native experience. And we also take it further. We even include mixed reality and augmented reality in our portfolio. For instance, in the digital supply chain area, what is key if we talk about user experience, it’s also about enablement. So with SAP Enable Now you get the help and all the information you need, and the learning. Also, again, in your fingertips. And let me close with one very important topic for user experience: accessibility, which is absolutely key because we want to ensure that everybody can participate in the work environment. So I think that’s what the future of user experience will bring.
Thomas, thank you so much. That was impressive to see. I only want to touch on one more topic, because intelligent enterprise and we see in our whole customer base, they want to be sustainable. Any thoughts from you on that in that direction?
I think this is absolutely a key strategic element in our strategy, because if you really want to get sustainable, this is going beyond the four walls of the company: across companies, across the entire value chain. And if you think about our portfolio, we have the unique possibility to embed, for instance, co2 emissions in all of the processes to not only analyse it, but also to minimise it. And that’s reason why we’re so proud to announce the first applications as part of our climate 21 initiative, with the SAP [carbon] footprint management, but also the SAP Responsible Design and Production to also have circularity in all of the processes embedded as well. And quite frankly, we also walk the walk ourselves. Not only in that we actually for 14 years, in consecutive years, we have won the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, as the leader in the software industry, but also we accelerated our carbon neutrality target, actually to 2023.
Yeah, that got a lot of positive feedback. And we are helping all our customers to become sustainable enterprises. Thomas, thank you so much for that conversation.
It is so inspiring to see this firework of innovations coming to life. Tomorrow’s best run organisations will be those putting sustainability at their core, and operating in a network of intelligent enterprises.
As economies and societies are slowly recovering, companies now find themselves predicting and adjusting yet again: replanning their businesses. They are faced with challenges like commodity price variations, ship shortages, and the need to become co2 neutral, and so much more topics.
And this is where we come in. We help you to make information accessible in real-time and across all lines of business in a seamless manner. SAP is the leader in Enterprise Planning today with 1700-plus customers alone on SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning and we are doubling-down on synchronised cross-company planning. Why is planning so important? Because any decision you make for one business area has an effect on others.
Let’s assume you’re a consumer packaged-goods company. Your demand cleanse needs the right marketing and plans behind. This in turn needs to be in sync with your production plans. And your supply chain needs to be aligned with those and the warehouses and transportation management, including your reverse supply chain today. And of course, it’s your employees who ensure that all these activities are running smoothly. That’s why your workforce planning is so important as well. And of course all of that needs to be always connected to your financial planning.
Being able to see the possible impact one business decision has on the entire business across all your applications is no easy task, but it is an essential one. And SAP is perfectly set up to enable agile planning for your organisation. As we already provide the respective transactional applications.
We already integrated SAP analytics cloud with S/4HANA, and many other SaaS solutions. We are a leader in supply chain planning and in financial planning. As the next step, we are offering operational workforce planning and analytics content. With integration to SAP Successfactors and S/4HANA, it allows companies to link financial, operational and people-data in real-time for greater, and more accurate insights across the business. I‘m excited to share that we are creating a foundation for Enterprise Planning based on SAP Business Technology Platform enabled by SAP Analytics Cloud.
With this foundation, you can better integrate your SAP-wide enterprise data plus external data and plan more holistically.
Roche, one of the world’s largest biotech companies deployed SAP Analytics Cloud across all R&D business units. Their financial forecast that used to take weeks and significant manual effort is now completed in two hours: Thanks to predictive planning.
This has also freed up 30 finance professionals to now guiding their scientists in optimal resource allocation and decision making. To sum it up, SAP BTP offers your choice. It helps you to integrate, it helps you to extend, it helps you to get value out of your data: whether most of your systems are SAP or only a few.
And I’m happy that our customers will now tell their success stories. So please stay tuned to hear how they are innovating and transforming their businesses with SAP and our partners. Enjoy.
Sounds like some pretty cool developments on the way. We’ll be hearing more from Juergen at the end of the show, so stay tuned for that.
Now as the world moves from survive to thrive digital transformation is more important than ever. Recently our special correspondent, Thulium CEO Tamara McCleary spoke with Neda Tabatabaie of the San Jose Sharks hockey team, and James Taylor of Electric Last Mile solutions. Over the years the sharks have captured a six NHL division titles, while Electric Last Mile solutions is driving a new vision of e-commerce with connected electric vehicles. Two very different industries united by some common goals. SAP’s Lou Meshulam joined this roundtable to talk about how our customers are using cloud technology to deliver more to their customers.
Neda, professional sports franchise is not the first thing that comes to many people’s minds when you’re talking about digital transformation. But the Sharks are a team that’s as competitive in the digital space. Where are you looking to go with a data driven mentality? And how did SAP help you get there?
Great question Tamara. Many parts of our business is just like any other business, we’re always looking for improving our employee experiences and our business processes and business results.
So our digital transformation includes a focus on our internal systems and infrastructure on processes from our ERP systems, our HR system and other business systems. Another part that might be different from other businesses is our focus on fine experience our ticketing data, which is the most important part of our business decision making and drives our business, is a third-party provider. And bringing all these data sources together for us with SAP technology can be quite impactful. Understanding what drives the customer to purchase tickets, or make their renewal decision is hugely important. We all love to have the full arena from the fans to the players to our CFO.
So how does technology get you there? I mean, for instance, what do you know now that you didn’t know before embracing SAP technologies?
Yes, so it’s important for us to have technology that keeps us agile and flexible, we have to be able to bring this third party data sources with other data sources that we have in the organisation. And that’s really what our focus has been in the past year or so. You know, we had really great and somewhat robust data and analytics on each part of these data silos, but the full picture was missing. So we’re not making complete decisions based on a complete set of information. We’re just making inferred decisions based on that one data silo.
For example, comparing SAP Marketing Cloud data and SAP Sales Cloud data to third-party ticketing data is extremely valuable to us. Before we were looking at ticket sales reports, and perhaps an email marketing report without understanding the correlation between these two data sources.
Well, you know, having this clear view is critical, right? And I’m wondering if you could even share how many people purchased a ticket based on an offer from an email campaign?
Yes, that’s one of the metrics that we have right now, which is extremely valuable. Because not only you can focus your resources on what is working, you can change on focus on an area that is perhaps not working anymore.
There’s a lot of other metrics that is very important for us. Metrics that indicates fine engagement, fine engagement is really a metric that is important, for example, if they’re even picking up the phone, when we call them, or how early or how late, are they coming to the game on the game day, those are incredibly valuable metrics that wants to combine with other data sources really gives us a great direction.
I gotta bring James into this conversation. James, you like to say that you’re putting the last mile first and you’re building an empire on electric delivery vehicles. But what part does technology play in your vision?
Well, not only are our vehicles fully electric, but in addition, we’re equipping all of our vans with the advanced onboard and over the air data and telematics. So what’s that do that lets our fleet managers, our customers plan, track their fleets for the optimal efficiency, as they manage all those vehicles in the field every day.
Because it’s cloud, they’ll get real-time visibility. That can be every minute, you know, every hour as they request into the status of all of their vehicles, in addition to the data they receive today like geolocation. But basically everything that they need to operate and manage their fleets more efficiently.
But it goes beyond the vehicles themselves, right?
It does, yeah, being an entire we call it intelligent enterprise. It’s not just at the vehicle level, and the data that we project off to our customers, but it’s also all the way back into our entire operation.
So that means all of the production elements to produce the vehicle, of course, get the vehicles out the back door, and to our customers and everything in between logistics, quality, production, engineering: everything. So with all of that connectivity, we’re looking for S4[HANA] to provide us the connections that we require, and Rise to help us get where we need to go.
Lou, I’m sensing a theme here. Both of these organisations are doing things that are only possible because of the cloud. Could you broaden it out a bit for us? When any company comes to SAP with ideas like these, what do you tell them about what SAP Cloud technology can do, and why it’s important?
The real key value that they get out of the cloud technology is faster time-to-value. You look at what’s happening: companies have had to react to a tremendous amount of disruption. In order to be, the key word is, resilient. The pandemic has forced companies to accelerate the digital initiatives through cloud technology. At SAP, our cloud portfolio today, in all of our industries, all their associated business processes are ready for cloud today.
Neda, let me ask you about one thing in particular that I’m thinking about here and the SAP Business technology platform. How is that helping you?
SAP Business Technology platform is a foundational piece for us going forward. Our goal is to create one single access point for our business users across the organisation so that they’re able to get the data that they need, regardless of the source platform at the time that they need.
We’re able to democratise the access of data, which means now we can focus on making business decisions instead of looking for where the data is, what’s the right report? And is data even accurate at this point?
James, as you mentioned, you’re one of the early customers to embrace rise with SAP as a way to integrate SAP technology into your organisation. What made an automotive startup pick a solution like this? And what’s your thought behind it?
I’d say that there’s a million moving parts standing up a car company, going all the way from the engineering of the vehicle out to the final customers and the service aspects. So having one simple turnkey solution takes one big problem literally off my desk and I can focus on other elements of the business to stand up.
Lou, how can other customers start this kind of a journey and what’s important to them as they decide?
We can help you build out business case roadmaps, identify the outcomes you are driving towards. We at SAP understand digital transformation. We have deep industry expertise and we bring in the right solutions to our customers in the cloud. And James talked about it with Rise. Rise with SAP is our approach that brings Cloud ERP, migration services, business process intelligence, business network and platform together in a single offering. This is the clear path to what we talk about all the time at SAP: becoming an intelligent enterprise.
Thank you, Lou, and thank you all Hey, and maybe someday I’ll be expecting a delivery of some new Sharks merch, and it’ll come rolling up in one of your vehicles James, that would be a very cool day. Let’s send it back to the studio.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check in on social media. Here’s our social wall host Claire Richardson for more.[Claire Richardson discusses further Sapphire Now messages from social media]
And coming up next: digital resiliency acceleration and how you can be ready for the next big crisis, a look at how those themes will play out in the second half of the year. Straight ahead. And later how all those zeros and ones can help keep the lights on. We’ll be right back.[brief interlude]
Discover more: Exclusive SAP jobs in Germany
It’s a question technology professionals ask a lot: how to truly get the most out of investments in technology?
We have some answers in this SAP partner story from Suse.
Thank you. I’m happy to be joined by Ivo Totev, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Suse.
Hi Evo. How are you doing? So my first question, please, can you tell us more about the Suse and Sap partnership?
Certainly, our strong partnership with SAP is built on innovation which we have invested in for over 20 years. For example, Suse was the first one to support SAP HANA and remained the only operating system certified by SAP Hana for many years. Why? Because Hana simply has some unique technological requirements for memory management, which we mastered in the best possible way with our German engineering mindset.
So these technological achievements really made Suse the operating system used by SAP engineering for developing SAP HANA, and S/4HANA, which in turn became a case for enterprises to choose Suse over other alternatives. The verdict is, if SAP uses Suse for its own development, then it has to be prime solution for the market.
This is also the reason why Suse, Linux Enterprise Server for SAP applications is endorsed by SAP. And the idea behind this programme is to make it super easy for customers to get up and running with SAP. So it helps easily identify the top-rated partners and apps better verified to deliver outstanding value. These solutions are tested, and premium-certified by SAP with added security and further in-depth testing.
That’s incredible, so many exciting initiatives. So let’s switch gears a bit. We can’t avoid talking about the pandemic. It’s forced businesses across all industries to really learn how to adapt, especially with so much uncertainty in the market. So I wanted to ask you, what is the role of IT infrastructure in a business’s transformation to become an intelligent enterprise?
Abadesi, you’re so right about the flexibility in the infrastructure. So the top priority of customers when moving and becoming an intelligent enterprise really is to have infrastructure that is scalable and reliable on the one hand, but on the other hand really flexible to help them with the unpredictable market conditions. And COVID-19 is a great example.
So two-thirds of the top 100 most valuable brands running on SAP use Suse, they simply recognise the importance of mitigating the risk by choosing infrastructure that delivers to them the same capabilities and the same service, no matter if they choose to run their solutions, on-premise in hybrid cloud environments, or on the public cloud. And you know, we haven’t stopped by just producing a top notch infrastructure, we have developed further solutions and services that really help customers to accelerate time-to-market by automating the SAP deployments as much as possible, and reducing errors.
And here’s a great example, we worked with a retailer in the U.S. to make the world’s largest deployment of SAP S/4HANA in the cloud. In this case, it’s Azure, as seamless as possible.
Absolutely. And it’s incredible to hear all these stories of efficiencies gained from these transformations. So I wanted to ask you a bit about agility. How can Suse help customers to become a more agile business?
So we don’t force our customers into one big offering, right? So they have the choice that they can pick and choose what they need. And we’re really good in Enterprise Linux container management and edge computing. And so we help customers innovate everywhere, really, from the data centre to the cloud and to the edge.
And in the world of software, container technology based on Kubernetes is a very innovative way of developing and deploying it workloads, simply because containers run everywhere, but really easy to move between cloud, on-premise, and so on wherever you need the they run. And so a great example of how we innovate with SAP in this area. We deliver and support containerised SAP data intelligence and SAP HANA, right, so these things run our containers, these great solutions, and so we enable more than 300 SAP customers to be more agile, since they simply can scale and adapt to their business needs.
So in summary, for over 20 years, SAP and Suse have really delivered innovative business-critical solutions on open source platforms. And this is leading to a strong customer satisfaction, which we’re both very proud of SAP and Suse together.
Amazing. Ivo, thank you so much for sharing such valuable insight from the leadership perspective, really appreciate it.
It’s a pretty safe bet that as IT professionals, you’re working a full agenda, but as recent events have taught us exactly what that agenda might look like next week, next month, and at the end of the year is uncertain. In fact, there are entire jobs based on reading the winds and the tides to see where things are going.
Recently, Mickey North-Rizza, IDC programme vice president enterprise applications and digital commerce spoke with our special correspondent Tamra McCleary, the CEO of Thulium, Mickey’s answers, provide us with some valuable reference points for the second half of the year.
Mickey, I first want to get a temperature check. As you look back at the last year and where you are right now. What’s it been like to be you through it all, with so many people looking to folks like you for answers?
Oh my gosh, Damn, it’s been absolutely crazy, right? Um, IDC helps organisations from a technology perspective. And as you can imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has really become a tipping point, moving organisations into technology and specifically cloud technology, right?
So we looked at where they were going to go from an overall perspective and just really trying to help those organisations understand that, you know, you’re not alone, your peers are doing so many things. So don’t feel alone and learn from others. And I think those are important points for organisations.
Okay, well, I wanted to bring this back to the here. And now just because I mean, I think a lot of us are constantly walking that razor’s edge between past and future. But I thought I ground us in a now moment. And what’s the characteristic of the business world in this moment that’s keeping it professionals up at night?
It’s coming down to moving beyond business continuity and cost optimisations, and they’ve really been in business resiliency, and that continues to be a focus. However, it’s also about what’s the next normal? What’s the future enterprise look like? So it’s all about, what do our investments need to be? Where do we need to go? And at IDC, we call that digital resiliency, right? It’s all about that organisation, being able to handle a disruption by adapting to whatever that disruption is. So if I think about it, many organisations from an example standpoint, went forward during the pandemic, and had to quickly move to cloud applications just to make sure that, you know, wherever any of their employees where they can work, right, so became a remote access anywhere, anytime, anyplace type thing.
We also found organisations as they went through all of this, in many cases found out they weren’t really digitally transformed. And as we know, digital transformation has been an activity organisations been working towards, but they’ve either been in a project mode, or they’ve had a strategic impact from them from a strategic initiative standpoint. And what the Covid-19 pandemic has really brought forward is, look, it’s not going to go away digital transformation is here to stay, and you really need to adopt it. So organisations right now are shifting to, what areas do we need to invest in grow in to make sure that we are digitally resilient for any type of disruption as it comes forward in the world? And some of those organisations are still adapting new technologies and other cases, they’re accelerating their use of technology, and trying to get into new business models. So if I look at the IT professional, it’s really about making sure the organisation is going to be digital resilient.
You know, it’s interesting that you say that, because I think what the global pandemic has given us is it’s created, well, it’s made digital transformation salient. And those five-year plans became five-week plans. And yeah, so it’s it’s been, it’s made it real. And you know, right now, there’s a lot of talk about cloud ERP, and technology platforms. I’m wondering if you can give us your experience on why it would be a good idea for an organisation to take their enterprise resource planning to the cloud, and how ERP and a technology platform could assist with going through the digital transformation you just talked about? What role do they play?
Yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna actually stop you for a second here, because it isn’t just about taking your current ERP system to the cloud. Those are legacy applications, they’ve had 35 plus years of opportunity to many organisations, by the way, did that, okay? There’s nothing wrong with it. But all it does is lift and shift and give you some cost reduction. So you don’t have to have all the costs internally and on-prem. Right.
But what you really want to do is get into a more modular solution. So going to an actual cloud ERP solution, one that’s much more modular and modern, will enable the organisation to do a couple things.
So these new cloud applications have AI and machine learning tied to them. So when you take that modern and modular cloud ERP system, what you’re doing is enabling it to go across all the data sets, bring in the AI machine learning help you re-look and get insights across all the massive data sets that you have, right? It gives you flexibility, agility, and it builds that resilience.
Further to that most of the organisations have not just one application, but in some cases, 1000s of applications. And they could be in line-of-business, they could be multiple, ERP instances. And they and they could also be just just other things that they need to keep their business running. So what you also find in the cloud ERP system is one that can integrate to those other applications, right? It helps the integration and helps the extension. It helps the organisation glean even more insights. Because as you integrate all this, you start to look at multiple data sets in these other application packages. And it brings in an ability to glean more actionable insights and really make a difference in the business performance.
You know, our global landscape shares a lot of similarities. However, there are critical major differences from region to region. What stands out to you in terms of prospects for H2, as you look at the Americas?
Our most recent survey says that 55% of the organisations in 2021 are moving definitely towards digital resiliency. But it’s because of what they’ve learned during the pandemic. They want to expand the capabilities that they brought forward. And they also want to ready themselves for the future so they can capitalise on changing conditions. And we both know those changing conditions are going to continue.
Wow, that’s really interesting information. You know, one of the things I think many of us take as learnings negotiating turbulent times through a global pandemic is that we must be prepared for the unexpected, so that we’re positioned to respond versus react. After studying what’s been happening in the last year or so what’s the most important thing we can understand to be in a position to respond to uncertainty?
So digital resiliency is it, right? It’s all about making sure the enterprise the organisation regardless of the size can continue to go forward. And our most recent study just coming back says that in 2020, organisations invested a great deal to keep going and I’ve discussed that already. But 50% of the organisations are also saying they’re going to continue the same investment strategy they had in 2020. So the dollars and whatnot are the same. Where they’re going to differ is the types of investment. Are they still remediating? In some cases? Yes. Are they all moving to the cloud as fast as possible? Yes. But there’s also this 35%, in addition to the 50% that are saying, We’re beyond some of this, we want to prepare even more for the future. So we’re just going to keep going and increasing our digital resiliency.
Thank you so much, Mickey, for being willing to be transparent and share with us your experience. Now back to you in the studio.
This conversation about digital resiliency is only going to get more important as the year goes on.
We have so much more for you today, including mission-critical IT for companies supplying the necessities of life. And up next, when your job is to keep the lights on you need big digital power too. How one of the world’s leading electric companies gets that help to do that. We’ll be right back.[Brief Interlude]
We all want to meet the demands of the moment, but it’s not always enough to know you need a digital transformation. Sometimes you need a trusted guide for the journey.
AES corporation is one of the world’s leading power companies generating and distributing electric power to two and a half million people in 15 countries. Recently, our special correspondent Tamara McCleary spoke with Alejandro Reyes, information technology project director at AES and Michael Mahoney, head of services SAP North America, let’s hear how their partnership is using SAP technology to truly make AES a intelligent enterprise.
Alejandro what were the main business drivers for AES’s move to the cloud and digital transformation?
[Alejandro Jose Reyes]
So for us it was part of how we can leverage the cloud to enable our businesses. We were looking for reliability, and usability of all the new technologies that are coming through the cloud. And we wanted to get our businesses to take advantage of them.
I was really curious, I wonder if… I was gonna dive into a little personal here and just ask you, what was it like, when you realise you had that big job ahead of you?
[Alejandro Jose Reyes]
It was a bit intimidating. I mean, I would say, but you know, it’s about developing your roadmap, and taking advantage of all the experts that you have out there. In our case, we leveraged SAP really to understand what they were going with the cloud and their technology, and how we can take advantage of that in our company.
Well, I know that you’re actually adopting and running some of SAP’s latest innovations, like one I can think of that I wanted to ask you about is SAP S/4HANA. And I wondered if you could tell us the story of what convinced you to select the applications that you did choose and why SAP?
[Alejandro Jose Reyes]
Well, actually, we’ve been using SAP software for many years. But I would say going into the HANA journey and S/4, that’s more recent, mainly it was a part of 2015. At the time that we the first time we move our business planning and consolidation system to run on HANA. We had the earlier version, but we wanted to take advantage of the performance, getting faster reports. And you know, that’s the first time that we experimented, or we use that specific Hana technology. And that helped us to really then make the decision to continue on that journey, and then looking at our ERP and making the upgrade to that S/4HANA version, but not only that, but also moving it into the cloud. So by 2017, we completed that migration and then we have our ERP system on the cloud and running S/4HANA
Michael, I wanted to pull you into this conversation because you have a broad view, of what many customer experiences are. And I was thinking to what extent is the story that Alejandro is telling us is that a similar story that plays out across the board, this integration and standardisation that makes better growth possible?
It is very much. So, if you look across our customer base and across tonnes of different industries, you know, the ability, particularly now that’s where S/4HANA as Alejandro is talking about, the ability to just see your enterprise and do it in real-time. That fuels growth in the sense that you can make decisions you need to make a grow, whether it’s a pricing decision or capacity decision as s a why decision. So yeah, those are really important elements.
Well, and I also wanted to bring up a little something that Alejandro just mentioned, and that brings up fear and trepidation. So when you think about moving all that data, and making it all work together, and standardising your business processes to take advantage of it, it’s a little intimidating, contemplating going it alone, don’t you think? Alejandro?
[Alejandro Jose Reyes]
Absolutely. But we did not go alone. I mean, that’s where we leverage the SAP to really help us in making that decision. So at the time, you know, the business have already… did a really good job of standardising their processes. They look at the people-process component. But when we look at the technology side: that’s when we call SAP and said, Okay, we have all these different countries, different lines of businesses. And can we just operate under a single ERP. And then that’s when SAP came with not only the software component, the S/4HANA, but also the how. And that’s where the expertise of some of the people of SAP MaxAttention, SAP HANA enterprise cloud services, they came into play to explain us. I mean, this is how you can do it. This is how we can help you enable all the objectives that we want with this with this migration.
Yes. And how did that help with the process? And how is it helping you to become an intelligent enterprise?
[Alejandro Jose Reyes]
Well, for us it it really helped us in the sense of removing complexity in our landscape.
Mike, I was wondering if you could help us broaden it out here a bit, you know, for customers who are in a similar place to where AES was and irrespective of industry, right? How can SAP services and support help them?
So yeah, we absolutely want to take the fear or trepidation and complexity out of out of adopting our software. That’s our full role in the world as your the services arm of the software provider.
Well, I have one last question, Alejandro, that I just have to ask you, before we’re finished. And that is, with this cloud and other cutting edge technology and support? What did you expect to be able to do that you couldn’t do before?
[Alejandro Jose Reyes]
You know, we, we are in the biggest transformation in the last 100 years. It is happening right now. And you know, if you have now new competitors, you have new customer preferences around the type of energy that they would like to use: renewable.
So being able to put AES in the best position to compete to come up with new products and services that can be different to others. And that’s where we have to leverage in our cloud, we have to leverage the latest technology and SAP in our case being the being part of the core of all the solutions that we enable. We have to be on top of our game there.
Michael, Alejandro: thank you both so much. And let’s send it on back to the studio.
Another example of an organisation moving the business to the cloud.
We’ve had some really interesting ideas flying around so far. So let’s go back to the social wall and see what Claire has to say.[Claire Richardson discusses further interactions on the Sapphire Now message board]
Thanks. As always Clair, there’s still more to come on the power of this technology to keep the essentials flowing. And we’ll go back to our executive board members on what’s around the corner. We’ll be right back.[Short Interlude]
How do you harness the power of intelligent technologies? Some answers here in this SAP partner story from Wipro.
Thank you. I’m excited to talk to Srinivas Sai, Vice President and Global Head SAP Business Wipro. Hey, Srinivas
[Srinivas Sai Nidadhavolu]
A pleasure talking to you as well.
Thank you. So in the context of rapidly changing market conditions and challenging economic conditions, how has Wipro evolved and responded to SAP customers.
[Srinivas Sai Nidadhavolu]
So firstly, I think, you know, our two decade old relationship with SAP essentially has helped us to kind of jointly work together with them, and deliver the intelligent enterprise promise to our mutual customers.
And essentially, what we’ve also been doing over the last, you know, 12 months, is to kind of disproportionately invest in a couple of facets of our business, right, starting with enhancing our industry capability, right, which essentially has allowed us to differentiate ourselves in a chosen set of industries, and most importantly, deliver industry relevant outcomes.
Secondly, we’ve also been on a mission to kind of transform our workforce, to be a lot more design oriented, and to kind of become digitally native, right. And this is essentially starting to show a lot of positive results with our customers, and, allow them to adopt the power of intelligent technologies, there’s also been a huge focus, as far as localisation is concerned in the various countries in which we operate as an organisation. And this has essentially helped us win a lot more marquee deals across the globe, we also can clearly understand that it takes a village to deliver a business transformation programme. And it’s for that reason that we’ve established a fairly robust partner ecosystem.
Discover more: SAP jobs in the UK
For example, on our, strategic relationship with all the three major hyper-scalars essentially allows us to kind of help them adopt and move to the cloud much faster. And also, in some cases it becomes easier for us to kind of take the Rise construct, to some of our customers, SAP customers globally.
We’ve also formed strategic relationships across certain business areas, like automated testing, or process mining, or selective data transformation. And these partnerships essentially help us deliver the transformation objectives of our customers. You know, we’ve also been constantly making sure that we’re taking innovation to our customers.
Firstly: around solutions. There’s one that we recently built, focused on sustainability and circular economy principles. And this is allowed us to win the sap Innovation Award for 2021.
Secondly, we’ve also been innovating on our overall delivery model which we call Apex 2.0 and for customers who seek flexibility and a standardised experience as far as a transformation is concerned, this model has been a raging hit with some of our customers.
Sounds incredible, and how great for you and your team to win an innovation award. I’d love to hear more about this. I’d love to hear from you. What is Wipro’s vision, and how are you building the roadmap to help customers on their digital transformation journey?
[Srinivas Sai Nidadhavolu]
So, today organisations need to be more agile, resilient and cost-efficient than ever before. So, obviously, whatever has happened in the last 12 months is essentially brought the spotlight back on to how customers need to transform. Customer needs have essentially evolved around, parameters like sustainability, resilience, superior experience across the brand, the customer, the partner and employees as well. At Wipro we understand these parameters that that customers essentially want to achieve, and we are focused on helping them with unlocking the value of digitalisation across these pillars that we have, which is essentially simplification, experience, resilience, agility, and sustainability and growth. And this is essentially to kind of help our customers with their digital enterprise journey, and bridge the gap from what they can achieve between the technology implementation and what their businesses expect.
Incredible. Thank you so much for sharing advice and reflections that I know will be so valuable for all the leaders in the room today. Thank you.
Thank you, Abadesi. So when you depend on the essentials, effective IT is mission-critical, which brings us to our next guests from two really fascinating businesses, with operations in nine countries in Latin America for business lines and more than 150 brands.
AliCorp keeps food and food products moving to customers, while Border States Electric is an illuminating company in more than name: providing products and services to electric utilities in 22 US states.
Recently, AliCorp’s Pedro Malo, and Border State’s Ryan Stall sat down with SAP’s Fernando Lewis and our special correspondent, Tamara McCleary, to talk about how SAP technology helps those companies keep the essentials flowing.
Pedro against the background of recent events, like the pandemic, what are the biggest technological challenges in the Latin American region? And how are those driving the need for digital transformation?
That’s a great question. So I think we all face the same needs in terms of how to offer a better experience for our clients and employees, how to run our operations better, more efficiently, and how to leverage digital technologies and transformation.
The unique challenges we have in the region are more related to the lack of infrastructure that we have. So internet coverage is not as good in everywhere in our countries. We have a tremendous deficiency of knowledge in our organisations, and the scarcity of talent. I think those are the main reasons or make challenges that we have to face.
And now lucky for us, all this remote work in has improved a lot in terms of knowledge in our people, but also in the sourcing of talent from everywhere in the world, you can bring experts from Europe or from the U.S.: things that you can not do before the pandemic
So what’s your most recent embrace of technology? And how does it help you to solve those challenges?
So we’ve been working for a few years now on transforming all of all of our SAP infrastructure, and implementing a newS/4 on HANA. That’s been a big project for us. And the pandemic came when we were right in the middle of this, and we had to move our people from working on site to working remotely.
And that has that was very challenging at the beginning. But now we see the tremendous advantages of that: not only on the technology, that it runs faster, that allow us to do to implement digital tools like advanced analytics, much better than in the previous technology. But also the fact that we have all of our people that participated in the project that had been used to work remotely, and to connect in the organisation.
That is a tremendous asset for us. And I think that’s something that is, is going to help us to implement a broader transformation. And not only because of technology, it’s much more powerful, but also because the people have changed through going through all these experiences.
Ryan. Talk to us about the challenges Border States Electric faced with supply chains that were affected by COVID-19. And how did a technology like SAP Business technology platform, help you deal with those?
COVID-19 caused large disruptions and constraints in the supply chain. And we really needed a way to optimise and streamline our purchase order management, storing sales order management, which traditionally used multiple tools and took a lot of manual effort. And probably COVID-19 more specifically, we needed a better ability to manage delays in the supply chain, and escalations to prevent impact to our customers.
What we did is we utilise the Business Technology Platform and build a tool that to provide real-time end-to-end visibility into the sales and purchase order management system, SAP ECC, and probably the biggest benefit of the tool was enabling collaboration across those order management and purchase order batch functions.
The pandemic started a you know, a year ago and we we are on a journey to SAP S/4HANA, but currently running on ECC. And we also chose the the Business Technology Platform because we can provide immediate benefit on our current European platform and move immediately to our S4 platform with very minor changes and provide the same kind of value.
Would you mind expanding just a little bit about any new things that you’re able to work on things that you couldn’t do before?
A lot of what we were doing prior to all of this was pretty manual and a lot of duplication of effort. Through the use of the Business Technology Platform, we’ve been able to reduce that duplication of effort, increase visibility, accountability and collaboration. We’re planning to, achieve a 16,000 hours savings annually in labour across our customer service reps and buyers.
And probably more importantly, an improvement in our material availability to better serve our customers. Doing all of that allows our customer service individuals to provide better customer service, spend more time with our customers, spend more time on value added services. Less time on managing the supply chain, in the end that allows us to grow our business makes us successful and makes our customers successful.
Fernando we’re talking about a broad range of business and regions here, right? With a common thread being as I see it, the delivery of things that are essential to life. If someone else is watching this and thinks this kind of technology like a new ERP, such as S4 or a new platform, like the SAP Business Technology Platform, how could these new products from SAP improve their business? And how would they even get started?
Customers have asked me as well, you know, I really enjoy a lot more implementing S/4HANA and Business Technology Platform but can I make it in the easier faster, cheaper and integrated way. So Rise with SAP comes to really cover all of these customer needs, which is from my perspective, fantastic. And then we launched you know, in January, and we have had incredible response from our customers in general.
Thank you, Fernando and Ryan and Pedro, let’s send it back to the studio.
Keeping the lights plugged in and getting food on the table. The stakes don’t get a whole lot higher than that. Let’s go back to Juergen Mueller, Chief Technology Officer and member of the SAP executive board for some final thoughts on the points that our customers made today.
Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did. I’m always impressed by the transformation journeys of our customers. I loved to hear from Border States on how they used SAP Business Technology Platform to optimise and streamline their purchase and sales order management when COVID-19 impacted on supply chains.
And this is just one of many great examples that clearly showcases what we want to achieve to help companies run as intelligent enterprises.
SAP Business technology platform is the foundation to the intelligent enterprise, and the basis for all our business applications Intelligence Suite and the Industry Cloud applications. It’s fundamental for any business transformation because it enables to transform data into value and to maintain a clean core through integration and extension capabilities on the platform.
SAP Business Technology Platform also provides industry leading database services with SAP HANA, enterprise wide analytics, application development, and integration with pro-code to no-code tools, and business specific AI, and robotic process automation.
We help you modernise and reimagine your business processes as you need it. This is the unique value only SAP can offer. Because no one else understands business processes, data and industry specific innovations across an enterprise like we do. No one else can enable the business network across a comprehensive cloud platform. And no one else knows how to apply AI in the business context like we do.
We are turning into a platform powerhouse to deliver all the end-to-end scenarios you need to implement and to provide you with the agility to innovate whenever you have to, or want to. If you end we combine human ingenuity with intelligent technologies, you and we will be unstoppable.
If you want to learn more about how SAP Business Technology Platform helps you just Google SAP BTP.
To find us all scan these QR codes here to get to our website. Check out our news guide. Here you’ll find all the innovations we highlighted today and many more. And to dive deeper into the topic, make sure you check out our SAP BTP strategy paper.
Thank you so much for watching. Enjoy SAP Sapphire now 2021. And stay safe.
[Presentation closes with a discussion of Sapphire now social media interactions]