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SAP Sapphire Virtual Event 2022: Wednesday 11th May

The second day of the virtual event began with an introduction and preview of what to expect by Katie Linendoll.

She introduced the day’s themes of business transformation, managing disruptions and innovating with cloud technology.

This was followed by a short video presentation on Rise with SAP

Innovate First and Move to the Cloud


Brian Duffy, President of Cloud, SAP
Maura Hameroff, SVP, ERP Product Marketing, SAP

Our Summary

This session was split into two parts, an interview by Katie Linendoll with Maura Hameroff, SVP, ERP Product Marketing, SAP followed by an on stage event broadcast from Orlando featuring Brian Duffy, President of Cloud, SAP.

Maura Hameroff on Rise

The interview with Maura began with her description of Rise with SAP.

“Our customers want to embrace the latest technology, but how to start, where to start, how to prioritise? That’s where Rise comes into play: to help our customers throughout that journey on how to prioritise, where to start, has three key elements.”

These elements are analysing the existing business landscape at a company and their required business outcomes, utilising tools and products to make it successful, and ensuring access to all of the services required on that transformation journey.

Maura emphasised that because every business is different, Rise is tailored to each company’s specifications, and to their desired speed of transformation, and gave the example of a battery manufacturing company which required a closed loop so no byproducts go to landfill.

The presentation then moved on stage with Brian Duffy, SAP President of Cloud.

Brian Duffy

Duffy said that Rise was launched to help customers address various transformation challenges: connecting technology with various strategic ambitions:

“How were they going to safeguard the existing investments that have already been made in their technologies? And then how are they going to leverage the ecosystem in order to deliver for them? But at the same time, how are they then going to manage the ecosystem and all of these vendors to deliver for them now at the same time, one thing which is hugely important (and probably the most important thing) is how are they ultimately going to deliver on the transformation on time for their business.”

He then reiterated that since the launch SAP has gained over 2000 customer of all sizes, and that SAP has partners and integrators who are using Rise for their own business needs. Integrators have also launched their own offerings to compliment Rise.

He said SAP aims to deliver a clean core, driving innovation and continuous improvements for customers.

Interview with GE Current CIO Mark LeClair

He then introduced his guest CIO of GE Current, Mark LeClair.

GE Current, is an offshoot of General Electric, formed in 2019. LeClair’s role was to establish the company as a separate entity and build the business. In February 2022 GE Current acquired Hubbell Lighting with the intention of developing lighting and intelligent controls for commercial and industrial businesses.

Initially GE Current was running on ECC and by the acquisition had moved partially to S/4HANA, and then decided to adopt Rise with SAP.

LeClair said that because they were under tight time constraints Rise was a convenient option. It also allowed GE Current to leave behind customisations and leverage a simple, standard solution so that they could concentrate on running their business and manufacturing their product.

He said that making the case for this change to the board was fairly easy because they did not have to think about IT infrastructure as a business and the financial case was easy to make as well. The partnership with SAP allowed them to complete Rise adoption within “approximately 45 days”.

He pointed out that they were only taking data from their initial ECC system and that along with IBP and other SAP services they will have established a very standard core.

This has enabled a future in which GE Current expect to be bringing the two companies closer together and focussing on a sustainable capabilities building for their products. It will also allow them to take advantage of some of the manufacturing innovations like automation and robotics.

Embrace Bold Leadership for Lasting Change [Customer Keynote Session]


Scott Russell, Head of Customer Success, Member of the Executive Board, SAP
Geoff Scott, Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG)
Art Sebastian, VP of Digital Experiences, Casey’s
Melissa Goldman, VP, Corporate Engineering, Google

Our Summary

Scott Russell hosted the next session which was the customer keynote.

After a video introduction which set the theme for this session: as a leader, how to overcome doubt and resistance to the change of enterprise transformation, Scott set up a lively discussion.

All In it Together

He began by observing that SAP does not just build technology but also want to make themselves accountable for the transformation journey. He pointed out that SAP have 23,000 partners and millions of people make it their business to help companies run SAP. Among SAP’s partners are Wipro, NTT and IBM, as well as Accenture. These and many more partners in the ecosystem work with SAP’s 100,000 employees, Scott said these people are invested in making SAP work for their customers. That when the company SAP is working well then those who use its technology and services benefit as well.

Casey’s Transformation

His first guest was Art Sebastian, VP of Digital Experiences for Casey’s. Casey’s is a leading convenience retailer operating in the US. They have over 2400 stores.

Scott asked Art what instigated the Casey’s digital transformation in 2018.

“We were celebrating 50 years of existence and we had a lot to celebrate. We had surpassed 2000 stores were having great success. We leaned into investments like our own supply chain and distribution centre, and we put kitchens in all of our stores… there was a moment in 2018 when we reflected a bit and we asked ourselves, what does it take to be successful for the next 50 years? …We’ve got to modernise this brand. And that means the way our stores look, the way our stores are merchandised, the way our brand visual identity shows up…we want to become a more contemporary version of ourselves… And the digital experience was the first expression of the model.”

At this point Scott said that 65% of Casey’s revenue is now digital, and asked what SAP’s role was.

“SAP helped us think through how to customise our experience to meet the needs of our business. And that’s not easy because you’ve got that traditional model that you’ve already been established. You’re successful at your customers understood that in you’re trying to reinvent the way they engage with you in a different way.”

He illustrated the point that SAP allowed them to build experiences, by describing a create-your-own-pizza application that they collaborated on.

Leadership to Create Change

The discussion moved on to how leadership is required to overcome resistance to change, which is particularly strong when a company has a successful business model already.

“I think it requires leadership. And what I mean by that are a couple of things: listening to the team. Listening before you speak… having empathy and understanding what others on the team are thinking as you lay the vision out. And I think ultimately, laying out the vision and making sure that the vision is our vision… everybody’s on the same page and that helps evolve the culture of the organisation.”

Melissa Goldman of Google

The next guest was Melissa Goldman, VP of Corporate Engineering for Google. Scott began by asking her what was happening at Google currently.

“In my CIO capacity, I have the responsibility of bringing the best of technology and engineering to the Google community so that we can ultimately serve our internal stakeholders, our customers in the maximum way… with it comes a lot of dimensions as to how to deliver value. I’m responsible for all of the enterprise functions and so transformation initiatives as they applied to our finance portfolio… beyond that our HR systems, our compliance… it is a vast array of different kinds of responsibilities. One of which I think is quite compelling right now… following the pandemic and this whole hybrid environment: creating fairness and equity in how people do their jobs going forward. Recognising that the workforce is changing around how we work, and where we work, and ensuring that everyone sort of has that equal opportunity.”

Scott then asked about Googles digital transformation and use of SAP products. She replied that while Google is a very prominent company its still comparatively young and because it has focussed on speed of growth there has been al lot of fragmentation of business process, and other architectures that support Google.

Why Google Chose SAP

As the fragmentation of different areas of the company occurred it became constraining and so the corporation was looking to update and strengthen the core of its business processes. Despite the fact that Google has some of the worlds best engineers they chose SAP as the industry leader to be their transformation partner.

“We wanted to ensure that we had the right rigour, the right data model, the underlying foundation of what we were sort of building on top of all of this. We engineered over 500 different processes in order to make sure that we were normalising, rationalising, simplifying…we were migrating to new reference data standards… ensuring we were embedding those principals.”

Google now runs its finance operations on S/4HANA, and by consolidating its data and applying consistent data models Google is now able to apply all kinds of data science to that.

Google has also been enabling SAP on Google Cloud and that new capacity has allowed them to go up a level around security, and this has helped them understand how to improve the experience of their customers as well.

Geoff Scott from ASUG

The next section of the session was a speech by ASUG’s CEO Geoff Scott. The speech discussed the role of ASUG in the SAP ecosystem and how they are supporting stakeholders within that system during these changeable times with education, career advice and peer support.

Scott Russell wrapped up the session with a marching band playing behind him, reinforcing the themes of leadership, and working together to achieve great things.

After another brief discussion of Rise with SAP in context, the next main session was all about S/4HANA Cloud.

Build the Future of Your Business with SAP S/4HANA Cloud


Jan Gilg, President and Chief Product Officer, SAP S/4HANA
Kris Cowles, SVP, Information Technology, Topcon Positioning Systems Inc.

Our Summary

The next session was presented by Jan Gilg, SAP’s President and Chief Product Officer for S/4HANA. It began with a short film demonstrating how a smart electric vehicle he drove told him the battery was running low and he would be redirected to a charging station on his way to the airport.

He used the film to illustrate how far technology has come, and pointed out that many customers and companies are still using outdated technology.

“They look into the rear mirror in order to steer their business, instead of looking forward: predicting, simulating, and so on, and SAP S/4HANA Cloud is really here to change that. It is here to be a catalyst actually for this change.”

Navigate Uncertainty

He said the modern ERP solution helps companies navigate uncertainty, and that it is becoming more necessary because of the increasing number of disruptions to the global economy.

“Intelligence has to be at the core because intelligence is enabling prediction, forecasting, simulation, and it really can have an impact on helping you to navigate. It’s also about putting those insights into action: taking the real-time data and then using pre-defined business rules and powerful analytics, and really putting that into action in automated business processes, and doing this above and beyond the boundaries of your own enterprise, really tapping into a business network, tapping into your ecosystem where we extended those business processes.”

S/4HANA and the Green Line

He went on to say that S/4HANA is now adding sustainability and environmental information, with ESG reporting so that businesses can move from greenwashing towards true green accounting and accountability.

This will have a massive impact on the environment because of the sheer number of S/4HANA users.

Jan said there is momentum and opportunity in disruption as well, because S/4HANA can deal with complexity and allows for real-time decision-making. He gave the example of an IT agribusiness:

“Their mission is actually to take on some of the most significant social challenges by meeting increasing consumption needs, and improve the quality, safety and sustainability of food and consumer goods. And they’re using a highly integrated quote to cash process, which is part of SAP S/4HANA Cloud. It helps them to go from selling individual products and services, to selling bundled solutions, including software subscriptions services, and hardware like IOT devices. The result is a higher food outcome for consumers, but also higher efficiencies and profits for farmers and ranchers.”

Next he discussed S/4HANA integration with Microsoft teams and Office, and Google Workspace.

The Topcon Digital Transformation

He then introduced his guest, Kris Cowles, SVP of Information Technology for Topcon Positioning Systems Inc. She explained what Topcon’s business was:

“Topcon is a company that provides productivity solutions for the commercial construction and agriculture markets. We do everything from satellite positioning technology, to guided large vehicles and machinery, to laser surveying, and 3d mobile mapping.”

She pointed out that these technologies help construction and agriculture industries more productive using less resources.

Topcon began using S/4HANA in 2017. They had a large ECC environment for manufacturing locations, and wanted an agile edge solution which would standardise these processes. By implementing a two-tier model they were able to standardise, learn and innovate while at the same time avoid disruptions to their mission critical processes, all in a rapid time frame. Topcon had not anticipated that the implementation would very positively impact their financial organisation.

The conversion moved on to the potential benefits that are now available from AI and automation. It also covered the idea that with an ongoing relationship with a cloud software services provider companies like Topcon are able to evolve significantly.

Jan finished the presentation commenting that investing in a digital backbone to an intelligent enterprise can be a catalyst for change in many industries.

Register for Access to More Sessions

At this point in the day audience members were asked to choose their own presentation pathway from among several options. These will be available as on-demand content along with sessions from other days, and it is not too late to sign up to get access to some of these in-depth interviews with SAP partners and customers, on how they have used SAP products to bring about digital transformation of their own enterprises.

For now we will share with you below the summaries from the content catalogue, so you can see what is waiting for you.

If you are looking to reassess your SAP career get in touch with the IgniteSAP team and we will take you through some of the wonderful opportunities that are available to you.

Activate the Power of SAP BTP to Accelerate Innovation [204]


JG Chirapurath, Chief Marketing & Solutions Officer for SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP
Kerri Tenbrunsel, Senior Vice President, Head of Business Technology Platform, SAP
Ragunath Ramanathan, Chief Revenue Officer, SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP
Ashish Parmar, Chief Information Officer, Tapestry Inc.

Embark on a digital transformation to improve organisational agility and resilience. Learn how SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) accelerates innovation and unlocks business potential with enterprise-ready capabilities like application development, integration, data and analytics, and AI.

Portfolio categories:

Data and Analytics (including Data Management), Financial Planning and Analysis, Integration, SAP Business Technology Platform

Transform for a More Resilient, Sustainable, and Innovative Business [205]


Stefan Krauss, SVP, Global General Mgr, Discrete Manufacturing Industries, SAP
Peggy Gulick, Dir, Digital Transformation Operations and Smart Factory, Kohler Co.
Oliver Steil, CEO, TeamViewer

You want your organisation to be resilient and sustainable in the face of a wide range of challenges that may come your way, but you also need to innovate to grow. Transformation is the key to optimising your business, and SAP’s industry cloud strategy is designed to help you deliver it.

Portfolio categories:

Manufacturing, Supply Chain Planning

See How to Transform Your Business with SAP Solutions [206]


Maura Hameroff, SVP, ERP Product Marketing, SAP
Andre Bechtold, SVP, Head of Value Experience, SAP
Eric Van Rossum, Chief Marketing and Solution Officer for SAP S/4HANA, SAP
Aneesha Shenoy, Chief Operating Officer, SAP Business Technology Platform, SAP
Sally Eaves, Chair of Cyber Trust and Senior Policy Advisor, Global Foundation of Cyber Studies
Vince Zuk, Sr. Director Digital Architecture, Development, and Innovation, Mohawk Industries
Mirko Saul, Director Innovation, Schwarz Digital GmbH & Co. KG
Kevin Lauth, Senior Manager IoT Store Integration, Schwarz IT KG

Hear how customers are transforming their businesses and using innovative technology for a successful future. Learn how SAP Business Technology Platform and industry cloud solutions can help.

Portfolio categories:

SAP Business Technology Platform