Cloud tops the agenda at this year’s Sapphire conference

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SAP CEO Bill McDermott was on hand to give the keynote presentation, on a ‘Run Live, Run Simple’ SAP theme. One of the most interesting snippets from McDermott’s keynote was an admission that SAP has not listened closely enough to customers, or been as forthcoming as it should be when it comes to sharing plans and roadmaps.

At the UK&I SAP User Group, we have maintained for some time that SAP must work more closely with customers if they are to realise the benefits of SAP’s solutions – which includes sharing the company’s roadmap. Indeed, we recently conducted research of our members on this question; it found over half (52%) of users said that a lack of clarity around SAP’s roadmap is one of the biggest barriers to adopting SAP’s cloud solutions.

Beyond the keynote speeches and headline grabbing presentations, there were also a number of announcements from SAP. One of the biggest announcements centred on a planned deeper integration between SAP and Microsoft. This partnership builds on an existing agreement that was made in May 2014. The original agreement was designed to let customers use some SAP applications, such as Business Suite and SAP HANA, through Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Now, the partnership will allow SAP users to run even larger development, test, and production workloads in SAP’s HANA, sitting on Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure. The theory behind the partnership is that HANA will process data even more quickly on Azure. According to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who also spoke at Sapphire, this move will “accelerate customers’ businesses”. SAP is also integrating some of services, such as Fieldglass, Concur, and SuccessFactors, with Microsoft Office 365 – the companies hope this will make it simpler for customers to use both SAP and Microsoft solutions, and therefore increase adoption.

As ever, with any development in the world of SAP and cloud – the most important thing for users is the ability to build an attractive business case for adoption. To find out more about how the User Group can help your business answer its questions on cloud and stay up to date with developments, get in touch.

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