Highlights from SAPPHIRE 2021

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Now the dust from Sapphire has settled, we wanted to take a closer look at some of the main announcements coming out of the event.

World’s largest business network

As reported by Computer Weekly, SAP’s CEO Christian Klein focussed on the creation of what the company is calling “the world’s largest business network”. At its core is SAP’s Ariba procurement network, which is now merging with SAP’s Logistics Business Network and Asset Intelligence Network. This means 5.5 million SAP users will be part of this connected community, and members of the ‘SAP Business Network’ will be able to access a single unified portal for their supply chain, logistics, traceability, and equipment management / maintenance needs. It marks a significant change in how SAP’s services are accessed by users and could bring with it new challenges.

Some industry analysts are still to be convinced, with Joshua Greenbaum of EA Consult stating (as quoted in Channel Futures): “How do you onboard that critical mass of suppliers and partners to make it worthwhile. The Ariba Network is a good starting point, but it is not in any way a done deal. There are many moving parts and there’s a lot of work to be done.”

RISE-ing up

Another big announcement at the event was the addition of more applications to RISE, including support for more business functions and industry verticals, as reported in CIO magazine. This means that HR and procurement capabilities have been added to the platform. More widely, SAP is now offering to host industry-specific applications for retail, consumer products, automotive, utilities, or industrial machinery and components (IMC) as well.

Shopping experiences supercharged

SAP also announced widespread updates to Upscale Commerce. This offering is designed to sit -between small-scale consumer offerings and large-scale enterprise online commerce solutions. The online commerce, no-code system, will be most of use to mid-market retailers, allowing businesses to rapidly create an omnichannel shopping experience with relative ease. As reported in Tech Target, this refresh will compete directly with Shopify Plus.

Despite the toned-down Sapphire due to the pandemic, it’s clear SAP is continuing to evolve its products and services. As your user group, we will be following these latest developments closely, and will continue to push for further details so you can make informed decisions about your latest SAP investments.

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