Coming off a challenging 2020, this year’s keynote had a pace of information that makes it clear SAP understands the new world we live in and its responsibility within it. In his second address to the Sapphire 2021 audience as CEO, Klein acknowledged the devastating effects of the pandemic—and then went on to highlight three key insights that the market should take away from the past year. These insights were:
SAP did an outstanding job, mostly on the shoulders of White, of weaving these three key insights into their new product announcements, the sharing of success stories and when discussing their role in today’s economy to “reinvent how business is won.”
With that foundation in mind, here’s a recap of the top five most noteworthy moments from the Sapphire 2021 keynote.
The Intelligent Enterprise continues to be the mindset for innovation within the SAP community. SAP announced new software packages (e.g., Upscale Commerce, Predictive Accounting), new functionality (e.g., incorporating employee sentiment into HR solutions from SuccessFactors) and industry solutions to help organizations adapt and solve real-world business problems. All of these new solutions leverage the Business Technology Platform from SAP. This platform provides the singular data model on HANA that spans the entire enterprise.
These advanced technologies can help businesses accelerate their transformation, with a focus on turning data into actionable insights and business outcomes for the whole enterprise.
Key Takeaway: During his keynote, Klein said, “Every company needs to be an intelligent enterprise and to have the courage to leave traditional business models behind.” For today’s business to truly succeed and benefit from SAP’s investments, they need to be willing to invest in and adopt advanced technologies with an eye toward the future.
SAP is investing significantly in its new RISE program, and they’ve now expanded it to include industry solutions—introducing specific application functionality required in key industries. SAP started with the announcement of five industry solutions within RISE—retail, utilities, IM&C, CPG and automotive—with plans to launch more in the future. For an organization considering S/4HANA in one of these industries, this news can help accelerate adoption, since SAP marries the technology and the business process into a single buying decision.
Key Takeaway: Since the January launch, SAP has reported 260 organizations signing up for the RISE with SAP offering. That number will likely increase thanks to the industry-focused solutions, which should result in easier buying and adoption patterns for SAP customers.
SAP is reimagining its role and evolving into a network provider for trading partners. With the purpose of connecting trading partners to help organizations not only continue to adapt as a result of COVID, but to better prepare for a future that requires diverse and resilient supply chains, SAP is looking to facilitate the onboarding of suppliers in their network to build a community of trading partners. With a focus on enabling agility and supporting growth, SAP wants to make it easy to identify and find potential suppliers on its network using filters and criteria important for buyers.
Key Takeaway: The SAP Business Network will leverage AI-based insights and APIs to connect partners and systems from SAP to the Ariba network and to other platforms, making it easier than ever to match the right suppliers with buyers.
In the Sapphire 2021 keynote, Plattner pointed out some of the false starts that SAP has had over the years with the cloud and SaaS. He mentioned that he now sees the “hockey stick” curve in cloud adoption. Plattner also mentioned that the rewrite of the SAP code over the past five years is complete, and the only work remaining is around the edges for additional industry-level solutions that will help businesses reinvent their business processes.
Key Takeaway: When businesses move from on-premises to the cloud, they should take advantage of that time to evaluate—and potentially reinvent—every process. When you carry forward existing habits and old business processes, you’re also bringing additional costs that are burdensome to the business.
SAP’s purpose goes beyond just building profits for their investors. Like all enlightened organizations, SAP is working toward a higher goal, and they rightfully view themselves as being an influential player on the world stage with the capability to improve our environment and our society. SAP’s solutions now include reporting and analytics focused on sustainability and carbon footprint, giving buyers key metrics about their manufacturing and supplier networks.
Today, SAP is succeeding in attracting emerging businesses with a focus on sustainability (their keynote focused on Allbirds, the popular sustainable shoe manufacturer)—and that focus is changing their image. In 2020, Klein’s keynote focused on sustainability, profitability, and resiliency—and those same themes were pervasive again in 2021’s address. This recurring messaging and steadfast focus on the environment will serve SAP well as they continue to provide solutions focused on a wider and more connected market.
Key Takeaway: SAP wants to make the work to create a sustainable business profitable and profits sustainable.
If there’s one major takeaway from the Sapphire 2021 keynote it’s this: SAP is on a mission to continuously push the boundaries on what it means to be a modern enterprise in a modern world. And along the way, they’re innovating on behalf of businesses everywhere to reinvent what it means to compete and thrive in the market.
But that’s just one major piece of a multi-faceted ecosystem. Charting your path forward with SAP means working with people who have the business experience and SAP knowledge to help you accelerate digital transformation while improving business performance and outcomes.
Here are a few resources to show you how Navisite can be a trusted partner in your ongoing business transformation with SAP.
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