SAPPHIRE NOW 2017: Highlights from Day Two

Friday, 19 May, 2017   /   Jan Devereux

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Day two started with one of those classic Hasso Plattner SAPPHIRE NOW keynotes. As one of the original co-founders of SAP, he’s in a reasonably unique position of being able to speak plainly about where SAP is at. His keynote session was direct, honest and to the point and he brought quite a relaxed and jovial atmosphere to the start of day two.

Plattner spoke quite a bit about SAP S/4HANA – a major focus for SAP over the last couple of years and something they have been driving hard, both from a development and marketing perspective. Plattner noted that the product is more or less complete as far as SAP are concerned. A large majority of the development team doing the work of moving functionality from ECC to S/4HANA has now moved on to the new platform – SAP Leonardo. A big focus of Plattner’s keynote was that SAP had delivered on their promises around SAP S/4HANA, and now it’s all about innovation.

And that was essentially the main thrust of the keynote: it’s time to innovate with new intelligent business systems. Plattner went on to paint a picture of the many technologies that make up the SAP Leonardo ‘toolkit’, and how they can be pulled out and used to put together yet unimagined applications.

 

Thinking about day two more broadly, a lot of the talk touched on a new ‘bimodal’ focus for SAP. The sense is that SAP is starting to think differently about how they set themselves up to innovate into the future. Here’s a brief run-down on what we heard:

  • Mode – 'Run': includes solutions like SAP S/4HANA, SAP S/4HANA Cloud, Ariba, Fieldglass, Hybris – effectively all of the cloud applications that sit around the core.
  • Mode 2 – 'Win': The SAP Leonardo platform. This is not a product as such, but a set of services that sits on the HANA Cloud Platform. With SAP Leonardo, SAP are addressing technologies like Machine Learning, AI, Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT). Speed of innovation is going to be driven on this platform. We’re hearing that SAP Leonardo, sitting on the SAP Cloud Platform, is now the platform for the innovation.

On a separate note, day two also saw us get up close and personal with SAP CoPilot. Branded ‘the Digital Assistant for Enterprise’, SAP CoPilot is the new digital assistant for SAP. Some of its features include:

  • Interacts via voice and text to create a human-like experience that goes beyond the screen.
  • Allows seamless transition across platforms; start a task on a mobile device and continue later on desktop.
  • Provides actionable insights based on business situation and context.
  • Learns new talents, created by you, to augment or personalise functionality.

On day two we saw some live examples of how SAP CoPilot is being used to keep users informed, and even fill in the gaps in the day which are traditionally wasted. For example, rather than having to wait until you get to the office SAP CoPilot can provide information on how to set your day up, whilst your driving to work.

SAP CoPilot has been built with the help of Google technologies bin behind. There was, in fact, a big announcement of an expanded relationship between SAP and Google, taking an initial partnership around customer openness and cloud choice (from March 2017), to the next level.

 

I then went on to attend the ‘Make Purchasing Awesome’ presentation - that isn’t a very commonly used phrase so it sparked my interest! SAP have just announced a partnership with IBM, in which IBM Watson will, in the future, be the intelligence machine behind SAP Ariba. The aim of the alliance is to “deliver cognitive procurement solutions that redefine the source-to-settle process”.  Leveraging SAP Leonardo, IBM Watson technologies and SAP Ariba, the solutions will bring intelligence from procurement data together with predictive insights from unstructured information to enable improved decision making across supplier management, contracts and sourcing activities.

So those are my highlights from day two. Check out our ‘Soltius SAPPHIRE NOW Hub’ for even more in-depth information on what we’ve been hearing and seeing. And if you’re keen for the full run-down, come along to one of our ‘Post-SAPPHIRE Update’ events, being held in both Wellington and Auckland in early June.

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