It’s the season: SAP is ringing the opening bells for its annual SAPPHIRE NOW conference. For the first time in history it’s not the annual pilgrimage of +20,000 Customers, Partners and SAP employees descending on Orlando, but instead a virtual event. I am ashamed to say I’m a bit of a “Sapphire groupie” as I think I’ve attended 32 of them over 24 years since 1996 (there was a time when Sapphires were held in multiple locations around the globe). This year is different and I will miss the rush and excitement of the announcements, the reconnecting with customer and partner friends and of course finally relaxing at the concert with my team when everything is finally done. My personal favorite memory is still Stevie Wonder (I think it was ’96?). While for obvious reasons this year is very different, it’s no less exciting when it comes to showcasing the innovation engine of SAP and its partner ecosystem. Some early thoughts below following the opening keynote.
As SAPPHIRE 2020 kicked off, SAP CEO Christian Klein elaborated on how companies will continues to ‘survive and thrive’ in the new economic realities. SAP’s evolved “Intelligent Enterprise” strategy centers around empowering businesses to become more intuitive through new business models, automation and real-time insights. By leveraging these innovations SAP enables companies to become more resilient, profitable, and sustainable.
To me the key message is “intuition,” which is the right idea. For we humans it means the process that gives us the ability to know something directly without time-consuming analytic reasoning and a bridging of the gap between the conscious and nonconscious parts of our minds. It also describes a balance between instinct and reason. For complex organizations these capabilities have been sought after for years (think of all the machine learning, data lakes and IoT initiatives), all with the aim to increase speed (to make the right decision), agility (in responding to disruptions), and flexibility (in case the chosen actions need to be altered).
For the Intelligent Enterprise to work organizations need intuition: relevant insights based on accurate, comprehensible, and real-time data, allowing them to respond quickly to changing conditions. Underpinning this is the imperative to become a “data-driven enterprise,” which I’ve defined as “an iterative approach to automate and optimize business processes as conditions evolve.” – See my recent article with thoughts on how to get there.
At Magnitude, we believe that the ability to tap into real-time insights is determined by an organization’s technology, core systems, and processes. This begins with having a solid data management foundation, yet this remains one of the biggest enterprise challenges. Consider the current IT landscape realities: many different databases, often multiple systems of record, and multiple ERP solutions that facilitate the processes that enable businesses to run and operate. Furthermore, each technology solution has its own proprietary and complex data model; data is stored and often protected in silos, and the skills and expertise to make sense of the data within these systems are often held by just a few.
As a strategic partner, we’re co-innovating with SAP and helping customers drive more value from their ERP data through automation, interoperability and insights by:
- Increasing predictability and speed by removing labor intensive and non-differentiated data functions;
- Unifying data connectivity across all data sources and applications;
- Enabling real-time SAP data integration from heterogenous mission critical ERP environments;
- Operating smarter by enabling process owners with deep, context-aware and actionable insights.
Over the past 12 months we have introduced many innovations to simplify the journey towards the “data driven enterprise”. Process Runner now enables entire enterprises to automate and govern extraction and loading from the convenience of Microsoft Excel, including support for Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365). Our Excel-based GLSU solution automates everyday business processes by empowering SAP financial users to build spreadsheet templates and post data directly into SAP. SourceConnect automatically integrates SAP Central Finance with now more than 20 (and counting) third-party ERP solutions. And Angles for SAP, our unique “Insights to Action” operational analytics platform now runs natively on HANA, providing deep and actionable insights in the state of the organization across Finance, Supply Chain, HR and Manufacturing.
SAP continues to lead the pack as the largest global ERP and business applications provider and we’re broadening and deepening our commitment to SAP customers with data management and productivity solutions for SAP-run businesses. To dig deeper on our SAP solutions, check out our resource library.
I wish you a great SapphireNow Reimagined. There are a lot of great topics on the calendar, including the Sting concert at the end of it. Looking forward to “seeing” you there,