(Image credit/SAP SE/Sapphire Now)SAP CEO, Bill McDermott, opened the SAPPHIRE NOW event in Orlando, Florida this week. SAP reaffirmed its commitment to provide enterprises with the operational tools to support efficient innovations in business processes.

The company has invested nearly $70bn in innovation since 2010. McDermott confirmed 200 million users in 190 countries are innovating HR, sales, marketing, finance, procurement and other business processes in the SAP Cloud. McDermott reiterated the company’s commitment to innovation with a range of new announcements. These included the company’s flagship products such as the SAP HANA business data platform, SAP S/4HANA and the SAP C/4HANA suite.

Project Elevate

For instance, Accenture and SAP announced plans to co-develop and co-innovate to accelerate the development of the SAP C/4HANA suite. The partnership will build industry-specific solutions that elevate digital customer experiences.

The initiative, called Project Elevate, includes the formation of industry consortia with market leaders among automotive original equipment manufacturers, business-to-business component manufacturing and utilities. The consortia will help to define and design these industry-specific experiences. The solutions will be built on SAP C/4HANA cloud-based solution portfolio. It will leverage deep product knowledge and industry experience from Accenture Interactive and Accenture Technology.

Apple is on the rise in enterprise

SAP and Apple also announced that CORE ML, Apple’s on-device machine learning technology, will be available for the first time as part of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS. The next version of the SAP Cloud Platform SDK, enables businesses to create custom, intelligent iOS apps powered by SAP Leonardo. Machine learning models will automatically download to iPhone and iPad. Apps can run offline, and then dynamically update while connected to SAP Cloud Platform.

Through the partnership with Apple, SAP has rebuilt its most popular mobile apps for SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Concur solutions. Together with SAP Asset Manager, these apps will run natively on iOS. Fully integrated with iPhone and iPad, to maximise security, performance and the latest platform innovations from Apple. SAP today announced it will expand its native iOS experience across its broader applications portfolio, starting with SAP Ariba solutions.

(Image credit/LinkedIn/Bill McDermott)
Bill McDermott, CEO at SAP

According to McDermott, “Apple is on the rise in the enterprise. Our customers love the unmatched security and ease of use iOS is known for. It also gives them a superior platform to build game-changing business apps.”

Building on the success of its iOS efforts, SAP also announced it will expand its app offerings to the Mac, with new apps that match the ease of use of SAP iOS apps. The new native Mac apps will bring the richness of the SAP iOS experience to the desktop world.

SAP practising what it preaches

SAP is also busy practising what it preaches. For more than a year, the company has been promoting the concept of the Intelligent Enterprise. SAP defines Intelligent Enterprise as a business that enables data to feed intelligence which in turn feeds process automation and innovation. Christian Klein, COO at SAP says SAP is transforming itself into an Intelligent Enterprise by piloting the company’s own applications before it goes to market. “We believe the best-run businesses are data and process driven. I am always SAPs first customer and trust me, I am very demanding as an internal customer. We are committed to helping businesses deliver on the promise.

When SAP launched the intelligent enterprise value-drivers, the company identified three key issues that resonated with its customers.

  1. Innovation and AI – AI remains a key focus point in SAP’s development. How can SAP tools increase the effectiveness of an enterprise and reduce employee resources on labour intensive business processes.
  2. Real time steering. Having tools such as SAP C/4HANA which can enable businesses to steer the company with real time end-to-end data and information.
  3. Integration – the foundation of Intelligence Enterprises.

Klein confirmed that this was SAP’s plan to move away from technical integration into business process integrations. Such integrations will be vital to support Intelligent Enterprises.

Enterprise Times: What this means for businesses?

As a result of working closely with customers across the globe, SAP has built up a thriving eco-system. This eco-system allows businesses to move at their own pace on their digital innovations journey.

The company is now making a big play to encourage customers and clients to harness data-driven business processes to fuel new growth and revenue streams. SAP argues that the adoption of this innovation, which includes AI and automation, leads to more efficient business processes. Enterprises can then direct scarce resources where they’re needed most.

It is a superb move by the company to ‘practise what it preaches’ and pilot the changes first, before pushing it out to the market. However, the proof will be in the pudding and publishing the direct results of such internal changes within SAP.


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