SAPPHIRE NOW 2014, SAP’s largest customer event ever, was held in Orlando, USA on June 3-5. SAPPHIRE is The Venue for announcements by SAP’s senior executives – a huge audience starving for the biggest keynotes.
This time was no exception. SAP CEO Bill McDermott and SAP’s co-founder and chairman Hasso Plattner catered us over three hours of keynote speeches, layered with a variety of savory guest speakers, crunchy videos, dressed with loud-music and served to an on-premise audience of thousands and to probably tens of thousands remotely in the cloud. Condensed into a couple of paragraphs of blog is Fast-Food-For-Thought. A triple McPlattner with cheese.
I ate my McPlattner as take-away. My colleagues Jani Puroranta and Janne Vihervuori (a.k.a. decorated Bilot TV reporters) were on-site in Orlando and even published their coverage on YouTube.
How to compress 3,5 hours of keynote into a blogburger? In need to simplify everything. Coincidently, that was Bill’s punchline throughout his speech. The most intractable CEO challenge is complexity and one of the root causes has been companies’ endless management layers. In IT, the user-centric world has become increasingly demanding, we want everything ready in two clicks. Bill admitted that the magic potion of consumer-grade UX, SAP Fiori, shouldn’t have been separately priced but delivered free of extra charge. He announced that that would no longer be the case and those who had already paid for it, would be credited. He later gave other examples of SAP Simple Finance.
The sign of the times is that customer engagement and commerce is the future. It beholds endless opportunity and with hybris complementing SAP’s commerce suite, customers’ business can be empowered by the best commerce platform ever.
Not a keynote without cloud. The new formula of success is as simple as ‘Cloud+HANA=Simple’ Running simple means leveraging the cloud – SAP currently has 20 data centers worldwide, 36 million users spreading across 70.000 customers. Simply impressive.
The Future of Enterprise Applications was the headline of Hasso Plattner’s narrative. Before Plattner came on stage, Harvard Business School Prof. Clayton M. Christensen, who is widely renowned for his theories on disruptive innovation, explained The Innovator’s Dilemma and how it resonated well with Plattner’s and SAP’s dilemma. More about this in upcoming blogburgers.
Simplicity was also the underlining theme in Plattner’s speech. In addition to a somewhat academic introduction to the theme, we heard customer testimonials about radical simplicity but also about predictions of the future which outlined the threats and opportunities of exponentially-growing amount of data.
Bernd Leukert, newly appointed to SAP’s board of directors took a more practical approach. It was easy for me at least to agree with his headline “Software is the new source of competitive advantage”. Leukert addressed many phenomena which will amplify the need for better and simpler IT. Internet-of-things as a megatrend is estimated to increase the number of devices connected to the internet from 7 billion in 2014 to 14 billion in 2015 and to 50 billion by 2020.
SAP’s product strategy is based on a consistent core, single truth, single platform with SAP HANA, Cloud, OneUX (to amplify the human being), SAP Lumira and SimpleSuite.
As with any delicious burger, I felt quite satisfied after the last bite. Five minutes later I felt again hungry for more.