SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando Review: SAP’s Rapidly Evolving Focus on Ubiquitous OnDemand, Real-time Solutions

Whether you’re reading articles in the news or had the wonderful opportunity to be there in person, when we look back a few weeks at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, there’s one thing we can agree on – a key take away from the appropriately named conference was “NOW”.

In more words, most would say OnDemand solutions and real-time data were the key themes. But, perhaps the conference token was HANA, the future technology of SAP. HANA delivers “NOW”. The in-memory database combines transactional data processing, analytical data processing, and application logic processing functionality in-memory, essentially removing the limits of traditional database architecture that have severely constrained how applications can be developed to support real-time operations.

Jim Hagemann Snabe, Co-CEO of SAP, said it best, stating, “We believe, at SAP, that there is a next generation cloud on the horizon. It is a real-time cloud. It’s a cloud that’s built on technology, that’s in-memory.”

Snabe also made a few predictions about realities we’ll experience in the next five years, if not sooner:

  1. Everything will be mobile.
  1. Everything will reside in main memory.
  2. Everything is cloud.

While the first two predictions are fascinating, especially when we look at mobile, both require cloud to operate. This is where keynote speaker Lars Dalgaard, founder and CEO of SuccessFactors and a member of SAP’s Executive Board, opened our eyes to tomorrow’s cloud and four key approaches, including software as “Line of Business Solutions” the customer side,  for people, financial solutions, and procurement, as well as the integrated Cloud ERP Suites.

SAP and SuccessFactors introduced these ideas at SAPPHIRE NOW:

Cloud Solutions for customers. Social media has created new channels for the way customers want to interact with businesses and their sales forces, and SAP has broadened its portfolio of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to help companies leverage the full power of social networks. Consider one of your global accounts. If you’re required to talk to 20 countries, you need to talk to everyone 24/7. Fortunately, everything can be added into SAP Sales OnDemand and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions. With the Social Customer Engagement OnDemand, companies engage intelligently with their customers via social media such as Facebook and Twitter as part of their multichannel approach for both marketing and service professionals.

Cloud Solutions for people. Throughout the world, SAP has more than 200 resources to help ensure that local regulations and complexities are addressed and updated within its payroll solution. Its on premise payroll system that integrates with cloud-based SuccesFactors’ Employee Central helps manage people more effectively along end-to-end HR processes, from strategy to execution. The solution is planned to be available in 10 countries, and today it’s already leveraged by a number of strategic partners as a platform to offer business process outsourcing services.

Cloud Solutions for finance. Sophisticated financial applications require experience and expertise. While the “SAP Financials OnDemand” solution is targeted for large enterprise customers to manage their core financials, it helps manage order-to-cash and invoice-to-pay processes as well. In addition, mobile capabilities with the ability to capture and process expenses directly from a mobile device will also be made available with a new release of the SAP Travel OnDemand solution.

Cloud Solutions for suppliers. The growing importance of procurement and interaction with vendors continues to be a key factor for businesses. That’s why SAP is investing in the SAP Sourcing OnDemand solution, for strategic sourcing, supplier and contract lifecycle management integrated on premise with SAP Business Suite, as well as its business networks solutions. Supplier applications will be based on SAP’s Sourcing OnDemand.

Cloud ERP Suites. The two strategic strong pillars from SAP in Cloud ERP Suites consist of SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Business One OnDemand. These two cloud-based ERP Suites offer customers integrated enterprise process services out of one hand. All customers benefit from the cloud-based business model to enrich their user based services or reduce them if necessary. Both solutions meet the demand of fully integrated ERP Suites, as well as the advantage to be used as subsidiary solution.

Today, businesses need to react much quicker to changing HR, customer, financial and supplier market environments. While this demand for dynamic access to raw data in real-time continues to grow, SAP’s focus on cloud solutions is clear. Using SAPPHIRE NOW to explain this renewed focus, from HANA and in-memory tools to the four Line of Business solutions listed above over to the Cloud ERP Suites, we can expect to SAP establish all necessary interfaces between these solutions.

For itelligence, these new technologies and solutions will not only help its customers decide what software to select and implement, but offer better, more customized business experiences with quicker implementation of software that’s most user-friendly, mobile and easy to use.

What are your impressions about the most exciting SAP developments happening NOW?

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