The Special Interest Group (SIG)/Innovation Team leads from eight different European SAP User Groups had their annual meeting with the SAP experts in Walldorf, on March 6th and 7th. The SBN participants included the SBN back office staff, the SIG/Innovation Team Leaders together with key people from Sariba, Statoil, NorgesGruppen, Norwegian Armed Forces (Forsvaret) and ISS.
We, in the SBN contingent, arrived the day before the meeting and this was a great way for the group to have time to get to know one another and to bond. The official meeting did not start until 12:30 on the 6th so we used much of the morning to discuss the SBN calendar of events for 2018 and to take input and feedback from our SAP customer members. This session was extremely useful for all involved and provided us in SBN with a better insight into customer needs and pain points. The information exchanged will be invaluable in planning future SBN strategies and events. The final activities of the first morning provided some useful networking with our SAP SUGEN contact, Brindha Safai and a closer look at the customer influencing programs where SAP customers have an early opportunity to provide feedback and influence SAP’s product development programs.
Thomas Saueressig, SAP Global CIO, gave the first presentation on the Day 1 program and this was about the journey to the “Intelligent Enterprise”. The key takeaways from this session were:
- Companies have limited time to make the journey to the Digital Enterprise. Those that do not adapt quickly run the risk of disappearing altogether and the average life expectancy of a company these days has now shrunk to 15 years.
- User expectations have changed dramatically as has consumer behaviour in key areas such as how people play, shop, watch and talk. These changes are creating new challenges and requirements for IT.
- A market trend is the emergence of systems of intelligence, basic chatbots, AI assistants, which are all part of the journey towards enterprise AI. During 2018, 75% of all software development will include AI or Machine Learning.
- Today’s reality is creating the need for new business models and a system need for new licensing models such as subscription based models where you pay for what you consume.
- SAP is well on its way in developing its augmented office based on Co-Pilot office assistant. We saw a short interesting demo that included voice interaction, augmented user experience and the use of a hologram for interaction with an absent employee.
- Enterprises that will succeed as intelligent enterprises are those that are open for change, can move quickly and focus on the use of applications that the users really need. Usage measurement for applications is important.
The second speaker was Markus Schunter, VP for SAP Portfolio Management who shared his thoughts on driving digital transformation with SAP Leonardo. The key takeaways here were:
- Leonardo is a methodology which helps customers implement completely different processes but in a stable environment. Mode1 development that you can do in the existing SAP systems is insufficient to drive digital transformation.
- Most CEO’s believe the next three years will be more critical to company success than the previous fifty. Companies that generate 50% or more revenue from digital ecosystems easily outperform others with smaller digital ecosystems but only 5% of organisations have mastered digital sufficiently to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
- Everything now is connected, everything is intelligent and every THING is in the moment. Which means that every business process needs to be able to be connected to every THING.
- There are different digital transformation strategies but the key words for success are Innovate, Integrate and Scale in a stable environment. Use Design Led innovation and Leonardo technologies and innovation services to scale to your project and scale at your pace.
- Get started through prototyping and digitise with fast innovation cycles in an agile manner. The Leonardo reference architecture is backend systems – mode1 and Leonardo components – mode2.
The final speaker for Day 1 was Thomas Reiss, VP UX and Fioiri, an Englishman with a german sounding name. He shared with us a presentation on CoPilot, which was available from S/4 HANA 1705. The key points of this digital assistant and BOT integration hub were:
- Humanised Next Gen. UX – conversational
- Business context aware – depending on business situation proactively suggests solutions
- Self learning – uses machine learning to gain knowledge of historic data
- Cross applications – aim is to have single personality and memory
- Open and Extensible – has extra skills through BOT’s, agents, API’s
The session completed with a relatively simple example on how to use CoPilot to order a headset and then a more futuristic way it could provide a daily briefing report in which it was working as a true, business assistant.
Day 1 rounded off with an evening event at our regular venue, Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg AG which provided us with great food, drinks and an ideal setting to continue our networking within and between the respective user groups.