On a sunny October day at the Caribe Royale Orlando, the ASUG Florida Chapter recently gathered to share stories, connect with partners, and learn more to support attendees’ on-going journeys in the SAP ecosystem.

The turbo-charged agenda featured general sessions and two session tracks that focused on accelerating, expediting, and amplifying the business value that can be derived from current and future SAP investments, in between networking opportunities and chances to savor the beautiful Florida Chamber of Commerce weather, which brought low humidity and clear blue skies.

Accelerating Business Transformation Together

The Oct. 20 meeting kicked off with a warm Florida welcome from Dr. Staci Baker, ASUG Florida Chapter Chair and SAP Technology Consultant Director at PwC.

After providing an overview of upcoming ASUG events and reviewing the day’s agenda, Baker welcomed keynote speakers Deep Kwatra, Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Tushar Srivastava, SAP Specialist at AWS, to reflect on leveraging SAP on AWS to accelerate business transformation.

Together, Kwatra and Srivastava presented an overview of AWS—which provides an SAP-certified cloud infrastructure for running SAP HANA—and outlined various SAP customers using that infrastructure to migrate SAP workloads to the cloud. Customer examples that zeroed in on the importance of data and analytics within AWS while reflecting on business transformation included:

  • One customer that implemented an AWS data lake to unify 95% of enterprise data sources including SAP ERP Central Component (ECC), increasing analytics productivity by more than 80%
  • Another customer that used AWS AI/ML to sequence and release the first batch of their COVID-19 vaccine in just 27 days, while also scaling their SAP S/4HANA system using infrastructure as code to support the global distribution of 300M+ doses.
  • And a customer that used AWS services to enhance its customer beverage ordering experience with a mobile app and portal through SAP on AWS serving 25,000 retailers, restaurants, and vendors.

Chet Harter, Vice President, SAP Signavio Center of Excellence at SAP, next discussed the SAP Signavio suite for business process management (BPM), in the context of SAP S/4HANA implementations and updates, also reflecting on the role that generative AI can play in assisting with the use of many SAP business applications.

In SAP Digital Assistant for CX, combining SAP Customer Experience with generative AI, the technology can provide natural language marketing analytics, Harter explained, while SAP Transportation Management can leverage generative AI to help with goods receipt processing, and SAP SuccessFactors can use generative AI to auto-generate job descriptions and interview questions. Most of the attendees are currently evaluating the use of SAP Signavio, according to a brief poll taken at the beginning of the session.

Austin Aylworth, Associate Partner and Lead Trainer at Titan Consulting/Rapid App Werks, next took the stage to share with attendees how they can expedite SAP digital transformation journeys with low-code development. During the presentation, Aylworth discussed the low-code/no-code journey using Mendix, a low-code platform for enterprises to create, integrate, deploy, manage, and iterate modern business applications at scale. The platform can digitize customer experiences, automate business processes, and modernize core systems, according to Aylworth, who discussed deployment of the Mendix solution in the SAP ecosystem and shared several applicable case studies.

Amplifying Investments with Embedding Analytics, Safeguarding Strategies

Following lunch, Anurag Barua, Digital Transformation Leader at SAP, outlined for the audience how to turbo-charge adoption of SAP S/4HANA with Embedded Analytics. Barua explained the transformational nature of Embedded Analytics—a collection of SAP Fiori tiles in SAP S/4HANA that enable real-time operational reporting—and highlighted the benefits of embedded real-time and predictive analytics, which present reports to the user, heavy on analytics and intelligence, insight-to-action in one (S/4HANA) system, and is business and end-user driven.

Todd Doane, Solutions Architect at SIOS Technology Group, discussed safeguarding SAP HANA and key strategies for ensuring high availability and disaster recovery. Doane started his presentation by detailing what one hour of downtime can cost an organization, going on to explain how to minimize business downtime in the face of a disaster. Providing valuable insights to address disaster recovery concerns for SAP HANA, Doane’s presentation offered the audience the chance to empower their enterprises and keep critical business operations running seamlessly.

Doane’s recommendations include creating redundant nodes with geographic separation by maintaining copies of database instances, synchronously replicating data, and keeping a standby database running. Other proactive actions discussed during the conference included ensuring reliable, automated failover and eliminating human errors and manual hassle by keeping run books updated, cross training staff, and automating manual steps.

In Barua’s next presentation, audience members gained insights into why SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition, is positioned by SAP as its central software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ERP solution. During the session, Barua showed the attendees a sampling of the ERP solution’s capabilities and provided an overview of both business and technical benefits realized by deploying this solution. “Cloud mindset matters, and that is the key ingredient for success,” he reinforced.

David Perritt, Service Delivery Manager at SAP, meanwhile, addressed the digital skills gap in his presentation, which detailed the SAP Enterprise Support Academy and SAP Enterprise Support value maps. Using SAP Learning Hub as the delivery platform, both programs leverage a learning environment that Perritt described as “scalable, intuitive, social, and collaborative.” Bringing SAP closer to understanding and fulfilling customers’ needs, this advancement will ultimately enable customers to make the most of their SAP investment, he added.

Stephen Branch, Owner of Configurable Management, capped off the Chapter meeting with his presentation on digital modernization with business rules and workflow. Branch described Configurable Management’s DECISIONS step for SAP solutions as “technology’s multi-tool,” showing how rapid deployment process automation can be achieved without code (including through workflows, forms, business rules, reporting, and dashboards). Many of its common use applications include master data governance, active data governance, robotic process automation, capital expense request (AFE), and PR/PO release strategy management.

Jam-packed with information and inspiration, the meeting attracted members of the ASUG Florida Chapter from all over the state. Jeremy Evanchesky, Database Administrator at Polk County Public Schools, said that he took the day off from work to come to the meeting. “I am looking to get any information that I can to help simplify the process,” he explained, reflecting that he came away from the meeting enlightened and motivated to bring all that he had learned back to Polk County.

Meri Beth Dudich is a Content Producer at ASUG.

ASUG wishes to thank our Chapter volunteers Staci Baker, Cindy Seaburn, Jennifer Miller-Childs, Jessica Buhl, Melissa Jasmin, Pat Atkinson, Susan Zortea, and Iris Galarza-Vega; and sponsors AWS, Configurable Management, SIOS, Titan Consulting, Esker, Libelle, and Grom.

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