We’ve got another SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference under our belts, and we’ve seen a lot: the intelligent enterprise, opening moves taken in an epic battle to own the CRM market, Olympic athletes, and Justin Timberlake. Costco’s pilot program using SAP Leonardo and machine learning to reduce waste in its bakeries has been so successful (delivering $100 million in savings across 30 pilot locations) that the retailer plans to roll it out to all bakeries and other fresh food departments. Adidas is using intelligent enterprise technology to create a “speed factory” where custom products are manufactured for customers in 24 hours.
But while SAP introduced technology for forward-thinking companies and an ambitious plan to take on established players in the CRM space, it also raised questions—and left some unanswered. Here’s our take on this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference.
No longer a brilliant artist or a wayward ninja turtle to those in the SAP world, SAP Leonardo was introduced last year as a loosely grouped set of tools for machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, analytics, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. SAP even featured “The Leonardo Experience” on the show floor, a giant immersive kiosk with an admission line wrapping around it. The immersive kiosk this time focused on SAP as a company instead of any one product.
This year, exhibitors mentioned SAP Leonardo, but SAP didn’t have much to say about it. When it did come up, it was typically in the same breath as the idea of the Intelligent Enterprise, which trumped most other topics as SAP’s focus. Appearances by Costco and Adidas, particularly Adidas’s 3D booth, on the show floor and in the keynote brought these ideas to life.
Have the Questions About Indirect Access Been Asked and Answered?
Surprisingly, SAP made no mention of its new documents-based licensing model or issues of indirect use, a topic that made its way into Bill McDermott’s keynote last year and that still concerns SAP customers. SAP may consider this question asked and answered after its April announcements about its new licensing model and the changes to its audit process.
In the ASUG Education Zone, however, we had a lively standing-room-only session that covered some of the common questions on indirect licensing: what is use, what kinds of audits exist, what are the nine document types included in the documents-based licensing model, and how does the new model work with connections to third-party interfaces, such as Salesforce or EDIs. Other discussions clarified that customers don’t have to move to the new model if it doesn’t make sense for their business. And that it’s important to keep an up-to-date and accurate list of users and user types.
At ASUG, we’ll continue to cover this topic because we know customers have a lot more questions. We’ve done our best to clarify issues around indirect use on our Licensing Resource Center. And we also have an ASUG U course on licensing in the pipeline, so stay tuned.
What Does C/4HANA Mean for Users?
The introduction of SAP C/4HANA provides a cohesive CRM strategy for SAP, which previously had been fragmented into Hybris, Gigya, and other acquisitions and products. It also poses the question: Will SAP’s attention be diverted from its core ERP business as it continues to develop SAP C/4HANA and push into the CRM market? What will that mean for customers?
SAP announced that SAP C/4HANA will fully integrate with its business applications. But what kind of integration support will SAP provide to users who choose another CRM system? The keynotes indicated that SAP is open to integration, but only time will tell how well this will work.
Users Are Still Grappling With SAP S/4HANA
Meanwhile, amidst all the new product announcements, users on the show floor were just beginning their SAP S/4HANA journey and looking for related tips. “We’re about to upgrade to S/4HANA,” said Sylvia Deyo, Senior Business Analyst at Graphic Packaging International. With the goal of simplifying IT, she attended sessions to learn how to structure teams and particularly found customer sessions useful from a planning perspective.
“We just got to S/4HANA. Now [Bill McDermott] is talking about C/4HANA,” Deyo said. “We just have to get to S/4HANA.”
Similarly, Boeing is just getting started with its SAP S/4HANA journey, according to Robert Reynolds, Product Owner. He found the ASUG Education Zone sessions especially useful, particularly one on quality management. Additionally, he found it interesting that Lockheed Martin, a Boeing competitor, is using the cloud as a sandbox.
Where’s the SME Space?
Last year, the show floor had a small but obvious small business solutions campus that encompassed Business One, Business ByDesign, and SAP Anywhere. With the demise of SAP Anywhere, products for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) seemed thin and almost impossible to find. SAP is still committed to Business One and Business ByDesign, according to Luis Murguia, Senior Vice President and general manager, Business One and Business ByDesign. But the redesign of the show floor may have been confusing to SME attendees.
Finally, Some Additional Coverage of Interest
Analyst Josh Greenbaum joined us for a panel discussion on licensing at ASUG’s Executive Exchange on Monday, prior to the conference kick-off. Josh shared his own take on this year’s event in The Bad, the Ugly, and the Good: Speeding Through SAP’s SAPPHIRE Show.