According to SAP, an intelligent enterprise is one that “uses the latest technologies to turn insight into action across the business—in real time. And as a result, that organization can accelerate data-driven disruption and process automation, launch new business models, deliver exceptional experiences, and more.”

Pushkar Ranjan, solution expert for the Intelligent Enterprise Solution Engagement at SAP, adds, “It all boils down to the experience—be it customer, employee, product, or brand—that an organization wants to provide and how it leverages intelligent technologies to do so.” Doing so, after all, is the key to remaining relevant and competitive in today’s experience economy, and it’s why SAP is focusing so much effort into providing its customers with the tools they need to be, well, intelligent.

Pushkar has been involved in helping customers understand how to leverage SAP and intelligent enterprise technology to solve business problems as well as meet business objectives for more than 19 years. His deep understanding of these topics and all its nuances makes him the ideal person to lead an ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar on the subject, offering customers a full day, multitrack deep dive into the intelligent enterprise. He sat down with ASUG to offer insight into the seminar and what attendees can expect to learn.

Sharon: Pushkar, although SAP has been talking about the intelligent enterprise for a couple of years now, it’s still somewhat of an elusive concept to follow. Can you break down SAP’s vision for the intelligent enterprise and discuss all the technologies that fit within it? How can an organization begin to understand where to start?

Pushkar: The key for any organization is to first start with a crystal-clear definition of the outcome it is seeking or problem it is looking to solve. For example, if your desired outcome is to design a new customer experience, you’ll want to go through the exercise of setting broad and narrow parameters of achieving that outcome. Once you start narrowing it down from the big experience, you can start thinking about specific KPIs that drive that experience.

Let’s think about an industrial machinery company selling large format machines. The company will want to think about ways to identify future problems with a machine before it inconveniences a customer, or it will want to prevent breakdown altogether to eliminate any production downtime. Leveraging intelligent technologies like the IoT and machine learning can drive a better customer experience. SAP has a vision to enable end-to-end experiences across your enterprise.

There are a set of different technologies—AI, machine learning, IoT, blockchain, and RPA, just to name a few—but if you have a well-defined outcome or problem statement, then you’ll have a clear vision of where to start. And as a solution vendor, SAP will help you navigate the future solution landscape and understand how an intelligent technology fits into the mix to solve the problem.

When you can have an informed discussion, uncertainty is minimized at the time of decision making. As a vendor, SAP doesn’t want customers to get bogged down into technology X versus technology Y discussions. The goal is to focus on the business outcome and then follow on from there as they leverage various technologies. The answer sometimes may include multiple technologies working with each other, and sometimes there may only be the need for one. There will be this notion of integration across these technology and solution spaces—both inside SAP and with third-party solutions—using database and data management capabilities to either reformulate data or create appropriate data sets to provide a customer experience.

Sharon: Can you provide a general overview of the ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar you’ll be leading at SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference? What can attendees expect to learn?

Puskar: The seminar—Thrive in the Experience Economy with the Intelligent Enterprise—will focus on how to leverage intelligent technologies. SAP will also share information on SAP Guided Outcomes, which are prepackaged bundles designed to solve some of these next experience-management challenges that customers of SAP are grappling with.

The seminar will offer a general overview of intelligent technology-powered solutions at the beginning of the Pre-Conference Seminar and then break into multiple tracks designed to dive deeper into how each intelligent technology works and how it can be used. We’ll talk about IoT and blockchain and explain how to solve problems. We’ll cover AI, machine learning, algorithms and frameworks, as well as chatbots and RPA.

We will talk about big-data and data science to create solutions you can integrate within your intelligent enterprise landscape. Data science is a very important discipline in helping customers come to grips with big data sets and to be able to create intelligent business processes.

The goal is that attendees will learn how to use intelligent technologies to create intelligent business processes to power their enterprise to serve to the needs of the experience economy.

Sharon: What advice would you give attendees on how to navigate through the multitrack format and how to best choose which track will offer the most insight for their needs?

Pushkar: In an ideal scenario, I’d recommend that an organization send more than one attendee and cover multiple tracks at the Pre-Conference Seminar. The unfortunate reality of a lot of these technologies is that they are expansive, and they have enough content behind them to stand on their own. 

Together, these technologies offer end-to-end solutions. Knowing that, the best way to cover everything is to send multiple attendees to focus on each track, and then get together to draw a common thread by connecting the dots through everything that they’ve learned.

If you can only send one attendee, I advise that that person stay in one track throughout the seminar. Granted it will be a limited focus where they will be exposed to a very specific domain of intelligent technology, but it will serve your purposes better to get a comprehensive understanding of one technology domain rather than jumping across domains.

The detailed agendas will be made public before the seminar, so attendees will know which topic will be discussed at what time. If they feel confident in doing so, there is potential to jump tracks and connect the dots that way.

Sharon: Will there be opportunities for attendees to learn more throughout ASUG Annual Conference?

Pushkar: Absolutely. ASUG runs an excellent educational program throughout the rest of the conference, and it’s an opportunity for attendees to learn more. The presenters for the ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar will be available throughout the conference. All the presenters will make it a priority to point out specific educational opportunities throughout the conference.

Sharon: If content might be repeated during the ASUG Annual Conference, what then makes the seminar different? Why should a company send attendees to an ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar?

Pushkar: I’ve been an ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar presenter for almost 10 years now. And I can tell you without hesitation, the value is in the experience.

For starters, the Per-Conference Seminar is a much more intimate setting in comparison to show-floor sessions or general sessions. You can really get deep with whoever is presenting the subject. You have a full day to take in as much information as you need and ask questions when you need clarification.

The Pre-Conference Seminar lends itself to having a dialogue with experts as well as other customers who may have the same questions/concerns you have. Peer-to-peer interaction is encouraged, and that’s especially true in my seminars. I encourage people to be very open and—without sharing absolute specifics related to IP—to at least give everyone else an opportunity to understand what they are trying to do in their enterprise when it comes to embracing some of these intelligent technologies into their business processes. It will be a very rewarding experience.

Sharon: Aside from having access to experts and peers, what else can attendees expect to have access to?

Pushkar: When designing the agenda for this seminar, our intent was to share use cases that are real. Even if we cannot share specific customer names, the content we discuss will be based on what we’ve experienced in real-world scenarios.

I also encourage all the presenters to start the seminar off by allowing the room to share problem statements, expectations of the session, and let us know what they want to hear. This sets the stage for an open exchange and for success for both the presenters and the audience to be able to tailor the messages that are the most relevant for attendees.

Sharon: What are the tangible takeaways attendees can expect?

Pushkar: At the end of the seminar, attendees will have a base understanding of how to identify potential problem statements in their enterprise. They will have learned tips, tricks, and tools to help design solutions for those problems.

Beyond that, they will leave with a sense of direction on what else they want to learn about during SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference that will better position them to enable intelligent-enterprise business processes within their own organizations.

Sharon: What advice would you give a first-time ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar attendee?

Pushkar: First and foremost, research the intelligent enterprise business process problem you want to solve. You may not have a specific and narrow scope at the first go-around but know what your organization is trying to solve in terms of the big picture. Next, read up on literature that’s available either via ASUG or SAP on the intelligent enterprise, and come to the Pre-Conference Seminar with questions. Come to have discussions and be open to learn. That’s the value of an ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar. The setting is so rich that you can fully and truly engage in a very meaningful manner both with the presenters and your peers.

Register today and save your spot for the ASUG Pre-Conference Seminar, “Thrive in the Experience Economy with the Intelligent Suite.”