SAP customers and SAP executive speakers shared their experience, expertise, and expectations during this month’s ASUG Best Practices: SAP for Cloud conference held—how else—virtually.

The event emphasized customer stories that recapped progress, success, and challenges in cloud technology adoption, balanced by SAP executive sessions focused on innovation and sustainability initiatives.

While ASUG previously previewed several Cloud conference sessions, highlights below include additional briefs on select keynotes and customer conversations.

Three Leader Panel

In a keynote panel on “Innovation First, Cloud Second,” David Robinson, SAP SVP and Managing Director, Customer Success, quizzed leaders of three SAP customer organizations on their cloud journey results-to-date and shared wisdom.

“Cloud was the catalyst for a wider IT transformation” to drive acceleration and innovation,” according to Vincent Petit, Inchscape ERP and Finance Systems Director. Petit added that RISE with SAP and cloud are at the organization’s IT strategy center with additional SAP solutions in its future, including SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Signavio.

He contrasted the organization’s “old world” on premise versus today’s cloud technology that supports systems that are “faster, more secure,” with greater simplicity and “future proofing.”

Tim Coyle, Mrs. T’s Pierogies IT Director, said cloud let his team become a stronger organizational business partner when asked for new applications and services. “It’s allowed us to say yes, we can do that…with speed.”

In addition, the transition to cloud “elevated security as a priority for the company,” Coyle said. He added that the shift to Google Cloud was smooth and gives him confidence: Google Cloud will put more money in security than Mrs. T’s ever will.”

Tara Gambill, Senior Director of Enterprise Systems, recalled that MOD Pizza was among the first on SAP S/4 HANA Public Cloud because of the “options and opportunities” it gave the fast-growing business. Gambill said the company leverages SAP SuccessFactors and the Business Technology Platform, as well and “in some cases co-innovates” directly with SAP.

While cloud delivers a “firehouse of opportunities,” Gambill emphasized the importance of: “partnering with the business to understand their outcomes…a focus on people and their own technology journeys” and determining the “skill and will” of people involved in any technology journey.

Cloud Accelerates Pace of Change

In another keynote session, Bob Evans, Cloud Wars Founder, reinforced themes highlighted in his three recent ASUG Guest Perspectives. Evan illustrated the shift from cloud’s early days as “an intriguing technology to replace some of the old ways of doing things” to the current cloud landscape that “lets CIOs and business technology leaders create IT organizations as sources of great growth” and innovation.

He said SAP is among the cloud players accelerating the pace of change in areas that include:

  • Industry Cloud
  • Sustainability Solutions
  • Automation/Innovation
  • AI and ML
  • Cybersecurity end-to-end solutions
  • Quantum computing, with cloud as the delivery vehicle

The Human Dimension in Cloud Journeys

Gina Carlson, VP Technology, Moen Inc. said cloud enabled the company to take a holistic “approach to processes and data” to deliver exceptional customer experiences, and build loyalty, through a “modern CRM platform” that began with SAP Sales Cloud, then Service Cloud, followed by Commerce Cloud and Marketing Cloud, and more.

Carlson recapped results that include exceeding the organization’s three-year revenue target by 30% and shifting all sales agents to fully digital, all-remote workstations. Yet between the technology shifts, the project and change management, and business goals, Carlson said Moen also set key success criteria to scale efforts behind “open communications, active engagement, and trusting relationships.”

Jamie Burgin, Abiomed IT Applications Director, reviewed the company’s implementation of SAP S/4HANA and SAP Fiori, and listed next technology projects including SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP Ariba and SAP GRC solutions.

But she said technology initiatives must come once leaders “prepare the organization’s soul” and “fertilize relationships.”

“There’s a human dimension to our work. It’s most important and the hardest to get right,” Burgin said.

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