In the second part of our conversation with Lou Meshulam, Head of Cloud, SAP North America, we discuss the SAP Cloud roadmap and strategy, automation in the cloud, and partners’ roles in the cloud space. Read the second half of our conversation.

ASUG: Can you provide a highlights tour of what 2022 holds in terms of the SAP Cloud road map and the overall strategy?

Lou: Our overall strategy continues down the cloud path. One of the things I'm personally really excited about, and our customers are too, is historically SAP has done some acquisitions in the cloud, whether it's SAP Ariba, SAP SuccessFactors, or SAP Concur years ago. We've also had some homegrown organic cloud solutions, such as our supply chain and analytics products.

What we've focused on in development is getting greater consistency across our cloud solutions portfolio. There has been a lot of talk about integration, and we have made tremendous progress on integrating our cloud assets together. We are bringing our solutions together as part of one cloud suite with a consistent UI across our cloud solutions, one workflow inbox, common domain models, and a standardized analytics platform. That’s the unified vision we’re working toward today. That is going to drive a better total cost of ownership and better value for our customers, so I'm thrilled about bringing these cloud solutions closer together.

ASUG: How near-term is this further integration? What are customers going to see first, second and third?

Lou: Our customers can access our published road map and drill down into specific solution areas, cloud suite qualities, or even features of interest to them. Our road map has all the different functions across the different lines of business, and the associated timelines.

We also recognize that we won’t be the sole provider of innovation. We have a fantastic partner community that delivers tremendous industry- and process-specific content that our joint customers can leverage.

ASUG: If you were talking to me as a customer, what best practices would you recommend?

Lou: When we talk about cloud migrations, the thing I stress is the continuous innovation cycle. This is different from an on-premises model. You're going to receive new releases with enhancements, and you have to plan how best to consume those capabilities to further optimize your business processes.

As a recommended best practice, customers should utilize the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) to extend, integrate, and innovate. BTP also includes artificial intelligence,

machine learning, robotic process automation, and a host of other services in one connected platform. What's exciting about that is not only have we opened up that platform to our customers, but we have opened up that platform for our ecosystem to extend our solutions.

ASUG: What partner ecosystems are the most important to supplementing the SAP strategy?

Lou: I've been part of the SAP family for 15 years and our partners play a huge part in our success and our customers’ success. We have 20,000+ partners around the world helping our customers transform and adopt cloud technology. They play a pivotal role in helping our customers innovate. The role of our partner community will only continue to grow.

ASUG: From a strategic standpoint, what industry cloud advancements are in the spotlight?

Lou: Our industry focus has always separated SAP from everyone else in the marketplace. SAP has gained deep industry knowledge across 25 industries. And that knowledge is leveraged in SAP’s industry cloud to support customers with their digital transformation.

There’s plenty of development happening around the industry cloud. Some of the top industries we’re focused on right now are automotive, utilities, consumer products, manufacturing, transportation & logistics. This is built on our common underlying technology platform, fully integrated with the intelligent enterprise…using intelligent technologies, including predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to create new user experiences that unlock new levels of efficiency.

We have customers and partners fully engaged in the process. Many industry cloud solutions by SAP and our partners are already available today, and more solutions are on the innovation road map.

ASUG: Is there crossover between the industry cloud and the push for more automation?

Lou: The push for automation is not limited to industry cloud solutions – it goes across the entire enterprise. As we look at how we drive further automation for our customers, we are focused on driving efficiency in key business processes and delivering value. SAP Business Process Intelligence allows customers to quickly identify areas where automation can have the greatest impact.

ASUG: Is there anything else you want to mention related to the overall cloud strategy or what the ASUG community can expect in the next year?

Lou: The value we drive for our customers is our true north. Our focus is on ensuring that we enable and empower our customers to achieve their desired outcomes. Building on the strategies that we’ve outlined, our customers can expect SAP’s rate of innovation to continue to accelerate.

The ASUG community can continue to expect our commitment to your success. Finally, I’d like to thank ASUG and our customers for their ongoing trust and partnerships.