Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board of Products and Innovation for SAP, delivered the keynote at SAP TechEd 2018 in Las Vegas this week, making two major announcements. The first was the general availability of the SAP Cloud Platform for ABAP environments with Kubernetes as a service, and the second was about the latest release of SAP Data Hub 2.3 and the beta version of the SAP Cloud Platform Functions service.

Opening Containers in the SAP Cloud

The new cloud-native development, deployment, and life cycle management capabilities in the SAP Cloud Platform now give ABAP developers the ability to build and run ABAP code in the cloud. The platform is an integrated framework of tools, languages, and libraries for developers to efficiently and rapidly build enterprise business services and applications, according to SAP. The platform also offers Kubernetes as a service for SAP Cloud Platform in private beta. This will give customers the option to deploy containerized business application workloads in the popular open-source Kubernetes environment with flexibility and ease. These container-based business applications can be managed in the customer’s public cloud of choice.

2018 SAP TechEd Leukert Keynote
Photo Credit: SAP

During Leukert’s keynote, attendees received the Kubernetes announcement with enthusiasm. The ABAP’ers in the Las Vegas convention center also cheered on the new SAP Cloud Platform capabilities.

Intelligently Using Data

The second announcement focused on unifying data and processes with the release of Data Hub 2.3. The newest version of this all-in-one solution will help users manage metadata assets, support governance, and accelerate data-driven processes across an entire landscape.

Falko Lameter, CIO of Kaeser Kompressoren, a manufacturer of compressed air and vacuum products that runs SAP Data Hub, said the company uses the product to manage and integrate Internet of Things data with customer data. It helps the company increase productivity and improve operational agility, ticket handling, and product innovation.

“The cloud is everything,” Lameter added. “The most important thing to consider when starting this process is knowing your product, what data is really important, and what that data can derive.”

During his keynote, Leukert said that, “This technology will define the winners, as well as the losers in business over the next three to five years.” He then showed the audience how SAP innovations combine people, processes, and data to power the intelligent enterprise through three entertaining on-stage demos.

From Tweet to Sale

In the first demo, Ian Kimbell and Jana Richter of SAP showed how a fictional automobile company can respond to a customer’s tweet and convert it into a sale, mashing up data from a production management system (such as SAP S/4HANA) with social data (Twitter). Kimbell demonstrated this by live-tweeting a photo of a car on stage, and then using the artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to generate a response tweet in a matter of minutes. (At one point, audience participants began to like Kimbell’s tweet so they could see their Twitter handle pop up on the screen.)

The technology allows the potential customer to preconfigure a car using augmented reality, and then find a local dealer. This would make the experience seamless from the moment the customer sees the car on the street, to when they arrive at the dealership and pick out delivery options.

“It’s very exciting,” said Yomesh Sharma of BB&T Operations Center. “It’s a leap forward the way SAP is trying to engage its customers, and also help its customers engage their customers.”

Event Triggers and Paint Jobs

In the second demo, Kimbell and Richter showed how the company can continue the relationship with the customer using SAP Cloud Platform Functions, which were configured on stage in a matter of minutes. In this case, Richter extended the SAP Cloud Platform using APIs integrated with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, allowing the company to create event triggers. For example, when the customer’s car was being spray-painted red, the manufacturer could capture the car’s image and tweet it to the customer at that exact moment.

In the last demo, Kimbell and Richter showed how SAP Data Hub could help the car dealer better target customers for an upsell. They demonstrated how the hub can collect and analyze information from several areas, including car telemetry. This can capture data that tells them which cars are running out of power too quickly, as well as on customers who schedule service appointments for their cars too soon—all coupled with inventory data from SAP S/4HANA.

Tracking Customer Happiness

The “oooh ahhh” moment of the day was when the demo tapped into facial-recognition software with a sentiment scale that tracks the happiness levels of customers. Kimbell placed a Skype call to a customer and suggested a couple of maintenance items that required attention. When they began discussing price points, the software indicated in real time how the customer felt about the conversation.

“That was the best part of the keynote for me,” said Jody Brott of Rizing. “The information that organizations will be able to extract from that technology will never be available using a customer survey.”

Leukert started the keynote by stating, “We have the privilege of sitting in the front row to seed and drive that business revolution together. We are committed to bring everyone along on the intelligent enterprise journey.” He ended by challenging everyone in the room to find their own organization’s path to becoming an intelligent enterprise.

Learn more about SAP’s vision for the intelligent enterprise in our coverage of the 2018 SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG Annual Conference. Or if you're wondering what went on at 2018 SAP TechEd in Barcelona, you can get a taste of tapas, the clean core, and spacemen.