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SAPPHIRE NOW 2011 SAP’s annual SapphireNow conference staged in Orlando Florida in May featured the who’s who and the what’s new for the world’s biggest software company. Nathan Luck reports Co-CEOs on convergence Co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe discussed the recent acquisitions and convergence of platforms transforming SAP into a one-stop shop offering end-to-end solutions. With innovation being one of the key themes of the conference, the pair discussed the pace and complexity of innovation set by Apple for the consumer market in terms of both new categories and new versions, and how it differs from enterprise software. “There is one big difference. In the consumer world, everyone accepts that once a new version comes along, you throw away what you already have. That’s not true in enterprise software,” said Hagemann Snabe. The commitment around speed of innovation has been a key focus, according to Hagemann Snabe, with the company very explicitly defining innovation as not just the launch of the product, but its consumption as well. “We believe there is an opportunity to add categories, but we are adding them in non-disruptive ways, so it’s not throwing what you already have away, it’s extending what you have. We benefit from the fact that the core that we have is already very modernised, service-oriented architecture which enables us to extend that core in much more rapid cycles,” Hagemann Snabe added. The value of Vishal Sikka’s vision of ‘Timeless Software’ is now being realised, where different layers in the enterprise software stack can evolve at different speeds, and the company is demonstrating this ethos with three new categories added over the past 12 months. “This new innovation is changing the game for customers,” said McDermott. “Avon is a prime example. When you have 6.5 million sales reps calling on customers, if you move from a paper-based and catalogue-based world to a truly digital device world, where all the choices the buyer can make are captured in that digital device, the buying experience is beautiful and the selling experience is beautiful.” McDermott added that companies can now possess all the real-time analytics that need to be performed in a boardroom to see how things are going on the front line on a moment-by-moment basis. “Finally there is the demand-driven supply chain, where everything from your inventory replenishment all the way through to the supplier network is handled – you now have

26 Inside SAP magazine

an end-to-end connected company. Only now has technology come together at the enterprise level where this end-to-end innovation is actually possible.” Speaking on the significance of rapid deployment solutions, Hagemann Snabe said, “It’s the core of this notion ‘How can we make software easier to consume?’ The rapid deployment solution is created to accelerate the implementation in the on-premise world. We have seen with the rapid deployment solution where we pre-configure industry-best practices so we can go out and install an on-premise CRM system in weeks, instead of months, and many times this year we have already beaten on-demand versions based on TCO, because it is much faster, and it’s much cheaper. Accelerate the adoption and simplify the consumption.”

Timeless Software explained Kaj van de Loo, SVP Technology Strategist for SAP, gave a presentation on creating real value from rapid innovation through ‘Timeless Software’. Talking about how this concept enables companies to adopt innovative products in existing system landscapes, van de Loo said, “It’s our way of designing our products in such a way that they can evolve gracefully over time. It’s also our way of bringing innovation to you without disrupting existing systems.” As an example, Van de Loo outlined a typical SAP landscape – ERP system, Business Warehouse, applications like NetWeaver tying them together and Solution Manager. “How do we open up these systems in such a way that we give people access to this data without changing the underlying system? The answer to that is the Gateway that we spent the last two to three years designing and that we are now releasing as a product. It was designed specifically to make consumption of data and functionality in the Business Suite easier independent of what front-end technology you want to use with it.” Van de Loo added that the Gateway is designed to be like a firelane between the somewhat complex world of SAP applications and the simple world of modern UI technologies, and a relatively simple way of developing, for example, mobile applications, or applications in Sharepoint. “What we have achieved with the Gateway is that the mobile developer or Sharepoint developer never has to leave their native habitat – the development environment they are comfortable with.”

Inside SAP Winter 2011  
Inside SAP Winter 2011  

All the latest on SAP in Australia and New Zealand.