SAP Sapphire Now 2017 keynote noteworthies

SAP kicked off its Sapphire NOW 2017 conference this week in the heat and humidity of Orlando, Florida.

Known as the German software firm’s user, partner and customer conference, Sapphire has traditionally been presented as a ‘less technical’ event than SAP TechEd with its developer tracks. That said — something of a symbiotic business-tech balance appears to have happened over the last decade and now both events offer deeper dive technical developer elements for those that care to look for them.

Keynote welcomes

Triple chocolate muffins and ‘breakfast fruit cups’ out of the way and the opening keynote kicked off with SAP SE CEO Bill McDermott focusing on a session formally labelled ‘The Urgency of Doing’.

McDermott tag-teamed the first morning with Bernd Leukert in his capacity as member of the executive board of SAP SE products and innovation with a session entitled ‘When Software Becomes Strategy’.

Live blog notes

With all the swagger of a rock ‘n’ roll star, McDermott has claimed that SAP HANA has been adopted faster than any other product in SAP history. As a cloud-delivered ERP suite, HANA extends to rather more than ‘just’ Enterprise Resource Planning and can actually be used to apply a certain degree of software application development programming functionality to an enterprise IT stack.

McDermott also covered off a number of product and market-delivery news points including the SAP Cloud Trust Center site, a public website designed to offer real-time information on the current operations of cloud solutions from SAP as well as the company’s approach to security and privacy.

With so many trends now shaping the drive to so-called ‘digital transformation’, McDermott welcomed Michael ‘we used to be a hardware company but now we’re a software company, honest’ Dell on stage to discuss the factors driving digital business moves.

No breathing space for also-rans

But of course, this latest revolution is nothing new. We have seen the industrial revolution and the Internet revolution before now.

The difference in the past says McDermott is that there have (in previous revolutions) been opportunities to watch the revolution happen and see the actions of the early adopters play out. But in digital business, this breathing space for also rans does not exist claims the SAP CEO.

SAP Leonardo

Looking at SAP Leonardo, the CEO claims that this new product line is the biggest move the firm has made since SAP HANA. This product line was originally ‘just’ billed as SAP’s Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio. The firm now wants us to think of it as a wider ‘digital innovation platform’ combining IoT technologies alongside Machine Learning (ML) capabilities and big data analytics.

According to the firm, “SAP is introducing a jump-start program to help organisations identify and validate IoT pilots and use cases. A consultative service staffed by SAP line-of-business and industry experts, the jump-start program is a multiphase engagement featuring design thinking to match IoT innovations with customer strategies and objectives in achievable pilots with a clear path to business value.”

The methodology here is to start with a business problem, apply design thinking strategies and then rapidly prototype towards (what is hoped to be) workable software products explained the firm. The news here encompasses the fact that a new set of ‘industry accelerators’ have been created for use in this technology zone.

When we talk about ‘industry accelerators’, this very much plays into the area of automation where we can pre-plan and pre-program software code bases and data streams to behave in pre-defined ways based on use cases that have been proven to work in other application and database scenarios.

There is more to come…