What to expect from SAP Sapphire Madrid

German efficiency meets Spanish flair and iconoclasm. That may the impression that SAP is going for by hosting its Sapphire NOW and TechEd 2012 conference in Madrid.

This week’s event will lean heavily on customer experiences with SAP. This in itself will need to be a carefully orchestrated affair given the degree of technological change currently being rolled out across the total SAP stack.

Real-time predictive analytics

SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott is keen to speak forcibly on the “post PC world” populated as it is (albeit somewhat conceptually) by mobile and cloud technologies all of which (in the gospel according to SAP) should be driven by social apps that tap into “real-time predictive analytics”, for this, of course, is where one of SAP’s main strengths lies.

This importance of mobile is can not be overstated. People in Kenya are skipping meals to pay their mobile phone bills says McDermott, who also calls mobile the “gateway to the middle class” … like this is a totally positive thing, which it is for most of us, apart from some Kenyans perhaps.

Also speaking this week is SAP’s other Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe and SAP executive board members including (he’s kind of like the lead technology evangelist but they don’t call him that) Dr. Vishal Sikka. You can expect to hear the words “innovation” and “customers” quite a few times, for sure.

Showboating or real guts?

But is this week just about corporate showboating in front of customers? Is SAP going to spend the whole week talking about “leveraging unique mission-critical big data experiences on the cloud”, or will we be able to dig into the implementation level guts of what’s happening inside HANA and the rest of the SAP stack?

The firm promises to explain some of the substance behind its approach to “applied analytics for the business” and show how customers are using it. There will also be a chance to see what’s happening at the development and implementation coalface with the TechEd element of this event running right alongside Sapphire.