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Unlocking Opportunities with SAP: Key Takeaways from SAPPHIRE 2024

Sapphire 2024

As the CEO of Optima ECM Consulting, I had the privilege of attending SAP SAPPHIRE 2024 and witnessing firsthand the transformative vision laid out by Christian Klein, CEO of SAP, and other SAP leaders. For those who couldn’t attend or missed vital information, here are the essential highlights that stood out to me.

Generative AI Integration

SAP is focusing heavily on integrating generative AI across its solutions, with its AI assistant, Joule, playing a pivotal role. Joule boosts productivity and user experience by managing tasks, generating reports, and providing strategic recommendations. This integration creates a seamless AI experience across various business processes, making operations more efficient and user-friendly.

Christian emphasized that by the end of the year, Joule will handle 80% of the most-used tasks, boosting productivity for 300 million users by 20%. Joule’s integration with Microsoft 365 Copilot ensures a smooth experience across platforms, further enhancing productivity and operational efficiency.

One of the most exciting aspects of Joule is its ability to understand and process natural language. This means users can interact with SAP systems more intuitively simply by speaking or typing their requests. This natural language processing capability significantly reduces the learning curve for new users. It increases overall productivity by making accessing and utilizing the full range of SAP functionalities easier.

Joule’s ability to manage tasks includes scheduling meetings, setting reminders, and generating complex business reports. By automating these routine tasks, Joule frees up valuable time for employees to focus on more strategic activities. Additionally, Joule’s strategic recommendations are based on real-time data analysis, ensuring users have the most accurate and up-to-date information to make informed decisions.

Expansion of AI Use Cases

SAP is doubling the number of AI use cases embedded in its solutions. This expansion includes new capabilities in procurement, where AI can streamline purchasing processes, and in sales, where predictive analytics can enhance customer engagement and sales forecasting. These innovations provide extensive opportunities for enhancing business operations and meeting clients’ evolving demands.

For example, AI-driven procurement features in SAP S/4HANA Cloud allow buyers to describe their needs in natural language, generating recommended product bundles, saving time, and boosting efficiency. The AI can analyze past purchase data, supplier performance, and market trends to suggest the best products and services, ensuring that procurement decisions are cost-effective and high-quality.

Similarly, SAP Sales Cloud’s AI capabilities offer predictive forecasting and personalized recommendations. Sales teams can use AI to predict the likelihood of closing deals, identify the best products for each customer, and determine the optimal time to engage with clients. This reduces the manual effort required for research and planning, allowing sales professionals to focus more on building relationships and closing deals.

The expansion of AI use cases also extends to other areas, such as customer service, where AI chatbots can handle routine inquiries, and human resources, where AI can assist in recruiting by screening resumes and scheduling interviews. By embedding AI across all these functions, SAP enables businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively.

Joule for Consultants and Developers

SAP introduced Joule for Consultants and Joule for Developers to accelerate project delivery and enhance development efficiency. Joule for Consultants helps SAP’s 6-million-strong consultant community to speed up projects by 30%, allowing faster implementation of SAP solutions. Joule for Developers, especially those working with ABAP, offers AI-generated code and support, boosting productivity and speeding up application development. These innovations ensure that consultants and developers can deliver high-quality solutions more efficiently.

For consultants, Joule provides various tools to streamline project management and implementation. It can automatically generate project plans, track progress, and identify potential issues before they become significant problems. This proactive approach allows consultants to deliver projects on time and within budget while improving their work’s overall quality.

For developers, Joule offers advanced coding assistance, including AI-generated code snippets and real-time error detection. This reduces developers’ time writing and debugging code, allowing them to focus on creating innovative solutions. Joule can also help with unit testing and code optimization, ensuring the final product is reliable and efficient.

Additionally, Joule’s support for ABAP developers is particularly noteworthy. By analyzing over 250 million lines of ABAP code, Joule can provide highly accurate suggestions and improvements, making it easier for developers to maintain and extend existing SAP applications. This is a game-changer for businesses that rely heavily on custom ABAP development.

RISE with SAP and GROW with SAP

SAP continues to drive clients towards S/4HANA while attracting new prospects. The evolution of RISE with SAP now includes a dedicated enterprise architect for each customer, providing enhanced support during their transformation journey. Additionally, enhanced business process management tools via Signavio and aligned application architecture through LeanIX offer a robust framework for digital transformation.

RISE with SAP, which now supports around 110,000 systems, focuses on redesigning business models, adopting industry best practices, and simplifying end-to-end processes. This approach ensures a clean core, eliminating unnecessary custom code and facilitating the rapid adoption of new technologies. The GROW with SAP initiative, which includes SAP Sales Cloud and SAP Concur Expense at no additional charge, is designed for midsize enterprises, facilitating their transition to cloud-powered, AI-first operations.

Adding a dedicated enterprise architect for each RISE with SAP customers is a significant enhancement. This role provides personalized guidance and support, helping businesses navigate the complexities of digital transformation. The enterprise architect works closely with the customer to develop a tailored roadmap, ensuring that each step of the journey aligns with their unique business goals and objectives.

Enhanced business process management tools via Signavio allow businesses to visualize, analyze, and optimize their processes. By identifying inefficiencies and areas for improvement, businesses can streamline their operations and achieve greater agility. LeanIX’s application architecture alignment further supports this by ensuring that all SAP and non-SAP applications work together seamlessly.

The GROW with SAP initiative is particularly beneficial for midsize enterprises needing more resources or expertise to independently manage a full-scale digital transformation. By offering pre-configured solutions and best practices, GROW with SAP makes it easier for these businesses to adopt advanced technologies and compete on a level playing field with larger organizations.

Partnerships and Ecosystem Expansion

SAP is expanding its partnerships with tech giants like NVIDIA, AWS, and Microsoft to elevate AI offerings. These collaborations enhance AI capabilities and deeply integrate SAP solutions with cloud services and productivity tools. For instance, integrating with Microsoft 365 Copilot and support from AWS’s AI initiatives create a more comprehensive and seamless user experience, opening new avenues for innovation and growth.

Christian highlighted SAP’s unique position to infuse AI capabilities directly into business processes and workflows. This integration is further strengthened by partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud, ensuring that SAP customers can leverage the best of AI technology to thrive in the AI era.

NVIDIA’s partnership with SAP brings advanced GPU capabilities, enabling faster and more efficient AI computations. This is particularly beneficial for applications that require real-time data analysis and decision-making, such as predictive maintenance and fraud detection.

AWS’s collaboration with SAP enhances the scalability and reliability of SAP solutions. By leveraging AWS’s extensive cloud infrastructure, SAP can offer customers more flexible deployment options and ensure high availability and performance. AWS’s AI and machine learning services complement SAP’s offerings, providing additional tools for businesses to innovate and grow.

Microsoft’s integration with SAP through Microsoft 365 Copilot allows users to switch seamlessly between SAP applications and Microsoft productivity tools. This integration enhances user productivity by providing a unified experience across platforms, making accessing and sharing information easier.

Platform and Infrastructure Developments

The SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) continues to be a core element, facilitating the integration and extension of SAP solutions. BTP enables clients to build tailored solutions and drive digital transformation for enterprises. Additionally, BTP is the foundation for many of SAP’s new AI capabilities, including the Generative AI Hub, allowing customers to develop their AI use cases using a broad set of large language models. This platform-centric approach ensures that customers seamlessly integrate new technologies and deliver value to their organizations.

BTP’s open architecture allows for easy integration with SAP and non-SAP applications, allowing businesses to choose the best tools for their needs. This flexibility is crucial for businesses looking to innovate and stay ahead of the competition.

The Generative AI Hub is a particularly exciting development. The hub allows businesses to experiment with different AI technologies and find the best fit for their specific use cases by providing access to a wide range of large language models. This experimentation can lead to new insights and innovations, driving business growth and competitiveness.

BTP also supports the development of custom applications, enabling businesses to address unique challenges and opportunities. Businesses can create powerful solutions that drive efficiency and effectiveness by leveraging BTP’s advanced analytics, machine learning, and data integration capabilities.

In Summary

The integration of generative AI through Joule, the expansion of AI use cases, the evolution of RISE and GROW with SAP, the strengthening of partnerships with tech giants, and the robust capabilities of the SAP Business Technology Platform present unprecedented opportunities for businesses to innovate and grow. These advancements highlight SAP’s commitment to innovation and customer success.

At Optima ECM Consulting, we are excited to harness these opportunities to deliver exceptional value to our clients. If you missed any of the details at SAP SAPPHIRE 2024, I encourage you to explore these initiatives and see how they can elevate your business. If you have any questions or want to discuss how these SAP advancements can benefit your organization, please get in touch with us. Let’s explore how we can work together to unlock new opportunities and achieve greater success.

Shaney Salomon, CEO

Optima ECM Consulting