It’s so hard to believe SAP Sapphire in Orlando has come and gone already this year, but we’re still relishing in the takeaways, reading through our notes, and starting our countdown to next year! In the meantime, here’s a few of our favorite takeaways from this year’s event.
Focusing on Agility and Sustainability
The opening keynote at SAP Sapphire 2023, as Christian Klein, SAP CEO and Member of the SAP Executive Board, and Julia White, Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer and Member of the SAP Executive Board, set the stage for the event focusing on agility and sustainable business practices. Klein emphasized the importance of having the best team to overcome challenges, stating, "To climb the highest mountains, you must have the best team." This resonated with the audience, highlighting the significance of collaboration and teamwork in driving success.
In line with the event's commitment to sustainability, virtual attendees were given the opportunity to actively participate by planting up to 15 trees throughout the virtual portion of the event. This initiative showcased SAP's dedication to environmental conservation and encouraged attendees to contribute to a greener future. Something we’re quite keen about here at Syniti, too with our Syniti Forest initiative!
AI, AI, and oh, did we mention AI?
One of the major announcements during the keynote was the introduction of generative AI, a next-generation AI initiative that leverages cloud technology. This AI-powered system revolutionizes business processes, offering game-changing capabilities. SAP AI is designed to enhance productivity and efficiency on a global scale, catering to the critical needs of all companies. SAP emphasized its commitment to AI by building a portfolio approach, and establishing multiple AI partnerships with major industry players. This reaffirms SAP's commitment to its AI strategy, doubling down on its efforts to provide AI solutions specifically designed for business applications.
Klein highlighted the transformative potential of generative AI, stating that it will redefine how companies recruit and train employees in the future. He explained that using SAP AI is game-changing for HR departments, enabling them to excel at skilling and reskilling efforts. This advancement has the potential to revolutionize workforce management and optimize talent acquisition and development strategies.
Throughout the keynote, SAP showcased its commitment to responsible technology development, leveraging its industry expertise and decades of experience. By building on this heritage, SAP aims to ensure the success of its customers in present and future endeavors.
Challenges of CIOs
Christian Klein also acknowledged the challenges faced by Chief Information Officers (CIOs) during digital transformations. He emphasized the delicate balance between simplicity and organizational agility, stating, "We all like simplicity until it impacts our ability and agility." This insight resonated with the audience, acknowledging the complexities and strategic considerations that CIOs must navigate to guide their enterprises through game-changing digital transformations.
Navigating Approvals and Making a Strong Business Case for SAP S/4HANA: Insights from a Syniti Customer in the Pharmaceutical Industry
Digital transformation journeys are often filled with challenges and competing priorities. In a recent speaking session at SAP Sapphire 2023, one of our customers shared valuable insights into how their company established the value of SAP S/4HANA and built a compelling business case for each of its business functions.
Their journey began with a staggering 43 disparate Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. Over time, the number of ERPs kept increasing, posing significant challenges for the company. They aimed to build a business case over two years to transition to 20-40 consolidated ERPs. Such a monumental task involved not only moving from one ERP to another but also consolidating a large number of systems. This consolidation was crucial to ensure seamless support for their COVID-19 patients while aligning internal business processes with their digital stack and ERP.
To support this transition, they established a common data lake before implementing the new ERP system. This data consolidation effort brought legacy data together in one place, providing a solid foundation for the business case. The company focused on addressing four key pain factors: improving customer experience, reducing complexity, establishing a standardized way of working, and ensuring reliable systems.
Their business model involved taking several complex ERPs and making a compelling case for transitioning to a unified system. Breaking down the 43 ERPs into eight steps across six phases helped structure the transformation process. However, despite investing millions in building templates, they faced challenges when these templates turned out to be outdated or ineffective.
The core principle guiding their business case was minimizing customization and prioritizing standardization. This focus allowed them to measure success based on the degree of standardization achieved. Their finance team played a vital role in building the business case, collaborating with external consultants from Deloitte to leverage benchmark data and estimation exercises.
Throughout their journey, this leading pharmaceutical company learned valuable lessons. Early alignment with key stakeholders proved critical to ensuring support and buy-in. Simplifying complex concepts and tailoring messages for different stakeholders helped drive understanding and engagement. Aligning the digital transformation initiative with enterprise priorities was paramount, considering the varied understanding and experience of different ERPs within the organization. Additionally, they recognized the importance of compounding business properties and investment opportunities and managing complex and light interdependencies.
Despite facing additional challenges posed by an ongoing acquisition and divestiture, they were able to establish a transformation office focused on strategy, execution, and operation. This office treated the program as a true business transformation initiative. Understanding the overall business landscape was crucial for effectively communicating a compelling message to business leaders, emphasizing the value, and tracking the metrics.
Ultimately, their success in navigating approvals and building a strong business case for SAP S/4HANA highlights the significance of a robust roadmap for digital transformation. By prioritizing stakeholder alignment, simplifying complexity, aligning with enterprise priorities, and leveraging data-driven metrics, organizations can pave the way for a successful digital transformation journey.
See you in 2024, Sapphire!
As we reflect on SAP Sapphire 2023, we can’t wait to see what the future holds! The innovations and advancements we see each year help propel businesses forward as we embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. See you in 2024, SAP Sapphire!