Key takeaways of SAPPHIRE NOW 2018

Once again this year, we were privileged to take part in SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando. Over 22,000 SAP users attended this global business technology and cloud event hosted by SAP and ASUG.

Over three days, hundreds of presentations, panels and keynotes covered SAP’s current and future ecosystem. The concept of the “intelligent enterprise” was the cornerstone of this year’s event. SAP announced key strategic updates and presented inspiring keynotes from SAP co-founder and chairman Hasso Plattner, as well as CEO Bill McDermott, who always brings his unique flavor to SAPPHIRE NOW.

It was a rich and meaningful experience connecting with customers, partners and colleagues. We had the great privilege of being both students and teachers, attending sessions, learning about the latest Cloud, ERP and SAP trends, as well as conducting a few sessions of our own sharing our experience and outlook for SAP solutions.

Below is more information on Beyond Technologies’ contributions:

  1. Building Intelligent Enterprises to Gain Competitive Advantage (Cloud ERP)
    In this panel discussion, Alain Dubois shared our story of growth and how S/4HANA Cloud provided our enterprise with the right foundation to fulfill our needs as a global organization with inter-company operations, complex business processes and over 350 people working on several different projects.
    View the video here:
  2. Tory Burch’s Best Practices for SAP S/4HANA Implementation in 16 Weeks!
    During this session, Leonardo de Araujo, along with Kangan Gogia from Tory Burch and Joerg Wolf from SAP, presented how Tory Burch gained key operational improvements by implementing SAP S/4HANA in 16 weeks:
  3. Deliver Client Value in Professional Services with SAP S/4HANA Cloud
    During this session, Leonardo de Araujo spoke about Beyond’s experience with the implementation of S/4HANA Cloud for Professional Services and its integration with SuccessFactors and Concur Expense:

SAP: A high-tech company that put humans back into the heart of their company culture

Throughout the event, one sentiment strongly resonated: the importance of human experience and connectivity. Though SAP solutions are technical in nature, it was clear that SAP puts their faith in the people and the human touch to make their business successful and beneficial to their clients. One of the highlights was the conversation between SAP CEO Bill McDermott and Jon Bon Jovi, as they both spoke about their early beginnings in business and the challenges they faced along the way. Having more candid conversations like these shows how SAP is growing into a more “human” company. This was a refreshing approach, and many came away inspired.

From customer relationship management (CRM) to customer engagement with SAP C/4HANA

SAPPHIRE NOW kicked off its first day with the huge announcement of C/4HANA, a fourth-generation Customer Experience suite for sales, service, marketing and commerce. All Hybris solutions are now under the C/4HANA brand along with additional solutions and technologies recently acquired by SAP (CallidusCloud, Coresystems, Recast.AI and Gigya).

This new solution, which aims to provide a 360-degree view of the customer, marks a shift in the company’s CRM strategy. This will now directly compete with Salesforce with a significant competitive edge: legacy CRM systems are all about sales, whereas C/4HANA is all about the consumer – where front-end meets the back-end for a comprehensive consumer experience.

SAP C/4HANA combines customer data, machine learning technology and microservices to fuel customer behavior in real time. SAP positions C/4HANA as a global solution, as well as an intelligent, synchronized and unsiloed use of ERP and CRM, all available in the Cloud.

SAP Customer Data Cloud

An important milestone that was achieved with C/4HANA is the release of SAP Customer Data Cloud, based on the technology of the recently acquired Gigya. This new solution will help SAP customers to nurture trusted relationships with their customers based on transparency and control over the use of their personal data (throughout all front-end and back-end stages). All SAP customer data cloud products (identity, consent and profile) are GPDR-compliant products with proactive GDPR-readiness tools.

For a better understanding of the full implication of SAP C/4HANA, click the link below:

We also highly recommend attending the annual event C4/HANA in Barcelone, on October 10 and 11, 2018:

From enterprise resources planning (ERP) to the intelligent enterprise

The Intelligent enterprise concept was highly promoted during SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 with SAP HANA Data Management Suite, SAP Leonardo and SAP Cloud Platform being the enablers to provide enterprises with a comprehensive intelligent suite.

Introduction of SAP HANA Data Management suite

SAPPHIRE 2018 saw the announcement of SAP HANA Data Management suite, which replaces the SAP HANA database and unifies into one platform:

  • SAP HANA in-memory database
  • SAP Data Hub
  • SAP Cloud Platform Big Data Services
  • SAP Enterprise Architecture Designer

This suite powers and speeds transaction and analytic processing while handling the integration of real-time data pipelines involving enterprise databases (like HANA) and big data coming from feeds as varied as IoT devices, messaging, logs, etc. It enables enterprises to turn massive amounts of heterogeneous data into actionable insights.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence embedded across the SAP portfolio

As clearly stated by Frank Cohen, President, Digital Core & Industry Solutions at SAP, SAP’s goal is to automate 50% of manual tasks. SAP demonstrated how SAP Leonardo intelligently automates tedious processes and enables employees to focus on more strategically valuable work. This is especially beneficial for finance and accounting operations that process millions of invoices and payments.

What is interesting about SAPPHIRE NOW is that it combines existing products and technologies readily available for SAP customers while at the same time communicating SAP’s vision and planned innovations. This is well illustrated below with machine learning for finance operations:

SAP’s positioning: Cloud first

SAP reinforced their message that S/4HANA Cloud is the targeted solution for all SAP customers. With quarterly new releases and a strong innovation roadmap, more and more customers will rapidly see their needs fulfilled, accelerating their adoption of the Cloud.
While other deployment options exist, they must be used as stepping stones towards S/4HANA Cloud, with the following Cloud implementation mindset:

  • Adoption of Best Practices
  • Reduced customization
  • Enhancements outside the core, in SAP Cloud Platform


It was fantastic being there, seeing how fast SAP is accelerating the pace with recent and upcoming innovations. As early adopters of SAP’s latest innovations, we were happy to come back home with new tools to test, new solutions to learn and most importantly, new ways to offer even better solutions to our customers.

We would love to hear your thoughts and impressions on this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW. Feel free to connect with us if you would like to further discuss SAP’s latest product announcements, roadmaps, customer stories and how to get the most out of the SAP landscape.

About the authors

Leo De Araujo, CTO, and Partner, Beyond Technologies
With his considerable technical expertise and vast business knowledge, Leonardo De Araujo leads the technological team in charge of advising our clients on the best technology solutions adapted to their needs. Specialized in the implementation, optimization, support and upgrade of SAP solutions, Leonardo has over 19 years of experience in business transformation. Leonardo is an SAP Mentor and regularly delivers speeches for the ASUG (America’s SAP Users’ Group) and SAP TechED events.

 Connect with Leonardo on LinkedIn

Christophe Grillot, Solution Director, Customer Engagement, Beyond Technologies
Christophe is a seasoned Director of Customer Experience with extensive expertise in the delivery of customer engagement and e-commerce integration solutions, as well as logistics projects (SAP SD, SAP MM, SAP WM). He will draw on this impressive background and deep knowledge of ERP solutions to develop a strong Customer Engagement internal team and help make Beyond Technologies a reference in deploying C/4HANA solutions.

 Connect with Christophe on LinkedIn



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