Resilient Supply Chains, Sustainability And Business Process Transformation

SAP unveiled a broad range of new software and services this week aimed at helping customers and partners as they wrestle with supply chain disruptions, sustainability and other major challenges.

The announcements came at the company’s Sapphire conference in Orlando, Fla., – the first in-person Sapphire in three years – where enabling business process transformation and the company’s Rise With SAP software and service offerings were also in the spotlight.

“You need to keep pace in a world that is changing faster than ever,” SAP CEO Christian Klein said in a keynote speech kicking off the conference Tuesday. “How can we transform each and every enterprise into an intelligent enterprise? True business transformation will not happen just with the technical IT migration to the cloud.”

[Related: SAP Confirms Additional Steps To Exit Its Russia Business]

SAP’s business process transformation offerings remain focused on Rise with SAP, a package of software, tools and services built around the S/4HANA Cloud line of ERP applications designed to help businesses and organizations with their business and digital transformation initiatives.

Klein said that since the launch of Rise with SAP in January 2021, the company has recruited more than 2,000 customers for the bundle of business transformation software and services. More than 60 percent of those are net-new customers for SAP, the CEO said.

Last week, SAP and systems integration partner Accenture announced a joint offering that combines elements of Rise with SAP solutions with “SOAR with Accenture,” Accenture’s own portfolio of solutions and services that complement Rise with SAP.

SOAR with Accenture includes the company’s own industry and business function assets, cloud expertise, integration architecture, extensibility recommendations and end-to-end services. Through the new collaboration SAP and Accenture will provide a range of cloud infrastructure, application management and operations services to customers.

The expanded SAP-Accenture collaboration is focused on companies with complex SAP software implementations, including customizations and modifications, that require additional services beyond the Rise with SAP package, according to Si-Mohamed Said, SAP global vice president of ERP product marketing.

“The value of Rise [with SAP] will not just come from SAP, but will come from the entire ecosystem around us,” Said said in a pre-Sapphire briefing with CRN. SAP partners play crucial roles in either expanding the scope of the Rise with SAP solutions or providing expertise and consulting services, he emphasized.

Lemongrass, a solution provider and SAP partner based in Ewing, N.J., is seeing increased demand from customers looking to migrate off of older SAP applications to S/4HANA Cloud. Part of that is driven by the scheduled end of mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 at the end of 2027, said Eamonn O’Neill, Lemongrass co-founder and CTO, in an interview with CRN.

“Customers are asking about how they can define their strategy better and get to S/4HANA quickly,” O’Neill said.

Beyond upgrading to the next generation of SAP ERP applications, some customers are moving to S/4HANA Cloud as part of an overall move from on-premises systems to the cloud. And some are going even further by doing all that as part of broader digital transformation initiatives.

Lemongrass is a Rise with SAP partner and provides business transformation services around Rise with SAP. But O’Neill cautions customers to take it all in steps. “Move to the cloud, move to S/4HANA, then undertake digital transformation and change the business processes,” he says.

At Sapphire, SAP executives touted the role that the company’s Signavio business process intelligence and process management solution plays in customers’ business transformation efforts. SAP acquired Signavio in January 2021 and it’s a key component of Rise with SAP.

SAP also unveiled the latest release of the SAP Service Cloud with a number of new features and functionality that improve organizations’ ability to better engage with customers. They include new dynamic case management and case modeling capabilities and an improved agent console.

Also on the business transformation front, SAP, Microsoft and IT service provider Ernst & Young said they are collaborating to help financial services organizations accelerate their adoption of S/4HANA Cloud on Microsoft Azure. Microsoft said in March that the company was adopting Rise with SAP internally on Microsoft Cloud to transform some of its existing SAP ERP application deployments.

SAP and Google announced new integrations between Google Workspace, including the Google Docs and Google Sheets applications, and S/4HANA Cloud.

In a move to bring product development operations into business transformation initiatives, SAP and Siemens said that in Q3 they plan to offer SAP Teamcenter by Siemens, a product lifecycle management solution jointly developed by the two companies, as a cloud-based solution sold alongside Rise with SAP. SAP is also expanding the localization capabilities of S/4HANA Cloud that address country-specific regulatory requirements, adding 16 countries by 2023 to the 43 countries now supported by the ERP application suite.

SAP also unveiled a new customer evolution program through which SAP and partners will work with existing SAP customers to evaluate their use of SAP software, using industry benchmarks and other means, to help them get the most value out of their SAP applications and technology assets and determine their next steps in their IT evolution.

Supply chain disruptions are very much in the news today and so improving the reliability of digital supply chains was a major topic at Sapphire. “How can we make our supply chains more resilient, transparent and agile, end to end,” CEO Klein said in his keynote.

SAP unveiled two new iOS-based mobile applications developed with Apple that assist with digital supply chain management. SAP Warehouse Operator extends the capabilities of the SAP Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) system to Apple mobile devices while SAP Direct Distribution is designed for delivery drivers.

The new SAP Warehouse Robotics provides a way to integrate various warehouse robots into the EWM system. A new extension of the SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud for process industries includes innovations for manufacturing processes, IoT, analytics and edge computing and includes an IoT starter package for industrial IoT projects.

A number of Sapphire announcements revolved around sustainability management capabilities for businesses and organizations, what CEO Klein in his keynote called a “green ledger” for ERP applications.

“I’m convinced that only SAP can offer you reliable ESG [environmental, social and governance] transparency for your enterprise,” Klein said, noting the financial and operational data generated by SAP’s applications within a business and across supply chains. “You can only act on what you can measure.”

SAP announced a number of new capabilities across its SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises portfolio that Klein said improve the ability for businesses to track sustainability data. Those include new functionality in SAP Product Footprint Management and SAP Responsible Design and Productions.

A broad swath of new products and product updates were unveiled at Sapphire in the areas of no-code/low-code application development, process automation, data management and AI.

The SAP Business Technology Platform now offers extended planning and analysis features and new replication-based integration between SAP Data Warehouse Cloud and SAP Analytics Cloud. The SAP HANA Cloud database provides improved scalability while SAP Data Intelligence offers expanded metadata management and data lineage capabilities. Also making their debut were upgrades for SAP Integration Suite and SAP Master Data Governance.

O’Neill at Lemongrass said he is seeing more demand for his company’s Lemongrass SAP Analytics Accelerators to help customers analyze and derive more insights from data generated by SAP systems. “I don’t think most people understand the value of the data they have in their SAP systems,” O’Neill said.

The SAP AppGyver no-code development toolset is now embedded directly into the SAP Service Cloud and later this year will offer new capabilities for building cloud-hosted data models and application logic. New capabilities in SAP Process Automation make it easier for business users and IT managers to build and customize process automations.

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