SAP Talks Up Customer 'Empathy,' Unveils New Products at Sapphire Now

SAP is using its 28th annual Sapphire Now event in Orlando to introduce updates and announce partnerships. Here's a roundup of the news so far.

SAP's McDermott

SAP has made a number of announcements from its 28th annual Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Fla., which kicked off May 17 and runs through May 19.

Much of what SAP has said thus far relates to integrating the hodgepodge of applications and services that businesses use and making them accessible from the cloud, as well as putting a focus on customers and problem-solving around their needs. During a keynote address on May 18, SAP CEO Bill McDermott (pictured) summed up the latter as "empathy."

"Everything has to start with empathy for the end user and the experience they are getting from your company," McDermott said.

"We feel strongly that design thinking and innovation is the way forward. So we truly have to understand that every encounter with our customers means we have to understand their customers," he continued. "We have to make the world run better, we have to improve people's lives one customer at a time, and that's the commitment I give to you today."

McDermott called SAP's relationship with its customers an "unbreakable covenant." And, with 76 percent of transactions running on SAP systems, it's a covenant worth $39 trillion in global commerce.

The event's announcements, by its midpoint, included:

The SAP Connected Health Platform

Health care is poised for terrific advances, as exponentially greater amounts of data are brought together for analysis. SAP introduced a Connected Health Platform that it hopes will serve as a meeting place for its various health partners—and their data—from researchers and health care organizations to developers. Its goal is to accelerate the development and delivery of "innovative, patient-centered solutions for improving health outcomes, reducing costs and delivering connected health care services."

The platform launches with the support of CancerLinQ, a nonprofit that analyzes cancer care data from nearly any electronic record source; Castlight Health, which helps employees make health care decisions and employers measure their benefits programs; and Dharma Platform, which helps health care workers and researchers in the field, including in crisis situations, to analyze and understand the data they collect.

HANA Cloud Platform, Spring 2016 Edition

The HANA Cloud Platform enables businesses to build new applications in cloud, connect to existing on-premises and cloud applications, and add SAP-created capabilities to applications. The newest version of SAP's platform as a service includes an application programming interface (API) hub, prebuilt extensions for apps based on SAP S/4HANA, enhancements to the extension package for SAP Success Factors, new business and mobile apps from SAP partners, and new services.

SAP Corporate Officer Bjorn Göerke described the update as providing more "flexibility, choice and efficiencies."

HANA Platform Update

The newest release of the HANA Platform includes two key features.