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.
SAP Talks Up Customer ‘Empathy,’ Unveils New Products at Sapphire Now
One is graph data processing, a way to visualize data connections to help users understand the complex data relationships between people, places and things in order to do everything from identify opportunities to detect fraud. The second is a capture-and-replay feature for IT. By replaying workloads on a target system, IT can evaluate new features, assess upgrade options and measure what the impact will be to changes in the live production system.
The new version also includes an expanded maintenance life cycle program and a choice of consistent maintenance for up to three years or the adoption of the newest platform twice a year.
Streamlining 3D Printing With UPS
The industrial 3D printing world is “ad hoc,” says SAP, which plans to make it “seamless” and “on demand.” SAP announced an agreement with UPS that will integrate SAP supply chain solutions with UPS’ additive industrial manufacturing and logistics network to provide small and large businesses with one-button access to on-demand manufacturing.
The deal will digitize and simplify production parts approval through SAP, automatically quantify the financial viability of 3D printing versus traditional manufacturing options, and more seamlessly route orders for delivery.
Stan Deans, president of UPS Global Distribution and Logistics, said in a statement, “This agreement with SAP adds an important UPS capability to help customers right-size inventories and lower short-run production costs, and helps entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life faster than ever.”
Also noteworthy, the day before Sapphire’s kickoff, SAP announced that it has teamed with Google and PayPal to make its SAP Anywhere solution available anywhere in the United States to businesses with 10 to 200 employees. It also plans to integrate global shipping and logistics services by United Parcel Service.
“With SAP Anywhere, small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) can capitalize on retail store sales, build a website or online store, create marketing campaigns, sell products and take payments, manage inventory and analyze business performance,” SAP explained. “SAP Anywhere gives small businesses the power to do it all from a mobile phone or tablet.”
SAP also announced a key partnership with Microsoft. McDermott said the companies are working together to create an “end-user experience built on unprecedented insight, convenience and agility.”