Don't miss SAP's big announcements from its flagship annual conference
With abrupt executive departures, board reshuffles, customer frustrations over HANA and the threat of disruptors like Rimini Street and Spinnaker closing in, this year's SAP conference in Orlando, Florida was always going to be interesting.
New sole-CEO Bill McDermott took the bull by the horns and made an annoucement to please long-term customers, a monumental U-turn. Further, he addressed SAP's achilles' heel, its notoriously anti-intuitive interfaces. The new branded words, 'Run Simple' were uttered by every spokesperson and were lit up on screens across the Orange County Convention Centre. Executives lined up to spread the HANA word and industry-specific cloud was the topic du jour.
Click through to read the announcements as they came.
1. Freebies announced at Sapphire
Fiori software will now be free for existing SAP customers, following harsh criticism from users who felt they were paying twice.
Any customers who have already purchased the Fiori user experience (UX) and/or SAP Screen Personas software (a drag and drop personalisation tool for SAP GUI) will receive a credit redeemable against future software sales, while these tools will be provided as part of customers’ maintenance contracts.
The UK and Ireland SAP User Group welcomed the announcement during Bill McDermott's keynote on the opening day of the conference, and said that it could encourage users to increase their uptake of SAP software.
2. New products to "simplify" financial tasks in enterprise
SAP Simple Finance, based on SAP Hana in SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud will provide real-time insights to finance departments, boasting a "beautiful user experience for easy access", all deployed in SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud under a full subscription model, making it easy for finance departments to adopt these solutions.
The toolset is available on-premise, but was revealed as an incentive for customers to move to the SAP Hana Enterprise Cloud.
3. Rogue employee purchases can be a thing of the past
eBay and SAP’s Ariba cloud will offer quick, user friendly marketplace for employees to buy work-related equipment, but now gives CFOs peace of mind with more visibility over this often invisible 'indirect spend' which is not covered by formal invoicing.
Image: from Sapphire now conference big screen
4. SAP announces "phase two" of Hana
Hasso Plattner hammered home the importance of Hana to businesses in his keynote on the second day of the conference. This new phase of Hana was defined by several releases. First, the new release of service pack 8.
A new mobile cloud-based offering powered by the SAP Hana platform, called SAP Consumer Insight 365, which focuses on consumer engagement was also unveiled.
SAP also announced that it intends to deliver industry-specific services across 25 industries. It has already created industry-specific cloud solutions across the chemicals, financial services, healthcare, higher education, industrial machinery, professional services, public services, retail, sports, and travel verticals.
5. Who is using Hana?
End-users who have successfully deployed SAP Hana for production use in the last 12 months were encouraged to enter their use-cases in award categories such as “trailblazer,” “social hero” and “big data.”
SAP said: "Nearly 30 entries were submitted and more than 6,000 votes were cast in combination with 11 judges from the community and SAP deciding the winners."
The three winners in the respective categories were Spirit AeroSystems, NCT and CenterPoint Energy.
But SAP refuse to give numbers of how many customers have implemented Hana, and seem even more tight-lipped over those who use Hana in the cloud.
6. Conference wraps up, have SAP convinced their customers?
While in previous years buzzwords included mobility, cloud, and HANA, this year "simplicity" underpinned all speeches.
No mentions of board re-shuffles or former SAP employees were made during the week.