Seven of us lucky Soltians will soon be heading to Orlando, Florida for SAP’s flagship annual conference, attended by close to 20,000 people: SAPPHIRE NOW. Our mission is simple – bring back all the latest from the leading voices in SAP, and provide insights on what it all means for New Zealand businesses big and small.

With the biggest ever contingent of Soltius staff making the trip over to sunny Florida, we’re taking our coverage of the event to the next level in 2017! This is the first of a pair of pre-SAPPHIRE blog posts, in which we outline what we expect to see and what we’re especially looking forward to. But this is only the beginning: during the event itself we’ll be sharing regular video and social updates, as well as a summary blog of highlights from each of the three days of SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 – so stay tuned!

And this won’t be information for information’s sake – we’ll ensure each update is tailored to the New Zealand context so you can easily stay abreast of what’s going on in the world of SAP and what it means for you.

To kick us off, here’s a sneak peek into what we’re looking forward to at SAPPHIRE NOW 2017:

Pathways to Digital Business

‘Digital Business’ and ‘Connected Business’ are two major themes of SAPPHIRE NOW this year, and we’re already seeing these terms plastered across a lot of the promotional material coming out from SAP. This is the ‘Digital Transformation’ story everyone is talking about, but with an important twist: it’s about making it real and making it happen today for your business. We’ll be checking out the SAP Digital Business Services Campus this year, where SAP are providing a tailored, designated space for presentations and conversations around digital transformation.

We expect SAP to present new pathways towards ‘digital business’, taking into consideration emerging future technologies, increasing digital disruption from ‘born-digital’ players and the new business models customers are employing.

We’re also looking forward to getting our hands on the SAP Transformation Navigator. Scheduled for full release in May 2017, it’s a solution intended to provide users with a self-service tool to review the current state of their SAP ERP system. It will also help customers navigate the many possible SAP roadmaps, and based on their business needs, it will make recommendations on what the ideal SAP S/4HANA-centric landscape should look like, both current and planned. 

Future Tech

We expect to hear a lot of talk about what we call ‘future tech’ at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference. From Machine Learning (ML), to Artificial Intelligence (AI), to Blockchain and Augmented Reality (AR), SAP is increasingly taking a front-footed approach to planning for these emerging technologies. We look forward to learning more about how they see these technologies impacting specific industries, as well as how they are tailoring and reinventing product roadmaps with future tech in mind.

Industry Specifics

We expect to see a great deal of breakdown and analysis from SAP around what specific trends and product-updates mean for specific industries. SAP continue to focus on industry pathways, and we expect a lot of the communication to reflect this. SAP have already been making a lot of rumblings about this approach in blog articles leading up to the 2017 event: check out these previews for what to expect for Wholesale Distribution, High Tech and Real Estate, for example. We will be taking this industry-centric approach to our post-SAPPHIRE Update events too, and analysing what each of the key announcements mean for New Zealand businesses in key industries (you can register your interest in attending below or at the following links: Auckland event and Wellington event).


Cloud computing is by no means a new concept, and has entered the ‘mainstream’ for many organisations today. It is however, a term that has been met with a considerable amount of misunderstanding. SAP are pushing forward as a cloud-first company, and we expect to see them continue to work on dispelling myths associated with cloud computing. With a renewed focus globally on SAP Business ByDesign (SAP’s cloud ERP for mid-market businesses and subsidiaries), we expect to hear a lot of talk around how the product fits in the overall product portfolio and the benefits of cloud ERP in particular.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud, coming soon to New Zealand shores, will also be a hot topic, and we expect to hear a lot around use cases and customer case studies, highlighting the benefits of going cloud. SAP look to be especially pushing efficiency, effectiveness and agility as major reasons to go S/4HANA Cloud.

In addition, we expect to hear a lot more about the newly renamed ‘SAP Cloud Platform’ (which was the HANA Cloud Platform), and how it can help SAP customers innovate faster and smarter to get the most out of their investments.

Next Generation UX

User Experience (UX) will continue to be a major theme in this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference, following the launch of Fiori 2.0 last year. Users these days expect consumer-grade experiences from business systems. Gone are the days when people were satisfied with systems that required specialist training to navigate; users expect an intuitive, user-centric interface in almost any system they engage with. We expect a lot of the material around UX to be linked to Digital Business, with a focus on how great UX can drive streamlined processes, better collaboration and smarter decision-making. SAP is going all-in with Fiori, so we will undoubtedly hear a lot about where this is headed, especially within SAP S/4HANA. Having a look at the agenda, we’re starting to see UX sessions popping up around topics like ‘digitised supply chain’ and personalised assistants such as SAP CoPilot. SAP are certainly not standing still when it comes to UX, but looking to drive this forward in product roadmaps. For your reference, here is a list of all of the UX sessions at this year’s conference. We’ll be looking to bring back a lot of analysis on these sessions for our post-SAPPHIRE Update events.

So from the 17th to 19th of May (NZ time), stay tuned to our website and social media accounts for all the latest from SAPPHIRE NOW.

And, if you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into the key announcements and finding out what they mean for NZ businesses, register for one of our Post-SAPPHIRE Updates