Making sustainability profitable and profitability sustainable is the key phrase from this year’s keynote address given by SAP’s CEO Christian Klein at the SAPPHIRE NOW Converge conference, held online June 15–19, 2020.

SAP is committing to help customers improve supply chain and industry-specific processes by evolving the intelligent enterprise vision and embedding sustainability as a critical measure of business success for the post-pandemic era.

Here are the key announcements from day 1 – minus the marketing spiel.

Climate 21

SAP is encouraging its customer base to have a ‘green recovery’ from the COVID-19 crisis, announcing the Climate 21 program to support customers pursuing climate-related objectives. In a multiyear roadmap, SAP will work to embed sustainability metrics across its solution portfolio. This will help customers understand, analyse and improve the carbon footprint of their products and operations.

85% of the largest carbon-emission intensive companies use SAP. So, if key industries used intelligent technologies to reduce their carbon emissions, this could lead to a 7.6 Gigaton CO2 reduction in carbon emissions which is the equivalent of 500 billion trees.

The SAP Product Carbon Footprint Analytics application is the first solution available in the Climate 21 program. The application uses data from SAP S/4HANA and third-party sources and calculates carbon-footprint information within the SAP Analytics Cloud solution.



Industry Cloud

SAP is extending its industry vertical capabilities with the launch of Industry Cloud, an open yet integrated innovation space for SAP, partners and customers to extend SAP’s intelligent suite at the ‘vertical edge’. By leveraging its ecosystem, SAP aims to deliver new cloud-native industry applications via the SAP Cloud Platform to offer customers differentiating, industry-level business capabilities.

How does it work? SAP is making the capabilities of its intelligent suite and business technology platform available through open APIs, an open process model, an open domain model and common business services. In other words, SAP’s best-practice business processes and advanced digital technologies (e.g. AI, ML, IoT, analytics, blockchain) are accessible to its ecosystem in an open integration layer along with business services (that provide common functionality like currency conversion, subscription management and billing) to support and accelerate the development of new vertical solutions.

For more information, see the Industry Cloud whitepaper. The industries SAP are focusing on first are Automotive, Utilities, Consumer Products/Retail and Engineering/Construction.



SAP Product Strategy

Climate 21 and Industry Cloud are the new contributors to SAP’s product strategy for 2020 “to be the innovative and trusted partner for your holistic business transformation.”

SAP is encouraging its customer base to seize this moment of change to drive more resilient, profitable and sustainable enterprises in the rebuild from COVID-19. They want customers to become an intelligent enterprise to make sustainability profitable and profitability sustainable.

So, the intelligent enterprise vision is still very much alive, but it has evolved. See the diagram below for context.

Intelligent Enterprise Evolved VisionFigure 1. Intelligent Enterprise Evolved Vision

1. Business Network

SAP has announced a strategy to create a unified business network to help companies digitise multi-enterprise business processes for better visibility, efficiency and collaboration across the supply chain ecosystem (design, planning, sourcing, procurement, manufacturing, logistics and asset operations).

This initiative spans across SAP, using insights from real-time ERP, advanced analytics and successful networks solutions such as Ariba Network, SAP Asset Intelligence Network, SAP Logistics Business Network and SAP Fieldglass solutions to deliver the collective intelligence through an open and interoperable business network. 

For more information see SAP’s news about creating a unified open intelligent business network.

2. Business processes

End-to-end business process integration is a reoccurring theme at this year’s online conference.

SAP is focused on perfecting four critical end-to-end business processes – lead to cash (customer experience), hire to retire (total workforce management/people engagement), design to operate (manufacturing & digital supply chain) and source to pay (spend management). SAP will use the business network to take these processes to the next level.

SAP has also mentioned ‘Business-Process-as-a-Service’ as a potential future direction for S/4HANA whereby modern business processes will be like modules that you can pick and choose from and consume in a subscription-based model.

3. Intelligent Suite

As well as process integration, SAP is focused on integrating the products and acquisitions within its intelligent suite. That is, integrating Finance, HR, Spend Management, Digital Supply Chain and Customer Experience solutions to provide unmatched end-to-end visibility.

The example SAP gave to backup this USP was the demand to supply visibility achieved by New Zealand customer Ballance Agri-Nutrients through implementing and integrating S/4HANA and C/4HANA solutions. Zag was the SAP partner who helped design and deliver the ‘MyBallance’ solution and integrations alongside Ballance Agri-Nutrients, you can read the full case study here.

4. Experience Management

The 2019 edition of SAPPHIRENOW was all about Experience Management and embedding experience data (customer, employee, product and brand) into SAP’s operating systems after it acquired Qualtrics. Now, this promise is becoming more of a reality across the intelligent suite areas of HR, CX, Spend Management and Supply Chain.

The best example displayed so far is Ariba Experience Management. We expect to see more information on this is the upcoming days.

5. Business technology platform

The newly termed Business Technology Platform is SAP’s technology foundation for the intelligent enterprise. It’s a portfolio of integrated solutions including database and data management (e.g. SAP HANA), application development & integration (e.g. SAP Cloud Platform), analytics (e.g. SAP Analytics Cloud) as well as intelligent technologies (e.g. AI, IoT – what we used to know as SAP Leonardo) – from on-premise to the cloud.

This is where a lot of the innovation is happening.

6. Hyperscalers

Following on from last year’s Embrace programme announcement, SAP continues to partner closely with Microsoft, AWS, Google and Alibaba to simplify and modernise customers’ SAP deployments on IaaS platforms. SAP sees hyperscalers as highly valuable in accelerating the adoption of S/4HANA.


SAP will live by three key principles to deliver on its 2020 product strategy:

  • Integration Integrated business processes and a harmonised data model
    • Seamless User Experience
    • Consistent Security & Identity Management
    • Aligned Domain Models 
    • Embedded & Cross-Product Analytics 
    • One Workflow Inbox 
    • Coordinated Lifecycle Management 
    • E2e Process Blueprints 
  • Innovation Embedded intelligent technologies
    • Embedded AI in business applications
    • Chatbots
    • Robotic Process Automation
  • Agility & Speed Faster go-lives and time to value
    • Modularising the stack
    • Cloud (SaaS) and hyperscaler deployments
    • Shorter innovation cycles

This is SAP’s commitment to their 400,000 customers around the world.

To access more event information and news from SAPPHIRENOW visit this page.