5 Important Trends from this Year’s Sapphire Conference

Published by Darick Dunaway

On June 12, 2018

The Sapphire conference seems to get bigger and better each year and this one was no different. From the keynote speakers, to the new technology, and the after party surprises, this Sapphire had it all. The main focus seemed to be around cloud capabilities and S/4 HANA. It’s easy to see that SAP is really pushing to get all customers moved over to S/4 HANA and it really makes sense as to why. The other focus looked to be on emerging technology like machine learning, the internet of things, and predictive analytics. This is all encompassed in Leonardo and there were some amazing examples of this system at work. Below are the top 5 trends from this year’s Sapphire Conference.


SAP S/4 HANA is SAP’s next generation suite designed to help you run simple in a digital and networked world. This new suite is built on an advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and offers a personalized user experience with SAP Fiori. Since its unveiling in 2015, S/4 has continued to drive business innovation with simplicity by connecting people, devices, and business networks in real time. It also helps accelerate the on-ramp to Internet of Things and Big Data. The simplified data model allows customers to re-imagine their IT, helping drive lower costs and deliver IT efficiency. It is no surprise that S/4 HANA was showcased and discussed in great lengths throughout the 2018 Sapphire conference.

2. SAP Leonardo

SAP Leonardo is part of SAP’s Internet of Things portfolio. It is a new digital innovation system that delivers software and micro services that enable customers to leverage future facing technologies. At present, Leonardo is available for retail, consumer products, discrete manufacturing, sports and entertainment. When it comes to digital innovation, companies know that they want to create new data driven services and business models fast, improve customer experience, and make their business processes more efficient. Costco is a company that wanted to do all of this, and with the help of SAP Leonardo, they did. With Leonardo, Costco was able to utilize machine learning in their stores, when implemented they would outperform top performing bakery managers by 5%. The SVP of fresh foods, Jeff Lyons, said Leonardo was a key for them “Improving productivity, reducing waste, and improving sustainability.”

The keynote with Jeff Lyons was my favorite:

3. C/4 HANA

Newly announced by CEO Bill McDermott at Sapphire this year, C/4 HANA is SAP’s new CRM suite that covers consumer data, marketing, commerce, sales and customer services. The CRM suite promises to unify the complete customer experience. Below, Senior Solutions Engineer, Christina Sievert, demonstrated how C/4 HANA enables users to distinguish personal data and machine data, forecast customer needs with Internet of Things data, show digital simulations of product performance, and collaborate with customers on proposals and product customization.


Bill McDermott noted the importance of releasing a CRM suite now. “We’ve moved from a world where nothing happens when you add a record to CRM, to a world where everything happens. When the entire supply chain is connected to the customer experience, we’ve moved from the first-generation consumer-grade experience to the best consumer-grade experience in the CRM industry. When it comes to CRM, SAP was the last to accept the status quo, and SAP will be the first to change it.” In other words, customers want to be valued as people, not simply as the sales opportunities they represent.

4. SAP Ariba

Ariba supports both buyers and sellers. The platform provides sellers with the ability to manage catalogs, bids, purchases and invoices. It also provides buyers with the ability to search for suppliers, negotiate savings, procure goods and services and track spending. Adidas demonstrated their use of Ariba at this years Sapphire. “It’s about the speed of our supply chain and how we deliver that. We start with culture and desire and the results follow” – Adidas CIO Micheal Voegele spoke when talking at Sapphire this year. “Digital is a team sport… In a data driven world, speed matters, it is better to change when you can, than when you have to.”

5. SAP and Google Cloud Partnership

SAP and Google started their strategic partnership back in March of 2017. At Sapphire, an announcement was made that further integrates Google and SAP. The initial goal was to better integrate Google’s cloud technology with SAP’s ERP suite. Companies that use HANA will be able to run it on Google’s cloud infrastructure. Developers can use SAP technology to create applications on Google’s cloud platform. This also allows for launching native Android applications that use SAP services. This really gives developers more tools and options for building mobile applications.


It’s exciting to see SAP constantly pushing innovation and technology forward. The Sapphire conference is a great way to see all of the new technology in 1 week to really get a grasp on where SAP is headed and how companies can utilize new tools and applications to make their business smarter. I’m looking forward to next years conference to see the progress made on these 5 trends.

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