SAP Sapphire Now is an annual conference for users and partners of SAP, the global business systems software company. The conference usually spans three full days, where thousands of attendees gather to get the latest announcements on SAP applications, see product roadmaps, attend SAP technology and strategy sessions, take SAP education courses and network with other users and partners. Sapphire is an acronym for "SAP's Perennial Highly Integrated R/2-3 Exchange," which refers to past products from the company. Since its debut in 1989, attendance has increased more than a hundredfold.
The next version of SAP Sapphire Now takes place May 7 to 9, 2019, in Orlando, Fla.
SAP Sapphire Now technology highlights
SAP uses Sapphire Now as a showcase for its latest technologies and platforms. Recent conferences have centered on the themes of digital transformation and the modern SAP landscape that has grown out of the SAP HANA in-memory database. Recent event highlights include:
- 2014 -- SAP focused on a theme of simplicity (under the slogan "Run Simple") and introduced SAP Simple Finance (now SAP S/4HANA Finance), a new HANA-based financial application.
- 2015 -- Sapphire Now focused on the newly released SAP S/4HANA, a next-generation ERP system.
- 2017 -- SAP Leonardo, SAP's platform for developing next-generation technology applications, took the spotlight.
- 2018 -- The conference introduced SAP C/4HANA, a new customer experience platform.
Why attend SAP Sapphire Now
Attendees go to Sapphire Now to get the latest SAP product and strategy news, learn about product roadmaps, take part in SAP technical education sessions, meet with SAP partners who exhibit their products and services, and network with SAP executives, partners and customers. The conference usually features daily keynote addresses where SAP executives, business partners, celebrities or customers deliver product news, demonstrate applications or explain how they use SAP technology in business.
SAP partners display their products and services in an exhibition space where attendees can get demonstrations or meet developers. The number of exhibitors has averaged more than 250 in recent conferences.
SAP Sapphire Now features thousands of technical and business sessions where attendees can get information about SAP technology. Some sessions feature high-level information while many more are hands-on sessions that dive deeply into SAP applications.
SAP CEO Bill McDermott sets tone of customer empathy at 2016 Sapphire Now.
History of SAP Sapphire Now
Compared to today's slick conference with a sea of attendees, the debut event was humbler. The first SAP Sapphire Now conference took place November 9 to 10, 1989, at the Scanticon Hotel in Princeton, N.J. It was attended by 180 SAP users who gathered to exchange experiences and try to understand the future of SAP.
Sapphire Now began to grow quickly, and by 1991, 650 attended the event in New Orleans. Sapphire "International" debuted in 1994 with more than 4,000 attendees in Orlando. By 1998, attendance peaked at 14,000 as SAP celebrated SAP America's 10th Anniversary in Los Angeles. In 2006, the event was first co-located with ASUG (America's SAP User Group) and became the Sapphire 2006 ASUG User conference. The 2006 event was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, where it has been held every year since, with the exception of 2007, when it was held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The conference name soon changed to Sapphire Now. Attendance from 2006 to 2018 averaged just over 15,600, and reached 22,000 in 2018.
Exhibitors have played a large role in Sapphire conferences starting in 1993, when 17 companies took part at the conference held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Diego. The number of exhibitors grew quickly, with 238 taking part in 1999. From 2006 to 2018, the number of companies exhibiting averaged 242.