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SAP co-CEOs take the stage at Sapphire

Touting the value of partnering with customers, SAP’s co-CEOs addressed the Sapphire Now conference on Tuesday to outline how SAP's technology is helping businesses.

SAP’s co-CEOs took to the stage at the company’s annual Sapphire conference Tuesday morning to stress themes of partnership and innovation – while citing some examples of how the software manufacturer was making good on those claims.

“We are innovating on top of the core,” said co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe.  “We are ready to excite people, to improve their business performance.”

During the presentation in front of thousands of conference attendees, Snabe outlined the company’s latest progress in the areas of on-demand, mobile, and on-premise technology.  The company is making headway in getting more customers on Business ByDesign, according to Snabe.  There are currently 500 customers on the on-demand suite, he said, and the company is well on its way to reaching its goal of 1,000 Business ByDesign users by the end of the year.  While that number may seem small, he said, the actual rate of adoption is faster than R/3 when it debuted.  

The company also demoed the new Sales onDemand application, which the company says better weaves information pouring through the application’s analytical, transactional and collaboration channels.  

Furthermore, Snabe discussed the release of Sybase Unwired Platform 2.0, upon which companies can create mobile applications using the newly enhanced Software Development Kit (SDK). The latest release of Sybase Unwired Platform includes new capabilities for cross-platform support, integration with back-end systems and security.  Sybase Unwired Platform is currently available and the SDK is expected to be available in the second half of 2011.

In addition, customers will soon be able to purchase ready-made mobile applications from SAP’s online application store, Snabe said. The apps will initially focus on industries including manufacturing, consumer products, utilities, high tech, oil and gas, retail and healthcare.  Some of the new mobile apps are:

  • SAP Field Service
  • SAP Retail Execution
  • SAP Enterprise Asset Management Work Order

Other apps to come include those for human resources, procurement, finance and sales.

Turning the focus to HANA, SAP’s in-memory technology allows companies to operate in “real, real time,” said SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott.

While both CEOs also touted a number of testimonials that underscored what SAP says is a core belief that those companies are partners, and not merely customers, others were looking for more details.

"It was nothing new but I'm lucky enough to get to Walldorf regularly. I thought it was very rah-rah and upbeat but I'd prefer it to be more informative," said Nigel de Voil, head of Business Systems, U.K.-based Camelot, which operates the national lottery.

Other attendees wanted more information on mobile technology.

“The mobile side is where it's going. That's what I'm interested in," said Bruce de Abreu, executive consultant with CGI Consulting Group.  The keynote, he said, was  “at 50,000 feet” in terms of specifics.

Others thought the mix of customer testimonials and broader examples of SAP’s latest technology was the right one.  

“Snabe gave more information around technology, which was good. McDermott stayed high level, which is what I guess companies need to hear,” said Denise White, SAP solution lead at Innovapost, an IT consulting firm based in Ottawa, Canada.

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