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Meeting with SAP Mentors from all over the world was definitely one of the highlights of this years SAPPHIRENOW held in Orlando, Florida. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Raquel Seville from, Jamaica. Raquel is new to the SAP Mentor group as of this year and was definitely having a great experience at SAPPHIRENOW!




What Raquel seems to enjoy most about being an SAP Mentor is the amount experts in the mentor program along with how enjoyable their personalities are. Raquel hopes to bring visibility to SAP  the Caribbean and hopes to start an inside track event in Jamaica. She realizes that there are many SAP customers in the Caribbean and by starting inside track events to gain recognition both SAP and the Caribbean could benefit hugely. When asked if Raquel could be Bill McDermott for a day she laughed and stated that she would want have SAP to connect more with their customers, but feels as though SAP's Mentor program helps largely in bridging this gap.

Do you have an SAP Success Story to share? Please contact me (samjalexander1@gmail.com) to set up a short interview or fill out this template:SAP Success Story. The idea is to gain insights into what helped execute your successes in the SAP ecosystem, as well as showcase the impact you have made within the community and the impact the community has made to you! You can also tag a nominee and encourage them to blog their SAP Success Story as well as tag myself so the data can be collected.


Thank you,



Sam Alexander

Student SAP Mentor 2015

Mentor:Arif Mohamed Johari

Written by Emily Breslin


May 4-7–marked SAP’s annual SAPPHIRENOW + ASUG annual conference in Orlando, Florida. With over 17,000 customers, partners and employees in attendance this year, the conference provided plenty of action for participants. For the SAP Startup Focus team, the conference provided this and more, including unprecedented engagement with SAP’s premier customer user group-ASUG, potential new customers, SAP’s executive leadership, and SAP’s strategic industries. 37 Startup Focus members with validated solutions running on SAP HANA and twelve of their customers participated during the week in a series of startup solution showcases, customer and industry-specific meetings, and executive engagements with SAP leadership.


For the months leading up to the conference, the team worked tirelessly to ensure maximum engagement and visibility for attending startups and select customers. The varied engagements between Startup Focus, startups, customers, and SAP that took place during the week is a clear indication that the team delivered both visibility and leads to startups as well as access to the innovation pipeline to the larger SAP ecosystem.


Highlights from the week are listed below, as they relate to SAP and the startups charging the way towards a future of cutting edge technology.




During the keynote addresses given by SAP’s executive leadership, several themes emerged directly related to the Startup Focus charter and the startup solutions coming out of the program, including designing impactful technologies by leveraging S/4HANA, the benefits of running applications on the HANA Cloud Platform, and the significance of the internet of things to SAP’s enterprise customers.


During his keynote, Dr. Hasso Plattner illustrated how S/4HANA enables a completely different set of applications, including how its in-memory capabilities have enhanced what is possible in cancer research development at the National Center for Tumor Diseases in Heidelberg, Germany. The platform’s health enablement is similar to what Startup Focus member and conference attendee Convergence CT is doing to drive better health outcomes by leveraging SAP HANA to drive real time insights for a major Chicago-based health system.


The HANA Cloud Platform is a strategic differentiator in SAP’s product offering as noted by Bernd Leukert and Quentin Clark during their respective keynote addresses, during which it was announced that Siemens had selected HCP as their cloud platform for IoT. The new partnership mirrors the parallel work being done by the Startup Focus team around bringing new IoT applications and services into the company. Many of program’s IoT members were in attendance, including SeeControl, Falkonry, MyOmega, Twirl Analytics, Vnomic, Itizzimo, and AppOrchid.


Lastly, CEO Bill McDermott explained that the companies of today need to combat their dark data and data museums by leveraging new technologies like S/4HANA in order to expose what processes and patterns can be exploited to drive better decisions and ROI. On this same front, many of the startups in attendance offer complementary solutions for organizations aimed at becoming more data driven, including Celonis, BeyondCore, SearchYourCloud, Trufa as well as startups with specific industry focus, Liquid Analytics (food & beverage), Espedia (Fashion & Apparel), Mateo Protect (Insurance), and Flutura (Oil & Gas).


Consistently woven through the week’s keynotes, executive press conferences and media engagements was the topic of startups. Bill McDermott stated that with over 2,000 existing startup partners, SAP will only increase its commitment to allotting needed resources and investment to them moving forward. On the topic of the HANA platform, Chairman Hasso Plattner remarked that having 2,000 startups voting for SAP HANA is a clear validation of the platform. Later, he commented that the demonstrated efficacy of Startup Focus program is a key example of how SAP is successfully working with SMEs.


Executive Engagement


Throughout the week, PT 426 became the hot spot for SAP executive leadership appearances from Chief Operating Officer, Tanya Reuckert, Chief Marketing Officer, Maggie Chan Jones, and Chief Technology Officer Quentin Clark. On Tuesday, 12 startups were invited to meet with Bill Mcdermott to give brief overviews of their solutions. Most of the meeting, however, was spent identifying new ways that SAP can become a better partner to startups moving forward. Later in the week, several startups met with President of Platform Solutions, Steve Lucas to talk about even more involvement in SAP’s upcoming conferences like TechEd.  Board members Marco Lenck and Andreas Oczko from German’s business user group-DSAG stopped by the booth to show their support and interest in the program.


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Maggie Chan Jones, SAP CMO receives a product demo by BeyondCore Founder Arijit Sengupta.

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SAP CTO Quentin Clark stops by the Startup Focus booth to talk candidly with startups about the potential and actualized benefit of startup solutions for SAP.


Customer and Industry engagement


In addition to the select customers who attended with their startup partners (Cargill + BeyondCore, ConvergenceCT + Advocate Health), other notable engagements took place as a result of ongoing collaborative efforts between ASUG and Startup Focus.


At the outset of the week, 12 Startup Focus members participated in the Executive Exchange session hosted by ASUG, bringing together top level executives and startups during a showcase of solution pitches and the launch of the Customer Startup Network pilot.


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During the months leading up to the conference, the Startup Focus team worked tirelessly to create a framework that could facilitate ongoing and deep engagement between startups and customers. The outcome, described during the executive exchange session by a startup customer, is the opportunity to use customer data to unearth key insights that drive better organization outcomes. The pilot project represents the overarching vision for the Customer Startup Network pilot: to give mature startups in the program access to customer data to drive solutions that address customers’ direct business needs.


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Tuesday through Thursday, 21 startups presented their solutions in the ASUG hub during Future of X and Bringing Startup Innovation to the Enterprise sessions. Presenting startups showcased validated solutions across SAP’s industries, highlighting everything from disruptive trends in fashion & apparel, new market-changing solutions like process mining, smart data discovery using HANA, discovering locked cash in enterprises, and new enterprise search capabilities.


The SAP Startup Focus HANA Innovation Award Tuesday evening was designed to recognize startups delivering SAP HANA solutions that drive business value. Startup Focus members AppOrchid, APX Labs, and Wittos were finalists for the Most Innovative category, Convergence CT and Opal Analytics were finalists for Most Social Impact, and Celonis, OpsVeda, and SearchYourCloud were finalists for Most Transformative. At the end of the evening, AppOrchid, Celonis and Opal Analytics  were announced the winners of their categories, having been identified by the executive judging panel as the most positive change makers in their fields.




  • Dr. Hasso Plattner announced 2000+ startups in the SAP Startup Focus program and challenged the team to double the number by SAPPHIRE NOW 2016
  • ASUG Executive Director Geoff Scott made a formal announcement about the CSUN pilot project led by Startup Focus during his keynote address.
  • Chief Technology Officer Quentin Clark announced 175 validated solutions running on HANA
  • Celonis, AppOrchid, and Opal Analytics were announced as the HANA Innovation Award winners as the most transformative, most innovative, and most socially impactful solutions running on SAP HANA.
  • SAP’s Customer Central team based out of Waldorf, Germany selected Advocate Health and Genentech as two of the most compelling customer use cases utilizing SAP HANA. The two SAP customers were filmed alongside their respective startups, Convergence CT and OpsVeda.


With an immensely successful SAPPHIRE under the team’s belt, the energy will fuel subsequent forum events, validation of new HANA-powered solutions, and community engagement with new HANA platform stakeholders. To everyone who worked towards a successful SAPPHIRE this year and to those who showed their support in Orlando, a great deal of appreciation is due. If the achievement of SAPPHIRENOW is any indication of what the team is capable of, Startup Focus will only continue to relentlessly execute for the remainder of 2015.

SAP Service and Support’s Analyst Day took place on May 4, 2015 in Orlando, Florida, hosting prominent SAP executives, key influencers, analysts, and SAP customers.


Michael Kleinmeier, a SAP board member, kicked off the event with welcoming remarks, followed by Colleen Speer  (VP Premium Engagements, SAP Services & Support ),  and Dr. Bernd Welz (EVP and Head of Scale, Enablement & Transformation), who presented keynote speeches providing an update on the overall strategy of SAP Service and Support, highlighting how the organization is making innovation adoption simple for its customers.

On running simple, attendee Susan Tan tweeted, “SAP Services & Support reorganizes, 1000+ to 300 offerings. Takes own advice for simplification and need for innovation. #SAPAnalystDay.”


The jam-packed event also hosted a customer panel, showcasing four SAP customers, La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG and Petrobras. One attendee noted that the common themes from panel demonstrated the need for agility, flexibility, and focus on business impact.


stu.jpgLa Trobe University, a leading Australian university with over 35,000 students and 3,000 staff, is one of SAP’s strategic partners and was presented by Peter Nikoletatos (Executive Director and Chief Information Officer La Trobe) and Scott Lindblom (SAP Service & Support Lead for La Trobe University).


Nikoletatos began with describing La Trobe’s internal challenges including outdated processes, inflexibility and the University’s need to become more agile in the increasingly competitive educational ecosystem. He said that in order to be successful during this journey, La Trobe needed to work with people they trusted, people with whom they shared a vision and strategy.


This initiated the move to SAP Simple Finance, interestingly making La Trobe the first customer to go live with the Simple Finance product. Nikoletatos said, “It disrupted our business processes, and it simplified the way we would do things going forward.”


Analyst Day culminated with breakout sessions covering topics several topics, a few of which included S/4 HANA, the new MaxAttention, HEC Services, SAP Learning Hub and Customer Lifecycle Management. Sessions explored customer cases and key messages, always relating back to simplicity and innovation.

Attendees overwhelming enjoyed the event, rating it a 4.8 out of 5. Overall, the event was said to have great, insightful content that was “diverse, forward thinking, and shed light on the inner workings of new SAP initiatives.” Attendees also enjoyed the mix of representatives and the information provided around SAP’s Vision and Executive Strategy.


Some attendees desired more information around the role of Services in SAP growth, as well as a more in depth conversation around how the company addresses why customers should move to S/4 HANA, and the related transformation risks. Attendees also wanted more evidence that SAP understands and is addressing challenges.


After this successful Analyst Day, what can attendees look forward to in future events? Topics desired for next year include cloud support, S/4 HANA migration success stories, digital transformation skills, as well as partner impacts of the Services model and how SAAS portfolio growth impacts Service & Support.

To read more about related topics and event, visit the SAP Service and Support blog library.



It was an extreme honour to meet up with past , Dwight Dy at this year's SAPPHIRENOW conference held in Orlando, Florida. Dwight is a kind-hearted fellow with an incredible amount of experience and expertise. Dwight currently works for a partner company of SAP where he excels in his position as a Strategic Development Analyst. In the following 2 minute interview, Dwight outlines some of the benefits of being a Student SAP Mentor, how that helped him prepare for his career and much more!



Dwight states that SAP has created a positive experience for him. He states that because of the people involved in the SAP network, being given the opportunity to attend conferences, competitions and events, as well as being recognized for his incredible work and talent, SAP has created a positive and comfortable atmosphere. Dwight gives a huge shoutout to his mentor Mary-Beth from the University of Texas at Dallas for helping him along the way. This shows the impact of what a great mentor, paired with an amazing student can achieve when given opportunity from SAP!



Do you have an SAP Success Story to share? Please contact me (samjalexander1@gmail.com) to set up a short interview or fill out this template: SAP Success Story. The idea is to gain insights into what helped execute your successes in the SAP ecosystem, as well as showcase the impact you have made within the community and the impact the community has made to you! You can also tag a nominee and encourage them to blog their SAP Success Story as well as tag myself so the data can be collected.


Thank you,


Sam Alexander

Student SAP Mentor 2015

Mentor:Arif Mohamed Johari

PGA TOUR Superstores believe in keeping it simple with SAP. Their CIO Stephen Mc Donnold took the stage at the SAPPHIRE NOW event in Orlando May 5-8 to talk about their motivation to run their business on HANA and in the Cloud and what they have achieved in the last months


PGA TOUR Superstores has a special significance for SAP Retail; it was our first retail integration of the entire business suite for HANA, hence we were eager to hear the realized benefits and outcomes from their CIO,



Stephen McDonnold came to SAP looking to arm his arsenal with a comprehensive single solution for their supply chain and specialized orders processes. When their once limited IT staff of 9 employees was faced with hand-written orders and attempts to process data and stock around the clock, SAP was brought in to close the gap on ineffective margins and outdated processes.


In 2013, SAPPHIRE NOW was all about HANA. PGA TOUR Superstores took notice of our shiny new offering and wanted to truly implement one streamlined solution integrated with their existing SAP powered POS system.


The PGA implementation included the complete business suite for HANA to run their entire business integrated and in real time, the Customer Activity Repository (CAR) to have a unified view of all customer transaction and all areas of their business and User Personas and the Fiori User Experience solution to implement simple, yet effective business process for store associates and customers.


The new software additions to their business allowed for faster and streamlined processes, customized applications for their stores, the easy manipulation of large supply data sets, and most prominently an automated special order process for custom golf clubs leveraging a simplified user interface.


Instead of integrating traditional HANA hardware, PGA Tour Superstores opted for the cloud deployment, making it easily approachable for their limited IT staff. Mr. McDonnold expressed that SAP has upheld this promise, delivering a truly systematic approach to growing and digitizing PGA Tour Superstores’ business and allowing them to grow rapidly without having to adjust their IT infrastructure.

Benefits are manifold, business outcomes are clear: Better customer Service and improved margins, altogether running a tighter business driven and provide the foundation for Future Growth


For more detail on their motivation to run SAP HANA in the cloud as well as the detail benefits watch the replay of the presentation here.

Its been two weeks since the end of the SAPPHIRENOW held in Orlando, Florida this year. During the event I started an initiative called SAP Success Stories. The initiative takes aim at outlining the successes of members and mentors of the SAP/SCN community and highlight their favourite parts of being involved with SAP, their successes, what they would do differently and much MORE.


One of the members I got to catch up with is named Jorida Cakeri.Jorida, is currently doing her MBA at West Chester University and is now currently interning with University Alliances. She is one of the 11 Student SAP Mentor for 2015 . Shared in the link below is a short 2 minute interview with Jorida highlighting some of the positive aspects and insights she has gotten by working with SAP and University Alliances.



Jorida sees a future career path with SAP and believes that SAP could do more to influence getting Millennia's involved with technology and the company. She strongly believes in projecting this message to Millennial's through the use of social media streams. Being a Student SAP Mentor for 2015, Jorida has had the opportunity to use her social media prowess to reach an extremely large number of students around North America and the Globe to help develop SAP's and University Alliance's relationship with students.


Go, Jorida!!!



Do you have an SAP Success Story to share? Please contact me (samjalexander1@gmail.com) to set up a short interview or fill out this quick template: SAP Success Story. The idea is to gain insights into what helped execute your successes in the SAP ecosystem, as well as showcase the impact you have made within the community and the impact the community has made to you! You can also tag a nominee and encourage them to blog their SAP Success Story as well as tag myself so the data can be collected.


Thank you,


Sam Alexander

Student SAP Mentor 2015

Mentor:Arif Mohamed Johari

Originally posted in Ariba Exchange.....

Bill McDermott
gave goosebumps with a true showman opening to #SAPPHIRENOW with #runsimple emphasis to the keynote...a keynote as enjoyable and significant like a Steve Jobs Apple Keynote

His statement "When you make your business run simple you make life simple" had so much gravity, it juxtaposed what the 90 minute gig could manifest in the minds of the target audience in-flesh & virtual + social

Let's do some story telling to collate our thoughts and deCode #RunSimple in the context of the new business network driven Networked economy story in the boundaries of S4HANA and #Procurement 2.0 with Ariba, Fieldglass and Concur



In the good old days of on premise it was scary for the customers and the install base to stand a skill efficient team available to deploy a greenfield, an upgrade or an Integration gig, the demand for the skill grew whilst the supply went niche low pushing up the business volume stacking the shelves of SI and the Partner base

On Premise was a money spinner for everyone but the customer to keep businesses running as usual.
Cloud and the business network brought that disruption to the situation with this paradigm shift.

This is healthy and quite organically strategized move from the software provider to weigh against their own money spinning business models to push a balanced cannibalism to onprem with cloud offerings.
...the intelligent move on the other side to grow exponentially on onprem deployments with the transformation story projected with InMemory columnar bigdata platform
Big fortune 500s would definitely take a plunge with a pilot at least to see if their Data problems can have a botox treatment with visibility and speed further driving data enrichment and performance engineering heavy processes to start Simple I would imagine Simple Finance.

Also the way the networked economy story is being pitched is fancy but true for adoption and business case consideration for the CxO level as its politically and futuristically messaged and driven.

Every line from Bill McDermott's #RunSimple keynote points to Business 2.0 powered by the Business networks
So what does this mean to the customer install base , what does it mean to system integrators, ISV and more importantly, the skill base which are a mash up of the consulting and the captive workforce population


.The answer is simple.

Everyone in the equation needs a RENEWAL to runsimple



Even if the full adoption to Cloud, Business Networks looks tough and from a ROI justification standpoint doesn't justify the hosting $ dynamics, a hybrid can be worked out, but taking the plunge to NexGen is a clear mandate, else, the "you are left behind" STATEMENT is not far behind

Why should enterprises stay away from consumer grade experience, is a question that every top level Exec should carefully analyse when approving or rejecting a business case presented to the table.

Just legacy report crunching is not the way out for looking at a bottom line justification to the business case/initiative it's a 360 degrees manifestation approach that leaders of tomorrow will explain when flaunting about their success stories.

While I have to wait and see what the world has to say about S4HANA, current opinions are a confusing mix of messages.

The Business Network transformation program for a typical Ob-premise heavy #SAPAribaHybrid should include:

- Short term strategy to pick and choose the network of choice, baby steps would be to switch from a on-premise MDM and punch-out framework to Ariba Procurement Content and enabling SpotBuy to address the buying channel for managing that non-contractual, non strategic  tail spend......carts that call for a new vendor lookout...leverage the possibility of using Ariba Discovery SpotQuote for Supplier Discovery and not ignoring to ask your MSP to look at Fieldglass as the network of choice MSP contingent Catalog from what's current ...and slowly but steadily evaluate the potential for a Concur story for the cumbersome TNE spend.

Finally to close the loop with an efficient AP and AR Manage Cash more efficiently theme of re-looking at the eInvoicing channel and the payables channel giving birth to anaribapay story that finally closes the enterprise story loop


Am sure by the time one is done putting these pieces of data and framework together the compliant way to spend addressing will generate massive intelligence cubes and mine of data to push to the in memory columnar store while SAP has more use cases to offer for the procurement story with S4HANA

...also hoping that the gurus will bust the myths surrounding skill set issue and the complexity for S4HANA by then

All the best ...post SAP dCode, #AribaLIVE and #SAPPHIRENOW in your business case preparation

Do share your thoughts around your exercise, if you can draw parallels

Like always Stay hungry .....Stay Foolish

When it comes to successful partnerships, there are no winners or losers in the relationship. Both parties share an ultimate strategic vision that is mutually beneficial.  For La Trobe University, this partnership model is enabling the institution and expert services from SAP to work together towards a desired outcome – transformation and simplification.

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and chief information officer at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students.


Nikoletatos explained, “We simplified the whole contractual engagement including typical aspects such as the scope, deliverables, and expected outcomes. In the event something goes wrong, the escalation process is very clear and articulated. The one-service approach provides one number for one person who can deal with any problem associated with our platform.”


See how La Trobe University is moving to the cloud by enlisting expert services from SAP. Watch the replay of Peter Nikoletatos’ presentation at SAPPHIRE NOW.



For businesses with a desire to extend their reach internationally, an acquisition strategy has become a tried-and-true approach to growth. Speed to market. Speed to positioning. Speed to competitive mass. Speed to viability. These are the capabilities businesses want. However, there is one byproduct IT leaders  can do without – increasing complexity. 


This was especially the case for Florida Crystals Corporation, a leading domestic sugar producer and North America’s first fully integrated cane sugar company. During the SAPPHIRE NOW session “Innovate and Simplify IT with One Support Experience,” Gary Mitchell, vice president of IT operations at Florida Crystals Corporation, detailed how his organization leveraged SAP Enterprise Support services to overcome increasing complexity brought on by multiple acquisitions over the last 17 years.


Mitchell acknowledged, “Our corporate acquisition strategy impacted us greatly – new statutory and regulatory requirements, foreign currency, and international banking processes and laws. Needless to say, it took us to an area of increased complexity. From our perspective, SAP Enterprise Support offered both the tools and processes to help us on our journey.”


See how Florida Crystals Corporation is empowered to simplify its operating complexity. Watch the replay of Gary Mitchell’s presentation at SAPPHIRE NOW.



Imagine your team members sitting in their homes tonight, only to be dispatched tomorrow morning to a mission halfway around the world. How will you ensure they are ready? Will they have the skills and resources needed to secure operational success? These are very tough questions for any organization. However, for the U.S. Army, this is everyday life – and a single delay can cost the life of a soldier or an innocent civilian.

To efficiently mobilize one of the largest supply chains in the world, the U.S. Army is transforming its logistics systems to simplify operations and deliver accurate information enterprise-wide. At SAPPHIRE NOW, Daniel Parker, PhD, director of technology and solution development at the U.S. Army, revealed how his organization is delivering a more efficient military infrastructure with data governance and digital technology in his session “Maximize Flexibility by Simplifying Even Massive IT Operations.”


Parker shared, “SAP MaxAttention is helping us align our priorities – from logistical planning to execution. This enables us to direct our attention, efforts, and money in areas that will pay the largest dividends so we can move forward. And underpinning all of this is our focus on simplifying as much as possible to remove variability and help ensure we are effective when deploying and supporting our nation’s greatest resources – its sons and daughters.”


See how the U.S. Army is simplifying operations and delivering accurate information enterprise-wide. Watch the replay of Daniel Parker’s presentation at SAPPHIRE NOW.


Without a doubt, the world operates at a pace that can be at times mind-boggling. To stay ahead of the competition, comply with regulatory requirements, and respond to ever-changing customer demands, businesses must operate in real time. But first, IT environments must Run Simple to allow the flexibility and agility needed to quickly address everything the business encounters – without disruption.

But what about a multibillion-dollar international conglomerate operating in over 90 countries and employing more than 64,000 people? Is business simplification possible? Believe it or not, DuPont has proven that the answer is a resounding “yes.”


During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Plan a Successful Journey to Your Real-Time Platform,” Sonni Jacobsen, business intelligence architect at DuPont, shared that the real value of the SAP HANA platform is the ease of unifying data models to get a view across different data structures. “You can merge inventory information, sales data, purchase orders, and process orders and create a consolidated, virtual view that does not require you to store anything other than the data tables you are replicating,” he mentioned.


Explore how DuPont is delivering a real-time business platform with greater simplification. Watch the replay of Sonni Jacobsen’s presentation at SAPPHIRE NOW.


Participating in the digital economy is the new mandate for business growth and profitability – no matter the industry, size, or region. Seizing the opportunities presented in this new era calls for instant value across lines of business and industries with the ultimate sophistication: simplicity. Simplicity in interactions. Simplicity in processes. But most important, simplicity in the technology underlying everything the business touches.


To help companies worldwide Run Simple in the digital economy, SAP introduced SAP S/4HANA earlier this year. What’s the value of this new offering? During the session “Run Simple with Our Next-Generation Business Suite, SAP S/4HANA” at SAPPHIRE NOW, Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and chief information officer at La Trobe University, and Bobby Joseph, director of information security at Bristow, answered this very question by offering their experience with SAP S/4HANA.


“We wanted to disrupt the in-house business processes that we felt were inefficient. In doing that, of course, our biggest challenge was migrating data that has been customized over a long period of time and used across multiple schemas,” observed Nikoletatos. “In the end, we shrank our footprint as we moved from an on-premise data set to one that is in the cloud. Not only did we end up with a faster transactional database, but we also have a smaller footprint to capture, process, and access that data.”


Drawing from an experience similar to Nikoletatos’, Joseph noted, “Running material requirements planning (MRP) reports used to take a lot of time – and now many hours are reduced to minutes. The same is true for generating purchase order reports and all other data-intense reporting. They are all running faster and much more efficiently.”


Seize new opportunities in the digital economy with SAP S/4HANA. Watch the replay of this panel discussion to find out how.




Over time, an IT infrastructure can become a highly complex system – even though each application is simple on its own. The key is having the right services and support on hand to deliver an IT infrastructure that is agile, flexible, and simple. And for the business, that means maximized investments and employees who are free to engage in transformative efforts.


As three industry executives proved in the SAPPHIRE NOW session “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support,” it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes. The panel featured Ugo Orsi, vice president, application service management, Loblaw Companies; George Kuntz, vice president, EIT shared services – SAP Center of Excellence and corporate systems; and John Marwick, senior director of shared services, McKesson Corp.


According to Orsi, “With the maturity we are achieving from establishing an innovation control center, we can start looking at how we can reduce complexity. And one way we achieved this is by following SAP standards. As a result, we were able to cut customizations by nearly half – reducing our costs.”

Kuntz concurred with Orsi by stating, “The innovation control center process and team have allowed a focus to be driven on how we want to define the requirements and look for that systemic investment as they’re driving the overall solution.”


But the real benefit from Marwick’s perspective is the ability to converge a variety of technologies in a manner that makes sense for the business. “When you compare the technology available to us five years ago to where we are today, the discussion with SAP is completely different,” he acknowledged. “By talking to SAP in a one-service mode, we are going to be successful because there are so many pieces we have to look at.”


For more insights about simplifying and unifying IT with SAP Service and Support offerings, watch the replay of this panel discussion.




Foto1.jpgWith more visitors than ever before, Sapphire 2015 once again was overwhelming. It also was the place to be for supply chain and logistics professionals, with a multitude of customer presentations, panel and microforum discussions, and demos shown both at the expert pods and in specific theater sessions. I want to give you an overview of available supply chain content from Sapphire – in the format of videos, replays, presentations, and blogs with personal impressions.


  1. Watch the full replayof this panel discussion with industry thought leaders on emerging demand networks, and find below more details from each of the panelists:


  • Colgate-Palmolive replay and blog summary as an early adopter of the full portfolio of IBP cloud solutions. Do not miss the great video in the replay (starting at minute 3:00) that Colgate produced to demonstrate their global supply chain achievements.

“SAP is our strategic partner… What they are putting on the plate right now …

is going to be extremely valuable to us to maintain our leadership.”

Mark Vollrath, Worldwide Director Global Supply Chain Processes at Colgate Palmolive.


If you are also interested in the IT point of view, listen to this replay about the benefits of in-memory technology solutions like SAP Integrated Business Planning powered by SAP HANA.


  • Blog on Nature’s Way supply chain transformation into a demand network with SAP IBP.


  • Blog on Medtronic’s global multi-echelon inventory optimization.


  • Video message from Hans Thalbauer about customer-centric demand networks.


Foto (3).JPG


     2. Watch the replay and read the blog: How Johnsonville Sausage respond to volatile demand with SAP Demand Signal Management powered by SAP  HANA.

                    “Some key reporting that we are looking at is … the full supply chain visibility … into what

                    we should be forecasting to reduce forecast error, and helping us with new product launches”.

                    Paul Townsend, BI Manager at Johnsonville Sausage.


     Also read this related blog and watch the 2014 replay: How Beiersdorf gains better insight into skin care market.

                    “With SAP Demand Signal Management powered by SAP HANA, we have achieved

                    leading-edge analysis with more effective use of market data.”

                    Martin Böhm, Head of Market Intelligence & Information Management at Beiersdorf AG.

     3. Read the blog on Charlotte Pipe and Foundry leveraging SAP Transportation Management 9.1 to improve its logistics operations.


     4. Watch the replay and read the blog: How United Sugars optimize their transportation processes.


                    "SAP Transportation Management was the best tool on the market.

                    We have not found anything that we can't do."

                    Roger Perala, Director Business Systems at United Sugars.

     5. Finally, watch this really cool demo, on-site harbor video and read the blog: How SAP Connected Logistics helps the Hamburg Port grow, without growing (in space). Also, watch this video message from Thomas Ohnemus on the business impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution.


There have been numerous interesting posts in this space written by first time attendees to SAPPHIRE Now and the co-located ASUG Annual Conference, and if you have not read them yet, I especially encourage you to check out the posts by Jelena Perfiljeva and Matt Harding . In contrast, I have been attending the ASUG Annual Conference since the late 90s, so this is  just a warning that I have no fresh perspective to offer. Instead, I would like to share highlights of my experiences this year with some observations about the changing nature of this event over the years.


Before the conferences


The day before the actual start of ASUG/SAPPHIRE, quite a few events take place. The ASUG pre-conference sessions are always well-received; unfortunately for me, there has never been one offered on a security or GRC-related topic, so I have never attended, but I keep hearing great things from attendees and continue to hope. Instead, I attended the Women's Leadership Summit, co-sponsored by SAP and PwC. (Disclosure note: I was previously a consultant with PwC's GRC and Security practice.) While this was my first time to attend it, this was the second year for this event, and the program included panel discussions and other presenters.  I particularly enjoyed the panel which included Jennifer Morgan, President of SAP North America, and Niloufar Moulani, PwC partner from Houston.  The final session of the afternoon was Bill McDermott being interviewed by one of his co- Chiefs of staff, Vanessa Smith. Bill's remarks were short and on point, a perfect ending to the day's presentations.

Bill McDermott May 2015  comp.jpg

In contrast to those short and sweet remarks, there were the keynotes....



I attend the conferences primarily for the ASUG education; hearing what other customers are doing with today's solutions is the main value for me. Keynotes exhorting me to buy, buy, buy are way overkill and time that could have been better spent in more practical learning opportunities.  I did enjoy Bernd Leukert's keynote on Wednesday morning; the SAP customers talking about their projects gave it a healthy injection of real world perspective, particularly when Walmart's CIO, Karenann Terrell, issued her challenge to SAP that they finish the SAP  S/4 HANA implementation some time during *her* lifetime at Walmart.  That had to have been my favorite moment of any of the keynotes. While the Concur demo was interesting, I don't see my organization implementing it any time soon, and that is really my problem with the keynotes: too many keynotes and too much time spent talking about solutions too far out into the future for me and my organization.


I also enjoyed Michael Strahan's remarks during the ASUG keynote. Coming from a modest background, he has been very successful and had a lot of great memories to share from his NFL career and his later career in television. It was also nice that he called out the ASUG volunteers, sitting together and (mostly) wearing the new blue sweaters with the ASUG logo.


ASUG Education

In my opinion, the job done by ASUG's Program Committee volunteers gets more challenging with each passing year. Back in the day when I was on that committee, each Special Interest Group (SIG) was assigned a room and could offer a full track of sessions. In addition there were several rooms dedicated to Influence Council sessions. Fast forward to 2015, and with SAP's solution offerings greatly expanded and the ASUG education program shrunken considerably, each SIG is lucky to get 4 to 6 time slots for education, and Influence was relegated to small and noisy theatres on the show floor. The security SIG sessions I attended were very well done, with customer presenters and with speakers from SAP.  I particularly enjoyed the look at new features of PFCG demo'ed by Regine Schimmer in session BT1408, as well as the remarks by Chris Radkowski concerning security for SuccessFactors in session BT2000.  The customer case study I attended, BT82 presented by Sage Wagner, focused on use of standard SAP workflows for role provisioning, an unusual use case. You can always count on customer case studies for  a fresh look at current solutions/ releases.


SAP Mentors

I was glad to be able to attend the meeting where new SAP Mentors were welcomed into the fold. It was also great to meet with some students from the SAP University Alliance program at that meeting, as well as reconnect with long time Mentor colleagues. While it seemed strange that Mark Finnern was not in his longtime role of Chief Mentor Herder, the new leadership team was enthusiastic and welcoming. My schedule only allowed me to attend one other meeting, where the Solution Manager roadmap was discussed.  Since I have done security in SolMan, the discussion was interesting to me, even though a lot of the details went over my head.


The show floor

While others have commented on the vastness of the show floor, I wanted to share a look at the octagon display which was very striking. See the embedded video.


The bottom line


There is so much on offer at the co-located conferences that it is on the attendee to make the most of his/her time there by making good choices among the competing opportunities. As long as the attendees keep in mind that ASUG sessions and SAPPHIRE Now sessions have completely different objectives, and care is taken to attend the kind of sessions that will meet your objective, you will come away feeling that your time was well spent.


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