Takeaways from SAP Connect Partner Summit

03-12-2019 | 5 min read | Events, SAP Highlights

Author: Frederic Hottner, Head of Sales Germany, TJC Group

As a long-standing SAP partner, we are big subscribers to the mantra that a strong cooperative SAP community is essential to developing the tools and solutions that lead to successful customer projects. The annual SAP Connect Partner Summit epitomises this and is an important event on the TJC calendar. This year the event was held at “Kraftwerk” in Berlin – our head of Sales TJC Germany Frederic Hottner attended and gives us his thoughts and key takeaways from the summit. 

A unique, amazing location

The SAP Partner Summit this year had a clear underlying theme of experience, and specifically the roles that positive experiences and emotions play in decision making and successful business relations. So, it felt fitting that the location for the event should so perfectly reflect this. Kraftwerk Berlin provided the stunning backdrop to a rich, informative program that focused on smart businesses, partnerships, and “the power of experience”. 

Kraftwerk Berlin
Figures 1: Images of Kraftwerk Berlin 
Kraftwerk Berlin
Figures 2: Images of Kraftwerk Berlin 

O Data and X data

The opening session included talks from keynote speakers Rumyana Trencheva, Hartmut Thomsen, Christian Mehrtens, Sabine Pfriemer-Zenz, and Simon Hammer.  Here they spoke about the increasing need for consultancy as we move towards the SAP Cloud Platform.

They continued to explain the growing momentum behind app development, with the number of SAP App Centre partners in Germany alone having reached 836.  SAP partners are currently focusing most of their efforts towards operational data (O Data).

But it’s not just the functional and operational side of SAP that continues to evolve. Another key point made was how the next – and arguably current – focus is on “human touch”. SAP calls this “experience management”, this is the gathering and usage of experience data (X data).

Experience Data and Operations Data
Figures 3: The roles of Experience Data (X Data) and Operations Data (O Data) play in Business Intelligence

If a company does not have its finger on the experience “pulse”, then it has an “experience gap”. SAP cautions that “every company should build-up and own IP in the cloud soon to be successful with X data in the future.”

The Business Intelligent Platform
Figure  4: The Business Intelligent Platform 

We are living in an experience economy

Continuing with the theme of experience, a Technical lead from SAP delved into bridging the gap between younger and older generations. In fact, when the two of them work together, the sum is greater than the whole. When adding the SAP technical tools, the combination results in the Intelligent Enterprise.  

“For the younger generation, the digital natives, it’s all like a party, and for the older ones it’s bursting their brains, but together with the digital heroes and the tools you got it”.

 The following slide ironically depicts how teams look like today:

And, this is how they will be improved in the future, a mix between generations:

The intelligent enterprise

Black or white

My highlight from SAP Partner Connect Summit – and possibly one of the best talks I’ve seen so far – was held by the former co-CEO of SAP Jim Hageman Snabe. For Jim everything started in 1989 with those big changes: Berlin wall breakdown, the internet or climate change.

Next, Jim shared The Innovator’s Dilemma, proposed by Clayton Christensen in the 90’s, to demonstrates how successful, outstanding companies can do everything “right” and yet still lose their market leadership – or even fail – as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. The analogy suggests that those that embrace and adapt to digital change will survive and thrive, whist those that don’t are left behind.

The Innovator's Dilemma
Figure 5: The Innovator’s Dilemma. 

Jim went on to explain that we got from the Internet is not actually solving real problems. He highlighted the comparison from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens, describing a similar situation in the time of the French revolution. As Dickens masterpiece pinpoints, there is always a more than one interpretation in every aspect. Where there is light, there is also darkness. Likewise, the internet brought about positive changes, while at the same time it created new challenges.

“It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness… it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”.

– Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

Jim spoke about the 17 real challenges for the world defined by OECD that should (and can) be solved by enterprises & technologies. And if we look at each of those 17 challenges in the image below, almost nothing has been solved as of today:

The world's 17 challenges.
Figure 6: The world’s 17 challenges.

Jim is set to publish a book on this theme entitled “Tech for Good” that will come out soon. No doubt it will be an interesting read for like-minded professionals to uncover his approach on how technology that should help us create a better world. I’m thankful for the opportunity to hear such an inspiring talk.

Calculating your offering on the SAP Cloud Platform

The Partner Summit provided valuable feedback and insight into the direction of our own developments at TJC Group.

You can actually calculate your own offering on SAP Cloud Platform by adding your “application runtime” (in required GB memory), required bandwidth, Web IDE, amongst other factors.

SAP graph
Figure 7 :  SAP graph showing involved parties (SAP/3rd party) and services for SCP Apps

Intelligent Business Process Management

The future points to Intelligent Business Process Management on the SAP Cloud Platform. The SAP App Center is an excellent opportunity for partners to market their apps.  SAP also runs a Partner Lifecycle Service from SAP to co-innovate, creating apps with SAP.

This encapsulates partnership and collaboration and could well be an important area for innovation on SCP going forwards.