SAUG Summit Online 2021 Delivers Key Insights from the SAP Ecosystem


This year’s SAUG Summit Online Speaker Series — the only independent, not-for-profit, and member-run SAP event — brings customers, partners, and industry experts together to discuss the latest developments on the SAP ecosystem. The first two days of the conference facilitated high-impact sessions and explored SAP user experiences in an interactive, all-digital environment.

Earlier this month, InsideSAP talked to SAP Australian User Group (SAUG) CEO Jason Hincks about the new format for the SAUG Summit Online 2021, highlighting the difference from last year’s virtual conference. According to Hincks, people are now more likely to attend events that are a bit shorter and sharper. As a result, SAUG came up with the idea of running this year’s four-day event, which features three presentations per day, for just an hour. 

Incorporating live polls after each session and allowing attendees to ask through a questions tab, the summit enables participants to connect and engage with the speakers and other delegates. InsideSAP, the official media partner of the event, had the chance to join the first two days of the virtual conference for customers, partners, and industry experts in the SAP ecosystem.


Day 1 of the summit kicked off with a high-impact Thought Leader Keynote Session between SAUG CEO Hincks and Peggy Renders, SVP and GM of Customer Experience at SAP APJ. Renders said that an increasing number of companies now look for ways to make themselves stand out, considering that the competition has drastically changed due to the interrupted supply chains and constraints on the economy.

With every organisation now “trying to get a digital presence”, Renders noted the importance of delivering a better customer experience. She cited SAP’s Heart Matters survey of more than 5,900 consumers in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region across a range of age groups in Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia, and Thailand to better understand their views on brands when it comes to customer experience. 

“The study has revealed that there was so much more happening nowadays with consumers. Consumers make different choices. They like to do business with organisations who are like them, who are ethical, who are sustainable, who do the right things for the planet, who treat their employees right,” she detailed.

When asked about SAP’s work around sustainability and ethical behaviour, and how it improves that aspect to reflect the values of the emerging generations, Renders said that it has been investing in the customer experience area and that it will release new solutions in the SAP ecosystem very soon. She added that SAP APJ’s ’21 in 21′ initiative will collaborate with 21 organisations to help them achieve their sustainability aspirations.

According to Renders, SAP’s vision is mainly geared towards attracting people who share a similar purpose, think beyond technology, and carry that passion forward in their interaction with colleagues and customers. Weighing in on the topic, Hincks emphasised:

“The work that SAP is doing is clearly focused on that. There’s a high level of transparency both in the work that SAP are doing and what they’re encouraging the user base to do as well.”

Highlighting the Role of SAP Technology in Today’s Digital Transformation

Moreover, the Expert Keynote Presentation by Jonathan Morar, Solution Architect at Tricentis, discussed how to reduce testing windows by just testing the most at-risk components of organisations to help accelerate their digital transformation journeys. During the session, participants learned about how SAP and Tricentis collaborate to help determine the most at-risk capabilities during maintenance activities in SAP such as importing SAP Transports, SAP S/4HANA upgrades, and SAP ECC Enhancement Package upgrades.

The final session of the first day of SAUG Summit Online 2021 was a Panel Discussion joined by Coles Head of Corporate Systems Cameron Amling, Bureau of Meteorology Chief Financial Officer Pranay Lodhiya, Tricentis Director of Solutions Architects Anastasios Kyriakopoulos, SAP APJ’s Peggy Renders, and SAP ANZ’s Jonathan Fogarty. The panellists talked about transformation as a continual journey and how customers utilised solutions and technologies from the SAP ecosystem to succeed in their respective industries.

Amling was the first one to share about a key transformation initiative Coles has undertaken, noting that the Aussie retailer has just moved into SAP S/4HANA, Ariba, Fieldglass, and SAP SuccessFactors including Payroll in the last two years. He said that the implementation of SuccessFactors was a significant transformation with massive benefits from a people perspective, as well as in terms of digitising their processes.

“We needed to modernise our platform to enable us to have conversations with the business about where they wanted to go and how they wanted to transform. And we couldn’t do that on an ageing platform,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Lodhiya stated that the key element of the transformation that the Bureau of Meteorology went through was anchored on a strategy to move the finance and property services to a much more strategic business partner model. Specifically, he added that the organisation’s performance in the systems space was based entirely on the principles of reducing transaction costs and increasing strategic analytical capabilities.

Delighted to learn about the abovementioned customer stories, Renders said that these are very much aligned with all three strategic priorities for SAP at the Board Level: RISE with SAP, Business Technology Platform (BTP), and Customer Experience (CX). 

SAUG Summit Day 2 — REDEFINE

Day 2 of the summit started with a Customer Keynote Presentation by Lion Australia Customer and Product Strategy Director Michelle Lucas on the company’s approach of going live with several SAP projects amid the COVID-19 lockdown. The long-time SAUG member embarked on a modernisation journey leveraging a suite of SAP cloud applications and with CX at the core of the transformation.

Lucas shared that the company previously had multiple instances of CRM, three separate instances of ERP, and a patchwork of solutions that supported all of its business operations. She further explained:

“We really needed some radical change. So we embarked on a once-in-a-generation opportunity where we removed 550 legacy systems from our beer business and replaced them with SAP S/4HANA and a number of different cloud products.”

Detailing more about how the company adapted to changing business landscape at the height of the pandemic, Lucas stated that they had to pivot to creating more online learning modules to allow employees to learn at their own time and pace, given the circumstances they faced with the new work-from-home set-up. Global IT services leader DXC Technology was in charge of designing, building, and deploying sales, service, and marketing cloud solutions for the company’s overall ANZ operations. Commenting on this collaboration, Lucas said:

“Our implementation partners were just amazing and you really cannot underestimate the value of your partners until you hit a crisis and you really need them.”

The successful implementation of SAP CX applications enabled Lion to redefine the customer journey, increase customer satisfaction, engage staff with marketing and sales activities, and improve user adoption rates. Lion Australia’s case study made it to the finals of SAP’s annual Best Run Awards for ANZ in the CRM and CX category, recognising its use of SAP products to drive innovation and transform business processes.

Exploring Insights into How the SAP Ecosystem Engages with Customers and Employees 

Another interesting Expert Keynote Presentation highlighted during Day 2 is FUCHS Lubricants’ remote integration of acquired company NULON Products Australia within an ERP solution. Craig Bassett, Information Communications Technology Manager at FUCHS Lubricants, explained:

“We needed to realise post-acquisition synergies prerequisite for integrating with the incorporation of the operational part of NULON into FUCHS’ existing SAP solution. FUCHS required the optimisation of the supply chain.”

With the support of DXC Technology’s knowledge and expertise in the SAP ecosystem, the implementation successfully extended the multinational lubricant manufacturer’s SAP ERP solution across NULON’s core business operations. According to Bassett, FUCHS was able to standardise business processes while retaining brand and product integrity, improve customer experience, boost productivity, increase visibility, and transparency. 

“We did achieve reduced transportation costs, and we did optimise material handling processes. And of course, we had a saving when we decommissioned the NULON legacy ERP systems,” Bassett noted.

Closely followed by a Panel Discussion on how businesses redefined the way systems, enterprises, and people run, Day 2 of the summit wrapped up with expert-led insights from Andrew Dyer, Technical Lead at Queensland Department of Transport & Main Roads, FUCHS’ Craig Bassett, Lion’s Michelle Lucas, and Chris Paine, SAP Mentor & Cloud Expert at Discovery Consulting.

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic has been the major cause of disruption to governments all over the country and the world. And according to Dyer, each government is responding in its own way. Expounding on the SAP project in the works at the QLD State Department, he said:

“We have on the cards an SAP Ariba project to better help us with our procure and source-to-pay processes, mostly focusing on the order-to-pay part of the process and not so much the upstream sections. So we can keep the small and medium businesses running, keep the cash flow going to them, and support them through this more difficult time.”

The panelists went on to discuss changes in how businesses interact with customers and employees, learning and development in an unfamiliar setting, as well as cloud migration strategies and experiences.

Stay tuned on InsideSAP for updates on Days 3 and 4 of the SAUG Summit Online Speaker Series.

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