Day two of the SAP Australian User Group’s SAUG Summit Online continued on Tuesday with an excellent lineup of presentations and exhibitor content. As with the previous day, the virtual event felt just like attending an in-person SAUG Summit.
The second day of SAUG Summit Online followed the same format through the DelegateConnect Portal, with a series of presentations in the Plenary Room, followed by three dive streams in partitioned virtual spaces, with additional spaces for exhibitor content and live chat networking.
Opening Plenary Day 2
Delegates were welcomed by SAUG CEO Jason Hincks, who introduced the event sponsors and went on to mention SAUG’s responses to 2020, including the move to digital conferencing and to introduce new SIGs in the fields of Digital Supply Chain, Customer Experience, Mining and Natural Resources, SAP Cloud Platform and Transformational Skills.
Also mentioned were the User Group’s COVID-19 Connected Series, Solutions Series and a collaborative research program. Hincks has also extended an invitation to nominate SAUG committee members for an active role in the User group – please visit the SAUG website for further details.
The plenary sessions included a customer keynote on Banking Disruption and Transformation by Greg Steel, Chief Information Officer at Xinja, and a panel discussion on Modern Data Architecture with speakers Paul Candy and Anna Coniglio of AWS and Barry Hodges of SAP ANZ. My personal highlight was the very first presentation:
SAP Executive Keynote: Digital Transformation in unprecedented times
Presented by Robin Manherz, Chief Performance Officer and Executive Vice President of the Global Performance Organization at SAP. Manherz illustrated the shift from CEO / CTO – led transformation, to the new normal: COVID – led digital transformation.
In line with many presentations, Manherz stressed the importance in defining and strengthening resilience, highlighting how SAP shifted their financial guidance to invest in resilience and longevity for a restless time period. She went on to show how certain savings could be converted into investments in resilience and longevity, saying:
“It’s an opportunity there, with savings with travel, facilities, etc, to then invest in that… rapid shift into digital transformation.”
According to Manherz, SAP has honed in on three key characteristics of resilience:
- Flexibility to adapt to the threat
- Tolerance to gracefully withstand the threat
- Cohesion to be unified in the face of the threat
Sharing what makes SAP as an intelligent company more resilient, she said:
“My responsibility is born to look at the strategy and turn that into performance initiatives, programs, specific KPIs and deliverables that bring it to life, that really deliver business outcomes, so that people at the front line can deliver for you.”
After a short break, we dove into the Plenary session. Following a similar format to day 1, the session was a series of alternating customer and expert presentations. We heard from SAP customer Sue Hawker and Kevin Flack of The Department of Communities & Justice, presenting “Merging, Integrating & Optimising HR Systems as well as CCA’s Keith Harrison with “Real time Transportation & Logistics – Coca Cola Amatil Continues to Broaden its SAP TMS Footprint.”
We watched expert presentations from Marcus Scott – Managing Director | Director Solution Sales JAPAC – SNP Australia and Theo van Dijk – Principal Solution Architect – DXC Oxygen as they discussed Navigating the complexity of divestments and acquisitions for SAP user organisations. In a departure form the previous day, we were given a thought leader presentation, by Baber Farooq – Senior Vice President, Procurement Product Strategy – SAP Procurement and Gordon Donovan – Intelligent Spend Evangelist – SAP Ariba, in “Key trends in Procurement & Supply Chain Management.”
The presentation that I was most interested in attending was by Kevin Richardson, Chief Architect, SAP ANZ:
Unpack What is in the Latest 2020 Release of S/4HANA On Premise
Richardson started with the release strategy for 2020 / 2021 and definition of deliveries, taking us through this quarter’s new release and next year’s two Feature Package stacks and Support Package stack. Editions will now be named by yearly editions, meaning next year’s edition will be S/4HANA 2021.
We looked at a big picture of the intelligent enterprise, with S/4HANA side-by-side with Industry Cloud before moving on to the S/4HANA evolution of architecture. One standout was the unveiling of the new set of supply chain capabilities, with the aim of removing the need for an independent supply chain stack:
“We’ve introduced the supply chain capabilities by building out extended serviced path management. Now this is brand new capability, this is new functionality, which SAP has built from the ground up, directly inside the S/4HANA release”
After providing a business area overview and an impressive list of innovations in the latest release, Richardson directed us to a new feature of help.sap.com: A helpful dropdown to select releases and get a quick overview of what’s new.
Stream C: Deep Dive Sessions
In Stream C, team of experts from SAP discussed topics from converting to S/4HANA, Fiori adoption strategies and ways to bring S/4 intelligent automation technologies together. The presentation which really piqued my interest was:
SAP S/4HANA in-Built Capabilities You Probably Didn’t Know About
Presented by Hendrik Lütjohann, Product Expert SAP S/4HANA – SAP ANZ, who launched straight into Situation Handling, telling us that “intelligent situation handling” notifies specific user groups of urgent issues, enabling those groups to take immediate follow-up actions. This speeds up reaction times for critical events as well as providing valuable insights into the life cycles of situations. He warned:
“Therefore of course it’s important to find the right balance, to ensure that not too many information are being sent to the users [sic] because this feature becomes obsolete, becomes irrelevant, because… I don’t know what comes first.”
Lütjohann then ran us through the different user groups that may be acting upon notifications: the End Users, the Key Users and the Business Owner, each receiving different information and responding with pre-defined actions. However, he stressed that Situation Handling is complementary to Workflow, as a convenience tool rather than a replacement for Workflow’s compliance-relevant capabilities.
Stream D: Dive Sessions
A host of SAP experts filled stream D with presentations on development and preparation, showcasing tools such as SuccessFactors and the UI5 Router, as well as how to prepare for S/4HANA at your own pace.
Curious about automation in the new normal, I watched a presentation by Murali Shanmugham – SAP Technology Ambassador & Solutions Advisor – SAP:
Automation as a new normal for productivity and operational efficiencies
Shanmugham’s presentation focused on SAP’s Process Excellence Methodology and how it can help drive business efficiency. We were taken through a solution map, using a slew of example systems for development and implementation: Process Discovery in manual tasks, , moving on through Process Design and Documentation, Process Automation, Process Integration and Process Monitoring. He said:
“As you do all these things, you probably want to be able to have a check or a tab, in terms of ‘how are your processes performing?’ Are you really getting your ROI? Are you able to achieve those KPIs that you initially planned to achieve? That’s where the process monitoring aspects come into play, and Process Visibility is one of the key services in that section that helps business users… understand in real time, how there process is performing.”
We were shown extensive portfolios of tools by SAP that can help not just in the automation of tasks, but in recognizing how and where automation can be implemented. By way of example, Shanmugham provided a demo of Celonis Process Mining, using machine learning to recognize digital footprints, convert them into a visualization of the actual process and provide proactive process insights. He continued:
“It’s a great tool that helps organizations gain complete transparency of the processes and helps find the root cause of undesired actions. It’s great at highlighting where people spend time doing reworks on a transaction. If there are also any compliance or deviations that were happening in the whole process, Celonis will be able to help you identify it… the percentage of steps that were done manual as opposed to automated.”
Further along the process, examples delved into SAP Cloud Platform Workflow Management to leverage SAP intelligent RPA and integrate with SuccessFactors.
Stream E: Dive Sessions
Experts both internal and external to SAP populated Stream E, delivering insights on SAP Cloud Analytics, Cloud App programming, Justified Trust and process automation. Continuing a theme, I checked out a presentation between Raja Reddy and Siddhartha Jain of Winshuttle:
Challenges and solutions for automating SAP Data and Processes.
A fresh take on how automation initiatives have been affected by COVID-19. The Pandemic has highlighted and inefficient manual data processing and SAP processes, and how improvements can be made through automation.
Jain took the lead, highlighting the link between data and processes and stressing the need to treat them as two interdependent sides of the same coin. Introducing Winshuttle’s solutions for SAP, he said:
“We help you combine the two. Data and process, very simply, through a solution which is very light. WHen I say light, it’s ‘No Code, Low Code”… you can deploy it very easily VS those big, large, complex projects.”
Following up, Reddy showed a demo of Winshuttle to automate SAP data and processes. Each as a standalone and then together, and even with an output of detailed reports, Reddy said:
“All of the technology that you have seen today will help you digitize faster and it’s… agile, you can start small and you can grow as you move along. It will help you to drive the business results at scale.”
SAUG Summit Online 2020 – Wrap Up
With our neurons buzzing from two days of intensive and extensive content, we broke up for the year. My key takeaways from this session were on two levels.
First, that the events of 2020 have placed Cloud as a focus not only for the greater SAP ecosystem, but also central to SAP’s resilience strategy moving forward. Second, with this year’s SAUG Summit being their most successful to date in terms of attendance, we can expect to see the changes of 2020 impacting the way we interact with the ecosystem for years to come, on a global scale.
Finally, as this year’s summit was completely free to both SAUG members and non-members, I would like to echo the User Group’s suggestion that, should you wish to pay-it-forward, you consider donating to the mental health foundation Headspace. You can visit their page here.