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Empathy is key

I’m back home after a week of inspiration at SAP’s annual SAPPHIRENOW conference in Orlando Florida. The conference kicked off with a keynote where empathy was the central theme after a number of customers had told SAP that they expect more guidance on their journey to become a digital enterprise. I truly believe SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott when he talks about how empathy for the customer is important. When he says something like that, he means it, I was in the audience and I felt it was real.

On an executive and product management level, SAP receives input on the topic from different groups. At SAPPHIRENOW, this also includes the SAP Mentors who had meetings with the executives and product management throughout SAPPHIRENOW to provide feedback on what SAP has been doing, where they are going, what we’ve seen in the community at large and what we’ve noticed at customer side. As a SAP Mentor I  strongly believe in the added value of doing this as it provides SAP with a pulse check of what’s going on and judging from who is willing to meet up with us, the added value is also seen and valued at SAP side.

Reaching out to the stars

Today, I reached out to SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott to provide feedback myself which is considered a bold move by some but I was thrilled to find out it was well received and that action is being taken as we speak to reach the level of empathy that was mentioned in the keynote. I strongly believe in what SAP is capable of. As a SAP Mentor, my calling is to influence SAP in a constructive, positive manner. As such I will follow up and serve the cause further, we are all serving the same purpose in the end, helping others to step up and thrive. In this case our customers, empathy is definitely key here.

More guidance to come

As mentioned in the first keynote, more efforts are needed to guide the customers better, provide more information on what changes in S/4 HANA, what is gone, what is there and what added value is brought in the different lines of business and industries. SAP has been working on it since they released S/4 HANA but the customers seem to have outpaced SAP in their demand for information and transparency. A sign that things are going well, lots of customers who are preparing for the journey and lots of new customers who are interested in leveraging all of the marvel that SAP can currently offer.

While there is more to come in the not so distant future, here are some of the latest novelties shown at SAPPHIRENOW 2016 to help you on your journey towards S/4 HANA and Digital Transformation:

The SAP Education Network for Digital Transformation is a network designed to connect those who are on their journey towards Digital Transformation. It will guide you to build up the skills needed, divided into different roles to build your Digital Enterprise.

It also contains whitepaper content, video content on different industries and survey’s that have been performed. Alongside the actual network that is being laid out, there are also events being organized by SAP to mobilize the executive levels at customer side for example. They are less likely to go through the trouble of logging on to SAP Learning Hub and then leveraging SAP JAM to access data so SAP should engage them in different ways so they can also consume important information. Since SAP JAM is a collaboration platform, members can ask questions, get answers, collaborate and much more.

I expect rapid growth in numbers of this network as many are in search of what needs to be done on the journey towards a Digital Enterprise from an educational point of view, what does it mean, where you can find value for a specific industry or lines of business, which skills do we need to bridge the gap to be prepared for a Digital Enterprise and much more.

The S/4 HANA Readiness Check which was showcased during Dr. Hasso Plattner’s keynote and delivered through SAP Solution Manager 7.2 is definitely an interesting service for customers. Unfortunately this is currently a premium service as described in the latest publication “SAP Solution Manager for SAP S/4HANA” by SAP Press. The book also mentions that SAP has the intention to allow customers to use self-service for this purpose at a later point in time. I hope later will be very soon in this case, to lower the barrier. I assume it’s currently a premium service because SAP wants to have some control in the beginning of the offering to fine tune it to a larger extent before handing it out as a self-service. The book is a recommended read if you want to find out what SAP Solution Manager 7.2 has to offer to help you run S/4 HANA in an optimal fashion.

The Enterprise Support Value Maps are value maps which provide information around specific topics to Enterprise Support contract (or higher) customers. SAP has a SAP S/4 HANA and SAP HANA value map which provides you with information around multiple steps: SAP HANA overview, SAP HANA innovation/blueprint, SAP HANA implementation/run and SAP HANA operations. You could say this is a complementary offer (free of charge for Enterprise Support contract or higher customers) to the SAP Education Network for Digital Transformation.

Note that you have to use “Sign up here” on the value map landing page each time you want to join another Value Map, something I misunderstood after having signed up to one of them already as I was using “Login here” which then only takes you to SAP JAM and shows the groups your have signed up for.

Disclaimer: at the time of writing, SAP is a premium partner