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A revolutionary new partnership with Apple, announced Thursday, isn’t the only thing that SAP had up its sleeve for this month.

SAPPHIRE NOW is a great opportunity to connect with an entire community of people who use SAP solutions every day.

SAP will unveil lots of cool new stuff at the company’s largest global business technology event, SAPPHIRE NOW, which starts on May 17. Each announcement will understandably have partners, customers and prospects asking themselves a lot of questions, including, Is my organization ready for something like this?

“Much of what SAP has to offer might not be what your company needs,” Enterprise Applications Consulting Principal Joshua Greenbaum noted on Wednesday. “What’s important is that when you need it, SAP has it -- or knows how to get it -- or can find a partner to help you get it.”

In fact, there’s an entire community of people who use SAP solutions every day, and SAPPHIRE NOW is an unparalleled opportunity to connect with a lot them. Lessons learned from those who are immersed in this technology can help you streamline your digital business strategy and get more from your solutions.

What’s the Big Deal About Digital?

Benefits of becoming a seamless digital enterprise include making -- and acting upon -- critical and complex business decisions, and tailoring your goods and services to your end-users. And you can do all of that immediately -- live and in real time – no more batch process.

But digital transformation requires more than just a simple fix.

“It’s not enough to speed-up the sales machinery; we need to rethink the whole organization,” SAP’s benno.eberle stated in a blog post last week. “It sounds like a huge hurdle, but the tools we have today were science fiction only a few years ago.”

One of those tools is SAP S/4HANA Finance (formerly SAP Simple Finance), which is ERP financial software that can help you optimize processes, run on-the-fly analysis and more. It enables any organization to become a Live Business.

Living In The Moment

Live Businesses can sense, respond, learn, adapt and predict to create value right away -- or “live.” They’re able to meet and create customer demand in the moment of opportunity, thanks to live system technology that perfectly tunes:

  • Decision-making
  • Operations
  • Supply chain
  • People
  • Products
  • Network of partners

SAP has a ton of offerings, and you probably have a ton of questions. Bring those questions with you to SAPPHIRE NOW 2016.

This technology lets users Run Live, which means everyone across the organization can work from one version of the truth, on one platform -- with instant clarity, unprecedented agility and continuous control -- from anywhere on any device. But is your organization ready for this?

Ready, Set, Go Digital

“What is the path I need to take to move my company towards its goals and meet its challenges?” Greenbaum asked, channeling the average SAP user.

It’s a fair question, whether you’re looking to completely overhaul your system or simply optimize what you’ve got. And SAPPHIRE NOW attendees should be asking that question -- and more.

So bring all of those questions to SAPPHIRE NOW. There will be plenty of opportunities to ask them -- and get insightful answers. Finance users will have at least five ways to learn more on the showfloor:

  1. Strategic Topic Theater: Deloitte, EY and Accenture will join SAP’s thack.brown will explain how S/4HANA Finance can help you optimize processes, run on-the-fly analysis and drive massive simplification. (LB37101)
  2. Theater Presentations: Key SAP customers share their experiences in 20-minute sessions: New York Life (LB33821), ABeam (LB33823), Siemens (LB34691) and Gerdau (LB33822)
  3. Interactive Sessions: Formerly known as micro-forums, think of these as 40-minute opportunities to ask a lot of questions. And there will be 12 of them.
  4. Demo Theater Sessions: Each of these 34 demonstrations are 20-minute opportunities to experience SAP’s most recent product innovations up close and personal.
  5. Demo Stations: Hosted by SAP experts, these seven pods will be up and running whenever the showfloor is open. So stop by to see the demos and to ask any questions that you forgot to ask during the Interactive Sessions. Station topics are Accounting & Financial Close, Financial Planning & Analysis, Treasury & Risk Management, Risk & Compliance Management, Invoice & Receivables Management, Real Estate & Shared Services and Travel & Expense Management

You can also use the Finance Agenda to find the sessions that will help you solve your business problems. And SAP’s judy.cubiss has already compiled a list of key sessions that will answer questions about S/4HANA Finance, digitalization and Live Business.

Are You Ready?

Be sure you bring more than just your questions with you to SAPPHIRE NOW. It’s not too soon to think about what you’ll pack, and a survey of my colleagues revealed these must-haves:

  • Comfortable shoes: The showfloor is big, and the best way to get around is on foot. So broken-in kicks -- and Band-Aids -- are crucial.
  • Business cards: You’re likely to network a lot, so you’ll probably hand out a bunch of these. And bring your NFC-enabled digital business cards if you’ve got ‘em.
  • Smartphone: Sharing on social media will be key. And data junkies will probably want to keep track of all that walking (see “Comfortable shoes”) with a Fitbit.

It’s not too soon to think about SAP TechEd either. See sarah.dolan’s latest blog post for the dates of events all three events later this year.

Apple CEO Tim Cook and SAP CEO Bill McDermott announced on Thursday a new partnership to revolutionize enterprise mobility. The two companies are ready to move their businesses forward. Are you ready to move too? (Photo courtesy of Apple/Roy Zipstein)

Just as Apple and SAP are ready to dramatically enhance what organizations can do with the iPhone, iPad and SAP HANA platform, it’s time for you to get ready: Move toward your goals and meet your challenges!

Click here to register for SAPPHIRE NOW (#SAPPHIRENOW) and the ASUG Annual Conference (#ASUG2016), which will run concurrently from May 17 to May 19 in Orlando. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will speak on May 17, two days before Coldplay plays Concert Night.

Follow @SAPFinance on Twitter for real-time updates leading up to and during the conference. And follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

More From SAP Business Trends:

3 Ways S/4HANA Finance Helps Businesses Run Live, #SAPPHIRENOW

Steve Wozniak’s New Way of Celebrating Geeks and Disruptive Tech

5 Disruptive Tech Trends that Make Finance More Powerful