Supply Chain Management Blogs by SAP
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The Digital Supply Chain group at SAP has talked a lot over the years about the need for resilience and adaptability. You know the message. In fact, you’ve probably lived it: In a world of economic, social, political, and climate volatility, organizations need the flexibility to change course quickly. To continuously meet customer expectations no matter what’s happening out there in the world, companies need the ability to realign their supply chains as circumstances dictate.

Today, it’s time for us – marketers like me, at least – to take a dose of our own medicine. As you know, the global coronavirus pandemic has caused companies all over the world to cancel their face-to-face physical events and re-imagine them in a virtual context. For more than 30 years, our premier face-to-face physical event every year at SAP has been SAPPHIRE NOW.

At the end of March this year – at a time when we would otherwise be in a mad dash to prepare for this event in Orlando – the decision was made that we would move to a completely virtual event. For a long time, we have asked you – our customer and partners – to re-imagine the way you do business. Now it’s our turn to re-imagine.

Not that SAP itself is a stranger to change. Truth is, the past decade or so has seen SAP as a company move aggressively to transform itself. 2020 marks 10 years since SAP HANA was introduced. Since then we’ve rolled out SAP S/4HANA, SAP Integrated Business Planning and many other revamped solutions. We’ve moved aggressively to the cloud. We’ve also embraced advanced, intelligence technologies like machine learning.

But as a marketer at SAP there was one constant I could rely upon: “See you next year at SAPPHIRE NOW.” When I uttered this sentence last year, in 2019, little did I know . . .

What to expect: The Rise of the Resilient Supply Chain

But onward and upward, as they say. The past few months have been a different kind of mad dash here at SAP as we prepare for a virtual SAPPHIRE NOW. Turns out re-imagining takes a lot of energy. Instead of physical neighborhoods on a show floor, each solution area will have a channel, like a TV show, which will premiere the week of June 15th. Christian Klein, our CEO will kick things off with a Vision keynote and then each day will feature content from across our portfolio. What’s more, without the constraints of geography and time zone, our production will ‘air’ on 14 different regional instances around the world.

In most regions, the Supply Chain and Manufacturing channel, hosted by broadcast journalist Tamron Hall, will launch on June 18th. It’s a deeper dive on digital supply chain issues during a time of unprecedented disruption. The focus is on the need for organizations to build and maintain resilient supply chains – how they respond, recover, and re-imagine. Here’s the rundown:


  • Surviving in times of fluctuating demand, uncertain supply, and capacity constraints requires the ability to respond with agility and speed. This segment will be moderated by media personality Megan Meaney. It will feature Martin Barkman from SAP – as well as customers Syngenta and Cargill.


  • Preparing for growth after disruption requires the ability to collaborate across departmental and company boundaries. What will it take to become productive with patience and ensure the health and safety of all? This segment will be moderated by futurist Tom Raftery and will feature Hans Thalbauer of SAP and special guests from Microsoft and Siemens talking about Industry 4.0 and sustainability.


  • Driving profitability in the new normal requires Industry 4.0 capabilities such as flexible business networks and end-to-end supply chain automation. This segment will be moderated by host Tamron Hall and will feature Head of SAP Digital Supply Chain Development, Franz Hero, and President of SAP Procurement Solutions, Chris Haydon.

In addition, two other presentations will be of interest to those focused on digital supply chain issues:

The Power of Business Networks to Reinvent the Supply Chain

  • Paige Cox, Head of Networks Development at SAP, will illustrate the power of business networks and the interoperability of SAP Asset Intelligent Network, SAP Logistics Business Network, and the Ariba Network.

The Journey to Industry 4.Now

  • Dr. Bernd Brandl, Head of DSC Sales at SAP, will discuss Industry 4.0 and how its applications and technologies help companies focus on customers, reinvent production and operations, and connect the entire company.


Looking forward to “seeing” you there

Yes, SAPPHIRE NOW is very different in 2020. But it will point us toward new ways of engaging the SAP community. In the future, these new forms of engagement might be able to augment our face-to-face gatherings – which, I hope, will return again in 2021. I look forward to learning a lot and will welcome our customers’ feedback – this is new for all of us.

And don’t forget: the live entertainment this year at SAPPHIRE NOW will feature Sting. Soon you’ll be able to say you attended a Sting concert in your pajamas – if that’s your thing.

The supply chain team coordinating our Sapphire this year have been nothing but resilient. Just like the supply chains we support.

See you this year at SAPPHIRE NOW! Even if it is only virtually.