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It’s been an exciting first couple of days here in Orlando at SAPPHIRE NOW. I’ve had great discussions and met with interesting people from across the insurance industry, and everyone is buzzing with new ideas and innovations – and we still have a whole day left!

The keynote sessions have been a real highlight of the conference, bringing together attendees across industries and LOBs to discuss the big topics affecting all businesses, including digital transformation. Bill McDermott, CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, started the convention with an inspiring speech, and was followed in the afternoon by innovators in very different fields. Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer Inc., participated in a fascinating discussion about disrupting an industry and igniting the computer revolution to change the world. Another industry disrupter, Welby Altidor, executive creative director of creations for Cirque du Soleil, gave a speech titled “Creative Courage: Challenge the Status Quo in the Era of Digital Transformation and Make Big Ideas Happen,” proving that digital innovation can happen in almost any industry.

Turnout  this week has been great; every part of the conference feels like it’s overflowing with excited attendees. Following #SAPPHIRENOW is a great way to see everything that’s happening, and for my colleagues who couldn’t make the conference this year it has made them feel almost like they are attending (although they won’t be able to join us tomorrow to see Coldplay in concert). Ideas are traded around like hot stock tips here in Orlando, and the energy in every room is infectious.

One area that has been a hotspot for ideas is the demo stations section. The demo stations for the insurance industry are covering a wide range of topics. The demo for cost and revenue allocation for financial products provides interesting insight into how being powered by SAP HANA has allowed the SAP Cost and Revenue Allocation for Financial Products application to provide real-time analysis. I was really excited by the demo for the SAP S/4HANA Finance solution, formerly known as SAP Simple Finance, which shows how the in-memory platform allows companies to optimize processes, run on-the-fly analysis, and more. There’s also a demo of the newest analytic applications from SAP – SAP Insurance Analyzer analytic applications; attendees were thrilled to see that the applications will help companies comply with new IFRS 4 accounting principles and Solvency II guidelines. Demos also cover insurance policy and quotation management, business planning and consolidation, and collections and disbursements management. If you’re down here in Orlando, be sure to stop by the demo stations before the end of the conference.

Attendees from the car insurance industry were very excited about new solutions that were announced down here. With the innovations in connected devices exploding with the IoT, connected cars are one of the biggest disruptors in the automotive area. SAP Vehicle Insights collects telematics data from vehicle sensors, and to maximize the usage of the data, msg-global has developed msg IoT Analyzer. Together the solutions will help insurance companies gain a competitive advantage.

There have been over 20 insurance-related demo theaters and interactive sessions over the past two days, and attendees are both busy and inspired. On Tuesday, there were sessions discussing e-prescriptions, promoting consumerism, visualizing future outcomes, and, of course, the topic of the year – digital transformation. On Wednesday, sessions covered rethinking the role of bots, streamlining profitability analysis, taking advantage of predictive analytics for the masses, and more. As happens every year, themes have emerged from all of the sessions, linking the unique challenges and opportunities we have in the insurance industry. Customer centricity is proving to be as important as ever, as is the collection and analysis of data. There is also a lot of talk about the necessity for insurers to reimagine their business models and operate on a platform that enables live business. And the great thing about SAPPHIRE NOW is that these discussions are happening between the people who need the solutions, and the people who are designing and providing the solutions. Watching these in

Continue to follow the action at SAPPHIRENOW, where you will find streaming live sessions tomorrow and recordings after the event ends.