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At SAPPHIRE NOW this year it was impossible to miss the theme of the experience economy. Before he appeared on stage for the SAP Opening Keynote, CEO Bill McDermott ran a short video about the 27 feelings humans experience – and how changing the feelings of customers can change the course of a business.

For companies everywhere, in other words, experience matters – and it takes an intelligent enterprise to deliver the experiences that customers seek. At SAP, this is what the 2019 acquisition of Qualtrics is all about: empowering customers to deliver better customer experiences by adding experience data to all of the operational data that SAP solutions already generate.

Road maps and empathy

The SAP Road Maps group has understood this reality for some time now. The emotion driving this group is empathy – empathy for SAP customers pursuing digital transformation to survive and thrive in an experience economy.

At SAPPHIRE NOW two years ago (2017), the SAP Road Maps team introduced SAP Transformation Navigator, a powerful road-mapping tool that simplifies and facilitates landscape transformation in the direction of SAP S/4HANA.

This year at SAPPHIRE NOW 2019, the team introduced a new value-based interactive road map platform. This platform connects thought leadership with product specifics – supporting more reliable planning by showing how recent innovations and enhanced capabilities can drive value for companies engaged in transformation. (Customers and partners can access the platform via their s-user credentials at

More empathy, less confusion

Another emotion included in the list of 27 (full list here) is confusion – which is one that SAP wants to help customers avoid as much as possible. The combination of interactive road maps and SAP Transformation Navigator is helping customers chart the path forward with greater clarity.

The results from SAPPHIRE NOW 2019 speak for themselves. ASUG (Americas’ SAP Users’ Group), organized more the 75 road map presentations – typically one of the hottest tickets at the conference. Overall estimated attendance stands at 5,500. Some of these presentations showed the new user interface for the road mapping tool and demonstrated many of the interactive features that make it an intuitive tool for moving forward with intelligent technologies.

As for SAP Transformation Navigator, the tool went into SAPPHIRE NOW with approximately 23,000 users who have created more than 53,000 road maps to support their digital transformation planning. Throughout the conference, the SAP Road Maps group conducted 141 individualized customer sessions – many in which customers used their own sandbox data to explore the tool and ask company-specific questions.

The group also ran 8 “Ask the Expert” sessions and took in 7 groups on the SAP S/4HANA Movement Tour – a show floor bestseller which stopped at only 5 locations. In all, there were 727 unique visitors at the SAP Transformation Navigator station, making it the 2nd most visited booth of the show floor (topped only by NHL’s virtual reality demo), and number 1 for the Services and Support Pavilion.

On route to the Intelligent Enterprise

Together, interactive road maps and SAP Transformation Navigator help organizations become intelligent enterprises for the experience economy.

SAP Transformation Navigator starts with your as-is reality – automatically uploading your landscape details into the tool itself from existing information.

From there, you plan your transformation journey with the tool, highlighting different categories of solutions for the intelligent enterprise. Based on your strategy, you can choose to move to the cloud, stay on-premise, or run a hybrid environment. Whatever decisions you make, the tool recommends solutions and technologies to reach your goals.

Interactive road maps come at digital transformation from a different angle that complements SAP Transformation Navigator. These road maps first set the scene with industry trends and priorities – and a discussion of SAP’s role in the current landscape. Rather than moving from feature to value, these road maps move from value to feature, telling an industry-focused story for a specific line of business. This story follows the SAP vision for moving forward with specific offerings – all with a focus on business priorities and supported by customer references and demos.

For example, an IT architect in the consumer products industry could learn about technology and business trends impacting the supply chain (the value) – and then determine which specific technology and solutions in the SAP portfolio address the challenges ahead (the features). Showcasing SAP's end-to-end story from strategy to delivery, these road maps allow users to dive deep into SAP's products – exploring the latest innovations, most relevant industry trends, and the advantages of transformation across the value chain

The result is a road map for moving forward in specific areas – machine learning, experience management, Internet of Things, or whatever else concerns your business. As customers learned at SAPPHIRE NOW, these tools in combination can help focus your organization’s energy on digital transformation and clarify many of the questions that need to be addressed for launching initiatives.

As Hans-Juergen Schoepp, Business Owner for SAP Transformation Navigator, said: “For many customers, learning how these tools can help jump-start transformation was worth coming to SAPPHIRE NOW alone. Plus, they got to see Lady Gaga.”

Looking ahead

Work continues at SAP to improve both SAP Transformation Navigator and the interactive road maps platform:

  • UI updates for both offerings,

  • updated demo videos that guide customers along in their journey,

  • integration of additional road maps to the new platform (current content is limited to various Industries*, Cloud ERP, SAP S/4HANA, Finance LoB, Digital Business Planning LoB

    • *Automotive, Chemicals, Consumer Products, High Tech, IMC, O&G, Professional Services, Retail, Utilities

The goal, as always, is to help SAP customer drive transformation toward the intelligent enterprise and better customer experiences. Who knows what SAPPHIRE NOW 2020 will hold?