Summary from SAP Insider Keynote (SCM, MFG, PLM, Procurement)

Competing in the “Networked Normal” : A Pathway to Growth through Innovation and Collaboration
SAP EVP Richard Campione began his keynote this morning at the SAP Insider Event today with an interesting statistic: 85% of executives expect complexity to grow significantly. Interesting, but hardly surprising given the setting. This event co-locates several conferences: Logistics and Supply Chain Management 2011, Manufacturing 2011, PLM 2011 and Procurement and Materials Management 2011. Professionals in attendance are all focused on getting product to market and to customers. Given the global nature of business today, the speed of change and the proliferation of data and data sources, increased complexity is the natural result. And yet even with this growing complexity, customers’ expectation of speed and responsiveness is not diminished. In fact, it is only intensified.
Mr Campione also opened with a bit of history. Two years ago at this event there was talk of a recession and even a depression. Strategies were all about cash preservation and survival. A year ago, there was a fair amount of optimism and talk of recovery. Sentiment was … companies could once more invest, but the overriding theme was to invest in order to save. This year, 2011 is a “new beginning” and suggested that a good place to start was in looking at the problem as one of managing from “idea to delivery.” Again, nothing new or surprising, but the holistic approach to supporting this (complete) process was impressive.
Mr Campione also characterized 2011 as a year of crisis and hope. Crisis certainly needed no explanation given the recent uprisings and events in the Middle East, combined with the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Given the disaster in the Pacific, it seemed quite apropos to show his audience the Chinese symbol for crisis, which is actually represented by combining the symbol for danger with that of opportunity. He encouraged his audience to seize the opportunity to learn from leaders. These leaders operate better within business networks. They innovate faster, capturing 25% of revenues from new products, compared to others who only generate 5%. They reduce inventory, citing instances of as much as 55% reduction in days’ supply. And they manage risk. What better backdrop for the need for proactive risk management than the efforts to avert a pending nuclear crisis?
All this is very relevant to the global environment, but how do we really relate this to how SAP products can help businesses “run better?” To summarize, it is all about operating better, collaborating better and deciding better. Given the proliferation of data bombarding us from all angles, it is about turning fast into real real-time. In SAP parlance, this means more (mobile) devices, more applications and more analytics.
More devices equate to more mobile devices, and this was the primary reason SAP bought Sybase – for its mobility platform. There are a lot of different applications along the path from idea to delivery and Mr Campione emphasized the need for these to be “consumable, ready to deploy, packaged applications.” “Consumable” is a word I have been emphasizing to ERP vendors for the past several years, so this was music to my ears.
SAP brought an entertaining duo on stage to demonstrate a scenario that took us from
·         consensus planning, to…
·         the identification of “killer features,” to…
·         engaging the right people, to…
·         readying the supply chain, to…
·         analysing the process and the results
This demo scenario started with SAP Event Insight, then turned to Stream Work, followed by SAP Sales On Demand and finally the BI element of Business Analytics. Implied behind the scenes were PLM, ERP and manufacturing execution including sourcing and procurement. It touched on ideation, sales and operations planning and on the innovation SAP had delivered within the last 12 months, including the following:
·         Mobility
·         Stream Work
·         Business ByDesign
·         BI 4.0
·         Innovations 2010
·         HANA (in memory)
·         Netweaver 7.3
If you missed this keynote and yet feel the urgency to address many of these challenges, including the need to eliminate dual entry in multiple systems, the need for improved visibility, better integrated quality management, and lower inventory and operating costs, take the time to get a demo. If you are running solutions that are not using the latest and greatest technology, you may be pleasantly surprised. And remember how fast that technology is changing!
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