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Key Takeaways from the 2024 SAP Sapphire Conference

Our team attended the 2024 SAP Sapphire & ASUG Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, last week, gathering with industry leaders and peers to discuss the latest with SAP. We heard conversations surrounding increased enterprise spend on software across the industry and the need for robust change management practices. Attendees were also the first to hear about a few exciting announcements from SAP – like integration capabilities for its copilot Joule and the acquisition of the digital adoption platform WalkMe. Below, we outline key three takeaways we believe will be most impactful to our clients in the near future: 

2024 Sapphire Conference Key Takeaways

1. Investments in Artificial Intelligence: Joule  

SAP announced highly anticipated news around expanded integration capabilities for Joule, its “natural-language, generative AI copilot.” Currently, Joule is integrated in both cloud editions of S/4HANA, but it’s planned to be available in SAP Ariba, SAP Analytics Cloud, and multiple supply chain management solutions from SAP in the second half of this year. 

There are a few particularly impactful use cases for Joule. For finance teams, SAP Fiori applications now benefit from Joule-enabled insights, with the copilot able to summarize available data and produce visual data narratives in a quick, efficient manner. Further, for human resources teams, employees can use Joule to get answers to natural-language questions about their organization’s HR policy documents in SAP SuccessFactors. 

As with any new technology – and especially AI – we advise businesses to remember that the tools here will only be as good as the data upon which they rely. As these AI copilots are adopted, firms should work to ensure they approach AI with strategic intent and also have a mature data governance strategy in place. 

2. Tools to support the Clean Core Strategy 

SAP’s “clean core strategy” is an approach that emphasizes keeping the core enterprise resource planning (ERP) system as close to the standard, out-of-the-box version as possible, while minimizing customizations and modifications. At Sapphire, SAP announced a few new tools to support this clean core strategy. 

  • New capabilities in SAP Build low-code and pro-code tools as well as in ABAP Cloud will offer a major advancement in SAP’s clean core strategy for ERP customers.  
  • ABAP Developer capabilities in Joule will let software developers write ABAP code using generative AI – the first features here will be available later this year and allow developers to create ABAP business objects using generative AI in SAP BTP, ABAP environment. 
  • Guided experiences in SAP Build Work Zone will let developers create step-by-step line-of-business workflows, simplifying complex business processes through automation without custom code. 

As firms begin their S/4HANA journey, leveraging these tools can play a role in helping reduce time value on the transformation 

3. Leveraging BTP to support the Clean Core Strategy 

SAP unveiled new diagrams and reference architectures for solutions developed using SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). The updates are designed to accelerate implementation project timelines, help customers optimize operations, and streamline integration processes for businesses using SAP applications. 

SAP BTP is integral to the clean core strategy, allowing customizations to be made as extensions rather than modifications to the core ERP system. This approach facilitates continuous updates and innovation without disrupting core functionalities. Ultimately, leveraging BTP and adhering to the clean core strategy can reduce the complexity of the support landscape and better position the solution for future updates. 

Looking Ahead 

SAP, like many enterprise software providers, is choosing to emphasize the power of AI when partnered with its platform. Whether this bet pays off for SAP will ultimately be decided by the utility that its customers see in these new tools and the innovative ways that customers opt to take advantage of them. 

To chat more about these takeaways or other topics and trends in the SAP landscape, connect with our team today. 

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Tags: Artificial Intelligence, SAP, SAP S/4HANA, SAP BTP