SAP Continues its Quest to Run Simple at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015

digital-manufacturing-2.jpgSimple. Not a word historically associated with your typical installation or use of SAP technologies.

Not a word historically associated with your typical installation or use of SAP technologies. The sentiments of Walmart CIO Karenann Terrell at last week’s annual SAPPHIRE Now User Conference, echoed that. “I want to just encourage you and challenge you: I want my SAP implementation to be within my lifetime at Walmart,” she explained. “I’d like to conclude that, I have that on my bucket list—it is important.”

But to be fair, starting at last year’s SAPPHIRE and continuing right through until last week in Orlando, it has been SAP’s mission to change that. It wants to be the technology partner that helps clients transform businesses and Run Simple. And in the last 12 months it appears it's made tremendous strides.

SAP CEO Bill McDermott addressed that legacy and the vision to lead beyond it. “We have dealt with complexity for 43 years, so we feel that SAP has a unique permission to help companies on the path to Simple,” he explained. McDermott continued in his keynote that he is personally very proud as he could now say without reservation that SAP has all of the parts, either developed or purchased, to truly help companies transform into Simple organizations.

SAP Helping Manufacturers Run Simple

Given the acquisitions and homegrown developments SAP has made over the past five years; it is now safe to consider SAP as more than just an application provider and rather a Platform, Network, and Application provider. To this end, SAP made a number of announcements and claims during the course of Sapphire: the position of SAP HANA as the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, the launch of SAP S/4HANA, and the increased connections of its business networks via the Internet of Things (IoT). In most if not all of these pronouncements, manufacturing use cases were front and center to illustrate the value that running simple leveraging all of SAP’s technologies can achieve.

The day-two keynote was given by Bernd Leukert, who is a member of the Executive Board and the Global Managing Board of SAP, with global responsibility for development and delivery of all products across SAP's product portfolio, including applications, analytics, cloud, database and technology, and mobile. He is also responsible for leading the design and end-user experience for SAP. Echoing McDermott's keynote, in Leukert's address the key use case was that of manufacturing clients. Leveraging the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP S/4HANA, and the SAP Business Networks, these use cases highlighted how a plant operator could detect a forecasted equipment problem that would cause downtime if left unresolved. They showed a slick role-based dashboard that called upon info from numerous SAP systems to pull machine data, predictive forecasts, financial data, and spare parts inventory all together into one screen so the plant operator could see the predicted failure, analyze the financial implications of repairing, replacing or upgrading, check for the availability of the replacement part, procure it, and then schedule the service with a tech who has the proper expertise and availability before the forecasted failure. All of this was simple, efficient, and allowed business to keep on moving with no disruption.

SAP Customer Highlights

One of the biggest improvements this year was the increased focus on the customers—SAP put them front and center, allowing them an opportunity to present the challenges and successes they have had or are having on their respective journeys. There were three customer stories that stood out to me:

Mercedes-AMG: Lot size of one is a beautiful thing. Sure the $129,000 SAP Blue GTS was stunning but the transformation that occurred within the factory where it was manufactured was just as impressive. With each GTS being a custom, hand-made masterpiece the complexity in running manufacturing at scale, with lowest possible costs was an omnipresent challenge for Mercedes-AMG. The past was a legacy where increased customization meant longer wait times and higher costs. The partnership between SAP and Mercedes-AMG has allowed it to leverage the SAP HANA Platform and SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA to revolutionize the manufacturing environment. Mercedes was able to move closer to real-time analytics in all stages of design and production, identifying problems, moving change orders, and implementing solutions all without delaying delivery and increasing costs to the customer.

Spirit Aerosystems: From 6 hours to 50 seconds. That is the new reality for how Spirit can monitor the status of production lines. It used to take the company six hours to plot out the status of all of its lines, meaning it was limited in the insights it could gather and the changes it could implement in production processes. Now, the company can technically do that same process 300 times in the same six-hour period--a bit overkill--utilizing the new deployment of SAP HANA. That has led to a substantive change in the way it's managing the production of the fuselages and engine nacelles it's supplying to the likes of Airbus and Boeing.

John Deere: Detecting problems – Two- to three-months earlier using SAP HANA. Larry Brewer, John Deere’s Global Director of IT, says that utilizing SAP HANA, Deere is able to load warranty data, telemetric data from equipment, unstructured text data from service records, and leveraging SAP technology Deere’s engineers are able to perform root cause analysis much more quickly. That means problems detected earlier, solved faster and less downtime for customers, all of which lead to the ultimate goal--happy customers.

LNS Research's Take

SAP is continuing to make strides towards the Run Simple ethos. The focus on the Fiori User Experience, the ease and speed of SAP S/4HANA, and the move to enable SAP HANA as the cloud platform for clients are all starting to pay dividends as illustrated by the many customer speakers- from Walmart to John Deere to UnderArmour.

The increased focus on manufacturing and supply chain applications of SAP HANA and the cloud should be a boon to clients, and also to SAP as it looks to build deeper relationships with manufacturing customers. Hopefully this move into operations, especially in support of the Inudstrie 4.0 initiative is just the start of SAP expanding use from SuccessFactors, Financials, or Ariba and winning more deals with Asset Management, Manufacturing Operations, Predictive Maintenance, or EHS capabilities, for example.

For more on how the Internet of Things is advancing on the development side and being deployed within manufacturing and production, be sure to view our free on-demand webinar recording from our Tuesday presentation of "Smart Connected Operations: Capturing the Business Value of the Industrial IoT."

Industrial Internet of Things






All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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