SAP expands portfolio with a slew of business transformation tools

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During its online Sapphire Now conference, SAP revealed it has extended the reach of its analytics cloud platform and rolled out additional managed digital transformation services.

SAP is also delivering on a promise to integrate the process analytics platform it gained with the acquisition of Signavio earlier this year. Now dubbed SAP Process Insight, the platform adds the ability to identify inefficient business processes using data collected from SAP applications and databases. SAP has also integrated its robotic process automation (RPA) platform with SAP Process insights, in addition to allowing users to capture and automate processes involving both end users and machines.

The company is also adding machine learning algorithms to its Concur travel expense management offering — delivered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform — to better enable organizations to identify anomalies and other issues via a Verify module. And it has made available a unified trading partner portal that aggregates data from platforms such as the Ariba Network, SAP Logistics Business Network, and SAP Asset Intelligence Network.

Finally, SAP has added a suite of offerings to address a range of sustainability issues, including SAP Product Footprint Management; SAP Responsible Design and Production; Sustainability Reporting and Steering; SAP S/4HANA for Product Compliance; and SAP S/4HANA for Environment, Health & Safety.

The SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is at the core of the company’s efforts to enable organizations to consistently apply analytics across the breadth of the SAP portfolio. The platform is now integrated with SAP SuccessFactors, a workforce optimization application also delivered via a SaaS platform and the supply chain software it makes available as part of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) portfolio. An SAP Analytics Cloud for planning processes will be available later this year.

SAP is also adding a data marketplace to SAP Data Warehouse Cloud to make it simpler for customers and partners to consume data created by others.

Scale and speed

At the core of SAC is a new model that promises 3 times faster data transformation and a tenfold increase in the volume of data that can be imported at any one time. Additional application programming interfaces (APIs) will make it easier for developers to automate a wider range of data integration tasks and workflows. SAP via SAC then makes it possible to employ machine learning and statistical analysis to enable predictive planning and forecasting.

SAP is also employing SAC within the context of a range of turnkey managed RISE digital business transformation services based on its cloud platform. These were launched at the beginning of the year. The managed services arrived during the pandemic, as many organizations needed to find a way to shift a range of enterprise applications to the cloud, SAP Cloud president Brian Duffy said. “The timing for it was really great,” he added.

Those services are now being extended to make it simpler for organizations to add additional modular capabilities. In addition, SAP is now extending the scope of the RISE services it offers to address the requirements of specific industries, such as automotive and retail, in addition to adding an offering for human resources departments.

For several years now, SAP has been trying to achieve three primary goals. The first is to encourage organizations that have standardized on its ERP portfolio to consume additional cloud services, many of which the company has gained via acquisitions. The second is to migrate customers that deploy SAP software in an on-premises environment to the cloud. Many of those organizations that have deployed SAP software on-premises are several software releases behind, which increases SAP’s overall support costs. The third strategic initiative is to extend SAP’s overall traction in the midmarket by, for example, extending the reach of a no-code SAP Upscale Commerce platform.

In its most recent quarter, SAP noted that despite the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on usage of its Concur travel management platform, revenue from cloud offerings reached €2.14 billion ($2.6 billion), up 7% year over year. The current cloud backlog stands at €7.63 billion ($9.3 billion), a 15% increase. Overall, software license revenue reached €48 million ($58.5 million), up 7% year over year. Cloud and software revenue combined reached €5.43 billion ($6.6 billion), a 1% increase.

SAP clearly still has a long way to go before it achieves its strategic goals. However, the more organizations accelerate digital business transformation initiatives, the more likely it is they will employ one or more SAP cloud services in the months and years ahead.


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