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Norbert Kytka, Headquarters PlattlingContact
The gears of innovation at SAP AG show no signs of slowing down, as can be evidenced by the ever-faster rate at which new technologies and products keep hitting the market. Of course, this leads to a few questions: What kind of changes do these solutions effect in real-life businesses? How can they revolutionize a company’s day-to-day business? And how can standard solutions evolve into innovative solutions?
Together with our guests, the consultants at T.CON put the latest developments from SAP and T.CON under a magnifying glass and demonstrated how innovation and reality can coalesce into a single entity.
It all took off with a presentation on Thursday that focused on the latest production planning strategies and showed how a planner is the linchpin in the communications between Manufacturing, Production, Purchasing, and Shipping. The result? Planners need the data in their system to be transparent and up-to-date, which is why the consultants at T.CON developed a solution that expands on its standard counterpart’s functionality and provides planners with the tools they need for their day-to-day work in order to become more effective.
After a lunch break, the event continued with an introduction into the subject of hazardous materials management. SAP AG offers a solution – SAP Environment, Health, and Safety (EH&S) – that is designed to deal with this area and that covers hazardous materials all the way from release, storage, transportation, and disposal to the safety measures required to protect employees. In fact, the system automatically generates workstation-specific operating instructions, which can be printed and handed out to employees, for example. And to make sure that the whole thing would be truly brought to life, the introduction was followed by a brief field report that illustrated how the solution works in real-life applications.
Once this presentation was over, our visitors were given the choice of attending one of three simultaneous afternoon presentations: “New SAP AG GUI Technologies,” “Solution Manager as a Central Support Assistance Platform,” and, focusing more specifically on T.CON, “MES CAT, the Latest in Manufacturing Execution Systems.” These expert sessions enabled participants to get up close and personal with the corresponding subjects, giving them the opportunity to discuss these topics with experts in a smaller setting.
The evening was rounded off by nice, cloudy skies, which was only fitting considering that the cloud was scheduled to be the topic of choice at an open panel discussion at that point, with Mr. Wunderlich from SAP AG and Professor Fischer from the Deggendorf Institute of Technology being the guests of honor (Professor Fischer works at the Faculty of Business Informatics at the Deggendorf Institute of Technology, where he is in charge of the subject of data protection). And it turned out to be an interesting discussion, as it showed that many participants still felt uncomfortable with the mere mention of the cloud, especially when it came to secure data storage. However, Mr. Wunderlich took the opportunity to make people much more comfortable by convincing them that data in the cloud is much more secure than they think: “Servers are kept in maximum-security earthquake and missile-proof facilities that are heavily guarded and that have security precautions that far exceed those of the vast majority of businesses.” Meanwhile, Professor Fischer commented on the need for cloud solutions to improve in terms of their range of functionalities and customizing options: “It goes without saying that it should be possible to quickly jump into cloud solutions thanks to the use of standardized features, but this doesn’t mean that companies don’t need a certain latitude in order to incorporate their own processes into these solutions as well.”
The next day got off to a good start with a technical presentation about HANA. “How does HANA work?” “How come HANA is faster?” A T.CON consultant answered these and many other questions in detail and had a HANA system compete with a SAP ERP system using a conventional database. The victor? SAP HANA, without a shadow of a doubt. In his presentation, the speaker was able to impressively summarize and explain the complex technical aspects behind SAP’s HANA, demonstrating in the process that the technology is ready for use in companies. Of course, this is further supported by the fact that SAP AG itself has been using its own Business Suite powered by SAP HANA for about six weeks now, which goes to show just how much the company believes in the solution’s stability and guaranteed future.
After a short break, the Business Intelligence Division gave a presentation on SAP’s current strategic tools for reporting, analysis, and dashboarding use cases. In fact, reporting processes run automatically in these solutions, generating reports with modern visualization layouts and even sending them to pre-defined e-mail recipients. The result? Manual intervention is now a thing of the past. The BI Division’s Director closed off the presentation by pointing out which solutions are strategically valuable products that will enable companies to be fully prepared for the future.
This presentation was followed by an exclusive focus on customers, with SAP AG’s cloud solution for CRM (customer relationship management) taking the spotlight as the company’s latest portfolio offering for managing customer relationships. In fact, this new solution features just as much functionality as its SAP CRM predecessor, and the only area in which it is more limited is in the customizing options available for it. To drive the point home, the speakers giving the presentation peppered it with a series of brief live demos that provided visitors with a taster of one of SAP’s most powerful tools (SAP CRM).
Our CEO, Stefan Fiedler, ended the event with a look into the future: Armed with the latest information from our colleagues at TechEd, which took place in Amsterdam on 11/05 – 11/07/2013, he gave visitors a sneak preview into SAP’s journey and where it will be taking all of us in the next few years.
To put it succinctly, Jim Hagemann Snabe, co-CEO of SAP AG, said the following in 2011:
“I predict: within the next 5 years everything will be mobile,
I predict: within the next 5 years everything will be in the cloud,
and I predict: within the next 5 years everything will be in memory.”
The journey is still ongoing, and we are looking forward to continue exploring the world of SAP together with our customers. In fact, as the link between our customers and the gears of innovation at SAP, we want to keep putting innovation in the hands of our customers and give them a solid idea of how these new technologies can have a positive impact on their day-to-day business.