By Dave Hannon
Another SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG in the rearview mirror ... and I have the blisters on my feet to prove it. This year's event had a good blend of high-level big-impact news and tactical user-level information that should keep everyone in the ecosystem satisfied. At least for now. Here's a few notes.
On the big-bang news side of things, SAP made a few major announcements at SAPPHIRE NOW. They include:
SAP Business Suite on HANA is now Generally Available to customers. As Hasso Plattner said in his keynote, "It's no longer about HANA, but the applications on top of HANA."
Release of SAP Fiori, a collection of 25 apps that are focused on renewing the user experience for the most common business functions, such as workflow approvals, information lookups and self-service tasks. They're device-agnostic-- meaning they can be used on mobile devices and desktops using browsers that support HTML5.
As CTO Vishal Sikka pointed out, Fiori means flower in Italian, and flowers are "the perfect blend of mathematics and design" in nature. (That imagery figured heavily in Sikka's portion of the keynote.)
Renaming of SAP Visual Intelligence as Lumira. (When the founder of your company calls it a "stupid name" it's time to switch).
Release of SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.1 (I didn't personally catch much new on this, but I'm sure our in-house BI guru Scott Wallask will have plenty to say soon over on BusinessObjects Expert. Heck, he was way out in front of it all in a post here.
Announcement that SAP HANA is "no longer a little girl" by Sikka. (Note to SAP communications: That "little girl" metaphor's getting a little...uncomfortable. Just sayin'.)
But in addition to the big-splash keynote news, there were demos galore on the show floor and SAP continues to do a great job of making its technology available to everyone interested, from customers to partners to analysts and media. (I think some folks in the ecosystem might be a bit spoiled by SAP's openness in this area -- not all companies do this).
And the ASUG sessions up on the South Concourse provided a plethora of customer experience presentations across a wide variety of topics. In addition to what I outlined here I caught sessions on super user programs, IT testing practices, experiences in the early adoption of SAP HANA, best practices in deploying RDS, and best practices in educating SAP user base, all led by real SAP customers who were very frank about their experiences.
And in addition to all of that, here's a few of my personal notes from the week:
SuccessFactors CEO Lars Dalgaard was not at the conference because his "superdad" passed away and he was back in Denmark with family sharing the LarsLuv where it was needed most this week. (I did like the video he provided that compared the "promises" he made on the SAPPHIRE NOW stage last year to the results today. Fact checking himself--nice touch.)
SAP is continuing to stick its toe in the B2C water, which will be interesting to watch in the future. Right now, it still feels like.. a toe in the water.
At the risk of sounding like a blue kool-aid addict, I really like the keynote progression at the event. Bill McDermott's sports-related keynote on Tuesday got things off to a fun start. Jim Hagemann Snabe's more product and strategy focused keynote on Wednesday gives the roadmap junkies what they're looking for. And Hasso Plattner's professorial presentation on Thursday transitioned to Vishal Sikka's always engaging talk has a really nice "flow" to it.
The annual press event Wednesday night at the Harley-Davidson factory had a great "vibe" to it as well, although the length of the bus ride out there did have more than a few of us paranoid press types wondering if we had got on the wrong bus and were heading to a bingo weekend in Boca or something.
Dark data is the new old buzzword. If you've been around a while, it's not new to you.
Twitter continues to grow in the ecosystem. If I'm going to continue to live tweet keynotes, I'm going to have to run my iPhone on HANA.
A couple years ago, the question in mobility was if the iPad was going to be an effective tool for business. Yeah, we have our answer now.
The Ariba crew gets the most “road warrior” points. Last week Ariba LIVE in DC. This week SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando. Next week, Ariba LIVE in Berlin. These folks understand to grow a network you gotta rack up some frequent flyer miles, that’s for sure.
More from SAPPHIRE NOW 2013. Catch up on the week with our interviews and blogs: