Recently, SAP held its annual business and technology event, SAPPHIRE NOW 2018, in Orlando, Florida. It’s SAP’s largest event spanning four days and reaching over 21,000 attendees from over 100 countries. I always enjoy attending this event because I get to pack in a lot of face time with customers, hear great stories about how technology is transforming their businesses, and further my knowledge about the latest technology trends. SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 did not disappoint.
The event kicked off with a powerful diversity and inclusion (D&I) Call To Lead Summit, featuring speakers like Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, and Abby Wambach. Each speaker shared perspectives on D&I, including how important diversity in thought is at all levels of an organization. Barack reinforced the importance of this when developing strategy, making decisions, and creating highly functional teams. He shared, “It was important to have diversity of opinion around the table so that when I decided I knew there wasn’t anything I hadn’t considered.”
On Tuesday, Bill McDermott officially kicked off the event with a keynote covering the progress SAP has made with customers on our co-innovation journey together. He shared how SAP is leading the way to provide the next generation of customer experience with SAP C/4HANA. He also unpacked what it means to be an Intelligent Enterprise and how this enables businesses to focus on higher value outcomes, gives them a picture of their whole portfolio, and lets them completely reimagine their businesses. The remaining general sessions expanded on these, and other topics, through customer stories, product demos and other guests like SAP co-founder Hasso Plattner, Jon Bon Jovi, and executives from Adidas and Costco.
Throughout the week I spent most of my time with customers and partners, which is always my favorite part of any event. It was inspiring to see how our conversations about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are advancing so rapidly. And, I’m thrilled about our ability to now discuss what is possible with AI and ML from a picture of a receipt through audit, and the potential to eliminate the concept of an expense report altogether in the future. The power of our connected platform to create local experiences for global companies was another common thread, as well as our customer’s commitment to transforming their employee’s experiences. Connecting with our customers to discuss their desired business outcomes and how SAP Concur is a strategic partner in the process was both powerful and humbling.
I had the good fortune of meeting with some of the largest global companies in the world to discuss a range of topics and how we can continue enabling their success and help them take their team members experience to the next level. Our customers are driven with a purpose, and I am honored they have chosen SAP Concur to work side-by-side with on their journey to be a best run business.