SAPPHIRE3Although rather a dramatic overstatement, I feel like I’m in the eye of the storm. It’s a metaphorical storm of course, but having just been through a number of months focused upon one major event of the year, SAPPHIRE NOW, I’m in a lull of activity for a few weeks before gearing up for the next “grand slam” event, SAPinsider Financials, Nice.

Actually, it’s nice to have a chance to take stock, and reflect on things before launching into something new – and as SAPPHIRE NOW is such an important part of my working life, what better a focus for my reflection.

Put simply, SAPPHIRE NOW was tremendous. I always say that, of course, as each and every year I go the event just seems to get better and better. This year I was particularly impressed with the arrangement of the show floor, which provided more than adequate space in the campus areas for networking, while offering sufficient room for show-floor demos, microforums, and the exhibition pods. The constantly busy campus areas never felt cluttered or overbearing, even though they often drew large audiences (see tweet below from @daveswilliams as an example). And with huge projection screens, it was possible to attend each of the conference keynotes without necessarily sitting in the keynote theatre itself. Overall, I found it to be a really engaging event, and I do hope that the many visitors to the event this year feel the same.SAPPHIRE_DAVE


My focus for SAPPHIRE NOW was in providing content and speakers for topics relating to financial planning and analysis, a solution area served by SAP solutions for enterprise performance management (EPM). The EPM team had the opportunity to talk with hundreds of people who attended our demo theater, and microforum sessions, as well as visiting our FP&A demo station, where we were delighted to showcase SAP solutions for EPM, including innovative solutions like SAP Cloud for Planning and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver which included its use with SAP Simple Finance (Integrated Business Planning for finance).

Key Customer Sessions

John To

John To, Finance Systems Manager at ServiceNow

Key sessions for the SAP solutions for EPM team were two excellent presentations that involved our customers. The first of these was a presentation by John To, Finance Systems Manager of ServiceNow, a company which offers cloud-based service management across all areas of an enterprise from HR to IT to Facilities.

In his presentation, John spoke about the transformation of their planning systems from a “pretty unsustainable” slow, sluggish and expensive spreadsheet model to a unified vision of an easy, simple, seamless and user-friendly real-time system, using SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, powered by SAP HANA. The recording of this presentation is available for replay on the SAPPHIRE NOW on-demand website. I’d highly recommend you take 20 minutes out of your day to hear how enthusiastic John is about his company, and what they’ve been able to achieve using SAP solutions.

The second customer session I’d like to point you to involved SAP solutions for EPM customer, Aaron Benner, BI Architect for Ascend Performance Materials, along with other SAP finance customers Swiss Re and Florida Crystals. This was a highly engaging and informative discussion panel session led by SAP’s Global Head of LoB Finance, Thack Brown, where the expert panel members discussed their experiences in helping to shape finance transformation through the use of innovative SAP solutions. Please follow this link to see the recording of this excellent session.


Finance discussion panel at SAPPHIRE NOW

I’m sure that you will find both of the these recordings to be very informative – and if you’re on your own finance transformation journey right now, I also hope that they help to inspire you with some of the possibilities.

Looking Forward to Nice, France and Las Vegas

So, after the calm of the next week or two, what’s next for me and the SAP solutions for EPM team? Well, as mentioned, our next key event of the year will be SAPinsider Financials, due to take place in Nice, France on 16-18 June. I’m anticipating we’ll hear and see many more exciting customer stories concerning the use of SAP solutions at that event, as well as detailed solution sessions from my SAP colleagues.

Then later in the year, we’re heading to Las Vegas for our third annual EPM conference, newly titled the SAP Conference for Financial Planning, Consolidation and Controls. There, in addition to SAP solutions for EPM, we’ll also be focusing on SAP solutions for governance, risk and compliance (GRC), making this a more rounded event for finance professionals.

I’ll bring you news from these events as they happen…or better still, I’ll hope to see you there!