Five cool things I brought back from SAPPHIRE NOW 2017

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IBM Booth at SAPPHIRE 2017

SAP + IBM: Better together

This was my first SAPPHIRE NOW conference and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Our theme for SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 was SAP + IBM: Better together to show that when you combine our offerings you get the best of both worlds. Right from the start I knew this was going to be a different experience.  IBM’s booth was bathed in purple with a radiant neon quality to it.  In addition rather than the typical loosely coupled pedestals there were a series of integrated experiences that showed the breadth of IBM’s services and solutions, each within an industry context.  As a newcomer this was particularly helpful as it put our solutions into a completely integrated end to end story which was easy to understand.

Beyond our outstanding booth, I usually judge a conference on what I take back with me once the show is over.  While my kids may be interested in cool tchotchkes, for me it boils down to these 5 areas.

#1. Capturing the latest news and announcements

At the conference IBM and SAP announced  a global strategic alliance to deliver cognitive procurement solutions that redefine the source-to-settle process. Leveraging SAP Leonardo, IBM Watson technologies and SAP Ariba, the solutions will bring intelligence from procurement data together with predictive insights from unstructured information to enable improved decision making across supplier management, contracts and sourcing activities. IBM Global Business Services will provide consulting and services to build, implement and operate the new offerings.

#2. Learning from leading clients

Helping our clients is why we get up every day. Conferences provide a unique way to see firsthand how all of our solution components combined with SAP’s are brought together to help our clients digitally transform their business. At the conference we learned about the new world of Cognitive Robotic Process Automation from IBM and Mondi and how Indus Motors is delivering better quality and boosting manufacturing efficiency.

#3. Expanding my knowledge about offerings and solutions

Conferences provide a unique opportunity to gain access to many subject matter experts in one place at one time.  IBM took this a step further by having our experts show real-world examples that demonstrated how organizations are disrupting their industries with S/4HANA and extending the value of their SAP platforms with integrated and new innovative solutions that IBM is known for.  My favorites were

  • MetroPulse to SAP Retail Execution – which showed how to improve on-shelf availability, decrease inventory, improve forecast accuracy and optimize routes.
  • Coldchain/Blockchain. – which showed how using IBM Block chain and SAP the vested parties could follow the temperature of a product from manufacturer all the way to the patient
  • Cognitive Procurement – which showed how you can increase in-policy purchase rates by analyzing insights from contractual agreements, external market data, and internal procurement data

#4. Getting inspired

During the conference Derek Jeter and Kobe Bryant shared their insights into what it takes to be 5 time champions.  One of the key takeaways was the importance of the team. Neither of these champions could have been successful without an outstanding team that you need to build and reinforce over time.   Kobe specifically mentioned how important it is to really take the time to get to know your team members personally as you work towards a common goal.

#5. Creating new connections and deepening existing ones

In addition to meeting new subject matter experts the week was filled with meetings with clients and our partner SAP.  These connections form the basis for developing the next step in our journey to excel at delivering more value to our clients.

IBM and SAP are true partners and better together. Looking forward to SAPPHIRE NOW 2018!


World Wide Enterprise Alliance Portfolio Manager

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