SAP Sapphire 2024: AI, RISE, and Strategic Partnerships Take Center Stage

Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, Baer
By
Brian Trout
Executive Vice President, Sales
21 June 2024

This year at SAP Sapphire, CEO Christian Klein made two things abundantly clear—AI is the future of modern enterprise, and RISE with SAP offers the most direct path to leverage SAP’s AI innovations now and in the future. Given that strategic investments in both cloud and AI were primary drivers behind SAP’s organization-wide transformation earlier this year, it came as no surprise. What was surprising was the sheer volume and impact of the announcements they made, including a slew of new AI use cases, as well as several strategic collaborations with leading technology companies.

When It Comes to AI, SAP Means Business

The company announced it has delivered 50 new AI innovations so far this year and is on track to deliver more than 100 more uses cases by the end of 2024. These advancements span a broad range of functions including human resources, finance, supply chain, procurement, sales, services, and IT and platform, and an equally broad range of industries like oil and gas, industrial manufacturing, the public sector, and higher education. Most of these capabilities are currently available to all SAP Public Cloud customers and S/4 RISE clients following SAP’s clean core approach and fit to standard. Of course, this makes both its RISE and GROW offerings even more desirable route for any organization able to take advantage of them.

To further support accelerated adoption of RISE, SAP also announced they would be introducing new Joule capabilities later this year to streamline S/4HANA implementations.

Strategic Collaborations Drive a Best-of-Breed AI Ecosystem

SAP is infusing AI throughout its portfolio of Enterprise Cloud solutions, and they’re collaborating with Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia, and others to do it. By choosing the right companies to partner with, they are putting together a best-of-breed AI ecosystem that will allow them to maintain and grow their dominance. The Amazon initiative is multifaceted, with the two companies working together on several fronts. The goals are to make it easier for customers to adopt RISE with SAP on AWS, to improve overall cloud performance, and to support embedding of generative AI across all SAP business applications. I should note that Amazon, as well as a handful of Amazon companies like Twitch and Zappos.com are all RISE customers, along with its emerging Project Kuiper global internet initiative.

SAP also announced plans to integrate Joule and its Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain solution with Google Cloud’s Gemini models AI assistant and Google Cloud Cortex Framework’s data foundation. Meanwhile, they are leveraging Meta technology to enhance SAP Analytics Cloud and Nvidia technology to support new Joule S/4HANA implementation capabilities, ABAP code generation, and digital twin simulations.

SAP Joule Gains a Copilot—Microsoft Copilot, to Be Exact

One of most interesting, unexpected, and in my opinion, brilliant announcement to come out of Sapphire is SAP’s plan to integrate its generative AI copilot Joule with Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365. Since the introduction of ChatGPT, the market for generative AI solutions has exploded. Each one has its strengths, and enterprises are facing hard choices about which one they will choose to power their businesses. With this move, SAP effectively eliminates that problem by enabling their customers to switch back and forth between whichever of the two solutions is best for the task at hand.

The Impact on the SAP Labor Market

To say the market for SAP expertise to support migrations to S/4HANA is hot is an understatement. It is officially on fire. Our Baer proprietary data indicates a significant increase in requests for talent from systems integrators, Federal agencies, and commercial enterprises. We see this trend continuing for at least the next twelve months. As the market matures and more enterprises choose to fit to standard on RISE, and as SAP’s own migration tools advance, the market may cool a bit. It’s also quite possible that we’ll see more third-party migration solutions coming to market, including ones that leverage generative AI and new forms of intelligent automation. While those may streamline some of the complexities of migrations, they may also create demand for a whole new class of SAP expertise.

As always, at Baer we’ll continue to mine our data, watch for emerging trends, and proactively identify resources to support the market as it evolves.

About Baer

Unlike typical technology staffing companies, Baer is a true enterprise performance partner. We have a deep understanding of the scope of enterprise digital transformation and the highly specialized skillsets you will need at different stages of the process.

To learn more about how Baer can make a positive impact on your enterprise transformation, please reach out to Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, at btrout@baergroup.com, or John Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, at jwilson@baergroup.com.

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