After the successful Biz.ONE Conference last week in southern California, I will be following up with a few posts on key takeaways from the event.
As you would expect, there were many of the senior folks from SAP in attendance and delivering sessions at the conference. Within these sessions and in conversations throughout the event, there were three core messages that I took away:
- SAP Business One continues to grow as a solution, as it has year over year.
- The focus for SAP continues to be SAP HANA. Particularly, SAP HANA seems to be the focus as SAP adds new functionality and analytics capabilities to 9.3 and future versions.
- There is a long-term product strategy with SAP Business One, one centered around cloud with a thin client in a subset of product features.
Customer Examples in the Forefront
This year's event had much more of a focus on customer stories, a fantastic improvement. Sometimes its easy to feel a little bit like Tom Hanks in "Castaway," cut off from the rest of the world and relying on your own ingenuity; connecting with other customers and seeing examples of their real-life solutions to business challenges was a great way to spark creative ideas. And, as the diversity of these customer approaches shows, there are many different roads customers can take to make the most from their solution.
A few examples that stood out for me were those that use the new Service Layer in SAP Business One version for SAP HANA, building a solution with minimal use of complementary solutions and leveraging business intelligence, all using internal resources (and SQL Server). These examples showcased the power of SAP HANA and were great motivators, in my view.
If that's not the approach for you, I was reminded that there is no shortage of complementary solutions to choose from when it comes to extending the core strength of SAP Business One. In meeting with the conference sponsors, I was particularly impressed with the options for wholesale distribution markets, featuring a plethora of warehouse management and EDI solutions, as well as the growth of deeper manufacturing solutions such as BatchMaster, OptiPRO, beAS, Computec, and ProcessForce, to name a few.
Digital Transformation for SMEs, Too
It was also clear that SAP's digital transformation message is not only being emphasised across the large enterprise product stack, such as SAP S/4HANA, but is a key marketing message for SAP in the small and midsize markets, as well.
If you're new to the topic of digital transformation, take a look at Jon Reed from Diginomica's take on this subject, particularly in his discussion with Geoff Scott, ASUG CEO, from last year.
If you have been reading my posts since before my time with ASUG, you know I have some questions when it comes to digital transformation. Why? The IT cynic in me tends to come to the fore when I hear digital transofrmation discussed as utilising IT to drive engagement across customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Is that not what we have been doing since the days of the first generation of the web and earlier iterations of software? I will continue to look for clarity around what is new in this latest digital transformation push.
My cynicism aside, the key message I take away from conversations around digital transformation and innovation is that the speed of change is increasing and the range of solutions is increasing. That's good news for customers, albeit with fears of increased costs. However, in many cases, digital transformation and innovation are bringing decreased costs, which is great news if it comes with the increased range and functionality.
When it comes to SAP Business One, SAP is continuing to build out the functional depth, in addition to the long-term strategy outlined above.
ONE.Source to Keep the Momentum Going
Of course, change and innovation bring new challenges, particularly for keeping up with this increased pace. That is why ASUG officially launched ONE.Source at the Biz.ONE Conference.
Our hope with ONE.Source is that our ASUG community can be a key asset to help you manage those challenges, stay informed of the options, determine the right path to take, and learn from the experiences of other customers.
Take a look at the 2018 SAP Business One curriculum we have planned. As we focus each month on a key topic or two, ONE.Source is the place to learn best practices, get your questions answered, and determine your go-forward strategy.
Not only will we keep you up-to-date, but you will hear directly from other customers, from SAP themselves, and yours truly. We will also take a closer look at many of the complementary solutions available from partners.
Stay tuned for more, because while 2018 Biz.ONE Conference may be a year away, the speed of change isn't slowing any time soon.