SAP CEO Christian Klein: Revolutionizing the next 50 years of intelligent sustainable innovation

Christian Klein, SAP CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, launched SAP Sapphire Orlando with a rousing salute to SAP’s amazing community of customers and partners in over 140 countries, while celebrating the company’s past, present, and vision for the intelligent, networked, sustainable enterprise.

“For 50 years we have revolutionized together the way businesses are run, and in the next 50 years, together we will continue to deliver market-making innovation,” he said. “While the world around us has changed significantly, our purpose is more relevant than ever: to help the world run better in times of geopolitical tensions, disruptive industry transformation, and supply chain disruptions, and to improve people’s lives in times of war and climate change.”

After announcing that SAP will match every SAP Sapphire attendee’s donation to UNICEF USA for Ukraine aid, Klein was joined in-person and virtually by customers and executives to share how the company’s technologies, business knowledge, and commitment to sustainability address major business challenges.

This year, the event is being held in Orlando from May 10-12 and is part of a new program of SAP Sapphire experiences that includes a virtual platform to engage customers no matter where they are, plus nine intimate in-person events worldwide.

RISE with SAP: Holistic Business Transformation in the Cloud
After acknowledging that fast-paced change is the norm and sustainability has become a business imperative, Klein invited a series of guests on stage and online to show how SAP and its huge ecosystem of partners was turning these challenges into business opportunities. Philips, AMD, and Accenture were among the RISE with SAP customers who discussed the business value of their transformational journeys.

“We want to transform each and every enterprise into an intelligence enterprise,” said Klein. “RISE with SAP takes you on a transformation journey that’s tailored exactly to your needs. Over 2,000 customers have selected RISE with SAP; more than 60% are new customers to SAP.”

Connected Data Powers the Employee and Customer Experience
A series of exciting innovation demonstrations led by Julia White, chief marketing and solutions officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, revealed the power of the digital employee experience delivered by SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Fieldglass for centralized workforce management, as well as personalized, mobile-first employee learning that reduces attrition and fosters a more engaged workforce. Through an executive dashboard, executives can quickly gain insights across the business, including skill gaps and how to solve them.

Marc Starfield, group head of HR Systems at Vodaphone Group, shared how his company digitalized the employee experience with SAP SuccessFactors, responding quickly to changing workforce needs and offering an immersive virtual learning experience.

To spotlight the power of the integrated customer experience that connected consumer demand signals through product design, manufacture, and delivery, White took the audience on a virtual tour of the event’s impressive supply chain showcase on the show floor. After a pair of pink jeans went viral on social media, the model company used SAP solutions, including SAP Customer Data Platform and SAP Data Warehouse Cloud, to integrate financial, supply chain, and marketing data with customer information and more, making data-driven decisions based on real-time simulations.

“It’s not just about delivering the next best action. It’s about delivering delightful customer experiences that capture the next best dollar,” said White. “Whether you’re in retail, financial services, healthcare, or automotive, having access to this kind of integrated data is a game-changer.”

SAP Business Network for Supply Chain Resiliency
Klein returned to the stage and invited the audience to join SAP Business Network, which already connects companies across the world’s largest B2B network, bringing together buyers, suppliers, manufacturers, and logistics providers.

“We are building the LinkedIn of the B2B world,” he said. “You can match demand with supply in real time by connecting our demand planning solution, SAP Integrated Business Planning, with extremely strong predictive demand capabilities. As a result, our business network will make your supply chain more resilient, transparent, and agile.”

Klein shared numerous examples of how SAP Business Network delivers results that have been lifesaving in some cases. After SAP provided the Health Ministry of Ukraine with free access to the network, the country sourced over 300,000 medical first aid kits.

On a regular basis, companies worldwide have gained process improvements in supply chain operations for major business results. These included finding alternative sustainable trading partners, as well as organizations like Lenovo, which uses SAP solutions to help build smart factories, connecting thousands of suppliers to billions of customers. Catena-X was another example of how suppliers across industries like automotive have formed alliances to collaborate for agility and sustainability.

Meeting the Business Imperative for Sustainability
Noting that companies can only act on what they can measure, Klein explained how SAP collects reliable and compliant data to help organizations measure environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Solutions include SAP Concur, which measures the carbon footprint of business travel, SAP SuccessFactors for diversity and inclusion metrics, and SAP Business Network for information across supply chains. What’s more, SAP Sustainability Control Tower aggregates ESG data from SAP and non-SAP sources. SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises helps reduce emissions, minimize waste, and improve social equality while reporting ESG performance. Executives from Unilever and Accenture discussed how their organizations were using SAP solutions to become intelligent, sustainable enterprises.

“We are going to add a green ledger in our ERP so you can account for carbon as you account for financials today,” said Klein. “Only SAP can offer you reliable ESG data for your enterprise. Based on this transparency, your business can take action.”

After a heartfelt thanks to everyone in the audience and the customers and partners who told their stories, Klein closed his keynote with a look ahead.

“Let’s reinvent how enterprises run for the next 50 years ─ resilient, intelligent, and sustainable,” he said. “I can commit to you that all of our 110,000 employees are focused and dedicated to make your business transformation a huge success.”