Day 2 at Sapphire was very much a continuation on SAP’s message regarding innovation and rejuvenation. Apart form the keynotes by the co-CEOs, SAP Mentors and Bloggers had the opportunity to participate in a round table with Jonathan Becher, Executive Vice President of Global Field Marketing. Jonathan explained more about SAP’s aim to use Sapphire to demonstrate to customers the change that is happening within SAP. One major attempt in this area is the re-branding of Sapphire into “SAPPHIRE NOW”. My take on the conference so far is that SAP has managed to show itself in a much more grounded and listening kind of way. A refreshing change from a rather chilled atmosphere not too long ago, triggered by topics such as support costs, for example.
For most of the audience the two keynotes by co-CEOs Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe were the first time they had seen or heard what these two business leaders had to say. Where Bill McDermott showed vision and direction, Snabe filled the strategy and product gap. With Vishal Sikka there is now talk about a “virtual 3rd CEO”, responsible for the technical and architectural part. Judging by the Twtterstream during the keynotes and conversations after the speeches, my impression was that SAP has bounced back and has so far executed well.
However the software giant has quite a task on its hands as far as change internally is concerned. New paradigms such as the hybrid model for On Demand and talks about the “future stack” (for applications) have already caused quite a lot of discussions amongst employees, partners and consultants. Now everyone is looking towards this afternoon’s keynote by Vishal Sikka and the enigmatic Hasso Plattner for some clarity. To be continued.