I den sista upplagan av SUGEN Digest för 2023 så blickar ordförande Gianmaria Perancin tillbaka på året som gått och dess höjdpunkter. År 2023 blev en viktig milstolpe för SUGEN med två face to face-evenemang sedan 2019. "Guide to Growth"-initiativet och nya medlemmar stärkte organisationen. Teknologiskt sett präglades året av framsteg som generativ artificiell intelligens och övergång till molnet. Trots utmaningar som internationell oro och inflation fortsätter SUGEN att vara en kraftfull röst. Thomas Saueressigs novembersession betonade SAP:s framtid med fokus på AI och moln, där övergången stöds, särskilt för ECC-kunder. Samarbete och öppen dialog är avgörande för att påverka SAP:s strategi och väg framåt. Nedan hittar du förord av Gianmaria Perancin samt en artikel av honom.

Hela SUGEN Digest November hittar du här. Trevlig läsning!

2023 marked a significant milestone for SUGEN, as we were able to host two Face to Face events for the first time since 2019. It has been truly remarkable to witness the connections within our network come “back to life”. In particular, this F2F was a real moment of strong human warmth among people who were finally in the capacity to meet again. We can be really proud of how SUGEN has evolved and grown.

One of the highlights of this year was the "Guide to Growth" initiative, in which several SUGEN members participated. Led by the SAP GUGO (Global User Groups Organization), this comprehensive document will serve as a valuable resource for the User Groups that compose our network, to further their growth.

Additionally, the Core Leadership Team has welcomed a new member, Kari Halmela from FINUG. We can all thank him for his engagement, as we know that we will have a lot of work to do, to satisfy the expectations of all SUGEN members. At the same time, we extend a heartfelt thank you to Frank Haes (SAPience.be) for his years of truly dedicated service to the CLT and the vision and inspiration that he has given to all SUGEN.

From a technological perspective, we have witnessed significant advancements this year. The emergence of Generative Artificial Intelligence has already made its impact felt in various aspects of our daily lives. Looking at SAP's plans to incorporate AI into business processes, we can expect even more transformative changes in the future. Furthermore, migration to the cloud has been a dominant topic, but at the same time, we still know that there are a lot of ECC on-premise customers who are still expressing reserves in adopting the new solutions. When we appreciate SAP's efforts to support all customers in this transition, we should also work closely with the User Groups members of SUGEN, to understand what are the hindrances that customers are coping, with and mainly how we can work on the added value that SAP wants to deliver to customers and users, through cloud adoption. Thomas Saueressig's session in November was particularly enlightening, showcasing how even regulated industries could embrace the cloud if all the conditions are met. As a global network, we stand ready to support SAP in this endeavor, through our open dialog and especially our honest feedbacks to SAP, so to help them in better understanding what customers really expect.

In parallel, 2023 also presented its fair share of challenges. We witnessed international turmoil and multiple crises erupting, while inflation had a noticeable impact on our businesses. Even as we returned to a semblance of normalcy after the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident that the definition of "normal" is no more the one we were used to.

In times of rapid change, the importance of a strong network such as ours cannot be overstated. As we look ahead, there is work to be done in strengthening SUGEN's communication about our successes as well as SUGEN’s positioning by enhancing its brand presence in the outside world. These are two tasks we will tackle together. Our collaboration with SAP will continue to provide us with unique insights into current and future developments. At the same time, we will keep our commitment committed to amplifying the voices of our user group members, providing our unique constructive feedback about how customers and users really perceive SAP’s strategy, roadmap definition, and finally the implementation of all this in everyday operations, so to influence SAP's direction. At work, all together!


Executive Exchange on SAP’s Product Strategy – November 08

An executive exchange with Thomas Saueressig, a member of the SAP SE Executive Board for SAP Product Engineering, is always an incredible moment for SUGEN members. It’s a chance to dive directly into SAP’s enterprise software strategy. SUGEN members and Thomas have the opportunity for an open and honest dialogue about product development and innovation, as well as cloud operations and support.

This was also the case at the last face-to-face meeting, in November 2023, where Thomas gave his insights into the future direction of SAP and underlined the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI), in addition to cloud technologies, for the future of SAP.

While recalling that SAP is particularly known for the strength of its business process transformation expertise, Thomas Saueressig emphasized that AI will play a crucial role in enhancing these same business processes. Thomas Saueressig also clearly stated the SAP commitment to making SAP Business AI reliable, responsible, and relevant.

Thomas reaffirmed SAP's commitment to the future, which he believes will be based on a combination of cloud and AI technologies. While on-premise solutions will continue to receive innovations, such as the SAP S/4HANA 2023 Release, SAP intends to deliver strategic innovations only for the cloud. This is clearly a point where existing customers and SAP must open a dialogue, through SAP User Groups and SUGEN, to discuss how this roadmap to cloud adoption can be paved, its pace, and the concrete support SAP can provide.

SAP will provide more tools and guidance to support its customers in making the move to the cloud. SAP is actively facilitating the transition for customers, still using the ECC system, by leveraging AI technology and simplifying brownfield implementations to SAP S/4HANA. These will likely increase closer to 2027: the end date for ECC maintenance.

At the same time, Thomas Saueressig has clearly stated that the private cloud is an important cornerstone for the next 20 years. Obviously, Net New Names are mainly interested in a public cloud, as they start a brand-new journey with SAP.

In parallel, it is also important to recall that SAP has two primary areas of focus: innovation adoption and product experience. SAP is pursuing a clean core strategy to facilitate the adoption of innovations by its customers. Additionally, the company is placing greater emphasis on adopting the latest innovations, as they consider that older versions tend to have a less user-friendly experience: as an example, it is possible to cite RISE with SAP which provides more automation and features.

Addressing the needs of companies undergoing specific legislations in data protection, it was also discussed that SAP supports cloud solutions in the public sector already in some countries and is open for further locations.

In conclusion, Thomas Saueressig's address at the SUGEN face-to-face meeting clearly outlined SAP's future direction: a customer-centric approach leveraging the power of AI and cloud technologies, with a strong commitment to innovation, enablement, and user experience. SUGEN understood a total openness in discussing requirements and constraints for those SAP customers in search of more clarity and more capacity in providing secure cloud solutions, even if the “sovereign cloud” is still not completely defined by public authorities.

Gianmaria Perancin

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