SAP leaders explain how technology can provide answers as well as challenges
For over 50 years, SAP has been transforming the world of IT and how we do business through the rapid evolution of real-time ERP software. An entrenched industry leadership position also gives companies like SAP the opportunity to sponsor unique events and conferences that bring top industry minds together.
This year’s SAP Sapphire Conference transcended the traditional roll-out of new product bells and whistles by featuring an insightful conversation focused on issues that impact everyone, including those who do not develop (or use) computer technology.
SAP Sapphire Orlando
The annual SAP Sapphire conference is a showcase for the latest SAP innovations and product enhancements. More importantly, the conference gives experts in fields such as software, hardware, manufacturing, and academia a chance to exchange ideas in an open setting.
Major announcements at the May 16 conference in Orlando, Florida, included an important new collaboration with Microsoft that will accelerate AI language model integration. This announcement preceded a thought-provoking and wide-ranging discussion led by SAP CEO Christian Klein and his technical team.
The theme of a “future-proof vision” extended far beyond ERP to include important and timely issues like:
- Responsible application of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
- Meaningful carbon emission metrics for businesses.
- Worldwide collaboration to solve urgent problems faster.
- The growing technical skills gap.
What is SAP’s Future-Proof Vision?
“Future-proof” is perhaps an unusual choice of words since it is often used to describe something so stable that it can remain unchanged as the world changes around it. In SAP’s sweeping vision, future-proofing requires ongoing innovation to keep up with global trends and conditions.
Responsible Use of AI
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in 2023, with capabilities advancing so rapidly that even top AI innovators recognise the need for regulation and restraint. SAP is by no means a late addition to the AI party, with generative AI now infused throughout the SAP product line after half a decade of intense development.
What does responsible AI use mean? The virtues touted by AI industry leaders and government agencies include a lack of bias, a focus on societal well-being, privacy protection, and public safety. SAP has established a model for responsible AI use by forming an internal AI ethics advisory panel.
Carbon Footprint Monitoring
The success of a diet can’t be measured without a scale, and carbon reduction initiatives can’t be judged without the right tools. The carbon footprint of an individual business includes all direct and indirect emissions generated by the entire organisation. Monitoring and measuring this data requires a detailed accounting that is free of estimates and omissions.
The forward-looking SAP concept of a green ledger is intended to bridge the gap between green intentions and green results. A single solution will be capable of accurately managing and measuring all corporate, value-stream, and product-level emissions using the same systems that monitor financial data in a responsible and transparent fashion.
SAP’s future-proof vision for carbon reduction also included an initiative that would enable businesses to exchange sustainability data (and ideas) more freely. This was one of several ideas proposed to enhance global collaboration. The SAP Business Network for Industry platform was unveiled as a tool to help businesses exchange supply chain insights and processes across various industries more easily.
Collaboration, both within and between organisations, is viewed as a key to addressing worldwide problems through communication and transparency. The COVID pandemic and ensuing shift to remote working were successful examples of high-tech collaboration in action. Data from over 400,000 customers around the globe puts companies like SAP in a prime position to guide the direction of collaboration into the future.
Resolving the Technical Skill Shortage
The worldwide technical skills gap has been caused by a combination of educational system challenges, heightened competition for top talent, and the aging out (retirement) of many experts. The rapid development of AI, machine learning (ML), and other advanced digital technologies will not replace humans or lessen the need for skilled technical professionals. In fact, more experts than ever will be needed to harness and deploy new technology safely.
The skill shortage can be resolved through action and commitment. During the Sapphire conference, SAP reaffirmed its dedication to upskilling two million people worldwide by 2025 to help address this widening gap through a combination of:
- Expansion of free learning offerings on the SAP learning site, which already helps over 300,000 learners build and refine their skill sets.
- Collaboration with Coursera to give more people around the world access to technical career possibilities. Coursera is an online learning platform founded by Stanford University professors.
- A global skills initiative for underrepresented and underserved populations that will provide access to over 10,000 free certifications for in-demand computer skills.
Similar programs and initiatives by leading technology companies and government agencies have the potential to collectively reverse the technical skill shortage and put a brighter vision of the future within our reach.
Is Your Company Future-Proof?
Being future-proof no longer means standing still. Even our Cloud ERP software is now intertwined with the most consequential issues of our time. Give us a call and find out how to implement the latest Cloud ERP tools and technologies to future-proof your business.