SAP Sapphire 2023: The Biggest News In AI, S/4HANA Cloud

During SAP Sapphire 2023, the vendor’s news and announcements included Business AI for S/4HANA Cloud updates and Sustainability Data Exchange.

Advancements in SAP Business AI for S/4HANA Cloud and other offerings. An exchange for sustainability data. And expanded access to SAP Learning Hub for partners and consultants to gain new skills and certification.

These are among the biggest news to come out of this year’s SAP Sapphire, which runs through Wednesday in Orlando.

The Germany-based enterprise software vendor’s investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning come as vendors, solution providers and business customers explore more use cases for generative AI that can create text, code and media based on user queries.

[RELATED: SAP Launches Datasphere Next-Generation Data Warehouse]

SAP Sapphire 2023 News

SAP has about 6,300 worldwide channel partners, 590 of them in North America, according to CRN’s 2022 Channel Chiefs. Neither SAP or SAP America disclosed partner numbers in the 2023 edition.

Microsoft and Google have dominated headlines for consumer-facing generative AI products including ChatGPT by Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Bard by Google. Vendors including Salesforce, IBM and multiple cybersecurity companies have announced and launched advancements using the technology with the promise of saving workers time and making up for the labor gap in tech.

Read on for some of the other biggest announcements out of Sapphire 2023.

SAP Business AI

SAP made a host of announcements around its Business AI capabilities for customers – some already available and others coming later in the year.

SAP has already made intelligent collections, slotting, product recommendations and invoice conversion features available for users. An AI-powered relevant line determination feature for general ledgers in SAP Central Invoice Management is also available.

The vendor plans sales order auto-completion, an SAP Signavio Process Manager generative AI capability, a SuccessFactors talent intelligence hub and total workforce management function plus an SAP Transportation Management generative AI capability for later in the year.

Intelligent slotting for SAP Extended Warehouse Management can suggest ways to improve stocking and replenishment based on product characteristics, demand and forecasts, according to the vendor.

Intelligent collections for S/4HANA Cloud aims to help collection specialists forecast late payment risk on invoices and prioritize customers for follow-ups.

The intelligent product recommendations feature aims to help manufacturing salespeople and customers speed up the quotation process and e-commerce experience. The AI is trained on opportunities, quotes, orders and other sales data to recommend products and configurations.

Intelligent invoice conversion aims to improve new supplier onboarding by automatically adding invoice data. This feature is built into the SAP Business Network.

Coming later this year is sales order auto-completion, which will save S/4HANA cloud users from manual order entry, according to the vendor.

Generative AI in SAP Signavio Process Manager will allow users to identify process models and key performance indicators (KPIs) and faster searching across product documentation, according to SAP.

Coming in the fall is a SuccessFactors talent intelligence hub, which promises to help employees build and maintain skills with AI. Employees should receive personalized recommendations for career paths, training and mentors in the SuccessFactors Opportunity Marketplace, according to the vendor.

In the second half of the year, SuccessFactors gains an enhanced total workforce management function to show all skills, cost and availability of employees and external workers. The function will also come to Fieldglass and S/4HANA Cloud.

And expected in the fourth quarter is generative AI in SAP Transportation Management, which promises to help customers in automotive and manufacturings increase freight order delivery accuracy. The capability automates manual goods receipts and delivery notes checking and saves customers from dedicating training data or document templates, according to SAP.

AI-Powered SAP S/4HANA Cloud support

Starting in May, SAP will roll out a generally available (GA) AI-powered feature to flag problems in SAP S/4HANA Cloud public edition before they happen. The rollout will continue into July.

Built-In Support promises customers tailored, proactive support content in real time, with critical product issue alerts, live recommendations by SAP support teams.

Customers will receive tailored critical support knowledge documents for each screen of the product to hasten troubleshooting, according to the vendor.

SAP Sustainability Data Exchange

SAP has released a beta version of Sustainability Data Exchange, a way for customers to securely exchange standardized sustainability data with partners and suppliers, decarbonizing supply chains.

Sustainability Data Exchange will become GA in the third quarter, according to the vendor.

The exchange uses Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT) carbon data interoperability standards, according to the vendor.

SAP Recommerce

SAP will make Recommerce – a scaled and integrated version of Feather by SAP and the SAP Commerce Cloud portfolio – GA in the fourth quarter.

Recommerce promises retailers a way to bring excess, restored, returned or used products back to market, according to the vendor.

Notably, SAP also announced a new process available for manufacturers to combine Encore by SAP and SAP Digital Manufacturing to make a secondary material marketplace for re-using, remanufacturing and recycling instead of throwing materials away.

SAP Global Trade Services for HANA

Expected to become GA in June, a new edition of SAP Global Trade Services for HANA aims to reduce customers’ cost of ownership and entry-level investments.

Customers should gain simplified import filing and expedited customs clearance, new S/4HANA content and Analytics Cloud enablement, saved preferences in applications and better management of files with documentation issues, according to the vendor.

SAP Start

SAP plans to make its Start entry point for all public cloud business services GA in the third quarter.

Start includes content from all integrated public cloud business services, according to the vendor. Pre-integrated SAP Task Center functionality federates data from all major SAP cloud apps into one inbox for improved search, navigation and workflow approval status visibility.

SAP also offers Mobile Start for business data and workflows access on iOS and Android mobile devices.

Expanded SAP Preferred Success Access

In July, SAP will make expanded editions of the Preferred Success cloud service lifetime partnership offering GA for SuccessFactors.

An expanded edition for Commerce Cloud is already GA. An edition for Business Technology Platform (BTP) is in pilot throughout the year, according to the vendor.

Commerce Cloud and SuccessFactors customers are expected to receive more access to experts for performance improvement, in-depth reviews and dedicated plans for adoption and improved end-user experiences and configuration and optimization guidance.

BTP customers are expected to receive access to functional and technical resources, built-in enablement and success planning, according to the vendor.

Those customers should also receive design, activation and proof of concept advice as well as migration from on-premises platforms guidance. They can receive stabilization reviews and better service level agreements (SLAs) for go-live risk mitigation, according to the vendor.

SAP Ariba Buying 360

SAP will make a new “buying 360” capability for Ariba Buying available in North America in the third quarter. Europe will get the capability during the second quarter.

“Buying 360” promises the ability for users to collaborate directly with suppliers and find goods and services based on role and the organization’s procurement and sustainability policies, according to SAP.

SAP will embed the capability in S/4HANA Cloud public edition, according to the vendor.

## SAP CX Industry Accelerators

In the fourth quarter, SAP Customer Experience (CX) will launch industry accelerators for customers.

The accelerators aim to bring customers analytics and intelligence from their data. SAP will launch accelerators for retail, consumer products, automotive and utilities to start.

SAP promises out-of-the-box integrations and industry-specific data models, calculated scores and propensity models with the accelerators, according to the vendor. Users can leverage enterprise data from across their ecosystem.

SAP Category Management

In August, SAP will introduce Category Management for users to stop manual tracking and use data for finding trends and executing strategies.

The service will integrate with SAP Ariba, provide supply chain resilience and agility, offer tracking and provide market and commodity intelligence, according to SAP.

Users will receive category management frameworks across regions and commodities as well.

SAP Business Network Updates

In the second half of the year, SAP will introduce supplier insights, marketplace catalogs, intelligent lead matching and enhanced company profiles for Business Network.

Already available is SAP Business Network for Industry, which gives consumer products, high tech, industrial manufacturing and life science companies the ability to collaborate with trading partners faster with pre-packaged best practices.

SAP will add more industries to this offering, according to the vendor.

SAP Blockchain Business Connector

A beta of SAP Blockchain Business Connector will launch later this year, according to the vendor. The connector promises to allow customers to work with multiple companies, individuals or institutions without a centralized data verification system.

Smart contracts in the connector automatically enforce rules and carry out actions when certain conditions are met between different parties.

Customers can extend the SAP Integration Suite and use events to trigger workflows and integrate SAP business applications with smart contracts with BTP. They can also make blockchain data-informed dashboards in Analytics Cloud, according to SAP.

More Partner News

This summer, a “solution hub” promises to simplify partner product onboarding for the SAP Store.

SAP also launched new partner software certification scenarios through the SAP Integration and Certification Center (SAP ICC) to support its Clean Core development paradigm – meaning the core system is not modified or customized and can easily be upgraded in the cloud.

The goal for the new scenarios is to keep customer and partner extensions separate from S/4HANA private edition application core, according to the vendor.

SAP has expanded access to SAP Learning Hub for partners and consultants to gain new skills and certifications, according to the vendor. Partners have more free certification opportunities, particularly for the SAP Build low-code initiative.

Localization Updates

SAP has made available localization capabilities for country-specific finance, legal and tax regulations, according to the vendor.

The capabilities promise to keep customers tax, invoice and expense compliant plus help with hiring, procurement and payroll.

SAP S/4HANA gains a tax register feature for real-time value-added tax positions and better traceability. A regulatory change manager promises to keep users up to date on regional legal changes, according to the vendor.