Key takeaways from a pragmatic industrial veteran’s perspective
I had the privilege to visit SAP at Hannover Messe and do a deep-dive into their Mission and Vision of Industry 4.0, Sustainability, and Resilience, and of course develop a full set of content on these topics.
First things first. As experienced Hannover Messe exhibitioner and visitor, I joined the press tour on Sunday to get a good overview of the who-is-who of this year’s exhibition. It has been 3 years since the last Hannover Messe, so I was of course very curious to learn who is there and what their message for the audience would be.
As expected, there was still a lot of preparations ongoing, and a lot of booths were far from finished. What a pleasant surprise it was to arrive at the SAP booth and not only find an amazing and fully prepared booth showcasing the entire SAP industrial ecosystem, but also a team that was full of energy. “We are back” was something I heard a lot that Sunday afternoon, and I could feel the anticipation with every conversation.
The all-hands team briefing started with Health & Safety information for the crew, and what measures were taken to protect team and customers. I learned an important lesson decades ago: “when H&S is not the first item on your agenda, you don’t take it serious”. Kudos to team SAP, because sustainability starts with caring for people! As industrial veteran, the attitude to put H&S first also reflects to which extend SAP is aligned with its customer base. Yes, I really appreciate that!
Main theme for the booth was how SAP’s ecosystem around Industry 4.0 enables their customers to achieve Sustainability and Resilience, which are beyond any doubt the most important goals for the next decades. Everyone who knows me, also knows that I quickly step beyond the headlines and slogans and dig deep into what is behind it. So, my first question in the many conversations with the SAP team was “What does Sustainability mean to you?”, directly followed by “Show me how SAP enables this with Industry 4.0”.
Joined by Tom Raftery, Global VP, Futurist, and Innovation Evangelist at SAP, we interviewed SAP Experts, Partners, and Customers to find out how the mission for Sustainability and Resilience is enabled by SAP, and how Industry 4.0 ties into that. These interviews will be published in the following days and weeks, but I want to share some key takeaways.
First and foremost, there is a strong focus on Single Source of Truth, where the entire backbone of the SAP ecosystem ensures that all processes, discoveries, analyzes, designs, and everything we need to make smart decisions is based on the same data and information. This is essential to make sure that facts are facts and not another interpretation from a particular perspective. Only by aligning all processes to work from the same source of information, we will be able to discover the waste, weaknesses, and potential for improvements.
And by continuing to monitor the impact of these improvements with a common set of data, we can also truly understand how efficient these measures are and focus on the next stages of achieving Sustainability and Resilience. The smart and flexible capabilities of Industry 4.0 allow us to collect that information much faster and whenever and wherever we need it.
Another interesting focus area is the broad scope of the SAP ecosystem. SAP has strategic partnerships with for example Accenture to bring very detailed knowledge to its customer base and speed up the process from concepts to successful implementations. This might come as a surprise, but SAP even has a startup ecosystem with SAP.io where it brings innovate startups to their global customer base. The SAP.io startup partners deliver solutions which SAP customer need but are not part of the SAP portfolio. And that is just another example of how SAP puts their customers at the forefront of their strategy.
Speaking to various SAP experts about Industry 4.0, I got a very clear understanding of how SAP integrates Industry 4.0 in their backend and frontend platform. “It isn’t about the data; it is all about what you do with it.” and that brings us back to my most important takeaway from SAP at Hannover Messe: SAP delivers on providing a Single Source of Truth, and with that on enabling transparency and traceability on the mission towards Sustainability and Resilience. Smart decisions based on facts. It is the only way forward!
Here are some useful links to find out more about the SAP Industry 4.0 solution platform: