2018 SAP Sapphire Now Wrap-up: SAP Manufacturing Footprint Getting Bigger | Automation.com

2018 SAP Sapphire Now Wrap-up: SAP Manufacturing Footprint Getting Bigger

July 312018
2018 SAP Sapphire Now Wrap-up: SAP Manufacturing Footprint Getting Bigger

By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com

In the many trade shows I’ve covered, it’s been fascinating to see how industry giants have been aiming their efforts with the new technologies. In June, I found the latest example of this, while attending the 2018 SAP Sapphire Now event in Orlando, Florida. Throughout the four-day event, which hosted over 21,000 attendees from more than 100 countries, it was obvious that SAP is focused on growing its role to encompass all manufacturing functions outside of design and hard real-time control.  Their software is already pervasive throughout many industries:

  • 76% of the world’s transaction revenue touching an SAP system
  • 83% of the world’s business-to-business transaction revenue touching an SAP system
  • SAP systems touched $22 trillion of consumer purchases around the world

The SAPPHIRE NOW 2018 featured a vast tradeshow in the one million square feet of the north and south halls of the Orange County Convention Center.  A keynote theater provided seating for approximately 6,000 people facing an 80-foot-wide stage surrounded by six screens, each 20 feet high and nearly 87 feet long animals full to standing room capacity for each session.  The expansive show floor featured exhibits from nearly 250 partner companies and six “campuses” grouped by SAP solutions that offered a mix of presentation theaters, microforums (small circular seating areas for topical discussions), enclosed meeting rooms, and new “test drive” tables where attendees could try SAP products. In addition to the thousands of attendees, SAP also hosted 10 remote viewing locations, one in Latin America and one in Europe, plus eight around North America, for customers who could not travel to Orlando because of sequestration.


Internet of Things Investments

In explaining SAP’s goals in relations to the future industrial environment, Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP described the company’s plans to invest €2 billion in IoT by 2020:

“With billions of connected devices, we now have the potential to reshape society, the economy and the environment," “SAP Hanna is the data platform we knew would unlock the Internet of things. Today SAP is making another bold investment to help customers seize the benefits of life business. Only SAP empowers business to innovate from the core to the edge to the networks.”


Facilitating the Digital Factory

Through this IoT effort, SAP has stated a clear focus on helping manufacturing customers transform operations to digital factories. They believe the potential benefits will include:

  • Operations data for enterprise wide analytics
  • Real-time visibility to into production operations
  • Low total cost of ownership and ensuring scale
  • Predictive asset maintenance with service providers
  • Maximized utilization of manufacturing
  • Optimized budget allocation
  • Reduced unplanned outages and equipment failures


The OPC UA Strategy

As part of these efforts, SAP is leveraging OPC UA to interface controls and automation, making a full commitment to the standard.  SAP’s Veronika Schmid-Lutz, the VP - Chief Product Owner in Manufacturing, is on the OPC Foundation Board of Directors.   To create interfaces they are using SAP Plant Connectivity (PCo) - a framework and set of services and management tools that allow the creation of connectors that provide the communication paths between control systems, control devices, files, historians, TCP Sockets, and SAP Manufacturing (SAP ME, SAP MII, SAP EWM, SAP ODA, etc.).  PCo is a Microsoft.Net-developed software component of SAP Manufacturing.

SAP software serves the full IT/OT needs just short of real-time machine and process control.

Strong Partners

In addition to their internal company goals, SAP announced collaboration plans with Accenture, Capgemini and Deloitte to accelerate customer adoption of SAP S/4HANA Cloud in the process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing and service industries.  Together, the companies intend to develop solutions to deliver on the promise of the intelligent enterprise.   The co-development initiatives will cover broad aspects, from working together with pilot customers to joint innovation, development and go-to-market strategies. Key focus areas will include support for industry-specific, next-generation business processes powered by artificial intelligence (AI) as well as automation within SAP S/4HANA Cloud.  

“SAP is working closely with Accenture, Capgemini and Deloitte to help customers in the process manufacturing, discrete manufacturing and service industries become intelligent enterprises by implementing support for a new generation of business processes,” explained Franck Cohen, president, Digital Core and Industry Solutions, SAP, “With a user experience that no longer requires a keyboard, and manual processes that are automated with the help of artificial intelligence, our customers will be empowered to reimagine their business models while keeping cost to a minimum.” 

SAP is making several efforts with these partners that have deep industry expertise in specialized areas to address customers’ industry-specific demands regarding intelligence and business processes:

Accenture and SAP have started work to co-develop a solution running on SAP S/4HANA Cloud for the oil and gas industry. The solution will provide intelligent insights through public cloud services to help oil and gas companies  cut operational costs and open new revenue opportunities. Accenture will apply its experience from its multiyear program, which focuses on core and industry development and a go-to-market strategy for SAP S/4HANA. The objective is to develop end-to-end solutions that simplify and fast-track customers’ journeys to digital business.

Capgemini and SAP are accelerating a long-term co-development road map for SAP S/4HANA Cloud in discrete manufacturing industries with initial focus on the automotive segment to help customers remain agile in a fast-changing market. The agreement extends the companies’ current collaboration in discrete manufacturing industries through the “Fast Digital 4 Discrete” industries initiative to increase focus on SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The initiative is designed to deliver benefits and value to customers in the areas of the Industrial Internet of Things, smart automation, machine learning and digital twins.

Deloitte and SAP are expanding their collaboration by accelerating market adoption of SAP S/4HANA Cloud in the subsectors of the service and process manufacturing industries. Using early customer validation and investments in SAP S/4HANA and Deloitte’s Reimagine Platform, SAP and Deloitte intend to combine technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence with Deloitte’s expertise particularly business transformation . By doing so, the collaboration plans to deliver solutions to manage exponential data growth, transform digital core capabilities and accelerate customers’ digital transformation journeys.


Bill’s Thoughts & Observations

Throughout the event experience, I found that SAP appears focused and well positioned to help manufacturers achieve a holistic automation, business information, and manufacturing execution architecture. These efforts can improve the manufacturing industry by integrating all aspects of production and commerce across company boundaries for greater efficiency.  The SAP architecture currently integrates production, manufacturing, and enterprise architecture to achieve more responsive manufacturing integrating plant floor middleware software functions into a cohesive system. In today’s dynamic technological world, it will continue to be interesting to see how they evolve and innovate into the future.

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