This morning SAP's Sapphire user conference kicked off in Orlando with the traditional CEO keynote.


Always tough to pick the Top 3 takeaways - but here you go:

Empathy is the new Leitmotiv - 2 years ago Bill McDermott used 'simple' as key messaging umbrella for SAP, today he switched it over to customer empathy. He had the heads / leaders of Ariba, Concur, Hybris and SuccessFactors including former CTO Clark on stage - all stating how much SAP has done already in regards of empathy. 

Digital Boardroom - In a follow up to last year, we got walked through the latest version of the SAP Digital Boardroom, again with the statement that it was used 'just a few days ago'. Always good to see vendors drinking their own champagne, but in my view the Boardroom is too much about visualization and too little about insights and what ifs that are triggered by software, not the humans. 

SAP & Microsoft - In a major partnership commitment, Microsoft CEO Nadella was on stage, sharing his view in a panel with McDermott on how business best practices are changing in the digital age. Good to hear their views - would also be good to have learned more on the new partnership announced today (see here), which basically means that SAP has found its first leading IaaS outlet to run both HANA and S4/HANA. Will be interesting to see what the benefits for customers are and what the implications are for SAP's own #IaaS ambitions. 



A good start for Sapphire, a good keynote with McDermott, that instead of slides used a conversational format and not less than three panels to get multiple point of views on stage. The Microsoft partnership has the biggest impact - if executed. It is good news for customers, and setup well - as SAP needs to defined and build out its own IaaS capacity and that requires a lot of Capex, on the other side Microsoft is looking for load to keep expanding Azure. The biggest load with conformity that is out there is the load generated by SAP, so a good objective. But a lot of execution needs to happen to make the customer succeed, and that's what matters the most.  

Check out below a Storify of my Day #1 keynote tweets.