thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
SAP is dead – long live SAP

SAP is dead – long live SAP

The News On January 23, 2024, SAP announced the results of its Q4 and fiscal year 2023, along with an update of the company’s 2025 ambition. The ambition includes a shift of focus on key strategic growth areas and a restructuring program. This program will cost around 2.2 billion dollar and affect about 8,000 employees. Notably, SAP does not look at lay-offs but a “voluntary leave program and internal re-skilling investments”. No details are known yet. One of the core investment areas going forward will be Business AI; in addition, the company will strive to capture organizational synergies, leverage AI-driven efficiencies and prepare the company for the expected growth. Looking at the numbers, SAP had a very successful year, meeting or exceeding the outlook metrics set and communicated for 2023.  SAP key financial results FY 2023; source SAP According to CEO Christian Klein, the “current cloud backlog increased by 27 percent to reach an all-time high” growth. This number and the cloud revenue are particularly driven by S/4HANA growth. In addition, SAP communicated a bold outlook with a CAGR of 25 percent plus through 2025 and beyond. Wall Street was excited. The Bigger Picture AI is the new cloud, currently the biggest thing since the invention of sliced bread. The industry is at the peak of an AI hype cycle. So far, we have seen a lot of low-hanging fruit being showcased while being promised an age of AI that “changes everything”.  According to the recently published results of the PWC annual global CEO surveyhttps://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/ceo-survey.html, around two thirds of CEOs believe that the use of generative AI will improve their company’s products...
What’s gonna happen with generative AI and CX in 2024?

What’s gonna happen with generative AI and CX in 2024?

It is this time of the year. Everybody (and their dog), has some predictions for 2024. As you can guess, reading this, I am participating in this game. Last year, I published three humble wishes to better the industry – and I am sad to say, that my three wishes stay wishes also in 2024. I’d say that this is partly because 2023 became the year of generative AI. We all know why. Pretty much every vendor got caught flat-footed by the meteoric rise of OpenAI. Correspondingly, in the course of 2023, we have seen a huge number of pre-announcements of one generative AI scenario or another being integrated into their software and then offered by enterprise software vendors. Mostly, these announcements were about low-hanging fruit. Which does not mean that they are useless or not valuable, quite on the contrary. Solutions, once they are available, have the potential to increase employee productivity and the customer experience. But, they are announcements or early adoptions. So, based on this, what will we see in 2024? And let’s limit ourselves to the realms of CRM, CX and customer engagement. Success stories The more announcements of something being available soon turn into actual usage, we will be able to see actual success stories. Customers will more and more move from trial mode to actually addressing business challenges and measure the degree of success of an implementation by the change of KPIs that can be attributed to this implementation. In some instances, we can see this already starting. Diginomica’s Jon Reed recently interviewed a representative of Loop insurance who gave some highly interesting...
The Generative AI Game of Thrones – Is OpenAI toast?

The Generative AI Game of Thrones – Is OpenAI toast?

The News This has been an exciting weekend for the generative AI industry. On Friday November 17, OpenAI announced that the company fired its figurehead CEO Sam Altmann and appointed Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati as interims CEO in a surprise move. The press release states that Altmann “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board.” Surprised was apparently not only Sam Altmann, but also the till then chairman of the board Greg Brockman who first stepped down from this position and subsequently quit OpenAI. Investors, notably Microsoft, found themselves blindsided, too – or flat footed depending on the individual point of view. Satya Nadella was compelled to state that Microsoft stays committed to the partnership with OpenAI in a blog post that got updated on November 19, 11:55 pm. All hell broke loose. Microsoft shares took a significant hit. A number of additional senior OpenAI personnel quit. Both, Altman and Brockman, voiced the idea of founding another startup together. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella flew to San Francisco to negotiate a reinstatement of Altmann. It initially seemed that this would be going to happen, along with the complete board stepping down and being replaced by Silicon Valley tech executives. Apparently, this did not work out. The result is that Altmann, Brockman, and some other former senior OpenAI staff are now Microsoft employees, with Altmann becoming the CEO of a new advanced AI research unit. Also on Sunday, Emmett Shear, former CEO of Twitch, was appointed new interims CEO at OpenAI. Meanwhile, more than 500 of OpenAI’s employees, including former interims CEO Murati threatened to quit OpenAI and join Altmann at Microsoft, which apparently...
Relevance, reliability, responsibility are key for AI – the SAP way

Relevance, reliability, responsibility are key for AI – the SAP way

The News A lot is going on in the SAPverse during October and the early days of November 2023. First, SAP conducted its CXLive event with CX-related announcements, then the company reported good Q3/2023 figures, a new version of its CX software that includes new generative AI capabilities got released and lastly, it executed its SAP TechEd event with a good number of AI-, BTP-, and ERP related announcements. As this is quite a lot, I covered the CX world in a previous post and will cover the TechEd related news in this post. So, what is new at SAP TechEd? For one, it is enough to fill a 17-page pre-event news guide that SAP sent out. SAP certainly is able to stack up the news for major events. I took the liberty to ask ChatGPT for a summary of the document, which I slightly edited afterwards. Here we are: AI and Development Environments: SAP introduces SAP Build Code with generative AI, improving application development and testing, while new AI capabilities are integrated across SAP’s ecosystem to drive automation. Business Technology Platform (BTP): BTP is augmented with new guides for application deployment and makes the SAP Cloud SDK for Java open source. A new vector capability for managing unstructured data via high-dimensional vectors is announced as part of SAP HANA, enhancing developer productivity, and allowing for Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) that combines large language models with business data. SAP Graph is generally available, and now extends API management to offer a unified API for streamlined access to enterprise data, boosting productivity and integration efforts. Cloud ERP: SAP introduces new...
SugarCRM explains how the third wave of CRM adds value

SugarCRM explains how the third wave of CRM adds value

The news On October 4 and 5, 2023, SugarCRM held its Connected event followed by an analyst summit in London. The first day – Connected – was targeted mostly at customers while the second day focused on analysts.  The event started off with an intense speech by Katherine Grainger, DBE, a British rowing champion. Her core messages were about team bonding, the importance of communication, continuous improvement, and perseverance (well, at least that’s my take). This was followed by information about what is new in the software and, more importantly, a customer panel.  The main sponsor, Mobileforce, placed some words about the partnership. In addition, the analysts had 1:1s with customers, partners, and Sugar executives. The second day was filled with information targeted at analysts. CEO Craig Charlton and his executive team shared about financial status, strategy and more in-depth product news. Sugar being a privately held, VC backed company, the financials are of course under NDA, so it suffices to say that the company is not one of the biggest players but on a solid trajectory with high win and customer retention rates. According to Charlton, this can be attributed to the word “ease”, which later got confirmed via a marketing study related by CMO Clare Dorrian. Going forward, the continuation of this growth shall be supported by verticalization, a concentration on AI and a focus on the upper mid-market and lower enterprise market. This is based on the assessment that CRM can become an assistant to its users via the smart application of (generative) AI to “let the platform do the work” for the users. The industry strategy got explained by the...