The Inside Scoop: SAP Sapphire 2024

For the second time this year, I made the trip across the pond, joining SAP customers, partners, and analysts at another cornerstone event, this time in Orlando for Sapphire 2024. 

As I’ve come to expect from SAP events, the room (both physical and virtual) was abuzz with excitement about the latest views of industry thought leaders, product announcements from SAP itself, and a whole host of sector-relative case studies and use cases unlocked through SAP products and integrations. Of course, debates about the journey to S/4HANA could be heard at every booth, meeting room, and coffee queue, as were those two letters that have invaded the ERP space (and that of every other industry) in recent times; AI.  

SAP Joule

The event started with SAP CEO Christian Klein’s opening statement “SAP is the only tech company who can infuse AI capabilities right into your business processes and workflows”. At this point, everyone in the room knew we were heading toward a heavy focus on what has quickly become SAP’s signature AI offering – SAP Joule. 

If SAP customers weren’t already familiar with Joule’s advanced data modeling to provide real-time recommendations, they are now. SAP experts illustrated Joule’s efficacy in assisting tasks across supply chain decision-making, billing, procurement, and advanced analytics. It was stated that by the end of the year, 80% of the tasks managed by SAP’s 300 million end users will be managed by Joule, with a potential 20% uptick in productivity. ​​SAP also stated two additional use cases, Joule for Developers and Joule for Consultants. Details into how exactly they perform were vague, so we may have to wait a little longer for these answers.  

Of course, there’s a caveat with Joule, as it is only as powerful as the quality of the data it’s running against – poor data quality will equal a poor experience using Joule. There’s also the pre-requisite of having a RISE or GROW agreement to take advantage of this specific capability. 

We also heard that Joule will be able to run in collaboration with Microsoft’s 365 Copilot, expanding the viability of the tool. In short, SAP has doubled down on Joule, which has moved beyond the ‘assistant chatbot’ people first envisioned. It’s clear SAP will continue to invest in, grow, and advance Joule to provide “agility at scale”, which is hardly a surprise considering news of SAP’s mass restructuring toward AI at the start of this year. 


Generative AI continues to evolve, moving beyond the superficial chatbot functions that are largely responsible for the technology’s meteoric rise into the consciousness of business leaders and laymen alike. According to the keynote, GenAI Hub (and the various LLMs it contains) is being used by more than 80 partners to produce hundreds of use cases, made possible by a seamless integration within SAP data models. 

Clearly, SAP is dedicated to baking in AI – and all of its advantages – to the future of the service it provides its users.  


On day two, we were met with more big news. SAP announced the acquisition of WalkMe, a field leader in Digital Adoption Platforms (DAPs). Chief Revenue Officer and Executive Board Member Scott Russell stated the move represented a “doubling down on the support we provide our end users, helping them to quickly adopt new solutions and features to get the maximum value out of their IT investments”.  

Reducing user friction, in light of the complexity of many ERP products and the severe skills gap the sector currently faces, makes the acquisition a savvy, future-proofing way of securing buy-in and quick adoption of new SAP products.


Finally, it’s not an SAP event without a focus on RISE with SAP, and here the organization had only optimism to share. 

RISE looks to be proving its worth as a key digital transformation driver for SAP customers. Over 6,000 customers have adopted RISE, running over 110,000 systems. Once more, the picture painted by SAP of its AI-powered products remains positive.  

However, there’s still a few elephants in the room when it comes to RISE. There remains trepidation around the loss of control when transitioning to RISE, the “all-in” pricing including complex landscapes and HA/DR requirements, the SLA for routine activities like a system refresh, and the “one-way” nature of the move. It’ll be interesting to see if SAP users embrace AI offerings with the same enthusiasm over the long term. 

Final thoughts on SAP Sapphire 2024

Events such as Sapphire provide a great avenue to hear firsthand from ERP leaders about the innovations coming to the fore for a variety of customers. It’s also an opportunity for us at Basis Technologies to get boots on the ground, keep the conversations flowing, and garner insights into what changes our customers are experiencing and how we can better support them in their transformation journeys. 

As always, it was a pleasure to attend Sapphire and I’m looking forward to upcoming events – stay tuned!  

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