SAP Trends 2024: AI, The Cloud, Talent Gaps and more
Modernisation, transformation and automation are all buzzwords on the minds of SAP leaders in 2024. But these aren’t merely corporate jargon. The reason behind the rise in these goals stems from looping challenges which will need to be confronted in 2024. From the inevitable migration to S/4HANA to the lightning development of Gen Ai, there’s a lot to consider this year. So, if digital transformation is on your radar in 2024 (if not, then after reading this blog, it should be) take into account the following SAP technology trends:
Attracting New SAP Talent
For some years now, there’s been a problem with the SAP bubble. The average age of SAP leaders has been increasing. As the industry ages and people retire a skills gap is forming. This is partly due to SAP themselves, ditching the old-school account managers and skill sets including programmers. This creates the need for more hybrid roles within SAP to cover the gaps and they are just not going to materialise as fast as they are needed. SAP themselves have admitted that attracting fresh talent is a struggle- hence an increased effort in the skills cloud and sap students’ marketing. Many will be banking on automation and AI to reduce the skills needed to carry out a role in the short term, but this won’t be enough.
In 2024, start training staff in some of the new technology. Maybe consider starting a graduate or apprentice programme. Training may take time but it’s essential and as 2024 progresses, this gap will become more apparent.
Generative AI Adoption
This is the big one. If you are even a new beginner to the SAP world, you’re guaranteed to have heard ‘Gen AI’ being thrown around. It’s estimated that up to 70% of CEO’s are putting Gen Ai at the top of their strategic priorities in 2024. This is due to the variety of efficiency-boosting applications in their organisations including automating customer support, aiding management, generating analytics, boosting system usability, and process automation just to name a few.
In 2024, SAP will focus on making Gen Ai more accessible to SAP users via the Business Technology Platform and via implementing aspects into S/4HANA, ECC6 or Public Cloud Edition versions of SAP. SAP GenAI empowers developers and gives them access to large language models so that they can experiment on them to find and use the one that suits the use case best. Currently GPT-4 and Falcon-40b is available but SAP has plans to add others as well.
The vision here is clear. Gen Ai will play a large support role behind the scenes, simplifying business processes, deskilling roles and improving overall organisational efficiency. In short, as it evolves it will become an easy way to do more with less in 2024 and beyond.
To make Gen Ai more accessible for users, SAP recently introduced the Gen AI Hub. The GenAi hub also gives developers the tool for prompt engineering.
Process automation emerges as a pivotal influence driving organisational efficiency and agility for 2024. As businesses continue to navigate intricate and rapidly changing landscapes, the need for streamlined operations takes a near-top priority. Process automation within SAP solutions is poised to redefine workflows, empowering businesses to optimise routine tasks, diminish manual errors, and elevate overall productivity and reduce human errors. The incorporation of intelligent automation, machine learning, and robotic process automation (RPA) is anticipated to enable enterprises to automate intricate processes, facilitating the strategic allocation of resources and hastening time-to-market. Recognising the transformative potential of process automation, organisations are expected to witness a surge in the adoption of SAP technologies that prioritise efficiency, scalability, and adaptability in the ever-shifting business landscape of 2024.
5G & Internet of Things (IOT)
Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G technology was poised to revolutionise connectivity and redefine the way devices interact and communicate but lets see how it goes in 2024. With the advent of 5G networks, the speed, bandwidth, and low latency capabilities will significantly enhance the capabilities of IoT devices, enabling them to transmit and receive data in real-time with unprecedented efficiency. This will not only accelerate the deployment of IoT solutions across various industries but also pave the way for innovative applications and services.
From smart cities and industrial automation to healthcare and agriculture, the combination of IoT and 5G is set to unlock a new era of possibilities, enabling seamless communication and unprecedented levels of data exchange. As these technologies continue to evolve in tandem, their collaborative impact is anticipated to shape a more interconnected, responsive, and intelligent world.
Unifying User Experience with the Power of SAP Data
With Gen AI, Process automation and IOT becoming the workhorses of the digital age, back-end processes, data processes and analytics generation are set to become faster and more efficient than ever. However, this is only going to be effective for users and colleagues if interfaces match up. A good user experience makes colleagues as effective as AI and automation in terms of productivity. In 2024, ensuring a strong user experience will be imperative for colleagues to work proactively alongside technological innovations. Key UX’s to look out for will be those that are UI5, plug and play and available on the cloud. AKA- User-centric design, fast configuration and does not require additional infrastructure or developer code.
Sustainability in Software
In 2022, SAP conducted a study to understand obstacles in implementing corporate sustainability. The key issue discovered was ineffective data use and siloed technologies. In response, SAP launched the Sustainability Footprint Management tool, allowing users to swiftly assess their carbon footprints by integrating supplier and business data, this solution functions as a green ledger. It offers transactional carbon accounting to support low-carbon business models, employing various capabilities and technologies to precisely track greenhouse gas emissions in every business transaction.
At the end of 2023, it was unanimously agreed by all EU members that they world move away from fossil fuels. Following suit, SAP is expected to deepen its commitment to sustainability by integrating features that enable organisations to track, manage, and report on their environmental impact. This includes tools, like the SAP Sustainability Control Tower, for monitoring energy consumption, reducing carbon footprints, and promoting sustainable supply chain practices. Moreover, SAP is likely to emphasise circular economy principles, encouraging businesses to adopt practices that minimise waste and promote recycling. By incorporating sustainability metrics into its software solutions, SAP aims to empower companies to make informed decisions that align with eco-friendly practices.
In 2024 we can expect this trend of conscious business practice to continue with increased analytical capabilities on carbon footprint reporting. Applications like The BTP Monitor are now set up with carbon footprint analytics to increase visibility and thought on the environmental impact of cloud platforms.
Adoption in Cloud Apps (With SAP BTP)
Despite SAP’s best attempts to shift to a cloud focus, we predict only 3.5% of the SAP user base has fully embraced it. There are many reasons for this could be down to- including user satisfaction with ECC6, lack of understanding or just a classic case of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’. However, with SAP RISE on the uptake, as an easy jumping-on point for S/4HANA, we predict the slow start to cloud adoption is about to pick up and be one of the major SAP trends in 2024.
Furthermore, with more SAP Partners, becoming certified SAP BTP Experts, understanding cloud adoption has never been easier. Gone are the days of purchasing cloud credits and being stuck with what to do with them. Now, BTP experts are developing accelerators like Partner IP- which is key to differentiating from competitors, helping to ‘keep the core clean’, speeding up efficiency via out-of-the-box functionality and having an app to suit all business and industry needs.
In memoriam: SAP Trends that Died in 2023:
Whilst we should be consious of the SAP trends that will occur in 2024, it’s also important to reflect on the SAP trends in 2023 that have sinced faded away. This helps us to spot which SAP trends from this year may not make it to 2025. If you’re are still focusing on any of the following, it may be time to shift focus.
Niche AR/VR Applications
The curtain has fallen on the era of Niche AR/VR Applications. While once capturing imaginations with their novelty, their application failed to gain the widespread traction needed to sustain their momentum. The focus now shifts towards more practical and universally applicable solutions within the SAP ecosystem, marking the end of an era where niche AR/VR applications struggled to find a lasting foothold.
Hyped Blockchain Projects
The blockchain fever that gripped 2023 has subsided, and in 2024, we bid farewell to the Hyped Blockchain Projects that once dominated industry conversations as, bluntly, it’s fallen off a cliff. The enthusiasm surrounding these projects has taken a noticeable dip, and the reality check has set in. With other trends taking centre stage in the SAP world, it will come back around but not in 2024.
Early AI Applications
The early pioneers of AI applications, like SAP Conversational AI, faced their sunset in 2023, making way for more mature and refined advancements in the SAP landscape for 2024. Lessons learned from the initial forays into AI have paved the way for a more strategic integration of artificial intelligence across many product sets, emphasising robust functionality and practical utility. As the dust settles on the experimental phase, AI is in a stronger place to be adopted by SAP users for process automation, customer satisfaction and much more.
Obsolete Cybersecurity Solutions
The increasing sophistication of cyber threats has necessitated a shift towards more adaptive and resilient security measures. As we step into 2024, the focus within the SAP ecosystem turns to innovative cybersecurity solutions that proactively address emerging risks and provide a solid defence against modern-day cyber challenges.
Rounding up on the year ahead’s SAP Trends
In 2024, the SAP landscape will see a strategic shift towards resilience via innovation. The focus on attracting new talent acknowledges the industry’s need for fresh perspectives whilst also considering new ways of working. Gen AI and process automation take precedence, driving efficiency and organisational agility. The synergy of IoT and 5G reshapes connectivity, while sustainability becomes tangible through tools for environmental impact tracking. Cloud adoption gains momentum, propelled by initiatives like SAP RISE and a growing community of certified experts. 2024 marks a pivotal year, shaping a dynamic SAP ecosystem that embraces change, champions resilience and places innovation at its core.