SAP Sapphire ERP Recap: Spotlight on AI, Services, and Partners

May 31, 2023

The ERP software industry is mature.

This means, the technology hardly requires any significant enhancements. However, at the same time, the system's complexity leaves a lot of room for improvement. 

The recent rise in the popularity of generative AI (GAI) has also created a frenzy among ERP vendors, and SAP is no exception.

In this article, we will discuss the focus areas and announcements made at SAP Sapphire, which reflects how ERP vendors are also jumping on the AI bandwagon while keeping their services and partners in mind.

AI takes center stage with equal emphasis on services and partners

GAI and advanced AI

While AI was mentioned in multiple announcements at Sapphire, it is essential to differentiate between GAI and advanced AI, which serve different purposes for ERP users. 

As the name implies, GAI generates data or content by analyzing and combining multiple sources of information. On the other hand, advanced AI can support decision making based on algorithms created for various purposes. 

For example, SAP will apply GAI to automate manual checks of goods receipts, while its SAP AI Business Services will help forecast the risk of late payment. 

Other new applications of SAP AI Business Services are:

  • Intelligent sales order autocompletion to save time and reduce errors, especially for complex orders
  • An intelligent slotting capability that recommends how to organize warehouses better based on stock volumes and replenishment activities
  • Intelligent invoice conversion for procurement that extracts and maps data from supplier invoices into SAP solutions
  • Industry-specific applications like the new SAP Intelligent Product Recommendation for manufacturing help sales and customers find the best product configurations or the optimal mix of products for online sales

On the GAI side, SAP announced a partnership with Microsoft to help companies better attract and retain employees.


Enhancing software features is essential, but more is needed to make ERP easier to implement, use, and maintain. 

For this reason, vendors also focus on services to help customers improve adoption, productivity, and profitability. For example, SAP announced extended capabilities for its SAP Preferred Success offering, optimized self-services for RISE with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, and improvements to its SAP Business Transformation Center.

Furthermore, companies are increasing their focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting challenges, and SAP is helping them with the following:

  • Combining traditional finance with carbon accounting by updating the SAP Sustainability Footprint Management solution 
  • Helping companies share data with partners and suppliers through the new SAP Sustainability Data Exchange application to comply with Partnership for Carbon Transparency (PACT) standards
  • Providing vendor sustainability and human rights information to members of the SAP Business Network
  • Allowing companies to reuse, remanufacture, recycle, and re-commerce (resell) products through the circular economy for manufacturers and retailers, which not only helps with sustainability but also generates new revenue streams 

Learn more about Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Reporting Software, HERE →


ERP vendors often rely on partners to implement and enhance their products. 

For example, the SAP Store has thousands of tools, with 2188 products listed in G2's SAP Store Software category with 1562 reviews from 75 countries. The map below shows the countries with the highest number of reviews.

The future of ERP

The event and announcements showed us what the future of ERP might look like—powered by AI but enhanced by partner solutions and supported by services to optimize its adoption. 

I suspect that other enterprise ERP vendors will adopt a similar approach very soon, which will probably be announced at their 2023 user conferences.

Research Hub – Enterprise solutions 

Edited by Jigmee Bhutia

SAP Sapphire ERP Recap: Spotlight on AI, Services, and Partners While AI was omnipresent in the announcements at SAP's annual conference Sapphire, other new releases are as important to understand for ERP users.
Gabriel Gheorghiu Gabriel’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in all aspects of business software selection and implementation. His research work has involved detailed functional analyses of software vendors from various areas such as ERP, CRM, and HCM. Gheorghiu holds a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest (Romania), and a master's degree in territorial project management from Université Paris XII Val de Marne (France).