SAP launches business network to help with supply chains

FILE PHOTO: SAP SE CEO Christian Klein attends the company's annual results press conference in Walldorf, Germany, January 29, 2021. Uwe Anspach/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Software group SAP said on Wednesday it was launching a social network for businesses, creating a forum around some of its key product lines that will help connect companies and boost visibility across complex supply chains.

The SAP Business Network was the main 'reveal' as CEO Christian Klein kicked off Sapphire Now, its biggest customer conference that is being held online for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

“During this unprecedented year, the importance of the communities we’re part of has never been clearer,” Klein said in a keynote address. “Our new vision will build the world’s largest business community, enabling customers to easily connect with every company across their supply chains.”

Klein became sole CEO before last year's event and has since presided over a profit warning and shaken up management, as COVID-19 piled pressure on SAP to help clients digitally transform to handle trends like remote working.

The 41-year-old came out swinging in the New Year, launching a new all-in transformation package, called RISE with SAP, to enable clients to shift process to cloud datacenters.

Following on from that, SAP said it would offer five 'business transformation as a service' solutions tailored for retail, consumer products, automotive, utilities and industrial machinery.

The SAP Business Network will initially bring together its purchasing, logistics and asset intelligence platforms, creating a network of 5.5 million connected organisations.

A slump in economic activity early in the pandemic, followed by a sharp recovery, has caused enormous dislocation across supply chains, with shortages of semiconductors hitting the production of everything from laptops to cars.

That puts SAP's enterprise resource planning software at the centre of efforts by hundreds of thousands of businesses to adapt. SAP, headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, says 77% of the world's transaction revenue touches one of its systems.

Sapphire Now runs from June 7-10 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and in the Americas, and will feature a series of keynote addresses and thematic tracks. The Asian edition will be held from June 21-24.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Mark Potter)

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