Last week, our team from Theobald Software was at the Microsoft Business Application Summit which took place in Atlanta, GA from June 10 – 11.
For us, it was the first time as a sponsor and as attendees at the Summit, and it exceeded our expectations in many ways. This year’s event brought together over 3,500 experts, users, and business leaders from 30 countries to connect and learn about all things related to Dynamics 365, Power BI, Excel, PowerApps, Flow, and even Mixed Reality.
James Phillips, Corporate VP of the Business Applications Group at Microsoft, kicked off the event with his keynote. He reflected on the staggering growth of this business area for Microsoft: every month, customers upload 20 PB of data to Power BI, and execute 4 B Flow operations – these were just two of several other examples he mentioned. Impressive numbers indeed!
One of the things that stood out to me during the keynote, was how Phillips emphasized a holistic ‘world view’, an integrated approach from Microsoft for improving business processes. Microsoft ‘no longer talks about Power BI, or Dynamics 365 in a vacuum’. The foundation of this approach is what Microsoft calls the Digital Feedback Loop where an abundance of data is now available – generated by an organization’s Customers, People, Products, and Operations. This data can be harnessed and turned into more intelligent business processes.
Microsoft has built a complete platform on top of this data, with Azure services, the Power Platform, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, plus ISV applications from partners. As Phillips sees it, this is the future, it is integrated, and Microsoft is perhaps the only company that has built it and can offer it. These integrated capabilities were exemplified by several customer stories from Virgin Atlantic, Grant Thornton, and Malibu Boats.
At our booth
So, what do integrated capabilities mean for customers that also run applications from SAP?
At our booth, we heard many examples from customers that want to include their SAP data assets into the Microsoft platform – data from the shop floor, inventory movements, open sales orders, financial ledgers, or employee time management. Much of the critical business data for customers lives in SAP where it is continuously created and updated, in large volumes. For these customers, integrated capabilities have to extend to their SAP applications.
Most people we talked to find it very challenging, time-consuming and expensive to access SAP data and get more value from it by integrating it into the Microsoft platform. They often lack the support from their internal SAP team to meet their data and process integration needs. During our conversations, we had an opportunity to discuss the capabilities that we as a leading ISV for SAP integration can help with:
- IT can establish continuous data streams from SAP applications directly into Microsoft storage environments, such as SQL Server, Azure SQL DB, Azure DWH, Azure Blob, and others. This is often Step #1 for customers, or what we call the ‘heavy lifting’. Our tools help customers to do this efficiently, securely, and in a performant and automated fashion, across on-premise and cloud boundaries.
- The Business Analyst can work with SAP data. With our Power BI Connector, we provide direct and broad data access into the entire SAP landscape – including SAP ERP, SAP BW and SAP HANA-based systems.
- Cloud processes that are enabled by PowerApps or Flow can interact directly and through a secure channel with SAP ERP – for both Read and Write operations.
#MSBizAppsSummit, #SAPIntegration, #TheobaldSoftware