Undoubtedly the most important event of the year for teams that already use or are considering SAP solutions for financial management, reporting, and planning is Financials 2013, which runs from Tuesday 19th until Friday 22nd March at the MGM Las Vegas. As ever the schedule includes in-depth sessions, networking events, and demos showcasing the latest updates and best practices for SAP Financial solutions so there is plenty of opportunity to meet fellow users, the experts from SAP’s many Partners as well as the in-house teams responsible for bringing solutions to market.
One of the keynotes this year comes from Joel Bernstein, who can only be described as an SAP ‘super-user’ in that Joel is CFO, SAP North America. Joel’s session is titled ‘Leveraging Technology Innovations to Transform Finance’ where he will share how the SAP NA Finance team tackle issues that many others are facing at the moment such as how to provide executives with better access to financial information on their mobile devices; how to do more with less by adopting some of the emerging best practices in shared services and how his team are looking at driver-based approaches to planning as they progress their own performance management capabilities. As he covers all the hot finance issues such as productivity, responsiveness, and transparency, I guess he’s going to be calling on colleagues to demonstrate some of the very latest innovations from SAP that his team get their hands on way before other folk. And to ensure that you don’t miss the important sessions where innovations will be show-cased during the rest of the conference, here’s my pick of the tracks:
- Martin Naraschewski of SAP AG delivers an important session called ‘2013 overview and roadmap for SAP financial solutions’ on Tuesday, March 19 from 4:30 pm – 5:45 pm where he will talk about how to provide better access to financial information with in-memory computing and mobile solutions – as well as providing updates on innovations in the other critical financial processes including invoice to pay, receivables management, treasury, financial risk management, travel expense management, and the financial close.
- At 12:00 pm on Tuesday, March 19, Andrew Joo, IBM EPM leader for SAP Analytics Center of Excellence, presents a session titled ‘Achieving true EPM nirvana with SAP HANA’ which he explains how to integrate enterprise strategy, finance and operations by leveraging in-memory data warehouse technologies such as SAP HANA. He will step through the whole gamut of EPM Big Data use cases including driving expedited financial close processes by enabling real-time planning, forecasting and consolidations and real-time customer and product profitability reporting.
- Then I’d want to hear from a customer who had been through the transformation so I’d drop in on Ross Wilson of McKesson to hear his session ‘How McKesson implemented CO-PA on SAP HANA for improved financial reporting’, at either 2:30 pm on Thursday, March 21 or 11.30am on Friday 22nd. Ross is presenting on how McKesson used the CO-PA rapid deployment solution to introduce SAP HANA technology for key financial reporting processes, how they enhanced the project to provide real business value and how they plan to roll it out to additional functional areas and use it as a primary data warehouse in place of SAP NetWeaver BW.
- To understand how planning and budgeting processes can be transformed by combining in-memory computing with planning algorithms, the session called ‘Enabling real-time financial planning with BPC technology powered by SAP HANA’ delivered by Derek Johnson of SAP Labs at noon on Wednesday 20th is essential. Not only will Derek be demonstrating how you can improve decision-making by running more planning scenarios simultaneously and how you can reducing planning cycle times while improving planning accuracy, he’s also going to share the latest ‘real-time enterprise planning’ roadmap, including the planned enhancements to BPC on SAP HANA.
- If all this innovation is beginning to make your head hurt then ‘Disruptive innovation, technology trends, and the new world of finance: What to do now to prepare’ by John E. Steele, Jr. of Deloitte at 4:45 pm on Wednesday, March 20, looks like a session to help make sense of it all. John will examine the importance of leveraging technology trends to drive financial transformation, show how to develop a “heat map” for finance transformation initiatives and explain why focusing on process capabilities can drive better business transformation results as well as sharing advice on what you should be doing now in order to better leverage the new technologies.
There are plenty more great sessions where the impact of new technologies such as in-memory computing, mobile and on-demand will be show-cased for virtually every financial business process – right through to receivables management. But if I carry on picking them out, this is going to develop into a laundry list! In summary, we seem to be at a tipping point when technology is set to transform business across the board, finance included. So, more so than any other year, Financials 2013 is a must-do event.