Maggie Chan Jones
SAP CMO Maggie Chan Jones said her company at SAPPHIRE NOW will "highlight the forces of change driving the global digital economy."

"Customer empathy" will again be at the center of SAP's messaging when it hosts thousands at its annual user conference this week in Orlando.

The Walldorf, Germany-based enterprise software provider's SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference runs May 15 through May 18 at the Orange County Convention Center in Central Florida.

"We have to know more, care more and do more or we're an also-ran," SAP CEO Bill McDermott told the 20,000 or so attendees during his opening keynote at last year's conference.  

SAP's major announcements last year included a partnership with Microsoft — SAP HANA became available in the Azure Cloud and Microsoft Office 365 integrations with multiple SAP applications like Concur, SuccessFactors and Ariba became stronger.

This year the company will focus on how it can help companies in their digital transformation initiatives.

To gear up for the conference, we caught up with SAP CMO Maggie Chan Jones for a Q&A:

'Dream, Reimagine Your Business' 

CMSWireHow many attendees this year, and how does this compare to last year?

Chan Jones: This year is by far going to be the largest SAPPHIRE NOW. We will live-stream sessions through the SAPPHIRE Digital Platform for those who cannot attend in person. 

For the very first time, we have also partnered with Yahoo Finance and it will stream keynote sessions on its home page and the SAP ticker page. With a following of over 14.5 million viewers on top of the tens of thousands of in person attendees, engagement is going to be a record high.

CMSWire: What will be the themes driven home on the keynotes, and why/how are these important?

Chan Jones: Building on our CEO Bill McDermott’s messaging from last year, we will continue the strong focus on customer empathy. The themes map back to how SAP is the only company that delivers a complete set of technologies that can help companies reinvent their business models, create insight-driven actions and truly run a live business. 

We will highlight the forces of change driving the global digital economy and demonstrate how companies can leverage innovation to differentiate their business to drive value. We will also show how SAP has built next-generation intelligent applications.

New for this year is our "Live Business Theater" which will complement and amplify the major keynote sessions. These sessions will take a deeper dive into the major themes and feature SAP leaders, strategic partners and customers.

CMSWire: What general excitement/advances should we expect in terms of SAP tech innovation?

Chan Jones: You can expect to see some cool technology that will showcase real life applications as well as those that are possible. We will encourage our customers to dream and reimagine their businesses for the future across the 25 industries that we serve. Innovations such as machine learning, IoT and blockchain will be front and center.

CMSWire: What industry roles do SAP target at this conference, and what are their pain points?

Chan Jones: Digital transformation is impacting every business no matter the size or industry. Business models are being redefined by the customer experience, and it is changing the way companies design products, deliver services and grow their brand value. 

At SAPPHIRE NOW we want to everyone from executives to line of business leaders and IT professionals to leave with valuable insights and exchanges that will ultimately help them differentiate their business.

Follow @CMSWire and @DomNicastro for live coverage of SAPPHIRE NOW.