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  • Writer's pictureLior Weizman

My NRF 2024 Experience – Showcasing Innovative Partnerships

I originally published this article on my LinkedIn profile.

With SAP.iO portfolio startups, in front of the SAP booth, at NRF 2024

After months of preparations and an intense week at the NRF 2024 event in New York City (Jan 13-16, 2024), I'm thrilled to wrap up this year's show, labelling it a remarkable success. Alongside 40 SAP.iO portfolio startups that attended the conference, we demonstrated that SAP has the most diverse and innovative ecosystem of startup partners. Over the course of four days, our objective was clear – to show our customers how cutting-edge startups from around the world collaborate with SAP to provide holistic, up-to-date, and innovative solutions that address the latest industry use-cases.

With partner booths, demo pods, live sessions, side events, a special trends report, and customer tours – we presented solutions spanning the entire industry value chain, including e-commerce, in-store experiences, and supply chain management.

SAP.iO Portfolio Startups who attended NRF 2024

Similar to previous years, SAP had a substantial booth on level 3 of the Javits Conventions Center, with multiple showcases, including an in-store experience zone. This year, we hosted 7 SAP.iO portfolio startups at the SAP booth (ObsessAiseraJebbitYellow.aiFindMineWiseSense - Visualize your things and Mention Me). Additionally, we featured 5 SAP.iO portfolio startups at the SAP demo pods (C2ROBigthinxMention MeMercaux, and Smartzer). Many other SAP.iO portfolio startups presented their joint solutions with SAP at their own booth, at the NRF Innovation Lab or at the Startup Zone (VelouEVERYANGLEReplika Software Inc., Expivi, Booxi, YDISTRI, Measmerize and many more).

The Power of a Good Story

Beyond screen demos, we featured live sessions telling real industry customer stories. This year, two SAP.iO portfolio startups presented: Mention Me and Inspectorio. The Mention Me session was a joint one with our shared customer, BrandAlley. Michelle Hurney, Head of Marketing at Brandalley, together with Kat Wray, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Mention Me, shared how BrandAlley leverages advocacy data to supercharge its growth, using a joint solution by Mention Me and SAP.

Michelle Hurney from BrandAlley together with Kat Wray from Mention Me

I'm particularly passionate about the topic of Customer Advocacy, as it represents one of the best ways for brands to transform fans into sustainable growth by understanding consumers’ real value (which is not just the sum of their purchases). During NRF, I took the opportunity to record an interview on this topic with Kat Wray from Mention Me. Expect it soon on my LinkedIn profile. If you can't wait, check out the case study we’ve recently published, on how BrandAlley is utilizing advocacy data to future-proof growth with Mention Me, SAP Customer Experience and Emarsys.

Interviewing Kat Wray from Mention Me on Customer Advocacy

Beyond Conference Hours

Official conference hours are just the beginning, and business continues after conference hours at exclusive side events. This year, I had the honor to join our annual SAP Fashion Dinner, an invite-only event for Fashion executives. The event took place at Manhattan’s iconic Yale Club, where I had the opportunity to present our new SAP Thought Leadership Report on the topic of Fashion Innovation Through Startup Partnerships. You can download it here and discover how you can make a difference in your own business. A big thank you to Peter Akbar, GVP and Chief Customer Officer Fashion at SAP, for collaborating with me on issuing the report.

An annual tradition - SAP Fashion Dinner
The event took place at Manhattan’s iconic Yale Club

Another great event, and a yearly tradition, is the SAP Show Floor Meets Top Floor event, held at the SAP Hudson Yards office. As always, it was a unique opportunity to network and learn from industry leaders like Christoph Werner, CEO of dm-drogerie markt, Michael Fichtner, CIO of FC Bayern Munich, Eileen Mahoney, retired CIO of PVH Corp, and Matt Laukaitis, EVP & Global GM, Consumer Industries at SAP. Not to mention the spectacular view of New York City’s skyline from the SAP New-York Experience Center on the 48th floor.

Matt Laukaitis, EVP & Global GM, Consumer Industries at SAP, kicking off the event
Together with Klaus Boeckle, GVP, Consumer Industries at SAP, who orchestrated the event

The Power of Face-To-Face Interactions

At SAP, we manage software partners from around the world. Most of these partnerships have a global scope, targeting various markets and stakeholders from multiple locations. Conferences like NRF are invaluable because they provide us with the opportunity to spend face-to-face time with our partners, fostering personal connections, and maintaining our "friendship" as partners. A huge thank you to our valued partners – it was great to meet you in person again, and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next opportunity to do so.

With SAP.iO portfolio startups, at the SAP booth
Select photos with our amazing partners, at NRF 2024

I'll wrap up this short article by thanking the talented SAP.iO team members who were with me at the National Retail Federation show (Kange KaneeneMax KahnPaul WhiteOdilia von ZitzewitzDomitilla Caputo (SF, LA, SD)Sherry Li-FrucherEdwin GonzalezPhilipp Dreyer). When you are part of a global team, spending time with your colleagues is not just fun – it's crucial for effective long-term teamwork. I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of this amazing team.

See you at NRF 2025!

Part of the SAP.iO team, at the SAP.iO NRF Happy Hour

Special thank you to Alexa GormanMark Osborn and Vahid "Tiger" Khamsi for the ongoing leadership and support.


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