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There’s no doubt it’s a ludicrously high percentage. But how did we become so accepting of this morally questionable practice that, against all logic, thrives in today’s painfully transparent media landscape
Obviously, not everyone retains the skill or desire to be a rock star storyteller and that’s ok. But for those that do have the desire, help isn’t far away. I advise very talented people every day and help them find their writing voice. From interns, to senior executives, many struggle with the art of communicating simply.
When motivated individuals focus on what matters, and find their writing voice, an amazing transformation takes place. Marketing jargon, buzzwords and corny platitudes take a back seat to authentic storytelling.
Authenticity holds the key to unleash an employee brand journalism resistance to combat ghost written “assets” that continue to invade the media landscape. It may not satiate every marketing/communications activity, but there’s no question it’s extremely effective in building brand awareness and community engagement with employees, customers and partners.
So if a bit of authentic brand journalism mojo can help elevate a company’s visibility, why turn to ghost writing at all?
For one, content farms make it pretty easy for companies to tap into networks of freelance writers, programmed to produce and distribute content more concerned with SEO trickery than authentic storytelling. Results from using content farms are a mixed bag and prominent publications have been predicting their demise for the past few years.
There’s also the “quality versus quantity” debate that doesn’t seem like much of a debate from my perspective. Far too many people are still obsessed with publishing high volumes of low quality, ghost written assets that create a false sense of social media traction and influence.
These types of smoke and mirrors tactics won’t be going away anytime soon. But for this former journalist who’s been at the forefront of the content marketing trenches, it’s encouraging to see the smoke clearing and mirrors cracking.
Through its portfolio of services, SAP PartnerEdge supports AgilityWorks in its mission to deliver substantive improvement through agile solutions and ensuring high customer satisfaction while expanding into new markets. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Oxford, UK, AgilityWorks is growing at +35% year-on-year, with current revenue of nearly £10 million.
The company credits its success to leveraging its core industry, domain and disruptive technology experience. A high level of customer care is maintained with an in-house team dedicated to ensuring customer satisfaction long after the project is delivered.
Managing Director Storry Warner describes how AgilityWorks is successful with its unique value proposition. “As the company name suggests, agile ways of working have been at the core of our DNA since the outset. It was clear that traditional ways of working were struggling to keep pace with customer demands for faster business impact and improved ROI,” says Warner. “But it is not just about speed – agile ways of working allow our customers to deliver more innovative solutions that have greater user adoption; and this is key for our customers choosing to work with us on a long-term basis.”
Providing a high level of specialization does not mean that AgilityWorks is confined to a niche. Whether pioneering an SAP HANA customer project, moving a customer or its own internal processes to the cloud, AgilityWorks seeks ways to apply disruptive technology for competitive advantage with its clients – and that sometimes includes challenging its customers to think about ways they can also disrupt their own markets through innovation.
“The word disruptive can conjure up negative thoughts, but as can be seen by so many companies that are standing out from the pack, it is those that are leveraging digital technology that are disrupting their marketplaces and gaining competitive advantage,” says Warner. “There are many examples – Amazon, Hailo Cab, Twitter – of companies that have disrupted traditional business models, engaging their customers in a different way through the application of mobile, big data, and cloud.”
Warner cautions, “There are equally many well-known global brand names that no longer exist because their industry was disrupted and they were unable to compete in the new economy.”
To maintain its market leadership, AgilityWorks aligns closely with SAP on key topics through SAP PartnerEdge – SAP’s award-winning program that supports partners with business-enabling resources and expertise to help customers become best-run businesses.
For the team at AgilityWorks, membership in the SAP PartnerEdge program has brought both strategic and practical advantages. Chief among them is access to the wealth of information on SAP Partner portal, according to Nick Bewers, SAP practice lead, AgilityWorks. “There’s a lot of good information in there from a technical perspective. But probably more importantly for me in terms of my job, it has a lot of the Go-to-Market and strategy information, which is really valuable,” he says.
In preparing to meet with customers, Bewers relies on competitive information SAP PartnerEdge provides on the portal, such as guidance on how to position the advantages of SAP solutions, how to respond to specific questions, and how to address competitor claims and counter claims.
In addition, the SAP PartnerEdge program provides valuable access to SAP software. AgilityWorks has invested in building out its demo capabilities across a whole range of SAP solutions. Bewers says, “Seeing is believing and access to the SAP technology allows us to bring conceptual ideas to life for our customers and prospects.”
While there is plenty of useful information on the SAP PartnerEdge Portal, the SAP PartnerEdge program also provides members with a dedicated contact person, or Partner Service Advisor (PSA), who is easily accessible by telephone and based in the same region as the partner. Partners meet quarterly with their PSAs to review their tailored enablement plan and identify ways that SAP can further support them in growing their business, for example, via Market Development Funds (MDF) and product authorizations.
As a member of the SAP Partner Service Delivery team, the PSA has insight to SAP’s enablement and services portfolio, as well as new strategic initiatives that may be of value to the partner. Therefore, the PSA is in an ideal position to serve as the partner’s SAP-internal resource for identifying ways to execute on its business plan.
Seamus Cawley, based at SAP in Galway, Ireland, is the PSA for AgilityWorks. In speaking about his role as PSA, Cawley says, “I need to know their business to be able to help them internally, and to be able to push out material and create an enablement plan that works for them.”
By knowing their business, Cawley is able to share with them relevant information that he is made aware of through his role within SAP. Likewise, he explains by way of example, if an SAP Inside Sales team member were to contact him seeking a partner with business performance expertise, then he will be in a position to suggest AgilityWorks for that project based on his knowledge of its business.
Cawley keeps AgilityWorks informed of upcoming SAP Partner Education Days, such as a recent Design Thinking workshop the team attended. He also ensures that AgilityWorks has access to solution experts who can answer questions and provide insight to facilitate its business strategy. As well, he assists with getting the right product authorizations and certifications to sell SAP solutions to customers with confidence.
Bewers, whose SAP focus is Business Intelligence and Enterprise Performance Management, sees this as a critical prerequisite to meeting with customers. “I’m making sure that my team has the necessary skills to be able to talk to the customers in terms of articulating the benefits of certain solutions,” he says. “Having the product authorizations means that we can satisfy ourselves that we’ve actually got the right people in front of customers who have the right level of technical knowledge to be able to have those conversations.”
With year-end coming up fast, I decided to find out what experts forecast for HR professionals in 2015.
According to Greta Roberts, CEO at Talent Analytics Corp, data science is increasingly embedded into HR, pressuring that organization to understand how data ‒ big and small ‒ affects not just its own processes, but more important the business outcomes. “HR reporting doesn’t matter. Attrition rates do. HR is going to be pushed by the line of business, meaning sales, the call center, and other departments to deliver business-relevant metrics.”
Roberts agrees noting, “There’s a lot of hype but vendors like SAP are well-positioned to help HR track line-of-business impact. Unlike software that just tracks applicants, SAP’s solutions connect the hiring data to the business performance process.”
HR will jettison the rearview mirror in favor of predictive analytics. For instance, Roberts says CFOs are pushing HR to do more than just hire anybody and train them. “They want analytics to help determine patterns to predict the likelihood of someone doing well in a particular role.”
HR will need to understand what questions to ask, how to read results and recognize patterns and errors. “They’ll either need to bring in outside talent or learn how to do it themselves,” says Katherine Jones, Vice President, HCM Technology Research at Bersin By Deloitte. The human element is equally important in making sense of analytics, requiring in-depth business knowledge plus judgment, she added.
HR consultant Paul Belliveau, believes the true mark of a successful human capital management practice is to be incorporated into the DNA of the business and not be siloed. “There still will be the need for regulatory requirements and compensation and benefits as specialty areas that are part of HR, but the human capital experts will be infused into the business.”
Longer term, Jones foresees a time when HR won’t be needed. “We may need an ombudsman or a compliance person. But we don’t need a separate hiring group because the business can predict who will do the best work in our kind of organization and go find them.”
Kevin Wheeler, founder and president of the San Francisco-based, Future of Talent Institute, says this is the year companies integrate disconnected systems, including HR with back-office data. “We have to make it easier and more flexible for integration to take place. Tools like SAP can help HR integrate and understand data from human resource systems, application tracking systems, and development and e-learning tools.”
Candidate relationship management is transforming as HR explores powerful lead generation tools. “HR can create content such as a blog, track how many candidates read the post, apply for the job, and progress through the hiring process – or not,” says Wheeler. “The company can determine why they became a candidate, at what point they dropped out of the hiring process, and tailor content to attract desirable talent in the future.”
Mobile interviewing, assessment testing and gamification will become the norm. Watch for focused, mobile-friendly “learnlets” that trainees quickly read and apply on-the-job. “Most technology tools today are still optimized for the big screen. There’s going to be a lot of redesign and rethinking such as how to apply for a job remotely. It’s a sloppy process right now but will develop over the next year,” says Wheeler.
As yearly performance evaluations fade away, HR needs to cultivate coaching expertise. “Software helps by keeping track of conversations, providing questions and other dialogue tips for managers who are learning how to coach,” says Jones.
Rowan finds significant interest in updating and replacing systems beyond just talent management to include core HR, payroll and benefits. “Companies want to eliminate onerous upgrade cycles while making sure everyone is on the same release of the software, and they want to reduce their dependence on IT,” she says. “SaaS-based HR is viewed as modern, easier to use, more agile and efficient.”
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WALLDORF — SAP SE today announced that it has been positioned in the Leaders Quadrant of the 2014 “Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems”* for the second consecutive year, based on the evaluation the SAP HANA platform, SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise (SAP ASE) and the SAP SQL Anywhere suite. SAP is recognized as a market leader for both its “ability to execute” and “completeness of vision.”
According to the Gartner report, “Leaders generally demonstrate the most support for a broad range of operational applications, based on support for a wide range of data types and large numbers of concurrent users. These vendors demonstrate consistent customer satisfaction and strong customer support. Many have competed in this market for many years, and have built a wide partner ecosystem for their products. Hence, Leaders generally represent the lowest risk for customers in the areas of performance, scalability, reliability and support. As the market’s demands change, so Leaders demonstrate strong vision in support not only of the market’s current needs but also of emerging trends. Finally, the messaging, product research and development, and delivery of leaders are in line with today’s market and with new trends in both DBMS software and hardware technology.”
“Customers are increasingly turning to SAP databases to fuel innovation while simplifying their IT landscape,” said Ken Tsai, vice president, Product Marketing, SAP. “SAP HANA, SAP ASE and SAP SQL Anywhere are at the core of our data management vision and we’re committed to providing world-class intelligent operational database solutions that deliver scalable, reliable and resilient operational data management solutions that meet the needs of digitized business. We believe this recognition from Gartner further affirms our continued momentum, direction and leadership in this space.”
More than 4,100 SAP HANA customers and 1,700 startups are using the SAP HANA platform to accelerate business processes, operations and decisions as well as to simplify data landscapes to reduce costs. SAP ASE holds the leading 2- and 4-processor Intel-based Linux results on the SAP SD Standard Application benchmark, confirming SAP ASE as a performance leader especially where TCO is paramount. In addition, SAP SQL Anywhere holds the leading price and performance Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC-C) benchmark reinforcing its suitability for Internet of Things (IoT) and embedded applications. Since its introduction in 2011 there have been over 5,800 SAP Business Suite software installations on SAP ASE, and over 1,500 SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA installations since it became available in 2013. These strong installation numbers in such a short timeframe demonstrate the benefits in operational efficiency and performance for customers using SAP HANA and SAP ASE.
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*Gartner “Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems” by Donald Feinberg, Merv Adrian, Nick Heudecker, October 16, 2014.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
Stories from the world of sport that feature SAP solutions for the sports industry are a great way to highlight how cloud and analytics technology can change the game.
After all, everyone has a favorite sporting event, whether it’s the World Cup, the Wimbledon Championships, or the CHIO Aachen International Equestrian Festival. Here’s a run-down of the top five SAP sports solutions:
SAP and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have teamed up to develop an innovative app that uses data to analyze player performance. Up until now, the solution could only be used off court to prepare for future games, but next season, WTA coaches will be allowed to bring mobile devices onto court during coaching breaks to gain deeper insights into player performance.
This is a game-changing breakthrough for players like Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki, who will now be able to adapt their serving patterns and shot selection based on real-time statistics.
Fans from around the world were captivated by the 2014 World Cup and the victorious German national team. The German players traveled to Brazil equipped with persistence, talent, experienced coaches – and an extra-special item supplied by SAP: SAP Match Insights.
The solution is the result of a co-innovation project between SAP and the German Football Association (DFB) and gives coaches and players tools to analyze their own and their opponents’ performance. So it’s fair to say that SAP software had a part to play in securing World Cup glory for Germany.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) was founded in 1946. Since then it has amassed a huge history of official statistics – 4.5 quadrillion combinations, in fact. It wasn’t until 2013 though that the NBA’s 760 million global fans gained access to all of that data, available at nba.com/stats powered by SAP HANA. As well as perusing more than 65 years of historical statistics, fans can track every point, rebound, and blocked shot in real time, making the game more engaging than ever.
Not surprisingly, the NBA has seen a 63% increase in visitors to the site, and fans are staying twice as long. Sounds like a slam dunk!
The Super Bowl is one of the world’s most-watched sporting events, and this year SAP had a front row seat. SAP’s “Stats Zone” was a fixture at the 2014 Super Bowl Boulevard, which brought almost half a million visitors to Times Square in New York City. Complete with interactive games for fans and social sentiment visualizations, the SAP Stats Zone showcased SAP technology for a whole new audience of football fans.
SAP has also embedded itself in the National Football League (NFL) fan experience by co-developing the SAP Player Comparison tool for fantasy football to enable avid online fans to experience their passion in new and exciting ways.
Though it’s one of SAP’s lesser-known sports solutions, SAP Equestrian Analytics provides a prime example of how to engage fans and boost competitor performance. A camera attached to the rider’s helmet is combined with software to track routes, speed data, time gaps, and heart rates of both the horse and the rider. The solution helps quantify riders’ intuition with hard facts to help them fine-tune their training – much like SAP’s sailing solutions.
Top image: Shutterstock
The buzz: AR (Augmented Reality).
At the InsideAR conference in Munich, nearly 800 attendees learned about the cool futuristic world of AR via speeches and exhibits from Lego, BMW, and IKEA and other companies. Where is AR on the hype curve today: still a tech trigger for a handful of enthusiasts or already widely adopted by the masses?
The experts speak.
Sascha Kiener, Metaio: “AR will change how we will interact with technology and digital data in the future. The biggest issue is the lack of dedicated hardware integrated into standard end-consumer devices. As soon as the game industry sees the value, it will go mainstream.”
Raimund Gross, SAP: “The future is what you can influence. You have to embrace trends, immerse yourself into new technologies, continuously learn. Only then will you have an educated dialog and make informed choices.”
Thomas Eckert, SAP: “When trying to predict the future potential of consumer-oriented technologies, always consider the ‘Caveman Principle’.” (Michio Kaku)
Join us for Augmented Reality: Beyond Google Glass
The buzz: Data!
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast ecosystem of physical objects connected to the Internet, offering the potential of big opportunities to transform your business. When we break it down, the IoT is nothing more than millions – perhaps even trillions – of objects, devices, and sensors, each generating its own continuous stream of data. Put these all together and you have the ultimate Big Data challenge. What actually happens at the intersection of Big Data and the Internet of Things? And how do we now balance past data and real-time data?
The experts speak.
David Stephenson, Stephenson Strategies: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – (Ben Franklin)
David Jonker, SAP: ““Mankind’s Next Step Will be Our Greatest” – (Promotional poster for the movie, Interstellar)
Join us for At the Intersection of Big Data and the Internet of Things – Part 2.
The UK-based company boasts over 70 years of experience in the specialist design and production of performance wipers for high-speed boats, trains and coaches.
Around four years ago, the company deployed SAP Business One to manage each of its departments from one integrated solution. SAP partner IIS supports the company to maximize value from its IT investment and reduce costs. John Hayward, systems manager, B Hepworth, explains how the reporting capabilities in SAP Business One have not only provided greater insight into production data, but also saved the company money in the process.
Before SAP Business One we had a Unix system that we used for our business management solution. It was a fully integrated solution that was used across the business. We moved to SAP Business One because our former software was no longer due to be supported and it was coming to the end of its life.
We’ve benefitted from the fact that the move from one solution to another has been seamless. With the implementation of SAP Business One, we’ve been able to maintain all of the accounting, sales, CRM and manufacturing functions from a single solution.
The reporting within SAP Business One is really good. Crystal Reports provide greater insight into our data and tells our manufacturing director at the end of the day what his invoices are and what his arrears are. These tailored reports in SAP Business One are really valuable to us as a business.
If we were still using our former system the solution probably wouldn’t cope with the scale of our manufacturing operations. But there are other little things that we’ve noticed improvements in. Crystal Reports are an improvement on what we previously had. It’s easier for us to write reports and query reports than it was previously. In fact, I can do this myself, whereas previously we had to use an external consultant. This has resulted in cost savings.
Although we haven’t been able to get any additional information into our inventory than what we had before, we’ve found that we’re able to access this data more conveniently and run more reports against this.
We’ve noticed that we’ve become more efficient with SAP Business One – just because the solution runs quicker than what we had before. In fact, we’ve recently had to upgrade our server to handle the amount of data that we process through SAP Business One.
We’ve been using SAP Business One for around four years now and have probably witnessed a return on investment now. We’ve got 71 users who use SAP Business One on a daily basis – with some of these having remote access.
It’s always been good. If there’s ever a problem, you can call up the helpdesk, speak to one of the support team and they’ll sort out the issue. But, touch wood, we haven’t had many issues in the years we’ve been using SAP Business One.
SAP Simple Finance resolves this with the power of SAP HANA, available in the cloud:
Standing in their way is a chasm between the learning and development employees know they need and what companies actually provide. The report’s findings, which included both quantitative and anecdotal feedback from over 5,400 executive and non-executive workers in 27 countries, portend far-reaching consequences. Less than 50 percent of executives say their company has a culture of continuous learning, and only 41 percent of employees say their company offers them opportunities to expand their skill sets.
One of the report’s conclusions is that successful companies will create a learning culture that captures and perpetuates knowledge while empowering employees ‒ but most have far to go. For example, surveyed millennials rely on formal training and mentoring to develop their skills more so than workers of other age groups. Even more telling, millennials want informal feedback from their managers 50 percent more often than older peers.
In some ways, this belies fears about automation relegating humans to an after-thought. HR consultant Paul Belliveau believes that nothing will replace the unique power of humans to be flexible and creative. “That’s where the power of humans will never be overridden by technology. It means the human race has to be much more intelligent about how it goes about doing work because the tasks traditionally performed by people will be taken over by automation.”
Aadesh Goyal, Global Head of Human Resources at Tata Communications in India, agrees that the connections between people are paramount to leadership development. “Some people become the leaders by sheer determination, enthusiasm, passion, and they really get the rest of the people to learn. I think the majority of the learning really happens through work and not through formal programs. Once people start to collaborate and more people join in, it builds the culture by doing.”
Based on the survey findings, workers need both people skills and advanced technology acumen. Over the next three years, 48 percent of executives say analytics skills will be needed by employees, and almost 60 percent say programming/development skills will be needed.
HR respondents appear to understand that training fosters employee engagement. Chris Watson, Chief People Officer at Naked Retreats, an exclusive resort in China, said, “Workforce development is becoming critical at all levels. It’s a key driver of retention. I have led the initiatives over the past 12 months looking at applying and different development programs and succession paths at both senior level, mid-level and junior level. Clearly our goal is to improve retention.”
Another finding from this report revealed that millennials are dissatisfied with limited options for development and a clear career path. All employees say their top concern is their position changing or becoming obsolete. In some cases, HR acknowledges the problem.
“It’s very difficult for companies to recognize the talent they need to succeed and go forward within the future,” said George Murphy, Senior Vice President at United States-based Lincoln Financial Group. “Leaders look at what made them successful and transpose that into what they need in future leaders. One of the major roles that HR can play in many, many organizations is helping the organization see what are the right types of roles and talent we need to be successful in five years? That’s challenging.”
Roughly half of surveyed executives say their company is capable of retaining, updating and sharing institutional knowledge. This is critical as baby boomers retire over the next five to ten years. Some companies offer flexible arrangements to share the wealth of seasoned workers’ knowledge before they exit.
“Our manufacturing processes require a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience, which is gained by long years in production. So if we lose our oldest people and our experienced workforce, we also lose their experience,” said Dr. Rupert Felder, Head of Global Human Resources at Heidelburger Druckmaschinen, an engineering firm based in Germany. “By doing things like letting retired employees come to the plant to work once a week or a couple of times a month or during peak periods, we’ve been able to retain their knowledge in the business. This is the sort of flexibility that will be increasingly necessary in managing the workforce.”
While this report shows that many organizations lack the solutions to manage employees effectively, it also spotlights others fostering a culture of continuous learning that develops and empowers workers. With a shared learning mandate, employees and their companies might just realize their future vision.
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WALLDORF — Let’s face it: today’s business is connected and collaboration is key to supporting it. And the SAP Jam social software platform is a leading force in driving it. With more than 15 million users, SAP Jam helps companies to evolve the way they work and invent new approaches for the work of tomorrow. Today, SAP SE announced that it has been named a leader in IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Enterprise Social Networks 2014 Vendor Assessment*, as a result.
SAP Jam helps customers solve problems and drive results via its market-first “work patterns,” pre-built processes that bring together the people, data and decision-making capabilities when and where people need them.
Take SAP Jam customer, Sharks Sports & Entertainment, Inc. A privately held corporation that owns and operates a number of sports properties, including the San Jose Sharks of the National Hockey League, the company implemented SAP Jam to improve employee collaboration, increase engagement and enhance understanding of common corporate goals. And within three months, user adoption was at 90 percent.
“SAP Jam has greatly increased our employee engagement on a day-to-day basis,” said John Tortora, chief operating officer, Sharks Sports & Entertainment, Inc. “We’re able to share key information and make better connections both inside and outside the organization.”
Sharks Sports & Entertainment, Inc.’s improvement of employee collaboration is just the latest in a growing trend of businesses transforming collaboration through the use of social tools. According to the IDC MarketScape, “Enterprise social networks (ESNs), and more broadly, social workflow, can play a significant role in this [digital business] when thought of as both a platform and a social workflow embedded in business systems where users are getting work done.”
SAP Jam’s position as a leader in the 2014 IDC MarketScape report comes on the heels of the latest release of the application, which introduces several new capabilities to market, developed in co-innovation with almost 80 customers, including:
“Customers are increasingly looking to collaboration software when they seek transformative solutions to their toughest business challenges. This latest release combines sophisticated user experience design principles with our highly successful work patterns framework to transform how our customers connect with their employees, customers and partners, and participate in the networked economy,” said Sameer Patel, senior vice president and general manager, Products and GTM Enterprise Collaboration and Social Software, SAP. “We’re honored that our efforts have led the IDC MarketScape to recognize SAP Jam as a leader in the 2014 report.”
For more information about the latest product features in SAP Jam, visit the blog post: “What’s new in SAP Jam – New UI, CMIS integrations, Microsoft Lync presence and a lot more.” Download an excerpt of the IDC MarketScape here.
View the latest video on SAP Jam: “What’s Your Work Pattern? Transform The Way You Work With SAP Jam.”
For more information, press only:
Holly Simmons, SAP +1 (650) 223-4878, email@example.com, PST
SAP News Center press room; firstname.lastname@example.org
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A product demo for SAP Cloud for Sales and SAP Jam by SAP partner maihiro gave its audience of CRM personnel plenty to think about.
How do you sell a software solution to salespeople? Ideally, reasoned maihiro, you concentrate on showing them the practical benefits. That was the approach that the SAP partner and CRM specialist took when it put together a demo scenario for the SAP Cloud for Customer sales solution and took to the stage at the CRM Expo trade fair in Stuttgart, Germany, for a live CRM “duel” with Microsoft partner Infoman AG.
The rival companies had exactly 20 minutes to demonstrate examples of collaborative sales opportunity processing within a sales transaction. The contest ended in triumph for maihiro’s demo of SAP Cloud for Customer and SAP Jam, which won out over Infoman’s demo solution – a combination of Microsoft Dynamics and other applications including Outlook, Word, and Sharepoint.
To demonstrate how opportunity management works in the SAP Cloud for Customer solution, Christoph Stecker and Andreas Stroh, both presales and business development experts at maihiro GmbH, took on the role of a salesperson. They began by showing how the solution provides salespeople with information relating to customers, existing sales documents, activities, competitors, products, and partners ― and enables them to identify which customers are assigned to which salesperson.
They then moved on to the detailed customer view, which displays master data such as important KPIs, the customer’s classification, contact permissions, and contact information and also includes a feature that shows the customer’s address on a map.
Finally, they demonstrated the customer activity history, which reveals information that could be crucial in future negotiations, including records of telephone conversations, appointment details, e-mails, and mail attachments.
In this context, they pointed to the practical benefits to be gained by the fact that data that is already maintained in an ERP system is fully integrated in SAP Cloud for Customer. What’s more, the data is accessible on mobile devices in real time and can be displayed and processed across all channels.
“It is extremely important to have a consolidated view of all the relevant information. It’s the key to processing opportunities correctly and efficiently. Having this information available on their mobile devices means that salespeople can make much more effective use of their limited time,” Stroh told the audience.
Different opportunity phases involve different activities. SAP Cloud for Customer contains many useful features for processing them, including the integrated Sales Activity Advisor, which recommends relevant and mandatory steps in the sales process.
“Today, opportunity management tasks are not processed by a single person, but by a team,” said Stecker. Team collaboration has many advantages – but only if the relevant information can be shared and is accessible to everyone. “As a sales manager, I need to talk to the design engineers about a machine’s construction and characteristics and liaise with the legal department on drafting a contract. But how do I know how to contact the responsible colleagues? By e-mail, telephone, or in person? Information like this is generally not documented in an opportunity; but these are important details that have simply been ‘lost’,” he said.
So, what options are available for ensuring that team members’ input and opinions are displayed clearly for everyone else to benefit from? And how can the decision-making process be documented for future reference?
SAP Jam, a cloud-based communication and collaboration network, is fully integrated in the SAP Cloud for Customer CRM solution. This means that sales team members can exchange information, distribute documents, and share knowledge with their colleagues, with external partners, and even with customers ― no matter where they are located. In their live demo, Stecker and Stroh used a simple example to explain how cloud collaboration works:
“Let’s assume we want to collaborate as a team to find out which components are used for the sleeve on the drive shaft of a machine,” said Stroh. “We begin by creating a new collaboration group in the CRM solution. Next, we add all the relevant employees and external partners to the group so that they can communicate with each other and pose our question to the group members. They are then free to enter their comments and process the question with the help of tools. As you can see, thanks to the power of collaboration, it’s really easy to make complex decisions within the team and document them for future reference.”
The last step in opportunity management involves creating a quotation and sending it to the customer. “The quotation document can be created easily from within the solution and already contains all the relevant data,” said Stecker. During contract negotiations with the customer, sales personnel can access all the corresponding documents and information in the solution ― even if they are working in offline mode.
Every step of the way – from creation and processing through collaboration and contract negotiation, the combination of SAP Cloud for Customer and SAP Jam offers a 360-degree view that simplifies the management of sales opportunities. “In a nutshell,” said Stroh in his closing statement, “We believe that a successful sales process is innovative, intuitive, and collaborative.”
maihiro GmbH is an owner-managed SAP partner specializing in customer relationship management (CRM) and business analytics. It serves more than 250 customers in numerous projects.
Top image: Shutterstock
This is a summary of what companies can expect on the IT front for next year.
Worldwide ICT spending will grow 3.8% in 2015 to more than $3.8 trillion, focused primarily on what IDC calls 3rd Platform technologies including cloud, mobile, social and Big Data.
Wireless data will emerge as the largest ($536 billion) and fastest growing (13%) segment of telecom spending. To avoid being marginalized as little more than infrastructure providers, carriers will scramble to develop platform- and API-based services that add value and attract developers to their networks.
Wearables will see an explosion of innovation, although unit sales will underwhelm. Mobile app downloads will start to slow in 2015, but enterprise mobile app development will double.
Cloud services will remain a hotbed of activity in 2015 with $118 billion in spending on the greater cloud ecosystem. Adoption of cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) will grow briskly (36%) as market leader Amazon comes under attack from all directions as challengers attempt the “Amazoning of Amazon.”
Worldwide spending on big data-related software, hardware, and services grows to $125 billion. Rich media analytics (video, audio, and image) will emerge as an important driver of big data projects.
One third of Internet of Things spending in 2015 will be focused on intelligent embedded devices outside the IT and telecom industries helped by partnerships among leading IT companies seeking to kick-start the market for industry solutions. Predictive maintenance will emerge as an important IoT solutions category.
“Cloud first” hardware innovations will emerge, along with greater consolidation among server, storage, software, and networking vendors. IDC expects to see two or three major mergers, acquisitions, or restructurings among the top-tier IT vendors in 2015.
A number of industry disruptions will emerge in 2015. Examples include alternative payment networks in financial services, expansion of IoT technologies into city safety, public works and transportation systems, and the expansion of location-based services in the retail industry.
“3rd Platform-optimized” security solutions will help to secure the edge of the cloud (i.e. biometric security on mobile devices) and the core (i.e., encryption in the cloud will become the default practice). And threat intelligence will emerge as a killer Data as a Service category with a rapidly growing number of enterprises receiving tailored threat intelligence information. Elsewhere, 3D printing will see significant activity among conventional document printing companies as they lay the groundwork for a looming battle for commercial and industrial markets in 2016.
China will experience skyrocketing influence on the global ICT market in 2015 with spending that will account for 43% of all industry growth, one third of all smartphone purchases, and about one third of all online shoppers.
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