Thứ Ba, 31 tháng 5, 2016

Recipe for Success with SAP S/4HANA

The social economy is under pressure, and value-for-money solutions are essential. The more software helps to streamline and simplify processes, the more time can be devoted to people in need.

That’s just one of the reasons why the Protestant social services institution Diakonie Michaelshoven now works with SAP S/4HANA.

Uwe Ufer is a man who embraces change. When he was the mayor of the small town of Hückeswagen near Cologne, Germany, he breathed new life into the municipal government, got rid of fiscal accounting and introduced double-entry accounting. And together with SAP, Ufer developed a digital citizen account, where all citizens can view all their official documents and correspondence with the authorities from the comfort of their own home.

“We needed an output-focused approach,” explains Ufer, who holds a degree in public administration.

SAP S/4HANA: Creating More Time to Work with People


Now, Ufer has a new vision. As chairperson of Diakonie Michaelshoven in Cologne, together with his team, he is responsible for the care of 1,000 refugees. This includes providing them with accommodation, teaching them German, and giving them a midday meal.

Furthermore, Diakonie Michaelshoven looks after senior citizens, people with disabilities, and young people who can’t live with their families and are cared for in residential facilities. The organization also retrains people who are no longer able to work in their original professions, for example, due to injury.

“The social economy is highly volatile,” says Ufer. “The funding authorities are short of cash and can hardly manage to house people in need.” Ufer’s current vision is therefore to make Diakonie Michaelshoven more efficient so it can invest more time in its work with people.

First Tangible Improvements in Day-to-Day Business

And now, just a few months after SAP S/4HANA went live in January 2016, this vision is taking shape:

  • Enterprise management: Reports don’t have to be run over night, but can be displayed right away on the screen, which means managers can make decisions faster.
  • Real estate: There is now clarity about every care facility that Diakonie Michaelshoven manages. Not only are the costs for heating, cleaning, and facility management transparent, but it’s possible to generate comparisons of the buildings.
  • Planning: Soon all care professionals will be able to record their work and care plans on their own computer, either a PC or a tablet.
  • Invoice processing: Currently, every invoice – regardless of whether it’s for five euros or 1,000 – passes through a number of hands. From the end of the year, the invoices will be scanned once and made available to the process owners immediately.

These small process changes are helping Ufer reach his goal. “The focus must not be on administration,” he says. And he promises that the savings in time and money will benefit his customers, the people in need.

In terms of its turnover – some 160 million euros annually – Diakonie Michaelshoven is classed at the lower end of the midmarket, but it has around 2,000 employees.

“We’re also planning on consolidating our IT tasks with the Diakonischen Werk Alsterdorf in Hamburg, which uses the akquinet data center to manage its systems,” Ufer explains with regard to the decision to implement the new SAP solution. Ultimately, more than 4,000 employees will work with the software. The management is therefore all the more convinced that it’s important to have the latest technology and innovations.

Four Factors for Success with SAP S/4HANA at Diakonie Michaelshoven

The implementation took less than a year from the decision to the go-live. In February 2015, SAP presented the software powered by SAP HANA to the organization in Cologne. The project then kicked off at the end of May and was completed in January 2016. According to Ufer, the project’s success factors were related more to the processes and people than to the technical aspects.

  1. Develop a vision: The strategy must be in place before you embark on the project. This includes a clear vision for the end of the project timeline, various milestones, and thousands of individual steps on the path to the destination. “SAP isn’t a strategy, but it can support our vision excellently,” says Ufer, who had already developed his vision before the implementation of SAP Business Suite at the end of 2014.
  2. Define processes: The processes, not the IT, are at the heart of the project. That’s why the managers in each of the business departments headed up the sub-projects and had a decisive influence on the development of the project as a whole.
  3. Support changes: Through events, change management seminars, personal meetings, and evening meals together with the team, the project members were not only prepared for but also committed to the task ahead. “Even if additional work is called for, there shouldn’t be murmurs of disapproval in the team,” Ufer says. This was particularly important when the project team members came from different companies and hardly knew each other.
  4. Include buffers: Potential unscheduled delays should be allowed for in advance, if possible, because no IT project gets away without improvising. For instance, it emerged that an organizational management tool required for the implementation of SAP’s personnel management solution (SAP HCM) should be implemented now, although its implementation was originally scheduled for 2018/19. In addition, enhancements had to be made to the SAP CATS time sheet tool, which, for example, enables technicians and facility managers to record their working hours.

Ufer dismisses the question of whether Diakonie Michaelshoven could have opted for a software solution that was established in the social economy. “It’s about showing that we can be pioneers, despite being a social enterprise,” says Ufer, and talks about the psychological effect on the team of wanting to be number one, a feeling of being among the best.

The fact that SAP presented SAP S/4HANA parallel to the SAP implementation project wasn’t necessarily planned, “but it suited us just fine,” says Ufer, who’s a fan of quantum physics. He knows that “quantum states don’t become real until you observe them.” It’s the same with the implementation of innovative software.


via SAP News Center

Digital Transformation: The Clock Is Ticking

At the Global Digital Leaders Summit in Berlin, digitalization experts, CEOs, and IT decision-makers are taking stock of the current state of things and showing what’s yet to come.

The digital transformation is in full swing. Companies around the world have recognized that their success now depends on how well they manage their own evolution into digital organizations, and many have already taken corresponding measures.

How far along are they in the process? What are the next steps they need to take? And are they following the right strategies to hold their competitive ground over the long term? These and other questions are currently on the minds of the corporate executives, IT managers, and digital economy experts in attendance at the Global Digital Leaders Summit 2016 in Berlin. Organized by Management Circle, this two-day conference is taking place for the second time. Along with numerous presentations, podium discussions, and topic-specific work groups, it offers attendees a variety of opportunities to exchange ideas and engage in networking.

Social Media and Mobile


Corporate executives, IT managers, and digital economy experts discussed digital strategies at the Global Digital Leaders Summit 2016 in Berlin. (photo: Management Circle)

“If you’re not mobile, you’re massively behind,” declared Gary Wheelhouse, Chief Digital Officer for the Australian electronics chain Harvey Norman, in his presentation on the evolution of the retail industry. He has watched more and more old purchasing habits fall by the wayside as customers have come to expect a personalized shopping experience, no matter what channel they prefer.

Wheelhouse also reported an increasing number of purchases being made on mobile devices – around 50% at Harvey Norman, in fact, with financing contracts more or less following suit. While he sees social media playing an ever-greater role, Wheelhouse believes that having brick-and-mortar stores still gives companies a competitive advantage. According to the CDO, a retailer’s digital strategy should focus on the following things: stores and the technologies they use; optimization of the shopping experience they provide on all channels, as well as corresponding measurements; and their employees, who need to be brought on board to be as mobile as customers themselves.

Speed Counts

In his presentation, Christian Graggaber, Chief Digital Officer at Hubert Burda Media in Russia, described the media industry as another that is undergoing a reorientation due to the digital transformation. He reported that very few customers are still willing to pay for journalistic content, which was why his company began adjusting its business model to incorporate new sources of income back in 2002. According to Graggaber, its investments in e-commerce and startup companies have helped Hubert Burda Media generate around 60% of its revenue in the digital realm at present.

“The Digital Revolution is expected to have the same effect on society as the Industrial Revolution,” he revealed. In light of the tremendous pace of the current revolution, Graggaber stated that companies need to adapt just as quickly to ensure their survival. With regard to change management in particular, they need to ask themselves a number of questions. Should they acquire other businesses, or sell off parts of their own? Is it better to cooperate with new competitors, or to draw a line in the sand? Should they build up a separate digital business, or integrate such activities into their non-digital areas?

Whatever the right answers are for each company, Graggaber believes that “innovate or die” is the law of the land.

Solid Approaches Already Emerging

As the attendees took stock of the current situation during a subsequent think tank session, they found that the majority of the participating companies had taken their first steps on the path toward digitalization. This includes some initial guidelines these organizations have developed for their own digital transformation. In addition to monitoring the customer orientation of their relevant departments, they have made efforts to eliminate silo thinking.

Meanwhile, these companies have recognized that digital transformation is a multifaceted and holistic process that requires centralized business management. This is one of the key reasons why many organizations have established the position of chief digital officer, who is typically given the reins to a company’s digital strategy and works with its IT department on implementing it.

Employee Buy-in is Key

One of the obstacles many companies face involves change approval processes, which are still often seen as much too tedious. For a large number of summit attendees, however, the significant proportion of employees who have not yet arrived in the digital era is the biggest roadblock.

“In the end, it’s all about people,” explained Dr. Claudine Perlet, head of digital strategy and the transformation office at Allianz SE. Employees need to support the process, possess the necessary technical expertise, and understand how the digital transformation will benefit them. After all, this transition will only succeed when they all work together and adopt a digital mindset in their everyday activities.

Top image via Shutterstock

via SAP News Center

Thứ Sáu, 27 tháng 5, 2016

Machine Learning: Go for the Intelligent Enterprise

1. FC Nuremburg: IT Support for the “Clubbers”

Nuremberg’s traditional soccer club stays on top of things with SAP Sports One.

In addition to the German Football Association (DFB), TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and Philadelphia Union, soccer club 1. FC Nuremburg was the latest team to implement SAP Sports One, in the current season. After the contract signing in December 2015 and the go live shortly thereafter, the traditional club is the first SAP Sports One customer in Germany’s Second Bundesliga.

The decision was made in the fall of last year, when team was still in 10th place in the second league. After the implementation of SAP Business ByDesign, the “Club” – as it is known to its fans – also sought a solution to optimize the workflows of its sports division.

“We’ve had an extreme transformation in the last few years. We had to create sturdy structures in soccer, our key product, preferably with a high-quality IT system,” said Dr. Mario Hamm, Head of Finance and Project Management at 1. FC Nuremberg.

Transparency Thanks to SAP Sports One

In light of these criteria, the decision for SAP Sports One – SAP’s first sports-specific solution that runs on SAP HANA Cloud Platform – was an easy one. Whether match statistics, player fitness data, information about injuries, medication, and recovery, training data, match analyses, and scouting notes — all this different data converges on the cloud-based platform and is immediately accessible to any authorized user. FC Nuremberg now benefits from this data transparency as well. The solution covers all club-relevant functions: team management, training plans, player fitness, performance insights, and scouting.

The project implementation went very quickly. “After an introductory workshop, the medical department began using the system immediately,” explains Achim Ittner, Director Business Development Sports & Entertainment at SAP. The soccer team’s doctor is an important advocate of the platform. Thanks to SAP Sports One, he can communicate quickly and directly with the players and all important club employees. The entire information flow within the team is fully automated – from reports on the players’ treatment status, the corresponding notifications for the coaching team, and even its potential impact on the transfer market.

Well-Equipped for the Future


SAP and 1. FC Nuremberg sign a partnership with the implementation of SAP Sports One.

This is only the first step, according to Hamm. In the coming season and beyond, the club will go live with additional modules. “SAP Sports One gives us all this communication and all this important information to take the next steps we need,” says Hamm.

More information:

Photos: Shutterstock and 1. FC Nuremberg

via SAP News Center

This Shipbuilder’s Apprentice School is a “National Model”

It’s graduation day. The auditorium is packed with proud parents and honored guests. The students in their caps and gowns form a sea of maroon and gold.

To the casual observer, this commencement ceremony probably looks like that at any college or university. But look closely and you’ll notice at least one difference. At the far end of the stage hangs a polished ship’s bell – a shining symbol of an ancient tradition.

This is graduation day at The Apprentice School – a training and education institution operated by Newport News Shipbuilding.

For almost a century, The Apprentice School has been preparing students for careers in the shipbuilding industry. And in his address to this year’s graduating class, United States Senator Tim Kaine called the school, “The national model that others should emulate.

The Next Generation of Shipbuilders

Newport News Shipbuilding – a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries – is the sole builder and refueler of United States Navy aircraft carriers and one of only two providers of U.S. Navy submarines.

With about 20,000 employees, the company is the largest industrial employer in the state of Virginia. As you might expect, it requires a specialized workforce.

“That’s why The Apprentice School is so important,” says Bharat Amin, vice president and chief information officer at Newport News Shipbuilding. “Our faculty and staff are passing on the craft of shipbuilding to a new generation.”

The Apprentice School accepts about 225 applicants a year into its tuition-free program. It offers four-, five-, and eight-year apprenticeships in 19 shipbuilding disciplines and several advanced programs of study. Apprentices complete at a minimum 1,000 hours of academic course work and 7,000 hours of on-the-job training.

The students become proficient in specialties such as shipfitter, rigger, advanced shipyard operations, machinist, and nuclear test technician. Through partnerships with nearby community colleges and Old Dominion University, the school provides students with additional opportunities to earn associate’s and bachelor’s degrees. The Apprentice School “Builders” even field athletic teams in sports like football and basketball that compete against Division III level opponents.

“The Apprentice School has trained more than 10,000 students in its long history,” says Amin. “And we are particularly proud that around 40% of our production management team are graduates of the program.”

Cure for a Widening Skills Gap?

Why aren’t more companies in the United States developing the talent they need? After all, the apprenticeship model remains strong in other countries around the globe.

In much of Europe, apprenticeships are known as the “dual education system,” and it’s considered a respected career path. In Germany, close to 60% of that country’s young people train as apprentices.

The United Kingdom’s National Careers Service sees apprenticeships as the gold standard for work-based learning. It provides guidance on programs that cover over 1,200 job roles in areas as diverse as engineering, accounting, veterinary nursing, and digital media.

Finding employees with the right skill sets is already a troubling concern for many executives. Significant talent shortages are reported in high-tech, manufacturing, oil and gas, financial services, pharmaceuticals, and healthcare.

With emerging technologies and the ongoing retirement of millions of baby boomers, you can only expect the skills gap to widen and the competition for talent to grow more intense.

Catch Up Time

Perhaps it’s time for the United States to play catch-up.

Just weeks ago, the White House announced a US$90 million investment to expand apprenticeships in the U.S. The press release called job-driven apprenticeships, “among the surest pathways” for providing workers with the skills and knowledge needed to acquire good-paying jobs.

The announcement also notes that the return on investment for employers can be impressive. International studies suggest that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers may get an average of US$1.47 back in increased productivity and greater front-line innovation.

Back On Stage

Newport News Shipbuilding has enjoyed a nice return on its investment since 1919. And today, The Apprentice School is graduating another 170 highly skilled men and woman for the trade.

Graduates of The Apprentice School can walk directly from the commencement ceremony into rewarding careers at Newport News Shipbuilding, with more than 82% remaining with the company 10 years after graduation. But before they do, there is one more tradition to honor.

After thousands of hours of study and hard work, the students walk individually to the front of the auditorium to receive their certificate of apprenticeship. Each pauses for a moment at the far end of the stage.

Every graduate of The Apprentice School has earned the right to ring the ship’s bell.

Please join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.

Newport News Shipbuilding and Huntington Ingalls Industries are just two of the companies that attended the SAP Aerospace & Defense Innovation Days event in Dallas this year. Click here to learn more about SAP solutions and expertise for the aerospace and defense industry.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Năm, 26 tháng 5, 2016

Illuminating Innovation and Partnership in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates represents a big opportunity for SAP. CEO Bill McDermott recently visited the UAE to help illuminate SAP’s strengths and why it should be a partner of choice for the region.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a strong commitment to innovation and to ensuring it has happy and productive citizens. The UAE is currently looking to the future and taking steps to ensure its citizens can fully benefit from the digital economy. Initiatives like Vision 2021 are putting people at the center of everything. By fostering education and innovation and by driving digital transformation with several significant initiatives and investments, the UAE aims to create and sustain a society of “happy, creative and empowered people.” For SAP’s public sector business, the UAE represents a big opportunity to partner with forward-thinking governments and support our mission of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives.

About the UAE

  • The United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven Emirates, was established in December 1971. The constituent emirates are Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain.
  • Its capital is Abu Dhabi city.
  • 97% of UAEs of land (83,600 sq km) is desert.
  • In 2014, it was populated by 8.4 mio. people (Economist Intelligence Unit estimate). With 39%, Abu Dhabi made up the largest population group in UAE, followed by Dubai with 29% and Sharjah with 18%. 14% of the population live in the other emirates.
  • Arabic is the official language, but English is widely understood, and Hindi and Urdu are common among migrants.

UAE Vision 2021

UAE Vision 2021 was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In speaking about the Vision, he has said, “An ambitious nation like ours cannot achieve its goals by relying on its past achievements. We must work harder, be more innovative, more organized, and more vigilant in examining trends and challenges that will face us.”

The UAE Vision focuses on six national priorities which represent the key focus sectors of government action in the coming year:

  • Cohesive Society and Preserved Identity
  • Safe Public and Fair Judiciary
  • Competitive Knowledge Economy
  • First-rate Education System
  • World-class Healthcare
  • Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure

Dubai Plan 2021

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has also formulated a plan for the City of Dubai which aligns with the UAE plan. Dubai Plan 2021 has six themes, each highlighting a group of strategic developmental aims for Dubai, and together forming the city’s vision for 2021.

  • People: “City of Happy, Creative & Empowered People” (personal development, health)
  • Society: “An Inclusive & Cohesive Society” (diversity, importance of family)
  • Experience: “The Preferred Place to Live, Work & Visit” (education, health, housing, safety)
  • Place: “A Smart & Sustainable City” (fully connected, integrated infrastructure; sustainable)
  • Economy: “A Pivotal Hub in the Global Economy” (top 5 for trade, logistics, finance, and tourism)
  • Government: “A Pioneering and Excellent Government” (government as authority for the people)

To help build strong partnerships and illuminate SAP’s unique capabilities, CEO Bill McDermott and the MENA leadership team visited several customers and dignitaries in the UAE on May 24 and participated in a Majlis roundtable, a special gathering where ideas can be exchanged.

About SAP in the UAE

  • SAP in the UAE is a standalone Market Unit in the EMEA South region, which is headed by Steve Tzikakis, General Manager of EMEA South
  • SAP UAE Managing Director is Tayfun Topkoç
  • SAP first established direct presence in the region in late 2007
  • SAP has 3 locations in the UAE: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and the SAP Training and Development Institute Dubai Silicon Oasis
  • DC ranks SAP as the leading SW Business Applications vendor in UAE
  • SAP sees excellent results with cloud solutions and sees opportunity to accelerate their adoption in the Public Sector
  • SAP UAE 2016 Strategy is to support both the public and private sectors in their digital transformation.

Approximately 50 key decision makers and influencers from government and the private sector joined the SAP team for the gathering. Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman, Smart Dubai Office, served as host. Dr. Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, Director General (CEO), Smart Dubai Office, joined McDermott for a fireside discussion on how government entities can use real-time solutions to enhance citizen engagement in the future.

McDermott with Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office, and members of the Smart Dubai Office sharing a moment after the Majlis event that was held under the patronage of Smart Dubai Office and SAP.

McDermott with Her Excellency Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office, and members of the Smart Dubai Office sharing a moment after the Majlis event that was held under the patronage of Smart Dubai Office and SAP.

The team also met with Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah. McDermott joined with him in expressing the intention to cooperate on a new Centre of Excellence for Digital Government, which has the potential to accelerate Sharjah’s Digital Economy. The Centre would be located in the American University of Sharjah (AUS) Enterprise’s planned Research, Technology, and Innovation (RTI) Park.

Hussain Al-Mahmoudi, Chief Executive Officer of AUS Enterprises, said: “SAP’s interest in the RTI Park is an important step forward in the development of this project in line with the vision of His Highness. The aim of the RTI Park is for local and global companies to benefit from both world-class facilities and academic research capabilities. Ultimately this will create opportunities for graduates and others, and for the broader economy. Sharjah e-government will help facilitate the collaboration between the Innovation Center of Excellence and various Sharjah public and private sector entities.”

From SAP’s Smart Cities initiative to Customer Engagement Commerce, Design Thinking, Government ERP (GRP) and a Talent & Learning Management Platform developed for the UAE labor force and student community, SAP’s solutions and initiatives are well positioned to support the region’s goals.

Sumaia Khalifa Bin Hammad, Director Of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Smart Dubai Office, with her signed copy of Bill’s book “Winners Dream.”

Sumaia Khalifa Bin Hammad, Director Of Marketing & Corporate Communications, Smart Dubai Office, with her signed copy of McDermott’s book “Winners Dream.”

As the trip concluded, McDermott commented, “I greatly admire His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s UAE Vision 2021. SAP is honored to have the opportunity to partner and co-innovate with leading institutions in the UAE to make this vision a reality.”

via SAP News Center

How to Put Customers at the Center with Digital Transformation

It’s not widely known for archaeology, but JPMorgan Chase & Co. found an ancient relic a few weeks ago as it was closing an office in Houston. Nestled in a back cupboard was a fixed-asset ledger: a physical book used decades before our enlightened era of digital transformation to log write-offs, depreciation and other transactions.

Digital transformation is the way to become a Live Business, running in the moment -- and meeting your customers wherever they are.

Digital transformation is the way to become a Live Business, running in the moment — and meeting your customers wherever they are.

“It was literally nearly a foot thick, sheets of paper in there for each of the different asset accounts that we had,” Jonathan Ridgwell, director of Global Procure to Pay at JPMorgan, told an audience at SAPPHIRE NOW 2016 last week — and guessing that the ledger dated to the 1970s. “I was overawed by nostalgia, and thinking about how things used to be done.”

Things used to be done by hand, with an overall focus on the bottom line. But as financial services organizations become Live Businesses, new technology is helping them put their customers at the center of what they do, as JPMorgan and two other customers discussed during a session about digital transformation and its impact on financial services.

Powering Massive Scale

At the time JPMorgan used that foot-thick ledger — long before it became a multinational banking and financial services holding company — it probably employed about 2,000 people, according to Ridgwell.

“We’re now talking 75,000 people in 58 countries, processing 12 million invoices a year, for a total of about $22 billion,” Ridgwell said. “I don’t even think it would be possible to do that manually, in ledgers, in paper form today.”

And you can’t put customers at the center if you can’t even process your invoices.

But forget the ledger; even using state-of-the-art technology from 1970s would have been terribly cumbersome at that scale, as SAP’s Thack Brown noted last year at SAPinsider in Nice. Only 10 to 20 percent of the code addressed the business challenge, while the other 80 to 90 percent dealt with performance limitations in the relational database.

So giant multinationals such as JPMorgan couldn’t exist without digitization and digitalization — or the software and hardware that enable them, Ridgwell stated. “Without the technology that we have today,” he said, “we really wouldn’t be able to do the things on the scale that we do.”

Digital technology enables Live Businesses to work faster and more accurately -- and grow much bigger -- than they could otherwise, especially when compared to using paper files and ledgers.

Digital technology enables Live Businesses to work faster and more accurately — and grow much bigger — than they could otherwise, especially when compared to using paper files and ledgers.

Facing the Individual Customer

Digital transformation has been very disruptive for companies that haven’t had to evolve much since 1824, such as Belgian multinational insurance company Ageas SA/NV. That includes the way Ageas runs itself; the way it sells and distributes products; and the products themselves, according to Hans van Wuijckhuijse, the company’s regional director of Business Development in Asia.

“We have automated, but we haven’t really changed the models — or the concepts — that are behind [our] products,” Wuijckhuijse said. “[But] we have to put the customer in the center of what we are doing.”

That’s especially tough in an industry accustomed to letting intermediaries take care of the customer relationship. Prospects used to visit an insurance agent to buy a product, and insurance companies knew about their customers only by numbers and aggregate.

“That same customer is now shopping around and probably has some 14 or more touch points before he ever decides to buy something,” Wuijckhuijse said. Those touch points can include tweets and Facebook posts. “We have to face our customers … so we have to develop our business in a way that we can really respond to their demands, and come up with solutions that are in the digital space.”

Putting Internal and External Clients in the Center

Not bound by centuries of tradition, BB&T is using digital transformation to work differently and create a new business model, according to CIO Will Shupe. The American financial services holding company approaches put both internal and external customers at the center.

“[We’re] making sure that our internal customers who work for BB&T can do work in a more efficient and effective way, eliminating manual processes, bringing automation … and other capabilities to the table,” Shupe said. “[For] the external client, they want to do anything anytime, anywhere, with any device.”

At SAPPHIRE NOW last week, SAP’s David O’Malley (right) led a discussion about digital transformation’s impact on financial services. Participants were from Ageas, JPMorgan Chase and BB&T.

At SAPPHIRE NOW last week, SAP’s David O’Malley (right) led a discussion about digital transformation’s impact on financial services. Participants were from Ageas, JPMorgan Chase and BB&T.

So the bank rolled out U by BB&T, a mobile app with a customizable dashboard for managing BB&T and non-BB&T accounts. Users can set and track savings goals, make person-to-person payments and connect with the bank — you guessed it — anywhere from any mobile device.

“It really allows for the end user … to do what they want to do with their mobile device when they want to do it,” Shupe said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to delight the customer.”

The Path to Run Live

Whether an organization is replacing paper, facing prospects for the first time in centuries or simply delighting its customers with a new mobile app, digital transformation is the way to become a Live Business. This technology lets users Run Live, which means everyone across the organization can work from one version of the truth, on one platform — with instant clarity, unprecedented agility and continuous control — from anywhere on any device.

And let’s face it: It’s far easier to look up something on a smartphone than in a foot-thick ledger.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends. Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

via SAP News Center

Thứ Tư, 25 tháng 5, 2016

AribaPay: The Little Payment Engine that Could

Six months after winning SAP’s prestigious innovation award, AribaPay continues to spark the digital B2B payment transformation.

Before Apple Pay, there was AribaPay. Launched in July 2014 by SAP Ariba, the solution promised to transform business-to-business (B2B) payments by making them as simple, certain and secure as consumer payments. It seemed far-fetched. Would companies ditch their manual ways and paper checks? Was it any better than standard electronic payment methods like ACH? How secure could it really be?

The AribaPay team knew they’d face challenges in bringing the solution to market. But they never stopped believing in its promise. Or themselves. And for this, they were awarded SAP’s 2015 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award. What’s been happening with AribaPay and the team behind it since?

The Little Payment Engine that Could

What was once seen as a moonshot has sparked a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way B2B payments are exchanged. Just as consumers have ditched their wallets in favor of mobile devices, many business are abandoning their paper-laden manual ways and moving toward of more efficient digital processes.

Picking Up Steam

More than $60 billion in payments have been processed using AribaPay to date. And what started in North America is catching fire globally. The solution is now available in Canada, and through partnerships with Discover Financial Services and First Data Corporation, will be rolled out in Germany, France and the UK later this year. And the AribaPay team isn’t letting up, with plans for Latin America inked on its roadmap.

“We want to bring the power and scale of AribaPay to the world,” said AribaPay general manager Phil Beck.

To do this, the team is expanding, adding to its sales and enablement capabilities across the US, Canada and Europe. And it can’t move fast enough. “Urgency has always been a top priority. But we feel the pressure to always move faster.”

The road to its early success hasn’t been without bumps. “It’s hard work to build a new market – especially inside a large company,” said Randy Domke, vice president, Payables Network, SAP Ariba. Yet the team feels empowered to deliver. “Winning the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award made it very clear that SAP believes in the future of payables, recognizes the effort we are putting forth and will make the required investments to ensure that we don’t just succeed, but dominate.”

Changing the Game

For companies like 487 Consulting who signed on to AribaPay earlier this year, the service has been a boon. “I didn’t have any reliable visibility into when invoices would be paid,” said principal consultant and owner Ken Crouse. “And when payments were received, they could be hard to reconcile, especially if I was getting paid for multiple invoices in a single payment. Some invoices were getting paid while others would lag for several months.”

Crouse used to spend three to four days a month reconciling invoices and payments. “Now, I’ve got that down to under a couple hours, which keeps me focused on the business and what my customers pay me to do for them,” he says.

Changing Lives

AribaPay isn’t just changing the game for companies around the world. It’s changing lives.

“While I was working on AribaPay, I was going through an excruciatingly painful time personally,” recalls senior software engineer Tanvi Shah. “My marriage was breaking up and I was suddenly a lonely soul lost in a foreign country with no support system.”

She considered returning to India, but decided instead to focus on her job. Work became her coping mechanism. “My colleagues rallied around me and supported me through one of the darkest times in my life like a surrogate family,” Shah said.

And this gave her a new perspective on work and life. “Winning the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award proved to me that the work we do at SAP Ariba stretches beyond a paycheck,” Shah said. “The 15 minutes I spent with Bill McDermott, Steve Singh and Alex Atzberger at the award ceremony were truly life changing. When someone as phenomenal as Bill looks you straight in the eye – in the middle of a room full of people – and tells you how proud he is of what you have done – it gives you the inspiration and motivation to believe in yourself and to keep aiming higher.”

Karen Master is Vice President of Communications at SAP Ariba.

via SAP News Center

Top Tech Partnerships Transforming The IT Industry

The recent unprecedented partnership announcement between SAP and Apple is just the latest in a string of game-changing partnerships and mergers in the tech industry.

Driven by the relentless pace of innovation, the technology sector is only one of numerous industries that are moving quickly to ensure they stay relevant.

For example, leading healthcare companies are partnering with technology goliaths like Google to create life-changing innovations that will transform our world, such as surgical robots for non-invasive surgery. Industries ranging from automotive and academia to insurance, banking, and beyond are feeling the impact of digital disruption, competing through new digital ecosystems, and responding in ways that will reinvent how we live and work.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the latest key technology partnerships.

1. Apple and SAP

The recently announced SAP and Apple partnership is a revolutionary breakthrough for business. It will combine native apps for iPhone and iPad with the enterprise capabilities of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. It allows developers, partners, and customers to build iOS apps tailored to their business needs in order to manage critical business operations.

The business capabilities for apps enabled by this partnership are endless. Imagine having a virtual assistant who not only responds to your requests, but also proactively reaches out to let you know when there are situations you need to be aware of. In fact, some of the first apps will contain functionality, referred to as co-pilot, which is touted as the first true digital assistant in the enterprise.

Here’s an example of how co-pilot functionality works. A machine in the production line is overheating. A sensor flags the issue to the inspector bot and to your app. The app with co-pilot functionality notifies you – in natural human language via text, action, or voice – and provides relevant information on the issue and suggestions on the best course of action to take. The app monitors the situation and helps you to quickly solve the problem by facilitating the proper service procedures and ensuring that you are kept abreast of the resolution. Importantly, the app will learn from behavioral data to improve its recommended actions in the future.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO stated, “This partnership will transform how iPhone and iPad are used in enterprise by bringing together the innovation and security of iOS with SAP’s deep expertise in business software. As the leader in enterprise software and with 76% of business transactions touching an SAP system, SAP is the ideal partner to help us truly transform how businesses around the world are run on iPhone and iPad.”  

2. Cisco and Ericsson

“In a world driven by mobility, cloud, and digitalization, the networks of the future will require new design principles to ensure they are agile, autonomous, and highly secure.” So said technology giants Cisco and Ericsson when they announced a sweeping strategic partnership to create the “networks of the future”.

The multifaceted partnership touches virtually all aspects of both companies, from sharing patents and intellectual property rights to joint development and creation of new products to collaborating on global services capabilities including consulting, integration, and support.

Together, the companies plan to offer the best of both companies – routing, data center, networking, cloud, mobility, management and control, and services – across network architectures from devices and sensors to access and core networks to the enterprise IT cloud.

Cisco and Ericsson are dramatically reinventing themselves to meet the realities of the digital economy, and enabling their customers to accelerate their own business transformations. By delivering an end-to-end product and services portfolio and joint innovation, they plan to provide the mobile enterprise experience of the future and speed the platforms and services needed to digitize countries and create the Internet of Things ecosystem.

Customers will not be the only beneficiaries of this partnership. The companies expect an incremental revenue opportunity of $1 billion or more for each company by calendar year 2018. Plus, in February 2016, the partners expanded their agreement to include Intel and Verizon, with the goal to develop a 5G router for business and residential service, and accelerate 5G innovations. (Apple, Nokia, and Qualcomm are also members of a Verizon-led initiative to develop and test 5G wireless technologies.)

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins commented on the need for partnerships these days, saying, “In today’s fast-paced world, next-generation strategic partnerships allow us to innovate and move with greater speed.”

3. Dell and EMC

This is a merger as opposed to a partnership. But I had to mention it because it is one of the largest tech mergers to date, and it will have a widespread impact on the IT industry and beyond.

At the EMC World event this month, Dell Chairman and CEO, Michael Dell, said the merger will create a next-breed technology company that strategically covers the “customers’ entire infrastructure, from hardware to software services, from the edge to the core to the cloud.”

The $67 billion Dell and EMC deal also directly involves several well-known companies that they refer to as the ‘family of companies’ currently owned by one of the two tech giants, including VMware, Pivotal, SecureWorks, RSA, and Virtustream. The merger still has some hurdles to cross, but if it closes as expected by October, the combined company will have close to 170,000 employees.

The Ripple Effect Across Industries

These significant deals are part of a larger global trend of partnerships, alliances, and consolidations. The impact of some of these major technology partnerships and mergers is expected to cause a ripple effect across multiple sectors and the global business landscape.

This is only the beginning; I’m eager to see where these technology partnerships can take us.

Kevin Ichhpurani is EVP of Strategic Business Development at SAP.

This story originally appeared on Digitalist Magazine.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Ba, 24 tháng 5, 2016

Twilight of the Knowledge Economy and the Rise of Digital Economy

The strategies for succeeding in the knowledge economy are predicated on the notions that knowledge and information are costly to generate and can be protected. It makes sense to build your enterprise’s competitive differentiation around its knowledge capital only if that information is unique to the firm.

For example, the competitive advantage of participants in the encyclopedia business was largely based on the idea that the information in the encyclopedia could be protected and would be expensive to reproduce, which limited new competitors.

Today, the notion that knowledge and information are costly and protectable is being challenged by the four forces of digital change. In combination, these forces are pushing the knowledge economy to the margins and giving rise to the digital economy. Sharing and collaboration. Digital technologies make it easy to share information freely. Collaboration platforms create new pathways for knowledge production that depend on connections between people rather than on hierarchical controls.

Hyperconnectivity. Information systems, particularly the Internet of Things, are generating powerful live information flows. Our enthusiasm for creating these data streams—from devices and ourselves—implies that information at the point of creation is more valuable than any legacy knowledge.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI and other advanced analytics technologies decrease information processing costs. Today, AIs can write poetry and songs and discover new compounds in medicine. It may not be long before an AI receives a patent. Just as companies used capital to accelerate through the experience curve in manufacturing, it is now possible to use machine learning to power through the experience curve of the digital economy.

Engagement of the world’s cognitive surplus. Wikipedia, YouTube, and Linux are early examples of using collaboration technology to harness latent cognitive capacity around the globe to topple traditional sources of competitive advantage.

Together, these forces mean all knowledge has true competitive value only at the moment it is created. It decays quickly into legacy knowledge. The only way to find competitive advantage in this digital economy is to become a Live Business: to learn to use information in the moment to make decisions, meet demand, and respond to customers. The Q2 2016 issue of Digitalist Magazine unpacks what it means to be a Live Business.

Our cover story, “Unlock Your Digital Superpowers,” explores how companies are using digital processes driven by algorithms to address customer needs in the moment and create new business opportunities. Another feature, “Social Gets Its MBA,” explains why companies should embrace social media in their fundamental business processes, not just in marketing, to raise employee productivity and improve the customer experience. The ultimate goal for a Live Business is to deliver what customers want at exactly the right time and place. Our final feature, “Personalize, Don’t Traumatize,” warns of the danger of misjudging relationships with customers and offers companies ideas for preserving trust and building loyalty.

The difference between thriving in the legacy knowledge economy and thriving in the new digital economy is the speed at which companies can act on data from all sources. This issue of Digitalist Magazine will help you to set the pace.

Other highlights from the Q2 issue, available online:

  • Digital Transformation Lessons from the Navy SEALs –winning in today’s complex environment requires a different kind of leadership – whether it’s on the battlefield, or in business. Chris Fussell, former Navy SEAL and managing partner at McChrystal Group offers insights learned in Iraq, translated for corporate work settings.
  • Luis Iván Cuende: Bitcoin Blockchain Entrepreneur – Stampery CTO and the youngest on Forbes 30under30 list, Cuende is profiled in the Creators column for disrupting a centuries-old business process – notarizing and certifying documents – using Blockchain technology.
  • Virtual Reality: Perception vs. Reality – this column explores three (mis)perceptions of VR – It Won’t Be Real For Years; Gaming and Marketing Are All it’s Good For; We’re On a Slippery Slope to Mind Control.
  • Social Gets Its MBA – this feature explains why companies should embrace social media beyond the Marketing Department, and embed it into how they do business.
Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly is free to download for smartphones and tablets from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Digitalist Magazine, Online Edition ( is an always-on companion to the Executive Quarterly, with the latest news, analysis and research focused on the emerging digital economy.

Jeff Woods is Head of Digital Transformation Thought Leadership Marketing at SAP

via SAP News Center

Cloud Software Stimulates Sales at Royal Cup

Coffee and tea are more than just beverages. They are a cultural, spiritual, and essential part of daily life for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

That’s why Royal Cup Coffee and Tea, a century old roaster, importer and distributor of premium coffees and teas, is more focused on serving people than just selling a product.

Royal Cup sells its coffee, tea, and brewing equipment directly to restaurants, hotels and resorts, offices, and convenience stores. In a recent interview, Bill Beasley, Director of Sales Support, and Matt Monroe, Director of Sales Operations at Royal Cup, explained how the company is adapting its sales approach and leveraging modern technology to enhance the customer experience.

Understanding the Customer

Royal Cup is focused on knowing its customers and understanding their ever-changing needs. “Customer demands are changing fast. They want more, they want it faster, and they want high quality, whether that be organic coffees or specialty teas,” said Monroe.

Decision makers are also becoming younger, and mobile devices and social platforms have changed the buying journey. It’s not enough for sales people to know the business. Customers expect them to know their business and be able to quickly offer ideas and solutions that will add value and increase sales.

“We use SAP Hybris Cloud for Sales to help coach our sales people so they can successfully bring our customers the programs and products they desire,” said Beasley.

Understanding each customer’s specific needs is imperative to maintain brand loyalty. “Customers today are more willing to switch brands than ever before. Loyalty has to be earned constantly. Our ability to bring solutions to customers, that they didn’t know they needed, is critical,” said Monroe

Enabling the Sales Team

SAP Hybris Cloud for Sales has driven change and introduced industry best practices into Royal Cup’s sales process. “Before, we used a lot of Excel sheets and other manual processes,” said Beasley. “Now we have a mechanism we can use everyday to see the information we need to manage our sales process.”

Data in the new system is also updated in real time. So people aren’t making decisions based on old data anymore. Beasley explained, “Our manual processes created a timing issue. We were always looking backward instead of forward. Now we have real-time information that we couldn’t see in the past.”

Everything from manufacturing data to what products and services a customer might need is available instantly. “Our salespeople can be more efficient and effective with the time they have in front of the customer. That’s the main thing,” said Beasley.

Simplifying the Pipeline

Another key benefit of the new system is increased visibility of sales opportunities and pipeline. Previously, nobody in the company could see what leads people were working on or where opportunities were in the sales pipeline. “We had to simplify our pipeline management process. It was a major issue for us,” said Monroe.

Switching to SAP Hybris Cloud for Sales, made everything in the pipeline visible. “We can now see what all of our salespeople and managers are working on in a real-time basis,” added Beasley.

With a clear picture of what is going on across an account, Sales can service the customer better. They can group opportunities together where it makes sense, and offer the right products and services at the right time.  As a result, customer meetings are more productive and efficient.

Executives at Royal Cup also gained additional insight into the business. They now have a live view into the pipeline and can closely monitor the close ratio – something they couldn’t do before. They can forecast better, manage cash flow better, and give better direction to senior management in real-time.

Going Mobile

Increased mobility is another key benefit for Royal Cup. The sales team can enter customer data, leads, and sales information into the system using a mobile device at anytime from anywhere. Whether they want to take down notes immediately after an impromptu customer interaction, or capture a new restaurant as a potential opportunity as they drive by it in their car, they can do it live and in the moment.

“Our sales people don’t have to spend their nights at home updating the system. They can do it during the day when the information is fresh, and spend their time at home with their family, as they should,” said Beasley.

As a result, the number of opportunities captured is expected to rise drastically. “We want to exceed 100% more opportunities in the top of the sales funnel than we had before,” said Monroe.

Driving Growth

Simplified sales process, increased visibility, and mobility are all driving revenue growth at Royal Cup. “Over the next five to ten years, Royal Cup is looking to grow 30 to 40%. “That’s the future: growth, putting our time towards sales, and taking care of our customers,” said Monroe.

Royal Cup’s customers will feel the benefits too. Time is in short supply for businesses and they don’t want to spend more of it than needed talking to sales people. “We are more knowledgeable and prepared in front of customers, so our time spent with them is more focused on solving their problems than them answering our questions,” added Monroe.

Happy customers means more delicious Royal Cup coffee and tea in the hands of coffee and tea crazed consumers. “The future at Royal Cup is bright.  We have a new generation who is moving the company forward, and we expect SAP Hybris Cloud for Sales to help us be more successful in bringing customers into the Royal Cup family,” concluded Beasley.

Check out this video to learn more:


Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

via SAP News Center

Steve Wozniak’s Two Biggest Inspirations [Video]

He may call himself a lifelong outsider, but Steve Wozniak, the iconic co-founder of Apple, holds some mainstream ideals like the value of using computers for social good, collaboration and plain old fun.

Alternating between sly humor and genuine earnestness, Wozniak delighted a packed crowd during his keynote at the annual SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Conference held last week in Orlando, Florida, telling stories about everything from his early career and love of pranks, to how he ended up finally buying a Tesla. Wozniak said his two biggest sources of inspiration throughout his life have been his father and his fifth grade teacher.

“I’ve always had two overlapping interests – engineering and teaching. When I was in fifth grade, I told my dad I wanted to be an electrical engineer like you but second I’m going to be a teacher,” he said. “I was a technologist right out of high school. But I always cared about education, and the application of any products we built. I was inspired by the social good that if we had more computers we’d be able to communicate immediately.”

A Lifelong Engineer

Wozniak never leaves the house without his Gameboy, was amazed at Siri’s ability to correctly answer random questions before Apple bought the app, and counts leaving HP one of the toughest decisions he ever made. “I wanted to be an engineer at HP for my entire career. Then a friend convinced me I can start a company as an engineer and stay an engineer.”

Most everyone knows how Hewlett-Packard (HP) turned Wozniak’s idea to build a PC down five times. However, he also wanted to set the record straight about the genesis of Apple. “I thought I was going to be an engineer at HP for life,” he said. “Don’t believe that movie you saw about Steve Jobs coming into town, and taking me down to a computer club. I was so well-known there that I helped other people build their own computers. I took Steve to the club.”

Wozniak demurred at being called a genius, remarking with typical humor that, “I’m only a genius now at making people think I am.” Nevertheless, as a sixth-grader Wozniak built a radio transmitter, followed by a Tic-Tac-Toe playing computer made of transistors. In graduate school, Wozniak said he usually completed reading half of his course textbooks the week before classes began.

Steve Wozniak #SAPPHIRENOW: I’m only a genius now at making people think I am.

On the recently announced partnership between SAP and Apple, Wozniak had nothing but praise. “SAP software applications have to be tailored towards certain devices, and I’m so glad to hear about the Apple partnership because SAP is my favorite database company.”

Machines Become Helpful Friends

These days, Wozniak is most excited about virtual reality and augmented reality. “Virtual reality is so emotionally affective,” he said. “Every step of improvement, from the start of computers and on has shown better visual displays with larger screens and better colors and resolution, where images look like natural humans. I’m a big fan of virtual reality. And, augmented reality is going to have a big play too.”

As for artificial intelligence, Wozniak preferred to use the term “simulated intelligence.” His reasoning is that information originates with humans, making it not quite real. “Machines don’t come up with ideas – this is what I should do to solve problems,” he said. “We’re not at that stage and I don’t know if we’re really going to get there before long. If we don’t equal the structure of brain processing, we aren’t going to have artificial intelligence in machines involved in having conflicts, enemies, friends, partnerships, or out-thinking us. Machines will be working to solve problems that we’ve defined and helping us for a long, long time. They’re going to be our helpful friends.”

Individualized Education Through Computers

Wozniak, who taught for eight years, envisions an educational system that revolves around one-on-one teacher-student relationships. His theory is that artificial intelligence could get smart enough to be the teacher.  “We’re already in love with our smartphones. We could replace teachers with computers. We already have all curriculums online, and people are super-independent. What if I had a teacher who was a computer and it’s my best friend?” he said.

Humor Ties Life Together

A self-described prankster, Wozniak recounted numerous pranks he’s played on colleagues, friends and family members over the years, including rigging his car horn to honk in the garage while he was traveling miles away, and getting other people to take the blame for jokes gone awry. “Every new thing has angles to it that can be used for pranks, and thankfully I have a wife that loves it.”

As for his long-awaited Tesla, Wozniak credits his wife’s insistence with their decision to finally buy the electric vehicle. Initially reluctant, he walked away from his first chance to purchase one after six months on the waiting list. He jumped on the new technology after later design iterations addressed his concerns. “My wife said several month later ‘if you want a Tesla you can order it.’ Thirty minutes later we had one.”

Follow me @smgaler

via SAP News Center

The Trouble with Analog Thinking in a Digital World

You hear a lot these days about the Internet of Things (IoT) and how a digital transformation is changing the world all around us. So I wasn’t surprised when the topic of SAP Radio’s show, Meet the Visionary Game-Changers, was the Internet of Things: Reimagining Your Business Models.

Host Bonnie D. Graham and her guests – Dr. Miroslaw Ryba, the Executive Director of the EMEIA Advisory Center at EY, and Kai Goerlich, a Research Director in digital futures with SAP marketing – had some pretty strong opinions on the subject.

But their viewpoints weren’t always what I expected to hear. Listening to the show live, I found myself asking, “So is this digital transformation a full-blown revolution, or are we still waiting for another shoe to drop?”

It’s a question that is particularly relevant to the business world.

Literally Billions and Billions

“The digital economy is creating billions – that’s billions with a ‘B’ – of connections between businesses, people, devices, and data,” said Graham as she kicked off the program, “and tenfold growth is expected by the year 2030.”

There’s no argument – these are big numbers. But the panelists were soon looking beyond the statistics to understand what this era of hyperconnectivity really means. Where is the true value?

According to both panelists, the business value lies in a combination of technologies.

“Digital transformation is hype until IoT comes along and translates it into real solutions,” said Miroslaw Ryba. “IoT is the foundation of this digital change.” In fact, Ryba calls IoT the “gravity” of the digital universe.

Kai Goerlich took this thought one step further.

“With IoT we have sensors and interactive devices,” Goerlich noted, “but without analytic capabilities, all we have is a simple sensor. Connectivity and data crunching make the difference.”

Spotting the Opportunities

In spite of the growing ubiquity of sensors and connected data, both Goerlich and Ryba pointed out that much of the business world still has a way to go in fully embracing the potential of a digital economy.

“It’s a valid argument that business is being driven by digitalization,” said Goerlich. “But if you look at heavy industries like manufacturing or oil and gas, you see many parts of the business world that are still based on physical effort.”

Ryba concurred. “Digitalization is everywhere,” he said, “We just need to spot the opportunities where it can bring additional value.”

And many believe that significant business opportunities do exist in areas such as reduced operating costs, increased productivity, and more expansive business models.

A McKinsey & Company report released last summer, for example, cites the specific example of how sensors used to continuously monitor machine performance can predict potential breakdowns and optimize maintenance schedules. The application of this technology alone could “reduce maintenance costs by up to 25%, cut unplanned outages by up to 50%, and extend the lives of machines by years.”

The report looked at more than 150 specific IoT applications and estimated a total economic impact of up to US$11.1 trillion per year by 2025 – and more than two-thirds of that value is expected to be generated in business-to-business settings.

Business Needs a Shift in Thinking

With all the buzz around concepts like smart houses and connected cars, there appear to be plenty of IoT applications centered on the consumer space. But the panelists believe we need more big ideas that will leverage IoT technology to solve serious business issues.

“That’s something which is missing,” said Ryba. “Every day we discover new use cases, but we still lack sound business models for the use of IoT.”

So perhaps there is another change that must take place before the digital revolution can reach its full potential in the business world.

Goerlich observed that the world has been thinking in terms of analog business models for hundreds of years.

“We still are,” Goerlich said. “That’s the problem.”

Please join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3, and be sure to listen to the podcast to hear the radio show in its entirety.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image via Shutterstock

via SAP News Center

Thứ Hai, 23 tháng 5, 2016

Welcome to a World Of Enterprise Connectivity in “Chocolate Town”

At Hershey, it means doing the ordinary things with ease, so they can spend more time doing the extraordinary.

Did you know that the first Hershey kiss rolled off the line in 1905 and now nearly 1.5 billion Hershey’s Kisses chocolates are sold each Valentine’s Day?

Hershey has continuously transformed and modernized its business to stay relevant

Founded in 1894, The Hershey Company has continuously transformed and modernized its business to stay relevant to consumers’ changing tastes. Today Hershey is a global confectionery leader known for its chocolate, sweets, mints and other great-tasting snacks.

The company has more than 80 brands around the world that drive more than $7.4 billion in annual revenues, including such iconic brand names as Hershey’sReese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly RancherIce Breakers and Brookside. Building on its core business, Hershey is expanding its portfolio to include a broader range of delicious snacks.

Milton Hershey founded the company on a principle of doing well by doing good. The company celebrates his legacy through its commitment to consumers, community, and children. It prides itself on conducting business in a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable way. But to stay the course, the company needed to invest in its people and systems to strengthen its ability to translate insights in to actions, build new brands, and ultimately, to bring a little more goodness to the world.

Market Trends Impacting Business

  • The rise of new global middle markets provides an opportunity for businesses to expand geographical footprints
  • Consumers are increasingly thoughtful about their food, seeking to know more about what’s in the product they buy, where it comes from, and how it’s made
  • Digital disruption has shown continued growth in direct-to-consumer-commerce, creating greater opportunities for revenue growth

Current Challenges

Hershey is already doing a lot of things right. But capitalizing on these opportunities was not really possible with its aging and highly customized ERP landscape, built for the late 1990s. The systems simply don’t support Hershey’s growth strategy for geographic expansion, and the fragmented environment limits the ability to access and leverage insights from data. As a result, IT struggled to keep pace with change and reporting required a significant amount of offline processing. Metaphorically, this meant that Hershey was spending more time reading yesterday’s news rather than predicting tomorrow’s weather.

Enterprise Connectivity To Run Live


To address these challenges, Hershey determined it needed a modern ERP core, and turned to its longtime trusted partner SAP for the answer.

Hershey CEO JP Bilbrey spoke at SAP’s annual SAPPHIRE NOW conference: “Our business is changing, the global market place is changing and customer preferences are also changing. We chose the SAP S/4 HANA platform to drive our ERP transformation because it provides integration across data, tools, and processes that will drive both value and superior enterprise connectivity.”

At Hershey, enterprise connectivity is about empowering its employees and partners with insights, customized to context, whenever and wherever they need it. This allows for deep insights to reach every corner of the organization and simplifies decision-making. To get there, Hershey’s strategy focuses on three primary areas:

  • Process to Process: Wiring and optimizing core processes across the enterprise to improve flow of information / insights effectively  
  • People to Process: Connecting the right people to the right processes at optimal decision nodes to support smart decision-making
  • People to People: Fostering cross-functional collaboration (e.g., social enterprise tools)

This major transformation will allow for real-time analytics as well as predictive modeling to capture a competitive advantage. The broader organization will be able to further leverage disruptive technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to stay ahead of the curve. Much like Hershey’s has done over the years by consistently evolving to hold a place in our hearts and keep our taste buds happy.

Check out what Running Live to Run Simple could mean for your business

Connect with me: @airsomers and on LinkedIn.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image via Shutterstock

via SAP News Center

SAP Software Development in China: Challenges and Opportunities

Clas Neumann, head of SAP Labs Operations and Fast Growth Markets, and Rui Cheng Li, MD Labs China, talk about the focus of SAP’s research and development (R&D) efforts in China.

Q: What are the major changes you have witnessed since SAP established its first entity in China?

Neumann: There have been so many changes, it is really difficult to know where to start. Besides the obvious changes like the super-fast development of the economy, tech infrastructure and also the political weight of China in international bodies, we have also seen very specific changes in our business.

Initially, the concept of software and paying a licence fee for the use of software was not widely known. Many customers found it counterintuitive to pay for intellectual property when the physical value of the CD was only a few Yuan. This has changed dramatically, thanks to the rising Chinese software industry and the government’s strong modernisation efforts.

In addition, the knowledge base of our customers has changed significantly. Our first 10 customers, after we entered China in 1995, were from a group of large joint ventures between foreign multinationals and Chinese conglomerates. Today, 90 per cent of our customers are Chinese companies from the private sector and state-owned companies.

Finally, IT-related research at universities, and higher education in general, has improved a lot. Initially, it was challenging to find capable software developers or IT specialists in China. Today there is a large supply. Nevertheless, the talent situation in Beijing or Shanghai is still difficult, whereas in Xi’an or Chengdu it is a bit easier for an IT company to find highly skilled engineers.

When did SAP decide to invest in R&D in China?

Neumann: We started our SAP Labs China in 2003, after performing localisation engineering for our products for a few years. Based on the excellent experience we had, we also decided to pursue global R&D work in China. As success breeds success, more business units from SAP were convinced that China is a great place to develop software. Today, China is our third largest R&D hub in the world.

Has SAP’s R&D team developed products that are primarily for China?

Neumann: For many years, the Chinese market was too small to justify such a large R&D set-up. Therefore most of the products were exported and successfully implemented by global SAP clients. Today, the situation has changed a bit. We feel that in many areas, China is either the biggest market (e-commerce, robotics, machine learning) or is also a technology and adoption leader (e-payment systems). So naturally, we have put more research and product development in these areas in China and are slowly transforming our SAP Labs China in that direction. As the SME market in China is also a strong growth engine, we have developed our latest cloud-based product “SAP Anywhere” here in Shanghai and had our global product launch in Beijing last year.

With China’s well documented air pollution deterring some people from locating here, and administrative issues often making it challenging to secure required visas and work permits, what measures has SAP taken to ensure that it is able to attract and retain the talent it requires for its R&D operations?

Neumann: Indeed it isn’t easy to attract foreign talent to large cities in China due to the fact that the living conditions are seen as very difficult. What we do is that we offer more flexible models, where the family can also stay outside of China, or we offer shorter assignments than before. We do not have visa or work permit issues as we usually only bring highly qualified engineers with many years of successful track record to China.

Overall the situation of bringing foreign experts to China is still satisfactory, and we try of course to participate in a small way to make the overall situation better through our technology solutions.

What are some of the other key challenges SAP faces in terms of China’s regulatory environment?

Neumann: In many areas in IT, there are regulations that demand a joint venture, such as in providing cloud services to businesses in China. This brings no additional value-add for our customers – in fact sometimes such regulations slow down the process of being able to offer these kind of services in the first place. We have joined the efforts of the European Chamber with regard to asking for a level playing field and for a reduction of bureaucracy.

What is the significance of the “Made in China 2025” initiative, and how big an impact do you envisage it having on SAP’s future business here?

Neumann:Made in China 2025” is a very significant step in the digitalization of China’s industries. It represents the first time a 10-year industrial modernisation plan has been released (even arriving shortly before the release of the latest five-year plan). It also addresses the most important areas in transforming the Chinese economy from an investment-driven model to an innovation- and consumption-driven growth model. The success of the initiative will define how successful the overall transformation turns out to be.

Would you agree that before manufacturers in China start to make costly investments in IT, robotics and other forms of automation typically associated with Industry 4.0, they need to go back to basics and upgrade their management practices?

Neumann: I don’t think that one necessarily has anything to do with the other. Also, I am not a specialist on Chinese management practices, as I have never worked in a Chinese company. I believe the number of robots in comparison to people employed in a typical plant in China is still only a fraction of what it is in South Korea, Japan or Germany. So, there is really a lot of growth opportunity here. Also, if you scrutinise the highly-automated countries I mentioned above, their management practices are also vastly different, yet this has not impacted their ability to successfully automate their respective industries. Actually, the opposite is the case – robots don’t care who their manager is and what the management practices are, they do as they are told. Very soon they will also predict, learn and improve.

How does China compare to other fast-growth markets such as India or Russia?

Neumann: One cannot compare those markets at all, as they are driven by completely different factors. I was never a big fan of the BRIC or BRICS concept. I have been visiting all of these markets every year for a long time and there is really not much that China has in common with Brazil or Russia – with the exception of the landmass. The people are different, the culture and history is different, the economy is driven by completely different factors, the politics work differently….and so on. That being said, these markets are of course highly interconnected in terms of global trade and the interdependencies of their economic development cannot be neglected.

This interview was originally published in EURObiz, the Journal of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

Contributing to the multimedia elements of this story: Natalie Hauck and Alexander Januschke, SAP Development University.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Sáu, 20 tháng 5, 2016

Hasso Plattner Charts Fastest Route to SAP S/4HANA and Beyond at SAPPHIRE NOW

In a world where business models are disrupted in an instant, SAP S/4HANA is the fastest way to co-innovations and market leadership according to Prof. Dr. Hasso Plattner, SAP co-founder and Chairman of the SAP Supervisory Board.

Speaking to thousands of customers during his keynote at the annual SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Conference held this week in Orlando, Florida, Plattner laid out a clear business case for companies to transition their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to SAP S/4HANA, focusing on “one database, one platform, one system.”  In a conversation studded with riveting demos and unequivocal customer testimonials, Plattner held the audience’s attention with both straightforward facts and figures, as well as his trademark off-the-cuff humor.

“Questions about our road map, delivery and integration have been more intense in recent weeks, but they are not an indication of friction between you [customers] and us,” he said. “What it means is that the number of companies moving to SAP S/4HANA is growing exponentially. You’re asking us when is what available so you can time your moves. So it’s actually a great sign of increased S/4HANA adoption.”

Reducing complexity accelerates innovation

Plattner’s main theme was that customers generally understand the value of SAP S/4HANA adoption, and their main question is how to accelerate their path to adoption. “Everyone understands how superior the architecture is. It’s not about the quality, speed or simplicity of S/4HANA – that’s all understood,” he said. “It’s only about how customers get there, how long it will take to transfer data, and how can we accelerate.”

Comparing SAP S/4HANA’s simplicity to that of the Tesla automobile, Plattner said the platform is the foundation an explosion of innovative applications. He was backed by video testimonials from companies including Asian Paints, Electronica Steren and Innovabee that hammered home the speed of transitioning and business value of the platform. Plattner also emphasized the sea change SAP S/4HANA represents for how companies collaborate using the SAP Digital Boardroom, and co-innovate with partnerships like the ones SAP recently announced with Apple and Microsoft. “These are the mega-moves,” he said. “We are bringing data together on the HANA Cloud Platform from networks, ERP systems – everywhere – to build powerful applications that have nothing to do with traditional areas.”

Four steps to transformation

The centerpiece of his keynote featured an on-stage demo of how customers can follow a four-step process using SAP’s cloud-based Maintenance Planner to create a transition plan from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA. “I have to admit if you’re a 100 billion revenue company it is a little bit more complicated,” said Plattner. “But we do everything to make this transition as easy, clean and secure as possible. The speed of HANA helps as the downtime is minimized.”

SAP Digital Boardroom for live business

Hasso showcased the SAP Digital Boardroom as a prime example of how SAP S/4HANA allows companies to collaborate in real-time for live business, using immediate insights from anywhere to make fully informed decisions. Interactive business simulations gained by connecting financial and non-financial drivers with KPIs allow managers to validate assumptions in real-time. “We can now do things for companies that are absolutely amazing,” said Plattner. “Decision-makers can use predictive analytics to simulate results on the fly using data from anywhere – location, spatial, text, mapping. Mash-ups were a playground a few years ago. Now it’s something every program on our platform can do. This is a new world and we built this capability on SAP S/4HANA.”

Meaningful collaboration like a startup

Pointing to the real-time business impact of applications like SAP Financial Statements Insights and SAP RealSpend, Plattner hailed a new era for SAP’s relationships with customers. He shared a vision of what the digitized world looks like, fueled by machine learning to produce intelligent enterprise applications along with stronger customer co-innovation. “Big Data from SAP S/4HANA, business networks and cloud applications mean that people can now build out applications we have never had or done, even together with you,” he said. “The collaboration is at a level of unbelievable quality. Only with your domain knowledge can we build applications like this. We need your expertise, and are going back to the early days of SAP because that’s how startups run.”


The SAP Knowledge Workspace prototype promises seamless collaboration, providing instant access to integrated information for faster, more informed, meaningful decision-making in the digital enterprise.

Plattner’s keynote closed with one of the most fascinating demos of the prototyped SAP Knowledge Workspace, an open collaborative workspace for virtual problem-solving and decision-making. Instead of wasting time on email chains, and searching for data in disparate systems, teams can bring all the information and experts together in one place to gain predictive insights and take action quickly.

“The days of the single clerk working on the same task every day are most likely replaced by machine learning and automation,” he said. “I believe this is the future for workspaces where different experts come together and create meaningful collaboration.”

Follow me @smgaler

via SAP News Center

The Road to Success is Paved with Feelings: Thoughts from the SAPPHIRE NOW Show Floor

What’s inside the box is just as important as what’s on the outside – you might be surprised at how many tools you already have.

Picture the scene: The keynote for SAPPHIRE NOW, the largest global business technology event. Over 2 million square feet of prime Orlando convention center, packed with thousands of delegates from all around the world; hundreds of thousands more watching the live stream; row upon row of people in the auditorium, their faces reflecting the ghostly blue light of myriad laptops, tablets and smart phones. The data streams of ones and zeros flying around are almost palpable, yet when the keynote starts Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP, tells us that true success boils down to one thing: empathy.

For many people watching, this was a proper bit of disruptive thinking. If you’ve painstakingly built a business on numbers, where do feelings come into it? Give it a moment. Empathy for your peers and colleagues creates efficiency, for your customers it means great service – and most important of all, it takes you out of a B2B mindset because if you can put yourself in the end-consumer’s shoes, you can give your customer the best tools to service them.

For content creators or those more firmly in the B2C world, it might be less surprising. You can’t make meaningful, engaging content or contact without understanding what your audience wants to watch, listen to or read. But then, we all know what an assumption makes, and like Ferris Bueller says: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” You might think you’ve got a good handle on the best way to engage with your customers and their needs, but how do you know?

Navigating these waters is tricky. Like the swamps of the Everglades, there’s a bewildering amount of what-ifs and options – and for the unprepared, some of them end up in dead ends. If you want to get from A to B, what you really need is the right perspective. Whether that’s a birds-eye view, a map that lets you look ahead, or simply a local guide to help you through each stage, understanding the entire journey is key.

For tiny businesses it’s quite straight forward. Let’s say you sell fruit by the roadside. End-to-end customer care is simple and essential. You know the supplier by name and have a personal relationship. It’s probably not too much of a stretch to get a handle on peak times and seasonal demand. Plus you’ll have repeat customers who come to you for what you do best, and you can anticipate that business too.

In order to show a customer you care – about them, personally – you need to improve their life in some way right now, not next year, or someone else will get there first. If finding a new way to do this represents disruption, then you can’t afford to be late to market. The problem is, once businesses have scale, knowing the customer becomes much harder. This is where not just harvesting data, but knowing what to do with it, becomes essential. For the fruit seller, it’s instinctive. But in a longer chain it’s much harder.

It’s one thing having tools, but it’s quite another to use them. Too many of us are “all the gear and no idea,” buying stuff in the hope it will somehow fix a problem. Often the solution is already in our hands, but again the challenge is perspective.

I’ve always found motivational quotes something of a guilty pleasure, so I’ll defer to Rumi who sums it up sweetly: “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” This is just as true in business is it is in personal development – and it’s clearly not limited to the business model alone. Change needs to include process and people. Understanding (or being empathetic to) your other teams. In the grand scheme their challenges, after all, are yours too.

The need is to reimagine how you engage with your customers at every point, from awareness to after-sales care. Innovation is key, of course. There are always new possibilities out there for sources of revenue and profits. New ways of improving your brand by offering better value. So to this I’d also add one very important thing: think inside the box.

Whether you use it or not, or whether it’s even controlled by your team, all companies have data. One big question to ask is are there any ways you could look at what you already have to improve your understanding of and engagement with customers? How about by combining it with publicly available data? For example, if a retailer has customer location, they might combine this with climate data to send more relevant communications (i.e. don’t stock shops with toboggans in places with no snow).

There’s one important caveat though. We need to be wary of the expectations we place on our data – it’s too easy to make a sweeping request that sounds simple but is actually far too technical to be practical. An  interesting perspective on this comes in a fascinating SAPPHIRE session with Dr. Christoph Meinel, Director and CEO of the Hasso Plattner Institute.

Social media data, he says, is very unstructured, leaping between channels and user accounts. Not only that, but it also depends on photos and videos which can’t be analyzed in the same way as text in a Google search. It’s with exactly this in mind that the Hasso Plattner Institute developed BlogIntelligence, which does content-related analysis for content filtering, opinion detection and trend analysis.

In tracing how information moves through networks, the Institute uses infection trees to see how it ‘infects’ users and who is linked with whom, visualizing it so that users can get insights from that, too. Best of all, the information can be converted into leads and users can react quickly – because the speed of the reaction shows the potential customer that someone is taking care of them.

It all comes back to looking after people. One of the great things about being at SAPPHIRE NOW this year, is that among all the 1900 various sessions and demonstrations, there are thousands of delegates, all of whom are looking at their data and wondering what else they can do with it to improve people’s lives – and that future is exciting.

This story originally appeared on The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.

via SAP News Center