Thứ Năm, 30 tháng 6, 2016

A Tale of Two Prides

Finding the Right Fit with SAP Hybris Solutions

Jogging is one of the most popular leisure-time activities with one concern frequently voiced among the running fraternity: “Are my running shoes the right ones for me?”

Now, the latest technologies are bringing customers and manufacturers closer together and taking the customer experience to a new level. The big question is, do customers stand to gain as much from greater customer focus as the manufacturers will?

Millions of joggers in the U.S. run regularly. Some run to relax, some to stay fit, and others are out chasing ambitious sporting goals. Running is an activity that appeals to people of all ages. You can run in winter and summer; on flat or mountainous terrain; on tarmac or in the forest; come wind, rain, or shine.

Yet whatever their age or running preferences, all joggers must pay close attention to their footwear. That means making sure their shoes don’t pinch or rub and checking that they are a good match for their running style and profile. Traditionally, the first port of call for all running-related questions is a specialty running store. But technology is now paving the way for other forms of communication and opening up new dimensions in customer relationship management.

Valuable Information for Runners

Marcus Rübsam, head of Global Solution Management for SAP Hybris, outlines an example from the running shoe industry. “Several major sports shoe manufacturers have begun integrating sensors with a unique ID into their products. So when a customer buys a pair of running shoes, the store assistant can take that person’s details — such as name, weight, height, and shoe size — and create a customer profile then link it to the ID for the shoes.

If the customer uses the manufacturer’s running app, the sensors will transmit information about how the shoes are used and what distance they have covered, according to Rübsam. This capability has other potential uses too. Shoe sensors could provide information about whether shoe soles are wearing down evenly – or whether runners are placing more weight on the inner or outer side of their feet, causing one side of the shoe to wear down faster than the other.

“The customer could pass this information on to a doctor or orthopedic specialist, who could then use it to assess whether the patient has a foot malposition that could be corrected easily with an orthopedic insole. That would be a contribution to safeguarding people’s future health,” says Rübsam.

Valuable Information Manufacturers

Naturally, the sensors can capture all kinds of other data too, such as information about whether the customer prefers to run on forest trails, cinder tracks, or asphalt; about whether he or she runs regularly or occasionally, slowly or fast; about whether the shoes were purchased in-store, online, or from a mobile device.

“By linking a product with an identified customer and his or her usage behavior, manufacturers can generate an extended customer profile of previously unimaginable value,” says Rübsam, explaining the business perspective. This profile is not only valuable in marketing and sales: What channel does the customer favor when searching for personalized offers? Where might cross- or up-selling be successful? Where is it worth advertising a new product? The information in the customer profile is also crucial for product development: Who buys my shoes? Older runners or younger ones? Men or women? Leisure-time joggers or marathon runners?

This kind of insight is vital in helping manufacturers choose the right look for their products. Companies like sportswear and equipment manufacturer ASICS have used information like this to improve their conversion rate for marketing campaigns by 15 percent and cut customer acquisition costs by eight percent.

“From the business perspective, these are real, quantifiable benefits. Benefits which, though not so easy to put a figure on, ultimately filter through to customers, too ‒ in the form of new, improved, better-fitting products.”

Explorative Data Analysis Shaping the Customer Experience

Nevertheless, says Rübsam, the potential offered by digital technologies is far from exhausted. In his view, the running-shoe example is still very closely aligned to the functions of conventional customer relationship management  (CRM), albeit with an added, in-depth Internet of Things (IoT) scenario. Because its purpose is to address existing customers.

Strictly speaking, says Rübsam, the term “customer relationship management” does not cover the latest approaches to creating an improved “customer experience” or, better, “customer engagement.” Because the latter are increasingly concerned with creating initially anonymous customer profiles, rapidly enriching them with knowledge about real customers, identifying those customers, and addressing them directly.

“The central question, in a nutshell, is how companies can put the data at their disposal to the best possible use,” says Rübsam. When it comes to laying the technical foundation for the digital transformation that is required to do this, companies need an IT infrastructure that allows them to eliminate data silos. They need to be able to analyze both structured and unstructured data and make decisions based on real-time information ‒ even where mass data is involved. Innovative, integrated functions for business intelligence, planning, and predictive analytics round off the requirements for efficient explorative data analysis.

Data Collection Only Acceptable if it Benefits the Customer

The digital transformation will see the role of the chief marketing officer (CMO) change dramatically. “Digital” CMOs will have access to personalized customer data that they must use as the framework for their marketing strategies.

“In addition to their existing tasks, CMOs will increasingly function  as ‘customer experience managers,’ whose job is to focus on analyzing customer data and on integrating all touch points along the  customer journey – including downstream delivery, service, and billing processes in the various lines of business,” says Rübsam.

The CMO of tomorrow must also be capable of communicating seamlessly with individually identified customers across all channels and of placing them at the center of their efforts.

“Only a comprehensive technology platform like SAP HANA gives companies the means to build the integrated IT processes they need to achieve this in the simplest way possible,” says a convinced Rübsam. Specifically, SAP HANA helps consolidate customer data, place it in a customer-centric context, create personalized offerings, and thus give consumers their own, unique customer journey.

SAP HANA-based solutions from SAP Hybris provide valuable insight and empower enterprises to make real-time decisions in B2C and B2B markets. They link customer profiles with business processes in commerce, sales, marketing, customer service, invoice processing, and business model management. The interaction between integrated technologies, applications, and processes helps businesses drive the digital transformation throughout the organization – as well as achieving that all-important extra portion of customer focus.

And, in Marcus Rübsam’s experience, “Customers are more than willing to disclose their own data if they know there’s something in it for them.”

Top image via Shutterstock

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Digitization Of The Supplier Network: Grinding Away Competitive Edges

Competitors with advanced digital capabilities are invading markets with new disruptive business models – and a range of new challenges across all industries. Prices are falling and changing quickly. Margins are thinning. Resources are increasingly volatile while the balance between supply and fast-changing customer demands are next-to-impossible to match.

All the while, 30% of industry leaders are at risk of being disrupted by 2018 by a digitally enabled competitor, according to IDC.

Under these conditions, companies are beginning to ask whether their supply networks should be open to the digital world. Will they accept the risk of being copied and losing competitive advantage? Or will they secure their best practices in supply chain and logistics?

Using an analytical framework of 15 ecosystem factors, we compared traditional companies against digital newcomers. Our ad hoc study revealed that digitization influences business systems on several levels, but standard best practices are not one of them.

Network Resiliency

In most supply chains, the hierarchical model is still living and prospering. Digital newcomers usually create a web-like structure across the entire business. While the traditional approach may guarantee price stability and quality, this web structure allows a much faster ramp-up and exchange of partners – making it more resilient to change.


In traditional networks, the business is likely evolving around mutual advantages. Very often, there are tight, symbiotic business connections with limited sets of partners. New digital networks are operating with an increased focus on leveraging opportunities. Plus, partners are encouraged to participate, widen, and promote the network – even if they do not directly contribute to revenue or profit margins.

Brand Management

Web structures are especially attractive to companies that find it difficult to access traditional value chains. In general, classic supply chains cannot keep up with the speed of change nor deal with new and unexpected supply-chain partners in future digital networks. And as “new and unexpected” translate into “interesting and exciting” for consumers, companies may encounter significant branding issues.

Path Dependency

Digital newcomers usually have a lower path dependency, such as mode of action. Unfortunately, this can be attributed to perspectives and business plans that are not based on decades of experience in one business. Of course, knowing a business for many years has its advantages as well – but only if knowledge is successfully transferred into the digital world.

A New Way to Operate

As pointed out previously, digitization is proven to be a shortcut for some traditional processes and functions. In turn, embedding best practices into supply-chain and logistics processes and avoiding any transfer of knowledge as long as possible may appear to be an obvious solution. However, according to our findings, it might not be the best path to dealing with changes related to digital transformation.

While digitization may indeed wash away former competitive advantages, it also empowers companies to use their vast knowledge and connections to get on par with digital newcomers – on a new and different level. For example, most traditional best practices are now outsourced and can be easily applied as a service. But more important, instead of waiting to be disrupted by digitization, businesses can become as flexible as possible to enhance the customer experience and build loyalty.

For more on disruption without damage, see 4 Ways to Digitally Disrupt Your Business Without Destroying It.

Kai Goerlich is the Idea Director of Thought Leadership at SAP

This story originally appeared on The Digitalist as part of the 10 Weeks of Live Business series.


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Thứ Tư, 29 tháng 6, 2016

“Don’t Dream Your Life, Live Your Dream”

Flexible work environments are key to creating a celebrated workplace. SAP Labs Latin America leads the way on rethinking the work/life equation.

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Mediafly is Out to “Unleash” Your Salesforce

John Evarts greets you with a big smile, a firm handshake, and unfettered enthusiasm. He could be the poster child for, “How to win sales and influence people.” And why not?

Evarts is CFO and COO of Mediafly – a Chicago-based software firm that specializes in helping companies revolutionize their selling approach. One of the company’s flagship products is a customer interaction platform called ‘SalesKit’ that is designed to help businesses deliver a more dynamic in-person selling experience.

Mediafly has experienced impressive growth. Founded in 2006, Mediafly has literally from gone from a brilliant idea hatched in a Windy City living room to a fast-growing company headquartered in offices high above Michigan Avenue.

I figured Evarts was probably just the guy to explain the secret to Mediafly’s success. Spoiler alert: It appears to be a very intentional blend of award-winning products, sound business practices, and keeping things fun around the office.

Sales at the Moment-of-Truth

Evarts told me that Mediafly actually started out as podcast platform in the consumer space, but the company’s focus soon shifted to B2B sales enablement and marketing.

“Today, we want to create a world where people enjoy being sold to . . . where buyers look forward to the next interaction because the experience and outcome is so valuable,” he said.

As Evarts explained, even digitalized and mobilized sales tools can still be linear. Mediafly’s platform aims to make the entire process more adaptive, interactive, and fun for the buyer.

“Our solution lets you aggregate content from different sources and deliver it in an elegant, consumer-based experience that always has the most up-to-date content and data,” said Evarts. And perhaps most importantly, the material can be presented in a completely flexible manner.

Evarts pointed out that it’s usually the sales representative who knows the customer the best.

“We help you get value out of ‘Big Data’ by finding the ‘tiny data’ in it that matters,” Evarts said. “So at the critical point in a sales discussion, a sales rep can present the one piece of data needed to create that Aha moment.”

In short, he said Mediafly is not trying to automate the sales process but rather helping to “unleash” the potential of a more evolved selling process.

Meet the Flyers

Unleashing potential in an entertaining environment apparently describes the company’s work culture as well. According to the company’s web site, Mediafly looks for inventive, open-minded people who can foster and inspire each other’s creative drive. And their work day is spiced up by recurring office events such as pepper-eating contests, ping-pong tournaments, and karaoke.

The company’s 40 employees call themselves “Flyers,” and they seem devoted to finding creative solutions to everyday business challenges.

That includes Evarts.

More Options, Better Decisions

As CFO and COO, Evarts plays a big role in ensuring that the company makes the most of often limited resources. “Accessing and deploying vital capital is one of my most important responsibilities,” he said.

Part of Evarts’s strategy has been using has been using the Ariba Network for suppliers, an integrated marketplace for buying and selling. So exactly how does a business network help a small company like Mediafly access capital?

Evarts gave a compelling example when he talked about how Mediafly needed to quickly hire additional developers when working on the mobile encryption technology necessary for its ProReview solution. ProReview enables some of the world’s largest television and movie studios to securely distribute, review, and approve pre-release television and theatrical content. In an industry plagued by piracy, security is everything.

Mediafly had a couple of alternatives – like seeking a loan from the bank or trying to raise outside equity investment. But Evarts decided to take advantage of dynamic discounting which enables vendors like Mediafly to offer discounts to its customers in exchange for early payments.

“Having options like dynamic discounting completely changed the game for us,” Evarts noted. “Getting paid 30 days early by one of our largest clients allowed us to bring in additional developers two payroll cycles sooner than originally planned. That was huge for us.”

The CFO/COO summed up Mediafly’s operational strategy nicely. “It’s all about options,” said Evarts still smiling. “When you have options, you can make better decisions.”

I was right about John Evarts. He sold me.

Please follow me on Twitter @JohnGWard3.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image via Shutterstock

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How Hackers Hold the Key to Our Future

Cyber Week in Tel Aviv brought together international experts to compare notes on the topic of cyber security. Among them was SAP Chief Security Officer Justin Somaini.

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Believe the Hype: Blockchain Is the Next Frontier for Banking

When bitcoin was released in 2009, it fundamentally changed the way that people think about money and financial transactions. And while bitcoin never became as universal as it hoped to be, the system behind bitcoin is now poised to disrupt the way financial organizations operate.

That system is the blockchain. Some have gone so far as to say blockchain will do for business transactions what the internet did for information. Those early adapters might just be right.

The blockchain is, at its core, a ledger of all information pertaining to a digital transaction. For financial organizations, the ability to harness that information poses a tremendous opportunity. It allows for faster processing time, lower costs, greater insight into market moves, increased transparency and compliance. But that’s just the start of it.

In a study from September 2015, titled “Deep Shift: Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impact” by the World Economic Forum, blockchain is listed as one of the driving forces behind the sharing economy. And a report co-authored by Santander earlier this month estimated that blockchain technology could reduce banks’ infrastructure costs by up to $20 billion a year. Investors and the Venture Capital (VC) community are pushing hard to realize those cost savings. At the end of 2015, investments and funding of blockchain-related start-ups had grown from $298 million in 2014 to almost $460 million.

This influx of capital has allowed for increased experimentation and partnerships between traditional banks and the VC and start-up communities. This is especially true in the payments space where banks, as well as companies like eBay, PayPal, etc., are using blockchain to build a secure verification process for users.

Since late 2015, these experimentations and partnerships have begun to generate results and momentum for blockchain. In January 2016, R3CEV, a blockchain start-up working with more than 45 banks to advance adoption of the technology, announced that 11 banks, including Barclays, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Royal Bank of Scotland, TD Bank, UBS, UniCredit and Wells Fargo, among others, had successfully completed a blockchain connectivity experiment. This news followed the announcement from NASDAQ that the Nasdaq Linq blockchain ledger technology had successfully completed and recorded a private securities transaction.

Blockchain’s Potential and Its Obstacles

Speed and accuracy are the currencies of the digital economy, and blockchain’s ability to quickly validate trusted partners and facilitate accurate recordkeeping and trade is very relevant to banks and financial institutions. But with a banking engagement, it’s not often a 1:1 flow of information. Instead, it could be shared access for multiple parties (with the right security clearance) or a one-to-many flow of information.

Let’s consider supply chain processes around letters of credit, as an example. These currently rely on different parties — buyer, seller, bank, insurer, logistics provider, etc. — accessing the same information. Traditionally, it’s taken days, if not weeks, for that information to be passed through each organization. With blockchain technology, that information can be shared instantaneously. It does this by creating a shared repository where all data is accessible in real time to those with the right security clearance or access codes.

As evidenced above, banks and financial institutions are already heavily investing in blockchain. In fact, many have been doing so for years. But it’s still mostly done in a silo – undertaking very specific tasks, like: crypto currencies, managing the clearing and settling process, payments, or R&D initiatives. The true test for blockchain will be in how it integrates with existing technologies and infrastructure to scale from small, test cases to larger, enterprise wide operations. And this is where it will, undoubtedly, get interesting. Leaders in the field will now need to work on establishing procedures that connect blockchain’s rich data to an organization, allowing businesses to quickly analyze information to make informed choices about business operations or strategy.

There will no doubt be challenges along the way to mass integration – blockchain was not initially designed to take on the complexities and challenges of the enterprise. It was meant to serve an individual consumer – the bitcoin user. For it to be a successful, widely used tool for banking institutions, there must be a greater emphasis put on architecture and data integration as well as security and regulatory policy.

Like other new innovations in FinTech, blockchain will have to figure out how to cope with and adapt to regulations that vary in degree and complexity. In April of this year, The Chamber of Digital Commerce and three leading blockchain trade organizations launched the Global Blockchain Forum, whose mission is to help form blockchain regulations. Expect to see those regulations put in place sooner rather than later, especially as the technology continues to advance. Certain countries and states may have an easier time reaping the benefits of blockchain, as regulations and experience with blockchain vary depending on the location.

What Does the Future Hold?

Everyone in the banking sector should be paying attention to blockchain concepts and technologies. For blockchain to advance, technology and service providers – like SAP – will need to step forward and serve as a trusted advisor to the banks that are leading the development of these technologies.

Here at SAP, we are looking at concepts, technologies, existing implementations, partnerships and future product integrations that will allow us to help our customers understand the role that blockchain could play in their business.

For businesses considering the blockchain today, it’s important to keep these questions in mind:

  • What are the operational implications?
  • How can blockchain propel our business model forward?
  • Will it increase efficiencies or allow us to scale more effectively?

In the next two to three years, many of these questions will be answered. There will be an increase in business use case examples, in banking and other industries, which demonstrate ways of overcoming blockchain’s obstacles and the benefits it can bring to a business. As these use cases begin to overwhelm the current, technical discussions, we will have a better understanding as to the long term business relevance and viability of the technology.

While bitcoin may have been a flash in the pan technology, it has given the financial world a new way to look at its architecture and systems with blockchain. As this space evolves throughout the few years and more banks integrate blockchain into their overarching operations, one thing is certain – the possibilities are endless.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

Top image via Shutterstock

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How Do You Upskill for the Digital Economy?

SAP celebrates three successful years of digital learning. For businesses and professionals alike, SAP is increasingly the go-to resource to quickly gain leading-edge skills for the digital economy. Read on to learn more about what SAP’s learning resources can do for you.

Mercedes-Benz Türk, based in Istanbul, Turkey, has held the number one position in domestic truck production for over 13 years. Maintaining that leadership position requires continually optimizing the performance of its SAP software investments. And that means keeping internal IT skills fine-tuned and up-to-date. When the time came to train its new and growing team of IT project consultants, Mercedes-Benz Türk deployed SAP Learning Hub – an integral part of SAP’s digital learning portfolio – for 24×7 cloud-based access to SAP’s vast knowledge base and learning content. As a result, the company was able to accelerate training and get all members of the new IT project consulting team up to speed quickly and cost-effectively.

“We conducted an internal analysis of our training requirements and determined that we needed 1,000 training days to ramp up our new team of IT project consultants. With SAP Learning Hub and the help of SAP Consulting, we were able to complete this training in just 50 days,” says Özlem Vidin Engindeniz, Daimler SAP & Rollout Service Delivery Center Turkey Senior Manager, Mercedes-Benz Türk A.Ş.*

SAP’s Proven Track Record in Digital Learning

Similar to Mercedes-Benz Türk, businesses everywhere are under tremendous pressure to keep pace with the emergence of the digital economy – or risk becoming obsolete. Digital transformation is at the top of the agenda for many business leaders. Embarking on digital transformation, however, requires mastering new skills and envisioning the possibilities of business in the digital age. Where do businesses go to get the knowledge they need to stay competitive?

Increasingly, the answer is SAP. With more than 700,000 learners using its award- winning digital learning platforms – openSAP / openSAP Thought Leaders and SAP Learning Hub – SAP has emerged as a recognized leader in digital learning. Celebrating its third successful year of digital learning, SAP has a proven track record of delivering extraordinary value to its customers, partners, and SAP employees, as well as faculty and students at universities and schools.

Over 700,000 learners use SAP’s award- winning digital learning platforms

“Learning is transformative in itself,” says Bernd Welz, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Scale, Enablement and Transformation, SAP. “Each time a customer broadens its skillset, or upskills for the digital economy – together we are taking a significant step towards meeting the challenges of business tomorrow. SAP is proud to offer a comprehensive, structured, and imaginative approach to digital learning that enables people to gain new knowledge to move their businesses and individual careers significantly forward.”

Welz adds, “SAP is dedicated to continuously innovating its digital learning offering to be evermore engaging and impactful, because digital transformation is not a one-time effort. We’re going to see that this will be a continuous process for businesses in the future. So, learning needs to be continuous too.”



openSAP MOOCs: Pioneering the Way for Business

In 2013, SAP entered the digital learning space with the launch of openSAP – a first-of-its-kind digital learning platform that offers massive open online courses (MOOCs) targeted to the needs of business. In the beginning, the openSAP MOOC platform provided courses focused on developing software skills for priority SAP products like SAP HANA; however, the platform has expanded to offer courses in general business topics such as sustainability and digital transformation, as well as to provide content suited to a variety of skill levels. SAP is continuously innovating its formula for success for its MOOCs by introducing exciting features – like interactive challenges and gamification – to engage learners and advance the learning process. The MOOCs have proven to be extremely popular among learners, with enrollments topping the one million mark.

openSAP offers more than 70 courses in total, with courses on SAP HANA, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, and SAP S/4 HANA being the most popular. To date 150,000 course certificates, or records of achievement, have been issued.

Course content comes in a variety of easily downloadable formats, like videos, slides, and course transcriptions. To ensure knowledge transfer, the courses offer plenty of opportunity for real-time interaction, like instructional video demonstrations, hands-on software simulations, discussion forums, and peer assessments. Course projects and innovation challenges provide students with ample opportunity to put their newly acquired skills into action. Recently, in the openSAP course “Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud,” students submitted more than 5,500 new SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) apps.  Read more about these exciting course projects in the blog Lessons in Fast Innovation from openSAP MOOCs: SAP Fiori App Challenge Winners.

What makes the courses so popular, according to student feedback, is that students like that they can learn at their own convenience. For some that means watching and listening to lectures on a smartphone during their daily commute. Others align the openSAP courses with their career development road maps, so that they can more readily move ahead on the job. Read feedback from individual students to find out more.

SAP Learning Hub: Faster Time to Productivity for New Hires

The SAP Learning Hub – another pillar of SAP’s digital learning portfolio – has emerged as a robust and reliable digital learning platform for IT and business experts. It employs an innovative approach that includes an engaging social experience and caters to individual learning needs. The SAP Learning Hub now offers a total of 4,500 online courses, including content tailored to individual countries or regions, to make digital learning convenient and accessible to people everywhere.

SAP customers report significant benefits, citing that the SAP Learning Hub has improved productivity by 20%. For rapidly expanding companies like Mercedes-Benz Türk, the benefits of using the SAP Learning Hub can mean a 20-30% reduction in time to full productivity for new hires. Global consultancy CGI said it achieved a savings of USD$150,000 just through fewer canceled trainings for its consultants – while concurrently increasing the number of consultants trained by 50%, along with an increase of 50% more trainings per consultant.** Swiss insurer Zurich reports an increase in the number of certification exams passed, linked with an increase of 65% in customer satisfaction.***

The SAP Learning Hub is not only available to IT professionals. Students from more than 2,700 educational institutions in 90 countries now have access to the SAP Learning Hub – Academic Edition through the SAP University Alliances program. That means that the IT professionals and business leaders of tomorrow can get an early start to making their impact on the workplace of tomorrow.

SAP Education Network for Digital Transformation: Executive Track to a Digital Future

Each day executives have the unique opportunity to assess a myriad of new products and ideas – all of which may be beneficial to their organizations, or not. To help them learn more about the technologies and concepts related to digital transformation, as well as collaborate with peers and experts, SAP recently introduced the SAP Education Network for Digital Transformation. A trustworthy and reliable digital learning space, the network is ideally suited to the educational needs of executives who are championing digital transformation in their organizations.

Find out what customers are saying about this latest addition to SAP’s digital learning portfolio in interviews with the German-Speaking SAP User Group (DSAG), Bitkom, and the Volkswagen Group. You can also get on the inside track by joining the SAP Education Network for Digital Transformation.

Skills for Digital Transformation: Nano-Degrees for the Workplace of the Future

Digital transformation brings with it new job profiles, coupled with exciting opportunities for advancement for skilled professionals. At SAPPHIRE NOW 2016 in May, SAP launched the Skills for Digital Transformation program, comprised of individualized Learning Journeys to prepare customers for the future through impactful curricula and certifications targeted to new skill profiles like Data Scientist and Internet of Things (IoT) / Big Data Architect. By blending digital learning and high-value classroom experiences, SAP seeks to set exemplary educational standards for the digital workplace.

Find out more about the Data Scientist curriculum and certification – newly launched at SAPPHIRE NOW. A pipeline of further roles is in the works. To learn more, watch this SAP News interview with Bernd Welz at SAPPHIRE NOW: How to Keep Everyone on the Cutting Edge of High-Tech.

Get Onboard with Digital Learning at SAP

Join SAP in celebrating three successful years of leading the way in digital education. Find out how SAP can take your business or career into the digital age with SAP Education, training, and certification.

Top image via Shutterstock

*SAP Business Transformation Study 2016 | Automotive | Mercedes-Benz Türk: “Developing a Highly Proficient Team of IT Project Consultants with SAP Learning Hub”
SAP Business Transformation Study | Professional Services | CGI, “CGI: Providing Consultants the Skills They Need to Succeed with SAP Learning Hub“, August 2015
*** SAP Customer Reference Slide: Zurich Insurance Group: “Measuring Skills and Closing Skills Gaps with SAP Learning Hub”, October 2015

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How to Fix the Personalization Paradox

Customers are signaling that they want more personalized treatment from companies. In fact, a recent Accenture survey revealed that nearly 60% of respondents prefer real-time promotions and offers. That may seem like great news for marketers. But personalization strategies also come with risk.

Personalization creates more intimacy in the customer relationship, which can lead to more sales and loyalty. This promise of a tighter bond with customers has driven personalization to the top of marketers’ strategic agendas for 2016. However, this approach can threaten the most important aspect of the customer relationship: trust.

The Tug-of-War Over Data

For personalization to work, brands need to gather detailed information about customers. But when asked whether they are willing to give up that information in return for more targeted products and promotions, many customers balk. Of the Accenture survey respondents, for example, only 20% were willing to reveal their location, and just 14% would consider parting with their browsing history.

This personalization paradox, as it is known, has been around for decades. But it’s going to become a bigger issue as digital connectivity increases and the data that customers generate through their activities—whether it be jogging with a Fitbit or refilling a fridge connected to the Internet of Things—outline their lives in ever-finer digital detail.

Complicating the situation, most customers aren’t very well-informed when it comes to data privacy. For example, a survey by the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found that 54% of respondents wrongly believe a website’s privacy policy means that the site would not share their information without their permission.

Focus on Trust and Value

How can companies reduce customer fear, ignorance, and uncertainty about personalization and privacy?Research has found that customers are more likely to take advantage of personalization from companies they trust and that offer them real value in exchange for their information.

It’s important to emphasize trust in the customer relationship because it’s at a low ebb. For example, just 7% of customers say the offers they receive from companies are consistently relevant. And 27% have said they’ve stopped visiting a website or mobile app after receiving irrelevant information or product recommendations.

Bonus: Learn how companies can create moments that matter to customers, anytime and anywhere in the white paper “Live Customer Experiences for the Digital Economy.”

In this kind of a climate, companies must demonstrate that they are worthy of customers’ trust before pushing too hard on personalization. Research has shown that there are two components of trust:

  • Confidence. Customers must believe that the company can provide a quality product or service.
  • Benevolence. Customers must believe that the company is willing to consider every customer’s self-interest above their own.

The benevolence aspect of trust is particularly important when it comes to personalization. In this regard, companies demonstrate benevolence by offering clear, understandable data collection and usage policies and by giving customers control over their information and how it is used. Customers are hungry for that control. A Pew Research Center survey found that 90% of those surveyed want to decide what information is collected about them.

Once trust is established, personalization has to offer real value. That value could come through useful services or discounts, for example. The key is to avoid stepping over the invisible line from cool to creepy, such as the time when Target sent coupons for diapers to an expectant teen before her father knew of the pregnancy.

Of course, the personalization paradox and online privacy are issues as big as the Internet. Customers will continue to fear for their privacy as long as data breaches continue and irrelevant and offensive offers continue to hit their inboxes. But focusing on trust is the beginning of a solution.

For more on customer strategies that balance security and service, see Deliver A Personal Customer Experience Without Losing Trust.

Christopher Koch is the Editorial Director of the SAP Center for Business Insight.

This story originally appeared on The Digitalist as part of the 10 Weeks of Live Business series.

via SAP News Center

New Version of SAP Business One With Key Features to Help Small Firms Go Digital and Run Live

WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced general availability of the latest version of the SAP Business One application with new features, including intelligent analytics, project management and an app-like interface for real-time access to main business functions.

Available both on premise and in the cloud, SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA, helps small and midsize enterprises (SME) and subsidiaries of large enterprises.

“We are in the business of garment trading and have outgrown our recent software solutions, consisting of various and somewhat disconnected solutions like Microsoft Excel. Therefore, we decided to implement our first ERP system with SAP Business One,” said Arun Gupta, founder and managing director, Nittu Creations. “At the forefront is the benefit of one centralized system, which gives us insights across all functions within our business.”

The new version also introduces a project management module, which helps monitor the progress of tasks and stages, including all project-related transactions, documents and resources. Partners can now also reduce maintenance downtime by controlling both partner and SAP software tasks for their customers in a single stream with a remote support platform.

Shape Tomorrow’s Business Today

By 2020, information will be used to reinvent, digitalize or eliminate 80 percent of business processes and products from a decade earlier, according to Gartner.*

With the latest version of SAP Business One, version for SAP HANA, users can forecast product demand and gain a basis for material resource planning. A forecasting process delivers visibility on demand history that helps prioritize opportunities and position channels to face growing demand. Critical support now includes intelligent forecasts based on predictive analytics that are displayed with rapid dashboarding functionality made possible by SAP HANA.

“We’ve eased use of analytical features to put the power of real-time data and information into the hands of smaller firms who want to run live,” said Luis Murguia, senior vice president and general manager, SAP Business One, SAP.

SAP Business One supports Microsoft SQL Server 2014. SAP Business One can also be complemented by the recently announced SAP Business One Sales mobile app, which works with and is powered by the SAP HANA platform.

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews, @SAPBusinessOne, @SAPAnywhere, @sapmidsize and @sapsmallbiz.

Media Contacts:

Angelika Merz, +41 (58) 871-7216,, CET
Nate Hubbell, FleishmanHillard, +1 (617) 692-0531,, ET

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.
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Thứ Ba, 28 tháng 6, 2016

SAP America Recognized as One of the Most Community-Minded Companies in the United States by Points of Light

NEWTOWN SQUARE SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that SAP America, Inc., has been recognized as one of America’s most community-minded companies in this year’s The Civic 50, an initiative of Points of Light that sets the standard for corporate civic engagement and creates a road map for companies seeking to best use their time, talent and resources to improve the quality of life in the communities in which they do business.

SAP America Recognized for Employee Volunteerism and Support for STEM Education

SAP America was recognized for its strong commitment to employee volunteerism and community engagement, as well as its support for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Volunteerism at a national and local level is at the core of SAP North America’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program, practiced year-round and championed in October through the Month of Service initiative. In 2015, more than 6,500 SAP employee volunteers across the United States dedicated 30,000 hours to service projects that empower young entrepreneurs, bolster education and promote sustainable economic growth in underserviced areas. Their efforts helped impact more than 500,000 lives across North America.

In addition to volunteerism, SAP earned The Civic 50 distinction in part for its Early College High Schools initiative, which gives high-need students the opportunity to earn both a high school and post-secondary degree in a business- or technology-related field. Students receive academic and real-world job training, as well as access to mentoring, which provides them with a simpler path to jobs in the technology sector. This flagship program currently operates schools in three cities across North America, with a fourth school set to open this fall in Oakland, Calif.

“We are at the beginning of a boom in corporate social responsibility,” said Neil Bush, chairman of the board of Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service. “Corporations are putting policies in place that prioritize connection with communities. They’re seeing a positive effect through meaningful engagement with community members, increases in employee satisfaction and morale, and positive feedback from consumers.”

“SAP’s vision is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives,” said Jennifer Morgan, president, SAP North America. “That vision is at the heart of our strategy and culture in North America, and whether it’s our efforts to close the STEM skills gap or our support of local communities through our strong employee volunteerism programs, I’m tremendously proud of the nearly 20,000 SAP employees in North America and the 76,000 around the world who make it a priority to help fellow citizens and communities in need.”

To learn more about the Civic 50, see a full list of the winners, and access the full report, The 2016 Civic 50: Turning Good Intentions into Sound Business Practices, which presents the highlights, trends, benchmarking data and best practices from the 2016 Civic 50, please visit Civic50.

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

About SAP

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable approximately 310,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit

Note to editors:

To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.

For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:

Global Customer Center: +49 180 534-34-24
United States Only: 1 (800) 872-1SAP (1-800-872-1727)

For more information, press only:

Christopher Putvinski, +1 (908) 229-1778,, ET
SAP News Center press room;

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.
© 2016 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see for additional trademark information and notices.

via SAP News Center

SAP Geographical Enablement Framework Simplifies Spatial Processing of Enterprise Business Data

SAN DIEGO SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today unveiled SAP Geographical Enablement Framework, powered by SAP HANA, which helps organizations enrich business applications with geographic data from geographic information systems (GIS), such as Esri ArcGIS.

This announcement was made at the Esri User Conference being held June 27–July 1 in San Diego.

SAP HANA Accelerates Spatial Processing and
Analytics for Real-Time Insights

“In many asset-intensive industries such as energy, transportation and public sector, the ability to visualize business objects on maps is critical to improving efficiency and decision making,” said Irfan Khan, general manager and global head, Database & Data Management, SAP. “SAP Geographical Enablement Framework, powered by SAP HANA, can help organizations streamline the processing of both enterprise and spatial data for greater location awareness across business processes.”

Enriching Business Processes with Geospatial Information

To develop spatially enabled business applications, organizations can use the framework to:

  • Enable smooth integration and bidirectional navigation between SAP applications and Esri ArcGIS. Developers can use application programming interfaces (APIs) published by GIS systems to fetch geospatial data. Also, business data augmented with geometric attributes can be published as a service, so that GIS users can access SAP business data from within their GIS tools.
  • Embed a responsive map user interface (UI) in a business application to display both business and spatial data simultaneously to provide greater insight.
  • Store the geometry of any SAP business object in the SAP HANA platform and accelerate spatial data processing in memory to deliver real-time insights, enriched with spatial context, to improve decision making.
  • Visualize, filter and search for business objects — such as functional location, equipment, linear assets, notifications or work orders — on a map from within a spatially enabled application. From a desktop or a tablet, users can also drill down through multiple map layers to gain better insight.

Powered by SAP HANA, SAP Geographical Enablement Framework helps organizations enrich business apps

Accelerating Business and Spatial Data Processing with SAP HANA

With continued collaboration between SAP and Esri, organizations can gain contextual insight from business and spatial data, enabling business and GIS users to work within the same multiuser access and editing environment.

“At EDF Renewable Energy, we have built a truly innovative enterprise business intelligence and data warehouse platform that combines Esri geospatial data along with asset sensor data and ERP transactional data in SAP HANA,” said Devang Shah, manager of database and business intelligence, EDF Renewable Energy. “This provides us with near real-time insights to help us operate more efficiently.”

As an open platform, SAP HANA is certified with the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), enabling organizations to easily consume spatial data from third-party spatial solutions that also adhere to the standard. SAP HANA also supports synchronous and asynchronous imports of data from any spatial reference system (SRS) or coordinate reference system (CRS) to ease access to local, regional or global geographic entities. In addition, native geocoding delivered by SAP HANA smart data quality helps rapidly convert addresses to latitude and longitude within SAP HANA.

“Munich Re is one of the leading reinsurance companies in the world,” said Andreas Siebert, head of geospatial solutions at Munich Re. “We use spatial data processing capabilities in SAP HANA, in conjunction with predictive analytics, to assess risk — such as to identify natural hazard profiles for millions of locations around the globe, to efficiently coordinate loss adjustors after a major catastrophe or to calculate how many hospitals, schools and roads may be impacted by an impending hurricane or flood.”

Increasing Location Intelligence with SAP BusinessObjects Solutions

SAP is helping breaking down the silos between GIS and business data. Organizations can use the native geospatial features within SAP BusinessObjects Cloud and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira software to enrich data with geographic information and map visualizations. Business users can also contextualize business performance metrics by using powerful location intelligence capabilities within SAP Digital Boardroom, experienced through SAP BusinessObjects Cloud.

Business users can overlay business data on maps with detailed geographic information such as topography and satellite imagery. These maps can have multiple layers of different types of data, enabling business users to visualize information in various ways, such as a heat map layer to visualize data density and a choropleth map layer to highlight statistically significant geographic areas using shades or patterns.

“The SAP BusinessObjects BI Location Intelligence application by Galigeo brings the power of location visualization and analytics from Esri to SAP BusinessObjects Lumira, SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio and SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence,” said Cristian Tapia, CEO at Galigeo. “Users can seamlessly blend their own spatial data into these SAP tools to gain new insights for decision making by fully exploiting the location dimension of their data.”

For more information, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

About SAP

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable approximately 310,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit

Note to editors:

To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.

For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:

Global Customer Center: +49 180 534-34-24
United States Only: 1 (800) 872-1SAP (1-800-872-1727)

For more information, press only:

Samantha Finnegan, SAP, +1 (415) 377-0475,, PT
SAP News Center press room;
Jane Vaden, Pan Communications, +1 (916) 402-4033,, PT

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.
© 2016 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see for additional trademark information and notices.
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via SAP News Center

Innovation Made in “Chirmany”

Out of necessity and opportunity, China and Germany are crossing their national champions to create a new species of innovation.

Recently in Shanghai, a colleague surprised me with an after-work feast of crab dumplings. He also gave me some needed training on how to avoid burning my mouth on the boiling broth inside. Being of German heritage, I grew up to the taste of fresh dumplings at family get-togethers, and I still can’t resist the freshly cooked ones. You are probably wondering, China and Germany? What’s the catch? Turns out that China and Germany — “Chirmany” — have much more in common than dumplings and cabbage, and are increasingly delivering innovation to the table based on projects between their national champions.

It Takes Two to Tango

Both countries are currently engaged in a lively tango at the diplomatic, cultural, economic and technological levels. To underscore this, in a recent visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Beijing, the media showed her and Premier Li Keqiang of China in a harmonious pose in front of the lake at the Summer Palace.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and China’s Premier Li Keqiang at Summer Palace, Beijing. Photo source: German Federal Government, Bergmann.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and China’s Premier Li Keqiang at Summer Palace, Beijing. Photo source: German Federal Government, Bergmann.

Granted, the offer by the Chinese conglomerate Midea to buy a majority stake in German robotics champion Kuka is ringing alarm bells in Berlin, but this example is also confirmation of the huge stakes involved and the strong business potential if the two countries cooperate on innovation.

Partnership Indispensable for Both Sides

According to Benno Bunse, CEO of Germany Trade and Invest, Sino-German partnership has become indispensable for both sides. Germany is China’s fifth largest trading partner as well as its most important in the EU. China is Germany’s fourth biggest trading partner and its most important in Asia. Bilateral trade between Germany and China has nearly tripled in the past decade, up to 163 billion euros in 2015, with the German automobile industry driving the majority of investments. Bunse quoted from the China Daily: “Our economies are highly dependent upon each other.”

Which explains why Merkel was accompanied to Beijing last week by a delegation of ministers and business leaders to hold intergovernmental consultations on topics of economic and technological importance to both countries.

Industry 4.0 – the fourth industrial revolution – represents the complete digitalization of manufacturing processes from order to delivery, and combining the latest developments in Internet, mobile communications, IoT, Big Data, and social media. Germany and China currently have national programs in place to deliver new solutionson the basis of Industry 2.0 (“Made in China 2025” and Germany’s “High-Tech Strategy 2020”) it is therefore one of the areas earmarked with the greatest co-innovation potential between the two countries.


Encouraging National Champions to Co-Innovate

MOU Signing Beijing

Representatives from SAP and Shenyang Institute of Automation sign memorandum of understanding June 13, 2016 in Beijing. Photo source: Ping Ni.

As the world’s factory, China has must maintain the efficiency of its factories or risk losing business to emerging markets with lower production costs. Enter Germany, known for its hardware and software to integrate business processes with the digital economy, and looking for strong partners to maintain its market leadership. No wonder then, that leaders in Berlin and Beijing are encouraging their national champions to co-innovate on globally competitive Industry 4.0 solutions.

Case in point is an Industry 4.0 technology showcase which models a manufacturing line created by German-based SAP and the Shenyang Institute of Automation (SIA). Angela Merkel and her delegation traveled to Shenyang, China, in the middle of the country’s rust belt and manufacturing region to prove that German companies can successfully innovate together.

During the showcase, Merkel showed great interest and wanted to know more about how the production line works, and what roles each partner played in its development. The production line, once implemented, would digitize, integrate, and automate all of the processes necessary for the order, manufacture and delivery of a customized product down to a lot size of one.

SAP Labs China Managing Director Dr. Ruicheng Li, who has studied and worked in Germany and has a deep understanding of both cultures, has established the customer circle program to drive co-innovation projects with best of breed customers and partners from the Chinese market. Li is quick to point out that the solutions developed in China are not only destined for the national market, but also for SAP customers worldwide.

“SAP chose SIA as co-innovation partner to build the industry production line because of its leadership in robotics and production line control systems,” says Li, noting that some of SIA’s innovations have landed on the moon.

In turn, Haibin Yu, President, SIA, said that SAP is revered as a partner for its global footprint, experience, and long-term strategy.

SAP recognized early the importance of China as a R&D location, establishing its first center in Shanghai and Beijing in 1997. Today, SAP employs approximately 2,500 people in seven development centers across China, its third-largest R&D location globally and a key contributor the company’s network of 14 development centers worldwide.

“Over the past 20 years, SAP has built up trust with its Chinese counterparts, and has also acquired a deep knowledge of the business climate and that allows us to make a difference with our customers,” says Clas Neumann, head of the SAP Labs Network and also its fast growth market strategy.

Neumann sees huge potential in the Chinese market for SAP for smart manufacturing. “It could be three years, five years or even a little bit more, but some day China will be SAP’s largest market for smart manufacturing for SAP.”

Joanne Chen and Liny Yang, SAP Labs China, contributed to this story; video by Steven Lu, SAP Labs China.

via SAP News Center

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Accelerates HCM Reporting by over 80 Percent with SAP SuccessFactors

Not many worldwide organizations have to quickly start a human resources (HR) system from scratch, but this is precisely what happened at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.

Following M&A activities last year, the company, now a midsize, leading-edge telecommunications solutions provider, needed to quickly ramp up a new HR system for 2,800 employees in over 50 countries. Johannes Neumann, HR Project Manager at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, was recently at the SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Conference, where he described why his company turned to SAP SuccessFactors.

“It was the first tool we brought in for the new company, and we couldn’t believe it would be possible to go live in just six months,” said Neumann. “But we were able to bring all employees in every country on the system, providing the master data that feeds all of our important systems to connect the layers with employee information.”

SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting and SAP SuccessFactors Performance & Goals have proven ideally suited to the company’s objectives.

“Those three modules were exactly what we needed,” said Neumann. “We had no infrastructure for our people − both employees and contingent workers − and needed a tool for basic HR processes like self-service for managers and employees. We also urgently needed recruitment that allowed for candidate sourcing and application processing, and performance management and goal-setting tailored to our new company. We also had to carry over our existing information. This included all employee data, as well as recruitment information and performance management goals.”

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprises accelerates HR reporting time by over 80% using SAP SuccessFactors

Accelerated Reporting Time by Over 80 Percent

Replacing disparate, paper-based recordkeeping with centralized, updated information has helped Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise achieve significant time-savings, particularly in meeting HR key performance indicators (KPIs). In a major milestone for headcount reporting, the company reduced the time required to obtain accurate data on the number of employees from three weeks to several days.

“The information we provide through bi-weekly management reports to senior-level teams is directly used to support decision-making in areas including headcount allocations, hiring and addressing attribution issues,” said Neumann. “Now we have an accurate employee headcount much faster, supporting better decision-making. Management can make faster decisions based on updated data in the system.”

Employee Self-Service

Integrated workflows allow Finance, IT, HR and all team managers to streamline approvals and other processes across departments. One of the biggest impacts has been around payroll for employees located in 50 countries. Employees are using the system to create their own profiles, and manage all of their personal and career-related information. Meantime, the payroll team automatically receives information on employee-related data through the system.

“We’ve realized huge time-savings going from manual systems to automated processing of information to the payroll team. In total it’s the equivalent of one full-time employee,” said Neumann. “

Integrated recruiting is another major advancement. In shifting from manual job postings and candidate correspondence to automated workflows, the company has streamlined informed decision-making for the entire hiring process, from job requisitions and candidate recruitment through employee onboarding.

“The information we receive from our HR KPIs on who is working where, being recruited or leaving is coming from SAP SuccessFactors,” said Neumann. “We can quickly decide where we need to recruit and manage the whole process smoothly.”

Accelerated Performance Management

Replacing legacy and partially paper-based goal-setting and performance management processes with SAP SuccessFactors allows managers and employees to use the system together setting, analyzing, discussing and finalizing goals. Besides yearend performance reviews, managers can provide assessments, and employees have the opportunity for self-assessment. Many have benefitted from the live, online interactivity.

“The tool is a great foundation to have quality conversations between managers and their employees because the process is lean and user-friendly. It’s highly accepted,” said Neumann. “Employees receive cascaded goals from management via the tool, and some had an almost live online exchange with their managers making suggestions and gaining agreement on goals.”

Speed and innovation have long been the hallmarks of Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. Now the company’s HR processes are aligned with the company’s commitment to meet the future of enterprise communications and services, empowering managers and employees with transparent, streamlined ease. “We’ve gone from an ultra-complicated approach to something that’s simple and easy to use,” said Neumann. “We’ve done some configuration after the launch, and have had significant positive feedback from employees.”

Follow me @smgaler

Image via Shutterstock

via SAP News Center

The Internet Of Things And The Explosion Of Life At The Periphery

Thứ Hai, 27 tháng 6, 2016

The Next Digital Hub of Africa Isn’t Where You Think It Is

Let’s start with a short quiz. Which African country is: the world’s fastest developing country according the UN’s Human Development Index – and has annual growth rates of about 8%?

The second easiest place to do business on the continent? The safest to walk at night in Africa and fifth globally?*

If you guessed Rwanda, you’d be right. Rwanda is a small country located in Eastern Africa bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

For many foreigners, the country is still associated with the civil war that occurred in 1994. But Rwanda has done an exemplary job putting its past behind with a commitment to democracy, justice, reconciliation, and development.

Last month the World Economic Forum on Africa took place in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, and was focused on “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation.” It’s no coincidence the event was located there, given that Rwanda is now known as a “regional high tech hub and boasts one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest GDP growth rates.

Also, no surprise that SAP kicked off its second year of Africa Code Week from the Forum in Kigali. SAP and partners created Africa Code Week to teach software coding skills to young people from age 8 to 24. Last year the initiative reached 89,000 youth in 17 countries. The goal for 2016 is to train more than 150,000 youth across 30 countries.


Why Rwanda?

Walking the streets of Kigali, the city is clean and beautifully landscaped with new buildings are everywhere. When I spoke with is Abdul Musare Arsene, a young journalist in Kigali last month, I asked him what excited him most about Rwanda right now.

He said, “Rwanda is developing so quickly. Much more so than neighboring countries – Burundi, Congo, Uganda — if you leave Kigali for two months, you come back a stranger. There are new buildings everywhere and so much economic development.”

Rwanda’s progress is due to a very deliberate strategy. Enacted in 2000, Vision 2020 is Rwanda’s strategy to become a middle-income country by the year 2020 and transform Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy that can compete regionally and globally.

Increasing the technology infrastructure is arguably the most important pillar to the success of Vision 2020 and cuts across all of the program’s priorities such as good governance, a skilled workforce and vibrant private sector.

The government has been steadily dedicating funds and raising foreign investment for the ICT sector. The result: Rwanda is now a best practice showing how a nation can overcome historical trauma, forging a new identity as technology innovators. An interim report on progress shows that since 2000:

  • ICT grew at 25 percent, while the rest of the economy grew at about 7 percent.
  • Phone and internet penetration is at about 70 percent and 28 percent respectively
  • The country is well on its way to providing 4G LTE coverage for 95 percent of Rwandans by 2017.
  • Over 5,000 kilometers optic fiber have been laid throughout the country.

Private and Public Ignite Tech Entrepreneurship

With 43 percent of the Rwandan population under 16 years, sustained growth depends on teaching young people technology skills and inspiring entrepreneurship. This is partly why government officials have embraced Africa Code Week, like Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT of the government of Rwanda.

Minister Nsengimana said, He continues, “Africa Code Week is opening a new area of opportunity up to everyone. It’s shaping a mindset that coding is going to be the new language – that everyone has the right to be literate in the 21st century, especially the young generation. And it’s a challenge also, that more needs to be done to equip schools so that we close the gap as much as possible between those who have access to the best infrastructure and those in rural Africa that have been left behind.”

The country’s burgeoning private sector also avidly supports Africa Code Week. Aphrodice Mutangana is a young entrepreneur who started several businesses, including a platform that crowd-sources care for elderly survivors of the 1994 genocide; and mobile healthcare solution that delivers information about prescription pharmaceuticals available in Africa.

Aphrodice serves as Rwandan ambassador for Africa Code Week 2016, helping to identify trainers, students and partners across the private and public sectors. He is also managing director of kLabs, an innovation hub that brings together young IT entrepreneurs with more experienced mentors.

Here’s an example of how Aphrodice and kLabs help spark innovation amongst young Rwandans. Eric Kubwumucunguzi is a 20 year old entrepreneur who receives support from kLabs for his company that improves software users experience. In turn, Eric is helping his 14 years-old brother start a company that will use internet of things technology (via wearables and sensors on motorcycles) to help prevent “mototaxi” accidents. Motorbike taxis are the major form of public transport, and very dangerous, so this solution could have significant impact on citizens’ safety in Kigali.

In July, SAP will send employee volunteers to support organization that are advancing the ICT agenda in Rwanda including HeHeLabs, a mobile technology company, and Rwanda ICT Chamber, which supports new technology-focused businesses and entrerpreneurs – including kLabs.

Rwanda is truly an incredible story of transformation. Coming back from a genocide where extremist members of the Hutu majority ethnic group slaughtered approximately one million of their Tsutsi neighbors over only a few months, as well as moderate Hutus, the country is now well on its way to become a model for development and digital transformation.

When asked what other African countries could learn from Rwanda, Minister Nsengimana said the difference is making education a priority, even when it means sacrifice. “It’s a complicated situation. You have to choose where to put that one dollar, which every sector is crying out for. Rwanda has done proportionally much more than other countries to prioritize education, to really invest in the next generation. That’s what Rwanda is doing.”

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

*Taken from Rwanda Achievements

via SAP News Center

Organic Food Boom Leads Alnatura to New Retail Solution

Global demand for organic foods is growing rapidly. Not because organic is new, or because a giant health craze is sweeping the globe. It’s because people can’t be kept in the dark anymore.

Information about how food is created and handled can be found and shared with the world in an instant. We know that an apple isn’t just an apple, and a chicken isn’t just a chicken. And it’s pretty obvious that harmful fertilizers, pesticides, and growth hormones are meant to make people wealthier not healthier.

As awareness rises about the benefits of organic foods so do sales for organic grocers. Alnatura, one of the first and now largest organic supermarket chains in and around Germany, opened its first natural market in Mannheim in 1987, and has grown to over 100 stores.

In an interview with Richard Kneis, CIO of Alnatura, he said, “In the four and a half years that I’ve been with Alnatura, both the number of employees and company revenue have doubled.”

This rapid pace of growth put such a strain on Alnatura’s IT landscape that Kneis had to completely rethink the IT strategy of the company. He needed a future-oriented technology platform that could sustain continued growth.

Kneis and his team gathered the company’s business and IT requirements, reviewed the best enterprise software solutions for the retail industry, and selected SAP.

“SAP ERP integrates all the business processes that are vital in the retail industry and they can still be customized easily in order to comply with any company specific needs,” said Kneis.

The SAP implementation was the largest IT project in Alnatura history. A key ingredient to its success was the great teamwork across the entire organization and with its implementation partner. In addition, the project was considered a business project, not just an IT project, and pulled the entire company together.

“Today we can talk and discuss with the various departments on a different level. They seem to be more open to new approaches and subject matter,” explained Kneis.

There have been significant business benefits too. Business processes have been reduced in numbers and simplified throughout the company. The integrated nature of the ERP solution also improved workflow and collaboration between departments.

“We are able to manage all processes, from product development to sales, in one central system,” said Kneis.

These improvements extend beyond company headquarters and into the branches. The visibility Alnatura gained across its stores resulted in new insight and opportunities for improvement.

“SAP will enable us to react to changes more quickly and more dynamically in the future. That was not possible before,” said Kneis.

Now that it has a solid IT platform in place, Alnatura has the flexibility to push the business in new directions with more speed and confidence.

“Digitization of branches, Big Data, and SAP S/4HANA are topics we are quite interested in and that is the big advantage we are experiencing today,” concluded Kneis.

That’s an IT strategy that will help people live healthier lives.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

via SAP News Center

Why Companies Don’t Need Knowledge Workers Anymore

Thứ Sáu, 24 tháng 6, 2016

Machine Learning and Talent Selection: Moving Us Forward or Back?

Will machines replace HR and managers when it comes to decisions about people? That’s the question at the crux of a recent Fortune article, Wall Street is Betting on Software to Find Top Talent.

Research shows that machine learning algorithms may learn and incorporate bias into their decision-making processes. They help make better decisions, in part, because of the large amounts of data that can be extracted – from content provided around decisions that were made in the past to the outcomes that resulted. Each transaction provides a historical map from which better decisions can be made. But the truth is, when it comes to people at work and many human capital decisions, there is no cookie cutter approach. And those past decisions may not form the best map to read from when informing future outcomes.

Algorithms are susceptible to the same biases as the humans that program them, particularly when you consider the nature of the data driving them. If financial institutions (as mentioned in the Fortune article) program in past markers of success, they are likely programming in biased decisions made around performance ratings, developmental opportunities, rewards and promotions. A quick look at the demographic characteristics of those at the top level of most financial institutions reveals the historic bias of these decisions.

So while machine learning algorithms are mining data to extract the characteristics and commonalities that drive top performance, they may also be finding superfluous, superficial commonalities that have little to do with performance and serve only to exclude certain groups that don’t fit the mold. Just because your existing top performers share something in common, this does not mean that thing is desirable, or that it makes sense to continue selecting talent based on that thing. Unlike humans who can, with attention and intention, mitigate the biases that color their decision making, machines cannot correct themselves.

So how do we balance the desire for faster, more automated hiring that is necessary in an increasingly fast-paced world of work with the need to make selection decisions based on the right things? The answer is just that: balance.

There is a significant opportunity for machine learning algorithms to inform and improve, but not totally replace, human decision-making. If we consider the output from these programs as just one of several important data points in the hiring process, we strengthen our ability to make decisions based on the criteria our businesses need rather than the characteristics we implicitly identify with “success”.

Machines and data can be our allies in building more inclusive, innovative workforces, but if we use them as the ultimate deciders we simply transfer bias from ourselves to the tools we create.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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Cooking Up Change: Exploring the Taste of Company Culture

The food sector, it turns out, is a particularly fruitful topic for exploring the changing world of work.

The culinary world is setting new standards. Food has moved from pure necessity to iconic symbol. While always deeply embedded in local culture, in recent years food has become available on a global level. Kitchens have transformed from dark, Tayloristic places to decorative art. They are not merely used as a space to cook and bake. Kitchens now encourage social interaction in families, they house party guests and entertain. Kitchens display social status and they even turn into offices. Eating has metamorphosed into a sensual experience. Instead of a hand-to-mouth experience, cooking is now considered to be a full-fledged hobby and means of self-expression, as illustrated by the sheer number of food blogs, magazines and TV shows.

Despite the paradoxical situation of less time used for preparing fresh food, but at the same time a growing trend towards locally grown, organically produces and global cuisines, there is a growing cultural understanding of the culinary world. One can unquestionably refer to a new culinary culture.

The situation is similar in the business world. Companies wanting to stay innovative have started tackling their culture. New work and innovation culture are on everyone´s lips, no longer limited to the allegedly trendy start-up scene.

According to Austrian-born founder of modern management, Peter Drucker, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Being perfectly aware of the many contradictory voices to his quote, I do not want to undermine the importance of pursuing an integrated and sustainable strategic focus within the company. However, too often a company´s strategy is ineffective due to missing alignment with the ingrained culture. Management executives tend to overlook the importance of organizational culture, stating they have bigger fish to fry. To avoid this disconnect, you have to understand that our culture decisively shapes the way we behave as a social community and sets the stage for how people interact. In a business context, it operationalizes company values, customs and traditions and translates them into a guiding framework for decision-making and interaction within the company. In short, it forms a company´s essential personality and will always leave the sturdiest aftertaste.

Despite correlating with industrialization and technical innovation, cultural change usually drags behind technological change. Translated to a business context, this means that companies wanting to remain innovative should carefully consider a transformation in their organizational culture. Initially, it may seem paradox that a digitalization and more connected world triggers a humanization of work. Still, a creative mindset, social skills and independent thinking have turned into key assets of success. A coherent operational framework forms the breeding ground for radically new ideas.

So what´s the recipe for an innovative work culture? Wake up and smell the coffee. Become aware of your surroundings and do a reality check. What practices and values exist? Instead of asking where you want to grow, ask yourself who you want to be and what you want to be great at. No company is alike, so the following ingredients can only be considered to be the staples, which should always be available in your pantry. With different composition and herbs and spices, the flavor on the plate will change.


The Head Cook’s New Role or New Role for the Head Cook

Just as any chef in a professional kitchen needs to be more of a coach, management executives should be too. What connects a new generation of leaders, is their absolute love for people. They enjoy nurturing and shaping the further development of their employees. They recognize that people are the most central asset for the company. They even seem to magically stroke their team. The creation of an egalitarian cultures with flat hierarchies cultivates an environment of trust and truthfulness. Increasingly, executives regard their employees as individual leadership personality. Of course there is no one true style of management within the same team. But overall, the best leaders have moved from delegating decision-makers to brainstorming partners, development coaches and mentoring guides.

Diverse Cooks Pimp the Broth

Culture has to be thought through from hiring to operations. Seeing that variety is the spice of life, create a team with a wide-ranging mix of talents, experience levels, age and background. Choose people who did not wander along traditional or short paths, but took detours along the way. Such varying perspectives are the bread and butter for coming up with innovative ideas. In addition, diversity triggers mindfulness about differences. In order to evaluate whether potential new hires are a good fit to the team, get as many employees as possible involved in the recruiting process. They can best assess whether the new hires share team values or do not and will thus either reinforce the company´s culture or erode it, respectively.

A Guidance a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Fostering an environment where employees feel cared about and trusted should be your primary focus. Openness and feedback are key to encourage such an atmosphere. Feedback in this context includes both constructive criticism and meaningful positive praise, encouraging growth and development. They must be organically interwoven with daily routines to become part of the company culture. Overall, a positive, respectful and kind atmosphere leads to the feeling of appreciation.

Everyone Bakes His Own Bread

People are highly motivated when they have enough freedom to grow and develop. Within the organizational culture, provide scope for development and encourage employees to follow their unique passions. This could mean to have a guided mechanism of project distribution and staffing. Or dedicate certain days per month on which the staff can work on non-job related projects or brainstorm new ideas together. While professional training opportunities should be granted, try to additionally focus on team development rather than individual development. Provide the freedom to mutually learn from each other and grow as a team.

All Great Parties End in the Kitchen

While your dish may taste the same whether it´s been cooked on a stove in a dirty six square meter storage room or in a fully equipped open kitchen in a palace, the experience differs completely from the cook´s perspective. Space has an emotional importance for everyone who works in it. Just as the kitchen crew will come up with creative combinations in inspiring surroundings, the same applies for every company. When designing office spaces, never underestimate the way environments shape the way we work. Open collaborative spaces, flexible furniture, quiet zones and game nooks are just a few examples that will outnumber traditional work cubicles.


Do Lunch or Be Lunch

Why should you as a company even adapt the way you cook or the flavors you use? The answer is simple: palates are changing and with them, the demands for your cooked food. Agile and creative, intrinsically motivated and energetic future employees have different taste buds. If you want to bring home the bacon (or else: if you want to hire such people), you have to carefully consider your company´s culture and provide them with a higher order of meaning. Employees require a meaningful job with a purpose. The power of why we work here has become one of the most crucial elements of choice.

Never Put All Your Eggs in the Culture Basket

Changing a company´s identity is no piece of cake. Changing a company´s strategy isn´t either. Both changes take time and should not be considered by themselves. Instead of having culture consuming strategy for breakfast, have them nurture each other. In other words, a strategic focus is still important for achieving success. However, a company’s strategy must be aligned with the core values and guiding principles. While the above-mentioned ingredients form the pantry staples, it is now your task to define the mixing ratio, choose additional spices and prepare side dishes. Everyone can cook, so put your apron on!

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends.

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Workplace Robots Are Shaping Up to Create More Jobs

The world has already witnessed three industrial revolutions that have brought disruptive leaps across industrial processes, resulting in significantly higher productivity. In the course of nearly 200 years, we went from improving efficiency with hydropower, steam power, machine tools, and assembly lines to accelerating automation with electronics and IT.

Each one of these eras birthed disruptive forces that dramatically affected society as well the economy – sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

Our current revolution – the digital economy – is centered on hyperconnectivity: the exponential growth in the interconnectedness of people, organizations, and objects. When everything is connected, you can effectively digitize the physical world and render it operable by software. The possibilities are truly endless.

However, the advent of this third revolution is strikingly similar to the size and scope of the first industrial revolution. For example, the first revolution changed the face of global society by shifting our world from an agrarian economy, consisting of a large number of middle-class farmers, to an urban economy, characterized by the merciless plight of the urban factory worker of the 19th century. Within the first 70 years, conditions got so extreme that groups, commonly coined “Luddites,” would destroy mechanical tools and factories to stop this impending change.

And now, we are about to revisit something similar as we enter into the age of the digital economy.

Could Robots be the Answer to Unemployment?

A University of Oxford study found that half of American jobs could be automated within the next two decades. This is strikingly similar to how 80% of American agriculture jobs in the early 19th century were steadily replaced by jobs that didn’t exist in the early 1800s – welders, machine operators, mass transportation, among others. And this transformation of the labor market is about to happen again.

We are now seeing the possibility of robots displacing many human workers – mostly through the automation of repetitive tasks. In the digital economy, robots are becoming more intelligent as they continue to adapt, communicate, and interact more efficiently. With these capabilities come unprecedented productivity as well as profoundly changing cost structures, skill sets, and workflows.

Even though the reality of a fully autonomous, human-free enterprise is still a very long way off, there is still some concern that these new technologies will eventually replace many jobs. While this may be true, new jobs will be created based on a human-to-machine symbiosis that performs better than either entity by themselves.

Data from the widespread use of industrial robots over the past two decades already indicates new jobs are spawned at a rate of three to one when robots are deployed. Of the six countries examined in the study, five of them experienced declining unemployment rates as robot use rose.

A New Revolution for the Labor Market

To meet this challenge of mass disemployment, we should consider the skills needed to make the most of this transition. In 2015, Brynjolfsson and McAfee argued that society must learn to work together with robots or, as they put it, “race with the machine rather than against it.” They believe that the future of work depends on achieving an optimum balance between the new generation of high-performance machines and human skills.

It’s quite clear that work will morph into new and quasi-new forms of employment. If we cease to think of the employment landscape we enjoy today as the norm, we will be better equipped to drive a new landscape with these new technologies. And in turn, new employment patterns will make the best use of the upcoming millennial work population.

Figure: New work patterns of the digital economy (Courtesy: Eurofound)

These new work patterns will enable companies to add the right mix of “human in the loop” to allow specializationand full utilization. The degree of specialization will also fit into the millennial employment habit of staying active on multiple fronts to allow the upcoming trend of portfolio work to grow organically.

The ability for new technologies – such as intelligent agents partitioning and synthesizing tasks – will drive more forward-looking changes including crowd working. This is where an online platform matches employers to workers, and projects are split into micro-tasks and divided among a cloud of workers. As our customer demand for service and attention continue to grow, for example, these agents will be able to handle massive numbers of simultaneous “conversations” that can then be distilled and synthesized. But more important, they will deliver the information to the right employee who will perform complex tasks – such as negotiation, new idea generation, and problem solving – that the agent cannot.

So in the end, jobs that require creativity, emotional intelligence, and social skills are unlikely to be filled by robots any time soon. Our managers, nurses, artists, and entrepreneurs will remain human.

For a more detailed look into the digital economy and its impact check out the research paper “Live Business: The Digitization of Everything” on Digitalist Magazine online. 

This story originally appeared on The Digitalist Magazins as part of the 10 Weeks of Live Business series.
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