Thứ Sáu, 30 tháng 12, 2016

2016 in Retrospect: A Year of Uplifting Trends in Business

From the farm field to the factory floor, 2016 was a year that saw businesses everywhere “running live.”

A review of just a few stories from the year demonstrates how a diverse range of exciting companies have begun streamlining processes – and as a direct result are now helping more people than ever before.

The year began with continued growing consumer interest in purchasing Fair Trade Certified products. In fact, the fair trade label is the most top-of-mind, and environmentally friendly product label in the world.

As the first tea crafter in the United States to offer Fair Trade Certified tea, one company has been widely credited with greatly expanding awareness of fair trade. Their story detailed how having North America’s number one selling organic tea line quickly meant finding a new system for tracking everything from inventory to ingredients was in the tea leaves.

Often associated with fair trade is fair price, and this company’s very name reflects an ongoing commitment to help care for local communities.

The organization remained committed to providing its customers with stocked stores and affordable prices – while the philanthropic foundation that is its namesake continued to make good on its stated mission to provide a better life for the community.

Correspondingly, workplace giving also continued to rise in 2016. However, the question many employees continue to ask is, “how do I know my money is getting to the right place?” That question, as well as a guide to the advantages of making paycheck donations, was addressed in this story.

Increasingly, many people believe that the giving of one’s time is equal to or even more valuable than money. Volunteering was certainly a practice that millennials continued to value in the past year. Increasingly, firms are realizing that employees feel more fulfilled when they use their creative brainpower and time to help others.

So in 2016 we looked at how one company truly values all that millennials bring to the organization, and how much they appreciated their employees as they mentor children, visit hospitals, and make special deliveries to those in need.

Appreciation was a recurring theme and much discussed topic during the year. In fact, this story presented some compelling facts around why despite a rapidly digitizing workplace, making employees feel more appreciated is a critical requirement for every organization.

The research presented also demonstrated that strong performance recognition for great work significantly impacts employee engagement.

A discussion about 2016 wouldn’t be complete without talking about organic foods. A program in India is using the latest technology to help farmers keep pace with the growing demand for organic food.

This story provided details on how taking a holistic approach is not only producing higher-quality food, but also offering a more sustainable future.

2016 saw some incredible advances in technology that have enabled businesses like those in the stories above to simplify and in the process help more and more people. Therefore, the excitement is already building for 2017 as technology is certain to remain the driving force behind today’s business revolution.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

via SAP News Center

SAP’s Representative Body for People with Severe Disabilities

Thứ Năm, 29 tháng 12, 2016

Need a Vacation? In the Future, Ask SAP CoPilot

In this installment of a series about SAP CoPilot, we will explore in more detail the topic of natural language processing (NLP). The goal of NLP is to enable users to communicate with software in an intuitive way, that is to say, in languages that people use to talk to each other instead of in special computer languages.

Getting Stuff Done, Today and Tomorrow

How do you currently apply for a day of vacation in your company? Personally, I go into our corporate portal, click on “Employee Services,” there I see an SAP Fiori tile called “Time & Vacation.” Inside that tile I click a link called “Leave Request.” Then I see an overview of a dozen or so of my past leave requests as well as a button called “Create New Leave Request.” I click on that and then a new screen appears with a calendar view of my teammates’ planned vacation. At the bottom of the screen, I can specify the exact days and the type of leave request that I want.

Now don’t get me wrong. This is a very good user interface! It works really well, provides me with relevant information for the task at hand, looks good, and is easy to use. But let’s bring natural language processing into the experience and see if it could be better…

As an optional component of SAP Fiori 2.0, SAP will introduce CoPilot, the integrated digital assistant for the live enterprise. So let’s imagine applying for vacation with SAP CoPilot:

You: Click on the SAP CoPilot icon in SAP Fiori and say, “Hey, I need a day of vacation!”
SAP CoPilot: “When would you like to take a day of vacation?”
You: “Next Friday.”
SAP CoPilot: “Do you want me to create a leave request for you for Friday, November 25th?”
You: “Yes.”
SAP CoPilot: I have created the following leave request for you and sent it to your manager.”
You: “Oh. Can you also tell me how many people in my team are also taking next Friday off and how many days of vacation I have left this year?”
SAP CoPilot: “Two of your teammates have scheduled vacation for November 25th. You have 10 days of vacation left this year.”
You: “OK. Thanks.”
SAP CoPilot: “You are welcome.”


So what is going on here? First of all, you can interact with the system more or less as if it were a real person. By applying state-of-the-art natural language processing and understanding techniques, SAP CoPilot would know that when you say, “a day of vacation,” your leave request is not for a sick day, but for a day off. It knows that “next Friday” is “November 25.” You also don’t need to scan through tables of data you may or may not be interested in. SAP CoPilot immediately delivers the information that you requested. You can speak to SAP CoPilot in a way that is natural and intuitive, and you don’t need to navigate from one screen to another to access the leave request app. SAP CoPilot goes directly to the right place. Using a digital assistant dramatically unifies and simplifies the user experience.

The scenario above exemplifies a question and answer interaction between a human being talking in a natural way with an intelligent bit of software that understands the user’s business context and has access to the enterprise system. Asking questions and getting useful answers that help you to quickly reach your goal is a great step forward, but how can this get even better? Let’s project this chat scenario a bit farther into the future, where the SAP CoPilot becomes a true digital assistant.

Beyond Questions and Answers

According to Venessa Micelli-Schmidt, Product Expert for SAP CoPilot, “Based on your previous actions, SAP CoPilot could proactively provide information or recommendations that relate to what you are currently doing or that are triggered by a specific point in time.” So, getting back to our leave request example, SAP CoPilot could learn that you usually ask about your colleagues’ planned absences when you apply for your vacation. It could provide that information to you each time you request for time off without you having to ask it to do so. Want it to stop? Just say so.

As SAP CoPilot is aware of the user’s business context, it could offer relevant insights just when you need them based on your role, context and current business situation. Micelli-Schmidt predicts that “State-of-the-art machine learning techniques will make SAP CoPilot smarter over time and allow it to identify situations in your working environment where you might need assistance.” That means that digital assistance has the potential to go far beyond simple scenarios such as leave requests. Imagine one of your contracts is about to expire. SAP CoPilot could, for example, not only notify you, but also recommend that you have a look at the contract and prolong it.

Have a digital assistant reach deep into business tasks, especially complicated and business-critical ones, may sound scary. But if the situation or question is unclear, SAP CoPilot will answer back with a question to clarify. And this interaction will incrementally make SAP CoPilot more competent, ultimately helping you to do your job better and faster than ever before.

To stay informed about SAP CoPilot, check out the Twitter hashtag #SAPCoPilot. You can also stay on top of what SAP is doing with regard to user experience and design by following @SAP_designs on Twitter.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

via SAP News Center

Perception vs Reality: Drones

Perception: Drones are as easy to use as smartphones.

Reality: Enterprise drones are a different class than hobbyists’ toys. Just operating them commercially requires training, certification, and compliance with emerging government regulations. To fully utilize them in industrial applications and maximize their business value requires deep integration into existing business processes and workflows, a thorough understanding of their data security implications, and expertise in flight operations and fleet management.

Early deployments suggest drones have vast potential for real-time business. They are an ideal platform for carrying the ever-expanding array of sensors measuring heat, light, motion, vibration, chemical and biological agents, acceleration, torque, and gestures in virtually any location. High-speed communications can make all this data available instantly for analysis or for automatically triggering workflows. For example, an insurance company could use drones for disaster assessment, connecting live streams of information about building and infrastructure damage, heat sources, and airborne toxins to their claims systems.

Perception: Soon we’ll be swatting drones away like flies.

Reality: Will the skies fill up with swarms of drones? It may depend on where you are.

In March 2016, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration predicted that sales for commercial drones could increase from 600,000 to 2.7 million by 2020. But three months later, the agency issued regulations to determine where, when, and how fast those drones can operate. In this case, drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, fly only in good weather, maintain a speed under 100 mph, stay away from airports, and remain in view of their certified operators.

Rules in some other countries are more restrictive. Australia, for instance, requires certification of commercial drone operators. Meanwhile Israel mandates advanced pilot’s licenses and insurance. As regulations continue to evolve, the use of drones in corporate, manufacturing, warehousing, and other closed settings will likely be impacted to some degree. Even though international rules are not yet set, such policies are a good first step in managing drone proliferation responsibly, which will accelerate the acceptance and economic benefits of this powerful innovation.

Perception: We’ll have no shred of privacy left.

Reality: To date, policy makers around the world have yet to craft enforceable government regulations that fully address the obvious privacy issues inherent in any potentially omnipresent, all-seeing technology. And not surprisingly, advocates for privacy protection view this as a glaring omission.

To help rein in nosy people or worse, the U.S. Department of Commerce convened a group of experts to devise some reasonable guidelines. In May 2016, it released Voluntary Best Practices for UAS Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability, which is full of sound ideas and includes an appendix outlining the responsible use of unmanned aircraft systems in the commercial and private sectors. However, as the report title itself makes clear, these suggestions are only recommendations—not law.

It’s fair to say that this issue is a long way from being resolved. Tech industry groups, law enforcement associations, and civil rights organizations are all concerned about how to maintain the delicate balance between privacy and security that’s challenged by this powerful and accelerating technology.

Dan Wellers is the Global Lead of Digital Futures at SAP

This story originally appeared on Digitalist Magazine.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Ba, 27 tháng 12, 2016

Superfans Redefine Brand Loyalty

Today there are fans, and then there are superfans. The superfans are usually pretty easy to spot. They are hyper-engaged and highly visible individuals who follow their favorite sports team, performer, or entertainment genre with an extraordinary – almost unbridled – passion.

Twitter is a good place to find them. And with followers that can number into the hundreds of thousands, these social ambassadors are redefining the very meaning of “brand loyalty.”

A Matter of Influence

Recently, I read a fascinating article by Alex Hodgson about why superfans are Hollywood’s unstoppable future. Hodgson writes that due to social media in particular, “Now fans aren’t just an audience; we’re a community . . . we value . . . the general sense that this entertainment is produced with us, not just for us.”

Hodgson’s article is largely describing how some superfans are becoming part of the entertainment industry itself. But his observations also allude to another reality.

From a business perspective, the real difference between the ordinary fan and the superfan seems to have less to do with enthusiasm and everything to do with influence.

Indeed, many companies in the entertainment business already recognize this distinction. As a result, they are actively helping their influential superfans generate the buzz.

Parkwood Entertainment – On the Corner of Art and Science

Parkwood Entertainment is one of those companies.

The New York City based firm is an entertainment management company that supports music artists with a full range of management, production, and marketing activities. This includes a number of up-and-coming performers signed to the newly formed Parkwood Music record label.

Recently, Parkwood Entertainment has been using a software solution from Phizzle Inc. to help it better understand superfan power. It’s really a confluence of art and science.

This technology incorporates a social listening component that uses sophisticated algorithms to search social media sources like Twitter for certain key words, phrases, and patterns. Relevant data is then gathered together and transferred to an in-memory computing platform for real-time analysis.

Ultimately, the information is presented to the people at Parkwood Entertainment via custom dashboards that let them uniquely identify superfan records and understand these fans by any number of criteria.

“I can segment fans, assess sentiment and interests, and see what’s trending,” notes Rachel Hislop, an online content manager at Parkwood Entertainment. “And it’s easy to see who’s influencing conversations about our artists, events, and activations.”

Capitalizing on Insight

But Parkwood Entertainment is not just using this information to identify their loyal following and understand what’s hot, and what’s not. By capitalizing on these insights, the company is being more strategic about releasing content related to artist events and campaigns.

“During pivotal release periods and events, we need to better understand the makeup and interests of our fans in order to give them the right content and messages at the right time to maximize impact,” explains Hislop.

Opportunities Beyond Entertainment

Superfans are a resource that many more companies should be taking advantage of.

After all, the phenomenon is by no means restricted to the worlds of sports and entertainment. Hey, there are folks out there voluntarily tattooing their bodies with the logos of their favorite motorcycle maker or fast-food franchise!

Why not find out who is tweeting about your company and give them something to talk about?

To learn more, read more about how Parkwood Entertainment is driving engagement in this SAP Business Transformation Study.

Please follow me on Twitter @JohnGWard3.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

via SAP News Center

JR Simplot: Real Food, Real-Time Business

The world continues to expand and speed up, and keeping it fed is serious business. United States-based J.R. Simplot has been in the business of providing quality food – frozen, dehydrated, and fresh – for almost 100 years.

The founder, ‘Jack’ Simplot, started the business in 1923 at the age of 14. The cornerstone of his business was the humble and tasty potato.

By the beginning of World War II, Simplot was providing millions of pounds of dehydrated onions and potatoes to the U.S. military. But things really took off with the invention of the first commercially viable frozen French fry in the 1940’s. Perfecting the potato has been a passion for the company and the long French fries that we see today are a product of that dedication. Most of us have enjoyed this golden goodness at least once as Simplot is the major supplier of fast food giant, McDonald’s.

Expansion of Product and Availability

But J.R. Simplot did not rest on their success with the potato in the United States. They have expanded their business to include a variety of products such as feed, fertilizer, vegetables, grains, avocados, and fruit; all available to commercial providers.

They have also expanded their range beyond U.S. borders. Simplot has interests from Canada to Latin America; and out in the Pacific region from Australia to China. Of course, each one of these subsidiaries serves a market with its own unique flare and taste, but each retains the dedication to provide a hungry public with good, wholesome food.

Simplot Korea

One of the global subsidiaries is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. Simplot Korea operates with a small and dedicated staff of employees. Running their import, wholesale, and retail business in a competitive market requires a nimble and well informed salesforce. And in a global digital economy, that means real-time analytics in finance, logistics, and sales data.

The combined business requirements of visibility, powerful analytics, and high-speed performance led Simplot Korea to choose SAP Business One as their ERP solution.

This transparency has led to some impressive numbers (50% higher sales productivity, 50% faster financial closings), but the heart of this is Simplot Korea’s embrace of cutting edge technology in the most fundamental of industries – food production. They were able to deploy their solution in just 4 months with the help of their partner, FineSoft.

As the world continues to grow in population, companies like Simplot Korea will work to meet their need for nutritious food. By innovating their approach to their business, they now have a scalable platform to help them grow.

Learn more:  Business Transformation Study

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Hai, 26 tháng 12, 2016

ALDO’s Digital Transformation Simplifies Brand Experience

Shopping is fun, or at least it should be. But when retailers make it more complicated than necessary, consumers get frustrated and sales suffer.

Inconsistencies across a brand’s in-store and online channels, in things like inventory, prices, and shipping and returns, don’t exist for the benefit of the customer. They exist because the brand is struggling internally with its digital transformation to omnichannel commerce.

At the SAP Retail Forum, Bryan Eshelman, the Chief Operating Officer at ALDO Group Inc., described the challenge for retailers from the consumer’s perspective. He said, “Customers don’t think, what channel am I buying this from? They think, I’m buying shoes from ALDO and don’t want to know that there is a different way to buy shoes from our stores than there is online.”

That’s why ALDO is creating a simple, consistent, and seamless buying experience across the brand.

In the past, retail moved more slowly. Eshelman said it often took longer than a year for retailers to get a product through the design stage and into stores. It was a much more seasonal driven process and cadence but that model doesn’t work anymore.

Fast fashion is taking hold. See it, buy it, wear it now is the new mantra. Eshelman said, “Consumers don’t want to walk into a store in August and see fall goods. They’re in the summer mindset. They have an event this weekend and they want to find a cute sandal to go with their dress, not long heavy boots for winter.”

Eshelman also feels retailers need to get more precise with their inventory. Products need to be available on the customer’s terms. Not just available faster but at the right time, when and where the customer wants it.

To get there, retailers need to break down internal barriers and silos that stifle efficiency and communication. Offline and online distribution channels shouldn’t run as separate businesses. And if they do, the customer can’t know. The customer needs to see one brand wherever they shop. There can’t be friction between the channels. Customer data and shopping preferences need to flow freely between them.

Eshelman said it is also important to get information from retail partners. Integrating data from retailers that sell ALDO brands with data from its own stores will provide additional insight into customer behavior and trends. With that info, ALDO can evolve the assortment of the entire product line to better serve consumers’ current interests.

Data driven decisions help retailers stay relevant and differentiate brand. Eshelman said being the retailer of choice for its brands is key to ALDO’s future. They have to offer an experience and a brand to lifestyle connection that resonates with consumers and drives them to choose ALDO over the competition.

ALDO’s digital transformation, backed by solutions from SAP, gives it the speed, agility, and data needed to win customers and keep shopping fun.

Check out this highlight video of the Eshelman interview:

And don’t forget to register for the 2017 NRF Convention and Expo in New York City. Be sure to stop by the SAP Retail booth (#1921) to learn more about the latest innovations in retail!

Learn more:

Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

via SAP News Center

Transform Shopping With Video Stories

Thứ Sáu, 23 tháng 12, 2016

Santa’s Supply Chain Secret

We’re approaching the time when Santa — founder, chairman, and CEO of Santa Claus Toy Manufacturing and Distribution Corp. — manages to ship billions of toys in a single day, all with guaranteed overnight delivery. Year after year, how does he achieve this feat? By running a live supply chain.

Big Belly, Big Data

It begins with Santa’s unmatched ability to capture and analyze Big Data. His customer base is estimated at 7.4 billion, forecast to reach 11.2 billion by 2100. Surely he manages those records in an in-memory database.

Santa takes an omnichannel approach, harmonizing structured and unstructured data, including customer sentiment and segmentation. Traditionally he leverages high-touch customer interactions, taking a large number of orders in face-to-face meetings as his target customers (children of all ages) sit on his knee in Santa’s Grottos around the world. Another key channel is written orders, through the once-popular national postal systems, that optical character recognition converts to digital orders.

But Santa has also embraced e-mail and social media. Customers can engage with him online, on Facebook, and on Twitter, for example. Of course, Santa segments his target audience based on customer behavior, sourcing a large supply of coal for one particular segment.

From Elf Floor to Top-Shelf Floor

But Santa can’t silo his data. He needs to share it with elves throughout the enterprise.

Santa’s demand forecasting must have him pulling his long white beard, trying to synchronize supply and demand during sales and operations planning (S&OP) meetings. Bear in mind that his demand picture often changes in real time, as many orders are placed (along with milk and cookies) at point of delivery. He also has to manage millions of SKUs that all peak at exactly the same time.

Fortunately, Santa employees a highly engaged workforce with virtually zero turnover. And a robust business commerce network ensures that his workshop is never a single point of failure.

Still, these complex challenges require a highly responsive planning system to manage push/pull boundaries in the ultimate of demand-driven, finish-to-order planning and manufacturing processes. Yet he maintains a perfect order rating of 100%, mostly because he fields a best-in-class data scientist (probably Mrs. Claus).

GPS Coordinates: 90°00’0.00″ N 0°00’0.00″ E

Nonetheless, Santa faces unprecedented logistical challenges. First, because it’s sited in the North Pole, his manufacturing and distribution facility isn’t ideally located from a logistical perspective (though he does save on cooling costs for his data center).

Second, with a customer base of 7.4 billion, Santa and his elves must produce more than 20 million finished goods per day, 365 days a year, to ensure supply meets demand. Surely Santa is on the vanguard of 3D printing technology and additive manufacturing as we customize and personalize more of our gifts. But those products accumulate into the billions before shipping, creating the ultimate warehouse management challenge.

Then, Santa has the fulfillment headache of billions of direct-to-consumer deliveries in a single night. He can ease this burden by leveraging time zones, yet surely his 31-hour delivery run breaks hours-of-service rules for his reindeer. But they’re used to pushing the envelope, as visiting 822 customer locations per second requires travel at about 3,000 times the speed of sound. Let’s see an Amazon drone match that!

Twelve Days of IoT

There’s no question Santa’s sleigh is tricked out with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Weight sensors ensure the sleigh isn’t overloaded or out-of-balance. After all, assuming one product per customer at an average two pounds per product, Santa’s sleigh tips the scales at 7.4 million tons.

Health sensors monitor eight overworked reindeer. Given that a typical reindeer can carry no more than 300 pounds, Santa’s airborne team must do the job of well over 49 million of the nonflying variety. Real-time weather monitoring dictates whether a ninth illuminated reindeer gets added to the fleet.

Performance monitors send back data to Santa’s R&D elves, who continually improve sleigh design. They also enable preventive maintenance by technician elves, who ensure zero sleigh downtime.

Finally, GPS tracking, with an assist from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), allows parents to make sure children are asleep before Santa comes down the chimney.

In short, Santa runs the most real-time of extended supply chains — and the only logistics operation that’s literally “in the cloud.” Of course, all of this is industry rumor, as Santa guards his trade secrets well. But he’s been known to exclaim, ere he drives out of sight: “A live supply chain to all, and to all a good night!”

Learn more about how running a live supply chain can help you thrive today and innovate for tomorrow.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

Top image via Shutterstock

via SAP News Center

Techfugees: Escalating Humanitarian Startups

A combination between tech and refugees? How can these demographics serve as inspiration for the startup community in Berlin? The catchy new term represents a highly political and controversial shift for an industry that historically serves paying consumers only.

At this year’s Diversity in Tech Conference hosted by The Factory Berlin, panelists used the term “techfugees” to frame a discussion around the city’s tech industry and its growing number of refugees. The conversation also expanded to include, more broadly, diversity in tech, addressing topics from how immigrants are shaping Berlin’s tech ecosystem to gender inequality and potential next steps for the LGBTQIA community in tech.

Janette Gusko, Communications Director of Germany, moderated the “Techfugees” panel, which featured Paula Schwarz, Serial Founder of Startup Boat, Akram Afwakeeri, a Syrian engineer who had to restart his education after receiving asylum in Germany, and American Ruth Seregesi of the startup Young People Front for Democracy and Justice. The panel stressed the significance of entrepreneurship, startups, and their contributions to improving Europe’s refugee crisis.

Despite their diverse backgrounds and goals, they all agreed on one thing: too many startups talk about refugees, yet refugees themselves are rarely part of the conversation. There are so many people who want to help, yet no one listens to the ones who need it. The trend for entrepreneurs to commit to this topic seems very appealing: Berlin currently gives a grant to almost everybody with a plan to act on this issue. But what about the user? Is it enough to create solutions without involving those meant to benefit?

Concerned about the situation, Akram Afwakeeri advised stakeholders that even if there is a lot of funding available to help refugees nowadays, they should think carefully about three things before committing:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is the impact of what you are creating?
  • Is it a long-term project?

Startup entrepreneurs need to realize that solutions for the refugee crisis cannot be planned for the long-term. A diaspora community must have a termination date and it seems as if the created concepts are disconnected from reality. What really counts is the impact.

There is a risk of having humanitarian startups as a trend which escalates quickly, making it sometimes impossible to be replicated, but most importantly people are not allowed to narrate their own story. So how are these entrepreneurs tackling this problem?

Paula Schwarz, a 24-year old half Greek, half German, based in Berlin is the CEO of Startup Boat. Startup Boat specifically develops ways to make it easier for refugees to access information, and settle in their new home countries, or set about travelling to another. The startup consists of twenty entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and executives from Facebook, Lufthansa Innovation Hub, McKinsey, and others.

What happens if you involve refugees in the conversation? How can we empower refugees to be part of the solution for the European refugee crisis?, a pan-European site providing basic, but vital information about how and where refugees can register for residency cards, where they can access food, shelter, medical aid, and transport, seeks to involve the refugees through workshops and psychological support. They bring together entrepreneurs with NGOs and other stakeholders to figure out how different initiatives can be pushed forward. It is a space where entrepreneurs facilitating humanitarian assistance and refugees can interact and engage in a conversation to understand the community’s true needs and desires.

According to Schwarz, the fact that refugees — mostly highly educated and belonging to the middle class — are actively trying to improve their situation is a clear indicator of their entrepreneurial mindset.

“They actually are entrepreneurs because they found themselves in a difficult situation and they did something about it. That’s why we should see this phenomenon as a chance to welcome a highly capable workforce, rather than a problem.”

Refugees are able to understand their needs and actively contribute to solutions. In this way, they are not only recipients of help, but become part of the assistance themselves. Refugees should not be seen as people who need help, but considered as job creators and economically active members of their adoptive community. As Schwarz suggested in the panel, the current demographical situation proves that we live in a time of re-learning. It’s a time to rethink the definition of entrepreneurship in Europe. We must support development issues from the front end and be proactive, not reactive.

A deep understanding of the user once again finds itself at the core of solution development. The way humanitarian aid, humanitarian startups, and the refugee crisis itself is being perceived must be redefined. Empathy is more than a design thinking key word. It is the key to well-designed, tailored solutions and represents a new form of entrepreneurship — one that is scaling rapidly.

My personal take-away from this panel: The way forward must be tailored. Empowerment tools are needed. This is not a classical startup case, as the life expectancy for these ideas has to be short. All the diaspora community wants is to hurry up and resume their lives.

This story originally appeared on the SAP User Experience Community site.

via SAP News Center

Digital Devices to Enhance Children’s Education and Health

Field trips without the bus? Technology is changing classrooms in incredible ways, creating experiences for today’s students that would have seemed impossible a mere generation ago. Interactive capabilities let learners explore, travel, and adventure, all while at their desks.


The fictional Magic School Bus comes closer to reality with a virtual reality (VR)app that enables students to take field trips without leaving the classroom. Google’s Android and iOS-compatible Expeditions, with its cardboard virtual reality viewer, enables students to travel to some 200 locales, including Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the ecosystems of Borneo, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The virtual trips have been created through partnerships with organizations such as the Wildlife Conservation Society and the American Museum of Natural History. Teachers can use 360-degree panoramas and 3D images to lead their students to places they otherwise might never experience.


Platform and content creator Lifeliqe will soon be bringing its library of educational 3D content to virtual reality headsets. Lifeliqe (as in “life like”) has partnered with HTC Vive to create immersive VR adventures for students, empowering them to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, from the molecular level to outer space. Using 1,000-plus models, students from kindergarten through grade 12 will be able to travel through the human body or examine a shark from multiple angles—including the inside.

Some Assembly Code Required

Many children today have been exposed to technology since they were in utero. But that doesn’t mean they understand how it all works. Some educational technology companies are bringing the hands-on back to tech with projects designed to get kids building and coding what they imagine.


It arrives as a box of wooden pieces, but Piper, a DIY computer kit, is designed to make your seven-year-old tech fluent. By following the enclosed blueprint and using tools that include an old-school screwdriver, kids can make their own computer and gadgets such as controllers, lights, and buzzers. The Raspberry Pi–based laptop includes a Minecraft modification called PiperCraft, developed by scientists at Princeton and Stanford, for students to create their own games. With the goal of encouraging kids’ imaginations and sense of play, PiperCraft includes a treasure hunt adventure and virtual TNT-triggered explosions.

Mover Kit

For parents who don’t want to raise a couch potato, London-based tech startup Technology Will Save Us has launched its new Mover Kit to get kids away from the screen. The first DIY wearable for kids, Mover Kit uses two circuit boards to integrate a microcontroller, accelerometer, magnetometer, and eight colorful LED lights. Kids can create their own uses for the device by programming it with “if this, then that” logic to respond to physical movement.

Sensitive Sensoring

Children’s health and development have always been a top priority for parents. These devices have been created to help kids stay happy and healthy.


Withings’ Thermo, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration–approved thermometer, is designed to make it easier to take children’s temperatures and track fevers. Using its 16 infrared sensors to collect 4,000 measurements, Thermo needs only a skim across the forehead—without touching skin—to return a temperature reading in two seconds. The built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can then send the information to a smartphone app that tracks the fever. Parents can set up profiles for different family members. Thermo also connects to Thermia, a fever calculator and database site run by Boston Children’s Hospital, which gives fever information and recommends treatments.


A cute orb with a digital face, Leka is a robotic programmable smart toy that moves, speaks, plays music, and vibrates. It’s designed to help children with special needs develop social, motor, and cognitive abilities. Leka’s sensors enable it to react to children’s behavior, helping the children become independent by guiding them through daily activities, such as brushing their teeth.

The device’s consistent responses to how children treat it (for example, by making a sad face if a child throws it) help minimize stress and anxiety. Single- and multiplayer games enable children to play with their Leka on their own or with family members or therapists. The platform captures data that gives parents and other care providers a picture of their children’s interactions and development. It also offers educational applications, like the picture bingo app where real-life objects are matched with images on Leka’s screen.

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

This story originally appeared on Digitalist Magazine.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Năm, 22 tháng 12, 2016 is Leading the Digital Transformation in the German Grocery Market

We live in a world where everything is just one click away. Be it books, clothes, electronics – no matter what your heart desires, you can easily get it without leaving your desk or sofa.

It usually also gets shipped to you the day after you clicked the “buy” button. Soon, your goods will even get delivered instantly, within only 30 minutes or less, and instead of mail trucks on the road you will see drones flying past your kitchen window.

What is the Big Challenge in the Grocery Market?

While big brands are working feverishly to translate this vision into reality, the Swiss software provider SAAS Software as a Service AG has successfully filled a major gap in the grocery market and adapted to the home delivery trend: you can now do your entire weekly shopping online.

Not so special, you may think? Well, think again – where do YOU usually buy fresh food items like grapes, milk, and eggs? Most likely, you go to your local supermarket, run through the aisles, and put the food into your shopping cart. Why is that? Because most supermarkets and grocery shops sell fresh food exclusively in their physical stores.

The same is true for the German grocery market. Stores may have websites and apps, however, the online experience is best described as window-shopping – you can look but you can’t buy. Or, if you are lucky, you can buy from a limited selection of the entire product range, which does not include those that are fresh. So, what to do?

Closing the Gap with the Right Technology

SAAS AG realized they could help traditional grocers to easily meet this customer need by connecting their existing business to the right shopping platform. The question, however, was how to present and market products in a compelling way, so that they could drive business in this channel.

To create the experience they wanted, SAAS AG used a combination of services they subscribed to on the SAP Hybris as a Service marketplace. They developed the SAAS Food Commerce Suite, which runs on Hybris-as-a-Service (YaaS) and uses Commerce-as-a-Service, an API-first approach to build commerce apps across channels and devices. They enhanced the system’s automatic order splitting, pick list generation, and content management by using mix-ins and creating mash-ups of a number of different services. “We were able to use the existing storefront template and adapt it and use the single page application concept. So, we’re only maintaining one piece of code for all the tenants,” says Eberhardt Weber, CEO of SAAS AG and founder of

How Grocers and End-Users Can Benefit

But what is It is a partner system that brings together regional online supermarkets and local grocers, all using the online-shop functionalities tailored to their needs and those of their customers. Thanks to the revenue-based partnership model, grocers can now start using this additional sales channel without making major investments. While grocers benefit from an easy-to-use online resource management (including products, customers, orders as well as marketing content), end-users enjoy a simplified shopping experience, enhanced by intelligent functions and a responsive design, which spares them the need for an extra app.

Currently, is represented in Stuttgart and Ulm, but the plan is to roll it out to more cities throughout Germany. “We didn’t want to be concerned with scaling and performance. We also wanted to be able to add business logic and functionality related to our unique business and leverage the pre-built capabilities,“ says Weber. Other considerations were ease of user management and tenant deployment. “This gives us the possibility to have a mass tenant deployment to quickly and easily bring new grocers live on our platform.” The self-service concept was also considered to be important because in the future a grocer could even be able to deploy a new store themselves.

But even outside of the partner system, grocers can start selling their goods online, as the latest example of the organic food store Naturgut shows. Using the same technology as, Naturgut went live under their own brand as a software-as-a-service-customer of SAAS AG.

Why There was Only One Place to Go

Looking at a number of alternatives, Weber quickly realized there was no better choice: “YaaS ticked all the boxes and we believed this approach was very much the way the software industry was going,” he says. What was also appealing: to generate revenue streams via SAP Hybris as a Service Marketplace from the investment being made. Finally, Weber concludes: “We believed in the component-based approach and trusted in the proven expertise and know-how of SAP Hybris.”

So, it’s time to rethink – whether you’re tired of carrying those heavy shopping bags or curious to explore a unique digital sales channel, visit to check out the new art of grocery shopping. And, although no drones will deliver fruits and vegetables to you as of now, you will still enjoy the convenience of home delivery within the next day. Not too bad, right?

via SAP News Center

The Times They Are A Changin’

SAP consistently achieves recognition for its support of the LGBT community and therefore, sends out a strong message to its employees and to the corporate world: Now it’s time to be unique – everybody is welcome!

In today’s hyper-competitive digital era, the winners will be those companies that cultivate an inclusive, supportive environment for employees who reflect, and can empathize with, the world around us. SAP has doubled down on building precisely that type of work environment to attract, retain and inspire talent from all walks of life, including the LGBT community. “ – Jewell Parkinson, SVP, head of HR, SAP North America

Perhaps one of the greatest achievements is SAP’s being named a top workplace for LGBT equality for the fourth consecutive year by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The company once again achieved a perfect 100 score on the HRC‘s 2017 Corporate Equality  Index.

Based on this achievement, SAP America was also mentioned as an “LGBT Company” in the Philadelphia Business Journal for the 2016 LGBT Business of Pride Awards .

Callout box:
Each year, the American civil rights organization Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation launches its Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report, to rate American workplaces on policies and practices for their LGBT employees. Companies that achieve a high score engage in work to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and to ensure equal rights for everyone.

Words, but also actions

Sadly, one can find discrimination in many aspects of life: in the workplace, in private life, and even when it comes to health coverage. For example, many health plans do not cover, and even reject, necessary procedures for transgender individuals.
SAP America Inc. recently announced new transgender-inclusive benefits for employees and dependents that enhanced the previous offering. Under this plan, even more treatments and procedures that are necessary for a gender transition are covered by health insurance.

We run simple….

…and effectively.
Big actions, like introducing new health care coverage are essential, but little ones are also important. In 2015, SAP introduced gender-neutral restrooms at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany. This type of change does not take much effort, but the underlying message is clear: everybody can be their authentic selves. A simple step for SAP, but an effective step for our colleagues.

SAP believes in community and constantly strives to be a better workplace for everyone.
Many employees dedicate their work and effort to LGBT inclusion, and their commitment is not left unnoticed. This year, two SAP employees, Niarchos Pombo and Jenny Dearborn, made the list of inspirational LGBT global leaders and LGBT Ally role models, respectively, which was published by the network OUTstanding and the Financial Times.

Raising awareness among employees opens up the discussion about diversity and inclusion. This year, SAP launched an internal learning program that covers diversity and inclusion topics; the program addresses issues such as LGBT inclusion, as well as gender, cultural, cross-generational, and differently-abled people intelligence, among others.

SAP recognized as a global leader for LGBT inclusion

SAP is seen as a global leader for its LGBT inclusion efforts.  The European Commission published a report in which SAP was recognized for its commitment regarding LGBT inclusion in the workplace. Further examples in the U.S. are SAP’s signing of the “Equality is our Business” pledge and joining the “Business Coalition for the Equality Act”. Additionally, SAP Spain achieved second place in the EMIDIS ranking in LGBT Diversity and Inclusion.

So much has been achieved – and yet there is still so much to do. Every person, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is unique, but not everyone is yet allowed by law and/or society to show their uniqueness. Awards, certificates and nominations aren’t going to solve the problem of discrimination in the world. Also, there is no quick solution for true inclusion. We constantly have to strive to make the world a better place – and the workplace is a good start.

Such achievements as those mentioned above demonstrate that companies are on the right track in creating diverse and inclusive workplaces for everyone – and SAP is proud to be one of them.
So, in the spirit of holiday season – a time when we think of others and strive for greater unity – here’s to all the unicorns out there: May you feel empowered to be yourselves and embrace who you truly are. #Runprouder #businessbeyondbias #diversityandinclusion

Image via Shutterstock

via SAP News Center

Bill McDermott is Named “Manager of the Year” in Germany

Titling their story “Fighter with a Heart,” the business daily “Handelsblatt” selected SAP’s CEO for taking SAP to the pinnacle of German business.

SAP was recently lauded by Germany’s Handelsblatt for its almost covert ascension in becoming the most valuable DAX-listed company. More notably, however, were the parallels drawn between SAP’s success and the success of Bill McDermott, who the business daily distinguished with “Manager of the Year” for 2016.

Curtly describing himself as a fighter, it’s clear that Bill isn’t keen on talking about his accident from nearly 18 months ago. Instead, he has plans of discussing the incident and his bounce back into seeming normality in a new book. This is not Bill’s first foray into writing, with the SAP CEO having penned Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office in 2014 and spending his free time furiously tapping on the keys of his laptop.

His favorite subject to write about? Success.

Under Bill, SAP has seen an overhaul of its traditional license software business. Additionally, it has made cloud computing a desirable and profitable business area. According to the original Handelsblatt article, SAP currently generates approximately 15% of its revenues from the cloud – with this number expected to increase.

How SAP became the most valuable DAX company

Thanks to this new strategy, SAP has become the most valuable company in the German stock exchange, DAX. By the end of 2016, SAP expects to make next gains of €3.6 billion– a new company record and an increase of 16.5% over 2015’s 3 billion euros. Much of this success can be attributed to Bill’s innovative vision, with the company’s stock price rising by 47% since he became CEO in May 2014. It’s no surprise, then, that SAP renewed its CEO’s contract this year.

Starting out as the CEO of SAP America, where he was in charge of business in the US, Canada, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region, it didn’t take long for top management in Wallfdorf to notice Bill’s sales talent and promote him to the SAP Executive Board as head of global sales in 2008. Two years later, he took the title of co-CEO with Jim Hagemann Snabe, a title and responsibility he absorbed completely in 2014. The rest, you could say, is history, as Bill ensured the viability and creativity of SAP against competitors Microsoft and Oracle.

Bill’s business acumen and savvy can be attributed to his upbringing. Born into a working class family in Long Island, New York, his father worked as a maintenance electrician at New York energy company ConEdison. From his father, he learned self-confidence and to trust in his own abilities – lessons he took to heart when he opened his first business, a delicatessen, while still in college. Using the profits to fund his college career, it was apparent even then that independence, financial freedom and business success drove Bill even as a young man.

Since becoming CEO of SAP, he has not forgotten his home country. “I always say to the American that they should become a bit more German,” he told Handelsblatt. “And I tell my German friends that they should embrace a bit of American culture.” Combined, he said, the efficiency of German engineers and the tact of American marketers make quite a powerful mixture.

Believing the American Dream

Considering his own experiences, it’s not surprising that Bill continues to believe in the “American Dream.” However, the growth of populism in the West does cause him concern, as does increasing unemployment in many countries.

“Governments need to develop concepts for integrating everyone into the modern economy,” he said. “For this, we need to strongly invest in training and education, and this is where companies can play a big part.”

Most of all, however, Bill believes in supporting the next generation as they enter the workforce. It pains him to see the dissolution of the American middle class and the limited opportunity granted to children whose parents aren’t top earners as the income gap widens. It’s this sort of passion for not only the future but for the welfare for entire communities and peoples that some of his friends predict a future in politics for the CEO.

In spite of the troubles facing today’s world, Bill remains optimistic, preferring to see chances rather than risks. It’s this hope that differentiates him from his management peers and makes his story one worth telling.

via SAP News Center

Turning the Internet of Things into an Internet of Outcomes

Over the next five years, it is estimated that businesses will collectively spend nearly $6 trillion on IoT solutions and all signs point to this figure rising.

The reason? IoT technology provides a data-driven avenue through which today’s businesses can optimize their operations to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Digital leaders have identified IoT technology as an integral part of their efforts to digitally transform the way they collect, store and analyze information and fuel top-to-bottom decision-making. And the latest IoT innovations offer capabilities that truly drive insightful value – forecasting, risk management, logistics and retail included – positioning adopters for market success.

For example, a COO can see the materials flowing into his production facility in real-time, and optimize to meet demand. A farmer can grow more food with fewer chemicals by assessing important agribusiness data throughout all operational layers. A quality manager can remove defective materials before they get to the manufacturing line, predicting and mitigating any issues that would have previously remained unseen. An oil refinery can improve the safety of all its workers through location tracking, vital sign monitoring and danger scanning (e.g. gas leaks) at all times.

With the latest and greatest implementations of device connectivity through big data and cloud capabilities, the Internet of Things turns into an Internet of Outcomes, reaching out to and helping end-users in ways never seen before.

Strategic IoT Industry Partnerships Will Push the Digital Economy Forward

The benefits of collective industry efforts and co-innovation partnerships are not unknown to many business markets, but they are a new endeavor in the IoT industry, as the need to fuel faster growth increases – innovation that will benefit customers immediately and truly reveal untapped potential in the field of IoT connectivity.

We’re already seeing many organizations turning to collaborative partnerships, partnering with other technology leaders to provide products and services that create better experiences for end-users. Case in point – SAP recently announced a new strategic partnership with Robert Bosch GmbH, a multinational engineering and electronics company, during the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) in Germany. The goal of this endeavor is to enable customers to use SAP S/4HANA in the Bosch IoT Cloud, providing customers to process enormous quantities of IoT data for applications in real-time, with truly impactful outcomes.

For our joint customers, this means secure and more efficient connectivity for vehicles, manufacturing machinery and tools that can be accessed on today’s leading opens platforms. For SAP and Bosch, two companies that put their customers first, this is an important milestone – one that goes beyond our individual gains. Both companies share the same vision: driving greater customer experiences, as all end-users will quickly benefit from stronger connected services that they wouldn’t be able to receive working with each company independently. We’re working closely to streamline our environments, learn from our joint engagements, which will only create more improvements and breakthrough projects for the future.

The ‘Internet Of Outcomes’ Is On The Horizon, And The Journey Starts Now

By harnessing the power of cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, IoT has the capabilities to truly disrupt any industry. This means innovation will come from within and outside traditional industry definitions.

And this innovation is happing fast. It isn’t enough just to “sense” your surroundings by collecting information-consider that IOT phase 1. For IoT to live up to its $6 trillion expectations, it will need to move beyond being a “data source” and begin to deliver actionable insights. Just because a device is connected to a network does not mean that it necessarily delivers any value to an end-user. Better investments must push the Internet of Things into its next stage – the Internet of Outcomes – and produce quick, actionable outcomes out of sensor-driven monitoring. The possibilities are endless, but only if co-innovation and a shared industry agenda starts now.

To learn more, check out SAP’s “10 Days of IoT” series, where stories and news are shared around how SAP’s IoT innovation brings meaningful change to organizations and industries around the world.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Tư, 21 tháng 12, 2016

One Man, Two Words: Equal Opportunity

Talk with SAP CoPilot: The Digital Assistant for Enterprise

Imagine that you’re looking to hire a personal assistant. What qualities and skills would you look for in this person?

Surely you would look for someone who was familiar with your business, who could think analytically and provide helpful suggestions. You would also likely consider whether your personalities jive together and whether you have a good rapport.

But what if this assistant were a virtual entity? Would performance and efficiency be the only factors in establishing a good working relationship, or would personality also play a role?

This scenario may sound far-fetched, but studies show that the trend for digital assistants is growing. As we enter a post-app world, users’ habits are changing with regard to the use of apps. “The desire to use separate apps for everything is decreasing,” says Prof. Andrea Krajewski of the Department of Media (University of Applied Science Darmstadt). “When apps first came out, users were very excited about them. I personally downloaded tons of apps on my smartphone. But now when I think about what kinds of apps I actually use, it’s really only a handful.” This is where digital assistants (DAs) kick in.

DAs eliminate the user’s need to manually interact with a multitude of different apps to get the job done. Instead, users simply ask the DA to retrieve information from different apps in order to perform tasks that the user would normally do him or herself. DAs rely on a conversational user interface, which means that the user simply needs to talk, gesture, or chat with the DA. The traditional graphical interface is replaced by a natural conversation between the user and a virtual human robot powered by artificial intelligence. These DAs are able to take our questions and requests, analyze them, and respond to us in a meaningful and effective way.

This is not exactly a new phenomenon, and surely by now you’ve encountered and even had your bit of fun with one of the better known digital assistants, Siri by Apple. Siri listens to your spoken requests and can do many tasks for you, from sending you appointment reminders, to calling people, to helping you guess what song you’ve got stuck in your head. Ever confessed to Siri that you’re drunk? The DA will offer you a funny response and offer to call you a cab home.

While Siri’s response strikes us as quite witty, there is actually a technological revolution going on in the background. DAs like Siri apply artificial intelligence, speech recognition, natural language processing, statistical analysis, and machine learning. That means that when you garble to Siri that you may have had one cocktail too many, it analyzes your speech, processes it with a powerful analytical algorithm, and replies with a logical and helpful solution that helps you get home safely.

It’s easy to see how this concept can easily carry over to the world of enterprise software. DAs can alleviate a user’s manual workload and reduce operational costs by taking over routine tasks such as booking meeting rooms or filling out leave requests. And this is only the beginning.

With SAP CoPilot, SAP is taking the conversational UI for enterprise to the next level by introducing a digital assistant for enterprise. Similar to Siri, users can chat with SAP CoPilot, ask questions, and give commands just as they would a regular person. Their informal and unstructured speech would then be contextualized, analyzed, and used to execute actions and present the user with business objects, options, and other relevant data in a simple and conversational way. As you can imagine, SAP CoPilot has the potential not only alleviate to the user’s workload, but also to help users to make informed decisions based on complex data analysis that’s done in real-time.

Designing a digital assistant for enterprise is a unique challenge and opportunity for UX designers. Because users cannot see who they are talking to, designing a great user experience takes on a new meaning.  The key word is trust, says Prof. Krajewski.

“We already have a certain relationship, whether positive or negative, to technology that we can touch and see. But when I don’t see a DA, how can I rely on this entity? It means that I have to strengthen the trust and the relationship. The DA has to feel like an authentic person to me who I can rely on.”

Making the digital as personable as possible will ultimately root DAs as truly personal assistants. This means looking not only at statistical and analytical skills, but also at whether they respect the user’s natural conversational patterns, whether their voice is pleasant and conveys the right attitude, and whether the conversation effectively leads to results. Does the DA guide the user through the initial conversation? Does it give useful suggestions? And does it know when to back off and give the user some space?

As with any personal assistant, the ultimate personality test for SAP CoPilot is of course whether the user actually enjoys talking with it. Part of this has to do with its natural language capabilities, a topic that we will explore more closely in the next blog.

SAP CoPilot will be part of the SAP Fiori launchpad as an optional component of SAP Fiori 2.0. Interested in co-innovating with us on the development of SAP CoPilot? Contact Michael Falk for details.

Follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #SAPCoPilot and check out our SAP User Experience and Design account for more information.

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.

via SAP News Center

How to Call the Right Digital Play

When global executives want to understand the nuances of the digital economy, one person they ask is David L. Rogers.

A sought-after speaker and consultant to companies such as Google and Toyota, he’s also Columbia Business School’s faculty director of programs on digital marketing and digital business strategy, as well as founder of the school’s BRITE Conference on brands, innovation, and technology. His latest book, The Digital Transformation Playbook (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2016), explores how incumbents—companies with business models and cultures that predate the digital era—can hold their own against the onslaught of digital-first upstarts.

We asked Rogers to talk about the difference between innovation and disruption and how to resist the dangerous temptation to use new technologies to pursue the same old strategies.

Q. You contend that digital transformation depends less on new technologies and more on a new approach to business strategy. But does strategy drive transformation, or vice versa?

David L. Rogers: Strategy definitely comes first. The core challenges for incumbent organizations are their organizational habits and assumptions that are rooted in the pre-digital era. These need to change in order for the firm to thrive, grow, and evolve in an economy defined by successive, interconnecting waves of technology.
But the crux of this transformation isn’t what technology tools they choose. Rather, executives have to think differently about five fundamental domains of strategy—customers, networks, data, innovation, and value—before they can choose the tools and systems best suited to bringing their strategy to life.

For example, Marvel Comics was a legacy print media business until it realized that its value wasn’t in traditional comic books or even digital versions of comics, but in its characters and storylines. It stopped licensing its superheroes to movie studios for a fraction of the profits and launched its own movie studio instead. Now when you think of Marvel, you don’t think of comic books; you think of blockbuster movies with a global fan base. That’s why Disney bought them for US$4 billion.

Q. When we talk about digital transformation, it’s often in the context of disruption by business models based on new technology. Do incumbent businesses always need to aim to be disruptors themselves, or can incremental innovations alone be enough for them to survive?

Rogers: This is a common source of confusion; innovation is not the same thing as disruption. My favorite definition of innovation is “anything new that has an impact.” The goal for any business is innovation that creates new value. That only leads to disruption of an existing industry in some cases. Disruption occurs when a competitor introduces a product or service that is vastly more valuable to at least some customers, and to which the incumbent industry is unable to respond with a matching offering because of differences in its business model.

Digital audio disrupted the market for music on CDs by creating a vastly preferable new way to consume music, which the incumbents were (initially) unwilling to match; so Napster stole market share. Ride-sharing services are disrupting the taxi industry today by giving passengers a better way to summon and pay for a ride, built on a data-driven business model that traditional taxi companies cannot match.

If you’re facing a disruptive competitor, you have six possible responses. You can become the disruptor yourself: by acquiring your competitor, or by launching a new business that imitates its business model, or by splitting up that business model by partnering with other companies that complement yours. Three other responses involve mitigating your losses from the disruptor. You can do this by refocusing on your defensible customers, by diversifying your portfolio to leverage your skills and assets in other areas, or—if the disruptor threatens your entire market and there’s no way to launch a disruption on your own—by exiting the market entirely.

Q. Can a business start its transformation within one of the five domains of strategy, or are the domains so interconnected that they all have to be tackled at once?

Rogers: They’re definitely interconnected, but you don’t have to tackle them at once or equally. In fact, you need to pick a starting point based on your company’s goals, its gaps, and its specific opportunities and threats. If your company’s goal is to grow at twice the rate of its industry over the next five years, then using digital to shave costs in your supply chain will be less important to you than spotting customer needs that aren’t being met and introducing digital products or services that can ignite top-line growth.

Q. When you talk to business leaders at incumbent companies, what’s their most common concern, and is it the thing they should actually be most worried about?

Rogers: Many of them tend to be overly focused on hypothetical disruptive threats, which leads them to the mistake of trying to stake out the leading edge, throwing a lot of money at technology, and expecting a clear ROI in one quarter. I always urge them to focus instead on the customer value imperative: creating new products or business models that deliver value for the market before their current or potential competitors do.

Q. In your book, you compare digital transformation to the electrification of factories in the early 20th century, but digital transformation isn’t binary. A factory either did or did not have electricity, but a company can’t transform by flipping a switch. How can top executives know that they’re on the right track?

Rogers: The lesson of electrification was that it was easy to plug in a new energy source to a steam-driven factory. The harder part was learning to completely redesign the flow of work inside that factory, once manufacturing was freed from the constraints of the line shaft.

Similarly, unlocking the value of digital technologies hinges on your ability to adopt new ways of thinking. Is your business using digital to become more customer-centric? Digital transformation requires a lot of organizational change: how you make decisions, how you allocate resources to new projects, how you reward and recognize people. Are you diversifying the talent pool within your organization to match the new business you’re creating? At GE, one of the metrics for its strategy of becoming a “digital industrial company” is how well it’s attracting employees who it might not have considered in the past.

Digital transformation is not a “do it once and you’re done” thing. It’s about changing the way the organization thinks and responds to opportunities, and it’s continuous. It has to become part of your corporate DNA.

This story originally appeared on Digitalist Magazine.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Ba, 20 tháng 12, 2016

How Can IoT Help Retailers?

A Dozen Designers at SAP

When I started in design at SAP nearly 20 years ago, there was more or less one design discipline: usability. Some people were more focused on accessibility, others on interaction design, and my group was focused on product design.

But basically, we were all heaped into one big usability boat. Since then, I have been witness to an amazing increase in the number of designers here, and also to a considerable specialization of design roles. The evolution has markedly improved the user experience of our software while also enriching our work environment.

So who are these visual designers, user researchers, design thinking coaches and chief designers? Moreover, what do they do all day? What do they most enjoy about their jobs? What are their biggest challenges?

I started a small blogging project to reveal the diversity of design roles at SAP and give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the people who have a hand in the design of the software you might be using every day. There are many hundreds of user experience and design professionals at SAP. Some are working in central design teams, while others are integrated directly into development teams. Some spend all of their time doing “hard-core” design work, while for others design is a tangential, but important, part of their daily work.

Keep in mind that I’ve probably missed a few roles (this wasn’t a science project) and that each person I talked to is an individual. Fazlul’s job, for example, as an interaction designer might be very different from a colleague down the hall or across the globe who has the same role.

The Usual Suspects

I started out with the most common design roles: visual design, interaction design, and user research.

Timo Bess, visual designer
I got to know Timo when we started working together on the design of the SAP User Experience Community. We’ve been collaborating on that and other design projects ever since. Talking about his work, Timo says, “Asking the most fundamental questions, challenging opinions and trying not to lose sight of the big picture and the final experience are key for me. And then, and only then, if I fully understand why and how something should work, do I start to design it.”

Eva Ruegenhagen, user researcher
Eva was a natural choice for me when I started looking for someone in this role since she was sitting directly across from me at the time. She is also one of the most talented and knowledgeable researches I know.  Eva likens user research to insurance, “…with user research you make sure you build a product that users really can and want to use. If you are on a budget or have a tight timeline, you think twice about your investment in insurance. But when disaster strikes, you wish you had done it.”

Fazlul Hoque, interaction designer
After I had published my first two blogs, Eva told me that a colleague in a project she was working had remarked that I was missing the role of interaction design. So I clearly had my next victim. What gets Fazlul excited about his job? “I really enjoy the creative process of finding simple and elegant solutions to complex problems.”

Moving Farther Afield

After having covered the main three design roles around here, it was time to travel farther afield into more exotic territory.

Tina Rauschenbach, SAP Fiori designer
Like Fazlul, Tina is an interaction designer. However, instead of working in a product team and focusing on one product, Tina belongs to a central design team. She creates interaction design concepts and UI controls which are used by our whole company, as well as by customers and partners. What does Tina enjoy about her work? “I love variety. Each day is different. Fitting a new generic UI control that arises out of requirements into the existing control library is like putting together a huge puzzle and, while doing so, solving a very tricky riddle.”

Clemens Sandner, design intern
SAP employs a large number of students each year. Many of them have very challenging and interesting tasks and are deeply integrated into the teams’ daily work. Quite a few interns end up working at SAP full-time after their studies. The most valuable take-away for Clemens? “Learning how to carry out a project end-to-end from design to development was really useful for me.”

Tobias Hildenbrand, development project expert
Tobias’s job might not sound like it has much to do with design, and in fact, he has a PhD in software engineering, not design. Nevertheless, he is a passionate design thinker and a living example of how to bring design, development and business model thinking together. Why is visual communication so important to Tobias? “Normally you talk to someone and they have a picture in their mind and you also have one, but putting that picture on paper or on a whiteboard helps to align the communication and make it more effective…”

Beate Riefer, design thinking coach
It seems that design thinking is ubiquitous at SAP. So who are the people that introduce individuals and teams to design thinking methods? Beate describes her role as follows, “As a design thinking coach I support design projects in the DCC with my expertise in design thinking methods and process. It’s a bit like project management mixed with user research and creativity methods.”

Olga Cherepanova, senior developer and UX advocate
One thing at SAP is clear – design is very important, but often there just aren’t enough designers to go around. To alleviate this situation, SAP began a program to train interested non-designers in user experience to act as multipliers and “advocates” of design within their teams. I asked Olga what the most challenging aspect is for her about being a UX advocate. Her answer: “… balancing two different mindsets – user-oriented and technical. On the one hand, I know the technical limitations. On the other, I still want to come up with new design ideas that help users.”

Philip Miseldine, development expert
Having a talented, “design-minded” developer on your project team is, in my view, the best thing that can happen to a designer. Philip is that kind of a developer. What advice would Philip give to other developers with regard to design? “Always think about the user who will work with what you are coding. In the end, we develop software for human beings, and we need to always keep in mind the way people want to work, not what is easiest for us to code.”

Moving Up the Chain of Command

So you’ve met a few of the design “doers,” but what about the people at SAP who manage designers, define the design strategy, and ultimately help keep SAP firmly focused on user experience?

Janis Shuttleworth, design manager
Keeping designers motivated and productive requires a special skillset that Janis seems to have mastered. Setting up the project correctly and managing expectations on all sides is crucial for success. According to Janis, “In a large software company like SAP, designing user experiences is all about joining the dots. This requires a huge amount of communication… much of my time is taken up by managing stakeholders, either internal or external, and ensuring that design projects start and run smoothly.”

Martin Wezowski, chief designer
What technologies are on the horizon that will help SAP to deliver the best possible user experience to customers? How can we as a company more fully embrace a culture of design? Providing answers to these questions is central to Martin’s role as chief designer. According to Martin, “[People] will ignore solutions that directly or indirectly ignore them, their needs, their ambitions and their consumer-grade standards. Designing with empathy and being truly human-centered in our methods changes the way we support people at work.”

Sam Yen, chief design officer
Sam is easily one of the most genuine and likable executives I’ve ever met. His enthusiasm for design, SAP, and people shine through whether he is speaking on a large stage to thousands of customers or in a small meeting room talking with a handful of designers. I asked Sam what the secret is to his success. His answer: “Whenever I do something which rocks the boat a bit, but I think is the right thing to do, I make sure it is something the customer is asking for. And I always position it that way. That’s really been the secret sauce because people listen. As an organization we exist to serve our customers. So if they are saying what their real needs are, we have to rally around that.”

This story originally appeared on the SAP User Experience Community site.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Hai, 19 tháng 12, 2016

2016 Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award: SAP Exchange Media

Wolfgang Faisst and Johann Freilinger, creators and founders of SAP Exchange Media (SAP XM), have been named finalists for the Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award in the Products & Innovation Board Area.

Since 2013, Faiss and Freilinger have been pursuing their novel business idea with diligence, dedication, and plenty of support from their colleagues and managers at SAP, not to mention their customers and partners. They now head up an 80-member team that has turned that idea into a revenue-generating product.

Meanwhile, the two founders of SAP XM concede that the path to realizing groundbreaking ideas at a company as large as SAP isn’t without its stumbling blocks. It often requires new processes and ways of thinking that challenge all those involved to broaden their horizons.

Company Within a Company

What began as a mere concept in late 2013 crystallized into a business plan. Faisst and Freilinger presented to Wieland Schreiner, executive vice president for SAP S/4HANA, the following year. In the six months leading up to that point, the two had devoted time outside of their normal jobs to the project, which resulted in some long evenings and short weekends. It all turned out to be worth it.

“It’s not that we’re these geniuses,” Freilinger admits. “You just identify a problem customers are having that you can solve in a way that ultimately means new business for the company and its customers.”

SAP XM shows the great potential opened up by tapping into new business areas

While free-enterprise innovators with a solution like this typically set about searching for venture capital, those employed by companies go looking for budget resources. The mechanisms of each process, however, are the same: Entrepreneurs need to convince investors and other supporters that their ideas are both promising and feasible. The financial risks individuals have to bear may be smaller for those at a company within a company, but Freilinger and Faisst still feel a particular obligation to their investors – especially their colleagues and supervisors, but also to their partners and customers. Luckily, they already have several milestones to celebrate: The two evaluated their idea along with customers back in 2015 and brought SAP XM to market just in time for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016.

Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE responsible for Products & Innovation, said that SAP needs to constantly renew its passion for new ideas: “SAP XM shows the great potential opened up by tapping into new business areas. It is precisely this type of innovative spirit that will make us successful in the long term.”

The Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award is the highest employee recognition at SAP, awarded annually by the CEO to an individual or a team.

Finalist Fast Facts

  • Team: 80 SAP employees (core and extended development personnel)
  • Customers*: Beiersdorf, DHL, EY, SAP
  • Partners: SinnerSchrader, BlackwoodSeven, Pilot, JungvonMatt, EY
  • Publishers*: Gruner + Jahr, Pubmatic, Rubicon
  • Revenues in 2016: Approximately €1 million, with €3-20 million planned for 2017
  • Global market potential: Approximately U.S.$540 billion
  • Technology: A new online media network based on SAP HANA Cloud Platform and enhanced by big data technologies, including SAP HANA Vora; interfaces with other open-source-based big data technologies, including Apache Spark, Cassandra, and Hadoop

The Idea, The Resulting Product

Based on SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP XM brings together buyers and sellers of advertising space in digital media on an online platform. This enables customers to purchase digital ad space, assess the direct efficacy of ad campaigns, and optimize them in near-real time. In that sense, SAP XM is essentially a digital media business network in the cloud.

While today’s agencies buy ad space and then plan, implement, and evaluate ad campaigns for their customers, this network now makes it quick and easy for companies to plan their campaigns themselves, tailor them to their own clients, and monitor their success up to the second from start to finish. Such arrangements are a matter of trust: At present, just 40 percent of media budgets turns into actual advertising space. The remaining 60 percent evaporates in the value chain between the advertiser and publisher. In concrete terms, that’s as much as U.S.$170 billion currently being invested in digital ads.

The fully integrated digital media network SAP XM provides uses the insights offered by big data, learns from users’ preferences, and makes it possible to place suitable ads in locations that are relevant to the target audience in question. One of the network’s goals is to make advertising meaningful again in the face of rising spending on digital ad-blocking solutions, which grew by 41 percent globally in 2015. Most recently, this trend has resulted in more than U.S.$14 billion in losses for the advertising industry and providers of digital ad space. Ads that get back to offering relevant information to individuals present a great deal of potential for all of the parties involved. This is also ultimately about trust: After all, consumers respond more favorably to content tailored to their needs than they do to catch-all advertising campaigns.

The Team

When Freilinger and Faisst began assembling their team, they knew they would need to recruit colleagues from a wide variety of areas to turn their idea into reality. A multidisciplinary team with enthusiasm and a sense of responsibility for their common goal would be essential to their success. This meant bringing together not just a range of skillsets, but also new members with in-depth knowledge of the advertising industry.

Today, the team comprises veteran colleagues from SAP and experts from the field of marketing. It also embodies diversity in its combination of young and more experienced members. Development is based in Walldorf, while sales and marketing are headquartered in Hamburg and New York. They all share that same objective: making advertising relevant again.

The SAP XM team has built up a lengthy customer pipeline in 2016, but plenty of work remains. Their product needs to grow faster in order to increase the chances of its business potential playing a role in SAP’s long-term financial success.

Christiane Kubach is internal communications lead for Products & Innovation in Global Corporate Affairs at SAP.

via SAP News Center

Announcing SAP Fieldglass Flex: Solution for Mid-Market External Workforce Management

Middle market companies employ nearly 53 million workers, cover an endless number of industries and have led national job growth over the past five years. Accounting for 60%-70% of employment, mid-sized companies are an essential part of the global economy.

Like larger enterprises, mid-sized businesses have also experienced an exponential growth in the need for and use of external talent. As they increasingly engage a more blended workforce, these organizations often have a blind spot when it comes to managing their flexible labor and have struggled to answer questions like: Who works for us? What work are they doing? How much are they being paid?

These mid-sized organizations need proven workforce management technology solutions to achieve agility in an increasingly on-demand business environment. But traditional technologies have been out of scope for these businesses due to high implementation costs, lengthy deployment timelines and the resources required to support them.

To address this, we are proud to announce SAP Fieldglass Flex, the first and only cloud-based external workforce management solution created for the unique needs of the mid-market. By streamlining the contingent labor hiring and management processes, this ready-to-use platform is designed to help mid-sized businesses gain visibility into their external workforce, drive efficiency and focus on growth.

SAP Fieldglass Flex easily guides users through a simple, wizard-based set-up process, specifically engineered so companies can roll it out quickly and realize immediate returns. With this solution, organizations can now manage compliance needs and answer questions around who works for them, what work they are doing or how much they are paid.

In addition to these greater organization-level benefits, SAP Fieldglass Flex provides gains to several key stakeholder groups across a mid-size business, including:

  • Procurement: control costs, comply with contracted rates and gain visibility into detailed reporting and real-time data
  • Human Resources: standardize processes around engaging external workers and fill talent requests quickly with the best available talent
  • IT, Finance and Line of Business (LoB): leverage access to secure systems, ensure accurate billing and invoicing, and streamline approvals and tracking

SAP Fieldglass Flex will enable the mid-market to address these key business challenges and more quickly adapt in order to strategically manage their growing external workforce.

Learn more about SAP Fieldglass Flex here.

This story originally appeared on the SAP Fieldglass website.

via SAP News Center

SAP Digital Consumer Insight Uncovers LA’s Hottest High-End New Year’s Eve Restaurants

LOS ANGELES — What were Los Angeles’s hottest New Year’s Eve fine-dining spots last year — and how are these restaurants making this year’s experiences even more spectacular?

SAP’s groundbreaking new data service, SAP Digital Consumer Insight, recently reviewed Reserve’s most popular fine-dining locations across the LA metro area to help people plan for New Year’s Eve 2016. The data showed that Ostrich Farm, Salt Air and Barrique were the most crowded at midnight.

“Our restaurants will typically see a large spike in activity around New Year’s Eve,” said Greg Hong, CEO and cofounder of Reserve, the country’s premier hospitality technology platform. “One of the most incredible things SAP Digital Consumer Insight showed us is that Venice Beach had three of the top five busiest restaurants on December 31, making it the most popular fine-dining location in Los Angeles for end-of-the-year celebrations.”

Based on insights provided by SAP Digital Consumer Insight, here are the top five busiest restaurants in LA last year at midnight on New Year’s Eve – measured as a percentage of peak* foot traffic in and around restaurant locations. The SAP data service provided analysis of anonymized, aggregate mobile data. Re-identification of individuals is not possible in SAP Digital Consumer Insight, so the privacy of individual subscribers is preserved.

1. Ostrich Farm: The intimate, 50-seat restaurant in Echo Park, run by husband-and-wife duo Jaime Turrey and Brooke Fruchtman, has lured in revelers with its specialty coursed dinners. This year, an extensive craft beer list, balanced wine menu and creative cocktails will be sure to pull in many diners looking to end 2016 with a bang!

2. Salt Air: The seafood-centric beach bistro on Abbot Kinney offers creative iterations of classic cocktails and an extensive sommelier-curated wine list. Airy skylights and artful details float a relaxed, bohemian vibe at Salt Air. Its elegant yet relaxed atmosphere features a main dining and bar area, and a small covered patio. It is one of the chicest places to bring in 2017.

3. Barrique: For those looking for a romantic Italian place for dinner with an excellent kitchen, cozy atmosphere and killer rooftop terrace view, this is the New Year’s spot. World-renowned Chef Antonio Mure brings his delicious and unique twist to this location, winning a Michelin award for his creations.

4. Bao Dim Sum: For those looking for some incredible dim sum this New Year’s Eve, look no further. The food here is paired with a gorgeous atmosphere that’s well suited for family, friends and dates. The authentic food is prepared by the Bao staff of Chinese chefs. The goal of the restaurant is to make guests feel relaxed and at home. This is an inviting spot for a quiet New Year’s celebration.

5. Wallflower: This high-end dining spot serves Indonesian-inspired Southeast Asian fare — including street snacks and family-style dinners — reflective of Chef Harryson Tobing’s childhood and travels. With warehouse windows and high ceilings, the dimly lit spot has a warm industrial feel. Creative craft cocktails influenced by Southeast Asian flavors complement the menu. It offers an out-of-culture experience for celebrating New Year’s Eve.

SAP Digital Consumer Insight brings the insights of the physical world to customers in an easy, consumable, digital way at SAP Store. Using the latest analytics, in-memory computing and cloud technologies to harness mobile network data, users of the service develop smarter, more impactful marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) strategies. SAP’s democratizing insights help businesses of all sizes achieve what’s previously been available to only the largest companies with the biggest budgets.

For more information about SAP Digital Consumer Insight, SAP Store and SAP, visit SAP Store and the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPStore and @sapnews.

Media Contacts:

Amanda Mountain, +1 (315) 878-2290,, ET
Cindy McKendry, +1 (503) 231-7274,, PT

*Peak is a percentage of the peak restaurant time for foot traffic in and near a restaurant. For example, if foot traffic for a particular restaurant peaks at noon or 7 p.m., the New Year’s Eve traffic is a percentage of that peak, which allows us to determine which restaurants had a surge on New Year’s Eve.

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.

via SAP News Center