Thứ Năm, 10 tháng 8, 2017

Hanging Ten on the IoT Innovation Wave

In surfing, the ideal is to ride your board in the surf’s most powerful place — that perfect spot just before where the wave breaks.

Proper positioning is important when adopting today’s cutting-edge business technologies as well.

“We believe in partnering with our customers to help them find the right balance when embracing change,” says Filip Decostere, a partner at the professional services company delaware.

Decostere describes his firm as bringing advanced solutions to clients looking for competitive advantage through digital transformation.

And for a lot of these customers, that transformation is likely to involve riding the fast-moving wave called IoT.

Discovering New Opportunities

Decostere and his co-workers at delaware have been keeping a close eye on upswelling IoT technology for some time now.

“delaware participated as an early adopter of SAP Leonardo Internet of Things so we could see firsthand the huge business benefits these capabilities can bring to our customers,” says Bruno Mommens, the Global IoT Solution Lead at delaware. “And now we are also taking a careful look at emerging edge computing models.”

Mommens – who spoke about IoT at this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW and recent SAP Leonardo Live event in Frankfurt, Germany – explains that delaware focuses on specific markets that include automotive, retail, discrete manufacturing, and the food industry.

In fact, these are some of the very industries that sources such as Business Insider are describing as being transformed by IoT and its associated solutions.

The potential business benefits of using IoT technologies have been widely touted: greater efficiency, improved safety, better asset utilization, reduced costs, and increased productivity to name a few.

Still, both Decostere and Mommens foresee an even more profound impact for their clients.

“Connected devices are generating tons of data; this data combined with artificial intelligence opens new opportunities.” Mommens observes, “For many companies, the added value of connecting machines is really the ability to deliver new business models to their end customers.”

Taking the First Steps

Decostere says the product-as-a-service model is generating significant attention these days.

“Think about something as simple as your home refrigerator,” he explains. “Perhaps in the future we won’t buy these appliances anymore. Instead a dealer will install your refrigerator, monitor it for guaranteed temperature control, and replace it whenever a more energy-efficient model is available – all for a monthly service fee.”

Decostere notes that it is not unusual for the company executives he talks to these days to be rethinking their business models.

“And they expect a partner like delaware to be able to help them understand the impact of new technologies on their IT departments and help them define the appropriate strategies,” says Decostere.

But Mommens points out that companies sometimes have difficulty identifying the best business cases for their IoT investments.

“The first step we take with our customers is an intensive design thinking workshop where they can brainstorm and do the necessary ideation,” Mommens says. He then suggests starting out with small proof of concepts to validate the use cases. “Even projects that don’t go into production will often generate important insights that can lead to competitive advantage in the marketplace,” Mommens stresses.

Getting Strategy Right

In a survey of company executives conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit, 20% of respondents report their organization’s use of the IoT has changed their business models or strategies. Even more (22%) say it has “unlocked new revenue opportunities from existing products and services.”

In both outcomes, the common denominator is innovation.

“We believe you have to innovate to be successful in the long term,” Decostere says.

For a good number of companies, innovation and future success will be all about catching the right technology wave.

This story previously appeared on SAPVoice on Forbes.

via SAP News Center

Back to Digital Basics

Are you in a management position with decision power? If so, chances are high that sales forces of this world regularly try to point your attention toward your company’s digital transformation and high hopes of selling you a portion of Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, or machine learning. Sounds familiar?

Let’s be honest: We all use terms like digital transformation or digital disruption without asking our conversation partner if we have the same understanding of such fundamental terms and concepts.

Three Key Takeaways Against Digital Dilemma

Based on our SAP Center for Digital Leadership experiences gathered from more than 150 CxO engagements per year, we have derived three key takeaways to talk more efficiently about digital.

1. Business First, Technology Second

Decisions around digital transformation are often made from a technology-first perspective. This puts the cart in front of the horse. Technology must be an enabler for innovation ultimately allowing new business models to gain or regain the competitive edge. It is much more effective when C-suite decision makers or line of business managers follow a business-first approach. This lets your creativity flow and allows innovation instead of being quickly influenced by the potential –  or the lack thereof – given by certain technologies. Whenever faced with an innovation-themed issue think about the business aspects first and afterwards about how technology might play a role.

2. Get Your Facts Straight

It is of the utmost importance to have the same understanding of any topic amongst all people involved before entering a discussion. This also holds true when it comes to the digital age. Here are our definitions of the most fundamental terms that will make your digital-related conversations more effective:

  • Digital innovation turns an idea into a solution that is new and is of value to a party. It becomes digital by using digital technologies like big data, cloud or machine learning. Think about commanding your smart home with your voice – Amazon Alexa is a picture-book example for a digital innovation.
  • Digital transformation is the process of adaptation to changing market conditions due to new technology possibilities.  Take German family business Kaeser Compressors for example, a company manufacturing air compressors. In the past they sold the machines – today they sell the compressed air.
  • Digital disruption is the change that occurs when new digital technologies and business models affect how an organization creates and retains value. The way how life-science startup 23andme uses DNA data to create value is putting strong pressures on incumbent pharma players.

3. Start Early/Now?

You might have heard people talking about the fail-fast mantra that startups are embodying. It has even become quite cliché. Nevertheless, it is this mindset of not fearing investments that can be the factor of success. The ability for startups to completely reinvent their business model – to perform a so-called pivot – is what the large incumbents are often missing. So, if you find yourself in a 500+ employee company, it is your chance to become a role-model that starts talking about new ideas and even the brightest vision. Placing a strategic bet is the way to bring innovative ideas to market.

Ultimately, digital has become a teacher’s pet for many and a pet peeve for some others. Make sure to become familiar with the basics and do not get lost in the word jungle that is already out there. You will do yourself a favor and the person you are talking to.

As a leading digital pioneer, the SAP Center for Digital Leadership helps CxO customers and their organizations to navigate their digital transformation and lead with innovation. Based on SAP’s internal digital transformation learnings, our research agenda and meetings with more than 150 CxO customers per year, we provide leaders with best practices for leading digital transformation.

Our network and partner ecosystem represents today’s and tomorrow’s leaders in digital business. Partners like European Space Agency and Wacom trust us and jointly we create digital open ecosystems.

For more information, check out For more information, check out

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Thứ Tư, 9 tháng 8, 2017

HR Analytics: Creating Competitive Advantage

HR analytics has been, for the last 10 years, a hot topic for discussion at senior levels in most successful organizations. That’s the good news.

The not so good news is that this “discussion” has been at the expense of “doing.” Few organizations have moved from discussion to implementing effective HR analytics solutions that help the business improve performance, and better yet, create competitive advantage.

Pressure has been steadily building on HR functions to improve their capabilities to develop accurate insights from people data, for business-critical decision making. Many HR functions have tried to dress up HR ametrics as HR analytics and have, therefore, struggled to show real value and gain traction among senior leadership for their efforts.

HR metrics are important and useful but they are one dimensional and only inputs to the broader requirement of using this data to glean meaningful analysis and model potential future scenarios and trends: turning KPIs/metrics into HR analytics.

  • KPIs/metrics: Focused on the present and looking backwards in time; tend to focus on the immediate short term impact of business conditions.
  • HR analytics: Analytics and insights that focus on the present and looking forward in time; creating insights to current and future business imperatives; uses predictive modelling to support the overall company, help shape the organization strategy and create competitive advantage.

Emerging Trends

As the approach to HR analytics  evolves, a number of key themes/trends are emerging in developing an effective capability:

  • Senior management push to use people data to solve a specific critical business issue
  • HR software-as-service (SaaS) technology making it easier to create insights into people data
  • Increased regulatory requirements and risk management
  • Managing costs and productivity in variable and uncertain business conditions

Additionally, there are four main “camps” of thinking, from which organizations are coming at the subject of developing an effective HR analytics approach:

Organic evolution: One where an HR function has become very adept at tracking and measuring KPIs/Metrics and uses this foundation, over time, to start to create deeper and deeper insights into people data. Tends to be an evolution with periodic refinement of process and technology in key business units, spreading to other business units as value is realized.

Technology-driven approach: Over the past five to seven years, a proliferation of new HR technologies has taken place, mainly driven by the development of SaaS HR technology which is based on the idea that people data is at the core of the functionality, creating sophisticated, automated HR analytics modelling tools. Many organizations start with a SaaS HR system and build an effective HR analytics capability on the back on the technology.

Business model driven approach: organizations that have had the most success in recent years in creating advanced and effective HR analytics are those whose business model are very labour and/or knowledge capital driven, e.g.:

  • Professional services firms
  • Airlines
  • Industrial (oil, resources, etc.)

These organizations’ profit and productivity rely heavily on getting right people with right skills in the right place at the right time. Therefore, they have developed sophisticated HR analytics processes, technologies and capabilities to manage their core businesses.

Hybrid approach: Least common approach taken to develop an effective HR analytics capability; however is the recommended approach in most cases. A hybrid combines all of the approaches above into an intentional and cohesive strategy for implementing effective HR analytics technology, processes, capabilities and best practices. It is usually begun from addressing and solving a specific critical business issue, for example: reducing attrition, workforce deployment and planning, recruitment of key skills. As a result, the Hybrid approach builds on the success of solving a particular business challenge which helps the organization understand the value, and creates a pull for the approach.

To access a new HBR report, “HR Analytics: Busting silos and delivering outcomes” and to learn more about how SAP SuccessFactors Workforce Analytics can help HR become a valuable player in strategic decision making, visit here.

You can also learn more from customers and experts at SuccessConnect in Las Vegas taking place August 29-31 at The Cosmopolitan. Register here.

Tim Ringo is vice president for HCM EMEA at SAP

via SAP News Center

Energy Giant Reveals How to Innovate Successfully

When it comes to oil and gas, people are skeptical about the future. For example, 80% of consumers responding to a recent nationwide poll conducted by Ernst & Young agree the oil and gas industry is important to the U.S. economy, and 79% see it as an important job creator. Yet, fewer than half trust the industry and the majority believe it causes problems rather than solves them.

And, according to Deloitte’s outlook on oil and gas for 2017, the industry’s brand as a career destination has been threatened. This means oil and gas companies must be innovative when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent.

In fact, innovation is necessary to address a broad range of other concerns pressuring the industry including geographic challenges, climate change, price fluctuations, and the rise of new technologies like machine learning and predictive analytics.

But it’s not easy to finance change and innovation. Most companies today spend 75% of their resources on running the company, aka keeping the lights on, and only 25% on innovation. That equation must be inverted if an enterprise wants to stay ahead of the game.

Shell is one industry giant inverting the equation through collaboration and partnerships.

Saving Time and Money Drives Innovation

“To innovate successfully, you need to focus on the people who asked for innovation,” say Klaas de Waart, ERP Enterprise Portfolio Manager at Shell. His job is to assess and implement SAP enterprise and Analytics products at the company.

“By shifting innovation from the back end to the front end and targeting small communities, you stabilize and shrink the development cycle. Stabilizing the back end requires innovating to market standards.  We no longer want to purchase software or applications that require customization.  We want to purchase standard “off-the-shelf” applications that require no customization or engineering to work in our environment, all running on an SAP platform.”

Essentially, what Klaas wants is a simple app store where he and his team can search for new applications or functionality they can buy and install without any fuss. That saves time and money.

SAP App Center Makes It Simple

“We want to make it easy for our customers to find and acquire great solutions from our broad ecosystem of strategic solution partners including startups, independent software vendors, and services and technology partners,” says Diane Fanelli, general manager, Global Channels and Platform at SAP. “That’s why we made SAP App Center more compatible with procurement processes and easier for our partners to engage with SAP customers.”

Innovapptive is an enterprise mobility software company partnering with SAP to help enterprises like Shell transform their businesses through process and technology re-engineering.

“Our vision is to unlock and maximize the investments made by customers in SAP,” says Sundeep Ravande, CEO and co-founder of Innovapptive. “We do that with configurable pre-packaged mobile workforce management solutions and a configuration framework available on the SAP Cloud Platform, so we can jointly deliver innovation and value to our mutual customers.”

In this model, Innovapptive invests in creating an innovative solution for Shell and then markets it on the SAP App Center. “This is a win-win for everyone,” says Klaas.

Companies like Shell know the clock is ticking if we want to solve the big issues impacting our future. That’s why speed and ease of innovation are critical, and that’s why a collaborative approach is the best way forward.

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

via SAP News Center

How to Find — and Solve — the Right Business Problems

Your organization may be stellar at problem solving, but is it finding the right problems to solve? What’s worked for you in the past might not lead to breakthroughs much longer, according to SAP Chief Design Officer Sam Yen.

“The things that made you successful five years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago may not be as relevant today,” Yen said at SAP Leonardo Live last month. “Organizations that are able to take a step back and find the problems worth solving are the organizations that are going to have the creativity to balance the innovation equation.”

Innovation = Creativity x Execution

“This is where design thinking comes in,” Yen said.

Design’s Objective Importance

“Over the last 10 years, design-led companies have maintained significant stock market advantage, outperforming the S&P by an extraordinary 228 percent,” according to a 2014 Design Management Institute study. “Using design methods to understand customer needs better — as well as to reframe complex problems — is leading to insights that constitute strategic competitive advantages.”

Insights include refocusing IT departments on work beyond simply providing functional solutions, as CIO noted last week. In-house applications must be user-friendly, as a result of empathy, collaboration and other design elements.

“IT needs to transform from information technology to innovation technology,” SAP’s Yen said. “A lot of the perception is that information technology keeps the lights on … [but] IT organizations have to be known as the innovation technology leaders within their organization.”

Rapid Pace of Dramatic Innovation

Almost two-thirds of CEOs in the U.S. (65 percent) indicated that the next three years would be more critical for their industries than the previous 50 years, according to a 2016 study by KPMG. And more than one-third of the CEOs (39 percent) are transforming their companies into significantly different entities within those three years — often shedding their original core competencies.

“If you don’t bring big ideas into the marketplace, you don’t have true innovation,” Yen said. “You can’t just keep optimizing and making [your products more] efficient in order to keep up with the big disruption that’s coming over the next couple years.”

“This is where design thinking comes in,” SAP’s Sam Yen said of the innovation equation at SAP Leonardo Live in Frankfurt last month.

Design thinking can help find the right problems to solve.

Finding What’s Most Valuable

“Design services are integrally linked with how Leonardo projects will be implemented,” diginomica stated last month. “SAP wants to use design to help customers move forward, partnering with them in new ways.”

Innovative partnerships can help organizations solve new problems, such as improving manufacturing, personalizing products, developing new business models and more, according to Tanja Rueckert, SAP’s president of IoT & Digital Supply Chain.

“We offer you design thinking engagement to identify the highest value for your business,” Rueckert said Wednesday at the opening ceremony for the SAP Leonardo Center in São Leopoldo. “Is it down in the shop floor? Is it in the delivery? Is it in … better understanding how the consumer uses your product?”

Look (For Problems) Before You Leap

Good design relies on organizations resisting the temptation to jump right into solving the most glaring problem, according to Yen. Per 19th Century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer: “Talent hits the target no one else can hit. Genius hits the target no one else can see.

“Design thinking is really about just taking a step back,” Yen said. “Do a little problem finding before you do problem solving.”

SAP’s design approach begins with exploratory workshops to find the problems most worth solving, which lays the groundwork for subsequent innovation. Then business and IT users attend discovery workshops to generate, test and get feedback from interactive prototypes via the rapid prototyping tool SAP Build — all before the solution’s delivery.

“We offer you design thinking engagement to identify the highest value for your business,” SAP’s Tanja Rueckert said at the opening ceremony for the SAP Leonardo Center in São Leopoldo.

Applying the Innovation Equation

“The concept of testing new ideas is simple — talk to actual customers,” CLO Media stated last month. “That’s difficult for a lot of companies to do, particularly in the digital age.”

Technology, business practices and boundary conditions have changed, and they’re still changing. That makes design thinking a crucial part of finding the right problems to solve in order to stay ahead of the power curve.

Talking to each other — customers, partners and vendors — is key to unlocking unprecedented creativity. Pair that with outstanding execution, and you’re on your way to game-changing innovation.

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

via SAP News Center

SAP Named a Leader for 10th Time in Gartner Magic Quadrant for Global Retail Core Banking

WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that it has been positioned by Gartner Inc. as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Global Retail Core Banking report* for the 10th consecutive time. SAP received industry leader recognition for its “ability to execute” and its “completeness of vision.”

“As the market continues to expand, we’re seeing banks move away from legacy systems and adopt new functionalities and enhancements,” said Falk Rieker, global head of Banking at SAP. “To stay ahead of the curve, we’ve invested heavily in innovations such as SAP Leonardo and SAP HANA to ensure we provide customers with a rich and diversified product suite. These technologies can combine blockchain, analytics, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning in a single platform that simplifies banking IT while enhancing the customer experience. We believe it’s this commitment to innovation that’s allowed SAP to remain a Magic Quadrant leader for the past decade.”

According to the Gartner report, “Leaders in the global retail core banking market tend to possess a high-order market understanding. They make it their business to monitor market trends and funnel progressive innovation into their product roadmaps. Most of them possess software development quality certifications (e.g., CMMI) or are pursuing them. The Leaders are also, without exception, ‘thinking small’ or targeting component-based architecture as a gateway to providing increased accessibility to the granular functionality that banks need to drive the basis for differentiation. Leaders have high viability and great customer feedback. They also focus on innovation — and the innovation trends that affect this particular market. They especially focus on trends with visionary capability in managing the ecosystem for open banking platforms by fostering open banking with their products and services and in a collaborative environment with partners.”

The SAP for Banking solution portfolio streamlines core processes with a comprehensive collection of integrated technologies applicable to multichannel management, transactional banking, payments, finance and risk management, customer engagement, human resources and procurement. It is the direct result of the company’s more than 40 years of industry knowledge and a spirit of co-creation with banks in pushing cutting-edge technologies to the forefront of financial services. More than 14,100 banks, both large and small, in 150 countries rely on SAP for Banking solutions to help them become more customer-centric, reduce complexity and manage regulatory and risk compliance more easily.

To learn more, visit SAP for Banking and SAP Solution Explorer. Visit the SAP News Center and follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

About Magic Quadrant
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Media Contacts:
Birgit Dolny, SAP, +49 (6227) 7-61664,, CET
Randi Haney, PAN Communications, +1 (617) 502-4328,, ET

*Gartner Inc. “Magic Quadrant for Global Retail Core Banking,” by Vittorio D’Orazio and Don Free. July 10, 2017.
Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
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Thứ Ba, 8 tháng 8, 2017

Businesses Need Bias Prevention Now More Than Ever

A lot has changed since SAP SuccessFactors launched its Customer Advisory Board to address workplace bias last year. For one thing, the workplace has emerged as an oasis for employees concerned about diversity and bias prevention.

L to R: Burlacu, Baur, Fletcher, Reid, and Wittenberg

“Folks are coming to work and talking about diversity,” said Patti Fletcher, Leadership Futurist & Solution Management at SAP SuccessFactors. “Work is becoming the place where we can talk with our colleagues and our boss. We all know what’s going on in the world, and while there are many opinions out there, within organizations with the right CHROs and other business leaders, that’s where the progress is happening.”

Fletcher was part of a roundtable session entitled “Using Technology to Drive Business Beyond Bias” at the SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG  Annual Conference. The expert panelists talked about how HR professionals can respond to increasing demands for diversity in the workplace, moving from awareness to action.

For example, in a survey conducted just after last year’s U.S. elections, members of the Customer Advisory Board cited new priorities on top of race, race, and ethnicity.

“Issues like LGBT inclusion were way more important than last year,” said Gabriela Burlacu, Human Capital Management Research at SAP SuccessFactors. “They’ve been working overtime to make sure what’s out there in the media doesn’t detrimentally affect their diverse talent and their ability to attract diverse talent, which is a hopeful message.”

Fletcher also pointed out that diversity is a business imperative: “Women leave a company at twice the rate of men, and we know they’re not leaving a company, they’re leaving a boss. Our customers are looking to us for a collective change, and it’s starting to open up a conversation. They want to know what these new kinds of HR processes are and the role of technology.”

Workplaces have emerged as an oasis for employees concerned about diversity and bias prevention

Interrupting Bias

To make a dent in workplace bias, Brenda Reid, vice president of Product Management at SAP SuccessFactors, said chief diversity officers need to understand how technology can interrupt potentially biased decision-making processes in the broadest possible sense.

“We’re trying to embed in all of our applications equity and inclusive talent management decision-making practices,” she said. “We’re seeing niche solutions to individual problems, but no one else is looking at it end-to-end and holistically. That’s what unique about our approach. We’re looking at decisions that interrupt someone’s thought process in places likes compensation, recruiting, how you write a job description, enforcing quotas and analytics.”

Burlacu said that some of the latest bias prevention capabilities embedded in SAP SuccessFactors solutions include enhancements to workforce analytics for measuring diversity-related data, mentor matching for career development, and photo-less calibration for performance ratings.

Take a Hard Look at Job Descriptions

According to Anka Wittenberg, chief diversity and inclusion officer at SAP, descriptions in job postings are one of the first lines of defense against gender bias. Phrases like “assertive” and “politically savvy,” are gender-biased, and will tend to attract more male candidates.

“If we don’t start at the beginning of the chain, we’re not going to be able to change behavior throughout the organization,” she said. “People don’t change when you tell them to. They change when you enable them to by giving them tools that nudge a new type of decision-making and behavior.”

Follow me @smgaler

Top image via Shutterstock

via SAP News Center

Thứ Hai, 7 tháng 8, 2017

SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1708 Release Highlights

The latest SAP S/4HANA Cloud release is now available and – as ever – we’re excited to unveil a range of new updates deigned to help you achieve better business outcomes.

The third release from 2017 is 1708 and it further enhances user experience and machine learning as part of our commitment to equip customers with the world’s first intelligent cloud ERP. These advances underpin key innovations in finance, procurement, manufacturing, and professional services, all driven by customer and partner feedback.

Finance and Procurement

Replacing the manual aspects of day-to-day finance with automation is a core focus at SAP S/4HANA Cloud. For the latest update, we’ve taken aim at financial transactions and reporting on currency risks by including treasury management. Treasury deals such as fixed term deposits, FX forwards, and interest rate swaps can be managed with ease.

Treasury management lets you always be fully informed about your exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency rates with a combination of a real-time position analysis based on automatic cash flow forecasts and an integrated market data feed. You can also see what hedging you have in place to manage risks, so you always know exactly what your net exposure is.

There are further updates to risk management, contract and lease management, and debt and investment management.

Integration with SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning streamlines the financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting processes. Procurement professionals can improve operation efficiency by flexible procurement workflows, managing legal content related to processes, and improving insights with a single purchasing analytics dashboard.

Centralized hub deployment allows customers to run purchase requisition processes as a shared service center capability. Customers can connect multiple back-end systems to a central SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Workflow settings, catalog content management, or organizational user settings only need to take place once and not in every single back-end system, thus helping reduce TCO tremendously for our customers.


In manufacturing, we have delivered major innovations in demand driven replenishment and advanced variant configuration, as well as updates in other areas.

In this release, demand driven replenishment helps you plan and manage supply chains efficiently based on customer demand. It helps create the basis for a reliable material flow by defining buffers at strategically important points and adjusting these buffers regularly.

On an operational base, the replenishment of demand-driven-relevant products is ensured by using a new demand-driven MRP procedure based on buffer levels resulting in optimal replenishment order. This helps to avoid the “bull-whip effect,” where the variation demand increases up the supply chain from customer to supplier –  in production by providing decoupling points with strategic stock positions.

With the enablement of advanced variant configuration, we can efficiently model the configurable product with a configurable BOM, so your business process can handle highly individualized products in sales and manufacturing. This means you can extend make-to-stock and make-to -order production with variant configuration.

Elsewhere, updates include enabling the integration of physical warehouses operated by third-party warehouse management solutions (warehouse management systems, or WMS) to SAP S/4HANA Cloud to cover sales and procurement processes.

Professional Services

In professional services, we have delivered major innovations throughout the commercial project life cycle to help our customers focus on adding value for their customers. Updates include advances in resource scheduling (RSH), time and expense management, project profitability and more.

Direct staffing from the RSH application now allows resource managers to create assignments for resource requests (project work package roles) to the best fitting resources. A dashboard of the graphical assignment board gives a clearer view of actual assignments to give the transparency you need on resource assignments – from a monthly, weekly, and even down to the daily view. If a consultant, for instance, is booked to several projects at the same time, the assignment board makes this visible.  A simulation of key figures also shows how assignments would affect utilization and other key measurables.

In the time and expense management, we have added a line manager role, who can work across their whole team. The new team utilization app analyzes the utilization rate of the manager’s team and provides insight to keep them fully utilized.

An overview shows the number of billable, non-billable, approved, unapproved, and total recorded hours to help drive team-wide performance improvements. The line manager can also edit time sheets on behalf of an employee to ensure a fast and efficient billing process without unnecessary delays.

Another exciting update is the project profitability overview page. This dashboard gives real-time information so you can comprehensively monitor your running projects, gain overview on margins and WIP for your area of responsibility, and easily filter and drill down on various reporting dimensions, such as sales organization, profit center, product group, resource, and many others. It allows you to focus on important KPIs for revenue, costs, and profitability for your projects.

Global Focus

To better enable global operations, SAP S/4HANA Cloud now supports core functionality for financial planning, consolidation, and profitability that works across subsidiaries.

  • Upload data and allocate cash to subsidiaries while consolidating reporting at headquarters
  • Use subsidiaries as local sales offices with order-to-cash and inventory management
  • Run plan-to-produce processes to manage subsidiaries as production units that use headquarters as an internal supplier

SAP S/4HANA Cloud includes new regulatory support for Sweden and Ireland, new language support — including Arabic, Chinese, Swedish, Korean, and Italian — and a new data center in Osaka, Japan. This takes the support we offer enterprises to 25 countries and in 15 languages. More updates are planned to be delivered in November to further help deliver fantastic business outcomes supported by our intelligent ERP: SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Please visit the SAP S/4HANA Cloud page for more detailed information.

Christian Pedersen is chief product officer for SAP S/4HANA Cloud

via SAP News Center

Thứ Sáu, 4 tháng 8, 2017

Women in Technology at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg

A Journey in Patient Advocacy

Once you get past the medical magnitude of what befell SAP employee Julia Wagner’s family, you are compelled to listen to the rest of the story about her life-changing journey toward sustainable and meaningful change.

After moving to the Philadelphia suburbs in 2004, “our family slowly started getting sick,” tells Julia, vice president of Business Transformation Advisory in Strategic Industries for SAP SuccessFactors. Her once energetic six-year-old daughter developed stomach aches, leg pains, insomnia, language regression, and separation anxiety that accompanied a drastic personality shift. Her younger brother’s cognitive deterioration (20 IQ points they were told) came with “seizures, cardiac issues, facial tics, and excruciating pain” in his five-year-old body.

Julia herself went from being the CEO of a boutique consulting firm to “a dementia-like state where I could no longer string a sentence together; forgot what I was doing from one moment to the next; had migraine-like headaches, nausea, and muscle twitches; severe balance issues…” She was barely 40. Her husband mysteriously — mercifully — escaped the severity and was the sole support for the family.

But it sent Julia on a path with a focus and energy reminiscent of a mother bear protecting her cubs, to tell as many people as she could about Lyme and Tickborne disease.The culprit? The humble, unassuming tick. Yes, the same pest commonly found on pets and their outdoor-loving owners, like Julia and her family, had successfully and heartbreakingly wreaked medical havoc. The diagnosis — which came after years of doctor visits, hospital stays, and trial-and-error efforts — was a bittersweet relief that exacted a traumatic price.

“I saw that with the right knowledge and diagnostics, clinical openness to emerging science, and patient-focused treatment strategies, diseases that severely impact quality of life could be reversed.” Most concerning to her was the neuro-cognitive and psychiatric impact on children, like ADD/ADHD, OCD, and other cognitive learning disabilities that are reversible with proper diagnosis and treatment.

Sharing her research and experience with other parents, their children, and adults who were sick and looking for answers compelled Julia to start a support group in her local county with an eloquently-stated goal of “providing credible research, and information to support patients in their health journeys at the edge of emerging science.” She tells how the group welcomed an 11-year-old who was having hourly seizures, and a 21-year-old, wheelchair-bound by an unknown illness; both are now healthy.

The support group was merely the beginning. In time, Julia took her mission to astonishing, and surely at the time, unforeseeable heights:

  • Launching the legislative advocacy group LymeActionPA, which prompted her to “track down and call everyone I could find across the state of Pennsylvania who was interested in these diseases.”
  • The creation and passing of Act 83 that acknowledged the severity of Lyme and Tickborne diseases, largely the result of her local and then state-wide support group efforts.
  • Formation of a state-level non-profit, PA Lyme Resource Network (PALRN), which has 25 groups across the state and hundreds of volunteers leading change with a “support-group-in-a-box” grassroots approach.
  • Launching a medical practitioner Community of Practice to accelerate practice sharing, and clinical knowledge/experience.
  • Appointment to the PA governor’s task force for Lyme and Tickborne disease
  • Pennsylvania’s first-ever medical conference dedicated to Lyme and Tickborne diseases in partnership with the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, the only tick/vector-borne disease-focused medical society, and Drexel University’s School of Medicine.

Her most recent victory was the May 2017 passing of Pennsylvania House Bill 174 that is designed to expand insurance coverage to provide patients with broader testing and treatment options. “This would reduce treatment delays, improving the chance of a true cure,” Julia says. The bill is now Senate-bound.

At the 2014 signing of Act 83, Julia, Sarah and Peter (all far left) joined parents and children impacted by the disease, and staunch government advocates.

You may be wondering: Julia and her children, with the correct and expert medical intervention, did get well, though her son has recently suffered a relapse for which she has taken advantage of SAP’s medical leave to see to his near full-time care.

Amid all this, there is a place where her personal passion converges with her professional passions for Big Data, analytics, and innovation, allowing her to live SAP’s mission of improving people’s lives. PALRN is now at the center of the largest patient-driven Big Data project on persistent/chronic Lyme disease in collaboration with researching universities. “Maybe one day we’ll be able to leverage the kind of innovation, big data and technologies SAP has driven to catalyze forward momentum in these diseases.”

What’s next for Julia? Putting the fact that she is completing her PhD in neuro/industrial organizational psychology aside, she is also dreaming of launching a clinic to serve children, youth, and young adults based on the most advanced knowledge and technologies available. Consider that the recommended Lyme test is 30-year-old technology that misses half the cases of the disease and fully misses strains that are being transmitted by ticks in the state of Pennsylvania.

“I have seen too many struck down by these diseases when all it takes is knowledge,” she says, adding: “This would be a research and teaching clinic, while diagnosing, treating, and giving patients the best possible care available today. The clinic would help restore lives and futures.”

Helpful Resources

via SAP News Center

SAP Design Talk: Designers Finally Earn Their Seat

Thứ Năm, 3 tháng 8, 2017

The Next Wave Of Digital Leaders In Greater China

It may sound simple, but when a small group of leaders comes together to share in a frictionless environment across industries, innovation is accelerated.

Recently I was in Shanghai and Hong Kong to launch a community of innovation leaders – senior executives who are driving digital transformation within their respective companies in China. I was amazed to see the participants’ enthusiasm while sharing their experience and lessons learned from digital transformation projects. One executive in Shanghai summed up the meeting’s appeal with a simple phrase: “learn together, grow together.”

As proven by these meetings, continuous conversations among digital leaders benefit organizations greatly. The ongoing exchange of knowledge demystifies digital transformation and helps companies define their strategies with clear objectives for value creation.

While introducing our innovation community in 20 cities worldwide, I always asked the questions, “where are traditional, non-digital-native organizations today,” and “what are the challenges they are facing in their ability to execute?”

Untapped Potential of Greater China

In China, the stage of digital awareness has passed, and most companies are in the early phases of digital transformation. Nearly every industry has identified digital technologies as an integral part of their future, and most companies have begun to innovate, with pilots underway. Several of the participants have completed successful proof of concept implementations, and these early wins have helped drive confidence in their ability to achieve digital maturity.

One limiting factor that executives in both Shanghai and Hong Kong agreed upon is the need to raise the digital IQ of management within their respective companies to drive sponsorship and top-down support of enterprise-wide digital transformation.

We agreed to focus future community efforts on helping participants’ management teams understand digital capabilities and potential applications in business. We also discussed how design thinking can be used as a catalyst to drive executive engagement and greater mastery of what digital can do for each business.

Indeed, there is still a long way to go.

A new SAP study revealed that only one percent of large companies (and zero percent of small and midsize businesses) in China report having completed digital transformation across the enterprise.

Organizations that transform will win in the digital age. In fact, 85% of the top 100 companies that have digitally transformed globally have increased their market share. What’s more, 80% say it has increased their profitability. And it’s not exclusive to revenue: 70% of leaders are seeing increased customer satisfaction, and 64% say their employees are more engaged.

Accelerate Digital Transformation Value Creation

As I look at companies that have done a good job implementing and moving their digital strategy in the right direction, I see elements of best practices being developed and deployed. These are applicable not only to those companies I met with in China, but leaders everywhere.

I always say digitize your core competency first. And, drive new business models that don’t diverge too far away from it. I often see companies struggling to identify what their core competency is, but by doing so you can define your digital destiny.

Below are three additional boardroom considerations for successful digital transformation:

  • Focus on total experience. The total experience includes both customers and your workforce. Every company needs to change the experience above and below the surface, end-to-end. Sometimes this change will eliminate the manual effort and work completely, becoming fully automated.
  • Start measuring value differently. Time is money; reduce cycle time. Upgrade your technology infrastructure with new digital capabilities to reduce cycle time. This will significantly improve your total experience and your cost structure.
  • Upgrade talent and skills. Invest in required new capabilities and skills at all levels within your company. Appoint chief digital officers; grow and attract new talent such as data scientists; and build a network of strategic partners for new products, services, and capabilities.
For more insight on digital leaders, check out the SAP Center for Business Insight report, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, “SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart.”

Dr. Chakib Bouhdary is digital transformation officer at SAP

This story originally appeared on The Digitalist.

via SAP News Center

Learn What It Takes to Make a Business Case for IoT

There’s a simple reason why companies need the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting information from machines and devices to people who work at all levels of organization.

Data powers real-time business, which has become an imperative in a consumer-driven world. This is how Dr. Tanja Rueckert, executive vice president, IoT & Digital Supply Chain at SAP, kicked off one of the first-rate sessions I attended at the SAPPHIRE NOW + ASUG Annual Conference.

“Data itself doesn’t provide value. The values comes when you refine the data and apply machine learning algorithmic intelligence and feed it into business processes, bringing it into manufacturing processes to improve operational effectiveness,” said Rueckert. “We have customers that have seen operational improvements of up to 30 percent from IoT in manufacturing processes.”

SAP customers have seen operational improvements of up to 30% from IoT in manufacturing

Think Beyond Automation and Productivity

Rueckert said the SAP Leonardo IoT portfolio is transforming how industries operate along with business models, including track and trace across global supply chains for food, clothing and any consumer goods. Her main point was that the benefits of IoT extend far beyond automation and productivity to create new business models. She referred to an on-stage demonstration during Bernd Leukert’s keynote at the event, which showed how a power tool rental company could use IoT.

“When you have drills at a construction site, you want to know where they are and how they’re used,” said Rueckert. “IoT can track if you drill into a wall or the floor, feeding the data back into design and manufacture of the next generation of drills. This creates upselling opportunities and new business models to sell digitized services on top. You can also sell your complete product as a service in markets like air compressors, drills and cars.”

Consider the Consumer Experience

Consumer experience is the No. 1 differentiator for companies today, and that’s where sensors excel. Rueckert pointed to Trenitalia, a train operator based in Italy, as one example of how IoT impacts passengers.

“You’re riding on a train and want to arrive on time, and have the air conditioning, bathroom doors and brakes working. Two thousand sensors on Trenitalia trains obtain information by component, helping them save $150 million a year in maintenance costs, while creating a differentiated passenger experience,” said Rueckert.

3D Printing is Powerful Manufacturing Network

Connected 3D printers are among the most exciting developments in IoT, and Dr. Gonzalo J. Rey, Chief Technology Officer at Moog, joined Rueckert on stage to talk about his company’s co-innovation with SAP. Both a consumer and supplier of 3D metal printing, Moog manufactures hardware that controls commercial aircraft, as well as equipment in factories, space, under the ocean and in medical treatment. His conversation included this video demo of 3D printing.

“3D printing enables previously impossible designs that really make a difference for our customers,” said Rey. “In 3D printing a laser turns on and off to build a product by layers. A file has absolute control over what comes out of the printer. This will be a powerful manufacturing network because you can send the file to any printer and out comes the part. However, for someone to trust this part and put it in an aircraft or medical equipment, you need traceability with the complete, sure data ensuring authenticity qualified printer.”

How to Get Started

Even as Rueckert outlined an expansive and spellbinding vision for connected business, she remained grounded with practical advice for companies exploring IoT.

“Connect the sensors first and go live, then start adding AI and machine learning to optimize logistics or production,” she said. “But don’t stop in one area like manufacturing or design. Connect all the different departments and go beyond company borders. No one has achieved this goal yet, but it’s the ultimate vision.”

Follow me @smgaler

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

via SAP News Center

Thứ Tư, 2 tháng 8, 2017

Let Siri Do the Selling and People Drive the Change

Companies that are transforming successfully in the digital world understand that technology is important, but it’s really about people.

Employees must be empowered with the right skills. Not every millennial is tech savvy, and many baby boomers remain flexible and eager to learn.

Thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), more and more tasks in all lines of business are being automated. To differentiate themselves from machines, people will need skills to solve problems that arise when bots can’t answer the standard questions. People will need more training than ever.

Selling Value

“In the manufacturing world today, investments in innovation and technology are happening on the retail side of the house,” says Naveen Kandasami, global IT executive director, Business Partnership & CRM strategy at Sealed Air, a company that invented Bubble Wrap and provides innovative packaging solutions. “People are transacting on a more personal level because they have become accustomed to doing it with applications like Uber. Consumers expect seamless transactions, and if expectations are not met, it leads to frustration.”

What that means for commerce is a need for outcome-based selling. Customers want more flexibility and different models. Sealed Air doesn’t just sell products; it sells value. Sealed Air sees itself as a knowledge-based provider backed by scientists, engineers, and industry experts delivering tailored solutions for their customers, running on state-of-the-art technology like SAP Hybris .

“We don’t just sell packaging – we provide knowledge based solutions, which includes product, services, and consulting. Customer demands are increasing and the business models are changing. Sealed Air is transforming commercially with innovative technology that is enabling go to market strategies and driving customer experience,” says Naveen.

Recruiting the Right People

Value-based selling is becoming prevalent in all industries and all regions, but finding the right staff can be challenging.

“People who come to Hornbach aren’t just buying plants. They want to create a garden,” says Amelie Widlak, head of Recruitng at Hornbach, a European DIY and garden superstore chain. “Traditionally, do-it-yourself meant exactly that. People were used to buying products and putting everything together on their own. Our ideal scenario today is to help the customer visualize their project, create a list of materials, and watch tutorials online to get an understanding of what needs to be done to put in a new bathroom. But they will still need help in the store.”

Like Sealed Air, Hornbach is successful because they provide a set of services around their products. Their challenge is attracting better salespeople in a market with a high turnover.

In the past it was okay to put a carpenter in a sales role. Today, salespeople have to be trained to ask the right questions to make sure the customer’s project turns out as envisioned. Salespeople must communicate better and be comfortable in a multichannel environment. They also need competitive insight, so they can clearly articulate the overall value of the investment when customers compare prices at other DIY stores. Hornbach is working with local government  training programs to help reduce the skills gap and create a broader talent pool.

The DIY industry requires high-volume, seasonal recruiting. The process of attracting and hiring talent at the right time for a specific job requires a career site that caters to the needs of candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers.  The site must be available on all devices, present on social media, and easy to navigate, and all parties must have full transparency into their own part of the process.

“The push to digitally transform our recruiting process came from the candidates. We see them as unique consumers. We want them to understand they won’t just be selling lightbulbs, that we offer real career choices. Our career site should communicate to candidates that Hornbach is an employer of choice.” says Amelie. “Providing an individualized, user-friendly end to end experience with the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solution helps us find the best candidates for each job. Only engaged salespeople are able to inspire customers.”

RACI Charts for People and Robots

All industries are experiencing a huge shift in the type of  human capacity and skills needed for doing business. Tutorials, chat bots, and other technologies are streamlining processes and eliminating the need for certain headcount.

Industry experts like Naveen see this as an opportunity to re-purpose people for other tasks, but people are still in their comfort zones. In past industrial eras, the masses reinvented themselves by transitioning from low-skilled work in agriculture to industry to services. But how can people reinvent themselves to compete with artificial intelligence?

How can people reinvent themselves to compete with artificial intelligence?

“The last industrial revolution was marked by the rise of machines. This industrial revolution will be marked by bots and people.” says Naveen. “In retail, most sales processes will be automated. We’ll be selling through Siri. RACI charts will be adjusted to include robots. In the future we will need humans to manage change, not for standard operational tasks that can be automated.”

While we may not know what skills will be relevant 30 years from now, the ability to ask the right questions and to solve problems are skills that are surely needed today. Though technology can help companies automate processes and get better at recruiting, training and maintaining the right skill set, at least when it comes to retail, we still need human beings and leadership to deploy new models and new technology.

Follow me on Twitter: @magyarj

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

via SAP News Center

Tasting the Customer Experience of Tomorrow with SAP Hybris

Examples of SAP Hybris in action at sports clubs such as TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and at BASF make it evident why the software goes beyond CRM.

Digitalization is redefining the way businesses and customers interact. Accordingly, immediacy and personalization are the next evolutionary steps in customer relationship management.

To deliver on these aspects of the customer experience, sales teams in companies need to understand their customers at every stage of their journey. Are they new? Have they purchased before? What is their situation? Why aren’t they paying? Has there been an escalation? SAP Hybris software helps answer these questions.

It also offers a whole lot more: A 360-degree view of the customer enables a seamless experience at every stage of the interaction process. A simple web shop is superseded by a consistent face to the customer across all sales channels  ̶  in line with the basic idea behind the omnichannel concept.

“We want to use the combination of data and improved customer service to encourage customers to buy,” explains Christian Klein, chief operating officer at SAP.

Experimenting with Microservice-Based Business Models

With SAP Hybris as a Service on SAP Cloud Platform, customer service takes precedence over pure sales. A customer looking to buy a house shouldn’t have to go to a bank’s website in search of a cost calculator. Instead, the cost calculator could be directly embedded as a microservice on the real estate website. The clever part is that microservices have a modular structure, which means they can be implemented with minimal programming effort.

For example, if a company’s customers want UberRUSH as a delivery option, this can be implemented using SAP Hybris as a Service without significant changes to the back-end.

“We’re helping our customers design end-to-end customer journeys,” says Matthias Goehler, head of Industry Solutions for SAP Hybris.

A team at SAP Hybris Labs is devoted to developing experimental prototypes for innovative business models. An example of their work is the chatbot Charly, which enables customers to complete an order end to end via Facebook Messenger. They simply give a basic description of the product(s) they want to buy — emojis and voice entries are also possible — and the software suggests a range of possible goods, also letting them select a delivery address from their Facebook profile.

Data-Driven Product Presentation: The Smart Wine Shelf

One prototype already in operation is in a rather unexpected place. BASF in Ludwigshafen is well known for its chemical products, but nestled within the mass of industrial facilities at its main site it also has its own wine cellar. The company’s wine business, which was originally established in 1901 for BASF employees, today delivers approximately 700,000 bottles of wine each year to over 40,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

Three years ago, BASF employees teamed up with SAP and spent just 12 weeks developing the Smart Wine Shelf. When a customer takes a bottle of wine from the shelf, a light senor transmits this information to the system, triggering details of the wine’s vintage and flavor to appear on a screen. Linked to the wine shelf is a “Wine Wizard” – a mobile app that asks the customer a series of questions before suggesting a suitable wine.

Pedro Ahlers, Process Design Manager for Digital Customer Experience at BASF, presenting the Smart Wine Shelf

From a business perspective, it’s not just the solution’s entertainment value that sparks interest, but also the data it generates. For instance, in the back end, it’s possible to analyze which wines are frequently recommended but rarely removed from the shelf.

Insights like this help the wine-seller select or rearrange wine bottles more effectively. While these functionalities were initially hard coded, they have since been implemented in BullsEye, which is based on APIs from SAP Hybris as a Service. Future plan include integrating the solution with sales data to obtain even more precise insights into customer preferences.

For BASF, pilot projects like this one provide valuable insights into the world of digital technologies. Like its peers in the chemicals industry, BASF wants to increase the focus it directs at the service concept in its core business in order to gain an edge over its competitors.

Important for all Sectors: Establishing a Personal Relationship with the Customer

SAP Hybris software functions as an end-to-end solution. In SAP Hybris Commerce, sales employees can individually bundle, price, and offer items across the entire product portfolio. The process eliminates traditional office work and fits seamlessly and scalably into the existing SAP landscape. Moreover, the solution complies with the EU General Data Projection Regulation that will come into force in 2018 and already gives customers the option of having their data automatically deleted on request.

SAP Hybris Commerce is also in action in other sectors, namely the world of sport. The National Hockey League in the United States and several of the teams that play in it use the solution. Thanks to geo-signal technology, season ticket holders can order drinks on their mobile devices and have them delivered directly to their stadium seat. And fans be sent recommendations for team merchandise based on their previous purchases. The NHL’s organizers also permit users to access historic player statistics in the service model.

“Our aim is to help sports clubs establish a stronger relationship with their fans in the stadium,” explains Marcus Ruebsam, senior vice president and head of Strategy and Solution Management at SAP Hybris.

Digital Revolution in Professional Sport: TSG Hoffenheim

And soccer is no exception. Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim uses SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer to manage communication with its fans. The solution enables the club to contact fans on site via their mobile devices and invite them to autograph signings or jersey printing sessions as a way of building up personal relationships with them.

TSG also uses SAP software for the benefit of its professional players. According to sports psychologist Professor Jan Mayer, while many traditional training methods are gradually reaching their limits, there is still a great deal of potential in the area of consciously controlled executive functions of the human brain.

TSG has begun examining this theory with the help of Helix, a training environment developed by SAP. In a simulator combining SAP software and an 180° screen, players learn how to keep the entire pitch in their field of vision, enabling them to make tactical decisions in fractions of a second.

TSG plans to take this approach to the next level. Currently, the simulated on-pitch situations are generated randomly. The idea now is to show selective footage from previous matches to enable an even more personalized digital training program.

via SAP News Center

Thứ Ba, 1 tháng 8, 2017

Why Corporate Social Responsibility Could Be Your Next Strategic Priority

When organizations do the right thing, value can extend far beyond the good deed itself. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can help drive better business outcomes, attract likeminded partners, increase employee engagement, and more.

“Just like human resources years ago, CSR is going to grow into a strategic partner in the company,” John Matthews, SAP’s global vice president of HCM LoB Business Partner, Global Customer Strategy & Business Operations, said on the SAP Radio show Changing The Game with HR recently. “Doing good is also good for business.”

CSR refers to how organizations go above and beyond to evaluate and own their environmental and social impacts. But growing into strategic partnership with other, more quantifiable lines of business would require objective CSR metrics.

Quantifying Good Deeds

“We’re going to see the emergence of an index that captures the corporate social responsibility agenda, the responsibility with which companies act,” Chris Johnson, senior partner at New York-based human resources consulting firm Mercer, said on Changing the Game with HR. “And the index will be a key part of how the company will be accountable to its shareholders.”

If this seems far fetched, consider that shareholders are also beginning to demand sustainability. And organizations already get rated as best places to work, on work-life balance, and many other ratings;  Mercer even sponsors the Britain’s Healthiest Company index.

Johnson predicts a CSR index within the decade.

“It could be a very public account — a transparency and public accountability thing,” Johnson said. Advocacy groups “will be able to go to those companies that are low down [on] the index, and offer them a way of clamoring up the index and demonstrating their broader responsibility to society.”

But CSR-minded organizations will still want a return on investment.

Paying It Forward

“Corporate social responsibility also helps the bottom line, meaning that it helps you build trust with customers, employees, as well as with your suppliers,” Matthews said. “If you give them that guidance, that direction, and you’re clear on what matters, others will come running to you — and come running with you to help solve problems.”

One of Matthews’ “problems” is a 3,400-mile bicycle ride across the U.S. to raise awareness — and funds — for lung cancer research; he’s doing so in memory of his late mother who died of the disease. Whether the issue is healthcare, education or implementing design elements that cut costs by increasing energy efficiency, corporate social responsibility can be an effective way to increase employee engagement.

“People love to work for a corporation that is paying it forward,” Bonnie J. Addario, founder of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, said on Changing the Game with HR. “It’s not always about money it’s about involvement — it’s about having an emotional connection.”

More Than a Cause

“CSR is becoming much more of a heritage asset, meaning people prefer their service efforts to leave lasting effects,” Kevin Xu, CEO of global intellectual property management company MEBO International, stated on Forbes CommunityVoice last month. “Rather than championing campaigns that make big splashes, businesses want to build and work toward causes that resonate with and get carried on by younger generations.”

These efforts can lead to new partnerships with likeminded organizations — what a wireless solutions provider’s CEO called a “return on doing good,” as opposed to a simple return on investment. And it’s a great way to build pride within the organization.

“I’ve already had 30 people from SAP from all across the world who just heard what we were doing, and said, ‘How can I help?’” SAP’s Matthews said. “And it grows every day. So I’m very happy, fortunate, and proud to work for SAP.”

Click here for a replay of this SAP Radio episode. And click here to learn more about Matthews’ ride.

Follow Derek on Twitter@DKlobucher

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

via SAP News Center

Thứ Hai, 31 tháng 7, 2017

Webinar Series: Discover SAP Cloud Platform

Building a technology platform in the cloud can be a dream come true. The move can shorten time to market, lower costs, enable real-time scaling of resources, and much more.

But unless you’re a startup, it can also bring unexpected hurdles, complexity, and headaches along the way without the right support.

The market is awash with cloud platforms (aka Platform-as-a-Service) from which to choose and are available from both vendors well-known and established as well as up-and-coming startups with niche offerings.

Join us from our upcoming five-part webinar series to help you learn all aspects of SAP’s cloud platform offering, SAP Cloud Platform. We have divided the series into five parts so that you can start from the beginning for our first webinar that talks about the state of the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) market today and why you should care, followed by four more webinars that dive into different SAP Cloud Platform topics covering such key areas as:

  • How to build the business case for a cloud platform
  • Understanding the key capabilities and cloud services of SAP Cloud Platform
  • How to leverage SAP Cloud Platform to personalize and extend existing apps or a richer customer experience
  • How to more effectively digitize your business to capture new market share or engage employees for longer retention.

Experts from our SAP Cloud community and partner community as well as outside experts will take turn hosting and delivering different topics throughout the series to help you learn about SAP Cloud Platform from different voices and different perspectives.

The first one starts on Aug 3, 2017. We hope you join us!

Register for the Discover SAP Cloud Platform webinar series here.

This story originally appeared on the SAP HANA Blog.

via SAP News Center

Pride@SAP: Way to March

Thứ Sáu, 28 tháng 7, 2017

Managing a Diverse Team: Nine Languages to Say Hello

My formula for successfully managing a diverse team? It’s similar to a marriage; it’s all about communication.

While the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region is diverse, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has maybe even a bit more to offer: It consists of 15 different countries, features 25 languages with three different alphabets, and spans from Poland to Macedonia.

Managing a marketing team in such a diverse area is a multilayered challenge. It requires knowledge of different customer preferences, employee behavior, and workplace culture, as well as local habits and traditions. There is, and has always been, a learning curve in my job. Over time, I have developed kind of an own metric for each country that helps me in my daily job.

Stereotyping Doesn’t Help, but There are Some Patterns

I am originally from Slovakia. According to traditional stereotypes, a typical Slovak likes hospitality, and is friendly and welcoming—most likely the best personal traits when it comes to managing people in culturally diverse countries. But even though stereotyping doesn’t help, I find certain patterns in how we communicate and discuss critical business topics: People in the southern countries of my region have a different temperament than in the north. They get excited about things quickly, but I also find they are more emotional and passionate in discussing, for example, their performance.

Awareness of this cultural difference helps prevent us from taking things personally. I have learned that a lively and emotional discussion does not challenge my authority as a manager. Rather, it reflects a special culture of expression, which is fine with me.

Managing a Diverse Team

Workplace culture and individual preferences vary between different parts of the CEE region, and even between single countries. My team in the Czech Republic rarely meet for coffee, but they set up meetings frequently in the business context, and the longer the meeting, the better it is.

In contrast, my colleagues in the Adriatic region, such as in Croatia, appreciate informal breaks for socializing and exchange. For them, a half-hour break–optimally outside of SAP–solves issues much more effectively than a meeting.

To succeed in day-to-day team management, I need to know and internalize these differences. But to make the team work, I must also create awareness among the entire team. That’s why I use employee gatherings like team meetings or off-sites as a platform for team members to learn about each other. We try to think out of the box by doing elevator pitches about our countries, local traditions, or even celebrities from our home countries. It helps us embrace our differences and discover commonalities.

Managing Diverse Customer Preferences

Because often there is only one marketing representative per country to cover all local activities, collaboration is essential to create synergies. The CEE team runs campaigns in 9 different languages and hosts SAP Forums in 13 various locations. But even for SAP’s globally renowned event format, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for CEE. Even in neighboring countries, completely different approaches add to a successful regional forum.

For example, in Romania, the most productive SAP Forum would be located in a five-star hotel. It would take just a few hours, featuring a speaker from abroad offering high-level content in the English language. Most attendees in this area prefer to just show up and leave after a while. In Hungary, however, customers would love to attend even a four-day event in the local language, with in-depth content from A to Z, including vibrant business and entertainment programs.

Speaking the language of the customer is no less important than speaking the language of the team. True success comes when you can speak at least some words in local languages—it shows respect for my conversation partner and opens doors. Over the years, I have learned to speak nine languages—some better than others—but all well enough to say a friendly “hello.”

Juraj Polerecky is head of Marketing for Central and Eastern Europe at SAP

via SAP News Center

Fit@SAP: From Fulfilling Wishes to Conquering Mountains

For SAP employee Dirk-Jan Slingenberg, there’s no mountain too high, no goal too far, no dream too big.

Flowers, a book, finally a new pair of socks? What birthday wishes have you fulfilled recently? If you ask SAP employee Dirk-Jan Slingenberg, you’ll hardly believe your ears.

Fulfilling his father’s 70th birthday wish was hardly an easy task. Bert Slingenberg wanted to celebrate his special birthday in style with his two sons. But not just anywhere; specifically 5,895 meters above sea level on the top of Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.

Bert Slingenberg had already given his sons a one-year pre-warning. Dirk-Jan didn’t require much persuasion, and was up for the challenge. The goal was set and the preparation could begin. Yet without being in good physical shape, an undertaking of this scale wouldn’t be possible. “Due to work and also to my family life I did no sports at all and I was not in great shape,” Dirk-Jan concedes. “I knew that if I didn’t prepare, I wouldn’t make it to the top.”

Dirk-Jan works as a business transformation principal at SAP Digital Business Services in the Netherlands. He travels a lot and is often with customers. Naturally, he prefers to spend his free time with his wife and children. So where was he supposed to find the time for an intensive training program?

At the beginning, Dirk-Jan got his motivation from the “Run Your Health” program, a local initiative launched by SAP Netherlands. Using the preogram’s SAP platform and a fitness tracker, he could measure his activity and keep tally on his progress.

“Dirk-Jan is very dedicated, to his work, but also dedicated to his colleagues and to everything he does,” says his manager, Richard Dingemans. Thanks to regular training sessions, Dirk-Jan was ready to take on the adventure of a lifetime. In January 2016, the three Slingenbergs conquered Kilimanjaro and reached the summit on the morning of their father’s 70th birthday.

They currently have no plans to tackle another mountain peak, but Dirk-Jan would be game for the challenge. During his one-year preparation period, he developed a passion for running, and this is something that has stayed with him. The SAP employee now regularly runs half marathons, most recently in June at the annual “SAP Run” in S’Hertogenbosch.

Run Your Way Program

A program led by SAP Global Health Management aims to support and encourage SAP employees of all generations and physical conditions to invest in their health and well-being by moving more throughout the day. Using Fit@SAP, a global activity platform powered by SAP HANA, employees can find their own way to move more together and develop healthy habits.

via SAP News Center

SAP CHRO Stefan Ries: “Digitalization Is a Massive Opportunity”

How can digitalization benefit people at SAP? SAP Chief Human Resources Officer Stefan Ries talks about the HR agenda and shares his personal experiences since returning to SAP in 2014.

Q: How can digitalization benefit people at SAP?

A: These days, digitalization is often seen as a job killer or a sword of Damocles, particularly in Europe. But I prefer to see digitalization not as a risk, but an opportunity.

For SAP as an employer, digitalization is a massive opportunity. We take the technology of the past and prepare it for a new future, and provide employees with a great user experience, a sort of “app experience.”  Along with other criteria, such as work responsibilities, salary, and development opportunities, this is a decisive factor for our young applicants. We can inspire talented candidates to join us by offering them the chance to work in a world that is closely connected to the tools they use in their everyday lives.

I see this as a very strong argument as to why we should open ourselves to the benefits of digitalization. It isn’t just a vision for the future, but something hugely relevant for us today.

And what does this mean for jobs?

As a technology company, digitalization has long been key issue for us. We are the front runners, and have been paving the way in the cloud for the past four or five years. So, what has happened during that time? We have not cut back on jobs, but instead created thousands of new ones every year. Just think about the work in the Innovation Labs, the SAP Digital Boardroom, or the success of SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA.

These developments also mean we have to prepare employees for what’s to come. The best example of this is Digital Business Services, where currently an additional €15 million is being invested in professional development. When I returned to SAP in 2014, we had a training budget of €70-80 million, which is a considerable amount in itself. This year it was €190 million. Despite the increase in the number of employees, this is still a remarkable leap, and puts us way ahead of our competitors and other industries

What’s your personal approach?

I personally learn best when I’m visiting customers. In the first half of the year, I attended almost 50 customer meetings. This is also one of SAP’s unique selling points – under the “Accelerate Winning in HR” initiative, we’ve trained approximately 180 HR employees who meet customers together with SAP SuccessFactors colleagues. For me, this is an extremely important and valuable learning experience.

In the HR context, we’ve been hearing the word “experience” a lot. What is meant by this?

Ultimately, the employees are our customers, our consumers. So, we asked ourselves how we could make HR more hands-on and straightforward. And that all starts with language, followed by HR applications, along with training managers and the growth of expert careers. But it’s also about how we communicate the information in an easily understandable way. Therefore, we are currently investing in simplifying HR offers and making them more user-friendly.

You returned to SAP in 2014. What has been your “experience”?

You can still feel the joy here. Being able to experience the diversity of approximately 87,000 employees spread across the world isn’t something you see every day. I also don’t know many companies who have had to adapt their business like we have, and have nevertheless managed to stay both innovative and successful.

Which concrete goals have you achieved for the employees? And what’s next to come?

At the start, I knew I needed to focus on a few select areas to be able to make tangible, long-lasting changes. Let me give you an example. Four years ago, it was clear from the employee surveys that training and development was not well perceived, but this has undergone a complete turnaround. A second example is management culture. In the past, we didn’t offer consistent trainings, meaning that we received very critical feedback from some areas of the Company. We have therefore invested in a consistent and clean approach to professional development across all management levels. The result has been that employee engagement and leadership trust have both increased.

As a next step, we have the two big topics: expert careers and performance management with SAP Talk. These topics must follow the same course as management culture, and training and development.

There are five generations working together for SAP. What does HR do in this area?

I always say to people that we don’t just have early talents, we also have mature talents – and I’m one of them! Here we have a wealth of experience at our fingertips. The expert careers topic is no coincidence. It applies precisely to the large number of employees who form part of this generation.

If you’ve been in your job for 10 to 15 years, of course you start wondering what your next career goals might be. If we manage to identify targeted development measures, we can make an effective contribution to motivating this group of employees. We intend to bring this career path up to the same level as the management career path, but we’re not quite there yet.

I’m sure that this can be a key to the success of the mature talents.

At SuccessConnect hosted in London in June, you came onto the stage in a punk outfit. Why don’t you tell us a little about that?

I’m a person who often likes to shake things up. I came onto the stage in a punk outfit to the music “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash. This is the question our talents ask themselves every day, and therefore it seemed like a fitting choice. I wanted to send a message. HR is a key part of any company, and we shouldn’t hide from the spotlight. At SAP, there is nothing more important than the people. This is our HR employees’ area of expertise, and we have a right to be proud of that just like any other department in the Company.

What is the cooperation like between HR and SAP SuccessFactors when it comes to HCM software?

We work very closely. We’re currently planning to go live in the fall with the final module, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, and then internally we’ll be 99% completely on the SAP SuccessFactors standard, which we also offer to customers. Together with the HR organization, we are essentially the Formula 1 test drivers of our own software.

This also receives a lot of external attention. For instance, we worked together with Deloitte to produce a study on our HR transformation. This went down a storm with the customers, as SAP is regarded as the absolute benchmark in the industry.

SAP reached its target of having 25% women in leadership positions. What are your thoughts on this?

Four or five years ago, no one believed this was possible. But now we’ve managed it, and even a couple of months ahead of time! This was a great result, but what does 25% mean? This was simply the target that we set internally. We’re nevertheless far from where we want to be, and therefore we’ve set a new, even more ambitious target.

Many underestimate the impact this has outside the Company, and not just with our gender target, but also with programs such as Autism at Work. Alongside the work responsibilities, this is not just a key criterion for young people, but also for experienced professionals. People often tell us in interviews they think it’s great that the Company sets ambitious targets, as this shows them how determined SAP is, and how we don’t just rest on our laurels. This helps SAP enormously.

Stefan Ries is Chief Human Resources Officer and a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. He previously worked for SAP from 2002 to 2010. He returned to the company in 2014, assuming global responsibility for human resources, and was appointed to the SAP Executive Board in April 2016.

More links:

  • Web series “The Future Factor” – In this episode, SAP’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Anka Wittenberg talks to professor Iris Bohnet from Harvard Kennedy School of Government about The business case for diversity.
  • SAP case study Bersin by Deloitte: HR Digital Transformation

via SAP News Center

Thứ Năm, 27 tháng 7, 2017

Artificial Intelligence: Why Neural Networks Continue to “Hobble”

Now that platforms and their related services have become commonplace, all eyes are on artificial intelligence.

“Systems are scalable, and complex ones can be trained quickly,” says Wolfgang Wahlster of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). Nevertheless, there are some challenges.

According to a recent study by analysts at the consulting agency McKinsey, technology companies invested between US $20 billion and US $30 billion in artificial intelligence (AI) last year – three times more than in 2014. Ninety percent of those investments were for research and development and practical software applications, while 10% went toward AI acquisitions.

According to the experts, the initiatives that have sprung forth from those investments are having a positive effect on operating margins in many industries. Automobile manufacturers that commit to AI, for example, can expect to achieve a seven to eight percent margin, whereas those that don’t can be happy just to break even or make a bit of profit. AI is also proving worthwhile for financial services providers (12% margin versus a two percent margin) and the health industry (17% margin versus –1% margin), the analysts report.

From Smart Services to Artificial Intelligence

At the recent Digital Summit in Ludwigshafen, Germany, acatech president Henning Kagermann met up with DFKI head Wolfgang Wahlster to discuss the latest advances in AI.

At CeBIT 2017, Kagermann had just handed over the final report from the “Autonomous Systems” expert forum to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. For Kagermann, AI is a logical continuation of the activities that were carried out in the realm of smart services, which mainly focused on the use of platforms and their services.

Henning Kagermann and Wolfgang Wahlster talk at the Digital Summit about the progress AI and machine learning have made to date.

Wahlster: The breakthrough in machine learning came last year. The fact that software was capable of learning was nothing new, because it had already been able to do that for years. What was missing was the scalability. When you looked more closely, you realized that the big proof points were still in their infancies, “Mickey Mouse” systems not yet mature. We had developed systems that delivered great results in very specific, small but unique domains – “nerd systems,” to exaggerate somewhat.

Thanks to machine learning, which is based on huge data volumes, we are now able to scale our systems to tackle the really big issues. Not only can we now learn end to end and use machine learning, we can also plan activities in real time. And this activities planning together with neural learning has also enabled us to significantly improve language and image understanding. In addition, we now have enough training data at our disposal thanks to Big Data.

Last but not least, the breakthrough in high-performance graphics cards and their programming has enabled us to develop very powerful systems, so that today we can train complex systems within 20 to 30 minutes.

Kagermann: Amazon recently started selling groceries in Germany via its Amazon Fresh platform, and claims to check every single strawberry for freshness before shipping it to the customer. No one needs to worry about decaying produce anymore.

Wahlster: Image understanding (machine vision) has become so incredibly fast in the meantime that we’re moving more and more away from testing only random samples. Nowadays, we can check the quality for each individual instance. Pakistan, for example, has huge mango plantations. But some of the mangos contain threadworms, so they are all barred from import into the European Union (EU).

With the help of machine learning and infrared cameras, though, we’ve found a way to check every single fruit. Such a testing procedure might also even make the mangos much cheaper for us in the long run, should they ever be allowed into the EU.

Kagermann: Autonomous driving, which the DFKI is also researching, is a much-discussed topic in AI. Collecting training data is so easy, yet we don’t even know all of the scenarios that exist in traffic. You’d have to travel up and down the streets for years, filming every possible situation. Is that the reason DFKI now generates artificial data?

Wahlster: Yes, doing so is really important, because one of the major problems in artificial intelligence and machine learning right now is the lack of mass data for very dangerous traffic situations. Take for example when a deer jumps in front of your car at night – there are no YouTube videos that could teach the system how a car should react in this case. There simply isn’t enough mass data available for the car to learn from.

The idea is to create synthetic data and teach vehicles on that basis. I expect we’ll be able to make great strides with this approach in the next two to three years.

Kagermann: Autonomous driving will need to prove to us that it can make driving much safer. Have we come that far yet?

Wahlster: It is essential that these kinds of systems also contain an explanation component. Unfortunately, today’s machine learning methods are not yet sophisticated enough to get the systems to explain the decision to us. We can use the systems for “classification” tasks, such as in the case of the strawberries and mangos, or to distinguish between a pedestrian and a truck. More complex decisions aren’t in the cards yet.

And there is a further problem: Self-learning systems are not capable of deleting false or obsolete data once learned. It is extremely difficult for them to pull that information out of the neural network again. In humans, this works via “extinction learning.” People who’ve become used to a chronic pain caused by poor posture while walking, for example, can/have to retrain their neural network to walk properly again, through physiotherapy for instance. A machine’s neural network doesn’t do that. It will continue to “hobble.”

Kagermann: How can we ensure that a statistics-based self-learning system adheres to ethical rules?

Wahlster: Systems must stick to these rules, that’s the No. 1 priority. Compliance will have to be checked against the standard scenario catalog drawn up by the German National Ethics Council. If a car doesn’t follow these rules, it won’t be allowed on the road. TÜV (safety) inspections will be done to confirm a car’s ability to master abnormal situations. But one thing is already clear: It will be some years yet before self-learning in the car makes sense and is ethically tenable.

Top image via A. Schmitz, 2017; Henning Kagermann (left) and Wolfgang Wahlster

via SAP News Center