What's New

Design-Led Innovation and SAP’s Journey

SAP News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 11:15
In a new podcast series, learn about design’s role in innovation, culture, and technology and how SAP is leveraging it internally and with customers.

Many organizations are in the midst of disrupting their business by re-imagining business models, business processes, and the way they work. Re-imagining everything requires an innovation mindset and there’s an equation that I like to use to help make innovation real. Specifically, I say that that innovation = creativity x execution.

What I find is that most organizations are good at execution. The real challenge is taking a step back and redefining a new problem that is worth solving and then scaling this creative mindset throughout the organization. The ability to do this will allow companies to reinvent and create breakthrough ideas. The methodology of scaling creativity and raising the creative competency of the entire organization is at the heart of design-led innovation.

Starting in 2004, SAP realized that having a design-led innovation approach must be at the core of our own transformation and culture. We started applying design thinking very specifically to the user experience of our products and processes and since then this mindset is core to our entire organization.

In 2013, we started extending this approach with our customers and have since then worked with hundreds of customers to leverage this methodology for innovation. One example that comes to mind is how SAP and Daimler worked together to establish a culture of innovation and a design-driven mindset — a mindset focused on human needs that embraced creativity and agility and fostered collaboration across organizational boundaries.

Based on this collaboration, Helmut Schuett, CIO of Daimler Trucks, Buses, and Vans, stated: “We selected SAP as a partner for design thinking journey because we were looking for a partner that is really experienced in the area and has done this transformation already in their own organization.”

To learn more about design-led innovation, we have launched a podcast series covering the following seven topics:

  • Introducing the SAP You Need to Know: Learn how SAP started on its design-led innovation journey, helped customers, and has become the “on-ramp to the enterprise” for partners.

Listen to part one on YouTube | iTunes | SoundCloud

  • SAP and Design-Driven Innovation: Learn how companies prioritize innovation and what the “equation” for successful innovation is.

Listen to part two on YouTube | iTunes | SoundCloud

  • SAP and Cultivating a Culture of Innovation: Learn how companies can cultivate a culture of innovation that is pervasive across the entire organization.

Listen to part three on YouTube | iTunes | SoundCloud

  • SAP Design’s Role in SAP Leonardo: Learn about SAP Leonardo and its role in design-led innovation.

Listen to part four on YouTube | iTunes | SoundCloud

  • SAP’s Open Ecosystems and Partnerships: Understand the changing nature of partnerships and why disruptors like Silicon Valley startups and technology companies see SAP as the ultimate enterprise partner.

Listen to part five on YouTube | iTunes | SoundCloud

  • Customer Stories from the SAP Design Team: Listen to customer stories about how design thinking has been used to help the world run better and save people’s lives.

Listen to part six on YouTube | iTunes | SoundCloud

  • SAP and the Future of Design and UX: Hear about some of the predictions I believe are next for the future of design innovation, how trends will affect design and ultimately new products and services

Listen to part seven on YouTube | iTunes | SoundCloud

Categories: What's New

2018 Predictions, Pt. 3: Digital Business Accelerates with Robotic Process Automation, Voice User Interface, Agile Micro-Factories

SAP News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 10:00
Savvy business leaders are predicting that 2018 will be the year that digital business breaks the sound barrier. Why?

They see a host of emerging technologies poised to go mainstream in the 2018 enterprise: new voice-enabled digital assistants becoming standard corporate issue; blockchain-based smart contracts bringing security to commerce transactions; predictive analytics making data-driven decision making de rigeur in the financial planning and forecasting cycle; ubiquitous infrastructures expanding the reach (and data) of the Internet of Things (IoT); machine learning being applied to business applications; and robotic process automation simplifying back-office operations to allow people to focus on mission-critical decision making.

2018 predictions: robotic process automation combines with cognitive computing, voice user interface plus machine learning enters business applications, creative partnering uncovers new markets

These are some of the predictions heard on Game-Changers Radio 2018 Predictions, Part 3, Presented by SAP, the third installment of a five-part series, that aired live January 3, 2018. Host Bonnie D. Graham asked 15 leading experts, academics, and business influencers to share their predictions for what the coming year holds for industry, business, the world, and technology.

What These Thought Leaders Foresee in 2018

1. The lines between Marketing and Sales are going to become blurred. Social selling is forcing a breakdown of silos. Producers are going to become more responsible for helping create the relevant content (beyond features and benefits, how-to’s, and tactical content) that helps deals move through the sales cycle. New content will be twofold: 1.) content that gets prospects thinking differently, and 2.) interactive content that brings prospects into the conversation, like interactive interview blogs, podcasts, and webinars.

– Brynne Tillman, Chief Learning Officer, Vengreso

2. At the intersection of the pharmaceutical and technology industries, 2018 is going to be a year of data liberation, meaning that users will be able to move data in and out of their system. Two trends will drive this: 1.) the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) will make public its information technology strategy, which will have a huge impact on how the pharmaceutical industry uses technology to focus on patient safety; and 2.) the battle between tech giants and pharma will intensify, as the digital revolution of the pharmaceutical industry challenges the whole value chain, whilst the Big 5 tech companies move into the life sciences space.

– Rasmus Nelund, Vice President, Life Sciences & General Manager, International Operations, NNIT A/S

3. In 2018, two technologies will combine: robotic process automation (RPA) – involving small, repeatable software programs or bots – and cognitive computing. This will make a huge difference when it comes to data by enabling manpower to focus on truly mission-critical activities. When RPA is combined with cognitive analysis, it gives the programs the ability to act like humans by making business decisions on the fly. When you combine transactional processing of purely repeatable tasks with business processes and also root-based decision supporting systems, that’s truly a game-changer.

– Thiagu Bala, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting

4. By the end of 2018, we will no longer have to explain that blockchain technology is not the same as Bitcoin! Business use of blockchain will be multiplying at an accelerated pace this year. Major software vendors now have blockchain strategies. There are almost an infinite number of ways of putting blockchain technology to practical use, not just for cryptocurrencies but also in a lot of humdrum business stuff that is a whole lot easier using blockchain – for example, in smart contracts, where the terms between the buyer and seller are stored in a decentralized blockchain network, which both simplifies things and makes them secure.

– Robert Kugel, CFO, Ventana Research

5. The Internet of Things will become the Internet of Something. People will have the expectation that most devices, not only smart devices, are connected and offer value-adding services. Secondly, I predict Bitcoin will crash, but blockchain will rise. We will see more tangible use cases for blockchain with a sustainable business model behind them – for example, smart contracts increasing the ease with which we can do commerce between organizations electronically and also for maintenance records of safety-critical systems. Lastly, we will see machine learning applied to business applications.

– Owen Pettiford, Lead for Digital Transformation Practice, BackOffice Associates

6. 2017 was about creative partnering to create new products and services. This will explode in 2018, because it’s getting harder and harder to sell basic services. It’s tough to get through unless you have something unique to sell – and from a pragmatic standpoint, creative partnering doubles the number of people you can call on. If you can ideate, teach, and sell new technologies and services together, you will find that your business will expand. If you’re part of a networking group, forget about referrals. Go in and work together to create something new. It will be more fun and interesting, and you’ll continue the learning process.

– Bryan W. Mattimore, Co-founder and Chief Idea Guy, The Growth Engine Company

7. Identity management using blockchain technology will become a super-hot topic, whether it’s to prevent fraud or to identify humans, corporations, and legal entities. Secondly, voice-enabled digital assistants will enter corporate offices. In addition to the laptop and phone, this type of device will become standard equipment. Thirdly, this is a year of simplification. The kinds of things that can be simplified range from pricing models that include subscription pricing – which will become a much bigger thing in the B2B space – to robotic process automation that simplifies the back office.

– Seth Marlowe, Senior Vice President, Treasury Solutions Consultant and Treasury Insights Leader, Wells Fargo

8. Cities and states are going to continue to lead the way on climate change and energy conservation. Hundreds of mayors have signed up for the “We Are Still In” initiative; 13 states have signed up for the U.S. Climate Alliance. We will see effective change being driven from a local level, but it will have national and global impact. Also, city leaders will see how ubiquitous infrastructures like street lighting enable IoT. We’re going to get more usable data about air quality, traffic flows, and microclimates coming in from the field. That will allow us to use our infrastructures more effectively and reveal hidden insights about how people are interacting with their urban environment. It’s going to be the Year of the Citizen in Smart Cities.

– Suzanne Seitinger, Global Manager Public Segment, Professional Systems, Philips Lighting

9. We will see the next iteration of the killer app for blockchain. There will be an interesting aspect for blockchain in terms of fraud prevention. In fighting crime, for example, blockchain may help reduce money laundering. Also, I look forward to doing more with a voice user interface (VUI), like Alexa or Siri. Lastly, concerning what the #MeToo movement has triggered, the tech industry has room for improvement, especially in terms of female-founded companies getting more funding and an equal playing field.

– Annie Miu Hayward, Head of Silicon Valley Executive Briefing Center, SAP

10. For utilities, starting with mobility, I want to make sure my field personnel as well as utilities users have all the information they need at their fingertips so they can make good, informed decisions. Also, as our consumers move from paper to paperless, we can’t make assumptions that they all know how to use smart devices, so I have to think about customer engagement, which includes training to let them know how to use our web site and devices, as well as how to pay and get the information they need. The final thing is predictive analytics. As I get more information in the system, I want to know, for example, when a pump will need maintenance, so I can save my customer money – because at the end of the day that’s what it’s about: saving my customers money.

– Ron Schell, Director of Business Systems EAM, Metropolitan Utilities District

11. In automotive, we’re going to see the acceleration of Connected Autonomous Shared Electric (CASE). 2018 is the year people get serious about electric. The EU, China, and India have made bold statements about what composition of vehicle products they want to have by 2030 and the gap is massive. Everybody is going to be shifting to make those products available and put them in the hands of consumers. Secondly, there will be a continuing blurring of automotive based on two aspects: 1.) the $1.2 trillion of digital services people are going to run out of their cars, and 2.) an emergence of a new aftermarket with digital and electrified products that add information.

– Bill Newman, North America’s Strategic Industry Advisor, SAP

12. At the World Manufacturing Forum recently, three topics kept coming up, which seemed to indicate what we can expect in 2018. 1.) We’re going to see the advancement of micro-factories, small factories that can respond quickly to changes in the supply chain, because they are built on agility, not capacity, and have intelligence and process flexibility. 2.) In academia, there is an emphasis now on educating the right workers for the next generation of manufacturing. 3.) With the advancements in polymeric and metal powders in manufacturing, we’re going to see 3-D printing move from prototyping into MRO and then into production in 2018.

– Mike Lackey, Vice President of Solution Management, LoB Manufacturing, SAP

13. We’ll see the mainstream adoption of predictive analytics into the financial planning and forecasting cycle. The reality is that most firms today are still dependent on manual data entry from humans to support the planning and forecasting processes. I see the tipping point starting in 2018 and maybe fully happening by 2020, by which time most companies will be using data to support more accurate and efficient plans that drive decision-making processes. There are a couple of reasons for this: 1.) the availability of data today is massive because companies have invested millions in big expense items like ERP, operational technology from plant equipment, and POS systems, so that the data now is large enough to be statistically relevant to make accurate predictions on an organization’s financial plan, and 2.) a change of organizational culture thanks to Millennials that are bringing a data-driven Moneyball-style attitude into decision making.

– Patrick Hickey, Partner, Jump Analytics

14. Expect to see continued momentum in the digital space. Millennials entering the digital workforce will create pressure on companies to transform processes to keep up. Companies will face headwinds from evolving regulations. Secondly, concerning artificial intelligence and how increased momentum in cognitive learning from machines will impact the workforce, in 2018 we expect to see enhanced and supplemented decision making on basic computations. Lastly, as companies look at risk in 2018, companies that continue successfully are going to be able to scan the digital horizon in a simple manner to identify, manage, and respond to risk.

– Ben Zimmerman, Partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP

15. There will be a huge demand for unhackable data. There is a demand now for data everywhere. The enterprise depends increasingly on data – for example, we just talked about predictive analytics and managing risk. We are going to see blockchain solutions that are going to solve a lot of these problems in terms of tamper proofing data.

– Peter Ebert, Senior Vice President Business Development and Sales, Cryptowerk Corp

You can hear the full show at SAP Game-Changers Radio 2018 Predictions, Part 3

SAP Game-Changers Radio 2018 Predictions Special: Upcoming Shows

For dozens of other insightful predictions that can impact you and your business in 2018 and beyond, listen to all five episodes of SAP’s Game-Changers Radio 2018 Predictions Special. In case you missed previous episodes, you can listen to recordings of part ones and part two of the series.

Part four will air live on Wednesday, January 10, at 11:00 am ET/ 8:00 a.m. PT at http://spr.ly/SAPRadio.

The final show in the series will air on January 17. You can listen to the shows live here.

The experts’ predictions have been edited and condensed for this space.

Categories: What's New

Accenture Completes Acquisition of Altima, Strengthening its Leading Customer Experience Capabilities

Accenture News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 08:59
PARIS; January 8, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has completed its acquisition of Altima, a full-service digital commerce agency, headquartered in France. 
Categories: What's New

Smartphones Losing Ground to Digital Voice Assistant Devices in Homes, Accenture Survey Finds

Accenture News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 07:59
NEW YORK; Jan. 8, 2018 – Consumers who own in-home digital voice assistant devices are using their smartphones less often for entertainment and online purchasing, according to results of a new survey from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
Categories: What's New

RegTechs Join Accenture's FinTech Innovation Lab London to Develop Solutions for Wave of Regulatory Challenges in 2018

Accenture News - Mon, 01/08/2018 - 05:00
LONDON; Jan. 8, 2018 –  RegTechs, start-ups offering technology solutions for financial firms’ regulatory challenges, will join Accenture’s sixth FinTech Innovation Lab London in their own dedicated stream for the first time.
Categories: What's New

Enhancing SAP’s Digital Story in Australia

SAP News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:30
Nothing puts fear into the retail industry like the entrance of a global heavyweight digital disruptor. Amazon entered Australia just ahead of the Christmas shopping frenzy, and industry pundits are quick to declare the death of retail as we know it.

But SAP sees it differently. As Colin Brookes, president and managing director for SAP Australia and New Zealand says, “Amazon’s entry into the local market sparks a new era in digital engagement across all industries.”

In November 2017, SAP launched its third Digital Experience Report in Australia, a research initiative that measures organizations’ digital performance according to what their consumers think. Investigating nine industries through a sample size of 11,000, it is an in-depth assessment of digital performance in the market, allowing analysis at the national, industry, and even individual-brand level.

“The research shows us that only one-third of Australian consumers are actually delighted by their digital experience, how they interact with a brand digitally during the discovery, purchase, delivery, and support of a product or service,” Brookes says. “There is a gap: 69% of Australians are either unsatisfied or ambivalent with the digital experiences brands deliver in the market.”

“Not only is there a gap, what the findings show us is that this gap has very significant implications on business performance, particularly on customer loyalty and advocacy,” he adds.

That smaller percentage delighted with the digital experience are 3.5 times more likely to remain loyal to a brand than those unsatisfied. Additionally, those delighted with the digital experience gave their brand an average NPS score of 64%, while those unsatisfied were scathing in their detraction with an NPS of -47%.

The results varied significantly across brands and industries. But the main take away according to Brookes? “There’s a huge opportunity for SAP to show customers the way to superior digital experiences and through those experiences help them improve customer loyalty and advocacy.”

Backing Up the Path to Digital

According to a Frost & Sullivan study, 98% of Australian executives claimed they were executing well on their digital strategy. But when those executives were asked to share evidence of this, they couldn’t. SAP’s Digital Experience Report provides the ultimate evidence of digital performance: not according to the executives and not according to SAP, but according to the end consumer. “At the end of the day, only the end customer’s interpretation of digital value matters,” Brookes says.

In 2016, then president Adaire Fox-Martin commissioned the research across 10 markets, highlighting the various levels of maturity of digital across the region. But the fundamental story remained the same:

  • There is a gap between what consumers expect in a digital experience and what brands are delivering.
  • That gap matters, significantly impacting loyalty and advocacy
  • Organizations can do something about it by re-imagining their processes for digital engagement

Point three is of particular relevance today, as new technologies spark new ways of engaging with customers. Augmented reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain and more can work in the back and foreground to deliver drastically better digital experiences. Netflix, for example, the top performing brand across all industries in the report, has attributed US$1 billion annually to the application of machine learning. This technology drives greater loyalty among Netflix’s customers through algorithms recommending videos.

“The hyper-local, brand-level findings of the report paired with the value our solutions deliver, especially in the days of SAP Leonardo, create fertile ground for meaningful discussions with our customers,” Brooks says. “The report validates and enhances SAP’s digital story. It offers our customers insights that no competitor can match. With the arrival of Amazon in Australia, entire industries need to lift their game, and we’ll be right here to show them how.”

Simon Gomes is head of Media Relations for SAP Australia and New Zealand

Categories: What's New

Will Procurement Be the Hottest Job of the Decade?

SAP News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 10:30
The future of procurement is all about people, networks, and principles.

From moleskin to fishing rods, Cirque du Soleil is a company that procures a lot of strange stuff because of the nature of their business. The bungee costumes worn by the performers of the Mystère production, for example, each have over 2,000 hand-glued sequins. Sourcing everything from crystals and buttons to logistical services around the world is a herculean task, running 24/7, 365 days per year. Automating processes and making the right procurement decisions saves time and money, so Cirque du Soleil implemented SAP Ariba to lighten the administrative burden.

But what does the sourcing team do with their time now that their old jobs have been replaced by automated processes? For one thing, they focus more on negotiating with suppliers, letting the system handle the processes and people handle the decisions.

Strategic Spending

Regardless of where they’re based or what they do, companies around the world need to make faster and more strategic sourcing decisions to retain a competitive edge. Etihad Airways, for example, morphed from regional player into the fastest growing airline in the history of commercial aviation. To deal with such growth, the company needed to consolidate systems, streamline their source to contract process and improve integration of new suppliers. Again, people played a key role.

“At Etihad, we realized we had to completely change the way we procure and source,” says Tracey Tops, a business analysis manager who helped transform procurement and supply management at Etihad Airways with SAP Ariba.

“We operate on a massive scale dealing with 28,000 suppliers and over 70,000 purchase orders per year. Previously, procurement was an inward looking, gatekeeping function with limited stakeholder engagement. To move from a governance style function to a value adding one, we needed experienced project leads, executive sponsors, change champions and plenty of training. Now, our buyers are business enablers engaging with all stakeholders to deliver the best value based on trustworthy supplier information.”

Next-Gen Buyers and Sellers

There are two aspects of procurement that will never go away, people and processes.  Buying and selling is a human interaction. Traditionally, the buyer side of an organization is spend conscious. It’s a process driven B2B world, where the focus is on cost savings and margins, in other words, serious and tedious.

The sales side of the house, on the other hand, is cool and exciting, because it’s where you see the money. It’s all about doing business, driving revenue and engaging with customers. That’s changing.

“Today’s buyers and sellers come from a generation of people who need to touch what they buy. They are used to family shopping excursions,” says Mohammed AlKhotani, president of SAP Ariba Marketing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). “Millennials however, are using technology to get things done quickly.  Today, machines are making decisions about what to buy and when to buy. But that doesn’t mean jobs will vanish! It just means jobs will change.  Procurement always was and always will be about negotiation.”

Procurement and Principles

SAP Ariba is the Facebook of procurement – it’s where companies connect to do business. Buyers and sellers can collaborate, transact, and access a vibrant digital marketplace with millions of trading partners around the world. Automation takes the burden of administration off the buyers’ shoulders and frees them up to think and act more strategically in a much broader ecosystem.

For example, SAP Ariba’s online auctioning tools are widening networks and making the buying process more dynamic. Buyers can compete to obtain goods or services by offering increasingly higher prices, or in a reverse auction, the sellers compete to obtain business from the buyer and prices decrease as the sellers underbid each other. After the auction closes, buyers can simulate scenarios to find the best possible options based on specific criteria and data before making a final decision.

Equally exciting, buyers can embed rules to ensure the buying process is compliant with their procurement policies, putting procurement at the heart of fair trade and sustainable supply chains. A study by Cone Communications found that nine in 10 consumers expect companies to not only make a profit, but also operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues.

Today, many enterprises have green initiatives driven in part by the commitment of global stakeholders to the UN Sustainable Development Goals to transform the world. For many suppliers, compliance is not a luxury; it’s a business necessity. Goals like responsible production and consumption, decent working conditions, gender equality all trickle down into the supply chain.

“People want to associate with companies driven by principles,” says Mohammed AlKhotani. “Business networks provide transparency and insight into the supply chain enabling companies to take a stand and drive ethical behavior.”

So when it comes to saving money and doing good, procurement can be a game changer in the years ahead.

Follow me on Twitter: @magyarj

This story originally appeared on the SAP Community.

Categories: What's New

Faurecia and Accenture Join Forces to Reinvent Onboard Experience for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

Accenture News - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 02:29
PARIS; Jan. 5, 2018 Faurecia (EO.PA), a leading global automotive supplier, and Accenture (NYSE: ACN), a global professional services company, today announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding for a five-year collaboration to accelerate innovation for mobility services.
Categories: What's New

SAP Names Alex Atzberger as President of SAP Hybris and Barry Padgett as President of SAP Ariba

SAP News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:00
WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced the appointments of Alex Atzberger as president of SAP Hybris and Barry Padgett as president of SAP Ariba.

SAP Hybris solutions comprise the omnichannel customer engagement and commerce business at SAP that helps companies move closer to their customers by delivering a consistently great experience at every touchpoint, channel and device. The SAP Hybris solution portfolio includes innovative offerings for commerce, marketing, sales, service and revenue. Ariba Network is the world’s largest, most global business network, used by more than three million companies in 180 countries to transact nearly $1 trillion in commerce on an annual basis.

Atzberger is a 13-year SAP veteran who has been serving as president of SAP Ariba for the past three years. Formerly chief of staff to SAP CEO Bill McDermott and head of SAP’s fast-growth markets business, Atzberger has helped to position SAP Ariba offerings as the industry’s leading business network and procurement solutions, furthering the digital transformation agendas for companies such as Ford, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Ferrero, Lenovo, Saudi Aramco, Nielsen, Broadspectrum, LATAM Airlines Group and many others.

Atzberger takes the reins of the SAP Hybris business from co-founder and former president Carsten Thoma, who is stepping down from his position to return to his entrepreneurial roots and pursuing his personal passion of founding, supporting and investing in entrepreneurs and startups. Atzberger will work alongside hybris AG co-founder and current head of engineering Moritz Zimmermann to expand and grow this expansive portfolio.

As Atzberger transitions to SAP Hybris, Barry Padgett will step into the role of president of SAP Ariba. Padgett joined SAP through the acquisition of Concur, where he served for nearly 20 years in a variety of positions including chief product officer. He spent the last two years serving as president of the SMB Solutions Group, the company’s business area for small and midsize businesses, expanding the reach of products such as the SAP Business ByDesign solution and SAP Business One application. As president of SAP Ariba, Padgett will also have oversight of SAP’s business network strategy, charting the future of this important growth area.

“Positioning these proven leaders, both with deep customer empathy and a business vision rooted in a beautiful customer experience, will have a tremendous, positive impact for customers worldwide,” said Robert Enslin, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and president of Cloud Business Group, SAP. “The business acumen and expertise both Alex and Barry bring to their respective roles, coupled with the engineering innovation agendas already underway, will greatly advance SAP’s leadership pursuits in the areas of procurement, customer engagement and commerce.”

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

Media Contacts:

Karen Master, +1 (412) 297-8177, karen.master@sap.com, ET
Michael Baxter, +49 151-171 9 6185, michael.baxter01@sap.com, CET

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Categories: What's New

Year One at the SAP IoT Startup Accelerator

SAP News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 12:30
To transform great ideas into even greater value, startups are collaborating with SAP product owners, developers, and sales employees in the areas of IoT and digital supply chains.

Data is the new gold. And in innovative spaces in Berlin, Germany, and Palo Alto, California, SAP is mining that gold daily as it builds up one of the world’s most important new frontiers: the Internet of Things (IoT).

The race is on for a global opportunity that is transforming the world by the second. And since its launch one year ago, the SAP IoT Startup Accelerator program is leading that race, bringing SAP customers, IoT products, and technology entrepreneurs together into a dynamic, global ecosystem.

Facilitating Brilliance

The SAP IoT Startup Accelerator team facilitates; the entire ecosystem innovates. The program is attracting veteran SAP users like global salt producer Kali und Salz (K+S), which came to the accelerator looking for a real-time tracking solution for its logistics operations. The company was eager to tap into the innovation of Synfioo, a young startup company in the accelerator program. Today SAP, K+S, and Synfioo are working closely together to produce an end-to-end solution that offers real-time estimated time of arrival (ETA) functionality seamlessly across the entire SAP landscape.

“We’re uniting SAP ERP and SAP Transportation Management with a powerful new level of innovation. It’s adding new depth and breadth across our entire portfolio,” says Franz Hero, senior vice president and head of Supply Chain and Logistics Development at SAP. “By adding Synfioo to SAP Transportation Management, we’re creating an incredibly valuable, end-to-end solution that excites and delights our customers.”

Accelerate to Innovate

The SAP IoT Startup Accelerator program is part of SAP’s plan to invest $2.2 billion in IoT by 2020. The Berlin- and Palo Alto-based initiative works with startups and customers to innovate globally in the IoT and digital supply chain business domain. Co-creation with startups, SAP products, and customers is central to the program, which was awarded “Best Newcomer Accelerator 2017” by Capital magazine. A proof of concept with a joint value proposition stands at the core.

1,000 Ideas a Day: Attracting the Best Startup Talent

From the very first day, startups begin their journey with SAP as a fully-fledged business ally. Getting into the accelerator program is a competitive process. Participants are hand-picked from a jury composed of accelerator team members and IoT product owners. Once startups are accepted, they collaborate one-on-one with SAP product owners and developers, as well as SAP sales.

“Solutions that develop together, work together. Solutions that work together, succeed together,” says Bernd Dittrich, developer for the IoT product SAP Transportation Management. “That’s the whole idea behind the accelerator’s deep collaboration and engagement model. It’s how we get to new, real-world, end-to-end solutions faster.”

Accelerator teams have become extraordinarily adept at finding the best startups. A keen eye and omnipresence means that SAP is able to scout, discover, and recruit the very best. Consider attenio. Today, the manufacturing software startup and accelerator participant is revolutionizing the way workers assemble their products. What began as a PhD research project in the shipbuilding business has become a game-changing, supply chain manufacturing solution. It uses augmented reality to significantly reduce the time it takes to build and launch a large ship.

“SAP really pushes us, our ideas, and our technology,” says Dr. Fedor Titov, CEO of  attenio. “The ability to combine attenio with the SAP Digital Manufacturing Solutions unit is helping us scale our customer base. At the same time, SAP benefits from attenio’s digitized, paperless manufacturing process and augmented reality knowledge. It’s a win-win situation.”

Fresh Entrepreneurial Capital: Cherry-Picking the Best New Ideas

The SAP IoT Startup Accelerator program’s ability to attract the world’s most promising, relevant startups puts SAP and its customers in an enviable position. Customers are more willing to adopt new technology because the prorgram is backed by SAP. The company’s sheer size, installed customer base, and business insights mean that SAP and startups can scale quickly together. At the same time, startups have an instant marketplace to validate their ideas. It all adds up to a virtuous cycle of innovation.

“Startups are given the time and resources to fully develop and integrate their ideas with SAP,” says Eva Zauke, vice president of IoT and Digital Supply Chain at SAP, and head of the SAP IoT Startup Accelerator in Berlin and Palo Alto. “The SAP lines of business get access to new technology that has already been voted ‘most likely to succeed.’ The startup’s idea is then quickly integrated as a ready-to-launch, fit-for-purpose solution that either fills an SAP portfolio white space or adds depth to an existing SAP solution.”

Successful accelerator startups like Loginno are a case in point. Co-founder Shachar Tal’s startup promises to revolutionize the way companies monitor shipping containers on land and across the ocean. A clever combination of a patent-protected sensor and patent- pending geo-spacial algorithms make that possible. The solution, on-Schedule, built 100 percent on SAP Cloud Platform, can tell customers the real-time situation and global location of their shipment, including whether anyone has tampered with the shipping container. The increased efficiencies promise to recoup more than $50 billion for the logistics chain, insurance, customs, and homeland security.

“It was, and still is, one of our best experiences with a corporate,” says Tal. “With the SAP IoT Startup Accelerator team’s close support, we were able to produce our dream product and build it on top of the logistics industry’s No. 1 platform.”

Sweet Spot: Achieving High Return, Low Risk

The ability to attract the best talent and invest in the best ideas allows SAP customers to achieve a high return on their innovation investments with less risk. Rather than recruit and evaluate ideas at their own peril, SAP customers can instead benefit from the “intelligent human interface” of SAP experts and developers who vet and integrate new innovation. It all adds up to more immediate, tangible value.

In today’s highly competitive business environment, that matters. SAP customers find themselves in a hyper-competitive environment, in which three-month innovation cycles can mean the difference between winning or losing industry leadership.

For SAP customers, having a proven, highly refined solution like Synfioo helped them solve tough challenges without heavy, up-front investment. The transportation management solution juggles hundreds of complex variables like ferry schedules, weather, road traffic, and train station congestion. It shows transportation planners the best way to move their time-sensitive shipments forward and provides ETA information in real time. When things do not go as planned, the planner can quickly develop routing alternatives and communicate with all parties.

“SAP IoT Startup Accelerator makes leading-edge innovation a high-return, low-cost investment for customers,” says Alexander Waldi, senior vice president and member of the SAP Germany management team. “It enhances existing SAP solutions with new startup technology to make them more agile. SAP has already completed a first trial-and-error phase. That gives our customers the chance to tread complete new paths with their data, software ecosystem, and business model to try out innovations. It’s a liberating mind shift.”

Valuable Outcomes, Rich Experiences

One year on, the accelerator has demonstrated how SAP innovation can be stretched and challenged in profound and healthy ways across all job descriptions and disciplines. Because by enriching its innovation and talent pool, SAP continues to discover new ways to make existing offerings even more valuable to customers.

“SAP IoT Startup Accelerator is part of a dynamic process where all sides — SAP business, customers, and startups — add value to one another,” says Zauke. “They get a broader perspective. And that opens up new business ideas and models. It’s more than great products. It’s a new way of thinking as well innovation. And that’s providing us with rich experiences from all sides.”

Categories: What's New

Are Your Workplace Apps Overloaded?

SAP News - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 10:30
In the interactions I’ve had with HR professionals, I’ve come to respect the challenges of the profession. Their role is to take a very complex system of processes and tools and simplify the concepts so that their customers – the company’s employees – can understand and use them to make decisions, manage careers, and engage with the organization.

This is a huge challenge, especially when you take into account the role of human capital management (HCM) technology and the multiple screens required in order for employees to have access to HR tools “whenever and wherever they need them.”

Today’s employees have considerable expectations around having constant access to workplace technologies; they come to the job already mobile-savvy due to the apps they use outside of work, which are quickly setting the standard for workplace apps. However, the terms of “whenever and wherever” are outdated, oversimplified mis-characterizations of how mobile software should work. A great user experience, not an over-abundance of capabilities, is one of the key factors ensuring employees will use and enjoy a mobile app.

In my experience, workplace mobile apps often fall flat when it comes to engaging employees because the mobile experience hasn’t been thought through. Many times, mobile features are treated as a checklist, and the assumption is that if a feature is available on the desktop or web platform, it must be made available on mobile. Frequently, I’ve been asked to make mobile work exactly the same as the web platform, at times even getting so granular as specifying the same number of clicks or taps. While general consistency between mobile and desktop platforms is a good thing, the fact is that from the user’s perspective, these platforms are different. Forcing one platform to conform to the other without consideration to how users interact with each is exactly the opposite of providing a great user experience.

At SAP SuccessFactors, our mobile design stems from one key question: What is it that the user wants  to do on mobile?  We’ve found that ultimately, people are not going to use mobile devices to execute every aspect of HR, the way they might use a desktop. But we also know that given how pervasive mobile devices are in our lives, there are some processes and connections that are actually enhanced in a mobile environment—and these are the very ones we focus on incorporating into our app.

First, consider when people typically use their mobile devices. While there may be times when you are stuck at an airport and are forced to work on a mobile device for an extended period of time, this is typically not the usage pattern for mobile software — we are far more often checking our phones during the “in between” moments. We use our phones while in line at Starbucks, and while on the elevator on our way to our next meeting. Most of these interactions are not lengthy.

At SAP SuccessFactors, we’ve spent considerable time understanding the HR processes that match this style of interaction, making them ideal for a mobile environment. Creating a new job requisition with lots of fields probably doesn’t make sense on a phone, but reviewing the job requisition and approving or sending it back for further edits might, and this ultimately informs our thinking around the job requisition capabilities we provide in our mobile app. An app that facilitates easy, intuitive completion of these “in between” activities is ultimately better aligned with how people use the device they are performing them on.

Consider also how people interact with the mobile device itself. On iOS, users swipe up to access the Control Center to turn on airplane mode. On Android, users swipe down from the top to access their Settings to do the same. Anyone who has lost a phone still on contract and were forced to temporarily switch from iOS to Android or vice versa understands the frustration these small differences can cause for the user experience. When workplace mobile apps are not designed to the standards of the mobile platform, this has the same time-consuming and frustrating effect.

The SAP SuccessFactors Mobile app is designed not only to align with when and where people typically use mobile devices, but also how they interact with their operating system of choice. This includes bringing platform-specific features such as 3D Touch from iOS, Android Fingerprint biometrics, and Apple Face ID (coming soon to your iPhone X) into the SAP Successfactors mobile solution. From the perspective of HR these may sound like inconsistencies between our Android and iOS offerings. But from the perspective of your users, these small touches ensure the mobile app is intuitive, familiar, and enjoyable to use.

For a long time mobile was simply thought of as anytime, anywhere access to all aspects of a solution. But the truth is, mobile can’t and shouldn’t be an exact copy of what we enable people to do at their desks. A mobile app is far more effective when it is an extension of the desktop solution, enabling the activities and tasks that make sense in a mobile environment and that match when, how, and why people use their mobile devices.

The SAP SuccessFactors Mobile app is designed to engage 100 percent of your workforce and keep them captivated, enabling instant, actionable access to the processes, data, and information that matter the most when they’re on the go.

Martin Cheng is director of Mobile Product Management for SAP SuccessFactors

Categories: What's New

2028: What Work Will Look Like a Decade from Now

SAP News - Wed, 01/03/2018 - 10:15
Experts met recently at the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam to weigh in on the future of work.

Predicting the future is risky business. You never really know if you are going to get it right. While experts may not agree on exactly how work will change in the next decades, there is growing consensus that “we find ourselves at the edge of another industrial revolution,” according to Professor Sabine Kunst, president of the Humboldt University, Berlin.

“Advances in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Big Data are already profoundly shifting all aspects of society — how we work, connect, organize politically, and learn as human beings,” she continues.

Predicting the future is risky business

What to anticipate, how to manage these changes, and how to ensure humans do not get left behind is what business leaders, researchers, academics, policy makers, and innovators met to discuss at the recent SAP research round table on the Future of Work at the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam, Germany.

Hosted by SAP’s Future of Work team, the event was designed in collaboration with TÜV Rheinland, a leader in technical services for testing, inspection, certification, and training, together with INQA (Initiative New Quality of Work), which aims to improve the quality of work in ways that benefit companies and employees. The research round table explored how “new work” requires reimagining how we organize work, how leaders lead, and how we incentivize people, build skills, and gain knowledge throughout a lifetime, while connecting people with jobs that do more than just sustain them financially but also have meaning and value.

Participants from large as well as small and midsize companies wrestled with these themes in a world café format designed to challenge experts to come up with real-world solutions that can be supported by smart software.

Everything that Can Be Automated Will Be Automated

“We are facing a future where almost everything that can be automated will be automated”, according to Guenter Pecht-Seibert, head of the Future of Work team at SAP. “So anticipating emerging jobs, in-demand skills sets, alternative organizational structures, and disruptions to current educational formats is critically important not only for companies, but for society as a whole.”

With the pace of digitalization accelerating, the pressure to innovate and find novel solutions to never-before-seen problems is increasing. In 1958, a Standard & Poor’s 500 company could hope to be around for an average of 61 years. Today, they only survive 18 years on average. Why? Because 20th century structures don’t meet 21st century needs for more agility and innovation.

Management practices and organizations as we know them today were established at a time when low levels of automation, a poorly educated workforce doing manual tasks, and stable mass markets had businesses focused on increasing production and efficiency. At that time, hierarchical management practices enabled a few educated people to instruct others on how to complete tasks effectively. Traditional educational institutions, like schools and universities were the gatekeepers of knowledge.

Today, a highly-educated, highly-mobile and increasingly-networked workforce is poised to experience a degree of automation like never before. Barriers to knowledge and skill-building are falling as people across the socioeconomic spectrum access high-quality digital content. Yet our management practices, educational institutions, and organizational structures — not to mention the software systems that support them — are deeply rooted in those hierarchical 20th century ideas about the best ways to structure work, motivate people, and build skills.

What will need to change to create more agile and innovative organizations?

Will Managers Become Obsolete?

Participants imagined a future where organizational and team boundaries become more permeable. They chewed on the provocative question of whether leaders will be obsolete in the self-managed organizations of the future. They concluded that the future needs a new breed of leaders: those who are enablers, creating just the right conditions for information to flow and creativity to flourish. Transparency will be key. Trust in people and in the decisions they make will be an essential prerequisite for leaders. The ability for leaders to let go of aspects of the decision-making power they hold today will be crucial in teams where highly skilled and competent individuals collaboratively look for solutions to complex scenarios.

Here’s where software comes in. Today’s structured, regular reporting tools will give way to more ad-hoc, decision-support tools that make business data accessible across levels and organizational boundaries. Instead of equipping only top executives with the knowledge to make smart decisions, systems will enable teams to make decisions in alignment with the business strategy.

This requires a deep understanding of the business strategy across the organization. Situation rooms, war rooms, digital boardrooms — all once the purview of top execs — will need to be standard tools for self-managed teams, linking them to the real-time, contextual information they need for wide-ranging decisions.

As decision-making abilities shift from individual managers to teams, documenting those decisions will become imperative. What was the basis for this decision? Who was involved in this decision and what was the context? Once again, software’s role is obvious. Participants expressed the need for software that provides all the data and information necessary for the entire decision-making process.

As teams gain decision-making power, it will become more important than ever to staff those teams with the right mix of people who bring the just the right skills and perspectives. “Competent people make competent decisions” was a guiding principle that participants defined. Therefore, solutions for defining which competencies an organization needs, identifying people who have them, and matching those people to roles was yet another area seen as being more important than ever in future — an area where software will be essential.

Technology Is Changing Fast; Education Needs to Keep Pace

The future requires us to let go of established mental models, especially when it comes to learning. According to Markus Dohm, executive vice president of Academy & Life Care for TÜV Rheinland, “We need to get away from seeing life being neatly dividing up into three parts: we go to school, then we work, and then we retire. This assumes that learning happens in the first phase and prepares us for our entire working life, when actually we need to be learning throughout our lifetime. Education needs to be built around new models that recognize gaining knowledge and skills throughout a lifetime is the new normal.”

Gaining knowledge and skills throughout a lifetime is the new normal

Participants were challenged to think about a future where human creativity will become the key creator of economic value as routine tasks become automated. They were tasked with exploring the skills people who work in more self-directed ways need and how education and competency-building approaches must be retooled to provide those.

Clearly, a goal they shared in common was the need to bridge the gap between the competencies people have and the competencies organizations need. They discussed strategies for mapping skill requirements of individuals to the skill requirements of organizations, and the options software can provide. They questioned traditional ways of creating competency profiles manually, and explored new approaches that use Big Data processing options to automatically propose competency profiles.

According to Norbert Koppenhagen who heads Future of Work Research at SAP, “We are exploring options for building an intelligent personal career and learning assistant to guide individuals throughout their lifetime, by automatically proposing competency profiles matching people’s learning needs with the most appropriate skills-building opportunities, like peer-learning, mentoring, and online sources.”

While online learning options have been around for decades, the group explored why barriers to accessing online learning still persist in certain professions and how they can be overcome.

Nobody really knows what the future holds. But we do know that imagining that future is a tried and true way of preparing for change and ensuring that we can influence the direction that future takes.

Under the leadership of Guenter Pecht-Seibert, the Future of Work team at SAP helps organizations transform from the industrial age to the information age by becoming more purpose-led and self-managed. They conduct research, product development, and go to market for cloud business applications.

Categories: What's New

SAP’s 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Accomplishments — and the Road Ahead

SAP News - Tue, 01/02/2018 - 11:15
With the close of another year, we are presented with an opportunity to assess how far we’ve come in the pursuit of a culture of inclusion. By many measures, SAP has been successful in building a workforce that reflects the world around us — driving our growth in large part because we all support one another and our diversity of experiences, perspectives, and skills.

Just last month, SAP was honored to receive two accolades: Based on feedback from our employees, Glassdoor named SAP America as the 11th best workplace in the United States and the No. 1 best workplace in Canada, and we were recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the top 20 companies doing the most to create a diverse and inclusive culture. This is the second consecutive year we have made the list, and the effect doesn’t wane. It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized and an important validation of our efforts.

This is in addition to dozens of recognitions this year, including:

It is certainly rewarding when others acknowledge and validate that we’re building something quite special. That said, it’s equally important that we recognize there is still a lot of work to be done. We operate in an industry that is in its relative youth, and we’re seeing rapid growth by early stage companies that don’t have the benefit of the decades of leadership that SAP has. We have a responsibility to continue to serve as an example, to not rest on our laurels but to push for greater equality, diversity, and continued respect for each other. And I know we will.

I’m incredibly proud to come to work each day and be surrounded by people who are passionate about what we do and who have come together as the fabric of our culture of inclusion. I look forward to building upon last year’s success, reaching more diversity and inclusion milestones in 2018, and strengthening our position as the employer of choice in North America.

DJ Paoni is president of North America Sales at SAP.

Categories: What's New
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