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Tick Tock: Start Preparing for Resource Disruption

SAP News - Fri, 12/22/2017 - 09:15
The costs of managing, powering, and moving products and services are about to change dramatically. Better start planning for the disruption.

Businesses share something important with lions. When a lion captures and consumes its prey, only about 10% to 20% of the prey’s energy is directly transferred into the lion’s metabolism. The rest evaporates away, mostly as heat loss, according to research done in the 1940s by ecologist Raymond Lindeman.

Today, businesses do only about as well as the big cats. When you consider the energy required to manage, power, and move products and services, less than 20% goes directly into the typical product or service—what economists call aggregate efficiency (the ratio of potential work to the actual useful work that gets embedded into a product or service at the expense of the energy lost in moving products and services through all of the steps of their value chains). Aggregate efficiency is a key factor in determining productivity.

After making steady gains during much of the 20th century, businesses’ aggregate energy efficiency peaked in the 1980s and then stalled. Japan, home of the world’s most energy-efficient economy, has been skating along at or near 20% ever since. The U.S. economy, meanwhile, topped out at about 13% aggregate efficiency in the 1990s, according to research.

Why does this matter? Jeremy Rifkin says he knows why. Rifkin is an economic and social theorist, author, consultant, and lecturer at the Wharton School’s Executive Education program who believes that economies experience major increases in growth and productivity only when big shifts occur in three integrated infrastructure segments around the same time: communications, energy, and transportation.

But it’s only a matter of time before information technology blows all three wide open, says Rifkin. He envisions a new economic infrastructure based on digital integration of communications, energy, and transportation, riding atop an Internet of Things (IoT) platform that incorporates Big Data, analytics, and artificial intelligence. This platform will disrupt the world economy and bring dramatic levels of efficiency and productivity to businesses that take advantage of it,
he says.

Some economists consider Rifkin’s ideas controversial. And his vision of a new economic platform may be problematic—at least globally. It will require massive investments and unusually high levels of government, community, and private sector cooperation, all of which seem to be at depressingly low levels these days.

However, Rifkin has some influential adherents to his philosophy. He has advised three presidents of the European Commission—Romano Prodi, José Manuel Barroso, and the current president, Jean-Claude Juncker—as well as the European Parliament and numerous European Union (EU) heads of state, including Angela Merkel, on the ushering in of what he calls “a smart, green Third Industrial Revolution.” Rifkin is also advising the leadership of the People’s Republic of China on the build out and scale up of the “Internet Plus” Third Industrial Revolution infrastructure to usher in a sustainable low-carbon economy.

The internet has already shaken up one of the three major economic sectors: communications. Today it takes little more than a cell phone, an internet connection, and social media to publish a book or music video for free—what Rifkin calls zero marginal cost. The result has been a hollowing out of once-mighty media empires in just over 10 years. Much of what remains of their business models and revenues has been converted from physical (remember CDs and video stores?) to digital.

But we haven’t hit the trifecta yet. Transportation and energy have changed little since the middle of the last century, says Rifkin. That’s when superhighways reached their saturation point across the developed world and the internal-combustion engine came close to the limits of its potential on the roads, in the air, and at sea. “We have all these killer new technology products, but they’re being plugged into the same old infrastructure, and it’s not creating enough new business opportunities,” he says.

All that may be about to undergo a big shake-up, however. The digitalization of information on the IoT at near-zero marginal cost generates Big Data that can be mined with analytics to create algorithms and apps enabling ubiquitous networking. This digital transformation is beginning to have a big impact on the energy and transportation sectors. If that trend continues, we could see a metamorphosis in the economy and society not unlike previous industrial revolutions in history. And given the pace of technology change today, the shift could happen much faster than ever before.

The speed of change is dictated by the increase in digitalization of these three main sectors; expensive physical assets and processes are partially replaced by low-cost virtual ones. The cost efficiencies brought on by digitalization drive disruption in existing business models toward zero marginal cost, as we’ve already seen in entertainment and publishing. According to research company Gartner, when an industry gets to the point where digital drives at least 20% of revenues, you reach the tipping point.

“A clear pattern has emerged,” says Peter Sondergaard, executive vice president and head of research and advisory for Gartner. “Once digital revenues for a sector hit 20% of total revenue, the digital bloodbath begins,” he told the audience at Gartner’s annual 2017 IT Symposium/ITxpo, according to The Wall Street Journal. “No matter what industry you are in, 20% will be the point of no return.”

Communications is already there, and energy and transportation are heading down that path. If they hit the magic 20% mark, the impact will be felt not just within those industries but across all industries. After all, who doesn’t rely on energy and transportation to power their value chains?

The eye of the technology disruption hurricane has moved beyond communications and is heading toward … the rest of the economy.

That’s why businesses need to factor potentially massive business model disruptions into their plans for digital transformation today if they want to remain competitive with organizations in early adopter countries like China and Germany. China, for example, is already halfway through an US$88 billion upgrade to its state electricity grid that will enable renewable energy transmission around the country—all managed and moved digitally, according to an article in The Economist magazine. And it is competing with the United States for leadership in self-driving vehicles, which will shift the transportation process and revenue streams heavily to digital, according to an article in Wired magazine.

Once China’s and Germany’s renewables and driverless infrastructures are in place, the only additional costs are management and maintenance. That could bring businesses in these countries dramatic cost savings over those that still rely on fossil fuels and nuclear energy to power their supply chains and logistics. “Once you pay the fixed costs of renewables, the marginal costs are near zero,” says Rifkin. “The sun and wind haven’t sent us invoices yet.”

In other words, zero marginal cost has become a zero-sum game.

To understand why that is, consider the major industrial revolutions in history, writes Rifkin in his books, The Zero Marginal Cost Society and The Third Industrial Revolution. The first major shift occurred in the 19th century when cheap, abundant coal provided an efficient new source of power (steam) for manufacturing and enabled the creation of a vast railway transportation network. Meanwhile, the telegraph gave the world near-instant communication over a globally connected network.

The second big change occurred at the beginning of the 20th century, when inexpensive oil began to displace coal and gave rise to a much more flexible new transportation network of cars and trucks. Telephones, radios, and televisions had a similar impact on communications.

Breaking Down the Walls Between Sectors

Now, according to Rifkin, we’re poised for the third big shift. The eye of the technology disruption hurricane has moved beyond communications and is heading toward—or as publishing and entertainment executives might warn, coming for—the rest of the economy. With its assemblage of global internet and cellular network connectivity and ever-smaller and more powerful sensors, the IoT, along with Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence, is breaking down the economic walls that have protected the energy and transportation sectors for the past 50 years.

Daimler is now among the first movers in transitioning into a digitalized mobility internet. The company has equipped nearly 400,000 of its trucks with external sensors, transforming the vehicles into mobile Big Data centers. The sensors are picking up real-time Big Data on weather conditions, traffic flows, and warehouse availability. Daimler plans to establish collaborations with thousands of companies, providing them with Big Data and analytics that can help dramatically increase their aggregate efficiency and productivity in shipping goods across their value chains. The Daimler trucks are autonomous and capable of establishing platoons of multiple trucks driving across highways.

It won’t be long before vehicles that navigate the more complex transportation infrastructures around the world begin to think for themselves. Autonomous vehicles will bring massive economic disruption to transportation and logistics thanks to new aggregate efficiencies. Without the cost of having a human at the wheel, autonomous cars could achieve a shared cost per mile below that of owned vehicles by as early as 2030, according to research from financial services company Morgan Stanley.

The transition is getting a push from governments pledging to give up their addiction to cars powered by combustion engines. Great Britain, France, India, and Norway are seeking to go all electric as early as 2025 and by 2040 at the latest.

The Final Piece of the Transition

Considering that automobiles account for 47% of petroleum consumption in the United States alone—more than twice the amount used for generators and heating for homes and businesses, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration—Rifkin argues that the shift to autonomous electric vehicles could provide the momentum needed to upend the final pillar of the economic platform: energy. Though energy has gone through three major disruptions over the past 150 years, from coal to oil to natural gas—each causing massive teardowns and rebuilds of infrastructure—the underlying economic model has remained constant: highly concentrated and easily accessible fossil fuels and highly centralized, vertically integrated, and enormous (and enormously powerful) energy and utility companies.

Now, according to Rifkin, the “Third Industrial Revolution Internet of Things infrastructure” is on course to disrupt all of it. It’s neither centralized nor vertically integrated; instead, it’s distributed and networked. And that fits perfectly with the commercial evolution of two energy sources that, until the efficiencies of the IoT came along, made no sense for large-scale energy production: the sun and the wind.

But the IoT gives power utilities the means to harness these batches together and to account for variable energy flows. Sensors on solar panels and wind turbines, along with intelligent meters and a smart grid based on the internet, manage a new, two-way flow of energy to and from the grid.

Today, fossil fuel–based power plants need to kick in extra energy if insufficient energy is collected from the sun and wind. But industrial-strength batteries and hydrogen fuel cells are beginning to take their place by storing large reservoirs of reserve power for rainy or windless days. In addition, electric vehicles will be able to send some of their stored energy to the digitalized energy internet during peak use. Demand for ever-more efficient cell phone and vehicle batteries is helping push the evolution of batteries along, but batteries will need to get a lot better if renewables are to completely replace fossil fuel energy generation.

Meanwhile, silicon-based solar cells have not yet approached their limits of efficiency. They have their own version of computing’s Moore’s Law called Swanson’s Law. According to data from research company Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Swanson’s Law means that for each doubling of global solar panel manufacturing capacity, the price falls by 28%, from $76 per watt in 1977 to $0.41 in 2016. (Wind power is on a similar plunging exponential cost curve, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy.)

Thanks to the plummeting solar price, by 2028, the cost of building and operating new sun-based generation capacity will drop below the cost of running existing fossil power plants, according to BNEF. “One of the surprising things in this year’s forecast,” says Seb Henbest, lead author of BNEF’s annual long-term forecast, the New Energy Outlook, “is that the crossover points in the economics of new and old technologies are happening much sooner than we thought last year … and those were all happening a bit sooner than we thought the year before. There’s this sense that it’s not some distant risk or distant opportunity. A lot of these realities are rushing toward us.”

The conclusion, he says, is irrefutable. “We can see the data and when we map that forward with conservative assumptions, these technologies just get cheaper than everything else.”

The smart money, then—72% of total new power generation capacity investment worldwide by 2040—will go to renewable energy, according to BNEF. The firm’s research also suggests that there’s more room in Swanson’s Law along the way, with solar prices expected to drop another 66% by 2040.

Another factor could push the economic shift to renewables even faster. Just as computers transitioned from being strictly corporate infrastructure to becoming consumer products with the invention of the PC in the 1980s, ultimately causing a dramatic increase in corporate IT investments, energy generation has also made the transition to the consumer side.

Thanks to future tech media star Elon Musk, consumers can go to his Tesla Energy company website and order tempered glass solar panels that look like chic, designer versions of old-fashioned roof shingles. Models that look like slate or a curved, terracotta-colored, ceramic-style glass that will make roofs look like those of Tuscan country villas, are promised soon. Consumers can also buy a sleek-looking battery called a Powerwall to store energy from the roof.

The combination of solar panels, batteries, and smart meters transforms homeowners from passive consumers of energy into active producers and traders who can choose to take energy from the grid during off-peak hours, when some utilities offer discounts, and sell energy back to the grid during periods when prices are higher. And new blockchain applications promise to accelerate the shift to an energy market that is laterally integrated rather than vertically integrated as it is now. Consumers like their newfound sense of control, according to Henbest. “Energy’s never been an interesting consumer decision before and suddenly it is,” he says.

As the price of solar equipment continues to drop, homes, offices, and factories will become like nodes on a computer network. And if promising new solar cell technologies, such as organic polymers, small molecules, and inorganic compounds, supplant silicon, which is not nearly as efficient with sunlight as it is with ones and zeroes, solar receivers could become embedded into windows and building compounds. Solar production could move off the roof and become integrated into the external facades of homes and office buildings, making nearly every edifice in town a node.

The big question, of course, is how quickly those nodes will become linked together—if, say doubters, they become linked at all. As we learned from Metcalfe’s Law, the value of a network is proportional to its number of connected users.

The Will Determines the Way

Right now, the network is limited. Wind and solar account for just 5% of global energy production today, according to Bloomberg.

But, says Rifkin, technology exists that could enable the network to grow exponentially. We are seeing the beginnings of a digital energy network, which uses a combination of the IoT, Big Data, analytics, and artificial intelligence to manage distributed energy sources, such as solar and wind power from homes and businesses.

As nodes on this network, consumers and businesses could take a more active role in energy production, management, and efficiency, according to Rifkin. Utilities, in turn, could transition from simply transmitting power and maintaining power plants and lines to managing the flow to and from many different energy nodes; selling and maintaining smart home energy management products; and monitoring and maintaining solar panels and wind turbines. By analyzing energy use in the network, utilities could create algorithms that automatically smooth the flow of renewables. Consumers and businesses, meanwhile, would not have to worry about connecting their wind and solar assets to the grid and keeping them up and running; utilities could take on those tasks more efficiently.

Already in Germany, two utility companies, E.ON and RWE, have each split their businesses into legacy fossil and nuclear fuel companies and new services companies based on distributed generation from renewables, new technologies, and digitalization.

The reason is simple: it’s about survival. As fossil fuel generation winds down, the utilities need a new business model to make up for lost revenue. Due to Germany’s population density, “the utilities realize that they won’t ever have access to enough land to scale renewables themselves,” says Rifkin. “So they are starting service companies to link together all the different communities that are building solar and wind and are managing energy flows for them and for their customers, doing their analytics, and managing their Big Data. That’s how they will make more money while selling less energy in the future.”


The digital energy internet is already starting out in pockets and at different levels of intensity around the world, depending on a combination of citizen support, utility company investments, governmental power, and economic incentives.

China and some countries within the EU, such as Germany and France, are the most likely leaders in the transition toward a renewable, energy-based infrastructure because they have been able to align the government and private sectors in long-term energy planning. In the EU for example, wind has already overtaken coal as the second largest form of power capacity behind natural gas, according to an article in The Guardian newspaper. Indeed, Rifkin has been working with China, the EU, and governments, communities, and utilities in Northern France, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg to begin building these new internets.

Hauts-de-France, a region that borders the English Channel and Belgium and has one of the highest poverty rates in France, enlisted Rifkin to develop a plan to lift it out of its downward spiral of shuttered factories and abandoned coal mines. In collaboration with a diverse group of CEOs, politicians, teachers, scientists, and others, it developed Rev3, a plan to put people to work building a renewable energy network, according to an article in Vice.

Today, more than 1,000 Rev3 projects are underway, encompassing everything from residential windmills made from local linen to a fully electric car–sharing system. Rev3 has received financial support from the European Investment Bank and a handful of private investment funds, and startups have benefited from crowdfunding mechanisms sponsored by Rev3. Today, 90% of new energy in the region is renewable and 1,500 new jobs have been created in the wind energy sector alone.

Meanwhile, thanks in part to generous government financial support, Germany is already producing 35% of its energy from renewables, according to an article in The Independent, and there is near unanimous citizen support (95%, according to a recent government poll) for its expansion.

If renewables are to move forward …, it must come from the ability to make green, not act green.

If renewable energy is to move forward in other areas of the world that don’t enjoy such strong economic and political support, however, it must come from the ability to make green, not act green.

Not everyone agrees that renewables will produce cost savings sufficient to cause widespread cost disruption anytime soon. A recent forecast by the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts that in 2040, oil, natural gas, and coal will still be the planet’s major electricity producers, powering 77% of worldwide production, while renewables such as wind, solar, and biofuels will account for just 15%.

Skeptics also say that renewables’ complex management needs, combined with the need to store reserve power, will make them less economical than fossil fuels through at least 2035. “All advanced economies demand full-time electricity,” Benjamin Sporton, chief executive officer of the World Coal Association told Bloomberg. “Wind and solar can only generate part-time, intermittent electricity. While some renewable technologies have achieved significant cost reductions in recent years, it’s important to look at total system costs.”

On the other hand, there are many areas of the world where distributed, decentralized, renewable power generation already makes more sense than a centralized fossil fuel–powered grid. More than 20% of Indians in far flung areas of the country have no access to power today, according to an article in The Guardian. Locally owned and managed solar and wind farms are the most economical way forward. The same is true in other developing countries, such as Afghanistan, where rugged terrain, war, and tribal territorialism make a centralized grid an easy target, and mountainous Costa Rica, where strong winds and rivers have pushed the country to near 100% renewable energy, according to The Guardian.

The Light and the Darknet

Even if all the different IoT-enabled economic platforms become financially advantageous, there is another concern that could disrupt progress and potentially cause widespread disaster once the new platforms are up and running: hacking. Poorly secured IoT sensors have allowed hackers to take over everything from Wi-Fi enabled Barbie dolls to Jeep Cherokees, according to an article in Wired magazine.

Humans may be lousy drivers, but at least we can’t be hacked (yet). And while the grid may be prone to outages, it is tightly controlled, has few access points for hackers, and is physically separated from the Wild West of the internet.

If our transportation and energy networks join the fray, however, every sensor, from those in the steering system on vehicles to grid-connected toasters, becomes as vulnerable as a credit card number. Fake news and election hacking are bad enough, but what about fake drivers or fake energy? Now we’re talking dangerous disruptions and putting millions of people in harm’s way.

The only answer, according to Rifkin, is for businesses and governments to start taking the hacking threat much more seriously than they do today and to begin pouring money into research and technologies for making the internet less vulnerable. That means establishing “a fully distributed, redundant, and resilient digital infrastructure less vulnerable to the kind of disruptions experienced by Second Industrial Revolution–centralized communication systems and power grids that are increasingly subject to climate change, disasters, cybercrime, and cyberterrorism,” he says. “The ability of neighborhoods and communities to go off centralized grids during crises and re-aggregate in locally decentralized networks is the key to advancing societal security in the digital era,” he adds.

Start Looking Ahead

Until today, digital transformation has come mainly through the networking and communications efficiencies made possible by the internet. Airbnb thrives because web communications make it possible to create virtual trust markets that allow people to feel safe about swapping their most private spaces with one another.

But now these same efficiencies are coming to two other areas that have never been considered core to business strategy. That’s why businesses need to begin managing energy and transportation as key elements of their digital transformation portfolios.

Microsoft, for example, formed a senior energy team to develop an energy strategy to mitigate risk from fluctuating energy prices and increasing demands from customers to reduce carbon emissions, according to an article in Harvard Business Review. “Energy has become a C-suite issue,” Rob Bernard, Microsoft’s top environmental and sustainability executive told the magazine. “The CFO and president are now actively involved in our energy road map.”

As Daimler’s experience shows, driverless vehicles will push autonomous transportation and automated logistics up the strategic agenda within the next few years. Boston Consulting Group predicts that the driverless vehicle market will hit $42 billion by 2025. If that happens, it could have a lateral impact across many industries, from insurance to healthcare to the military.

Businesses must start planning now. “There’s always a period when businesses have to live in the new and the old worlds at the same time,” says Rifkin. “So businesses need to be considering new business models and structures now while continuing to operate their existing models.”

He worries that many businesses will be left behind if their communications, energy, and transportation infrastructures don’t evolve. Companies that still rely on fossil fuels for powering traditional transportation and logistics could be at a major competitive disadvantage to those that have moved to the new, IoT-based energy and transportation infrastructures.

Germany, for example, has set a target of 80% renewables for gross power consumption by 2050, according to The Independent. If the cost advantages of renewables bear out, German businesses, which are already the world’s third-largest exporters behind China and the United States, could have a major competitive advantage.

“How would a second industrial revolution society or country compete with one that has energy at zero marginal cost and driverless vehicles?” asks Rifkin. “It can’t be done.”

Maurizio Cattaneo is director of Delivery Execution, Energy and Natural Resources at SAP.
Joerg Ferchow is senior utilities expert and design thinking coach for Digital Transformation at SAP.
Daniel Wellers is digital futures lead for Global Marketing at SAP.
Christopher Koch is editorial director for the SAP Center for Business Insight at SAP.

This story originally appeared on the Digitalist.

Categories: What's New

Lenovo: Innovating Faster than the Market

SAP News - Thu, 12/21/2017 - 11:30
How can Lenovo analyze customer feedback, predict future demand, and accelerate new innovations with help from SAP HANA?

No market sector combines opportunity with risk quite like consumer electronics. Yesterday’s hot platform is today’s also-ran. Today’s struggling startup is tomorrow’s industry leader.

And product demand is always shifting. For example, consumer intent to purchase a smartphone dropped to a five-year low in 2016 – but then surged six percentage points, to 54%, in 2017. Yet the stakes remain high: 51% of those prospective buyers expect new features such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

It’s in that incredibly dynamic market that high-tech leader Lenovo must compete. When Lenovo acquired IBM’s PC business in 2005, few people outside the IT industry had even heard of the Chinese company. Today, the organization is a force to be reckoned with: top in global PC sales in 2016, with 21% market share, and third in both global tablet and global X86 server sales.

Lenovo reached this pinnacle by combining customer-focused innovation with relentless optimization of its supply chain. And the company built its innovation and supply chain leadership on the SAP HANA platform.

Real-Time Data for Right-Time Innovations

Lenovo designs, makes, and sells PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, servers, and datacenter equipment. The company is regularly cited for its innovations, such as the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro augmented-reality smartphone and Lenovo Yoga Book touch- and pen-input device, which both won CES 2018 Innovation Awards.

Lenovo powers that innovation with SAP HANA. In fact, SAP’s in-memory computing platform was actually developed on Lenovo hardware. And Lenovo reports that it’s the top provider of server hardware used for running SAP HANA around the world.

To compete and win, Lenovo puts SAP HANA to work on real-time data analytics that enable fast, accurate decisions. The company captures customer sentiment and analyzes customer feedback to predict future demand. It then speeds its innovation to meet that demand ahead of the competition.

In the past, data transfer from Lenovo’s data warehouse to its ERP system took eight hours. With SAP HANA, the company can transfer data in real time, significantly improving operational efficiencies.

“Our entire system and reporting performance have been improved by roughly 45 times,” reports Qingtong Zhou, CIO of Lenovo. “We can now look at reporting faster and analyze it faster, so we can make faster decisions.

“For our company, saving one day or even one hour will generate profits,” he continues. “That’s why SAP HANA creates so much value.”


“For our company, saving one day or even one hour will generate profits. That’s why SAP HANA creates so much value.”

— Qingtong Zhou, CIO, Lenovo

Speeding Delivery for Better Customer Experiences

Once Lenovo commercializes its innovations, it relies on SAP solutions to speed them to market quickly and reliably. With SAP HANA, the company has:

  • Slashed supply chain planning time from 10 hours to 10 minutes
  • Accelerated delivery of shipment reports from one day to five minutes
  • Improved inventory planning and shipping dramatically
  • Gained end-to-end visibility of supply chain processes
  • Taken cost out of the supply chain, passing along the savings to customers

It’s no wonder Gartner ranks the Lenovo supply chain among the top 25 worldwide for best practices. “Our goal is to make our systems more compact, make our structure more simplified, and let our customers experience fast service,” says Michael Yao, executive director of integrated technology services for Lenovo. “SAP technology is crucial to achieving this goal.”

In addition to SAP HANA, Lenovo relies on the SAP Supply Chain Management application and the SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization component. “SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization allows us to carry out excellent end-to-end planning, from sales planning to final manufacturing planning,” Zhou notes.

The IT leader also takes advantage of the SAP Hybris Commerce solution for direct sales to both B2C and B2B customers. “We use SAP Hybris Commerce to do e-commerce directly with both customers and consumers,” Zhou explains. “It provides many enhanced features, including configure-to-order and multisite features. That enables a public site for end consumers and a customized site for each large customer.”

Going forward, Lenovo and SAP will partner to bring SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud services to the Chinese market. And Lenovo plans to leverage SAP HANA and SAP machine-learning technology to remain on the cutting edge of product development. It’s just another way Lenovo will deliver innovations with the help of SAP solutions.


“Our goal is to make our systems more compact, make our structure more simplified, and let our customers experience fast service. SAP technology is crucial to achieving this goal.”

—Michael Yao, Executive Director, Integrated Technology Services, Lenovo


Categories: What's New

SAP Spain: Stronger Than Ever After 30 Years

SAP News - Thu, 12/21/2017 - 10:15
SAP Spain is a growth engine and an innovator with a social conscience. Here, Managing Director João Paulo shares the secret of the company’s success – even in challenging times.

When SAP Spain opened its doors in 1987, it only had five employees. This year, 730 colleagues celebrated their 30-year anniversary in the Barcelona and Madrid offices. And while this is an opportune moment to look back and reflect, SAP Spain certainly isn’t resting on its laurels. Especially in the last three to four years, the company has achieved enormous growth despite of tough political and economic conditions.

Q: SAP Spain’s sales have doubled in the past 10 years, the workforce has increased – what’s the secret?

A: That’s right, and the revenue growth is even more impressive if you consider the economic background. Our revenue dropped significantly between 2009 and 2013, and then we grew enormously in the four years that followed. We’ve also grown the software business by more than 90 percent in the last three years, which means we are growing faster than most of the countries across EMEA. This is proof that our team has achieved something very special.

There are two secrets behind this. Firstly, it’s the people – none of this would have happened without the talent we brought on board. We have promoted the best talents to higher positions and brought new talents to complement our knowledge. I believe this enables us to fuel strong growth and create a “virtuous cycle”.

As for the second secret, SAP has made a strong shift in terms of innovation. This was the perfect excuse to go and visit our customers, and alter perceptions.

How do you alter the perceptions of the Spanish market?

When we started out, we were seen as the ERP company in Spain, and frankly, it’s taken a while to change this. I therefore made it one of my top priorities to really promote our innovation story. We launched a “Lighthouse” initiative two and half years ago, focused entirely on innovation. We selected customers to participate in three-to-four-week projects exploring the new technologies, including Machine Learning, Blockchain initiatives, and IoT scenarios. Some of our customers referred to these projects as the “Star Wars” of SAP.

One example is a prototype we developed with the oil and gas provider CEPSA to improve their mobile experience by leveraging Apple IOS SDK. It simplifies employees’ and customers’ experience of consuming data from different sources through a rich user experience via iWatch, iPad or iPhone. They transformed processes that integrate enterprise partners, customers and employees at the 1,700 service stations network which supply more than 1 million customers and their vehicles every day.

During the first wave of the Lighthouse projects, we focused on moving customers from the traditional on-premise business to a full Cloud subscription model. Today, Meliá Hotels International runs their full ERP landscape in the cloud. Others have since followed, including Mercadona Group, a retail leader in Spain, which is now one of the biggest SAP customers worldwide to have a full cloud subscription mode.

What makes SAP Spain unique?

 It’s not just about the numbers. I always tell my team: We need to leave a fingerprint. Obviously, the growth and the revenue need to be there. Secondly, we need to think about the market and our ecosystem. The acceleration factor of SAP in the Spanish economy is substantial. For every job we create, there are twenty jobs created in the ecosystem, so SAP is a strong multiplier of business.

The third dimension is our people. You see colleagues that started out as young talents and they’re now developing rapidly. Others have been promoted to different jobs and they feel excited about it, and are now replicating the same dynamic within their teams.

For me, these three dimensions are very important.

How is SAP Spain involved in Corporate Social Responsibility?

We are very privileged to be a part of the SAP culture, and we have the obligation to give back to society. That’s why we are investing in different areas, mostly within education, as well as programs in science and technology, as well as robotics.

We also work with elderly and disabled people. One of our customers is one of the main organizations in Europe which supports the disabled. Originally, their focus was supporting blind people. The overall unemployment rate in Spain is approximately 17 percent, however the unemployment rate among blind people is only 6 percent. That’s just one example of what we can achieve if we engage in Corporate Social Responsibility.

What about the political environment? How does the situation in Catalonia affect SAP’s business?

Of course, we have been monitoring the situation very closely. In Spain, we have two legal entities; one was in Madrid and the other in Barcelona, and many employees working in Barcelona were concerned about what would happen to their work contracts. For this reason, we were one of the companies who decided to move that legal entity to Madrid to prevent any potential legal difficulties.

We are seeing some slowdown in the business because of the political tension. Some decisions are being delayed, and we’re seeing this in the numbers. However, I think history has taught us that in many moments there are tensions, but then things calm down and settle. I believe the political discussion dominated for a long period of time, and now we’re finally seeing that the private sector is raising the economic discussion, which will bring common sense into play.

We have a multicultural and very diverse organization in Spain with 25 different nationalities. The most important thing that I saw was how everybody showed respect towards others during this time. Everybody is entitled to express their opinion, but in a respectful way, and I saw this among my SAP colleagues. I’m very proud of that.

You mention 25 different nationalities. How do customers feel about that?

Personally, I really value diversity, and so do the customers. Customers want talent, they’re not interested in where people come from. Whenever you create barriers or constraints, the quality suffers. Mercadona Group made it clear to me that they wanted the best SAP talent in the world. Customers are willing to deal with language or cultural barriers – talent is the number one rule for this game.

Your credo is transformational leadership. What does that mean exactly?

I believe that we either grow or we decline. There cannot be a flat moment, because if you plan for flat you will die. If you plan for growth or to disrupt, you may grow. I always think if we start to become stable, this is the moment to change. We need to constantly motivate our teams, change the ground rules, challenge them, or even bring a disruptor into the team.

But I also believe that everyone needs to be open for change, from the bottom to the top. That’s why we have created a culture of openness, mentorship and retro-mentoring. I sit down with young talents, and I ask them to mentor me. I encourage them to tell me how they think, what they dislike about the company, how they invest in the stock market, how they use social media. If you’re open to this kind of dialogue, both sides gain.

What are your most important goals going forward?

We want to become the number one cloud company in Spain, Portugal and Israel. We also want to be the main disruptor in the database market. This is an area which we have not sufficiently exploited. We only have a very small income in that segment but there is huge market potential. Our 2020 plan is in place, and I hope I’ll be talking to you again in a couple of years telling you that we’ve grown by another 90 percent.

What keeps you awake at night?

Q4 is a big time for us, and we want to deliver a strong year. I ask myself how we can achieve this, and also prepare the groundwork for a strong, or perhaps even stronger 2018.

I also ask myself how we can share some of this success within society. The vision we have for the company is a very beautiful one: “Help the world run better and improve people’s lives.” It is a very strong statement.

I want to deliver a strong result, prepare for the next year, and share our success with society – I wouldn’t say it keeps me awake, but it’s always on my mind.

Five Questions for João

João Paulo da Silva joined SAP in 1996. He has held the general manager position in Spain since 2013 and currently manages SAP in Portugal and Israel, as well. Previously, he held the position of Emerging Markets VP of SAP’s Ecosystems and Channel organization. He has also held several local and regional Sales and Marketing positions.

  • How would you describe yourself? I’m a people person. And I’m also a very logical, fact-based person.
  • Are you ambitious? Ambitious only in the sense that I want to prove that we can do things we haven’t been able to in the past. I don’t want to be there just for the sake of being there, but to prove that we can accomplish bigger things.
  • Are you an optimist? Always.
  • Your biggest personal success recently? Personal success is always relative. Our success is also a consequence of who we work for. There is a strong organization and workforce behind us that allows us to be successful. We should not forget that.
  • What do you enjoy most about being an MD? In the past, I always led areas of the business, but I didn’t lead the overall business. Now I can take a more comprehensive view – how I can impact the company economically, how I can impact the customers and ecosystem, how I can impact the people growth. It makes me proud when I see success in these three dimensions.
Categories: What's New

Accenture Reports Strong First-Quarter Fiscal 2018 Results

Accenture News - Thu, 12/21/2017 - 07:29
NEW YORK; Dec. 21, 2017 — Accenture (NYSE: ACN) reported financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2018, ended Nov. 30, 2017, with net revenues of $9.5 billion, an increase of 12 percent in U.S. dollars and 10 percent in local currency over the same period last year.
Categories: What's New

Artificial Intelligence Could Add $957 Billion to Indian Economy, According to New Research by Accenture

Accenture News - Thu, 12/21/2017 - 01:27
Bangalore; Dec. 21, 2017 Research released today from Accenture (NYSE: ACN) reveals that artificial intelligence (AI) could add US$957 billion to the Indian economy by changing the nature of work to create better outcomes for businesses and society. The report, ‘Rewire for Growth,’ estimates that AI has the potential to increase India’s annual growth rate of gross value added (GVA) by 1.3 percentage points, lifting the country’s income by 15 percent in 2035. 
Categories: What's New

Accenture and Roche Collaborate to Enhance Digital Healthcare for Cancer Patients

Accenture News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 18:16
NEW YORK; Dec. 20, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today announced a collaborative services agreement with Roche. Under the terms of this exclusive multi-year agreement, Accenture will provide digital data integration services to Roche’s NAVIFY Tumor Board solution.
Categories: What's New

Accenture Reimagines Its Code of Business Ethics Through Intelligent Technology

Accenture News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 11:59
NEW YORK; Dec. 20, 2017 - Accenture (NYSE: ACN) is reinforcing its commitment to ethical business practices by transforming its Code of Business Ethics for the digital age.  By applying design thinking and integrating intelligent technology, the company has reinvented its Code from a legal document into an interactive, mobile-first tool that helps its global workforce act with integrity.  
Categories: What's New

Smart Cities: Putting People First

SAP News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 11:15

Citizen engagement plays a crucial role in any smart city strategy as a key element to increase competitiveness and boost economic growth and social progress.

Even so, administrations still struggle to offer the same type of experience citizens are used to when interacting with industries like retail or travel. SAP Hybris solutions help governments deliver best-in-class services and save taxpayers’ money.

Categories: What's New

Machine Learning: An Innovation in Teenage Age

SAP News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 10:45
A year ago, Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, named artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and conversational systems (CAI) three of the top strategic tech trends for 2017.

In May this year, SAP launched the SAP Leonardo Machine Learning portfolio at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando, Florida and thus demonstrated that it’s on the pulse of innovation. Today, it is about time to sum up the latest developments and give an outlook on the potential of intelligent technologies.

Trend No. 1: Machine Learning Platforms

Deep learning, neural networks, and natural language processing elevated machine learning to new levels. Thanks to mature machine learning algorithms, higher processing power, and the availability of huge data sets, machines are becoming intelligent and able to process unstructured data like pictures, text, or spoken language – often even on a superhuman level. Additionally, deep learning is now stable enough to potentially establish machine learning as a standard commodity across businesses worldwide. Those who are interested in tailor-made and customized solutions require a machine learning platform like the SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation to combine ready-to-use services to create their own intelligent applications.

Trend No. 2: Intelligent Applications

Intelligent apps automate routine tasks that take time from value-adding activities and can provide precious insights into structured and unstructured enterprise data. This helps companies to take better business decisions and increase productivity in several lines of business like Finance, HR, Sales and Service and more. For enterprises who lack in-house machine learning expertise, SAP makes the adaption of machine learning extremely simple by integrating intelligent applications and services in the existing standard product portfolio. Today, SAP delivers intelligent applications that allow, for example, to build a self-driven customer service to enhance customer experience, automate financial services by matching incoming bank statements to open receivables, or help marketing executives maximize sponsorship return on investment (ROI).

Trend No. 3: Conversational Systems

Thanks to great strides in natural language processing, Conversational AI has fundamentally changed how we interact with computers and electronic devices in recent years. Today, millions of people use intelligent interfaces to satisfy their daily consumer demands. They serve users with music, help to plan vacations, order pizza and much more. We are on the cusp of a world where conversational assistants will be retrievable at any time and place – also at work. These capabilities will connect data, processes, applications, devices, and people and will build the fundament for a new digital experience at the workplace. SAP CoPilot is SAP’s digital assistant and bot integration hub for the enterprise. Together with the SAP Leonardo Conversational AI Foundation – a platform which will enable organizations to build and enhance conversational capabilities like chatbots and digital assistants, across enterprise applications – SAP CoPilot offers natural language services that allow a humanized interaction with devices and serves our vision of the intelligent enterprise.  

What Will the Future Bring?

Technologies augmenting the human potential at work are no dreams of the future anymore. But how will they evolve and what will the trends in 2018 look like?

Markus Noga, head of Machine Learning at SAP, predicts, “Some of these technologies might be about to reach maturity, but there is still a great deal of innovation potential especially in the enterprise context.”

According to Gartner, 59% of organizations are still gathering information to start building an AI strategy for their organization – a huge competitive advantage in 2018 for those who have already started to adopt AI in their systems.

“Next year, I am convinced, that more and more companies will leave the concept stages and really begin to apply machine learning”, says Noga. “The hype around deep learning will flatten out as it becomes a commodity, but the efficiency and robustness of the underlying models will be the differentiator and therefore a relevant issue for enterprises to address in the upcoming year.”

For Gartner, a rock-solid machine learning foundation, intelligent apps and conversational platforms will make the difference between profit and loss for companies in the race to digital transformation in 2018. Platforms and solutions will evolve significantly handling increasingly complex tasks. Further, Gartner predicts that over the next years, every application will contain AI, creating an intelligent layer between employees and enterprise systems.

Overall, technology will become even more human-centric and will increase transparency between people, organizations, and things. In business and private life, augmented reality, virtual reality, or brain-computer interfaces will create immersive experiences beyond virtual assistants and chatbots.

Moreover, business will experience a shift from stand-alone intelligent objects to swarm AI – an approach that goes back to the behavior of animals that amplify their group intelligence to solve problems or make decisions. Swarm AI is the self-organization of systems for collective decentralized behavior that enables human swarms by bringing information of diverse groups into a single emergent intelligence. In an enterprise context, Swarm AI helps to improve logistics or transportation, HR, or the obtaining of customer feedback, e.g. by eradicating the influence of preceding valuations on the voter.

“All of these AI developments will have an impact on the way enterprises are doing business not only on an operational level. I expect the emergence of new, AI-driven business models and a transition of innovation and research expertise from universities to industries,” says Noga.

SAP’s ambitious machine learning road map indicates that it will take off in 2018. Next year, the main focus will remain on the enablement of the intelligent enterprise through intelligent applications and the growth of SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation. Further, the adaption of machine learning in standard SAP products like SAP S/4HANA – making enterprise resource planning intelligent – and the general accessibility of conversational services will be continued. Moreover, cutting-edge technologies like swarm intelligence and immersive experience technologies might become more and more relevant for businesses as well.

Categories: What's New

Advance Notice: New Terms of Use for SAP ONE Support Launchpad and SAP Support Portal

SAP News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 10:34
On May 25, 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2016/679 will become effective.

GDPR introduces new directives regulating the processing of personal data by private companies and public authorities throughout the European Union. This makes it necessary to adjust the terms of use for SAP ONE Support Launchpad and SAP Support Portal. Read more.

Categories: What's New

Accenture Recognized as the Overall Leader and a Star Performer in Everest Group 2017 PEAK Matrix™ Report for Digital Services

Accenture News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 09:59
NEW YORK; Dec. 20, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has been recognized as the overall Leader for the third consecutive year in the Everest Group 2017 PEAK MatrixTM for Digital Services. Demonstrating its leadership and sustained growth in the market, Accenture was strongly positioned as a result of its end-to-end capabilities in client engagements, strengthened design capabilities and continuous investments in innovation. Accenture is also recognized as a Star Performer, and Best in Class across the areas of domain expertise, delivery footprint and market share gains. 
Categories: What's New

Accenture Wins a Prime Position on USDA Shared Services Blanket Purchase Agreement

Accenture News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 07:59
ARLINGTON, Va.; Dec. 20, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Accenture Federal Services (AFS) a prime position on its Shared Services Lines of Business Solutions (SSLoBS) blanket purchase agreement (BPA), making AFS one of nine firms eligible to compete for work under the five-year BPA, which has a total estimated value of US$500 million. 
Categories: What's New

Accenture to Host Conference Call Tomorrow, Dec. 21, to Discuss First-Quarter Fiscal Year 2018 Results

Accenture News - Wed, 12/20/2017 - 07:59
NEW YORK; Dec. 20, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) will host a conference call at 8:00 a.m. EST tomorrow, Dec. 21, to discuss its first-quarter fiscal year 2018 financial results. A news release containing these results will be issued before the call.
Categories: What's New

2017 in Review and a Look Ahead for SAP SuccessFactors

SAP News - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 12:15
When I accepted the role to run the SAP SuccessFactors business, I was excited about both the technology and how we were helping customers, in every industry, get ahead of digital transformation.

What I quickly learned is that HR’s role in digital transformation is not just bringing in new technology solutions; it’s making sure employees see the value in adopting these solutions as part of their everyday lives. No matter how much HR may love a solution, if everyone in the business doesn’t see the benefits it won’t matter. Putting people at the center of digital transformation and focusing on the employee experience is the only way to reach our intended goals.

At SAP SuccessFactors, we’re focused on areas that are critical to your people, but also your business. Here’s where we bring unique capabilities:

  • User experience: Business success doesn’t just come from products or services, or the IP behind them. It’s the people who create those products, services and IP that make the difference. I think the focus on the experience at work is going to continue to dominate in 2018. Our focus is on making sure everyone in your organization, not just the HR experts, love the technology given to them to get their work done.
  • The depth and breadth across our suite:  I’m proud the team has been recognized again by IDC, Gartner, Forrester, and others as a leader. The difference between back office HR and strategic partner to the business hangs with talent management.
  • Our focus on native global capabilities: We’re seeing more and more challenging regulations and legislation that require constant monitoring and updating, something we take care of for our customers. And that extends to areas of data privacy – a perfect example is sitting just months away with GDPR, which will hit almost every global company. Non-compliance will lead to heavy fines. The impact to our technology is significant because we are dealing with the very specific data that these regulations hit – people data. We want to relieve our customers of that headache. These regulations will constantly change and expand. This will continue to be a big focus for us in our dev cycles, and we’re making massive investments to address the storage requirements of these regulations, which not everyone is going to be able to do.
  • SAP HANA:  Our in-memory capabilities are a big advantage for today’s apps – combining speed with how we digest, analyze and combine data with other unstructured data helps us make decisions about business and how we grow for the future. And we’re thinking way beyond the platform to where we might re-think our apps given SAP HANA’s in-memory capabilities.
  • Analytics: In 2018, we will roll out our analytics on SAP Analytics. This will turbo charge where we can take machine learning and other data capabilities that we’re already using today.

SAP SuccessFactors in 2017

It’s always worth a few minutes to look back on the year. I have to start with our customers. As of our third quarter of 2017, we surpassed 6,400 customers across the globe, with over 2,000 customers for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, our core HR solution, doubling our 1,000 customer milestone reached less than two years before. Check out this post from our head of product Amy Wilson on what’s next for SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central.

Business moves fast in our era of digital transformation and that requires making investments that quickly deliver results. One of my favorite illustrations about just how far HR has come in the past several years is Corning, Inc. – the 40,000 employee, New York-based industrial glass and ceramic manufacturer – with its best-known product, Gorilla Glass, incorporated by more than 40 manufacturers into 4.5 billion devices worldwide, including Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.’s Galaxy line. This is not about “a seat at the table,” this is about being integral to the organization’s success.

Here are some other stories of how our customers are leading their company’s transformation:

We have over 140 million users of our systems today. That is impressive! I want to thank each of our customers, totaling more than 6,400, for your trust and partnership.

Product Highlights:

  • Mobile UX reinvented with Apple: We’ve made a massive push over the past three releases in co-development with Apple to transform the user experience on any Apple device to be consumer-grade. We are also now working with Google for Android. This makes a huge difference for everyone in your organization, because it ensures they want to use the apps. It’s about being totally mobile – I personally transact the vast majority of my business from my mobile phone, because I’m rarely sitting still at a desk. We will continue to invest here because UX is so important to adoption. Check out this demo.
  • Health & Well-being partnerships including Thrive Global: As businesses put people at the heart of their success, addressing their health and well-being is increasingly important. Not only can it result in financial gains like reduced absenteeism, or lower health care costs, addressing “well being” can make your organization a more attractive place to work. Our Q4 release provides you actively curated content under “Unplug and Recharge” in SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central. Think expert tips on setting boundaries with technology and improving productivity. Read this story on our co-innovations with Thrive Global.
  • Taking Business Beyond Bias: Bias in how we manage our people is often unconscious. We are working to eliminate this hidden bias with intelligent technology. Our Q4 release introduced the new job analyzer tool, as part of the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting solution, to flag words associated with gender bias in job descriptions. This functionality uses machine learning capabilities from SAP Leonardo to help create effective job descriptions that help teams attract competitive and diverse talent. We also introduced the capability to create bias prevention rules during the calibration process that alert a manager in situations where unconscious bias may be at play, such as when an employee is being overlooked for a promotion after consistent high performance or an employee is being given a low performance rating following a leave of absence. This is the true power of data for taking business beyond bias – as real-time and actionable insights become available to people across the organization.
  • SAP SuccessFactors People Central Hub: Many HR leaders are stuck with legacy HR applications or disparate systems from growth by acquisition. We introduced SAP SuccessFactors People Central Hub to integrate people data from an organization’s different core HR systems (regardless of vendor), and combine it with enterprise data from SAP S/4HANA and other downstream business applications – think Fieldglass, Concur, and others – for a real-time consolidated view of the business. It also makes people data accessible to everyone in simple and interactive ways, such as employee profiles and organizational charts, bringing them immediate value and in turn helping build support for cloud transformation. Here’s a recent interview with David Ludlow on the capabilities of SAP SuccessFactors People Central Hub.
  • Power of We: There are over 120 applications available today from our partners to help you address specific business needs in combination with our HCM suite. Many of these are built on  SAP Cloud Platform to seamlessly interact with your full landscape of SAP solutions. We partner with the best in the industry to bring you the latest technology, be it data encryption, digital employee records management, or benefits administration. This is the Power of We. Explore our extension apps on the SAP App Center.
  • Power of We across SAP: At SAP SuccessFactors, we have 3,000 people and the freedom to innovate backed by the full SAP organization across the globe, giving us the ability to tap into additional innovations – machine learning, IoT, data security and much more as well as allowing us to provide customers a unified experience not just across our solutions but with SAP solutions like SAP S/4HANA.

I’m really excited for 2018 and look forward to sharing more on what you’ll see from SAP SuccessFactors in a couple weeks.

Greg Tomb is president of SAP SuccessFactors

Categories: What's New

Technology in Sports Reminds Us That The Future Is Now

SAP News - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 11:35
 “Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.”

— Arthur C. Clark (Author)

And it certainly was a magical year. But there aren’t any smoke and mirrors within our innovations. We’ve completely reimagined the way sports are consumed, played, and managed.

Please enjoy this video that quickly highlights the year in review, and if you’d like to dive in deeper, a quick synopsis of each property follows below.

Enhancing the Fan Experience

  • Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK – The First Flight 360: Turn your phone ON for the show. With the TORUK-The First Flight mobile app, SAP connects TORUK’s lighting and sound consoles to sync with the audience app allowing spectators to become a part of the show like never before. In addition, see how SAP helps streamline Cirque du Soleil’s day to day business operations, allowing them to easily manage over 1,300 artists and 1,000 costume pieces across 44 cities each year.
  • NHL Chirps: This hilarious, three-part series features multiple NHL legends as they chirp with each other about personal and team stats. All accessible through the power of SAP HANA.
  • San Jose Sharks Digital Locker Room: Learn your favorite San Jose Sharks player’s hidden talents and pre-game rituals at the new interactive locker room at the SAP Center.
  • SAP+YOU: The Smarter Skipper: This virtual reality sailing experience puts users in the shoes of an SAP Extreme Sailing Team crew member. It showcases how SAP Sailing Analytics – powered by SAP HANA – are used to maximize team performance, and demonstrates the benefits of live data.
  • Akzo Nobel: Team AkzoNobel has partnered with SAP as part of an innovation project to help the sailors optimize their performance. Using the edge computing for the Internet of Things provided by the SAP Leonardo IoT Edge technology, the research project enables team AkzoNobel to track the sailors’ fitness levels and degree of exhaustion during racing.
  • Branden Grace: Our newest golf ambassador Branden Grace started the relationship by breaking records as he shot the lowest round in Major Championship history at the U.S. Open.
  • Ernie Els: The Big Easy competed in his 100th major! Click to see some of his major achievements.

Optimizing Player Performance

  • SAP Welcomes Angelique Kerber as Brand Ambassador: Kerber and her coach are early adopters of SAP Tennis Analytics for Coaches technology (powered by the SAP Cloud Platform) to help analyze her performance leading into and during WTA matches.
  • Equestrian Sports: Equestrian ambassador Ingrid Klimke explains how SAP has fundamentally transformed the way that she trains. SAP Equestrian Analytics shows her exactly how fast she’s travelling at different points on the course. This and other metrics, paired with footage from a helmet camera, help her get a 360-degree view of performance. The fans, too, are treated to her perspective from the saddle.

Streamlining Operations

  • New York Yankees: Yankee Stadium holds approximately 48,000 fans – each one is an important family member and SAP helps to revolutionize their experiences based on live customer interactions and ticket sales.
  • McLaren: McLaren CIO Craig Charlton shares his thoughts on SAP HANA…
  • TSG 1899 Hoffenheim: Technology is a central theme that runs through all business and sporting operations at Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Thus, on closer inspection, what might first appear to be just another match day in Germany’s primary soccer league is the result of sophisticated interaction between innovative IT solutions.

From all of us at SAP Sports, we’d like to thank you for your viewership, and wish you happy holidays! We truly appreciate each one of you. 2018 will be bigger and better in every way, make sure to stay up to date with SAP Sports on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and our website.

Categories: What's New

SAP, École Polytechnique, and ESSEC Focus on Digital Skills

SAP News - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 11:15
SAP has joined forces with the École Polytechnique Executive Education and ESSEC Business School to design tailored certifying curricula to help ensure the employability of its employees on key digital skills by 2020.

As a result of the GPEC agreement focused on employability signed in 2016, the initiative opens the doors of two prestigious schools to SAP employees in France who want to participate in the curricula. Sanctioned by a professional certification, the course programs were constructed hand in hand with SAP to develop the skills of tomorrow.

Digitalization is transforming jobs within SAP, so the company must take into consideration the new skills expected to remain competitive. In response to this challenge, SAP places employee development at the heart of its HR strategy, which not only broadens the base of technical skills, but also reinforces an innovative mindset that relies on agile, transversal, and project-based work methods.

SAP’s Assia Mouloudi is participating in one of the courses and offers her first impressions: “We met some very inspiring and open professors from École Polytechnique. Their speech at the forefront of scientific excellence and innovation poses an exciting yet demanding curriculum. We quickly connected innovation management challenges at SAP with the expertise delivered. This adventure promises to be exciting.”

The courses offered are divided into five curricula tailored to meet the strategy of SAP. École Polytechnique Executive Education focuses on the development of technical skills with four training courses: Data Science Starter Program, Internet of Things (IoT), Pilot of Innovation, and Project Management. The ESSEC Business School training program focuses more on developing the skills of corporate functions with a focus on operational management.

The courses last 110 to 150 hours. Each employee will complete a project related to the area of learning, which he or she will carry out during the course. To support them as best as possible in their project and to help ensure the operational transfer of new skills acquired, each SAP employee will benefit from a mentor and, if he or she wishes, a coach.

Mentors, chosen for their expertise, are there to advise and guide employees in the framework of their projects to ensure the improvement of their skills. The coach accompanies the personal development of the employee, with the role of guiding in the construction of his or her development plan and career.

Participant Capucine Paillusseau also testified: “The prospect of sharing this training with colleagues from all walks of life is a source of pleasure for me. The richness of the content and the human qualities of the people who supervise the training make me want to give the best of myself and make the best of this opportunity that is offered to us.”

And  Christine Flobert-Poli reports, “The ESSEC/SAP program is a tremendous opportunity for employees to prepare the best way for the digital transformation. With that program, we learn new skills to help SAP transform itself by transforming ourselves. Each of us will become a ‘servant leader,’ able to reduce complexity and make teams work in a collaborative mode in order to achieve a common goal for greater efficiency.”

We are proud of these curricula, the result of a partnership with prestigious schools and corresponding to the training needs of our teams. SAP is committed to going beyond simple training obligations by deploying innovative programs within the company.

Registration for the training courses is now closed, but the program is planned to be renewed in 2018 and 2019.

Carole Cherrier is training manager for SAP France

Categories: What's New

Why Technology Alone Is Not Enough

SAP News - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 10:15
There is no doubt that the digital transformation is in full swing. Innovation and technology cycles have become significantly shorter, and driving innovation feels like being in the fast lane on the digital journey highway.

Whenever time allows, it’s good to take a moment and think about the direction this journey is taking. I would like to share some thoughts about an important aspect of the digital age that is not only a priority for me, but also for many partners and customers I speak with.

Paradigm Shifts Don’t Come and Go Overnight

The credo of modern technology is openness. The ease with which we can now switch between technology, software, and devices means we can all expect much greater flexibility going forward. This change requires new approaches to engagement for IT vendors and connectedness for all of us; the role of vibrant ecosystems will become increasingly important. And while new technologies and growing ecosystems boost digital businesses, they also create or increase complexity.

In addition, the move into the digital era is already impacting workplaces globally – since 2000, 52% of the Fortune 500 have either experienced bankruptcy, been acquired, or gone out of business entirely, according to Capgemini. The speed of innovation is continuously increasing, and making use of technological trends such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain allows us to optimize and reinvent business processes and introduce new business models. However, the ever-increasing levels of automation will also have an impact on the future of our work.

With these new technological and business opportunities come new or as yet unanswered questions – questions that are fundamental to all of us. How can we build trust in the digital economy? How can new ethical standards evolve and become the norm? How can we create meaningful innovation for a bigger purpose?

Integral Aspects of New Paradigms

These questions include three main topics that become increasingly important for any technological and economic development in the future: Trust, ethics, and purpose.

The ways in which we interact in our ecosystems are changing fundamentally. We are used to building trust with people, products, and organizations because we know them by having direct interactions with them. At its most basic level, trust means nothing more than believing in the reliability and loyalty of others. In the future, basing trust only on relationships won’t be enough since networks will become too big and dynamic.

Digital Trust: The “What”

We will need technology’s help to cope with the changes related to our ecosystems. Today, for example, people are increasingly trusting blockchain-based networks, such as cryptocurrencies. With blockchain, we already trust in the reliability and loyalty of the network because it delivers digital proof for physical documents and real-life transactions and events. The advantages of this technology are so notable that, according to Gartner, by 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion.

According to Gartner, “digital trust emerges to establish and manage trust in the myriad digital interactions and relationships between businesses, individuals and things”. This means that trust is and needs to be everywhere to keep businesses running. But with an absence of personal interaction in the digital world, where does this trust come from and what is required to create this “ultimate currency”? What is the relationship between data and trust? How can we design and build technology so that it is fully trustworthy to all parties?

Digital Information and Information Flows

Today, we see an increasing decentralization of raw data. This requires us to find new ways to create value from and manage the complexity and heterogeneity of these distributed data landscapes. We see this in various fields where Big Data is key, including IoT, blockchain, and machine learning.

What all these technology areas have in common is the fact that information flows between large numbers of people, things, and systems that potentially don’t know each other and consequently, don’t (yet) trust each other. Today and in the future, we need to rely on technology to verify the authenticity of data, documents, and processes and provide us with secure and trustworthy access to digitalized information and information flows. This has itself already become an invaluable asset for companies. In the end, it is not only a company’s technology that needs to be trusted, but also the company itself in its role as a product or service provider and partner of choice.

However, technology alone is not enough. Building new digital networks, for example, does not necessarily mean that mechanisms that help keep the system and network running smoothly can be eliminated.

Blockchain as an Enabling Technology

Going one step further, there is another dimension of trust that technology companies in particular must take into consideration: Their ability to enable their customers to be trustworthy organizations in the digital age. This is something we take very seriously at SAP. One example that shows how digital trust can be created is the blockchain-based verification of documents.

In a co-innovation project between SAP and the autonomous region of Bozen, South Tyrol in Italy, blockchain technology is being used to digitalize and verify the paper-based documentation process flow while the documents themselves remain unchanged. This results in less bureaucracy and increased trust in public administration and, consequently, in completely new organizational models.

Future innovations will require openness and connectedness across entire ecosystems. Trust in the digital world does not only imply trustful relationships between people, but also trust in ecosystems, with the help of technology. The more open and transparent the ecosystems and networks, the more trust they can gain and create.

In part two next week, I will share some thoughts about the “how” and the “why,” addressing the topics of ethics and purpose-driven organizations.

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

Categories: What's New

SAP Wins Top Spot in Prestigious Startup Europe Partnership Awards

SAP News - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 08:00
WALLDORF — The SAP Startup Focus program won first place in the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) “Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars,” an initiative promoted by the European Commission to recognize Europe’s top startup-friendly companies, SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) announced today. The awards were presented during a ceremony yesterday in Brussels.
  • SAP is honored for encouraging innovation through SAP Startup Focus
  • Awards honor Europe’s 36 most startup-friendly companies

Established by the Commission’s Startup Europe Partnership initiative, the SEP awards recognized 36 companies for their efforts collaborating with startups and encouraging open innovation. Twelve companies were named “Corporate Startup Stars.” Another 24 were recognized as “Open Innovation Challengers.” The competition is organized by open innovation advisory firm Mind the Bridge with the support of the UK-based innovation foundation Nesta.

“The Judging Committee called out SAP’s holistic approach and global presence, along with the company’s strong commitment to procurement and its active role as a M&A player, as influencing its first-place position,” said Alberto Onetti, Mind the Bridge chairman and Startup Europe Partnership coordinator.

“Now in its sixth year, SAP Startup Focus was founded to enable emerging companies to join our innovation ecosystem and bring new technologies to market,” said Manju Bansal, SAP vice president and global head of SAP Startup Focus. “Winning the SEP Europe’s Corporate Startup Star award is a testament that our global startup initiative, with members from more than 60 countries, continues to inspire startups to use the power of SAP platform technologies to develop the solutions of tomorrow.”

SAP Startup Focus supports startups in developing new applications on SAP technology, including SAP Cloud Platform and the SAP HANA platform, among others. The program is an accelerator for enterprise-centric startups focusing on the Big Data, predictive and real-time analytics space. So far, more than 6,100 startups have engaged with the program, which began in mid-2012. Since then its members have delivered more than 288 validated solutions that address discrete customer needs across multiple industries. Startups remain focused on using SAP technology platforms to deliver next-generation solutions in a wide range of areas including real-time simulations and pattern recognition, blockchain, personalized analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.

SAP Startup Focus is an essential part of the company’s startup initiatives, which also comprise programs such as SAP.iO Foundries and SAP IoT Startup Accelerator.

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

About Startup Europe Partnership (SEP)

Established by the European Commission in January 2014 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, SEP is the first pan-European open innovation platform dedicated to transforming European startups into scaleups by linking them with global corporations and stock exchanges. SEP is led by Mind the Bridge, a global organization based in Europe and Silicon Valley, in partnership with innovation foundation Nesta, the European Investment Fund/European Investment Bank Group, London Stock Exchange Group, EBAN, the European Startup Network and The ScaleUp Institute. By participating in the SEP program, global companies have access to the best technologies and companies with the goal of initiating business partnerships and venture corporate investments. Scaleups are exposed to qualified sales/strategic opportunities as well as funding options either via venture capital, private placements or IPOs. For more info: http://startupeuropepartnership.eu | @sep_eu

About SAP

As market leader in enterprise application software, SAP (NYSE: SAP) helps companies of all sizes and industries run better. From back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device – SAP empowers people and organizations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP applications and services enable more than 365,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

Note to editors:
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For customers interested in learning more about SAP products:
Global Customer Center: +49 180 534-34-24
United States Only: 1 (800) 872-1SAP (1-800-872-1727)

For more information, press only:
Dana Dye, SAP, +1 415-928-1310, dana.dye@sap.com, PT
SAP News Center press room; press@sap.com
Serena Orizi, Mind the Bridge, +39 3204205558, sorizi@mindthebridge.com

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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Categories: What's New

Accenture Forms Alliance with Maana to Help Oil and Gas Client Accelerate Digital Transformation

Accenture News - Tue, 12/19/2017 - 07:59
NEW YORK and PALO ALTO, Calif.; Dec. 19, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has formed a strategic alliance with and made a minority investment in Maana, the pioneer in digital knowledge technology enabling industrial companies to accelerate digital transformation. The alliance will initially target oil and gas clients, with plans to expand to other industries. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Categories: What's New

SAP Launches Support by Product Pages

SAP News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 16:01
Find support information about your products faster and easier with SAP’s new support by product pages. The company is launching product pages in SAP Support Portal (Portal) and the SAP ONE Support Launchpad.

Now, you can get a quick, at-a-glance view of support-related content for products and product versions. Stop searching several websites for information. Find SAP Knowledge Base Articles, product documentation, Guided Answers, SAP Community blogs, and questions — all compiled on one web page.

In the Portal’s product pages, you can view publicly available information and links to some content that requires sign-in. To see information that needs a log-in, use support by product in the launchpad. There, you can also access downloads, systems, release information, and more. You can even personalize your launchpad experience. Save product versions that are important to you as ‘favorites’ for quick access.

Note: To use support by product pages in the launchpad, you must have an S-user ID and add My Products from the tile catalog to your launchpad homepage.

The Portal’s product pages do not require a log-in. To access them, select Products from the main navigation to see the list of available offerings. Currently, a selection of SAP products is featured for support by product pages in the Portal. To find a broader range of the SAP product portfolio, log in to the Launchpad.

Note: Concur, Ariba, and Fieldglass products are not included at this time. In the coming months, SAP will issue new features, products, and product versions for support by product pages.

Learn more by visiting the FAQ. Start using support by product pages for the launchpad and Portal today.

Categories: What's New
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