What's New

What is Quantum Computing?

SAP News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 11:45
Quantum computers are expected to become the next big technological development. But how does the technology work? And what are the benefits?

Whether it’s a astrophysical operations, weather prognosis, or explorations for locating oil and gas resources, powerful super computers are now ready to assist the computation of the most complex problems.

Yet there are some challenges that even the fastest computing machines in the world have been unable to solve, namely the simulation of molecular structures, which has left many professionals in the medical and chemical industry scratching their heads. The development of effective drugs against illnesses, as well as better quality fertilizer to help fight world hunger, is largely dependent on the ability to perform the relevant calculations.

Another example is optimization. A rucksack can hold up to 20 kilograms. If we take several objects all with a specific weight and use, a specific number of objects must be selected that does not exceed the maximum weight of the rucksack but maximizes the value. Inventory management frequently encounters these sorts of challenges, yet mathematical evidence shows that these problems cannot be solved satisfactorily using conventional computers.

This all comes down to how computers are built. The smallest possible storage unit (a bit) can have a value of either 0 or 1. Bits are physically represented by two voltage potentials that correspond to the states 0 and 1. This binary representation of information pushes it to the brink of its capabilities to perform certain tasks.

Qubits: Superposition and Entanglement

In 1981, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman claimed that a so-called quantum computer could be used to perform computations. This theoretical concept went on to generate a wealth of interest and has since become a broad field of research and development.

A quantum computer works with quantum bits, or “qubits.” In contrast to a traditional computer system, the states of qubits can overlap. In other words, they do not merely represent 0 or 1, but can achieve a mixed state where they are both 0 and 1 at the same time. This is known as a “superposition.” When measured however, Qubits behave like classical bits and yield the value of 0 or 1.

If various qubits are added together, they do not have a defined state but exist as a qubit entirety. In quantum mechanics, this process is known as “entanglement,” and refers to how the measurement of two qubits is dependent on the other. For instance, if two qubits are measured and the first measures as 1, the state of the second qubit is already known.

Overcoming Quantum Decoherence

Together, superposition and entanglement form the decisive difference from which quantum computers are said to benefit: with a given number of qubits, numerous sequences of conventional bits can also be displayed. This calculation is therefore equal to the calculation of all bit sequences simultaneously. For certain problems, this “quantum parallelism” ensures a decisive speed advantage compared to regular computers.

Decoherence nevertheless remains a challenge for researchers. As soon as closed quantum systems start interacting with their environment, the system and environment state are changed irreversibly and errors can occur if this happens during the calculation process.

To ensure that the operations are conducted without mistakes or errors, the quantum computer qubits should preferably be decoupled from their environment which, in turn, minimizes the time to decoherence. This can lead to a possible conflict of objectives, since it is also necessary that the state of an individual qubit can be changed from the outside.

The number of qubits also plays an important technical role — the higher the number, the greater the expected speed advantage. At the same time, this increases the number of obstacles to avoid decoherence with each individual qubit.

Five Criteria for Quantum Computers

Based on these ideas, in 1996 physicist David DiVincenzo formulated five criteria that he deemed sufficient for a quantum computer:

  • A scalable system of qubits
  • The ability to initialize the state of the qubits to a simple fiducial state
  • A “universal” set of quantum gates
  • Long relevant decoherence times
  • A qubit-specific measurement capability

So far, no one has succeeded in developing a system that fulfills all these requirements. This is partly due to the lack of clarity surrounding the most appropriate candidates able to physically implement qubits. The energy level of an atom and the angular moment of electrons are currently under discussion, although many other possibilities are also under research.

Applications for Quantum Computing

Further progress continues to be made in the development of quantum computers. To date, none of the prototypes have shown any definitive advantages compared against traditional super computers. This predominantly comes down to the number of qubits used. The widespread view suggests that 50 or more qubits should show a benefit — a number that has been officially announced but never achieved.

Experts expect that the first standard quantum computer will appear at some point in the next 10 years. Yet for those who are expecting to have a device under their desks at home may be disappointed; for the foreseeable future, this technology will most likely only be used to perform tasks on a large scale.

Quantum Cryptography: Already in Use

Beyond the development of quantum computers, other technologies benefiting from quantum mechanical effects have sparked interest. An example of this is quantum cryptography, which has been under development since the 1970s, and is now ready for implementation.

Data is the fuel of the 21st century. The world can hugely benefit from the distribution of more devices that interconnectedly generate and analyze data. At the same time, security risks such as data theft and data abuse continue to rise. Experts have estimated that cybercrime cost the economy $454 billion in 2016.

Compared to the solutions already available, quantum cryptographic processes can provide an additional level of safety and security. Discoveries in quantum physics reveal that such encryptions are not only difficult to hack, but downright impossible if they have been implemented correctly.

The aforementioned qualities of quantum systems form the basis for this level of security. Individual light particles transfer a code that is used in message encryption. The particles cannot be intercepted and measured without disruption. If someone were to try and intercept, they would not be able to access the code without being detected.

Progress in quantum computing development is the main motivation to continue developing quantum cryptography. Current encryption processes, such as RSA, rely on the assumption that there is no process in existence fast enough for the prime factorization of large numbers. Yet in 1994, Peter Shor demonstrated that this type of algorithm can be achieved on a quantum computer. The first team to produce an adequately-sized standard quantum computer can therefore hack all such security systems.

Yet this development is still a long way away from the projected 1,000 qubits that would be needed to hack RSA. In areas where secure communication and data transfers are extremely important, quantum cryptography can already offer solutions to safeguard against current and future attacks.

Categories: What's New

SAP Announces Extended Collaborative Planning

SAP News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:30
WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced additional planning capabilities for SAP Integrated Business Planning, its cloud-based solution for sales and operations planning, demand sensing and forecasting, inventory and supply optimization, and exception-driven response management.

These capabilities help customers advance planning maturity by extending supply chain planning beyond the four walls of the enterprise.

“Customer expectations for supply chain planning solutions are rapidly changing, and companies increasingly require extended collaborative planning that includes entities beyond their own enterprise,” said Hans Thalbauer, senior vice president, Digital Supply Chain and IoT, SAP. “Our integrated planning solution uses SAP’s collaborative supplier network to enable our customers to integrate and collaborate directly with their suppliers during the planning process and advance on the planning maturity curve.”

Robert Meshew, chief technology officer, Microsoft Supply Chain, said: “We realized we needed a platform that would be scalable, flexible and adaptive to our future ambition. We’re seeing a $300 million working capital improvement with a 5 percent increase in our on-time-in-full. Our service levels are going up and our inventory levels are down to support the same end-customer demand.”

Recognized as a leader in supply chain planning by independent industry research firms IDC and Gartner, SAP Integrated Business Planning serves companies in a range of industries. Intended to help organizations benefit from reduced inventories and improved customer service, the new capabilities include:

  • Supply-side collaboration with forecast commit and message integration with the SAP Ariba Supply Chain Collaboration for Buyers solution provides forecast visibility to suppliers and supplier commits back to planning. Also provided is visibility into supplier’s inventory and supplier’s inventory.
  • Visibility of remaining shelf life/expiring inventory at customer-facing distribution centers enhances companies’ ability to plan accurately.
  • Visibility into influencing factors for nondeliveries, missed inventory targets and adjusted values for time series–based supply optimization provides the level of detail needed to make corrective and preventative decisions for the present and future.
  • Enhancements to demand sensing allows customers to better predict short-term demand by leveraging point-of-sale data to better react to evolving end-customer buying.
  • Customers can now model product discontinuation using phase-out curves during statistical forecasting, thus reducing the occurrence of inflated demand for end-of-life items.
  • The ability to visualize multiple time levels in same view allows end users to see weekly, monthly, and quarterly volumes and balances simultaneously, reducing navigation requirements and providing better and more easily consumed information.

For more information on SAP Integrated Business Planning, see here.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

Media Contacts:
Jim Dever, SAP, +1 (610) 661-2161, james.dever@sap.com, ET
Kathrin Eiermann, SAP, +49 6227 767029, simone.kathrin.eiermann@sap.com, CET
Kyle Tildsley, PAN Communications, +1 (617) 503-4352, ktildsley@pancomm.com, ET

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
© 2017 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices.

Categories: What's New

2018 Predictions, Pt. 2: Tele-Healthcare, Remote-Control Cars with Bedside Manners, and the Journey to Mars

SAP News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:05
Wellness starts at home, say the experts. If you agree, would you enroll in a tele-health program or remote monitoring from your healthcare provider? If so, what precautions will you need to take to protect your private health data?

Should you experience a health emergency while driving, will your car have remote-control capability to guide you — and the car — to safety? Intrigued by space travel? You’re not alone, so buckle up!

These are some of the far-out predictions for 2018 from the experts who appeared on SAP Game-Changers Radio 2018 Predictions, Part 2, Presented by SAP. The second installment of a five-part series, the show aired live December 13, 2017.

Host Bonnie D. Graham asked 15 leading experts, academics, and business influencers what they see in their crystal ball for 2018. Each person was given just two minutes to share their predictions for what the next year holds for their industry, business, the world, and technology.

What the Experts Foresee for 2018

1. In 2018, organizations will take a digital-first approach. We will stop rolling out capabilities of any type without thinking “digital first.” The workforce and organizations are ready. The technology is there. Additionally, organizations will focus on creating a better workforce experience to match their efforts to enhance the customer experience. There will also be a real emphasis on digital skills.

– Jason Averbook, Co-founder and CEO, Leapgen

2. Financial Planning and Analyses (FP&A) teams will continue to focus on optimizing business performance and strategic activities and will continue to spend less time on low-value, no-value finance activities. The advances in technologies over the last 20 years are going to continue to improve and permit us to be efficient at acquiring, converting, and leveraging data to make better, faster financial decisions to permit organizations to thrive. Those that embrace change are going to be the ones to succeed.

– Brian T. Kalish, Principal and Founder, Kalish Consulting

3. Three major trends will drive the chemicals industry in 2018: 1.) Accelerated globalization means shifting supply centers and demand centers; 2.) The circular economy is growing as raw materials become scarcer and regulatory requirements increase exponentially; and 3.) Digital technologies – including Internet of Things, blockchain, and machine learning – are driving an unprecedented wave of innovation.

– Stefan Guertzgen, Senior Director for Industry Solution Marketing Chemicals, SAP

4. In aerospace, the commercial airplane industry will see cool, new products and innovations. We’ll see the first legitimate applications of large-scale autonomous air taxis and hypersonic aircraft. In space, the journey to Mars is closer than we think. 2018 will re-ignite our imaginations around space travel. We will see the race to set new world records in innovation and production of 3D printed parts.

– Torsten Welte, Global Vice President and Head of Aerospace & Defense, SAP

5. We’re beginning to enter the space-race/energy time on climate change. 2018 is the year we’re going to bend the curve on climate change and see significant changes. Primary actors include government and cities. There is a lot of innovation economy in this area from startups and bigger companies like Tesla. The price of renewables is going to continue to fall, while demand is rising.

– Brenda J. Cooper, science fiction writer, futurist, and CIO, City of Kirkland, Washington State

6. We’re going to see a significant refocus on cultural aspects of organizations, specifically how company culture and its practices support the needs and well-being of the organization. Companies are realizing that if they don’t have the culture and the practices to support a healthy, productive environment for their workers, they’re not going reach their goals.

– Yvette Cameron, Senior Vice President Strategy, SAP SuccessFactors

7. Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, and blockchain will enable new business models and create new markets driven by startups and agile corporates that can embrace this trend and understand the potential value propositions that can come out of it.

– Luisa Silva, Global Director of Go-to-Market and Market Enablement, SAP Startup Focus

8. In healthcare, 2018 will be the year of realization. Congress will realize that healthcare reform is not centered on healthcare payment reform. Ultimately, the realization will be that reform has to take place on the delivery-of-care side; hence, virtual care, tele-health, remote monitoring. Making the home a center of care, instead of the brick-and-mortar facilities, will be a big effort in 2018.

– Tom Foley, Global Health Solutions Strategy Manager, LenovoHealth

9. Remote-control vehicles are coming – and sooner than we think. In 2018, remote operations of trucks and vehicles will move forward and spread beyond semi-trailers to personal vehicles. Some cars with level-three autonomy capability, like the Tesla and Audi A8, now have on-board assistance for remote support and emergency roadside service. Imagine the ability for the remote support to assume control of the car in emergency situations and safely direct the car to the side of the road.

– Heather Ashton, Research Manager, IDC Manufacturing Insights

10. The Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes effective in May 2018. Businesses are just beginning to wake up to the reality that most of them are going to have to revamp their personal data security systems, processing, and storage. It’s going to be a year of unrest for human resources and businesses with connections to the European Union.

– Barbara Ocain, Global Strategic Advisor, SAP SuccessFactors

11. It’s inevitable that video will be everywhere in the workplace in 2018. Consumer technology behavior is a leading indicator for enterprise technology behavior. Every month recently there’s been a new staggering statistic related to consumer adoption of online video. We’ll see a continued increase in the use of video to promote products, to create features with high-end video, but also in areas where video has been under-utilized, like personalized video sales pitches, video for job postings, video for customer success outreach, and executive internal video messaging.

– Matt Singer, CEO, Videolicious

12. The value of the Bitcoin will drop by 50 percent from January 1 to December 31, 2018.

– Kenny Hawk, serial entrepreneur and CEO, Mojio

13. The big thing that will hit us in Europe and every company selling into the European Union is certainly the GDPR. The fact is data has grown up. We’re not able to spread around people’s details like confetti. Companies are going to have to prove that the people have actually opted in. We are actually deleting our full email list because we cannot prove the opt-ins. This will change sales from a push to pull model.

– Tim Hughes, Co-founder, Digital Leadership Associates

14. We’re going to see a much more aggressive adoption of information technology and big data in the office of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). 2018 will lay the foundation for where we will most likely be in 2023-2025, when we’re going to be dealing with voice and intelligent digital assistants. For example, you might ask, “Alexa, what’s the margin today on sales in the northeast quadrant?” You’ll get an answer from an intelligent assistant that is reading tens of millions of records.

– Jeff Hattendorf, COO and Co-founder, Macrospect

15. The biggest story in 2018 will be cyber-security. We are growing exponentially in software, technology, and connected devices, but we are not growing our security systems in the same fashion. We desperately need to get those protocols and security measures in place. When we think about the launching of IPv6 and all these new connected devices that are coming out, there are new potential threats for cybercrime.

 – Laz Uriza, Senior Solution Principal, SAP Extended Supply Chain Center of Excellence

You can hear the full show at
SAP Game-Changers Radio 2018 Predictions, Part 2

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 it, you can listen to a recording of Part 1 of the series.

Part 3 will air live on Wednesday, January 3 at 11am EST/ 8am PST at http://spr.ly/SAPRadio. Additional shows in the series will air on January 10 and 17. You can listen to the shows live here.

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

Categories: What's New

New Releases of SAP Transportation Management and SAP Extended Warehouse Management Deliver Enhanced Digital Logistics

SAP News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 10:00
WALLDORFSAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced new capabilities in transportation and warehouse management that will help customers seamlessly operate their logistics processes and supply management systems.

With the integration of the SAP Global Batch Traceability application, the latest releases of the SAP Transportation Management and SAP Extended Warehouse Management solutions help customers streamline the entire logistic process, by allowing them to extend their supply chain execution platform and trace batches end to end, over multiple process steps and locations. Moreover, the supply chain execution platform’s new capabilities reduce transportation costs and increase productivity and fulfillment speed. Innovations enhance the connection to smart devices in the Internet of Things, allowing access to more data for greater insight across the digital supply chain.

“These new releases show our continued innovation in both the digital supply chain and logistics,” Markus Rosemann, vice president, SAP Digital Logistics, said. “As companies look to digitalize their business, products and processes, we are helping them put supply chain and logistics at the center of this business transformation.”

Enhancements to SAP Transportation Management include a single user interface for air cargo security for improved user productivity. Customers also can add additional parameters, such as flexible stop durations, to optimize scheduling processes. This improves freight scheduling and raises productivity through configuration options in the transportation cockpit. The advanced planning innovations help businesses in various industries optimize flexible vehicle space capacity.

Enhanced analytics in SAP Extended Warehouse Management provides managers with greater visibility and insights into key performance indicators, such as outbound delivery items, service level analysis and warehouse capacity usage. This aids warehouse workers in handling smaller yet more complex and frequent shipments, by enabling them to complete operational steps in a single, easy-to-use new SAP Fiori app. The new app also allows flexible picking for multiple customer orders in a single pick run.

For more information on the new release of SAP Transportation Management and SAP Extended Warehouse Management, see “What’s New in SAP Transportation Management and SAP Extended Warehouse Management?

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

Media Contacts:
Jim Dever, SAP, +1 (610) 661-2161, james.dever@sap.com, ET
Kathrin Eiermann, SAP, +49 6227 767029, simone.kathrin.eiermann@sap.com, CET

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.
© 2017 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see http://www.sap.com/corporate-en/legal/copyright/index.epx#trademark for additional trademark information and notices.

Categories: What's New

More Than Noise: Digital Trends That Are Bigger Than You Think

SAP News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 09:15
In the tech world in 2017, several trends emerged as signals amid the noise, signifying much larger changes to come.

As we noted in last year’s More Than Noise list, things are changing—and the changes are occurring in ways that don’t necessarily fit into the prevailing narrative.

While many of 2017’s signals have a dark tint to them, perhaps reflecting the times we live in, we have sought out some rays of light to illuminate the way forward. The following signals differ considerably, but understanding them can help guide businesses in the right direction for 2018 and beyond.

When a team of psychologists, linguists, and software engineers created Woebot, an AI chatbot that helps people learn cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for managing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, they did something unusual, at least when it comes to chatbots: they submitted it for peer review.

Stanford University researchers recruited a sample group of 70 college-age participants on social media to take part in a randomized control study of Woebot. The researchers found that their creation was useful for improving anxiety and depression symptoms. A study of the user interaction with the bot was submitted for peer review and published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Mental Health in June 2017.

While Woebot may not revolutionize the field of psychology, it could change the way we view AI development. Well-known figures such as Elon Musk and Bill Gates have expressed concerns that artificial intelligence is essentially ungovernable. Peer review, such as with the Stanford study, is one way to approach this challenge and figure out how to properly evaluate and find a place for these software programs.

The healthcare community could be onto something. We’ve already seen instances where AI chatbots have spun out of control, such as when internet trolls trained Microsoft’s Tay to become a hate-spewing misanthrope. Bots are only as good as their design; making sure they stay on message and don’t act in unexpected ways is crucial.

This is especially true in healthcare. When chatbots are offering therapeutic services, they must be properly designed, vetted, and tested to maintain patient safety.

It may be prudent to apply the same level of caution to a business setting. By treating chatbots as if they’re akin to medicine or drugs, we have a model for thorough vetting that, while not perfect, is generally effective and time tested.

It may seem like overkill to think of chatbots that manage pizza orders or help resolve parking tickets as potential health threats. But it’s already clear that AI can have unintended side effects that could extend far beyond Tay’s loathsome behavior.

For example, in July, Facebook shut down an experiment where it challenged two AIs to negotiate with each other over a trade. When the experiment began, the two chatbots quickly went rogue, developing linguistic shortcuts to reduce negotiating time and leaving their creators unable to understand what they were saying.

Do we want AIs interacting in a secret language because designers didn’t fully understand what they were designing?

The implications are chilling. Do we want AIs interacting in a secret language because designers didn’t fully understand what they were designing?

In this context, the healthcare community’s conservative approach doesn’t seem so farfetched. Woebot could ultimately become an example of the kind of oversight that’s needed for all AIs.

Meanwhile, it’s clear that chatbots have great potential in healthcare—not just for treating mental health issues but for helping patients understand symptoms, build treatment regimens, and more. They could also help unclog barriers to healthcare, which is plagued worldwide by high prices, long wait times, and other challenges. While they are not a substitute for actual humans, chatbots can be used by anyone with a computer or smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of financial status.

Finding the right governance for AI development won’t happen overnight. But peer review, extensive internal quality analysis, and other processes will go a long way to ensuring bots function as expected. Otherwise, companies and their customers could pay a big price.

Elon Musk is an expert at dominating the news cycle with his sci-fi premonitions about space travel and high-speed hyperloops. However, he captured media attention in Australia in April 2017 for something much more down to earth: how to deal with blackouts and power outages.

In 2016, a massive blackout hit the state of South Australia following a storm. Although power was restored quickly in Adelaide, the capital, people in the wide stretches of arid desert that surround it spent days waiting for the power to return. That hit South Australia’s wine and livestock industries especially hard.

South Australia’s electrical grid currently gets more than half of its energy from wind and solar, with coal and gas plants acting as backups for when the sun hides or the wind doesn’t blow, according to ABC News Australia. But this network is vulnerable to sudden loss of generation—which is exactly what happened in the storm that caused the 2016 blackout, when tornadoes ripped through some key transmission lines. Getting the system back on stable footing has been an issue ever since.

Displaying his usual talent for showmanship, Musk stepped in and promised to build the world’s largest battery to store backup energy for the network—and he pledged to complete it within 100 days of signing the contract or the battery would be free. Pen met paper with South Australia and French utility Neoen in September. As of press time in November, construction was underway.

For South Australia, the Tesla deal offers an easy and secure way to store renewable energy. Tesla’s 129 MWh battery will be the most powerful battery system in the world by 60% once completed, according to Gizmodo. The battery, which is stationed at a wind farm, will cover temporary drops in wind power and kick in to help conventional gas and coal plants balance generation with demand across the network. South Australian citizens and politicians largely support the project, which Tesla claims will be able to power 30,000 homes.

Until Musk made his bold promise, batteries did not figure much in renewable energy networks, mostly because they just aren’t that good. They have limited charges, are difficult to build, and are difficult to manage. Utilities also worry about relying on the same lithium-ion battery technology as cellphone makers like Samsung, whose Galaxy Note 7 had to be recalled in 2016 after some defective batteries burst into flames, according to CNET.

However, when made right, the batteries are safe. It’s just that they’ve traditionally been too expensive for large-scale uses such as renewable power storage. But battery innovations such as Tesla’s could radically change how we power the economy. According to a study that appeared this year in Nature, the continued drop in the cost of battery storage has made renewable energy price-competitive with traditional fossil fuels.

This is a massive shift. Or, as David Roberts of news site Vox puts it, “Batteries are soon going to disrupt power markets at all scales.” Furthermore, if the cost of batteries continues to drop, supply chains could experience radical energy cost savings. This could disrupt energy utilities, manufacturing, transportation, and construction, to name just a few, and create many opportunities while changing established business models. (For more on how renewable energy will affect business, read the feature “Tick Tock” in this issue.)

Battery research and development has become big business. Thanks to electric cars and powerful smartphones, there has been incredible pressure to make more powerful batteries that last longer between charges.

The proof of this is in the R&D funding pudding. A Brookings Institution report notes that both the Chinese and U.S. governments offer generous subsidies for lithium-ion battery advancement. Automakers such as Daimler and BMW have established divisions marketing residential and commercial energy storage products. Boeing, Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and General Electric are all experimenting with various electric propulsion systems for aircraft—which means that hybrid airplanes are also a possibility.

Meanwhile, governments around the world are accelerating battery research investment by banning internal combustion vehicles. Britain, France, India, and Norway are seeking to go all electric as early as 2025 and by 2040 at the latest.

In the meantime, expect huge investment and new battery innovation from interested parties across industries that all share a stake in the outcome. This past September, for example, Volkswagen announced a €50 billion research investment in batteries to help bring 300 electric vehicle models to market by 2030.

At first, it sounds like a narrative device from a science fiction novel or a particularly bad urban legend.

Powerful cameras in several Chinese cities capture photographs of jaywalkers as they cross the street and, several minutes later, display their photograph, name, and home address on a large screen posted at the intersection. Several days later, a summons appears in the offender’s mailbox demanding payment of a fine or fulfillment of community service.

As Orwellian as it seems, this technology is very real for residents of Jinan and several other Chinese cities. According to a Xinhua interview with Li Yong of the Jinan traffic police, “Since the new technology has been adopted, the cases of jaywalking have been reduced from 200 to 20 each day at the major intersection of Jingshi and Shungeng roads.”

The sophisticated cameras and facial recognition systems already used in China—and their near–real-time public shaming—are an example of how machine learning, mobile phone surveillance, and internet activity tracking are being used to censor and control populations. Most worryingly, the prospect of real-time surveillance makes running surveillance states such as the former East Germany and current North Korea much more financially efficient.

According to a 2015 discussion paper by the Institute for the Study of Labor, a German research center, by the 1980s almost 0.5% of the East German population was directly employed by the Stasi, the country’s state security service and secret police—1 for every 166 citizens. An additional 1.1% of the population (1 for every 66 citizens) were working as unofficial informers, which represented a massive economic drain. Automated, real-time, algorithm-driven monitoring could potentially drive the cost of controlling the population down substantially in police states—and elsewhere.

We could see a radical new era of censorship that is much more manipulative than anything that has come before. Previously, dissidents were identified when investigators manually combed through photos, read writings, or listened in on phone calls. Real-time algorithmic monitoring means that acts of perceived defiance can be identified and deleted in the moment and their perpetrators marked for swift judgment before they can make an impression on others.

Businesses need to be aware of the wider trend toward real-time, automated censorship and how it might be used in both commercial and governmental settings. These tools can easily be used in countries with unstable political dynamics and could become a real concern for businesses that operate across borders. Businesses must learn to educate and protect employees when technology can censor and punish in real time.

Indeed, the technologies used for this kind of repression could be easily adapted from those that have already been developed for businesses. For instance, both Facebook and Google use near–real-time facial identification algorithms that automatically identify people in images uploaded by users—which helps the companies build out their social graphs and target users with profitable advertisements. Automated algorithms also flag Facebook posts that potentially violate the company’s terms of service.

China is already using these technologies to control its own people in ways that are largely hidden to outsiders.

According to a report by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, the popular Chinese social network WeChat operates under a policy its authors call “One App, Two Systems.” Users with Chinese phone numbers are subjected to dynamic keyword censorship that changes depending on current events and whether a user is in a private chat or in a group. Depending on the political winds, users are blocked from accessing a range of websites that report critically on China through WeChat’s internal browser. Non-Chinese users, however, are not subject to any of these restrictions.

The censorship is also designed to be invisible. Messages are blocked without any user notification, and China has intermittently blocked WhatsApp and other foreign social networks. As a result, Chinese users are steered toward national social networks, which are more compliant with government pressure.

China’s policies play into a larger global trend: the nationalization of the internet. China, Russia, the European Union, and the United States have all adopted different approaches to censorship, user privacy, and surveillance. Although there are social networks such as WeChat or Russia’s VKontakte that are popular in primarily one country, nationalizing the internet challenges users of multinational services such as Facebook and YouTube. These different approaches, which impact everything from data safe harbor laws to legal consequences for posting inflammatory material, have implications for businesses working in multiple countries, as well.

For instance, Twitter is legally obligated to hide Nazi and neo-fascist imagery and some tweets in Germany and France—but not elsewhere. YouTube was officially banned in Turkey for two years because of videos a Turkish court deemed “insulting to the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” father of modern Turkey. In Russia, Google must keep Russian users’ personal data on servers located inside Russia to comply with government policy.

While China is a pioneer in the field of instant censorship, tech companies in the United States are matching China’s progress, which could potentially have a chilling effect on democracy. In 2016, Apple applied for a patent on technology that censors audio streams in real time—automating the previously manual process of censoring curse words in streaming audio.

In March, after U.S. President Donald Trump told Fox News, “I think maybe I wouldn’t be [president] if it wasn’t for Twitter,” Twitter founder Evan “Ev” Williams did something highly unusual for the creator of a massive social network.

He apologized.

Speaking with David Streitfeld of The New York Times, Williams said, “It’s a very bad thing, Twitter’s role in that. If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry.”

Entrepreneurs tend to be very proud of their innovations. Williams, however, offers a far more ambivalent response to his creation’s success. Much of the 2016 presidential election’s rancor was fueled by Twitter, and the instant gratification of Twitter attracts trolls, bullies, and bigots just as easily as it attracts politicians, celebrities, comedians, and sports fans.

Services such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are designed through a mix of look and feel, algorithmic wizardry, and psychological techniques to hang on to users for as long as possible—which helps the services sell more advertisements and make more money. Toxic political discourse and online harassment are unintended side effects of the economic-driven urge to keep users engaged no matter what.

Keeping users’ eyeballs on their screens requires endless hours of multivariate testing, user research, and algorithm refinement. For instance, Casey Newton of tech publication The Verge notes that Google Brain, Google’s AI division, plays a key part in generating YouTube’s video recommendations.

According to Jim McFadden, the technical lead for YouTube recommendations, “Before, if I watch this video from a comedian, our recommendations were pretty good at saying, here’s another one just like it,” he told Newton. “But the Google Brain model figures out other comedians who are similar but not exactly the same—even more adjacent relationships. It’s able to see patterns that are less obvious.”

A never-ending flow of content that is interesting without being repetitive is harder to resist. With users glued to online services, addiction and other behavioral problems occur to an unhealthy degree. According to a 2016 poll by nonprofit research company Common Sense Media, 50% of American teenagers believe they are addicted to their smartphones.

This pattern is extending into the workplace. Seventy-five percent of companies told research company Harris Poll in 2016 that two or more hours a day are lost in productivity because employees are distracted. The number one reason? Cellphones and texting, according to 55% of those companies surveyed. Another 41% pointed to the internet.

Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, argues that many product designers for online services try to exploit psychological vulnerabilities in a bid to keep users engaged for longer periods. Harris refers to an iPhone as “a slot machine in my pocket” and argues that user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers need to adopt something akin to a Hippocratic Oath to stop exploiting users’ psychological vulnerabilities.

In fact, there is an entire school of study devoted to “dark UX”—small design tweaks to increase profits. These can be as innocuous as a “Buy Now” button in a visually pleasing color or as controversial as when Facebook tweaked its algorithm in 2012 to show a randomly selected group of almost 700,000 users (who had not given their permission) newsfeeds that skewed more positive to some users and more negative to others to gauge the impact on their respective emotional states, according to an article in Wired.

As computers, smartphones, and televisions come ever closer to convergence, these issues matter increasingly to businesses. Some of the universal side effects of addiction are lost productivity at work and poor health. Businesses should offer training and help for employees who can’t stop checking their smartphones.

Mindfulness-centered mobile apps such as Headspace, Calm, and Forest offer one way to break the habit. Users can also choose to break internet addiction by going for a walk, turning their computers off, or using tools like StayFocusd or Freedom to block addictive websites or apps.

Most importantly, companies in the business of creating tech products need to design software and hardware that discourages addictive behavior. This means avoiding bad designs that emphasize engagement metrics over human health. A world of advertising preroll showing up on smart refrigerator touchscreens at 2 a.m. benefits no one.

According to a 2014 study in Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, approximately 6% of the world’s population suffers from internet addiction to one degree or another. As more users in emerging economies gain access to cheap data, smartphones, and laptops, that percentage will only increase. For businesses, getting a head start on stopping internet addiction will make employees happier and more productive. 

Maurizio Cattaneo is director of Delivery Execution, Energy, and Natural Resources at SAP.David Delaney is global vice president and chief medical officer for SAP Health.
Volker Hildebrand is global vice president for SAP Hybris solutions.
Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.

This story originally appeared on the Digitalist.

Categories: What's New

SAP to Host Festival of Innovations at CEBIT 2018

SAP News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 06:00
HANNOVER SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) is bringing a completely new exhibition concept to CEBIT 2018. Based on the idea “10 Minutes of Innovation,” SAP is set to install a 60-meter Ferris wheel at the d!campus.

In the wheel’s 40 cabins, visitors will experience showcases, expert talks and SAP solutions addressing digitalization, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system, and SAP S/4HANA. The Ferris wheel of innovations forms the core of the SAP presence at the show, and will occupy a total of 2,300 square meters of space at the heart of CEBIT 2018.

With the new concept, SAP is demonstrating its steadfast commitment to CEBIT’s reinvention. Digitalization requires new ways of thinking and acting, as well as new partnerships, approaches and technologies. The creative SAP exhibition concept brings all of these factors together. With attention focused on the Ferris wheel, SAP presents its portfolio of innovations and provides a meeting place for startups, developers, customers and prospects. But the wheel is not only a platform for people to meet, it also serves as a real-life showcase for the “digital twin,” where all relevant information — such as technical model data, spare parts and wearing parts, and documents of all kinds — form a virtual but also realistic copy of the Ferris wheel.

“Digitalization means lateral thinking, networking and grasping new opportunities,” said Dr. Daniel Holz, managing director, SAP Germany. “The heart of the new CEBIT will be beating at the d!campus. What better place could there be for us to present our innovations? The campus idea enables networking, exhibiting and interaction in a completely new form.”

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

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Categories: What's New

Ministry of Communications of the Vatican Selects Accenture to Help Design and Deliver its New Communications System: Vatican News

Accenture News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 04:59
ROME; Dec. 18, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) announced that the Ministry of Communications of the Vatican has appointed Accenture Interactive to help design and deliver its new communications system called Vatican News. The move is part of the Vatican reform aimed at finding new ways to communicate with and engage all people in today’s digital world.
Categories: What's New

Retailers Positioned to Benefit as Banks Open Their Networks in Compliance with New European Payments Regulations, Accenture Study Finds

Accenture News - Mon, 12/18/2017 - 03:59
LONDON; Dec. 18, 2017 – Retail companies could become the new face of everyday financial transactions once the Revised Payments Services Directive, known as PSD2, goes into effect in the European Union in January, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).
Categories: What's New

SAP Executive Champions Inclusion and Diversity in Sales

SAP News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 11:15
Melissa Di Donato, an accomplished leader in the technology sector, is chief revenue officer for the ERP Cloud business at SAP.  Melissa puts her knowledge and experience to good use by leading the creation of innovative enterprise cloud solutions that align sales, the SAP partner ecosystem, products, and channels to deliver deeper, stronger customer relationships.

Impressive? Definitely. But not as impressive as the passion that truly defines her.

Melissa is also the Executive Sponsor of Diversity and Inclusion within Global Customer Operations at SAP. An indefatigable advocate of workplace diversity, Melissa champions the role of women in business. She is the technology group chair of the 30% Club in the UK, which promotes greater female representation in the boardroom by 2020. Current numbers stand at approximately 28% in the UK and 24% in the U.S., according to their respective sites. Melissa is a catalyst for the change needed to ensure that women are fairly represented in Sales at leading technology companies around the world.

While diversity and gender equality have sometimes been criticized as being vapid buzzwords, in a recent interview Melissa candidly shared her thoughts that prove otherwise.

How has your life shaped your passion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Two years ago, at the height of my career, my husband passed away. I’m now not only a single widow, but also a single mother to a very bright three-year-old girl. When I lost my husband, I had an obvious choice; I could pack my bags and go home to cry for myself, or I could roll up my sleeves and prove to everyone around me that no matter what catastrophic tragedy life throws at me, I can still do it. I can still have a strong career and provide my daughter the love, time, and attention she deserves.  The bottom line? You can be whatever you want to be in technology. Just show them.

Also, I’m a big believer that you can’t be what you can’t see. Therefore, in my case, it was my obligation to show other women that it can be done.  You can bounce back from a life altering tragedy.  I believe, to help other women shine, it’s our obligation as women to pay it forward and be visible. Women much more need to see a role model than men. We must inspire each other and prove to each other that the sky is the limit. Our call to action as women is to be visible, and serve as a role model to empower other women to continue to achieve their dreams even when it seems impossible.

And believe me, I’m not alone on this. A recent study on women in tech by Accenture found a strong correlation between having a role model and having leadership goals.

What qualities have helped you stay so positive and driven? 

One tendency I see in women is that we think our success is attributed to luck or being in the right place at the right time. That’s not the reason! If you’re a successful person, you got there by the choices you made and the work that you did.  Women sometimes seem to forget that, and I think that it’s time to reclaim our self-esteem and affect change. Understand that the reason you are where you are is because of you.

I’m leading a successful career because of the decisions I’ve made and the things I’ve been willing to give up. And I know that my daughter will enter a profoundly different and positive workplace someday because of the work that we are doing today.

Sales is predominantly viewed as a man’s world with industry data showing only 25 percent of salespeople in tech are women. How do you persist and excel in a male dominated environment?

I think that we lack women in sales because, culturally, it’s a place that brings and breeds the good ol’ boys club. It’s no surprise then, that women gravitate to marketing where the industry has more prominent female leaders – be they chief marketing officers, keynote speakers, or digital marketing managers. I want to see this kind of progress, this kind of community in sales.

I would like to gather our saleswomen at SAP for a monthly coffee corner discussion or networking lunch.  By connecting women in sales and encouraging relationships, we can create friendships and support systems to encourage and conduce more women to join the department. I think the reason why we aren’t attracting more women into sales is because women don’t feel supported in a (sales) culture dominated by men.

Also, the more visible successful women in sales are, the more women will see that it can be done.  You can have a successful sales career and a happy and fulfilling home life. That’s again why it’s so important for successful women to champion the example.

Studies show that diverse workplaces perform 35% better than like-minded environments. How do you think that diversity in technology helps accelerate innovation?

We have a skill shortage in technology. Over 85% of recruiters and hiring managers are saying they can’t hire technical talent. My opinion is that we are genuinely approaching a catastrophic phase of our growth.

If we don’t start absorbing, welcoming, and trying to recruit more women, I can see the industry being in serious trouble 10 years from now.

We need to start focusing on diversity of thought – ensuring that we are inclusive. Not just internally to companies, but also externally in the case of customer inclusion.

And finally, from a big picture perspective, thinking forward, in order for women to get to the boardroom, in order to break into and succeed in tech, we must start in the classroom. I truly believe that. It’s shameful that in the US, only 15% of all high schools offered any kind of advanced placement computer science course, and that only 22% of those who took the exam were girls! I make that point about starting in school in everything I do and every effort I undertake with diversity and inclusion in mind.

Thank you for your time, Melissa! SAP recently placed third in the latest CIO Best Places to Work for Women in Technology survey, beating out Salesforce and Workday. That’s something to be proud of, but I’m sure you’re not going to rest until we place first. In the meantime, we look forward to talking to you again about what measures SAP is taking to embrace minorities such as LGBT, African American and Latino, and other under-represented workers here at SAP.

Categories: What's New

SAP Updates Its Full-Year 2017 Effective Tax Rate Outlook to Reflect One-Time Tax Benefit

SAP News - Fri, 12/15/2017 - 07:07
WALLDORF, GermanySAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today updated its effective tax rate outlook for the full year 2017.

In SAP’s third quarter 2017 earnings announcement, the Company disclosed that it expects in the fourth quarter a benefit from a one-time tax effect relating to an intra-group transfer of intellectual property rights to SAP SE. SAP committed to update its effective tax rate outlook once the effect is quantifiable. SAP has now quantified its estimate of the benefit and updates its effective tax rate outlook as follows to reflect this one-time benefit.

Considering the estimated one-time benefit and updated expectations for the full year, SAP now expects a full-year 2017 effective tax rate (IFRS) of 23.0% to 24.0% (previous outlook: below 26.0% to 27.0%) and a full-year 2017 effective tax rate (non-IFRS) of 25.0% to 26.0% (previous outlook: below 27.0% to 28.0%).

This outlook does not consider any impact from a potential U.S. tax reform.

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.

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Categories: What's New

SAP SuccessFactors, Data Protection and Privacy, and the GDPR

SAP News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 17:00
Data protection and privacy in our digital, connected world is taking center stage. Balancing how we continue to innovate, and expand our global product and service offerings, while staying compliant with fast moving changes in the realm of data protection and privacy regulations, is something we are committed to at SAP.

“However fast regulation moves, technology moves faster. Especially as far as data is concerned.”

– Elizabeth Denham, UK Information Commissioner

One of the most highly-topical and significant challenges ahead today is the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, which is a huge deal in any company doing business in Europe. Or doing business with any EU citizen, regardless of where the organization is located. The GDPR reminds us that regulations are changing fast, and the fines are steep.

Beyond individual regulations, as far-reaching as they are, data security concerns while processing personal data are right on the doorstep of all of us – think about the recent Equifax data breach where 143 million American consumers’ personal data was exposed, or the breach of confidential data this summer in Sweden that may have disclosed the identities of undercover agents working for the Swedish security service and Swedish police. These and other stories are just a few examples of what’s increasing in frequency and severity.

Our job is to take the worry from you.

Focus on Secure Data

SAP has always focused on compliance and data protection, going back to our 1972 founding. And we continually look for better ways to secure data in transit, at rest, and in use.

SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite, with its foundational solutions SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central Payroll, was built with a commitment to lead as a global and localized solution, addressing legal local compliance and practices. To date, our solutions have been localized for 84 countries – with new geographies added every year – and cover 42 languages, a number we also continue to grow. As legal and regulatory changes occur, we own the responsibility of providing ongoing updates across the suite. We have over 30 years of experience delivering globally, and locally compliant, HCM solutions – including 15 years delivering cloud-based HCM applications. We have hundreds of employees in more than 130 countries giving us the ability to stay on top of these ever-changing compliance requirements across the globe.

While GDPR is the latest, and one of the most significant, compliance regulations to gain a lot of press, don’t expect it to be the last. With GDPR, fines are set at four percent of annual global revenue or €20 million … whichever is greater. Clearly most organizations can’t afford that, or the resulting loss of reputation—and the consequence for smaller enterprises may be unrecoverable.

How We’re Helping You Address GDPR

We’re committed to ensuring our customers meet the data privacy and protection challenges, and protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data in our highly-regulated world. We’ve addressed previous data regulations by standing up Data Center operations in countries like Russia and Brazil, and we’re preparing for GDPR by actively enhancing our products so you’re ready to meet these new requirements and others to come.

Particular areas of enhancement related to GDPR requirements cover consent management, data blocking, data retention and purge, read and edit logging, as well as reporting. We’ll deliver these features—as part of the subscription—during our quarterly SAP SuccessFactors release cycles. A number of features came with our November quarterly release, with many more to come in the February release, ahead of the May 25, 2018 enforcement date.

We’re also planning to introduce the latest of our centers, the SAP SuccessFactors Privacy Center, which will be your one-stop shop for visualizing and managing compliance and regulatory activities. Watch for more news on the Privacy Center in mid-2018.

How else are we helping you based on our current footprint? One way is through our SAP Cloud Trust Center, where we proactively publish information about our certifications and attestations, data processing agreements, and real-time cloud solution availability. We operate 13 data centers around the world, giving you the option of where your data is processed. We also offer the EU Access service to customers who want to ensure that personal data is processed in European data centers only, and that access to your cloud systems and data is only possible from the EU, EEA and Switzerland.

Data protection and security is centered on trust. People want to trust that companies are doing the right things to keep their personal data secure. When we see that an organization has failed to keep data secure and a breach occurs, the impact goes directly to that company’s bottom line – potentially resulting in the loss of customers and employees, drop in share price, and other hazards of a tarnished reputation.

We all have a role to play here. Process and technology go hand in hand in ensuring data is protected. All of us in key roles at organizations impacted by these rules and regulations need to establish internal processes around how to handle personal data along with partnering with a trusted technology provider who can help ease the burden.

You can learn more about how SAP SuccessFactors can help you prepare for the General Data Protection Regulation here.

Greg Tomb is president of SAP SuccessFactors

Categories: What's New

The Future of Retail: Understanding the Customer

SAP News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 15:30

According to analysts, the future of retail is all about understanding your customer best by using innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, and more.

SAP Hybris customer Sealed Air and Forrester Analyst Brendan Witcher share insights about the retail business of the future.

Categories: What's New

Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award Finalist Profile: The App That Makes It Easy to Donate

SAP News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 11:15
A mobile application initiated by SAP’s sales organization helps raise funds for disaster relief services in Africa and around the world.

In June 2017 wildfires tore through the coastal South African town of Knysna, killing at least four people and forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. In response, the Gift of the Givers Foundation rallied to raise funds to provide important disaster relief services — all with the help of a week-old mobile app built by SAP.

The Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster relief organization of African origin on the continent, and, like many other NGOs, one of its biggest challenges is reaching donors. With help from a team from Global Customer Operations, Gift of the Givers went digital to make it easier for people to donate via a secure mobile application.

Cloud-Based App with Usability at Its Core

The project was rooted in SAP’s cloud strategy and vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. The team worked to streamline Gift of the Giver’s fundraising by ensuring the app was designed with purpose, in the cloud, with simplicity and usability at its core.

First, the mobile app is digitally inclusive so that more people, regardless of income level or access, can contribute to the humanitarian work of Gift of the Givers. Second, the app drives transparency among donors by including the latest updates of the organization’s relief work. Finally, the mobile app will be able to disperse emergency information going forward.

Just one week after go-live the app was used to support the Knysna fire disaster. It has since raised funds for several other projects driven by Gift of the Givers, which is well-known for its rapid deployment assistance during disasters around the world, as well as providing search and rescue teams, medical personal and supplies, medication and vaccines, and much more.

Many SAP Teams Contributed

Teams from two continents worked together to overcome technical challenges, including balancing aesthetics and performance to ensure usability under poor network conditions and undergoing a last-minute redesign due to local banking regulations. Yet through it all, an agile design-driven strategy enabled the application to go live in just months thanks to seamless teamwork with SAP product development teams, SAP Value Prototyping, an external advertising agency, and an external app development startup.

With the first deployment of SAP Cloud Platform in Africa, the team demonstrated the purpose-driven potential of SAP solutions.

“I believe that technology for the sake of technology doesn’t really add any value,” said team member Anish Saxena, who supported team leads Nazia Pillay and Dilip Radhakrishnan. “When it is used to support people on the ground, when it helps people improve their lives, that is the real value of technology. That is the most inspiring part of the project.”

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

Finalist Fast Facts

  • Submission title: Cloud Platform App for Better Disaster Relief
  • Board area: Global Customer Operations
  • Team: Greater Good Team (Nazia Pillay, Dilip Radhakrishnan, Anish Saxena, Pavel Lazhbanau, and Aliaksandr Vashyna)
  • Achievement: A mobile application for the Gift of the Givers Foundation to facilitate donations to the largest disaster relief organization of African origin on the African continent. The application is the first live deployment of SAP Cloud Platform in Africa, and was built to be digitally inclusive, enable transparent donations, and disburse emergency information.
  • Impact: Just one week after going live, the mobile app was used to support relief measures for the Knysna fire disaster in South Africa. Since its go-live in June it has raised thousands of dollars for various causes and has 700 active downloads


Categories: What's New

TSG Hoffenheim: One Team, One Software Platform

SAP News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 10:15
How is a top-tier German soccer team fielding SAP solutions to amp up its competitiveness on and off the pitch?

With more than 4 billion fans, soccer – or “football,” as it’s called everywhere but in the United States and Canada – is by far the world’s most popular sport. It’s also lucrative. Measuring their value in the billions of dollars, top-earning teams include Manchester United (US$3.69 billion), Barcelona ($3.64 billion), Real Madrid ($3.58 billion), Bayern Munich ($2.71 billion), and Manchester City ($2.08 billion).

But the game and the business of soccer are changing fast. Around the world, teams increasingly rely on innovative technology and data analytics to compete and win.

That’s certainly true for German soccer team TSG Hoffenheim. With a slogan of “One team, one way, the one and only,” the team is finding a unique way forward with SAP technology.

“When you talk about soccer, technology doesn’t immediately come to mind,” says Dr. Peter Goerlich, CEO of TSG Hoffenheim. “But there are increasing demands on everything surrounding it – on the players as well as the soccer club. So in this classic game of soccer, there’s actually technology hidden everywhere.”


Scoring Better Data, Training Better Athletes

TSG Hoffenheim competed as an amateur team for decades. But in the early 2000s it rapidly advanced with the backing of former club player and SAP cofounder Dietmar Hopp. By 2008, the team had risen to 16th place in the top tier of the German football league. In 2017, it reached a world ranking of 61 out of nearly 1,000 teams. Today, TSG Hoffenheim is one of the hottest clubs in Europe.

Much of this success is the result of innovative coaching and on-the-field wizardry. But no small part can be attributed to the organization’s digital transformation as it runs live with SAP solutions.

TSG Hoffenheim is using the SAP Sports One solution to identify, acquire, and develop its athletic talent. The end-to-end solution allows the team to rapidly evaluate players and uncover insights that lead to winning strategies. During both training and matches, sensors embedded in player uniforms capture on-the-field data – such as ball touches, playing time, and heartrate – and communicate that information to coaches in real time.

Coaches and physiotherapists gain detailed visibility into each athlete’s physical condition, training status, and match performance. “We’d like to predict if a player is in danger of overtraining or whether he’s doing well,” explains Julian Nagelsmann, head coach of TSG Hoffenheim.

Players receive personalized training and health plans to optimize preparation and performance for each match. They can also provide their own input. “A player’s individual factors are important,” notes Rafael Hoffner, head of IT and sports innovation for TSG Hoffenheim. “A player can give direct feedback on his fitness – as simple as possible, directly via his smartphone – and we can collect that in SAP Sports One.”


“In this classic game of soccer, there’s actually technology hidden everywhere.”

Dr. Peter Goerlich, CEO, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Fussball-Spielbetriebs GmbH

Connecting with Fans, Connecting with the Future

TSG Hoffenheim doesn’t only use technology on the field. It’s also using innovative solutions to get closer to fans and run its business more effectively.

The team relies on SAP Event Ticketing software to manage ticket sales. The Web-based solution allows the club to sell tickets through a booking office, e-commerce Web site, secondary marketing channels, and directly at the stadium. It can also trigger marketing campaigns, inform fans about special offers, and manage season tickets. Integrated campaign monitoring and management allow the club to analyze buying habits and adjust campaigns accordingly.

In the TSG Hoffenheim merchandise store, the SAP Customer Checkout application manages product sales, integrates special offers and frequent-shopper programs, and facilitates sales reporting. Sales staff can register and manage customer profiles directly at the cash register. In real time, sales managers can track which kiosks are selling which items, which cash registers are recording the highest sales, and which items are most popular.

The SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer solution links the team’s online and mobile shops, offering a consistent customer experience across channels. It also manages direct communication with fans. For example, fans receive smartphone messages while they’re at the stadium, inviting them to attend special events such as autograph signings.

“We collect customer data everywhere – for example, when a customer uses the online shop for buying tickets or merchandise,” points out Jan Billenkamp, head of marketing for TSG Hoffenheim. “SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer allows us to do reporting and analysis. Once I have this knowledge, I can provide fans with offers that are actually relevant.”

Getting closer to customers is paying off. “SAP Hybris solutions give us the opportunity to grow,” Billenkamp reports. “We’ve been able to increase sales significantly – in the first year by over 100%.”

“We’re a soccer club. We have some ideas,” concludes Goerlich. “But to transform ideas into innovation isn’t always that simple. That’s something that only a technology partner and a technology-oriented company such as SAP can do for us.”


“To transform ideas into innovation isn’t always that simple. That’s something that only a technology partner and a technology-oriented company such as SAP can do for us.”

Dr. Peter Goerlich, CEO, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim Fussball-Spielbetriebs GmbH


Categories: What's New

SAP Updates the Enterprise Information Management Portfolio to Deliver Information Excellence

SAP News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 10:00
WALLDORFSAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced innovations in the enterprise information management (EIM) portfolio to help customers better manage and use their data for digital transformation, cloud, Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and data protection and privacy.

These innovations help simplify data management and include broader support for diverse data landscapes and tighter integration across SAP solutions. New features include functionalities such as data quality, master data management, content management and information lifecycle management capabilities with enhanced support specifically for SAP S/4HANA. SAP Master Data Governance on SAP S/4HANA offers consolidation, mass processing, central governance and master data quality analytics to help companies clean and maintain data in SAP S/4HANA.

“Information is the foundation of a digital business,” said Greg McStravick, ‎SAP ‎president, Database & Data Management. “Whether companies are looking at digital transformation from a business network, IoT or Big Data and analytics perspective, information governance is crucial to their success. Our portfolio updates help our customers run a live business by making data trusted, complete, secure and relevant for their business processes and analytics.”

Improved Cloud, IoT and Big Data Support

Updates also include new and expanded support for Amazon Redshift and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Microsoft Azure Cloud and SQL Data Warehouse, and Google Cloud Platform. EIM capabilities embedded in SAP Cloud Platform offer data and process integration, remote data synchronization, data quality management microservices and self-service data preparation. In addition, orchestration and governance of EIM capabilities can be managed holistically across all supported cloud and on-premise sources using the SAP Data Hub solution.

The EIM portfolio from SAP offers new and expanded support for Impala, Cassandra, OData, Hive and IoT device connectivity; Parquet, Avro and ORC file types; and Kerberos and Knox Gateway security, further strengthening our commitment to open source and heterogeneous environments. SAP has enhanced integration between its EIM solutions and the SAP BW/4HANA and SAP Vora solutions, SAP Cloud Platform Big Data Services, the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system and SAP Asset Intelligence Network. Whether it’s sensor data from devices, social media feeds, market data or click streams from a web site, expanded machine learning in SAP HANA streaming analytics software improves the ability to process, analyze and act on data in motion.

Clean Data for GDPR Requirements

The new European data protection law, the so-called General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be effective May 25, 2018, has raised awareness of data protection and privacy. New features within SAP’s EIM portfolio expand discovery, cleansing, masking and encryption of personal data to more sources. Archiving, restriction and deletion of personal data can be managed holistically across data in applications and associated content, such as purchase orders, invoices and HR documents. In addition, SAP has released a trial service of new data anonymization capabilities that enable companies to address privacy requirements while still creating meaningful data sets for analysis and processing.

To learn more, visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

Media Contact:
Julia Fargel, +1 (650) 276-8964, julia.fargel@sap.com, PT

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

Accenture to Acquire Irish Creative Agency Rothco

Accenture News - Thu, 12/14/2017 - 06:01
DUBLIN; Dec. 14, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has entered into an agreement to acquire Rothco, a full-service creative agency. Located in Dublin, Rothco will boost Accenture Ireland’s creative credentials and those of Accenture Interactive as an experience agency across Europe. 
Categories: What's New

SAP Curates Digitally Native Offerings from SAP Partners in SAP App Center

SAP News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 11:15
Almost every business leader has in some way experienced the overwhelming process of buying software, from the seemingly infinite number of options to the endless sales calls and the ongoing challenge of integration with existing software. Purchasing software, in short, is hard.

However, it’s not just buyers that are challenged by this process — it’s just as hard for software vendors. In a sea of options, how do you get your innovations to stand out? And in an environment where every degree of efficiency can make a tangible difference, how do you most effectively target the right potential buyers? The SAP App Center addresses these challenges for those on both sides of the equation.

Curating Best-in-Class Solutions

The SAP App Center enables customers in more than 200 countries and territories to discover, try, buy, manage, and deploy trusted partner applications that extend to the customer existing SAP technology and solutions. It was designed to simplify and improve the way customers evaluate and acquire solutions from our partners and it provides a powerful transactional engine designed to help partners conduct business with SAP customers.

Regardless of the type of SAP solution, partners can easily publish their complementary products and manage transactions — including invoice generation and payment processing — all from a single point of contact. Customers can then discover, try, buy, manage, and, in some cases, auto-provision third-party solutions and extensions across the board for both cloud applications and platforms.

Simple and Seamless Connection

The most important guiding principles for inclusion in the SAP App Center are quality and suitability for meeting customers’ business needs. It is about connecting end customers with the best digital innovations from SAP partners while enabling access to the technology innovations customers need to realize their business-critical goals. And that is exactly what over 1,400 SAP partners are doing today via the SAP App Center.

To include a product in SAP App Center and benefit from the provided marketing and sales support, partners can enroll in any of the various SAP partner programs — for example, SAP PartnerEdge provide the tools, resources and benefits to help partners build, sell, service or run SAP solutions. Once they select the partner program that fits their business objectives and expertise, partners can submit their offering to the SAP App Center team for product assessment. After the product has been evaluated and identified as a candidate for inclusion, the SAP App Center team guides the partner through the steps required to sell the offering through SAP App Center. Once an offering is included in SAP App Center, the business model is based on revenue sharing, like many other app marketplaces.

In the next 12 months, I’ll be writing a series of articles that will highlight the most innovative new offerings built by our SAP partners. I’ll cover solutions that are transforming every industry and every line of business in every region, and I want you to read these stories and give me your feedback.  I hope that you enjoy them.

Bill Rojas is senior director of Digital Transformation and Partner Enablement on the SAP Digital team. Contact him on Twitter | LinkedIn.

Categories: What's New

Using Blockchain to Build Your Dream House

SAP News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 10:15
Distributed ledger technology, otherwise known as blockchain, can significantly simplify bank guarantees and guarantees of insurers, reducing paperwork while providing time-saving transparency for financial institutions and their customers.

I saw an example of an interesting scenario at the recent SAP Financial Services Innovation Summit held at the SAP Leonardo Center in New York.

SAP’s Stefan Schmidt recently shared a blockchain POC called The Guarantee Network on Blockchain

Stefan Schmidt, Innovation Manager at SAP for Insurance, walked the audience through a blockchain POC called The Guarantee Network on Blockchain. Running on SAP Cloud Platform, it depicted how the various parties involved in new building construction – contractor, bank, insurer and buyer – could use digital certification to share information quickly, obtain necessary signatures and approvals, and prevent fraud.

“When you create a guarantee, and distribute the information in the secure digital ledger, everyone receives accurate digital signatures with the correct amount of money and policy data including ownership and end dates,” said Schmidt. “The guarantee is assigned to one creditor, and cannot be copied or misused. With the complete transaction history inside, you can trust the digital ledger.”

Blockchain promises to give financial institutions better tracking visibility to help mitigate risk and speed up what until now has been a cumbersome, paper-based process.

“The distributed ledger guarantees transparent ownership of the guarantee,” said Schmidt. “Going paperless lowers operational costs and reduces response times while companies are assured of the secure transfer of real digital values. There’s no additional documentation required for the certification, but of course the bank can manage additional documents with the application.”

#Blockchain can provide time-saving transparency for financial institutions and customers

Schmidt said blockchain is well-suited to guarantees because of the technology’s inherent characteristics.

“There’s a need to generate trust without a central authority, and have one single point of truth and one version of events in a short timeframe,” he said. “Blockchain provides decentralized control across peer-to-peer interactions involving immutable records making it auditable for regulatory compliance.”

Top Use Cases

When asked about the most popular use cases in banking for blockchain, Schmidt said payments were high on the list, along with know your customer initiatives.

“Financial institutions like banks and insurance companies need a simplified and more secure way to transfer digital assets and contracts,” he said. “The SAP Blockchain Early Access program is a great way to explore how the financial and other industries are developing POCs for new kinds of business models with higher speed, more trust and lower costs.”

Follow me: @smgaler

Categories: What's New

Accenture Life Insurance and Annuity Platform Wins Two XCelent Industry Awards

Accenture News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 08:59
NEW YORK; Dec. 13, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has received two XCelent awards for the Accenture Life Insurance and Annuity Platform (ALIP) in a recent report from research and advisory firm Celent.
Categories: What's New

United Way of Dallas Collaborates with Accenture and Salesforce for Cloud Transformation to Improve Efficiency and Drive Community Engagement

Accenture News - Wed, 12/13/2017 - 07:59
DALLAS; Dec 13, 2017 – United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD), an education-, health- and community-focused nonprofit serving Northern Texas, has successfully completed a cloud transformation project with Accenture (NYSE: ACN), Salesforce and certified Salesforce partner Configero. The project aims to drive efficiencies in UWMD’s business operations and to leverage data for donor engagement and retention. Specifically, UWMD has invested in cloud technology to get a complete view of its complex business processes, automate labor-intensive tasks and enable more internal collaboration.  
Categories: What's New
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