What's New

Maserati Selects Accenture Interactive to Help Re-Imagine the Customer Experience

Accenture News - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 04:59
LONDON; Nov. 27, 2017 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) announced that Maserati, the premium luxury vehicle manufacturer, has appointed Accenture Interactive to help enhance the full Maserati customer experience across all digital channels; expand global sales; and extend Maserati’s brand equity around the world. 
Categories: What's New

Microsoft and SAP Join Forces to Give Customers a Trusted Path to Digital Transformation in the Cloud

SAP News - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 01:01
REDMOND, Wash., and WALLDORF, Germany Microsoft Corp. and SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) on Monday announced integrated offerings to provide enterprise customers with a clear road map to confidently drive more business innovation in the cloud.
  • Expanded partnership offers customers joint cloud capabilities and a trusted road map

In a bold show of commitment, the two companies also announced they will be deploying each other’s cloud solutions internally. Through their unique partnership, the companies will co-engineer, go to market together with premier solutions and provide joint support services to ensure the best cloud experience for customers.

SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud — SAP’s private managed cloud service — on Microsoft Azure will allow customers to run SAP S/4HANA in a secure, managed cloud. Additionally, Microsoft will deploy SAP S/4HANA on Azure to help run its own internal finance processes, and SAP will move its key internal business critical systems to Azure. Finally, SAP Ariba is currently utilizing Azure and is exploring further use within its procurement applications. Together, SAP and Microsoft will help companies make the most of running SAP applications in the cloud.

“As technology transforms every business and every industry, organizations are looking for the right platforms and trusted partners to help accelerate their digital transformation,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Building on our longtime partnership, Microsoft and SAP are harnessing each other’s products to not only power our own organizations, but to empower our enterprise customers to run their most mission-critical applications and workloads with SAP S/4HANA on Azure.”

Enterprise companies are increasingly moving business-critical systems to the cloud for the benefits digital transformation provides: better customer relationships, more empowered employees, streamlined operations, new business models and new products and services. According to research firm Gartner Inc., two-thirds of all business leaders believe that their companies must pick up the pace of digitalization to remain competitive.* As leaders in enterprise software, SAP and Microsoft are aligning closely to provide customers with the safe and trusted path to digital transformation.

“We are taking our partnership to the next level with this new capability to run SAP S/4HANA in the Microsoft Azure environment,” said SAP CEO Bill McDermott. “The world’s significant businesses trust Microsoft and SAP. Together, we will help companies win the customer-driven growth revolution.”

SAP CEO Bill McDermott (left) and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (right) on stage at SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016

SAP and Microsoft both will run SAP S/4HANA on Azure for their internal operations. Microsoft is transforming its internal systems — which include legacy SAP finance applications — and will implement the SAP S/4HANA Finance solution running on Azure. Microsoft also plans to connect SAP S/4HANA to Azure AI and analytics services for more efficient financial reporting and more powerful decision-making. SAP is migrating more than a dozen business-critical systems to Azure for the optimal efficiencies, flexibility and innovation the platform offers. This includes the SAP S/4HANA software supporting Concur, an SAP company.

Both companies will document the internal projects to provide customers with guidance and enterprise architecture for deployment of SAP applications on Azure.

With SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud on Azure, customers get the best of both worlds: application management and product expertise from SAP and a global, trusted and intelligent cloud from Microsoft Azure, including the range of Microsoft cloud services.

Enterprise customers of all types, such as The Coca-Cola Company, Columbia Sportswear Company, Coats and Costco Wholesale Corp., count on SAP and Azure today for their businesses.

“The strategic partnership announced between Microsoft and SAP is an extremely important development for the Coca-Cola System,” said Barry Simpson, senior vice president and chief information officer at The Coca-Cola Company. “The value of aligned engineering, sales and delivery between these two strategic partners will allow our system to accelerate our digital agenda. This is a very positive and exciting development for us.”

“SAP and Microsoft are key partners with Costco, and this alliance will help drive our cloud strategy and digital business forward,” said Jim Rutherford, senior vice president of Information Systems at Costco Wholesale.

“Microsoft and SAP are strategic partners helping us grow our wholesale and direct-to-consumer businesses. Their close alignment is an integral part of advancing our technical architecture and cloud strategy to better serve our customers around the world,” said Mike Hirt, vice president and chief information officer at Columbia Sportswear Company. “We produce innovative products that allow our customers to pursue and enjoy their outdoor passions. Our partnership with Microsoft and SAP is essential to us continuing to deliver on that commitment.”

“With SAP HANA on Azure, we have the data intelligence to operate more efficiently across all aspects of our business and accelerate the delivery of finished goods to our customers,” said Hizmy Hassen, chief digital and technology officer, Coats. “The Microsoft and SAP alliance provides us with the assurance we need for our innovation in the cloud.”

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

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Note to editors:
For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://news.microsoft.com. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-public-relations-contacts.

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:
To preview and download broadcast-standard stock footage and press photos digitally, please visit www.sap.com/photos. On this platform, you can find high resolution material for your media channels. To view video stories on diverse topics, visit www.sap-tv.com. From this site, you can embed videos into your own Web pages, share video via email links, and subscribe to RSS feeds from SAP TV.

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:
Steve Collins, SAP, +1 (617) 335-5456, st.collins@sap.com
SAP News Center press room; press@sap.com
Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777, rrt@we-worldwide.com

*Gartner, Smarter with Gartner, Embrace the Urgency of Digital Transformation, Oct. 30, 2017.

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

© 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

What Leonardo da Vinci Can Teach Us About Digital Innovation

SAP News - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 13:45
One reason for Leonardo da Vinci’s enduring fame is that he epitomized the spirit of the Renaissance Age. Part of the inquisitive, humanistic impetus of his age, Leonardo innovated seamlessly across disciplines. The original “Renaissance Man,” he was a pioneer in art, architecture, mathematics, engineering, biology and other topics.

Walter Isaacson, a thought leader and former journalist, has made it his mission to understand great innovators. He’s written about leading visionaries from Benjamin Franklin to Steve Jobs; and just published a best-selling book that set out to understand the genius of Leonardo.

We live in a time where innovation happens at warp speed. No matter how far out the future seems to be, new technology brings it closer every day – driverless cars, putting people on Mars are no longer the stuff of science fiction.

It’s times like this when it pays to look backwards at innovators whose reputation has stood the test of time, like Leonardo. To investigate what made them so important and what we can learn from them.

 

Based on Walter’s recent keynote at SAP Leonardo Live in Chicago, here are five things Leonardo had to say about innovation that are as fresh now, as they were then. Taken together, they make a compelling and fresh new argument for why digital transformation is so important and provide some guidelines to help companies succeed.

Find Patterns: Connect the Dots

Leonardo was a polymath, interested in every subject from hydraulics and anatomy to art and architecture. As Walter explained, what made Leonardo was remarkable was not his widespread pursuits but his ability to see patterns and make connections between these topics.

“He had the ability to make connections that we did not know existed. He was able to see patterns across disciplines. There a lot of people that are smart but they act in silos. Leonardo connected the dots,” said Walter.

For example, when Leonardo wanted to develop a flying machine drew on his knowledge of  art,engineering and science. To build his flying machine, he studied birds’ flight patterns, weight, anatomy and how their muscles worked. But he also drew on his early experience as a theater producer creating props where angels descended from the ceiling.

Innovation is a Team Sport: Diversity is Key

Walter also talked about the importance of diversity — not only in terms of people’s background and lifestyle, but based on their skills.

He described the “geography of diversity” in Florence during the late 1400s as a both varied and tolerant. Walter said, “Leo was born in 1452 and when he went to Florence, there were people from different industries suddenly thrown together in these huge workshops. You have jewelry makers, artisans, cloth makers working, chemists, artists and architects – all working side-by-side to design great buildings. Working together allowed them to suddenly discover the science of perspective.”

This was helped by the fact that Florence brought in people from around the world. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, people came from the East with new mathematic concepts as well as Africa.

Leonardo himself was a misfit – he was illegitimate, left-handed and openly gay. But with the Medici family running Florence he fitted  right in.

Said Walter, “That notion of celebrating difference – not just background or ethnicity or race or gender – but different mindset, skillsets: that’s what made Florence so creative.”

Disruption: Let Your Reach Extend Your Grasp

“If you’re going to be a disrupter, you occasionally need to let your reach extend your grasp,” said Walter. He explained that innovation sometimes depends on challenging yourself and the people around you — and sometimes failing.

“With Leonardo, he wanted to make a flying machine. But you can’t do it. We still don’t have a self-propelled flying machine. Leonardo studied different aspects of birds’ flight extensively and tried to develop flying machines throughout his life. After a while, Leo figured out why it can’t be done based on studies of birds – their anatomy, how wind effects flight and other factors.”

Based on his studies of Leonardo, Steve Jobs and other digital innovators, Walter said, “It’s cool to allow your reach extend your grasp, try something that’s impossible and then discover why it’s impossible. That’s what we do every day in disruptive industries. We sometimes say, ‘I’m willing to fail but let me see why.’”

The Right Talent: Question Everything and Beauty Matters

“Leonardo would say, bring in people who want to know everything they can possible learn about everything that can possibly be known,” said Walter when asked about Leonardo’s advice for what kind of talent we need to fuel business innovation today.

Leonardo wrote questions for himself every day. He was passionately curious about everything.

The best example is the Vitruvian Man, which was beautiful but also a work of scientific exactitude based on Leonardo’s 230 studies of human proportions and mathematical concepts.

Walter said, “Leonardo would think it’s important to find people that understand whether you’re painting a masterpiece, playing a piece of music or doing an equation showing a scientific law — they are all just beautiful ways to paint the glory of nature.”

Culture of Creativity: Critical Mass Matters

To understand why certain times engender massive disruption, Walter said “You need to look at the combinations of innovation at a particular time. Leonardo was born in 1452 after Guttenberg invented the printing press, clothmakers discover they can make paper out of rags, and double-entry accounting is created. All of these innovations create a culture of creativity.”

Likewise in the 1970s, the invention of microchips, personal computers and distributed networks came come together to create the digital revolution.

Walter believes the challenge now is that we have so much data generated by Internet of Things and mobility. With Big Data, it’s hard to make connections. The ability to meet that challenge (and harness the vast amount of information we have available) will give birth to the next wave of innovation.

And like Leonardo, we need to see the patterns in the data.

Categories: What's New

When Corporate Anti-Bodies Attack Innovation This Is How Banks Fight Back

SAP News - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 10:00
The connection between abundance and technology may have been immortalized in a TED talk from Peter Diamandis, but that hasn’t stopped the fear-based conversations about robots greeting us in hotels or drone fleets delivering our packages.

Michael Leadbetter, head of Strategy at ExO Works, picked up where that TED talk left off during a presentation at the recent SAP Financial Services Innovation Summit held at the SAP Leonardo Center in New York. Here’s a summary of Leadbetter’s thoughts on why AI, machine learning, and other exponential technology advancements aren’t all bad for society, and how established financial institutions can learn to innovate.

Cashing in on Singularity and Abundance

Leadbetter said banks must think like a software company to innovate and survive.

Leadbetter works with Singularity University, an organization in Silicon Valley educating leaders on how exponential technologies can address the world’s problems. Co-founded by Peter Diamandis, Singularity’s self-described mission is to positively impact the lives of one billion people. Diamandis wrote a book that said exponential technology will generate sufficient abundance to raise global living standards. Jumping off from this concept of singularity and abundance, Leadbetter outlined what he saw as the ten attributes of the exponential organization.

“Large corporations don’t like doing disruption, and they find innovation difficult. Corporate antibodies attack you the minute you try to innovate,” said Leadbetter. “Exponential organizations keep the same business model, and focus on iterative innovations in the core to show progress with small wins. At the same time, they pursue a second kind of innovation at the edge. Ultimately the exponential organization at the core can outgrow the main organization.”

Six Ds of Exponential Organizations

Leadbetter explained how Diamandis divided technology into six phases of emergence and adoption.

“Empowering any product or service with technology gets it on an exponential curve,” he said. “In phase one, it’s digitized. Second is the deceptive phase when it gets smaller, cheaper and more powerful over time but it hasn’t emerged yet. Phase three is disruptive when it’s too late to get into the market if you’re not already there. The fourth phase is dematerialization, the way things have disappeared off our desks and onto our computers and phones. The fifth phase is demonetized where everything is less expensive, and phase six is democratized, when companies can have the same impact as governments, and individuals can have the same impact as companies.”

Millennials would rather do their banking with Facebook and Amazon than traditional banks

Move From Scarcity to Abundance-Based Model

Social robotics were among the most fascinating emerging technologies Leadbetter discussed. He said a bank in Australia was investing with partners in robots that are learning how to interact with people, and will provide a different experience for consumers in retail banks. A bank in India is working on something similar, where a robot welcomes customers, asks them what they want, and guides them to right place. Eventually the robot will manage transactions.

“Millennials would rather do their banking with Facebook and Amazon than traditional banks, and that’s a problem for established institutions,” said Leadbetter. “Banks are challenged because the financial services industry is in the deceptive phase.”

The fundamental challenge for banks is to flip from a scarcity-based business model to one of abundance. “Banks have operated like we have a scarce commodity, and we’ll give you access to it and that’s how we make money,” said Leadbetter. “That’s no longer the case. Every company has to think like a software company, years ahead of where they are now, managing the business simultaneously on three horizons — defend and extend the current core business, build momentum for emerging business, and create viable options for the future.”

Instead of hiring outside consultants for innovation, Leadbetter recommended companies build a network of specialist coaches, and engage in “a 10-week sprint process to define the problem, and iterate solutions and results.” Besides understanding the technology itself, the established financial community needs to embrace innovation as a business imperative. Disruptive upstarts and demanding consumers won’t have it any other way.

Follow me: @smgaler

Top image via Shutterstock

Categories: What's New

Shut Down of Learning Studio on December 11, 2017

SAP News - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:56
Please be aware, that the links to the Learning Studio, SAP Enterprise Support Academy’s former learning platform, will no longer work as of December 11.

To continue to make the most of the academy’s learning offerings, customers should register for access to the productive learning platform SAP Learning Hub. On the academy’s homepage in the SAP Support Portal, further details on the registration process are available, as well as brief tutorials on how to get started.

Categories: What's New

Due to Maintenance, the Following Services Will Not Be Available Wednesday, December 6

SAP News - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:56
Due to maintenance, the following services will not be available on 12/06/2017 (Wednesday), from 19:00-20:00 JST / 18:00-19:00 China / 11:00-12:00 CET:
  • Sapserv 5/10
    • Problem analysis and / or service delivery on customer systems
    • Transfer Early Watch Alert data
    • Data exchange via SAP Note Assistant
    • Service connection reservation
    • Customer messages via SAP Solution Manager
Categories: What's New

How Four Weeks of Design Thinking Offer Better Digital Transformation

SAP News - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 11:15
Digital transformation can do a lot to help the mining industry, such as improving onsite operations and decision making. Design thinking can optimize those improvements — if properly utilized.

“The mining sector has embraced the introduction of new technologies, which have resulted in significant productivity benefits,” professional services firm EY stated in a recent mining update. “But there is the gap between the potential from digital transformation and the poor track record for successful implementations.”

Metals and mining corporation Vale has a compelling story of a successful implementation — that only took four weeks. The result was a completely new process, according to Vale’s IT innovation manager at SAP Leonardo Live in Chicago this month.

Management Assets Across a Global Supply Chain

The mining industry is on the upswing, enjoying growth in the U.S., Europe and China, according to EY. Vale has been growing too, investing more than $120 billion during the last decade, and expanding to 27 countries, according to Vale’s Helio Mosquim.

This growth brought a lot of challenges, such as managing new assets across the globe, according to Mosquim; intelligent maintenance would help the company increase up-time, boost productivity and cut costs. Supply chain was also a big concern for the Rio de Janeiro-based multinational, which produces iron ore, copper and more.

“Imagine producing ore in the middle of the Amazon, and transporting it all the way to the ports, and going through the distribution centers in Malaysia and Oman — and on to China,” Mosquim said. “Optimizing production, optimizing logistics and shipping … it’s a big challenge for us to optimize the whole chain.”

Saving Time by Automating Critical Tasks

Workforce effectiveness was another challenge for Vale, which has about 110,000 employees — about 22,000 of whom are SAP users, according to Mosquim. Inventory is about $1.6 billion of Vale’s $11 billion annual spend, so the company automated purchasing processes to make them more intelligent.

For example, maintenance workers used to ask an SAP user to create a purchase requisition before acquiring a new part for damaged equipment, according to Mosquim. This completely manual process often overlooked parts that were already available (perhaps the previous shift ordered the same thing), and finding the missing information required searching through multiple screens.

These steps often resulted in a lot of redundant work and wasted time.

“Between 25 to 40 percent of rejections of all the purchase requisitions [occurred] because [the part] was either available on contract or in inventory,” Mosquim said. “And the equipment was out there waiting for the part.”

A “Totally Different Approach” in Just Four Weeks

Vale only expected to enhance its legacy platform, as opposed to taking full advantage of SAP innovation services. But SAP helped Vale connect APIs directly to its system and use everything in the cloud — and implement it quickly.

“We set up a plan to innovate in four weeks,” Mosquim said. “And that was an amazing experience.”

Vale put its procurement team through an SAP design thinking session to sort major pain points. They had a draft prototype by week one; by the following week, they had feedback — and were making adjustments.

“The result was very effective, very impressive,” Mosquim said. “When we saw the totally different approach, we were very confident that it was going to be able to deliver.”

Find Your Key

“We had an opportunity to have a totally new process … we had other managers come in saying, ‘We would like to invest in this innovation,’” Mosquim said. “In the end, we got a little bit from each solution, and we put it in the cloud.”

Design thinking helped Vale digitally transform its supply chain, asset management, workforce effectiveness and more. Digital technologies — including Internet of Things and machine learning — could also help mining companies improve safety, optimize site-wide operating systems and more, according to a smart mining conference last week.

“You can only truly achieve a sustainable productivity improvement by adopting an integrated end-to-end business approach from market to mine,” as the EY mining update stated.

Design thinking could be your key to a successful implementation.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

This story originally appeared on Business Trends on the SAP Community.
Top image via Shutterstock

Categories: What's New

Reimagining Business Models in Life Sciences

SAP News - Fri, 11/24/2017 - 10:00
Highly regulated and strictly adherent to predictable, validated outcomes, the life sciences industry is now facing a unique disruption of its own – brought on by an explosion of data, increasing regulations, decreasing margins, industry consolidation, and digitalization.

The solution? Create new value through digitalization of the business model and accelerate innovation. Easier said than done!

For the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals, biological products, and medical devices, digitalization is either a golden opportunity to better serve patients or a massive threat to the traditional rank and order. On a recent episode of Internet talk radio program Changing the Game with Life Sciences, special edition series of Coffee Break with Game-Changers, presented by SAP, a panel of three industry-leading experts gave their take on where the industry was headed and what opportunities they foresee for those agile and innovative enough to fill gaps in the value chain quickly.

Joining moderator Bonnie D. Graham on the panel were: Joe Miles, global vice president of Life Sciences at SAP; Shawn Brodersen, global chief technology officer of the SAP Practice at HCL Technologies; and Rasmus Nelund, vice president of Life Sciences and general manager of International Operations at NNIT A/S.

The following are just some of the observations presented during the one-hour show. For more information, listen to a complete recording of the show: Reimagining Business Models in Life Sciences

Balancing Speed of Innovation with Commitment to the Patient

Joe Miles: “It’s just a remarkable time. That’s really showing in new business models that are bringing competitive advantages for organizations, but at the same time, providing levels of care, treatments, and therapies that are attacking long-held terrible diseases. Now we actually have an opportunity to help people get back on the healthy path after dealing with some of these traumatic illnesses.”

Shawn Brodersen: “What we’re talking about is change, but we’re also talking about guarantees of outcomes. In highly regulated industries like Life Sciences, there’s a certain comfort and a requirement to do things in a very consistent and repeatable fashion because it’s a validated industry and we want validated outcomes. We don’t want to get the wrong drugs to the patients or the wrong devices to the patients.”

Rasmus Nelund: “Both commitment and especially imagination are needed right now in the Life Sciences industry to imagine what is in the future. Is it going to be a technology trip in the future? Are the drug producers of today going to be reduced back in the value chain and take over some platforms towards the patient? That requires a lot of imagination about how we can realize the benefits of digitalization and at the same time, the commitment to the passion for the patient.”

Patient Data Streams and Payment Models

Miles: “Similar to every other industry, Life Sciences is being impacted globally with digitalization, specifically from smart devices. Real-world data streams from patients’ smart devices will generate massive amounts of data, providing more accurate insights into patients’ conditions. The supply chains have to change. The manufacturing process has to change. The delivery model has to change. The interaction with the physicians and the patients has to change. Those are radical changes and digital technologies are what are really enabling that. The devices are giving us greater visibility and transparency at the patient level. But further then, the models that are coming out of that to support that process and those products are also equally as transformational.”

Real-world data streams from patients’ smart devices will generate massive amounts of data, providing more accurate insights into patients’ conditions, says SAP’s Joe Miles

Brodersen: “When [Joe] talks about that data stream and where that data stream comes from, you’re not just disrupting the Life Sciences industry, but you’re looking at industries around insurance models. You’re talking about industries for consumer goods, where these devices are embedded and created. There is a potential revenue stream to those companies, whether it’s Nike, Under Armour, FitBit, Apple, or Google.

From a patient’s perspective, you really have two groups that will look at this in two very different ways. One is ‘my information is my information and I’m not particularly interested in sharing.’ The other one is maybe a bit more modern, like, ‘hey, if this proactively helps me solve for future health problems, then I’m more than happy to share.’

How do we manage the data and how do we keep that confidential? How do we give the patient control over what they share and how they share it, and do that in a very personal, secure way? I think that’s one of those things that digital transformation needs to address.”

Nelund: “It is true that the whole product is changing. In the old days, we went to the doctor, who wrote the prescription for a drug. Then we went to the pharmacy, got the drug, and it worked. That’s going to change into a combination of both the drug and some hardware or software – and also, all the Life Sciences data surrounding the patients, because a lot of the decisions we have today are also about lifestyle, and researchers are curious to understand the lifestyle of the patient and thereby make the drug more personalized.

Going back to what Shawn mentioned there about the platform, I think the winners of this industry are going to be the ones who own the patients’ data at the end. Then they can use what they’ve seen in other industries with Uber, AirBnB, and Amazon. Not to mention, that if you own the data about the consumer, then you also own the market.”

Blockchain as Cure-All?

Brodersen: “At its core, blockchain is simply a database, a technology, a way of restoring and sharing information in a network of commonly interested peers in a supply chain or a value chain. As a patient, if I go into a doctor’s office today, what’s the first thing they do when you sign in? ‘Please fill out these ten pages so that we know something about you.’ If I have to go to a second doctor’s appointment, they don’t share any of that information with the next doctor. A lot of that has to do with regulations and some of it has to do with it’s just the way it’s always been done.

What blockchain potentially could do is give the individual the opportunity to store that information in a very secure digital wallet, and then to decide, using cryptography and tokens, how they hand that information out in the network. There’s really, in my view, no good reason why this can’t be something that is adopted and looked at as a way to radically change the patient’s experience.”

Nelund: “I think it is a perfect example of how blockchain can be used to trail information and make it more personalized. Also, we talk about data as the most valuable asset of a company and potentially, because we used a blockchain to track the data, we would have a digital audit trail.

Imagine you are running a clinical trial in 26 countries with 5,000 patients and you get data points in every second day and you need to be capable of reproducing that study that has run for two years and have transparency for the FDA to trust the data. So, we need to have a full audit trail. That is quite cumbersome today with the computer system validation, but it’s quite necessary.”

Miles: “The example Shawn gave was very simple, yet an elegant and transparent way of how the technology could be leveraged. You can see that extended across more of the consumer experience. You can also see that taken further as we start to get into other areas where we think about data integrity. That data integrity could pertain to the integrity of a product; for example, the serial number on the product that you’re using. Is that a valid serial number? Is that a valid drug that you’re taking? Our ability to have that irrefutable data point, to know within that distributed network that we have valid information that can never be altered—that is a very valuable and a very interesting capability that can be done on a global basis and can be expanded in a variety of ways.”

Tune in to Changing the Game in Life Sciences

Join us for more episodes of Changing the Game in Life Sciences to hear how the digital economy is changing the life sciences industry. For more up-to-the minute business and technology news, listen to Coffee Break with Game-Changers broadcast live every Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. Pacific / 11: 00 a.m. Eastern Time on the VoiceAmerica Business Channel. And follow Game Changers on Twitter at @SAPRadio and #SAPRadio.

Panelists comments have been edited and condensed for this space.

Categories: What's New

Hasso Plattner Founders’ Award Finalist Profile: Eagle Drones

SAP News - Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:15
A new test-automation-as-a-service platform helps certify cloud products with less effort, greater confidence, and higher speed.

Test automation, or using a software to test the quality of an application, is not a new practice. It has existed for a while, but is not without its share of discontent.

For example, test-automation software needs to be built and updated every time the application gets updated. The more layered and complex the application technology is, the more difficult the automation development is. The time and resources taken for automation development far offsets its advantages.

The complexity also mandates that the automation software is built wholly by engineers. Business experts are therefore not very involved and actual business scenarios are not properly integrated in the test environment.

Case for Change: Test-Automation-as-a-Service

With 2,000 customers, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central is one of the fastest-growing core HR solutions on the market, growing 49% in number of customers over the past year alone. With innovative solutions and a changing cloud landscape, the solution is built on a myriad of back-end technologies and has an architecture that is open for future integrations. One can imagine that it is a mammoth task to build a high-quality test-automation platform for such an intricate application in time with every release.

Here is where a Bangalore-based group of quality experts came to the rescue. A team with varied expertise ranging from UI design, API, performance, database, and user experience took up the challenge under Srinivasan Subramanian, leading the vision of test-automation-as-a-service.

Flying the Eagle

The objective was to have a simple but highly adaptable automation interface that all stakeholders, including business experts, could work on and certify product quality.

As customers are currently migrating to next-generation cloud solutions, it was also imperative to ensure that any new test automation would support future multiple generations of software delivery. The project team looked into existing automation frameworks that could be used as a base for this agile transformation, but the options weren’t satisfactory.

It was time to build something new. The team pulled up their sleeves and created a completely new test-automation platform: Eagle Drones. They used a decentralized architecture and distributed computing powered by microservices as the backbone of their Eagle Drone. It was built on the following principles

  • Pulling in existing microservices that can be added by the user to create their own test scenarios
  • A user-friendly interface hiding the complexities of the technologies in each microservices
  • Drag-and-drop features for easy functioning

The strategy was bold, considering it had not been done before. But it paid off. In just four months, the team provided a next-generation test-automation-as a-service-platform that could certify products in the cloud. The product was used to validate 222 features well within development sprints of four weeks each and ran more than 1,500 scenarios during the past two quarterly releases. With in-built intelligence and an easy-to-use interface, the platform has helped release the product with less effort, greater confidence, and much higher speed.

This platform embraces principles of agility, re-usability, and Run Simple with an exemplary user interface where all stakeholders can now participate and add to product quality.

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: Eagle Drones – Simplifying Automation through Microservices
  • Board area: Cloud Business Group
  • Team: SAP SuccessFactors
  • Number of employees: Eight
  • Achievement: Eagle Drones platform was created in four months, with 222 features validated well within development sprints of four weeks each and ran more than 1,500 scenarios during the past two quarterly releases
  • Impact: Eagle Drones has disrupted traditional automation paradigms making it a simple and fun endeavor, and enables all stakeholders to contribute toward improving product quality and customer success
Categories: What's New

Internet of Things: Five Tried-and-Tested Scenarios

SAP News - Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:30
The Internet of Things (IoT) offers endless opportunities for enterprises to make their manufacturing, logistics, and services processes smart. So where exactly will they see the benefits of embracing new technologies?

We look at some compelling examples from the SAP environment, where IoT is already an everyday reality in many lines of business and where the latest technology trends are helping companies optimize their packing process, their warehousing, their flow of materials, and much more.

1. Streamlining the material flow in manufacturing and logistics

When we think of Industry 4.0, we think of sensors. Their many uses include helping manufacturers track work pieces in real time and automating the flow of materials from the warehouse. Work pieces are fitted with RFID tags that allow sensors to transmit each component’s position to the relevant SAP software in real time. This allows human operators to refer directly to the SAP system to find out where and when orders are ready for processing ‒ thus making optimal use of time lags in the production process.

2. Enabling autonomous machines

Real-time interaction between machines and backend systems allows efficient make-to-order production. Manufacturers can set up interfaces in an SAP system to enable communication between external systems and almost any machine. Thus, a machine can independently download and execute a “recipe” for mixing individual components or ingredients. While the machine is running, it generates data, which it transmits back into the system. This information provides the foundation for further automation and simplification.

3. Optimizing high-rack warehouses

Operators of high-rack warehouses can create a digital twin to optimize their collaboration with manufacturers and service partners. The digital twin of the warehouse is mapped in the SAP system and shows the condition and position of the assets within it. This makes it possible, for example, to check and monitor the condition of the high-rack aisles. Manufacturers, service providers, and plant operators can all access the relevant digital files via the SAP Asset Intelligence Network portal and optionally store items such as operating manuals and certificates there. When they receive a service request, high-rack storage system operators and service technicians can open a ticket in the system, communicate with one another, and access all the data they need on the go.

4. Establishing new maintenance processes

Service technicians are often responsible for a large number of machines distributed across a wide area. For them, augmented reality smart glasses such as Microsoft’s ”HoloLens” can take service and maintenance processes to a completely new level. Teamed with SAP S/4HANA, SAP Cloud Platform , and a 3D engine, smart glasses can optimize maintenance tasks by ensuring that service technicians have all the information they need ‒ quite literally ‒ right in front of their eyes. They are also empowered to examine the inside of the machine before physically touching it. And, if they have questions, they can communicate with their colleagues in the back office via the HoloLens.

5. Identifying potential hazards early

The cloud-based IoT network SAP Asset Intelligence Network links up manufacturers, operators, and service partners. If a sensor reports an unusually high concentration of dust in a machine room, the machine manufacturer can decide from hundreds of miles away whether or not it needs to send a field technician to the site. Sensors are also the key to predictive maintenance because they transmit information that is stored in the cloud as a basis for detecting possible issues before they cause trouble.

Whether in manufacturing, logistics, or service, IoT-based solutions offer a wealth of opportunities for optimizing processes and making them more efficient.

Categories: What's New

New SAP Cloud Seminar: Ramp Up Your Knowledge

SAP News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 11:15
For those interested in learning more about SAP Cloud Platform and how best to incorporate SAP’s Platform-as-a-Service into your organization’s cloud platform needs, you will have a great opportunity to do so at the upcoming SAP Cloud Platform Seminar in Las Vegas, from November 29 to December 1.

While enjoying the finer things Las Vegas can offer you, you can also join us at this new event to gain a deeper understanding of SAP Cloud Platform. You will learn more about the various cloud services that make of the SAP Cloud Platform as well as practical tips on implementation strategies, key use cases and clear instructions on how to get started with the free developer license. Through lecture, demo, and hands-on sessions you will get best practices and strategic recommendations that you can leverage to maximize your SAP investment.

This is an all-day seminar offering a variety of classes that cover the following topics:

  • The technical capabilities, services, and tools available with SAP Cloud Platform
  • Critical concepts and strategies needed to develop the ROI and business case around SAP Cloud Platform adoption
  • Experience-based recommendations and lessons through customer case studies
  • New skills for application development and customization using SAP Cloud Platform
  • Best practices for SAP Cloud Platform implementation
  • How to extend SAP S/4HANA public cloud functionality using SAP Cloud Platform
  • How to properly secure your SAP Cloud Platform implementation, including physical, database, middleware, application, and communication layers
For more information, a complete agenda, and to register, visit www.cloudplatformseminar.com.

This story originally appeared on the SAP HANA blog.

Categories: What's New

SAP S/4HANA and the Fashion Industry: Vertical Integration en Vogue

SAP News - Wed, 11/22/2017 - 10:15
SAP has created a system that appeals to customers individually and unites retail, wholesale, and manufacturing processes all within one system: SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical Business.

A brief look at McKinsey’s latest global study on the fashion industry sheds light on an industry-wide dilemma: More than two-thirds of participants surveyed for the Global Fashion Survey 2017 believe that the conditions for their business have worsened in the previous year. In 2010, the industry grew by 10%, and today the growth rate is a meager one percent. Increasingly more businesses are restructuring, closing branches, and laying off staff.

The volatility of an unstable market, the strong competition from online retailers, and the need for quicker responses to customer needs are some of the current challenges that fashion companies are facing. But one thing is clear: For many people, digitalization is not only a means to escape from the current crisis and instability, but also an opportunity for new perspectives and to anticipate the consumer’s every wish.

SAP S/4HANA for the Fashion Industry, SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Customer Activity Repository: Balancing Stability and Agility

To respond to these new requirements, software solutions must be tailored accordingly — appealing to the customer across all channels, while also keeping a constant eye on the international market, and as uniquely as possible. For Christoph Schröder, these requirements are virtually a matter of course, and were integrated in the SAP Fashion Management solution three years ago. Yet since that time, additional requirements have come into play.

“The speed with which consumers change their needs has increased,” explains Schröder, who heads up the global fashion industry software solutions at SAP. “We don’t know what tomorrow’s business will look like.”

With a highly-standardized core as a constant (SAP S/4HANA), and with the possibility to expand processes (SAP Cloud Platform) and anticipate the customer’s every wish at any time by referring to purchase and interaction histories (SAP Customer Activity Repository), Schröder has established a basis for businesses to give power to the customer without putting themselves at a disadvantage.

“Companies have been forced into a corner by monolithic ERP systems that have been heavily adapted over the years. In today’s world, companies that waste time twiddling around in the engine room before being able to make system adjustments can no longer keep pace,” says Schröder, who hopes that the SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical Business industry solution — launched in mid-September 2017 — will strike the necessary balance between stability and agility.

Vertical Integration: Departure from “Leading Systems”

In the past, it was characteristic within the fashion industry for classic retailers such as s.Oliver or Esprit to only sell their products in their own stores. In contrast, sporting goods manufacturers such as Adidas or Puma sold their products both retail and wholesale. If classic retailers wanted to offer their products in department stores or if sporting goods manufacturers wanted to sell their products in their own stores, they had to use two different systems. This was problematic, as there was only one “leading” system, “leaving others were left in the dark,” explains Schröder. This resulted in products being sold out in some warehouses, while others were overstocked.

SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical Business: Retail, Wholesale and Manufacturing Under one Roof

This will not be the case in the future. “Complete vertical integration” is the vision of SAP S/4HANA for Fashion and Vertical business. For companies like Armani, Luxottica, and Salvatore Ferragamo, which manufacture their own products and sell them both in their own stores and in department stores, running multiple processes through one system is a key objective, and a particularly interesting prospect.

Currently, retail and wholesale processes are combined within the new industry solution, enabling manufacturers to open their own branches in addition to selling wholesale. Schröder calls this “forward integration,” and for most fashion companies, this is sufficient.

The manufacturing processes — the final element — is planned to follow in fall 2018. The advantage is that those in immediate need of trousers, shirts, and coats will be able to react quicker than they had done in the past, which is a major plus point.

Another advantage, even without the integration of manufacturing processes? Many companies sell swimwear, scarves, business suits, or sneakers according to the season, and want to avoid having stock left over at the end of the season. From planning, procurement, sales, online and offline channels through to coordinated clearance sale campaigns, vertical integration will help ensure that of these processes will be fully harmonized in the future, whether the products are being sold in a department store or in a flagship store. “No one wants to lose out on unsold goods,” confirms Schröder.

 Need for More Efficient Supply Chains

When it came to the outlook for 2017 business developments, the McKinsey study recorded a discreet three percent margin between the 40% optimists and the 37% pessimists. This is based on the prerequisite that digitalization will continue to grow. Most decision-makers want to invest in an efficient supply chain above all, which doesn’t necessarily mean a step toward vertical integration.

Categories: What's New

How to Write Your First SAP S/4HANA Business Case

SAP News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 11:30
SAP S/4HANA recently reached a significant milestone: 1,000 live customers. And while each customer’s path is unique, their journeys all started at one point with a business case that helped secure internal funding and executive sponsorship for the solution.

But how exactly do you go about building a business case for SAP S/4HANA?

This might come across as a trivial question for readers who are skilled in building business cases for IT and software investments. Yet for others who are new to this exercise, the concept of creating a business case might be a little foreign. If you are in the latter category, this blog is for you.

A Quick Path to a Comprehensive SAP S/4HANA Business Case for Your Organization

One quick and easy way to build an SAP S/4HANA business case is to participate in an SAP S/4HANA Value Discovery workshop. During the workshop, SAP consultants and architects conduct a series of deep-dive interviews and working sessions with your line-of-business and IT executives to uncover pain points rooted in the IT and technology constraints of legacy ERP systems. In addition, a benchmark analysis of critical business process KPIs in areas such as finance, order to cash, procure to pay, and plan to product can also be performed to pinpoint opportunities for improvement. The end result is a business case that clearly articulates and quantifies the value that SAP S/4HANA can bring to your organization.

These workshops can be very beneficial for customers that have a fair level of understanding of SAP S/4HANA and are ready for more detailed value-based conversations. But what if you are not there yet? Maybe you are still unsure of whether or not SAP S/4HANA is right for your organization. Or perhaps you just want to test the waters first before committing to a full multi-day, onsite workshop.

Whatever the reasons may be, if you are not ready for the discovery workshop, then here are four steps you can take to start laying a foundation for a business case assessing the value of SAP S/4HANA for your organization.

Step 1: Identify Your Pain Points

The first and most critical step of the process is identifying and prioritizing business issues that you need to solve. Remember, because SAP S/4HANA is not a technical upgrade or a database migration, the business case must revolve around real business pain points.

There is plenty of insightful material out there that provides detailed information on the latest capabilities of SAP S/4HANA and the business pain points they address. In addition, the SAP S/4HANA Business Scenario Recommendation tool and SAP Transformation Navigator tool can be useful if you are an existing SAP ERP customer and want to zoom in quickly on the SAP S/4HANA enhancements that are relevant to your specific business. Once you have an understanding of your business pain points and become familiar with the capabilities of SAP S/4HANA you can start connecting the two together.

In the image below you will find 3 examples of real world business pain points that are common among customers and their corresponding SAP S/4HANA solution enablers.

Figure 1: Connecting Business Pain Points with Solution Enablers for SAP S/4HANA

Step 2: Quantify the Monetary Cost of Your Pain Points

Once you have identified your top business challenges, you can then start to calculate the monetary cost of each issue to your business. There are different ways of doing that, one of which is benchmarking your company against industry peers either by using publicly available information, such as annual statements and analyst reports, or by leveraging a benchmarking tool like the SAP Value Lifecycle Manager.

Let’s take the manufacturing pain point identified in the previous step as an example. In this case, manufacturing cycle time can be used as a measurement that helps quantify the financial cost of suboptimal manufacturing and production scheduling. By comparing the manufacturing cycle time against peers in the industry and multiplying that number by the company’s operating margins, you can quickly gauge the financial impact of suboptimal manufacturing cycle time on the company’s bottom line.

Imagine a company has a manufacturing cycle time of 8 days and the average cycle time of the top 25% of companies in the industry is 5 days. In addition, the company’s operating margin is 8% with an annual revenue of US$1 billion, and the business is operational 240 days a year. For this hypothetical scenario, the suboptimal manufacturing cycle time is costing the business $1 million:

(8 days -5 days) x 8% x ($1 billion/240 days) = $1 million

We can apply that same approach to other metrics and KPIs such as inventory costs. Sticking with the hypothetical $1 billion company, imagine that the average annual inventory sitting on its balance sheet is 15% of annual sales and that its inventory carrying cost is 20% of that value. Assume also that the average inventory of the top 25% of industry peers is only 10% of annual sales. In this case, high inventory levels are costing the business $10 million:

[(15 – 10)/100] x $1 billion x 20% = $10 million

Another approach to quantifying pain points identified in step 1 is to calculate productivity loss from a particular inefficient process. For example, the manual reconciliation of ledgers impacts employee productivity in the finance area. Let’s say our hypothetical company has 15 full-time finance employees who are responsible for closing the books. Of course, they do other jobs too, so let’s assume that only 30% of their time is spent on ledger reconciliation and that the average salary of an employee in the company is $75,000. In turn, the finance team spends $337,500 annually on manual reconciliation:

15 x $75,000 x 30% = $337,500

That is time and money that could be leveraged elsewhere resulting in reduced spend on contractors, less overtime during month end close and a better work-life balance for finance employees.

Figure 2: Quantifying the Monetary Value of the Business Pain Points

Step 3: Estimate Potential Improvement Range From SAP S/4HANA

The third step of the business case is to estimate the value of improvements that a move to SAP S/4HANA can have on the monetized pain points calculated in the previous step. These improvement figures may vary from one company to the next depending on company size, industry, region and the maturity of the existing IT systems and business processes before adopting SAP S/4HANA. For this reason, it’s a good practice to build a “conservative” estimate model that assumes only minor improvements and a “likely” estimate model that assumes more moderate improvements.

To come up with these improvement estimates, you can rely on the experiences of other customers that are using SAP S/4HANA and have shared their results publicly. The SAP S/4HANA customer reference flipbook is a good starting point, providing quantifiable benefits such as decreased inventory turnover, days sales outstanding, production planning runs, order fulfillment times …etc. Plus, other resources such as Webinars hosted by SAP Insider and Americas’ SAP Users’ Group as well as SAPPHIRE NOW replays feature customers who have shared their SAP S/4HANA implementation story and quantifiable benefits. If you couldn’t find the specific KPI you were looking for in these links, you can also contact your SAP account executive or partner to schedule a meeting and speak directly with a customer reference from your specific industry and region.

For example, several SAP S/4HANA customers featured in the flipbook have reported lower inventory levels ranging from 4% at Seforge Limited, 30% at Alliance Contract Manufacturer, and 40% at Farme-Tek. These numbers can be used as a framework to measure the potential inventory reduction and corresponding financial impact on the $10 million inventory pain point identified in step 2.

Other featured customers reported faster financial closing times and reconciliation efforts of between 30% and–50% at FARYS, 37% at Asia Caunon Technology, 40% at BundesDruckerei, 60% at Huvitz, and even 90% at Beijing GeoEnviron Engineering. Along the same lines, these numbers could be used to construct a framework of potential benefits that can be applied to the $337,000 finance pain point above.

Figure 3: Calculating Potential Improvements Based on SAP S/4HANA Customer Experiences

Step 4: Put It All Together

Now you are ready to take all of this information and create your business case. Keep in mind that the improvement numbers shared by other SAP S/4HANA customers are only starting points for your analysis. At the end of the day, you need to consider the maturity level of your current IT environment and business processes and decide the appropriate range of benefits that you feel comfortable using in the business case. Once you are satisfied with these numbers, apply them to the monetary impacts calculated in step 2 to come up with the potential gains. For the purpose of this exercise, I will just choose the min and max SAP S/4HANA customer reported benefits as my “conservative” and “likely” benefits.

Figure 4: Applying the Potential Improvements to the Monetary Impact

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, at this point, you now have a better sense of how to lay the foundation for a business case that provides guidance on realizing financial benefits from SAP S/4HANA. Of course, this is not the end of the road. This is what I call a “Hello World!” type business case.

More analysis should be done to further refine the business case, such as building value maps and decomposing the identified pain points into sub processes and further analyzing these and bench-marking them. For example, the high days-in-inventory rates could be the result of a suboptimal product return process, a slow picking and packing warehousing process, or a combination of both. In this case, a deeper dive can be done to determine the root cause and refine the financial impact metric.

There are also some benefits that can be trickier to quantify, such as the impact of faster order fulfillment on customer satisfaction and repeat purchase. These may not be straightforward to measure but shouldn’t be ignored in the final business case.

In all cases, if you find yourself thinking about these types of things then congratulations you are now ready to move to the next step and engage in an SAP S/4HANA Value Discovery Workshop.

This story originally appeared on the SAP Community.

Categories: What's New

SAP Leonardo: Agility Engine for Companies

SAP News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 10:30
The digital innovation system SAP Leonardo can help companies innovate faster. SAP experts Martin Elsner and Glenn González explain how companies can best get their innovation projects under way.

Q: A report by German SAP user group DSAG has found that not many companies realize that SAP Leonardo is a portfolio of technologies designed to make their digital transformation easier. Why is that?

Elsner: Many companies are already using SAP Leonardo without knowing it. They already deploy products that were around before SAP Leonardo was introduced; for instance, SAP Cloud Platform, machine learning, augmented reality, Big Data scenarios, and the analytics portfolio. That is a challenge but also the rationale behind SAP Leonardo, the digital innovation system, that provides customers a framework for creating innovation. SAP Leonardo helps make business processes possible and scalable, either from the digital core or through agile and flexible innovation processes. It is a shame that SAP users don’t fully understand SAP Leonardo, but maybe it’s just because the name is fairly new.

Can you describe a typical SAP Leonardo project?

Elsner: MAPAL, a precision-tool manufacturer, is a good example of what SAP Leonardo is capable of. MAPAL uses IoT and SAP Cloud Platform to manage its tools digitally. For instance, when machine-tool parts, such as milling, boring, or turning heads, wear out quickly, a company can soon run out of replacements. Predictive analytics can flag up when to order them and how many to order so that there are always enough in stock. This business case came about even before SAP Leonardo got that name in July 2016.

Glenn, you spend a lot of time with customers. How do you describe SAP Leonardo to them?

González: SAP Leonardo is a digital innovation system comprising SAP Cloud Platform and other technologies such as machine learning, Internet of Things, blockchain, analytics, and Big Data. The system also includes data intelligence and SAP Data Hub. And much more besides. Many companies just launch into things, like building a data-to-dashboard scenario, only to realize further down the line that you have to think innovations through. At the end of the day though, an invoice has to go out, a technician has to be assigned, or master data has to be retrieved. This real-world experience has led us to vastly expand the SAP Leonardo portfolio and our special offerings have helped customers innovate faster. A structured approach is just as important as the innovation system itself.

What is this structured approach exactly?

Elsner: When looking at technology and innovation, you first have to decide what you want to achieve. And that could be anything. Many people in business, including DSAG members, have spent recent years working mainly on topics like SAP ERP, SAP R/2, SAP R/3, SAP SRM, and SAP CRM. In these domains, SAP has defined the standard process and how it is used. That approach isn’t going to work with innovative, agile solutions.

What does this mean in practice?

Elsner: We worked with steel producer Klöckner to build a sales cockpit. It was ready in just six weeks. We hadn’t set out to do that. We had simply started throwing ideas around without any particular outcome in mind. The new cockpit contains a map so that users can plan routes. And it displays a list of open orders along ten kilometers of a truck’s route. Since trucks often left the yard half-full, the challenge was to work out how they could carry more load. Now, load planners and sales reps know where the trucks are going and what capacity they have. And goods arrive at their destination sooner. SAP Cloud Platform, the reports, the integration with the backend – SAP Leonardo combines information from the ERP system with digital services such as the map. That is one innovation scenario that cannot be realized within the constraints of a rigid standard. Before the project got underway, we held a design thinking workshop with Klöckner to brainstorm, explore ideas, and filter out the best ones. After two days, we had a clear scenario. Two days later, the mockup was ready. Soon after we had a decision to go ahead with the project with the company’s management. SAP Leonardo projects are often about scenarios that can really scale, and that also evolve with the business.

How are SAP Leonardo projects different from purely machine learning or IoT projects?

Elsner: Through SAP Leonardo we want to make services that are not part of the digital core as fast and as flexible as possible. That is why we describe SAP Leonardo as an agility engine. Conventional goods movements, generated customer orders, manufacturing processes, and financial and management accounting processes, remain in the stable digital core so that they run cleanly end to end. Take machine learning as an example. If you want to automate and optimize invoice matching, which is a standard process in SAP software, then it would not be a SAP Leonardo project. I would see it as getting the most out of SAP Leonardo technologies in a business context. The business context is where SAP’s strength lies. A good example is a jewelry company offering an image recognition service. If one of their products breaks, let’s say a glass ornament, all the customer has to do is take a photo of it and upload the photo onto the company’s platform. From the entire product catalog, the system recognizes which product it is, identifies its material number, and sends a message to a member of the service team. You can’t do that with core processes alone. In a typical SAP Leonardo project, you not only need the technology but a well-thought-out approach as well.

Not all companies are open to the latest innovations. What concerns do you hear?

González: It’s crucial to know where your company is at right now and where you want it go. Sure, some companies tell us that they are still rolling out SAP ECC and can’t imagine embarking on other projects at the same time. But it is not SAP driving digitalization. It is the market. If we don’t address digitalization, then we let our customers fall behind. I tell them that innovation topics and a rollout really can go hand in hand. It’s called bimodal IT.

What’s the first step a company should take?

González: The very first thing it should do is to identify who is open to innovation and then invite these people to a design thinking workshop, like we did with Klöckner. That creates an atmosphere that helps spark new ideas. Fischer, a major manufacturer, sent us some of their building kits beforehand. One of our developers had the Explorer robot, which came fitted with sensors. He connected it to SAP Cloud Platform, used an iPhone to control it, and added image recognition so that it could recognize an individual. Because that was so easy to do, the ideas flowed from there. What would happen if we added software to our products through the Cloud? Now the robot can recognize images, can we use it in quality control?

What do you say to IT bosses whose companies do not yet have agile structures?

González: A CIO at one of our recent workshops had no infrastructure even for basic innovations like a configuration app for a trade fair. He had to tell the business that he couldn’t deliver something that simple. Why not? Because most people in his department spent all their time on core processes. So he adopted a bimodal approach and assigned a couple of employees to work on these innovation topics. But he still needed a platform, plus coaching and a methodology. In other words, SAP Leonardo. That then got the innovation ball rolling. Not everything has to happen as fast as Usain Bolt runs one hundred meters. Taking that first step is what counts. Through SAP Leonardo, they now have the technologies in place for other, agile projects, and can still integrate the backend.

Martin Elsner is head of presales and a member of the management team of SAP Deutschland SE & Co. KG
Glen González is digital transformation lead at SAP

Categories: What's New

Data: Worth More Than Gold When It Comes to AI

SAP News - Tue, 11/21/2017 - 06:00
As a kid, artificial intelligence (AI) evoked the image of the old science fiction movies where super computers cleverly took over the world. Now as an adult working in the technology industry, I see artificial intelligence in a new light — helping all of us to be faster, more efficient and more productive.

I’m excited about what AI will help us do in the future. How it will open up a realm of limitless possibilities for consumers, the economy, and society as a whole, such as helping reduce electricity use or quickly moving life-saving supplies to the people who need them most.

During the recent European Big Data Value Forum, I had the opportunity to highlight the critical role and tremendous business opportunities that AI will play for European enterprises.

In today’s digital world, we know that data is coming at us from everywhere. It’s fuel for machine learning – the branch within the area of artificial intelligence (AI) that helps computers to learn from data and discover patterns without being explicitly programmed. The more data you give to the machine, the more patterns it can detect and the better the offerings will be.

It’s true: many companies aren’t strategically using machine learning or artificial intelligence — yet. But I believe that is all about to change. And companies that invest in digital transformation can use this vast amount of data to make smart decisions and to take action – creating a vastly intelligent enterprise.

But remember, data-driven innovation requires flexibility from across the enterprise to allow data to help define and refine processes. Be open and don’t let preconceived notions of what your data “should” do make you miss the opportunity to find out what your data “could” do.

Take healthcare as an example. There is currently a shortage of more than seven million physicians, nurses and other health workers worldwide. Soon, your first line of medical advice could be a chatbox on a mobile app. Think it’s fantasy? Think again. The UK’s National Health Service approved the information that the app Your.MD provides.

How’s that for combining human and machine intelligence to help the next generation prosper?

Share your thoughts on this topic by replying below, or join the Twitter the discussion with @sap on Twitter using #AI and #machinelearning.

Did you know? At SAP, we have already started to implement the first use cases for machine learning in our systems like SAP Cash Application, SAP Service Ticket Intelligence and SAP Brand Impact.

Brian Duffy is president of EMEA North at SAP
Follow Brian on Twitter:
@brianpaulduffy

Categories: What's New

Blockchain: Digital Transformation’s Cinderella Steps Out

SAP News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 12:30
Blockchain technology is not widely understood, but its implementation as part of digital transformation could have far reaching benefits for people, companies, and other organizations.

Among the technologies and processes most closely associated with digital disruption and transformation, blockchain stands out as being both the least understood and the one with greatest potential to secure data and transactions that demand trust.

Blockchain combines the openness of the Internet with the security of cryptography to give consumers and companies a faster way to verify key information and establish trust without the need for third parties and other intermediaries. It was initially developed more than a decade ago to provide the technical underpinnings for Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency with which it is sometimes mistaken. As Pat Bakey, president of SAP Industries, noted a year ago, “Early horror stories about bitcoin, the most famous digital currency to use blockchain, prompted its mainstream dismissal as a dubious tool of the dark web.”

Defining Blockchain

At its core however, blockchain is simply an open and secure method of recording transactions, just like a traditional ledger. Because blockchains establish trust, they provide a simple, paperless way to establish and track ownership of money, information, and objects by individuals, companies, and other organizations.

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value,” wrote Don and Alex Tapscott in their book, Blockchain Revolution.

By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification. The data stored in a blockchain exists as a shared and continually reconciled database hosted on millions of computers around the planet, so that no single version of it exists in one single place. In addition, each block of data in a blockchain is linked and secured to the next in a sequence using cryptography.This makes it virtually impossible to add, remove, or change data without alerting others in the chain.

Today, most ordinary transactions are verified by a central authority, such as a government or a credit card clearinghouse. Blockchain applications replace these centralized systems with decentralized ones, where verification comes from the consensus of multiple users.

Key Benefits

These features mean that blockchains could offer a number of key benefits to users. First, it could dramatically speed up and simplify a wide range of transactions for individuals and corporations. In particular blockchains make it much easier to identify ownership, verify authenticity, and reconcile processes.

So for example, blockchain-enabled ‘smart contracts’ — modular, repeatable scripts that extend blockchains’ utility from simply keeping a record of financial transaction entries to implementing the terms of multi-party agreements automatically — could help streamline procurement and supply chains.

Second, blockchain implementations could lead to the disintermediation of many of those entities that currently provide trust and verification services, including banks, clearing houses and trust firms, and supply chains. In a recent article,  Deloitte Consulting noted: “Blockchain’s ability to replace intermediaries is precisely why this technology matters. It can reduce overhead costs when parties trade assets directly with each other. Its ability to guarantee authenticity across institutional boundaries will likely help parties think about the authenticity of records, content, and transactions in new ways.”

Third, it could hasten the digitization process by making it easier tag and track physical goods by providing them with highly secure digital identities. For example, London-based Everledger has placed more than 1.6 million diamonds on a blockchain, recording attributes for each diamond, including the color, carat, and certificate number to help reduce fraud and combat the sale of blood diamonds.

Digital Cinderella Comes of Age

Understanding what blockchain can do and enable is part of the process of understanding both the challenges and opportunities for innovation, afforded by digital transformation.

Data is at the core of this transformation — it is truly the ‘new oil’ of business. The companies that survive and thrive in this new hyper-competitive environment will collect and curate Big Data using IoT sensors and other tools, process that data to discover patterns and insights through machine learning and analytics, and secure and streamline their operations using blockchains.

To date blockchain has been the Cinderella of digital transformation, but this is changing.  Awareness of blockchain capabilities — and investments in blockchain startups — are growing rapidly.

Blockchain may still lack the star status and recognition among business executives and consumers of artificial intelligence, machine learning, or Big Data, but it is an integral part of major initiatives such as SAP Leonardo and blockchain is rapidly coming of age.

Like the other technologies that help enable digital transformation, blockchain still faces a number of hurdles. These include the relatively slow speed that blockchain-based transactions can currently be processed compared to, for example, ATM transactions, and questions over the ultimate security of the cryptology that underpins it.

As Goldman Sachs noted in an animated infographic, “Blockchain is protected by business-grade cryptography, but no technology is 100 percent secure. And when large sums of money are involved, hackers will try to follow. So security concerns could also slow blockchain adoption.” Nevertheless, most analysts and technologists believe these concerns will be addressed and that blockchain or blockchain-type technologies will eventually achieve mainstream adoption and help transform business and other activities where trust is a key factor.

“Blockchain could be a revolution in the way everyone — businesses, governments, organizations, and individuals — work together,” says Goldman Sachs. “It provides a simple, secure way to establish trust for virtually any kind of transaction, helping simplify the movement of money, products, or sensitive information worldwide.”

The Wall Street investment bank concludes, “It’s a transformation that’s already begun. And organizations — both the ones that it can help, and the middlemen at risk of disintermediation — will need to be prepared as the technology matures.”

Categories: What's New

Developers at SAP TechEd Discover COZMO, the Coolest, Smartest Business Robot Ever

SAP News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 10:15
Gartner’s recent prediction that IoT technology will be in 95 percent of electronics by 2020 is getting well-deserved attention, but the most transformational story for business is quietly taking place behind the scenes.

Companies are plowing ahead to invest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) plus robotics, and after meeting COZMO the robot at the recent SAP TechEd event, it’s easy to see why.

Miniature Powerhouse of Intelligence

A surefire crowd-magnet on the show floor, this small but powerfully intelligent robot operating on SAP Cloud Platform used sensors to follow voice-activated commands, finding and picking up designated items, and bringing them to specific locations on the table.

According to Mariah Perry from SAP Cloud Platform Marketing, sophisticated automation at the edge is what distinguishes this latest breed of IoT and AI-powered devices. She showed me what the robot could do in this video.

 

“Devices are very becoming much more autonomous,” said Perry. “You can tell this robot to do something, and it uses its own intelligence to navigate around objects, pick up what it’s supposed to, and carry out the order.”

While Perry issued commands to the robot through Alexa of Amazon Echo fame, she said any voice-activated system could be used. The robot emitted beeping noises as it acknowledged orders and carried them out.

Cute, sensor-tagged robots have the potential to explode exponential value in the back office

“COZMO, Transform Our Business”

As cute as the robot was, its exponential value has the potential to really exploded in the back office. Companies can use similar intelligent, sensor-tagged devices to perform tasks, connecting the information to the rest of the organization, from warehouse through supply chain management, customer service and delivery.

“In an actual automated warehouse or similar business scenario, commands would be integrated with any ERP system such as SAP S/4HANA,” said Perry. “We’re using this toy robot to show how valuable IoT and robotics can be in helping businesses automate and regulate daily processes using the SAP Cloud Platform for digital transformation.”

Follow me: @smgaler

Categories: What's New

SAP Releases Support for Demand-Driven MRP in SAP S/4HANA

SAP News - Mon, 11/20/2017 - 10:00
WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) announced that SAP S/4HANA has new capabilities enabling customers to optimize operations with more responsive, real-time digital supply chains.

These new capabilities support Demand-Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP), a supply chain planning and execution methodology, and have received certification from the Demand Driven Institute.

This release is part of SAP’s overall strategy to support DDMRP across SAP S/4HANA and the SAP Integrated Business Planning solution.

“DDMRP offers companies facing the variability and constraints of a modern supply chain a new way to be more responsive to demand while driving improvements in service levels, velocity and working capital that directly connect to better return on investment performance,” said Chad Smith, a partner with the Demand Driven Institute.

DDMRP support is now available with the August 2017 release of SAP S/4HANA. DDMRP capabilities are also available in SAP Integrated Business Planning, in conjunction with SAP partner Camelot ITLab. This allows customers using the SAP ERP application to implement DDMRP using SAP Integrated Business Planning, while customers adopting SAP S/4HANA can implement DDMRP directly within the SAP S/4HANA digital core.

“We are seeing steadily increasing customer interest for the Demand-Driven MRP approach, which is perfectly aligned with SAP’s digital supply chain strategy to support real-time, end-to-end supply chain visibility and responsiveness,” said Hans Thalbauer, senior vice president, Digital Supply Chain and IoT, SAP. “These new capabilities will help customers benefit from dramatically improved customer service and significant working capital reductions.”

DDMRP support is available now through SAP S/4HANA Cloud for advanced supply chain and SAP S/4HANA for extended planning.

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
Kyle Tildsley, PAN Communications, +1 (617) 502-4300, sapsc@pancomm.com, ET

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Categories: What's New

Customer Webinar: “Getting the Most from Your Support”

SAP News - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:54
Join us on November 22 for a webinar, “Getting the Most from Your Support,” which is the first in a series of customer webinars.

Agenda:

  • Customer Interaction Center Overview
  • How the Customer Interaction Center can Assist You
  • SAP Support Infrastructure Overview
  • Introduction to the SAP ONE Support Launchpad
  • User Management
  • Incident Management
  • How to Download Software
  • System Administration
  • How to Request a License Key
  • Support Offerings  (Remote Services)
  • Support Channels Overview
Getting the Most from Your Support: Register Now
Categories: What's New

Notification of Incidents in Your Inbox

SAP News - Fri, 11/17/2017 - 15:53
A new notification has been added as part of the Incidents Notifications.

This notification will be sent when an incident belonging to you has been in status “Customer Action” or “SAP Proposed Solution” for a period of 7 or more days without any action. This notification is designed to help you never miss an update or solution provided by SAP Support.

You can configure how to receive such notifications, either through the SAP ONE Support Launchpad or through email. For more information on how to enable or disable these notifications, follow the instructions in SAP Knowledge Base Article 2530034.

Categories: What's New
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