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Employee Well-Being: Is It Critical for Your Growth Strategy?

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 10:15
Do employee well-being programs really work? In my global solution marketing role, I have found that this question is a topic of discussion in boardrooms all around the world as organizations look for better ways to provide a robust suite of well-being programs focused on physical, mental, financial, and spiritual health in order to drive employee productivity, engagement, and retention.

And considering that businesses are currently pouring upwards of US$8 billion into well-being, I know there’s a lot at stake if businesses don’t gain measurable value soon.

I’m fortunate to get to align my personal passion for well-being with my professional life at SAP SuccessFactors. With the goal of helping companies turn employee well-being into significant growth, we asked Meghan M. Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture, to share her insights during the SAP SuccessFactors Webcast “Feeling Good: Why Employee Well-Being Programs Are Key for Business Success.”

“We know that employee well-being programs work. For example, higher employee well-being rates have been associated with 35 percent lower turnover. That’s approximately US$19.5 million in savings for a typical 10,000 person company,” she reflected. “However, a lot of organizations are still struggling to realize significant improvements. One of the key reasons, I think, is a sense of confusion as to what ‘well-being’ really means – from what’s part of it, what works, and how to seamlessly integrate it with existing operations.”

How to Create a Culture Of Well-Being That Drives Business Growth

The vast majority of well-being programs fail because they strictly focus on employees’ physical health, instead of addressing the needs of the whole individual. “Employee well-being is not just physical health – it’s about mental and emotional health as well,” Biro shared. “Studies have found that this well-rounded approach supports and improves workforce inclusion, diversity, and, consequentially, better innovation and performance.”

Recent research at the University of Nottingham (UK) found that well-being comprises of 14 individual, relational, and organizational factors, in addition to physical fitness. They include: happiness, vitality, calmness, optimism, involvement, self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-worth, competence, development, purpose, significance, congruence, and connection.

It should come as no surprise that when all of these factors are satisfied, employees experience fewer instances of disease, illness, and injury while boosting immune function, accelerating recovery, and increasing longevity. And all of these benefits translate into a more engaged workforce. According to a study from Quantum Workplace and Limeade, 88 percent of employees who feel a higher sense of well-being also feel more engaged at work.

When organizations have a vibrant and committed well-being program, employees feel valued, supported, and that their work is meaningful. People with higher levels of well-being are 31 percent more productive at work and 87 percent less likely to quit.

More importantly, well-being is clearly a great way to achieve alignment between business objectives and employee work. People are more committed to delivering positive outcomes, work productively on their own projects as well as their team’s, and engage in more future-focused thinking – all of which can lead to 37 percent higher sales.

I think back to my wake-up call which was about seven years ago. I was working as a Marketing professional and living in a major east coast city and from the outside, my social media feed looked quite glamorous: there were near constant happy hours after work, five course dinners, and exotic travel. However, that meant that when I did find some downtime, I used it to do absolutely nothing. I was gaining weight and sleeping poorly, and I realized that all of the socializing and focus on external people and goals meant that I was neglecting myself. I made a commitment to get healthy and to this day, while it can be a battle to make the right food choices or go to bed at a reasonable hour, I remind myself that if I don’t prioritize myself, no one will.

“It really takes a comprehensive approach to change from within. The goal of the well-being program is to change your employee experience in a powerful way. It really needs to be part of operations and work with other business functions, offering employees and managers the visibility they need to track progress and identify opportunities for improvement,” Biro advised. “As more people get involved, the program can change to meet employee needs – and things just get better across the board.”

Find out what is required for a well-being program to be successful. Watch the replay of Feeling Good: Why Employee Well-Being Programs Are Key for Business Success (also available on SoundCloud) featuring Meghan M. Biro, founder and CEO of TalentCulture. And visit Well-Being at Work to explore the SAP SuccessFactors solutions that can help improve your employees’ well-being at work.

Emily Wilson is director of Solutions Marketing for Well-Being at Work at SAP SuccessFactors.

Categories: What's New

Machine Translation at SAP

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 09:22
Machine translation usage is becoming a reality for SAP Notes and SAP Knowledge Base Article documents in SAP One Support Launchpad.

Click here for more information.

Categories: What's New

Digitization Fuels Efficiencies in the Energy Sector

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 09:15
As demands for energy increase and natural resources deplete, digitization creates opportunities to optimize energy assets. At HOERBIGER, compression technology is used to maximize natural resource extraction and a digital transformation pilot delivers a productive maintenance makeover.

There is nothing like a bad storm cutting the power to our homes and businesses to remind us just how much we rely on energy. From heating our homes and refrigerating our food to powering our many devices, there is not much we can do without it. So how do we make the most of the finite natural resources we have while renewable sources are being developed and adopted?

The question becomes increasingly important as we consider how fast the global population is increasing –7.4 billion and counting, growing to an estimated 9.6 billion by 2050 according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

The answer? In part, it’s better management of those resources through digitization. Oil and gas companies for example, are optimizing their assets through cloud technologies, sensors, wireless communication, and big data. Suppliers are implementing real-time, remote control asset management and predictive maintenance to extend the life of their assets and improve operational efficiency. But sometimes the most impactful changes are the simplest.

Introducing HOERBIGER

HOERBIGER is an engineering-driven company with innovation in its DNA. 120 years ago, founder Hanns Hörbiger invented a steel plate valve for the compression industry that revolutionized the market. Today, operating in over 100 locations in more than 50 countries, the company’s 7,000 employees cater to three major markets. In the automotive industry, HOERBIGER makes synchronizer systems for manual transmissions and double clutch transmissions. In the industrial segment, they produce actuators for medical technology, machinery, and even amusement park rides. But it is in their energy business, where HOERBIGER manufactures components and services for turbomachines, natural gas-fired engines, and compressors for gas wells, where transformation efforts of routine maintenance processes are paying off.

Maximizing Returns on Existing Resources

Gas and oil wells that are nearly depleted are often abandoned, even when considerable resources remain and could still be extracted. The reason is that the remaining oil and gas can no longer be recovered profitably with conventional methods. A HOERBIGER wellhead compression unit sits on top of a gas well and allows mature fields to continue to produce and transport gas over long distances for high-pressure storage, as well as for use in power plants and industrial processes. This process extends the life of mature oil and gas fields cost-effectively and increases output by up to 30 percent, yielding more profit for the owner and more gas for consumers such as the chemical industry and power generation.

The company currently has 400 wellhead compressors running, with 300 in Argentina. The rest are in Mexico and throughout Latin America.

To date, the service of these compressors has been labor intensive, and in some cases, dangerous for those working on wells in remote areas. Servicing requires an operator to travel to the machine by car, sometimes several hundred kilometers, taking up to an entire day to visit just one machine. During that visit, the operator must retrieve all the information he needs during operating hours, document findings by hand, transfer the information to a laptop, and then make a second trip if analysis reveals further maintenance is required.

Pilot Delivers a Major Maintenance Makeover

A pilot project underway in Mexico will fully digitize the cumbersome maintenance process by bringing machine information into the SAP Cloud and transmitting it to the ERP system.  If a machine goes down for any reason, the system autogenerates a maintenance ticket and the operator can be prepared to address the specific issue. HOERBIGER then can provide real-time information to the mechanics, saving unnecessary trips to physically inspect it, and allowing their resources to focus on proactively servicing the units and their customers.

“It’s changing the way we work drastically because suddenly we can better utilize and manage our mechanics,” said Thomas Kriechbaum, chief process officer at HOERBIGER. “It is also changing our business model. We can react instantly on performance of the machines and have a more holistic view because we have live data.”

HOERBIGER’s future plans include leveraging machine learning and Internet of Things to perform preventive and predictive maintenance on the equipment.

The more efficiently HOERBIGER can facilitate the extraction of natural resources, the less these precious commodities will go to waste.

Categories: What's New

Sberbank and SAP Complete Russia’s Largest Cloud Project

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 09:00
WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that Sberbank, Russia’s largest banking and financial services company, has deployed SAP SuccessFactors solutions to manage its workforce of 230,000 employees, marking the largest completed cloud project in Russia.

Sberbank plans to connect all of its subsidiaries, bringing the total number of employees covered by the cloud to 270,000.

The cloud-based HR software unites all Russia-based employees of the bank in a single digital space, creating a single internal labor force. At any time and on any device, employees can work on personal development using assessment tools, career planning and online training. Managers can work with candidates for open positions, track employee performance, assess employee skills and competencies, make employee development decisions and put together teams to resolve tasks, regardless of where employees are located.

“Sberbank’s main aim is to reach a new level of competitiveness that will enable us to compete with global tech companies while maintaining our status as the number one bank for individuals and businesses,” said Yulia Chupina, deputy chairman of the executive board of Sberbank. “We plan to achieve this aim by scaling up our business and increasing profits and efficiency while increasing flexibility, speed and client-centricity by introducing new technology and cultivating a new sort of employee.”

The aim of the project was to ensure a new level of quality of personnel management processes at Sberbank in accordance with its ambitious 2020 transformation strategy. The project’s key objectives included improving employee recruitment and training, achieving transparent career planning and development, creating a new model of competencies and developing the corporate culture.

Sberbank’s management can now use data from the software to make strategic decisions about planning competencies required at the bank, personnel development and current and potential growth areas. The software significantly reduces the time spent on recruiting and onboarding for all divisions of the bank. In the future it will be possible to use information collected by the software to create new digital solutions for working with personnel, including predictive tools.

A joint team made up of SAP Consulting and Sberbank employees accomplished the transition in about a year, making it the fastest cloud-based HR software deployment of a major SAP customer anywhere.

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

Media Contact:
Geraldine Lim, +1 (415) 418-0945, geraldine.lim@sap.com, PT

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Categories: What's New

SAP SuccessFactors North America Partner Summit Highlights

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 10:15
Earlier this month, SAP held its first SAP SuccessFactors North American Partner Summit in South San Francisco.

The event at the SAP SuccessFactors headquarters started with opening remarks from David Osborne, senior vice president of Global Channels & Ecosystem at SAP.

Osborne set the tone by saying “we want you to ask questions and leave here today with new insight.” He ensured the partner audience understood the SAP SuccessFactors strategy surrounding the “Power of We.” Additionally, he explained the SAP SuccessFactors strategy around building, acquiring, partnering, and extending.

Big Bets

The agenda was broken into four main segments: Direction for 2018, Sales Related Programs, Services Related Programs and Product Direction. Partners were exposed to the “Big Bets” that SAP SuccessFactors is investing in for an even stronger partner future:

  • Expanded marketing and sales execution
  • Customer-centricity
  • Execution excellence
  • Pipeline creation
  • Customer references
  • Creation of a partner delivery community

SAP SuccessFactors has also re-energized the partner ecosystem through partner-led references and partners’ expertise with SAP’s cloud secure strategy, which provides more enablement and engagement to create customers for life. The Product Management team also provided a great overview of SAP’s approach to managing the impending GDPR, which puts SAP SuccessFactors in a strong position to help customers adapt to the critical legislation. Moreover, the team demonstrated the value of partnerships through SAP-qualified partner-packaged solutions, the Upgrade2Success program, partner applications, and selective business process outsourcing (BPO) and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationships.

Attendees were reminded what SAP SuccessFactors is currently doing to strengthen the partner community through SAP Recognized Expertise and how customers are being encouraged to look for this designation when doing their partner selection.

Here’s a quick video from Bruce Hillier, vice president of Partner Delivery, and Tak Kusano, vice president of Global Strategic Alliances, sharing their thoughts on the partner summit:

Inside Look with Mike Antongiovanni, Solution Center Manager – North America

Q: Can you explain the value of SAP SuccessFactors partners and the key takeaway you want partners to leave with?
A: The only way we win is if the partners win. To build the business we know we need everyone involved. We want to help our partners significantly contribute to SAP SuccessFactors growth by leveraging our ecosystem to extend our reach, innovate, differentiate, and provide a world-class experience to ensure customers for life. If this event helps us do that, then I am very happy.

What should partners be looking for in 2018?
This year, partners should be looking for a few things to help improve their business and deliver unprecedented value for our customers. We are innovating existing solutions and extending with new capabilities, developing unique and targeted capabilities that complement our existing solutions, and teaming with partners to facilitate and enable the ecosystem.

Are there plans for more partner summit events in the future?
Yes, based on the very positive audience comments we intend to replicate this format next year. We believe this forum allows partner to gather with product and sales leaders to hear several perspectives on what’s coming and how we will win together. But probably even more important is the feedback we received from the partners both in the public forum and from many of the independent conversations that occurred throughout the day. There is also an SAP Global Partner Summit planned in conjunction with SAPPHIRE NOW, as well as opportunities to connect with partners at SuccessConnect events in Berlin and Las Vegas later this year.

What was your key takeaway from the partner summit?
Every time I am with our partners I am reminded of the quality of the individuals and the organizations they represent. It is humbling to see the customer success that is achieved only through the collaboration with our partners. All our planning and investment is great, but it is good to remember our innovations and continued investments are added incrementally to our already mature and effective organization and partner ecosystem.

Power of We

Just like old human resources (HR) technologies, processes can become dated. Companies, customers, partners, and employees must think differently. Integration is the key in helping everyone succeed in a world where new technologies are changing the way we operate. Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming into the workplace, bots are making decisions for us and soon drones will be delivering coffee. The time is now to partner with best-in-class vendors in order to deliver a best-in-class experience. As the old saying goes, “two is better than one.”

SAP SuccessFactors has proven it is ready to partner and deliver world-class solutions in the HCM market. The more opportunities to integrate, educate, and deliver the better.

Access slides from the summit here.

Tyrone Webb Jr. is an integrated communications expert for SAP SuccessFactors

Categories: What's New

How JP Morgan Chase Saves $50 Million Each Year with SAP Ariba

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 09:00
Jonathan Ridgwell, Global Supplier Services Operations Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co., has learned a lot since his company began centralizing business processes across 17 countries some 15 years ago.

He shared four major lessons during a keynote talk with DJ Paoni, president of SAP North America, at the recent SAP Ariba Live event. The company initially introduced SAP ERP, followed by Concur travel and expense and Ariba for procurement, before SAP acquired both companies.

Lesson 1: Think Big Outside Your Function

Left: DJ Paoni, president of SAP North America; right: Jonathan Ridgwell, Global Supplier Services Operations Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Coming from a technology background, Ridgwell has a passion for efficiency and accuracy, but quickly discovered how intelligence is changing the role of procurement.

“I was managing these functions as separate pieces at first, thinking this is what I need to make us as efficient, cheap, and user-friendly as possible,” he said. “As time went on, I realized that we’re all part of a continuum, and procurement can take the lead in driving more collaborative ways of doing business throughout the entire company, driving innovation and real value for the business,” he said.”

By feeding procurement data into its centralized system, JPMorgan Chase has achieved one million dollars in early payment discounts per one billion dollars spent. What’s more, procurement’s benefits are negating its costs.

“We’re thinking about how sourcing can help us when we’re negotiating contracts, and this has enabled us to grow procurement’s role with significant benefits to the firm,” said Ridgwell. “We’re saving $50 million annually. On top of that, the early payment discounts mean that we’re becoming a revenue generator rather than a cost for the firm. We’re not just paying invoices and procuring things, but we’re doing it at negative cost to the business.”

Lesson 2: Get Senior Backing for Global Consistency

Gaining senior-level management support was crucial to the firm’s transformation, from board-level through the C-suite leadership team. “We shared the business case with our CFO, asked her to buy into it, and she sold it to the board and the CEO,” said Ridgwell. “When anyone came to us and wanted to do something different, they couldn’t because leadership was behind it.”

Lesson 3: Strong Change Management

Open communication has been critical to gaining global buy-in for a standard operating model.

“In addition to efficient project management, one of the key elements our managers do is communicate,” he said. “You need everyone to know what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, why you’re doing it, and when you’re doing it. You end up taking away some small elements of functionality people are familiar with, and those can be sticking points. You can’t allow that to get in the way. Everyone has to understand and accept the shared vision.”

With SAP Ariba, JPMorgan Chase has a frictionless process for procurement and can make sure it’s doing the right thing through understanding the data

Lesson 4: Technologists Make Great Operations Managers

One of Ridgwell’s epiphanies was how technologists like him make great operations managers. “We asked do we really want people pushing buttons all day and not adding value? We want people running analytics, looking for fraud, finding trends and new markets. It’s much more interesting for the workforce, being able to upskill the procurement role by automation.”

Ridgwell tied procurement’s transformation directly to the company’s commitment to purpose and making the customer experience as frictionless as possible.

“Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do whether you’re dealing with a small or large customer. Having our platforms on SAP has enabled us to make sure we’re doing that through understanding the data and having a frictionless process for spend management,” he said.

Follow me: @smgaler.

Categories: What's New

SAP Partner Esri Maps Out a Solution to Fight Opioid Addiction

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 11:15
Opioids infiltrate nearly every facet of U.S. society — every community, every walk of life — and it isn’t getting any better. Opioid addiction has become such a pervasive epidemic that the drugs are now a bigger killer in the United States than breast cancer, guns, or vehicle-related accidents.

Synthetic opioids, including fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, and tramadol, accounted for two-thirds of the 63,000 drug-related deaths in the U.S. in 2016, according to the National Center for Health Sciences. Their addiction knows no racial, socioeconomic, or geographic lines. And that’s what makes it so hard to solve the problem.

Today, more and more communities are looking toward a new weapon — technology — to minimize the damage done by opioids. Specifically, innovative new solutions involving geographic information systems (GIS) are helping communities identify where and how opioid usage is at its worst so that they can better allocate resources to prevent and/or mitigate addiction.

Enabling that cause is SAP partner Esri, which has developed ArcGIS Enterprise, a spatial mapping and analytics software solution that leverages SAP HANA data and is now being implemented in jurisdictions across the U.S.

Esri has made its mark building a powerful geographic platform that allows users to leverage a myriad of tools, like “story maps” that turn raw data resources into powerful insights on any topic. Whether it’s the opioid crisis, refugees in Bangladesh, or tracking a killer whale population, mapping technology has the ability to help organizations and businesses make more intelligent and evidence-based decisions, said Dr. Este Geraghty, chief medical officer and health solutions director at Esri.

“The idea is to use geographic data to improve decision making and resource allocation. In the health sector, we can help organizations transform the way they do business,” said Geraghty, a physician who joined Esri more than three years ago. “While we all love data, it’s not very inspiring to simply talk about the amazing things you can do with geographic data. Rather, we get motivated by helping people to solve real problems and we know the power of geographic intelligence to do that. Our Health and Human Services team focuses their energy on tackling the big issues that impact our personal and community’s health and well-being.”

To Esri, the opioid epidemic is personal. One of Geraghty’s colleagues, Jeremiah Lindemann, lost his brother to a drug overdose in 2007. With his technical background, Lindemann launched a crowdsourced story map called, “Celebrating Lost Loved Ones,” where people can contribute a photo and narrative in memory of someone who died because of opioids. More than 1,500 people have added the names of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and friends.

 

“When you explore that map, you begin to notice that the opioid crisis is affecting people from all walks of life. People who had families. People who loved them and were loved by them. It’s heartbreaking. The story map is meant to allow people to share their grief, but it also reminds us that opioid addiction can happen to anyone, anywhere,” Geraghty said. “Jeremiah inspires all of us. He’s spent the last several years broadly sharing his story and his perspective on the topic. He’s even testified before Congress about the dangers of opioids. Esri’s focus on this issue and our drive to be a force for good all began with him.”

Mapping a Problem to Find a Solution

The first step in Esri’s GIS mapping technology is to identify where overdoses and deaths caused by drugs are taking place. That information is mapped to help police and other organizations determine where to best allocate their resources.

“Everything happens somewhere, but so many people still take ‘somewhere’ for granted. It takes a little practice to think spatially and use location information strategically,” Geraghty said. “But after a while, it becomes natural to consider relevant questions: What’s the geographic extent of the problem? Where is it worse? Where is it not so bad? Are there patterns in the data? What can I learn from less impacted communities? Most communities don’t have the means to evenly spread resources across every jurisdiction. That means that they need to make strategic decisions about where to do more and what kinds of interventions will have the greatest impact in different places. It’s never the same thing from one place to another.”

Sometimes, a geographic analysis will show that one or more epidemics overlap. We call that a syndemic. Understanding those spatial relationships can be critical to formulating the best strategy, Geraghty said. For example, one California county experienced a major Hepatitis A outbreak. GIS indicated that the disease correlated spatially with opioid and homeless epidemics in the county and that interventions would require consideration of those co-occurring issues. Public restrooms in the county were mapped and put on a regular cleaning schedule, sidewalks in and near homeless encampments were sanitized, handwashing stations were placed in relevant areas, and vaccinations were offered to high risk populations in their ‘neighborhoods.’ These methods and more were deployed in the right places to help the right people and ultimately stop the outbreak.

“You want to get out ahead of it. To do that, you need to understand where people are dying, when, and why,” Geraghty said. “Information can be a powerful weapon for communities to help people.”

Esri recently demonstrated its solution for a county that revealed that the highest cluster of overdoses was males in their 30s dying between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. The county had most of its resources working between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and had been targeting females at risk. “We showed them the spatial data and now they’ve allocated their resources more effectively,” Geraghty said.

The benefit of understanding the geographic context for such complex problems cannot be understated, she added. For example, one community leader promised to eliminate all the “pill mills” in his jurisdiction. That effort was successful but had the unintended consequence of addicts turning to other drugs, such as heroin, which then became a bigger problem.

“Taking a broader view of the community might have helped avoid that consequence. If you cut off the supply of the drug without also considering the continuing demand, you can run into trouble. Our solution includes a tool for providing resources that could decrease opioid demand, like providing alternative pain control modalities that prevent addiction, and identifying treatment options for those already addicted,” Geraghty said.

Developing a Solution Together

Increasingly, local governments are looking to act, recognizing that help from the state and federal level may not be everything they need to help address the problem. They need solutions that help them do more with their resources.

“The big thing with the opioid crisis is that it’s a concern across multiple organizational sectors. This is not just a public health or a mental health or a health care problem. It’s also a police problem, pharmaceutical company problem, an emergency personnel problem, and a government funding and policy problem to name a few. A lot of different entities are involved in addressing the crisis. Communication and collaboration are critical and Esri’s ArcGIS technology can facilitate those needs,” Geraghty said.

One challenge is getting many disparate organizations and communities to share information, a problem exacerbated by protections around personal health information. “Organizations tend to be reluctant to share data, even when it is appropriate and legal. Saying ‘no’ to sharing is undoubtedly the best answer to avoid potential data breaches, but it doesn’t help in addressing the problem,” Geraghty said. “Cross-sector collaborations and appropriate data-sharing agreements need to increase if we’re going to make any real progress. In turn, SAP HANA helps democratize and distribute the data.”

“Opioids have such a dramatic impact on our lives. Addiction affects our families and our society, it diminishes tax revenue and productivity. It even impacts the needs of our foster care systems. It can cripple an entire community,” Geraghty said. “We’re a B2B company and we’re passionate about providing authoritative health organizations with outstanding tools to support their populations. This is important to all of us.”

SAP and our partners. Improving lives. That is our purpose.

 

Categories: What's New

SAP Announces Finalists and Winners of the 2018 SAP Pinnacle Awards

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 10:15
SAP has announced the finalists and winners of the 2018 SAP Pinnacle Award program, which recognizes SAP partners for their outstanding contributions, dedication to teamwork, and ability to challenge what is possible to help customers achieve their goals. Winners and finalists were selected across 29 categories based on recommendations from SAP, customer feedback, and their proven ability to meet and exceed key performance indicators. Two of those chosen have also been awarded the Customers’ Choice awards, which recognize customer-nominated SAP partners.

Award winners will be formally recognized at the SAP Global Partner Summit in Orlando, FL. on June 4, 2018. The SAP Global Partner Summit is held in conjunction with SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference, the largest global business technology event, hosted by SAP and ASUG June 5-7, 2018.

Learn more here

Categories: What's New

Changing Our Mind(set)

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 10:15
You didn’t come this far only to come this far. I’m not an early talent nor on the doorstep to retirement — I’m fully entrenched in the midst of my professional career and every day brings me the choice to adapt, challenge my thought patterns, and ultimately change my habits.

I recently completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification program and through this process we were requested to keep a regular meditation practice of at least 10 minutes per day for 70 days.

While I had a personal mindfulness practice for years, it was not consistent. It started when I was going through many treatments for back pain and meditation distracted me from the pain. I benefited from it but I had framed it as a chore, saying, “I need / have to meditate,” as if it was another medication. My mindset was holding me back from transforming.

When I started yoga teacher training I shifted my thoughts to “I want / get to meditate.” I created a mental shift that led to a solid habit that positively encouraged, rewarded, and fulfilled me. Now, when planning meditation time in my day, I get almost giddy at the opportunity to sit still and breathe — this coming from a high-energy person.

How do we create a similar mental shift in how our organizations transform? Executing business strategy is all about change and transformation. Not just processes, structures, and systems, but ultimately mindset and perspective. It’s not just about what we need to do to achieve our strategic goals, it’s also about how we need to do it. Fostering a change mindset starts with humanizing change for the individual, alongside the process and organizational changes.

Let’s be realistic. Many of us default to the path of least resistance and focus on the tools of change. We create presentations, complete assessments, develop communication plans, create engagement activities, and then do our best to execute.

According to a 2016 Deloitte Review article, Humanizing Change, “The Power Point approach to change undermines employees’ intrinsic drivers and psychological needs: Employees are treated as targets rather than participatory agents who help interpret and shape the change process.”

What we often gloss over are the emotions of the people moving through the changes. It’s sticky to dive into emotions so we avoid it. So let’s get messy. How do we create a change mindset that addresses emotions that can come alive within our change management processes and tools? We begin by asking ourselves:

  • How can we be empathic for the human side of the changes and support our own selves through change?
  • How can we engage more in the change instead of being bystanders or simply implementers?
  • How can we be more open to collaborate on solution-finding through the change?

The environment of the future is one where everyone leads change, every day, in their own individual way. To achieve this future we must shift from the easy-to-do change tasks to the more complex change activities;  focus on creating connection to the change at the individual level; instill a sense of calm by supporting the individuals through the “messy middle” of the transition to provide a feeling of stability; inspire courage to get involved and discover choice and opportunity in the change.

If we can truly embrace the human in the midst of the change, we can cultivate a holistic change mindset where we intentionally address change with empathy, create an environment of trust, and opportunity with change, and build default habits for the entire organization to thrive.

Shifting my language as part of my meditation practice helped me to create a positive, impactful habit and sustainable change.

What shift can you make to support a change mindset for yourself?

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

Categories: What's New

Four Ways Machine Learning Will Disrupt Your Business

Fri, 04/27/2018 - 09:15
We are entering the era of the machine learning enterprise, in which this subset of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities will revolutionize operating models, shake up staffing methods, upend business models, and potentially alter the nature of competition itself.

The adoption of machine learning capabilities will be limited only by an organization’s ability to change – but not every company will be willing or able to make such a radical shift.

Very soon, the difference between the haves and the have-nots of machine learning will become clear. “The disruption over the next three to five years will be massive,” says Cliff Justice, principal in KPMG’s Innovation and Enterprise Solutions team. Companies hanging onto their legacy processes will struggle to compete with machine learning enterprises able to compete with a fraction of the resources and entirely new value propositions.

For those seeking to be on the right side of the disruption, a new survey, conducted by SAP and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), offers a closer look at organizations we’ve identified as the Fast Learners of machine learning: those that are already seeing benefits from their implementations.

Machine learning is unlike traditional programmed software. Machine learning software actually gets better – autonomously and continuously – at executing tasks and business processes. This creates opportunities for deeper insight, non-linear growth, and levels of innovation previously unseen.

Given that, it’s not surprising that machine learning has evolved from hype to have-to-have for the enterprise in seemingly record time. According to the SAP/EIU survey, more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) are already experimenting with it. What’s more, many of these organizations are seeing significantly improved performance across the breadth of their operations as a result, and some are aiming to remake their businesses on the back of these singular, new capabilities.

So, what makes machine learning so disruptive? Based on our analysis of the survey data and our own research, we see four primary reasons:

1. It’s Probabilistic, Not Programmed

Machine learning uses sophisticated algorithms to enable computers to “learn” from large amounts of data and take action based on data analysis rather than being explicitly programmed to do something. Put simply, the machine can learn from experience; coded software does not. “It operates more like a human does in terms of how it formulates its conclusions,” says Justice.

That means that machine learning will provide more than just a one-time improvement in process and productivity; those improvements will continue over time, remaking business processes and potentially creating new business models along the way.

2. It Creates Exponential Efficiency

When companies integrate machine learning into business processes, they not only increase efficiency, they are able to scale up without a corresponding increase in overhead. If you get 5,000 loan applications one month and 20,000 the next month, it’s not a problem, says Sudir Jha, head of product management and strategy for Infosys; the machines can handle it.

3. It Frees Up Capital – Financial and Human

Because machine learning can be used to automate any repetitive task, it enables companies to redeploy resources to areas that make the organization more competitive, says Justice. It also frees up the employees within an organization to perform higher-value, more rewarding work. That leads to reduced turnover and higher employee satisfaction. And studies show that happier employees lead to higher customer satisfaction and better business results.

4. It Creates New Opportunities

AI and machine learning can offer richer insight, deeper knowledge, and predictions that would not be possible otherwise. Machine learning can enable not only new processes, but entirely new business models or value propositions for customers – “opportunities that would not be possible with just human intelligence,” says Justice. “AI impacts the business model in a much more disruptive way than cloud or any other disruption we’ve seen in our lifetimes.”

Machine learning systems alone, however, will not transform the enterprise. The singular opportunities enabled by these capabilities will only occur for companies that dedicate themselves to making machine learning part of a larger digital transformation strategy. The results of the SAP/EIU survey explain the makeup of the evolving machine learning enterprise. We’ve identified key traits important to the success of these machine-learning leaders that can serve as a template for others as well as an overview of the outcomes they’re already seeing from their efforts.

Learn more and download the full study here.

This story originally appeared on the Digitalist.

Categories: What's New

Talking Tech at the Dinner Table: What is Cloud?

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 12:45
The cloud is everywhere. It’s a disruptive force, changing the game forever, ubiquitous even — but could you explain it to your family over Sunday dinner?

While most of us are aware of what the cloud is and can even confidently discuss it in a top-line conversation, many may hesitate if asked for a clear, one-sentence description of what it is and why it’s important — an elevator pitch, so to speak.

What does it boil down to? The cloud is a network of internet servers designed to make storing and accessing content more secure, simple, and efficient.

Let’s unpack that a bit.

Where Did the Cloud Come From?

The idea of the cloud has been around in one form or another since the 1960s. Typically, experts give credit for the concept to one or two computer scientists: JCR Licklider, an early contributor to the creation of the internet, or John McCarthy, who is often referred to as the “father of artificial intelligence.”

Licklider’s vision was heavily focused on interconnectivity; he believed that everyone should be able to access data from anywhere and that sounds pretty close to what we’re seeing today with cloud computing. McCarthy envisioned a similar concept; he advocated for an open global network and saw computers and the internet as a public utility.

Ultimately, it took some time for the concept of cloud computing to become fully baked and ready for public consumption, in large part due to the restrictions on bandwidth that made the internet generally inaccessible until the 1990s.

When Did It Become So Huge?

“Cloud” has certainly been the buzzword that everyone is talking about for a few years now and has at this point effectively penetrated everyday conversation. Cloud hacks are discussed frequently in the news, consumers make sure their iCloud has enough space for all of their vacation photos, and if that wasn’t enough, Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal even did a bit about “no one understanding the cloud” in a romantic comedy a few year back. How’s that for going mainstream?

It’s hard to believe that the cloud as we know it is relatively new and its prevalence as a mainstream topic of conversation is even more so – but it is! For example, Google Trends shows that 2008 was when the public really began looking for more information about the cloud, or more specifically “cloud computing,” which was then still a nascent technology.

Then, as the graph below shows, when conversation around the topic picked up speed, the public got a lot more comfortable dropping the more formal “cloud computing” nomenclature in favor of the colloquial term we typically use today, “the cloud.”

Cloud services are growing in popularity and adoption generally – SAP is no different.

In fact, SAP even expanded its partner ecosystem with 600 new businesses partnering up to work directly with the company’s cloud portfolio. As a result, channel revenue saw whopping triple-digit growth in 2017 with the profit option of the SAP PartnerEdge Cloud Choice program, proving a popular and profitable avenue for “cloud only” partners.

While it’s only one example, this kind of massive cloud exposure is certainly indicative of more extensive market appetite.

Why Is This Important For My Business?

We’ve touched on some of the more obvious consumer benefits of the cloud, but what’s in it for businesses? The short answer? A lot.

We’re seeing more businesses than ever before switch over to a cloud model in order to take advantage of the sizeable perks, including cost efficiency, security, flexibility, and reliability. Moving to the cloud allows businesses to solve problems quickly and, perhaps most importantly, stay under budget while also experiencing massive growth.

How? To get a better picture of this, you need to first consider the alternative. For years, buying or building complex systems and maintaining them internally was the norm for businesses. Too often, businesses would only focus on the upfront cost of building out a legacy system without considering the total cost of ownership — IT support, upgrades, additional hardware, etc.

Take the healthcare sector: Gartner’s IT Budget report last year showed that healthcare companies often spend a whopping 75 percent of their IT budgets keeping internal systems up to date. With a cloud model, you wouldn’t need to worry about those manual updates since this is handled by the vendor automatically.

The important benefit and key takeaway here is scalability, or the ability to grow your IT department at the same pace as your business. When you don’t have to spend all of your IT budget upfront, your business can free up additional dollars to spend on growing. Those saved IT funds can be redirected to support sales, marketing, or other needs. Then when you start expanding, you can expand your cloud services to match.

What Types of Cloud Are There?

The easiest way to break down the types of cloud is by remembering that the three main types refer to preferences in how cloud services are being deployed rather than the actual type of technology being used.

We’ll start with the most common method of deployment: the public cloud. With this option, cloud services are owned, operated, and provided by a third-party vendor — like SAP, for instance. The public cloud is the most popular method for good reason; there is no need to purchase hardware or software so you can keep costs low, you don’t need to worry about maintenance because the service provider is, the network is typically reliable since the provider has processes in place to ensure against failure, and the benefit mentioned earlier – scalability. With the public cloud, you can simply add or remove services to align with your business needs.

Living Proof, a science-based beauty startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, leveraged a public cloud strategy and experienced a staggering 300 percent revenue growth after integrating SAP Business ByDesign — all without even needing to create an IT department.

But not all businesses are created equal and some would benefit from a different type of cloud – the private cloud. A private cloud has many similarities to the public cloud but also some unique differences. Unlike the public cloud, private clouds consist of services used by and customized for one business exclusively. The private cloud can be physically located on site or may also be hosted by a third-party vendor. The services and infrastructure live on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated only to your business.

So why do this? The most frequent users of private clouds tend to be government agencies, financial institutions, and other large companies that are willing for forego some cost-efficiency for improved security and more control over the IT environment.

UAE-based wholesale distributor Truebell Marketing and Trading LLC was looking for a scalable IT infrastructure. To establish routes into new markets and accelerate time to value, Truebell opted to migrate to the private edition of SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The distributor can now expand its business in a fraction of the time.

The old saying insists that you can’t have your cake and eat it too, but that’s not necessarily true with the final type, the hybrid cloud. Hybrid clouds combine on-premise infrastructure with public clouds so businesses can get the best of both worlds. In a hybrid cloud, data and applications can move between private and public clouds for greater flexibility. Not all business tasks are created equal; you don’t necessarily need the same level of security for firing off emails to your colleagues that you do for more sensitive tasks like financial reporting. The hybrid cloud provides more opportunities for you to customize your IT environment and use the best cloud for the job — meaning you only pay for extra power when you need it.

For example, MOD Pizza, a U.S.-based chain of fast casual pizza restaurants with over 190 stores and 3,400 employees, has been experiencing massive growth. As a result, the company was hiring more than ever, up to 300 new employees a week, many of whom have troubled pasts or criminal records, as part of the company’s second-chance focused mission. Faced with this challenge, the company leveraged a hybrid cloud solution from SAP to fill important needs in the HR department. By using SAP SuccessFactors solutions, Mod Pizza was provided the digital infrastructure to retain the same personalized employee experience that has contributed to the company’s tight-knit, customer-centric, and community-driven culture as they expand.

Conclusion

You now have deeper insight into the basics of the cloud that you can pass along. We’ve covered a lot of ground here, including identifying a simple definition of the cloud, exploring a bit of its history, listing different cloud variants, and breaking down why it’s so vital to businesses today.

When you’re surrounded everyday by the latest and greatest technology like we are at SAP, it’s important to remember that not everyone shares that experience. This means that regardless of whether we’re talking to customers, friends, or colleagues, it’s imperative that we’re able to distill down the high-level technological concepts driving business today into easily digestible, bite-sized chunks that even your grandparents can easily understand and internalize.

Cathy Daum is senior vice president of Global Channels & General Business for Cloud Sales & Solutions at SAP.

Categories: What's New

SAP Opens Next-Gen Chapters at North American Universities to Help Customers Speed Innovation

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 12:35
WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced the opening of 11 campus-located SAP Next-Gen Chapters, which will join SAP customers with universities across North America to spur innovation.

These campus outposts will collaborate with more than 500 educational institutions in the SAP Next-Gen program network in North America. The chapters aim to share best practices for educating graduates with SAP skills, while inspiring industries to work with students and researchers to accelerate innovation and insights into the digital future. Additional chapters across the globe are planned to open in 2018.

“Today’s digital disrupters are tapping into the mind-set of academic thought leaders and researchers, students, and startups, and linking innovation to a higher purpose,” said Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen, SAP. “The SAP Next-Gen Chapters will enable our long-established SAP University Alliances member schools to accelerate the education of next-generation leaders using the latest SAP technologies. SAP customers will be able to tap this digitally educated and purpose-focused talent pool to support how they digitally transform into best-run, intelligent enterprises.”

SAP Next-Gen Chapters in North America are part of the SAP University Alliances program and its affiliated University Competence Center locations at California State University, Chico, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Other new chapters include Central Michigan University, Delaware State University, Grand Valley State University, HEC Montréal, Missouri University of Science and Technology, San Diego State University, University of Arkansas, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Southern California.

Cross-topic chapters aim to offer the broad range of programs available through SAP Next-Gen, SAP University Alliances, and SAP Young Thinkers. Focus-topic chapters will specialize in specific subjects or purposes, such as digital core with SAP S/4HANA; digital innovation with analytics, machine learning or blockchain technology; the Code with Purpose program by SAP Next-Gen, which fosters a global movement of students to develop disruptive solutions to social problems; innovation methodologies, including science fiction thinking and purpose thinking; #sheinnovates, which opens innovation and technology to young women and girls; and SAP Next-Gen Labs, connecting customers, academia and partners to use SAP Leonardo capabilities for “innovation with purpose” projects that are linked to the 17 UN global goals for sustainable development.

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

Media Contact:
Steve Collins, SAP, +1 (617) 335-5456, st.collins@sap.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.
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Categories: What's New

Tigerspike Team Challenge in Dubai: iOS Enterprise Apps for the Customer

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 09:30
Tigerspike delivers business value fast by taking a hands-on approach to learning and knowledge transfer when it comes to applying new technologies to solve customer needs.

The SAP global partner recently held a one-day team event at the SAP offices in Dubai to ensure that its developers were up to speed and ready with the latest version of SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, a critical component for building the iOS enterprise apps that customers are increasingly turning to for enterprise mobility solutions.

Tigerspike Team Challenge in Dubai: Hackathon gives developers hands-on experience working with SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS.

A 40-member multidisciplinary team of engineers along with UX and UI designers from Tigerspike participated in the team event, held March 29, 2018. Following a brief introduction to the SAP technology, the participants split into six teams to solve one of three possible challenges: build an app for a human resources manager to drive team morale by implementing a transparent employee rewards program; build an app to simplify the end-to-end journey of having a car serviced; or build an app for field and maintenance team management on an oil and gas field. Tigerspike’s problem-solving practice, Catalyst, was used to uncover the solutions that would complement all constraints.

The teams worked on SAP Cloud Platform, downloading data from the cloud. Using SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, they explored ways to bring the enterprise data onto a mobile device, presented with a visually-appealing user interface that incorporated the SAP Fiori for iOS design language. When questions arose, the teams could turn to an on-site coach and two remote technical experts for guidance. For more information about hackathons involving SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS, see SAP Code Challenge for Enterprise iOS Apps: Build a Great iOS Enterprise App in Just Six Hours.

For the Tigerspike teams, the day provided an opportunity for hands-on work with SAP tools and technologies. “We’re taking each of these technologies and applying them to business problems to solve customer needs,” said Steve Burrows, program director, Tigerspike. “The output from today will be five or six different prototypes; using the technology to tackle, envision, and display designs; and how our code is actually getting involved with the SDK.”

At the end of the day when the judges made their final decision, it was the TigerTracks Car Servicing app that won the award for top prototype. The app provides an end-to-end, automated solution that simplifies the 13-step process for scheduling regular car maintenance, including scheduling drop-off/pick-up, parts ordering, and record maintenance. The app integrates SAP Vehicle Insights, SAP Multi-Resource Scheduling, SAP Supply Chain Management, SAP Expenditure, as well as machine learning and blockchain capabilities from SAP Leonardo, SAP’s digital innovation suite.

For more impressions from the Tigerspike Team Challenge, watch this video:

Additional Resources for SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS   

Watch the SAP Developer Relations events page to find out about upcoming SAP Code Challenge for iOS Enterprise Apps events happening near you. You can also, get started with SAP iOS SDK: Official Tutorials and Resources. First, you will need to sign up for a developer account on SAP Cloud Platform. Developers will want to check out the SAP Fiori Mentor App in the iTunes store. Designers will want to check out the UX Design Stencils for iPad and iPhone: SAP Fiori for iOS design language.

Categories: What's New

openSAP Celebrates Five Years and 2.5 Million Enrollments

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 08:30
WALLDORFSAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced the five-year anniversary of the openSAP platform, an online learning platform that has trained more than 630,000 individuals from over 200 countries.
  • openSAP offers 140 massive open online courses (MOOCs) to over 630,000 learners
  • openSAP achieves a 98 percent satisfaction rate
  • All new courses include German, French and Spanish video subtitles

One of the first providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs), openSAP originally offered just three courses. Today it has grown to offer more than 140 courses, available free of charge, and has spurred over 2.5 million course enrollments. Hosted and run by the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI), openSAP was recently recognized as one of the top 100 brands for digital transformation based on industry research from Onalytica.

“Five years ago, I envisioned SAP sharing knowledge freely through interactive social media systems. With the collaboration between SAP and HPI, we have realized this and reached 630,000 people globally,” said Professor Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE. “We originally adopted MOOCs, currently counting 200,000 learners with 500,000 enrollments on the openHPI platform at Hasso Plattner Institute for academic learning. It is incredible how the SAP ecosystem has embraced this platform for enterprise learning. Through users providing their open feedback on both the platform and the solutions, and latest innovations they’re learning about, we can continue to improve and deliver to meet their needs.”

Through the openSAP platform, learners have access to peers and SAP experts as well as the most up-to-date information on SAP solutions and digital technologies. The platform has bolstered knowledge, fueled innovation and facilitated collaboration across cultures. In March, openSAP reached a milestone of 630,000 unique students from over 200 countries. Moreover, the learning experience provided by openSAP achieved a 98 percent satisfaction rate.

“Our dream for openSAP was to break down the barriers of digital learning, giving everyone the tools to lift themselves up through free education,” said Bill McDermott, CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “Five years and 2.5 million course enrollments later, I’m incredibly proud of the team’s achievements to make that dream a reality. We want to be the voice of the intelligent enterprise where people come to learn, grow and unleash their amazing potential – and with openSAP, we’re only getting started.”

Ever evolving, openSAP will take advantage of SAP Leonardo Machine Learning capabilities to tailor course content to individual needs by integrating German, French and Spanish subtitles into English video content and transcripts. Upon successful course completion, learners will be able to collect digital badges that can be displayed on social media and professional profiles to showcase proficiency in subject areas specific to SAP innovations.

To celebrate this five-year achievement of openSAP, a new slate of courses with subtitle options will be available in the coming months. They include:

  • Climate Change, Risks, and Challenges (Short Track Version) (April 19): Produced by World Wide Fund for Nature Germany in cooperation with Deutsches Klima-Konsortium, this course explores how global warming is affecting our world and what we can do to slow it down.
  • Managing Java Systems on SAP NetWeaver (May 2): Focused on the runtime environment for SAP software systems based on SAP NetWeaver Application Server for Java, this course enables learners to run applications based on this technology platform in a secure, stable and performant manner.
  • SAP Business ByDesign Project-Based Services (May 8): Learners are exposed to customer-facing and internal project-based services in the SAP Business ByDesign solution, including tight process integration with other areas such as sales, invoicing, purchasing and financials.
  • Introduction to SAP HANA Dynamic Tiering (May 15): Users learn to implement the SAP HANA dynamic tiering platform to scale SAP HANA software. The course includes demonstrations highlighting key aspects and hands-on exercises to reinforce learning.
  • Object-Oriented Programming in Java (June 13): Colleagues from Hasso Plattner Institute lead this course to help students understand key concepts of object-oriented programming (OOP) as well as fundamental programming techniques. Their knowledge will be tested with hands-on exercises in the Java programming language.

To help connect people with information to address some of the world’s needs, such as IT skills, courses given on the openSAP platform that focus on digital transformation will be available through theskillset.org. This is the official platform for the IT Industry Skills Initiative launched during the 2018 World Economic Forum.

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

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 388,000 business and public sector customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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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

Five Years Running, openSAP MOOCs Score Unbelievably High Customer Satisfaction Levels

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 08:29
When I first wrote introducing openSAP MOOCs to the world five years ago, none of us had an inkling of how this experiment would turn out. Then thousands of course registrations poured in almost immediately, leaving no doubt that this online learning platform was much more than a passing fad. Now openSAP deservedly boasts 98 percent satisfaction levels among attendees who total over 630,000 with 2.5 million course enrollments.

Bernd Welz

“Learner satisfaction is spectacular, almost unbelievably high,” said Bernd Welz, executive vice president of Solution and Knowledge Packaging at SAP. “At the time, some thought we were chasing hype. Five years later, we’ve established openSAP as our community learner network, enabling an expanding ecosystem to keep up with our open innovation strategy.”

Knowledge When You Need It Most

Yuksel Akcinar, a technology consultant at Istanbul-based CoretoEdge, agreed that MOOCS are flawlessly fit for rapidly changing markets. At CoretoEdge, he installs SAP software, and provides integration and maintenance services. The knowledge he’s gained from attending over a dozen MOOCs has been instrumental in helping him meet the needs of customers across Europe.

“We can help customers better plan their future because we have a greater understanding of what’s possible,” said Akcinar. “For example, I used what I learned in the SAP HANA MOOCs during onsite customer installations. I recommended customers take these courses too, so they can see what the architecture and orchestration looked like and how it can assist them.”

Not Just For IT

Stella Chibundu, a U.S.-based entrepreneur, relies on openSAP courses for a combination of inspiration and IT know-how. They’ve helped her stay updated on the latest technologies and business trends, and she sees value whether someone is just beginning their career, rejoining the workforce, or looking for new opportunities. Reasoning that the internet permeates everyone’s lives daily, Chibundu saw equal relevance of the classes for IT and non-IT professionals.

“I’ve come out of every openSAP class with important knowledge and experiences, directly related to either my IT background, my current position as a business owner or future pursuits,” she said. “I took the Women: Build Outrageously Successful Businesses from Scratch course, which applies to anyone who wants to own their own business. One of the analytics classes exposed me to how social apps use our data to sell us other products. I want to learn about the innovations in SAP Leonardo, and plan to take that course.”

There is no better way to learn about new technologies than by watching SAP experts do it firsthand and then doing it yourself

How To Be An Inventor

Chibundu found some courses were extremely valuable for anyone developing products or creating a marketing strategy. Exchanging ideas during online discussion forums with other participants helped her understand how to apply design concepts to any invention.

“You get an idea of how people’s minds work. The Software Design for Non-Designers course taught me a lot about software design, but the assignment also gave me a framework to rethink a product, in my case, a toilet bowl brush,” she said. “Collaborating with other people in the course helped us think outside the box, and apply software design principles into a daily tool. You think both as an inventor and a consumer.”

Chibundu found the hands-on class assignments and peer reviews equally valuable. “When you had to perform the activities – set up systems, add your data, conduct the processes – you put your knowledge into practice, and retain much more of what you’ve learned,” she said.

A Formula for Success

Welz said the company relied on continuous feedback from participants like Chibundu and Akcinar to stay abreast of their learning needs. One example was reopening courses for attendees who wanted to take the final exam but missed the original closing date.  Welz is blown away by the sheer scale of the platform’s reach.

“The topic and format has huge appeal to many kinds of professionals who appreciate the short but concise four-week course structure in manageable chunks they can fit into their busy lives. The content is easily accessible offline at their convenience, and we make sure the quality never fails,” he said.

Indeed, Yusek cited access to SAP experts among the top reasons he values openSAP MOOCs. He particularly appreciated the video demonstrations and access to technology.

“There is no better way to learn about configuring and applying these new technologies than by watching SAP experts do it first-hand and then doing it myself,” said Yusek. “It’s so much faster than reading a document, instantly showing me how the software works and what it can do for our customers.”

Yusek also found that taking the weekly quizzes reinforced what he’d learned, while the record of achievement was important for inclusion on his CV.

Celebrating a Milestone With New Features

The openSAP platform just rolled out a slew of new capabilities including subtitles in German, Spanish and French languages powered by SAP Leonardo machine learning. New digital badges will help learners share their achievements more easily. Recognizing that learners are increasingly on the go, the platform is also releasing a native iOS app so people can watch course content on their iPad or iPhone, and now supports MP3 files for downloading videos and slides. In addition, for the first time this year, developers can prep for their SAP HANA certification exam using openSAP courses.

Follow me: @smgaler.

Categories: What's New

This Compensation Analytics Tool Delivers a Big Bonus – to the Compensation Team

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 11:15
In my experience, I’ve learned that job pressure is a fact of life for most of us. But I found out about a new level of business pressure when speaking with France Lampron about EIR Compensation Analytics, an app available on SAP App Center that’s designed to make life easier for HR and compensation professionals.

In fact, their stress stems from something that may be near and dear to a lot of companies: annual bonuses.

The Demands of “Pay for Performance” – for HR

France, the president and CEO of Enterprise Information Resources, explained it this way: “Twenty years ago, there was a major shift toward ‘pay for performance,’ and today, most organizations award bonuses as a significant element of employee compensation. However, bonuses are awarded not on anniversary dates, but at year-end, and the bonus amounts are typically determined over just a two-week period. It happens one time during the year for the entire organization!”

Complicating matters, she added, are the many stakeholders involved in the process, reviewing and adding and then acting on the final information. Meanwhile, executives and managers want to see current, on-time reports. And then there’s a race for the HR people to get everything done accurately and ready for the tax filing deadline, which in the U.S. is April 15.

That’s a pretty tight window. Imagine trying to do this manually with spreadsheets. And I’ll bet you didn’t even think about all the heartburn behind the scenes for the HR folks when you got your last bonus — assuming that you got one, that is.

Reporting – Once a Tough Job

Luckily, France is a longtime expert in compensation and variable pay, with a background as a software entrepreneur. In 2010, after her company was acquired in a series of mergers, she was invited by SAP SuccessFactors to help customers with implementation.

“But product development was in our DNA, and I began to analyze this space that I love,” she remarked. “I discovered that, while SAP SuccessFactors had nailed the overall process, the software couldn’t generate the stats as individual companies required. HR managers were creating these reports, taking care of it themselves in accordance with their corporate guidelines. But it took hours, and sometimes they could not respond to changes.”

Then along came SAP Cloud Platform. “I said, ‘Yes! This is unbelievable!’” added France. “Now, with the flexibility of this platform, we can help customers with their specific needs. We began to build a whole array of data and analytics tools for automating compensation cycles.”

Access to Data and Analytics – Regardless of Role

As its name illustrates, EIR Compensation Analytics comes to the rescue by providing access to compensation data analytics for every user involved. In short, it integrates with the SAP SuccessFactors Compensation platform through SAP Cloud Platform to deliver real-time data. The SAP HANA database does a lot of work on behalf of the customer; you just hit a button and regenerate a report that incorporates all the latest changes.

Fast Approval – As IT Can Meet Its Responsibility for Security

I asked France about her choice of SAP Cloud Platform rather than another cloud offering. “It really was not an option,” she said. “We do business with very large corporations. Security is paramount, not least because the data involved is personal and highly sensitive. Our clients are compensation professionals, not IT specialists. They don’t care about the technology, but they trust us to take care of them. They have a need that we can meet, and it’s a heck of a lot easier for them to get IT approval for our product because it’s built on the same security framework they are already using with SAP SuccessFactors software. And our solution is certified by SAP.”

It’s gratifying to France and her team that clients absolutely love the product, and that IT departments can skip over the rigorous vendor analysis process and sign off quickly in time for the next compensation cycle.

For EIR, a Partnership With SAP

As EIR continues its growth trajectory, offering implementation and consulting services as well as product development and customer support, the team has expanded to about 20 people, based in the Greater Boston area. France told me that she’ll travel from there to Orlando to attend SAPPHIRE NOW and the SAP Global Partner Summit on June 4-7. In fact, she attends the conference every year. “As an SAP partner involved with SAP App Center, we get so inspired there!”

And if you’re a compensation professional, I hope you’re inspired to try EIR Compensation Analytics directly from SAP App Center. Please let me know what you think in the comments box below.

Bill Rojas is senior director of Digital Transformation and Partner Engagement for SAP Digital. Contact him on Twitter | LinkedIn. He kicked off this series of blogs on partner apps on the SAP App Center in December 2017. Read more here.

Categories: What's New

Three Reasons for CFOs and Finance Professionals to Attend SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG Annual Conference

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 10:15
In 2018, SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference looks to be the year’s premier event for finance professionals, whether you’re the CFO of an enterprise or you’re a boots-on-the-ground finance and risk daily practitioner.

With keynote speeches from leaders across several industries, more than 300 sessions about finance tailored to your organization’s needs, and countless opportunities to meet and talk to other customers and partners, no one from your finance team will want to miss this trip to Orlando in June.

SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference is an educational and networking event that will continue to add value to your finance team throughout the year, long after the conference is over.

Return Results-Driven

At SAPPHIRE NOW, a variety of events — delivered as panels, keynotes, discussions, and presentations — create a diversity of key takeaways for you and your team. Leading CFOs in the industry will present customer sessions, including leaders from Swiss Re and Andeavor. Attendees will have the singular benefit of learning how the most successful finance teams are using next-generation technology to drive results. With sessions addressing a range of topics from consolidation in the cloud to cash application software, finance team members will gain new perspective on daily operations such as closing the books, security and controls, and spend management.

Your team will leave with the tools to streamline financial management and turn payables into strategic assets that free up working capital, optimize cash flow, and deliver greater bottom-line value.

Return Reconnected

At SAPPHIRE NOW, finance professionals have the opportunity to interact with high-level SAP representatives. In Orlando, your team can take full advantage of these paramount opportunities – to meet the right lead with an open ear. The range of additional possible connections includes peers in the finance community, top-level accounting executives, and professionals in nearly every enterprise capability from development to sales.

You and your team will leave with new connections to people and perspectives – and new ideas and processes for things like accounting and budgeting. Discover emerging trends in financial analytics and develop strategies to apply them to your own organization’s workflow.

Return Recharged

The finance industry is ever-evolving, the digital stage changing rapidly with constant innovation. Social finance, AI-enabled finance, instant finance: the landscape of technological disruption proliferates with ground-breaking concepts. At the same time, changes in technology usher in new challenges that your organization must address: complying with GDPR, safeguarding data, detecting fraud, and increasing client demands for transparency. Don’t get caught on your back foot.

At SAPPHIRE NOW, you and your team will gain exposure to game-changing technologies in interactive sessions with SAP solution leaders. You can have one-on-one interaction with SAP software engineers to ask specific questions to address challenges unique to your organization. You’ll leave the conference in a position to be pro-active rather than re-active.

Still Unsure of How the Event Will Revitalize Your Finance Department’s Digital Transformation?

Getting out of the office is crucial to avoid stagnation – this is true for any professional, whether the office is an executive suite or a cubicle. Spending time among other finance customers, with the opportunity to ask questions and consider outside-the-box and hands-on technology, provides your team with the unparalleled opportunity to re-imagine their own processes.

Don’t miss the chance to customize the SAPPHIRE NOW experience so it caters to your exclusive context and client needs.  With recommended agendas for the CFO and general finance, this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG Annual Conference promises sustainable, end-to-end productivity for your finance organization.

If you haven’t registered yet, get your team registered today.

See you in sunny Orlando!

Henner Schliebs is global vice president of Audience Marketing for SAP S/4HANA and Finance at SAP.

Categories: What's New

Greasing the Wheels of Oil and Gas Divestiture through the Cloud

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 09:15
As market conditions continue to create uncertainty in the oil and gas industry, companies survive oil price fluctuations by operating lean and controlling their cost base. When Assala Energy beat the clock to acquire assets owned by Royal Dutch Shell, the company demonstrated how fast, new cloud-based business applications can be delivered to eliminate overhead and seize opportunity.

“When you embark on the acquisition of another company, you never know what’s going to happen. And you never know exactly what’s going to be required,” explained Tommy Mars, managing director, as he tells the story about how his energy management consultancy firm, Opportune, helped UK-based, Carlyle-backed, Assala Energy beat the clock to ink one of the largest foreign direct investments in sub-Saharan Africa, for Gabon onshore assets owned by international oil major Royal Dutch Shell.

Opportunities in Divesting

As market conditions continue to create uncertainty in the oil and gas industry, companies survive oil price fluctuations by focusing on being lean. They are rigorously eliminating waste, managing by exception, focusing on core skills, outsourcing their commodity tasks, and optimizing production and throughput of existing assets.

This creates opportunity for mid-market firms like Assala Energy as large enterprises like Shell opt for a divestiture strategy in parts of their business where substantial corporate overhead eats into profit margins. Shell’s program of divesting $30 billion worth of assets through 2018 focuses on the most competitive projects that can earn returns even at lower points in an oil price cycle. They plan to exit five to 10 countries and focus only on projects that provide competitive advantages.

But there was a catch. To execute the $628 million acquisition, Assala had to set up a complete corporate IT application estate in less than six months. “When you enter into one of these acquisition deals, there is a transition period over which the work is done to ensure that when the business is finally purchased, it meets the intended outcome for both parties,” explained Jonathan Davis, IT Transformation director for Assala.

Assala was acquiring a business that had been running in Gabon 40 years. Their goal was for a seamless and transparent transition to minimize the impact on employees.

Teaming Up to Meet the Challenge

“We went in knowing that we were going to acquire certain assets from Shell where SAP was probably one of the most significant applications supporting the business, and that they would have more than 300 hundred people familiar with using SAP in some way, shape, or form,” said Davis.

The team that met the challenge of delivering the solution in this short timeline included Opportune, Accenture, and SAP. Opportune provided client-side project management and SAP business process expertise. Accenture served as application systems partner, leveraging their Accenture Upstream Direct© industry template to bring deep experience in both the Upstream Oil & Gas sector and SAP agile delivery methods. SAP provided hosting services.

“Using the latest agile approach to delivering SAP solutions; the combined strengths and assets from Accenture, SAP and Opportune; and the focus that an acquisition deal completion date can bring; drove the team to achieve a common goal to deliver operational-ready business SAP applications in under six months,” explained Phil A. Smith, Accenture managing director, SAP.

Together the team implemented SAP S/4HANA Oil & Gas solution on SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, as well as SAP SuccessFactors solutions. They successfully transitioned employees off the Shell systems onto Assala’s new platform that included payroll and another 40 core applications.

With no time to spare, in November 2017, Assala announced the successful completion of the acquisition.

Focusing on the Assets

“The bigger picture that I think this demonstrates to companies of a similar size, is that you can implement SAP in a very quick and sustainable kind of way – in a six-month sort of timeframe, with one of the big system integrators using SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, in a way that isn’t going to break the bank,” said Davis.

By removing excess overhead and placing a stronger focus on the assets themselves, Assala can now run a very lean business. “Effectively, upstream oil and gases are a very simple business. You take the oil out of the ground, you sell it for the price – whatever the price is and what the market is trading at the time. The main thing you have to control is your cost base, and having SAP gives us a very strong, reliable, view on how cost is accumulating so we can manage more effectively,” said Davis.

This is just the beginning. Over time, Assala plans to look for new growth and expansion opportunities as well as play an important role in the future development of Gabon’s energy sector. Stay tuned!

Categories: What's New

Utilities Providers Select SAP Software to Drive Convenience and Personalization for Customers

Wed, 04/25/2018 - 09:00
WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that more providers are choosing SAP Hybris solutions for utilities to stay ahead of the industry, support generation of new revenue and increase profits.

Integration of the SAP Hybris solution into SAP S/4HANA, utilities billing capabilities and industry-specific capabilities of the SAP Customer Relationship Management application are helping providers deliver expert advice and bundled services with relevant offers.

SAP Hybris Customers Reimagine Engagement Opportunities

The utilities industry is experiencing a period of rapid transformation, with competition on the rise and reregulation, decarbonization and decentralization transforming expectations. As a result, utilities need to offer more than their core energy service. According to a recent IDC survey (“Energy End Consumer Survey”), engagement within the utilities industry remains a challenge. The survey found that:

  • 52 percent of consumers contact their energy supplier less than once a year
  • 51 percent note that self-service engagement channels “never” work properly
  • 52 percent of utility consumers do not understand what they are paying for

With SAP Hybris solutions, utility providers are able to analyze data quickly and create a 360-degree view of their customers so that they can sell innovative, turnkey solutions and services in real time to increase their revenue stream.

Companies who have recently selected SAP software include the following:

EneRa in Germany is at the helm of digital transformation, combining new technology with business trends such as the sharing economy. Subsidized by the government as a research project, EneRa implemented the SAP Hybris Revenue Cloud solution and SAP Cloud Platform with machine learning capabilities to build a solution for collecting its customers’ compute power to use in times of overproduction by renewable energy to transform electric power into actual results of machine learning algorithms. Universities and companies can access these CO2-neutral distributed data centers for machine learning, which are similar to supercomputers.

“With SAP Hybris solutions for utilities we have been able to take advantage of next-generation technology to reduce waste through renewable resources,” said Christian Arnold, managing director, EneRa, EWE. “With machine learning capabilities, we have been able to harness excess energy to deliver an entirely new product and deliver added value through our CO2-neutral data centers.”

REWAG needed a simple-to-implement, user-friendly solution to structure its customer and sales information in one place. Its sales teams required mobile online and offline access so they could access and enter data on the go at customer sites. After implementing the SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer solution in only 50 days, REWAG was able to get a clearer, more utility-focused view of customers, speeding sales and helping REWAG serve its customers through tight integration with its SAP-based utilities capabilities.

Jemena owns and operates a diverse portfolio of energy and water transportation assets in Australia supplying millions of households and businesses with essential services every day. Jemena has deployed SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer in just eight weeks to deliver a single customer view to staff in the office and the field.

TXU Energy is the largest electricity provider in Texas with 1.7 million customers. After introducing new products such as Web-controlled thermostats and home and HVAC system service warranties, TXU integrated SAP Hybris Billing into its existing solution to consolidate billing for all energy- and non-energy-related services.

Dynamic Offerings to Build New Revenue Streams

“SAP Hybris solutions are providing a foundation for utilities companies to look at their business through a new lens,” said Matthias Goehler, senior vice president, head of SAP Hybris industries. “By eliminating the guess work from customer data, supporting dynamic pricing models and facilitating omnichannel engagement, we’ve helped companies push the boundaries of what’s possible within the utilities space by building new revenue streams and opening the door to a more competitive marketplace.”

SAP has been recognized for its industry-leading solution for 12 consecutive years in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Utilities Customer Information Systems. Additionally, SAP is a Leader in the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Subscription Relationship Management 2017 Vendor Assessment.

For more information, visit www.hybris.com/en/solutions/industries/utilities.

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

Media Contacts:
Michael Baxter, SAP, +49 151 1719 6185, m.baxter@sap.com, CET
Jenny Radloff or Nikki Festa, PAN Communications, +1 617-502-4300, SAPHybris@pancomm.com, ET

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Categories: What's New

Predictive Analytics for Business Departments

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 11:30
The new SAP Predictive Analytics integrator makes it easier for companies to integrate and use their own data models in SAP software solutions.

Within an intelligent enterprise, all business departments should be able use predictive analytics. Its deployment scenarios range from inventory and contract management to the early detection of fraud.

Capgemini’s 2018 study on IT trends shows that predictive analytics is steadily gaining in importance. Ranked third in this year’s study, it is a high priority for more than half of those surveyed, topped only by privacy by design and security automation.

It is no surprise that predictive analytics is receiving a lot of interest. The technology enables companies to use historical data to identify, for example, the customers or employees it is in danger of losing – before it is too late. They can then reach out to these customers or employees and take appropriate action to retain them. The technology can also forecast product sales in selected countries, assess credit risk, and enable predictive machine maintenance.

The IT structure of an intelligent enterprise. Predictive analytics belongs in the business intelligence category; SAP Leonardo Machine Learning is one of the underlying technologies.

How Does Predictive Analytics Work?

First, the data manager component in SAP Predictive Analytics prepares vast amounts of data. Then, based on this data, users configure their own basic predictive models, select training datasets and filters, and train the algorithm within the application. Automating the creation of models means that users no longer need to write their own algorithms, which makes deploying the technology to business departments significantly easier. It is also possible to run a large array of models at optimal performance levels.

Leveraging machine learning capabilities, the models constantly and automatically adapt to new data, therefore ensuring that the outcomes remain reliable. The results are integrated directly into familiar applications so that all users — from board members to plant managers — can access the outcomes and instigate action accordingly. And crucially, the software presents the data in an intuitive format that is easy to understand.

This smart approach makes it easier for business departments to adopt predictive analytics. As such, nothing stands in the way of using this technology – in almost all SAP applications.

“Thanks to our automated forecasting functions, companies can very quickly create forecast models and integrate them into their business processes,” says Dr. Sarah Detzler, a data scientist at SAP. “The ability to identify patterns and complex connections within their data gives them new insight and predictive information that they can use to improve their processes.”

Predictive Analytics in Action

Predictive analytics is no longer just a distant dream. A host of other examples show just what is achievable.

German bookstore chain Thalia deploys a platform solution combining SAP HANA and SAP Predictive Analytics to create analyses and forecasts that help the company offer as pleasant a customer experience as possible. The process covers more than 250 stores with varying requirements, e-readers, thousands of inventory items, and more than 18 million master data entries. Customers identified as being at risk of churn receive personalized product recommendations and exclusive offers. Thalia uses these and other functions to retain profitable customers and increase customer value.

Cisco Systems and mBank also use predictive analytics to anticipate customer behaviors and, as such, positively influence the consumer buying process.

“No one doubts anymore that predictive analytics adds value. Demand for it is burgeoning and business departments’ interest in embracing predictive methods is strong,” says Detzler.

Predictive inventory management and contract management are two of the scenarios that are already easy to integrate into business processes today. Inventory management is vital to companies that deliver goods or receive stock from their plants and suppliers. To help ensure just-in-time manufacturing, these companies must constantly monitor their stock so that they can react before production comes to a standstill. One tool that helps them do this is the Materials Overdue – Stock in Transit app from SAP, which by forecasting stock delivery times and more, makes requirements planning vastly simpler.

Covering contract creation, execution, and monitoring, contract management enables companies to maximize their operational and financial performance. As such, it is an area where businesses hope to gain practical help from the digital transformation. Predictive analytics technology can foresee every event that may occur throughout the lifetime of a contract — including termination, renewal, orders, and amendments to master agreements with suppliers — so that a company can take appropriate action. SAP Predictive Analytics provides end-to-end workflows to match.

There are plans to include other scenarios, such as fraud detection, as standard in SAP applications; SAP Fraud Management identifies potentially fraudulent activity using historical data.

Predictive analytics could also be used to forecast how likely it is that a business deal will be closed. If sales teams focus on high-potential deals, they stand a better chance of achieving their targets, and they would save time into the bargain. Management would also benefit from being able to forecast revenue more accurately and thus plan more effectively.

Ready to Achieve Remarkable Things

Thanks to SAP Predictive Analytics integrator, fully configured tools for predictive analytics like those described here, are already included as standard in a variety of SAP applications, including SAP S/4HANA, SAP Business Integrity Screening, and SAP Hybris Cloud.

“Business departments can now leverage the data available in SAP solutions such as SAP S/4HANA to train their own models and integrate the outcomes into their business processes,” says Detzler.

Using predictive analytics for specific business processes increases the value of the digital core because the ability to rapidly build and deploy predictive models enables companies to use their data to its full potential. And SAP customers benefit from the best of worlds, since they have the flexibility to either use the standard scenarios or, with the help of SAP Predictive Analytics, to create scenarios that more accurately address their specific business requirements.

SAP Predictive Analytics integrator represents a significant step for SAP. By allowing business departments to adopt pre-programmed algorithms or easily build their own, it gives them access to the valuable world of predictive analytics. Indeed, some customers are already savoring the benefits of being able to identify and promptly react to fraudulent activity or delayed deliveries.

Categories: What's New