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Nearly 70 Percent of Taxpayers Support Use of AI to Improve Accuracy of Filings, Accenture Global Survey Finds

Accenture News - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:17
NEW YORK; Feb. 20, 2018 – Nearly 70 percent of taxpayers in 12 countries said they would use AI to improve the accuracy of tax filings, according to a new study by Accenture (NYSE: ACN), which also found that more than 40 percent of taxpayers reported making a filing error in the last 24 months.
Categories: What's New

Accenture Executive Co-Hosts New Podcast Series on the Future of Artificial Intelligence in Canada

Accenture News - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 07:59
TORONTO; Feb. 20, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) executive Jodie Wallis, who leads the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) practice in Canada, has joined award-winning business journalist Amanda Lang as a co-host of “The AI Effect,” a five-episode podcast mini-series exploring AI in Canada.
Categories: What's New

Accenture Launches New Artificial Intelligence Testing Services

Accenture News - Tue, 02/20/2018 - 01:00
NEW YORK; Feb. 20, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has launched new services for testing artificial intelligence (AI) systems, powered by a unique “Teach and Test” methodology designed to help companies build, monitor and measure reliable AI systems within their own infrastructure or in the cloud.
Categories: What's New

Why Retail’s “Battle Worn” Offer Fantastic Value for Personalization

SAP News - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 14:30
The secret to delivering the best in personalized service is for retailers to achieve a single, unified view of each individual shopper. The ultimate goal is a bespoke customer experience that they will enjoy online, in-store and everywhere else.

“Retailers looking to maintain or grow market share must predict where and how their customers will be buying, and seamlessly deliver online and in-store experiences for them,” Forbes stated earlier this month. “However, these experiences can’t be mass produced — today’s buyers want personalized interaction.”

The trick, however, is that personalization is about more than just crunching the data you can quantify, according to a panel of retail experts at NRF 2018. It’s also about harnessing the human element by gathering experiences from retail associates who have been in the trenches for years.

The Personalization Balancing Act

“When we talk about personalization, what we’re really talking about usually is content,” John Allen, chief technology officer of U.K.-based fast-fashion retailer Missguided, told the panel. “And the thing with content is that it needs to be created, curated, and managed.”

That includes ensuring that a retailer’s personalization efforts can cope with changes in customer behavior, such as shifting shopping platforms from desktops to mobile devices, according to Allen, who warned retailers not to go overboard. For example, don’t make your homepage so highly personalized that it dramatically slows performance, which can turn off shoppers.

“You’ve got to find that balance between the right kind of experience with content and the right experience in mobile,” Allen said. “[And] personalization doesn’t take into account that I’m a loyal customer, but last time I bought from you I had a really poor experience.”

Collecting (and Using) Data Wisely

“Personalization done wrong is potentially disastrous,” Evan Neufeld, Intelligence VP at New York-based business intelligence firm L2 Inc., told the panel. “So we need to be really, really careful about how we actually embrace digital personalization.”

Clever use of data is key here, but only about 11 percent of brands were collecting a lot of information and doing a lot of targeting, according to L2 research that Neufeld shared. Most retailers surveyed (52 percent) were neither collecting data nor personalizing, while the rest were either trying to personalize without data or just collecting data for in-store use.

“We want to see people moving to that quadrant where, if you’re capturing data, you’re deploying data — and that’s the biggest gap we saw,” Neufeld said. “It’s less about what you collect; it’s that if you collect it, you might as well use it — and if you don’t use it, you’re kind of having this weird relationship with consumers.”

The Dream of a Unified View

“There’s nothing worse than a bad ad, and there’s nothing worse than a mistargeted ad,” Neufeld said, holding up Amazon as an example of a brand that uses purchase history and an astute algorithm to make very sound product recommendations. “That’s the dream, but the reality is that we’re nowhere near this level of personalization across the Internet.”

Nor are we there in-store. Integrating different datasets is a challenge that all retailers face, according to Neufeld, but the hope is to one day achieve that unified view of the customer.

“All consumer research says that if I go into a Walmart, or I go into a Warby Parker, I want them to instantly know who I am online,” Neufeld said. “It really becomes about integrating systems so you have this whole continuous view of the customer.”

“Experiences of the Battle Worn”

“When we think of content, we think of creative, we think of branding, products and offers,” Missguided’s Allen said. “I think the future of personalization is not just about content; it’s about personalization of the experiential content, rather than just created content.”

Retailers often miss that point because they tend to favor quantitative data over qualitative, conversational data, the panel’s moderator, SAP Industry Value Lead for Digital Transformation John McCoy, told me in a video. It’s crucial that retailers incorporate the knowledge and experience of sales associates.

“Personalization … is also about gathering the experiences of the battle worn — those who have been there for a while — lived in it, breathed it, talked to customers in-store for the past however many years you’ve been in business,” McCoy said. “And then leveraging that data to ensure that your personalization has that human element.”

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

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

Categories: What's New

Elephants and Rhinos powered by SAP HANA

SAP News - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 12:15
As the threat level facing Africa’s wildlife — particularly elephants and rhinos — continues to grow, traditional methods of supporting conservation efforts are no longer enough.  This growing threat, along with the lack of funding and manpower, has driven the need for a creative solution. SAP partner EPI-USE has developed a game-changing solution, ERP Airforce, which has become a critical component to wildlife protection efforts.

EPI-USE and its groupelephant.com community involvement program strongly believe that the use of technology is essential to improving conservation success.  Key to this are unmanned aviation vehicles (UAVs), which monitor and track elephants within the reserves when it is not possible to monitor in person. The use of UAVs ultimately serves as a proactive deterrent to wildlife poaching related incidents.

How the Technology Works

Technological innovations from SAP in the mobile, cloud, integration, and Big Data spaces utilizing SAP HANA technology, coupled with UAVs and experienced SAP developers at EPI-USE Africa, have resulted in the solution.

“With SAP Cloud Platform and the SAP Fiori mobile libraries, we can build a revolutionary solution in a non-traditional SAP market segment, changing the way conservationists monitor endangered wildlife,” says David Allen, associate manager of ERP Technical Services for EPI-USE.

 

ERP’s solution addresses the threat to elephants and minimizes the human/elephant conflict by fitting the elephants with GPS collars for monitoring purposes. The monitors alert reserve management when elephants are approaching the reserve boundaries.  This enables the reserve to respond proactively and limit the number of breaches. UAVs are used to monitor the elephant once the reserve management is alerted that they are approaching the reserve boundary.

Ensuring the elephants stay inside reserve boundaries reduces the poachers’ access to the animals; outside of reserve boundaries, the elephants are no longer protected. This same ERP Airforce will also be used to monitor poaching activities within the reserves and in the very near future, will be used for other wildlife protection efforts.

This solution is saving the lives of elephants. Now that’s a purpose worth undertaking.

The ERP Airforce solution is set to digitally transform not only EPI-USE’s ERP conservation efforts, but also those of traditional conservation bodies all over the world.

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

Ashley Tully is director of Global Partner and SME Communications at SAP.

Categories: What's New

Social Media Outrage Won’t Stop Human Trafficking; Here’s What Will

SAP News - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 11:00
When it comes to ending workplace slavery, brand attacks might ignite fleeting moments of righteous social media outrage, but companies need to dig a lot deeper into their supply chains for lasting change.

This was my big takeaway after talking with Justin Dillion, founder and CEO of Made In A Free World, right before he spoke during a recent roundtable at SAP’s Hudson Yards offices in New York. The occasion was Human Trafficking Awareness Month, but the challenge remains top of mind for organizations every day of the year.

Slavery Is Not a Brand Problem

Dillion’s company has created a fintech tool called FRDM that help organizations measure slavery risk in their supply chain, and use their purchasing power to solve the problem. “The way to beat the bad guys is to fix the commercial relationship around them, and make it impossible for them to do business,” said Dillion.

 #Fintech tool measures human trafficking risk in supply chains so buyers and sellers can solve problems together

Atomize Risk

Made In A Free World originated as a data-driven survey to see if consumers cared about the presence of slave labor in the products they used.  “Companies told us they didn’t have a tool to measure slavery – it was too big – and they didn’t have a way to talk about it,” said Dillion.

FRDM relies on a growing database of customers and their suppliers collectively identifying risk and making better buying decisions. The tool is embedded in the SAP Ariba business network, and according to Dillion, influences over $10 billion in commerce. A self-described hope-aholic, Dillion said most of humanity, (and by extension, the organizations they work for), exists on a continuum between perfection and evil. He emphasized that FRDM is not about shame and blame.

“It’s not a ratings tool for blacklisting companies. It’s a tool to atomize risk because when you look at risk in your supply chain, it’s seldom in the first tier. And if you don’t know where the risk is, you can’t create a plan to mitigate it.”

Normalize Doing Business for the Greater Good

Dillions said FRDM was built over the past few years as regulations expanded, and border patrols began paying much more attention to imports. Companies in numerous industries including retail, financial services, aerospace, insurance are using the tool to create a “virtuous network” where good companies collectively use their spending power for the greater good profits.

“We’re all about return on investment [ROI], and it’s not just purpose-driven ROI,” said Dillions. “When a buyer and supplier start to work together on these challenges, transparency happens with networks forming. This saves customers time and operational budget, and makes it more difficult for people to do bad things like slavery, for this generation and upcoming ones.”

Follow me: @smgaler

Categories: What's New

The Man With the Plan for Innovation at SAP: Juergen Mueller

SAP News - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:00
Profession: IT engineer. Occupation: chief innovation officer. Responsibility: creating new growth businesses for SAP by pioneering new markets and disruptive technologies. Aged just 35, Juergen Mueller has already achieved a lot. Who is the person behind this meteoric rise?

“Change is nothing to be afraid of, “Juergen says, and he should know. His life began with disruption. Juergen’s parents, a social worker and a nurse, separated in his early childhood and both remarried. What could have been a tough blow for a young child, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. “My parents handled this transition really well,” he says today. “I’m very close to them and my five half-siblings. In effect, I grew up with the strength of two families instead of just one.”

Together the two families bought him an Amiga 500 PC for his 12th birthday. “Computer games were cool, but soccer was more interesting at that point of time,” Juergen, who earned his first money as a referee at the age of 14, admits. With the internet boom at the end of the 20th century, things changed. “Everyone wanted a website, but only few people could create one. Together with a friend, I learned how to build websites and we founded a startup while still at school. That’s how I financed my driver’s license.”

Building on this experience, Juergen decided to study business informatics at the University of Göttingen. Towards the end of his studies, he enrolled in a Chinese class and won a scholarship to Tongji University in Shanghai. “Seeing how diligently the Chinese students were pursuing their dreams of improving their lives left a deep impression with me. It made me appreciate the possibilities I had been given,” he says. After six months in China, Juergen returned to Germany to do a PhD.

Juergen’s experience prior to joining SAP included founding a startup, spending six months in China, and doing a PhD at HPI.

But finding the right academic discipline turned out to be quite a challenge. “Business informatics didn’t put enough stress on the technical side of things and pure information science seemed out of touch with the real world.” Juergen had resigned himself to a career in consulting or leading a small development team when he came across the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI). “It was the perfect match. They were focused on how to apply technology in a business context. ”

Unfortunately, there was only one open PhD position at the time: system administration. Nevertheless, he says he felt that HPI was the right place for him; if system administration was the only position they had to offer, that’s what he was going to apply for. “But five minutes into the interview it was clear that the position wasn’t the right one for me.” Right afterwards, he went on vacation for two weeks but when he got home, his family told him HPI had called to say there was another open PhD position.

Even though it required him to start two days later, Juergen immediately accepted and borrowed his mother’s car for the journey to Potsdam – a city just outside Berlin. “I didn’t know anybody there,” Juergen remembers, “I didn’t have an apartment yet and little hope of finding one on short notice. Then I met a Chinese exchange student who wanted to vacate her apartment and move in with her boyfriend, but didn’t have a car to transport her things. So I offered her my help: we moved her belongings that very same evening and at 3 am, I had an apartment.”

Juergen spent five years in Potsdam, then moved to Berlin where he still lives. While working on his PhD, teaching, supervising and eventually becoming a representative for Hasso Plattner’s research chair, Juergen came in close contact with SAP.

“In order to teach SAP technology to the students, I had to get hands-on experience participating in software implementation projects. From there, it was a logical step to eventually join the company.”

Or more specifically, the SAP Innovation Center.

Doing What’s Right for SAP

The SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam was established in 2011 by the SAP Board to act as a technological trend scout for the software giant and to identify potential new markets and business models. It evolved eventually into what is now the SAP Innovation Center Network that spans several locations around the globe from Silicon Valley to Israel and Singapore.

Juergen with part of his team at the SAP Innovation Center Potsdam.

In the summer of 2016, Juergen was appointed SAP’s first chief innovation officer. “SAP has always been an innovative company,” says the 35-year-old who reports directly to SAP CEO Bill McDermott and who manages more than a thousand employees in his unit.

“We’ve been focusing on all dimensions of innovation. We permanently improve our current products by means of established technologies within existing markets. That’s what we call continuous innovation. We also extend our existing portfolio based on new technologies or tap into adjacent markets with established technologies. This is what we refer to as adjacent innovation. And we develop completely new technologies and business models that then, hopefully, result in breakthrough products as well as services and will allow us to tap into completely new markets — so-called transformative innovation.”

He acknowledges that customers don’t immediately associate SAP when it comes to innovation and think of SAP as the ERP company: “I want to change that. I want the world to also see what great, impactful innovations SAP has to offer — in addition to our ERP.”

No Ball Is Ever Lost

Taking care of current business and anticipating new trends are two sides of the same coin to Juergen. “I consider it extremely important not to end up in an ‘SAP bubble.’ In my role, I need to be in constant touch with customers and partners.- to understand what their needs are, what’s going on in the market, and how we can start joint innovation projects. Meeting inspiring people that are bursting with ideas strengthens my own perception of trends in business and technology.”

Getting to understand customers needs is a keystone to Juergen’s role as SAP chief innovation officer.

Keeping his technological knowledge up to date is another keystone to his role at SAP. “To talk to others about our own technology, I need to know not only what it will do for the customer, but also what’s happening under the surface. Currently, I’m looking into the technical part of machine learning in depth. I miss programming a little, so I signed up for a Python course with openSAP. I also read about new areas in technology whenever I have a free minute. I stopped watching TV, though,” he smiles. “No time for that.”

Juergen’s family is still one of his most important pillars in life. Sports also play a major role when it comes to unwinding. “Soccer, triathlon, squash — there is something to be learned from each of them. Squash teaches you that no ball is ever lost. Even if it rushes past you, it will bounce off the wall and come back to you and then you hit it again. When you keep that in mind, you keep calm even when things get stressful.”

Is that the secret, then, to be so successful and getting so far at such a young age? At first, Juergen laughs off the question. But after thinking a little more he says: “Whenever I need to decide whether I go the extra mile or not, I remember the story of my grandmother who grew up in tough times in Kassel. She excelled at school and wanted to go to college, but her family couldn’t afford the small fee for secondary school, so she had to quit and take a job.

“By comparison, my own life has been so privileged. I guess that’s part of what drives me: I don’t want to see chances go to waste and I want to help others to make the most of their potential.”

Pictures via SAP

Categories: What's New

Accenture Completes Acquisition of Mackevision

Accenture News - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 04:59
STUTTGART; Feb. 19, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has completed the acquisition of Germany-based Mackevision, a leading global producer of 3D-enabled and immersive product content.
Categories: What's New

Accenture Supports Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank's Tech Transformation, Setting Stage for New Digital Future

Accenture News - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 16:40
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates; Feb. 18, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN), the global professional services company, has supported Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) in a historic transformation of the core technology running the bank’s day-to-day operations. This transformation sets the stage for the bank’s digital future, enabling ADCB to introduce new products and services to clients more easily and swiftly.
Categories: What's New

SAP Announces DJ Paoni as President of North America Region

SAP News - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 13:20
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today named DJ Paoni as president of SAP North America.

Effective immediately, Paoni will oversee all day-to-day operations, strategy and profitability across the United States and Canada.

“DJ’s direct contribution to the ongoing transformation of our company is reflected throughout his long-standing success at SAP — whether he’s inspiring our growing salesforce, solving the unique needs of our diverse customers or identifying visionary business strategies that will ensure SAP’s long-term financial growth throughout North America,” said Jennifer Morgan, SAP Executive Board Member. “This appointment to regional president is a testament to his proven track record of customer success and his passion for building upon our unique employee culture across the region.”

Since joining SAP in 1996, Paoni has ascended through a series of leadership roles, delivering strong results and establishing himself as a trusted customer advisor. Previously, Paoni served as president of North America Sales, responsible for customer success and growth across the region. Prior, he was managing director for the Midwest market unit, leading the strategy, operations and growth for the business. He has also served as head of the Strategic Customer Program in North America, where he set the strategic direction and vision for all efforts related to SAP’s top North America–headquartered customers.

“SAP is in a unique position — with the world’s most robust portfolio of solutions — to enable organizations to become best-run businesses and drive real, impactful results for their customers,” said Paoni. “The cloud is the great equalizer, providing companies of all sizes the ability to transform and sustainably grow. Our employees and partners have a long-term focus on ensuring customers’ success and delivering on our vision and purpose to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.”

Paoni succeeds Morgan, who held the position of president of SAP North America for nearly four years. In May 2017, she was appointed to the SAP Executive Board with oversight of Global Customer Operations (GCO) while maintaining dual responsibility as president of North America. Paoni’s ascension will enable Morgan to focus solely on her executive board duties.

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

Media Contacts:

Steve Collins, +1 (617) 335-5456, st.collins@sap.com, ET
Sarah Shorett, +1 (203) 918-6081, sarah.shorett@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.
© 2018 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
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Categories: What's New

SAP Social Sabbatical: When Capitalism Meets Purpose

SAP News - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 12:15
It’s a running joke in the tech industry: We all want to make the world a better place. But when it comes to nailing down exactly how this is done (or what it means), most players fall into the “fake hippie rhetoric” distilled by Mike Judge, the creator of the Silicon Valley TV show.

It can be argued that innovation inherently leads to progress. As technology touches multiple aspects of human life, there’s a natural, reasonable correlation between tech advancements and the construction of a better society. New agriculture practices boost food production and help to fight hunger, social media provides a channel for democracy in closed regimes, GPS tracking apps improve safety, and so on.

But as companies started to realize that leading their businesses with purpose translates to a substantial growth in value, marketing gurus were quick to infuse the “we build a better world” messaging into just about everything out there, from retail to big pharma and even tobacco corporations. It’s called “purpose washing.”

The danger of purpose washing, just like green washing before it, is increased audience distrust and trouble separating the wheat from the chaff.

Which makes me think of the words of SAP CEO Bill McDermott: “Trust is the ultimate currency.” In 2010, the software powerhouse I’m proud to work for was one of the pioneers in setting a bold, purpose-centric vision: to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Worth noting is that  this journey began years before the trend we’re now seeing and culminated in SAP becoming an active supporter of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, helping to end poverty, protect the planet, fight diseases, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.

One of the biggest issues for organizations that have signed up for this challenge has been to figure out how to extend the benefits of modern-day capitalism to communities that are excluded from the networked economy. Some companies are investing in pro-bono consulting, sending their most promising talents and high-performers to work for NGOs or social entrepreneurs committed to making a difference and impacting the lives of underprivileged populations.

At SAP, small teams of international employees are selected to take part in an initiative called the SAP Social Sabbatical program. Professionals from finance, marketing, business, and other backgrounds are sent to emerging countries to act as consultants to organizations facing major roadblocks that limit their growth and scalability. Simply put, it’s about matching employee skills with community needs on a global scale, and getting things done in a one-month period.

I arrived in India this week to help Vishakha, a non-profit working for the empowerment of women, young people, and marginalized communities through gender education, literacy, and skills development. Vishakha is famous for being one of the key litigants in a joint Public Interest Litigation that resulted in India’s Supreme Court promulgation of a landmark ruling, popularly known as the Vishakha Guidelines. The litigation is considered one of the top 20 rulings that are changing India.

But nothing stands still, and Vishakha is facing challenges adjusting its message for new digital mediums that could dramatically boost the scope of its work and help the organization reach new audiences beyond in-person interactions. So they contacted SAP for help, and here I am.

For the next four weeks, my colleague Natalia Frolova, from Russia, and I will put together a strategic communications plan focusing on digital landscapes. We will also draw on the expertise of our colleagues that are in India for different projects: Ari from Israel, Deniz from the Netherlands, Gyorgy from Hungary, Kathy from the Philippines, Peggy from China, Steph and Kai from Germany, and Tina and Terence from the U.S.

Do you want to do something positive today that will take less than three minutes of your time? Click here and follow Vishakha on Facebook, and help spread the world about a group of 25 Indian women and men that are brave enough to challenge iniquitous gender norms at an institutional level. They are definitely making the world a better place  —  no fake hippie rhetoric here.

Categories: What's New

Expense, Travel, and Invoice Management is Complicated; Here’s How to Simplify

SAP News - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:15
If your company is facing issues with expense, travel, and invoice management, you’re not alone. A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP Concur found that 60 percent of companies face issues with manual processes and timeliness due to their current tools.

Outdated legacy technology is one of the core causes of inefficient expense, travel, and invoice management. Manual processes are clunky, time consuming, vulnerable to human error, and lack visibility across company spend. The inaccuracies and slowdowns they cause can also lead to auditing headaches, additional work, and extra costs.

Want better mileage out of your travel, expense, and invoice solutions? Read the report

The other major issue facing companies in this area is the lack of alignment between the IT and finance departments. Sixty-one percent of firms say that IT is focused more on the usability and employee experience, and less on spend reductions. Conversely, 64 percent of firms say that finance is focused more on reducing spending, and less on usability and employee experience.

What if there was a solution that would increase visibility, save time, and cut costs — all while satisfying the needs of stakeholders in both departments?

Financial Teams Want to Simplify Processes and Save Money

While new invoice management tools can’t lower your bills themselves, they can optimize your processes in ways that will cut costs. Automation will ensure those bills are accounted for and paid on time, saving you from late fees, reducing the time spent managing invoices, and allowing you to focus valuable time on other tasks.

Beyond time savings, you need visibility into what is being paid, to whom, and from what budgets. Inadequate visibility into expenses is a key challenge for better managing the expense, travel, and invoice process. This type of reporting is critical for understanding where and when spend happens with enough time to influence it.

IT Managers Want to Reduce the Burden of Tech Support

Thirty-eight percent of finance and IT decision makers cite increasing automation as a top expense and travel priority in the next year or two. And, it makes sense that the IT department has a stake in the game. Automated, cloud-based tools enable the efficiency that companies lack, lessening the burden on the internal IT support team, and allowing them to focus attention on supporting employees in other ways.

For Employees, Cloud-Based Tools Increase Productivity, Adoption, and Satisfaction

In a modern world, employees expect that the technological advances they enjoy in their personal lives will carry over to their work lives. Instead, they face fragmented, manual expense and payment processes that are inefficient and time consuming. As a result, both managers and employees in the Forrester survey ranked manual processes as a top frustration when it comes to managing expenses.

By fully automating expense, travel, and invoice systems with cloud-based tools available on mobile devices, you can reduce employee frustration, encourage adoption, and increase compliance. Likewise, better tools to track expenses in one place can help them make responsible spending choices and give managers visibility into any potentially fraudulent spending. All of this translates into money saved.

Unified Solution Benefits Everyone

When we combine needs across the board, the solution emerges: An automated expense, travel, and invoice management process will improve employees’ experiences and reduce spending. This can be accomplished by full alignment of IT and finance, which then allows both departments to accomplish their own goals.

Indeed, we think the results of the Forrester survey demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. Seventy-five percent of companies with a unified strategy reported high satisfaction with travel and expense tools, compared to just 35 percent without a unified strategy.

Aligning the goals of the finance and IT teams has a profound effect on the overall travel, expense, and invoice management process. Download the full study now to learn more about how you can simplify your expense, travel, and invoice solutions.

Rebecca Dolan is digital marketing manager at SAP Concur

This story originally appeared on the SAP Concur newsroom.

Categories: What's New

Success Stories

CSC Videos - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 16:43
Market conditions are driving the travel and transportation industry to innovate and transform. Read some of our innovative success stories.
Categories: Videos, Articles

When a Compliance Program Becomes a Competitive Advantage: Q&A With SAP’s Thack Brown

SAP News - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 12:15
Going beyond perfunctory compliance practices through proper internal control can create a market advantage.

Compliance has evolved from a ”box ticking” approach to regulators demanding business leaders create “compliant cultures” within their organizations. While it can sometimes be a financial and resource drain on the business, a comprehensive compliance and risk framework can create strategic advantage.

FEI Daily spoke with Thack Brown, general manager and global head of Line-of-Business Finance at SAP, about the elements of a well-designed compliance initiative.

FEI Daily: What are the missing elements in the compliance programs you see today?

Thack Brown: They way companies have traditionally reacted to compliance-related topics, has always been about ticking the box. We have to be able to show the regulator that we’ve met the specific rule, or we’ve managed to do what it is they’re looking to have done. It’s viewed as an onus and as something else that’s taking up time and investment that’s to be minimized. We’ll get it done, but at the lowest level of cost in as little time as possible so that we can tick the box and make sure we’re covered.

The problem that you have today is there are so many regulatory requirements that are coming out on a global level, at a national level, even at a local level across. It requires you to now approach it with a different mindset. Just getting it done no longer works. It’s demanding a different kind of strategy from organizations to think about this a little bit more holistically.

To be able to respond in a more automated way, and to be able to respond in a more comprehensive way that gives you agility, that doesn’t layer spreadsheets, upon spreadsheets, upon spreadsheets and become unmanageable.

What specifically makes an effective compliance and risk program?

There are a couple of elements to it. One is starting with a different mindset. How can we use the regulatory requirement to our advantage? Or what is it that the regulation is asking us to do, that’s good for our business?

A really good example would be all of the new revenue recognition standards. For a lot of companies, it’s challenging them to better dissect their contracts and understand their contracts in a greater level of detail. But the really smart ones are looking at that as an opportunity to better understand their customers, to better understand the products, and the revenues associated with the products. To use that as the foundation for getting better customer level profitability or product level profitability. Of course I have to meet these accounting standards, but in doing so it actually gives me the excuse to look in to my business in more depth.

The second element is thinking about how they put the underlying system capability and flexibility in place so that they can better respond to any incoming compliance requests in a more timely, accurate manner, and at a lower cost. How do they get systems in place that will provide granular, real time information, a good solid digital platform that will allow them to do more automation so that, as new regulations come up, they can respond to them quickly. As opposed to lots of data dumps, breaking out the Excel spreadsheets, all of the things that they traditionally do.

Recognizing that you’re going to have a long-term compliance challenge – because it’s only increasing, it’s not decreasing – how do you use the technology and the capabilities to your benefit?

How often should companies be reexamining their compliance programs?

I don’t know that it’s a matter of reexamining. I think that companies need to be on a program of continuous improvement.  Setting goals around how to understand the evolution of the business and how compliance can continue to evolve with that.

The first thing is, make sure that the compliance program is adding value, in terms of insight to the business. The second is having a competitive advantage. For example, in suppliers, it’s a lot about knowing your customer, your third party, your supplier legislation. The companies that can do better, who can get more comfortable, more confident, more accurate in understanding their customers or understanding the third parties that they are dealing with, have a market advantage.

Third is the cost of it. How are you going to manage the cost and keep the cost low? How are you going to drive up automation and continue to drive automation over time? And how are you going to make sure that compliance work also comes up to the speed of the digital environment?  If you’ve got 24/7 transactions taking place, is your compliance capability embedded in to that transactional processing so that you’re all real time with those transactions? Or as your business model is evolving, is your compliance function ready so that when the business model changes,  you’ve got the compliance in place? The third element is making sure that you can do it in an automated, cost effective way.

Obviously, the approach to fraud is evolving.  How are compliance programs addressing fraud concerns?

We already know that there’s a very real cost to business from fraud. It also has reputational cost. It’s becoming harder and harder to manage. And people are getting more and more creative. They’re using technology to perpetrate more and more fraud. There’s no doubt that the ability to include fraud in any compliance program is critical.

In many cases it’s known that there’s some level of fraud within organizations. There are plenty of studies out there that show levels of revenue are typically lost by companies to fraud or other issues. There is typically some level of hard dollar that can be put against programs and you can help justify the returns on your investments, by bringing those fraud levels down.

This article originally appeared on FEI Daily.

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RSA Conference 2018

CSC Events - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:26
Join us at RSA Conference 2018 held April 16 to 20 in San Francisco.
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Events

CSC Events - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:26
Join us at these upcoming events.
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With Cloud CPQ Express, Manufacturing Sales Is a Piece of Cake (Almost)

SAP News - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 11:15
Let’s do a quick role play. I imagine myself as the CEO of a manufacturing business for a day. I’ve barely had my first cup of coffee without being deeply in thought about the massive challenges this industry is currently facing.

From the pressure to move to a smart and completely automated factory to strong globalized competition – steering such a business to future success is no piece of cake. Regardless of the tremendous complexities that lie in the business model itself, my customers are nowadays demanding individually, accurately configured solutions presented to them in a perfect quote at the lowest possible price. Before dawn.

Okay, okay, I am ready to switch back to being me, and glad to be meeting someone who offers a solution to the massive headaches that I just envisioned.

The Next Wave for Manufacturers: Industry 4.0

That someone is Dr. Christian Cuske, CEO and co-founder of In Mind Cloud, who developed the “manufacturing sales headache remedy,” Cloud CPQ Express. This solution radically simplifies the complexities and accelerates the sales cycle for manufacturing and engineering industries. I have known Christian for a few years already, since In Mind Cloud was in fact one of the first innovators to build an app on SAP Cloud Platform nearly five years ago.

Now, Cloud CPQ Express is available on SAP App Center, the SAP digital marketplace, which gave me a good excuse to catch up with him to find out the latest news. My first question: What’s happening in the marketplace?

“Our market environment clearly is fast-growing, but constantly changing,” Christian replied. “Manufacturers are challenged by the next major evolution of their business, Industry 4.0. Their end customers now expect the buying experience of ‘lot-size one,’ at the cost benefit of mass production. And we are right in the middle, since digitizing the sales process is a very real and successful response to this challenge.”

What type of manufacturers? The list is growing fast – along with sales.

“In Mind Cloud continues on a tremendous hyper-growth path, growing our business more than 400% in 2017,” he said. “We nearly doubled our fantastic customer base, adding contract manufacturers, steel companies, machine makers, and medical equipment providers to the portfolio. We see our mission as helping manufacturing companies stay ahead in the next industrial revolution.”

The Beauty of the Cloud

Knowing that in the competitive CPQ market, product innovation must persist, I was intrigued about the latest product developments, which include real-time sales-simulation capabilities and new integration with SAP S/4HANA.

“And SAP Cloud Platform,” Christian explained, “is the ideal foundation.

“Our entire software is built using SAP Cloud Platform with its vast integration and innovation capabilities, using mobile and UI frameworks, the SAP HANA database, and AI technologies,” he said. “What’s more, beginning in 2018, our software is accessible via standard SAP support channels.”

However, Christian emphasized that his team focuses on real-life industrial sales problems beyond the usual CPQ scope, like managing the price decay of manufacturing contracts after the sell, or using geospatial data to pre-fill 80 percent of a quote.

“So, our customer testimonials on reducing quote times from weeks to minutes or being THE backbone of sales digitization initiatives, combined with zero churn, just shows we are right.”

And he added that, even with the longtime focus on SAP, “In Asia, especially looking at mid-tier companies, we can’t take for granted that they are running SAP. So In Mind Cloud is strengthening our integration capabilities from 2018 onwards.”

Clear Skies Ahead

In Mind Cloud, which began six years ago as a technology startup by former SAP managers and engineers in Germany and Singapore, is evolving into a leading independent provider of innovative manufacturing sales platforms.

The company adheres to a focused regional strategy, which Christian considers merely a reflection of market dynamics.

“Asia and China are soaring! With our headquarters, marketing and engineering teams in Singapore, we are in a perfect spot to serve the Asian market,” he added. “While we maintain our close relationship to Europe as the manufacturing powerhouse – and the headquarters of our partner SAP through our German office and cultural roots. Our new office in China will mark another important milestone in our expansion. Together with our new representatives in Taiwan and Indonesia, we have set a clear growth path for 2018 and beyond.”

Let’s create a good conversation right here. Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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

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Insurance Success Stories

CSC Videos - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:20
Stay up to date on the latest DXC Technology success stories, case studies and client references for the insurance industry.
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GDPR Is Just the Latest: Is It Time to Add a Legal Expert to Your Product Leadership?

SAP News - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:15
In a move that demonstrates the ever-shifting landscape of regulations across the globe, SAP SuccessFactors product head Amy Wilson has included a new leader on her team – legal expert Caroline Tahon.

Tahon joined SAP SuccessFactors in 2017 after eight years as legal counsel overseeing post-acquisition integrations for SAP. She brings a depth of regulatory expertise directly onto the product team, meaning we can develop smarter and faster when it comes to meeting and getting ahead of data privacy and protection in our solutions.

While the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the latest — and most significant — regulation ahead of us today, it’s hardly the only one that’s on our mind. Countries across the globe are re-evaluating their policies and that demands that we build today to address what we expect regulations to be tomorrow.

We talked to Tahon about why she joined the product team directly, and how she’s affecting our thinking and the capabilities we build to help our customers be ready for new laws.

Q: What’s the thinking behind bringing a legal expert into our product team?

A: The writing has been on the wall regarding data privacy and security regulations getting tougher. Like with our approach to ongoing innovation across our suite from a user experience perspective, we also need to anticipate and prepare for new regulations – and prepare before they are fully written or implemented. I collaborate with legal and data security experts from across SAP to interpret new regulations as they are being framed, such as the China Cyber Security Law, and evaluate their impact on SAP SuccessFactors applications. I work directly with our product managers as they evaluate which capabilities to build and prioritize to help our customers comply with current and emerging regulations, participating both across leadership planning sessions and in team scrum meetings where everything comes together.

From an innovation perspective, we also have to respect different legal frameworks. One good example is around machine learning. I’m currently investigating how we can help our customers benefit from their data for intelligent applications, while adhering to regulations.

By partnering directly with our product and engineering team, we eliminate any silos and get right to what’s coming next in terms of data privacy and security or other regulations, and how to best translate new requirements into a robust product roadmap to support customers with compliance. And as we plan our next wave of innovations, we scope from a much broader perspective with a regulatory understanding of what we could deliver to help our customers get the full benefits from their technology investments.

In a regulatory environment that’s in flux, how do we build today to accommodate for changes tomorrow, particularly given the rapid pace of change and the differences in regulation from country to country?

One of the great advantages we have at SAP is the access to data security and privacy experts and legal counsel across many geographies in which SAP operates. This vastly expands our understanding and our speed to respond as we decide certain standards we can build into all our products. As new regulations develop, such as GDPR, we expand on existing features, and add new ones. We build some flexibility into features so they can be applied to different regulatory environments with certain modifications.

Another important aspect to our planning is as we build software to help our customers comply with these regulations, we also have to ensure that any new features can be run across a wide range of businesses. Our customers are big and small, in highly regulated industries or cutting-edge areas, and differ in many other significant ways with business models, processes, etc. Which means we need to create software that helps them be ready to comply without interfering with or jeopardizing their need for innovation, flexibility, and ability to deliver against business goals.

How would you advise our customers to think about data privacy and security for their HR tech investments?

Right off the bat, I’d like to say businesses need to be prepared for regulations on data privacy and security to only get stronger. GDPR, as an example, has provisions to encourage other countries outside the European Union to match certain minimum regulatory requirements for cross-country data transfer. Australia and Japan are looking at the impacts now, and countries in Latin America will likely be in the next wave to initiate changes.

HR leaders get to decide — do they approach these changes only as a matter of compliance, or look at them as an opportunity to build transparency, trust, and a real competitive advantage? From our perspective, we’re seeing a need for a mind-shift in HR where managing people data as securely and discreetly as financial data is imperative. SAP and SAP SuccessFactors are committed to supporting our customers with tools and processes to successfully navigate evolving regulations.

Consider GDPR as a valuable investment for the future of your business. Read our white paper, “GDPR compliance: Where do I start?,” to explore how SAP SuccessFactors solutions and services can help fast-track business success with GDPR compliance.

Ashley Colombo is head of Global and Executive Communications for SAP SuccessFactors

Categories: What's New

SAP Learning Hub Launches Editions for Solution-Specific Proficiency

SAP News - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:00
WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced the launch of SAP Learning Hub, solution editions, for eight specific SAP solution areas.

The new editions are focused on helping those involved in SAP solution implementation projects in small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) within the SAP ecosystem and partners. The latest editions help boost productivity by keeping employee skill levels high and knowledge current for new implementations as well as solutions already in production.

SAP Learning Hub, solution editions, include eight different editions, each specific to a SAP solution portfolio. The solutions editions of SAP Learning Hub are:

  • Edition for SAP S/4HANA Cloud
  • Edition for cloud and data platforms
  • Edition for procurement and networks
  • Edition for analytics
  • Edition for customer engagement and commerce
  • Edition for IoT and digital supply chain
  • Edition for HR
  • Edition for finance

“Following the success of our existing editions of SAP Learning Hub, we wanted to further our commitment to empowering our specialized partners and small and midsize customers with training tailored to their unique implementation needs,” said Bernd Welz, executive vice president and chief knowledge officer, SAP Products and Innovation, SAP. “With the introduction of SAP Learning Hub, solution editions, we are ensuring that all our customers – no matter their size or solution needs – have access to the training they need to implement and use SAP solutions successfully.”

SAP Learning Hub, solution editions, deliver effective learning focused on individual solutions. As with SAP Learning Hub, professional edition, the solution editions help learners achieve full solution proficiency by providing access to the entire training scope including:

  • Learning Journey guides: Learners can follow a recommended path to competency in the SAP solutions the editions cover by completing individual learning assignments in implementation, development and technology.
  • Social learning through SAP Learning Rooms: Through interactive expert-led social and collaborative spaces, learners can exchange insights and tap into various resources, such as video tutorials. SAP Learning Rooms allow learners to work with SAP experts at every stage of their implementation project.
  • Expert-led sessions: Learners can access SAP experts through scheduled and unscheduled sessions. Depending on format, participants are led through course content in a series of steps or are able to participate in informal Q&A events and supportive sessions that cover strategic topics and best practices.
  • Solution-specific self-study training content: Learners are given access to resources such as e-books, e-learning courses, assessments and quick reference guides to help accelerate adoption.
  • Preconfigured live training systems: Subscriptions provide access to the SAP Live Access environment for hands-on experience and practice.

Focusing on one solution area at a time, learners can “walk through” the software – from implementation and configuration, to operation, best practices and uses. Those involved in implementation and deployment can maintain and advance their SAP solution-specific proficiency and take advantage of new software features and functionality to stay current with the latest technology innovation.

Customers may sign up for and learn more about SAP Learning Hub, solution edition, at www.sap.com/learninghub.

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

Media Contacts:
Martin Gwisdalla, SAP, +49 (6227) 7-67275, martin.gwisdalla@sap.com, CET
Erin Albright, FleishmanHillard, +1 (617) 692-0543, erin.albright@fleishman.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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