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SAP Business Trends

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OK, so it might not be breaking news, but while the Internet of Things (IoT) has been talked about for a while, it’s genuinely starting to hit a tipping point in relation to its impact in the retail industry. Analyst IDC has forecast that the IoT will represent a $326bn revenue opportunity to the retail sector by 2018, so it’s something every retailer should be taking a look at.

 

The Internet of Things, as I’m sure you know, refers to the connections that are being made not only between people and the Internet, but those that are formed between connected devices, machines and products: essentially anything that can contain a sensor and transmit information via the web. It’s the concept that allows a car manufacturer to track its cars, alert the driver to an issue and direct them to the nearest service centre. Or that enable a fridge to know when you’re running low on milk and automatically order more from an online retailer. And for retailers to track inventory through its supply chain via smart tagging.

 

Internet of Things 275711_l_srgb_s_gl.jpg

As a retailer, what would it mean if every one of your products carried a sensor and was connected to the internet? It might allow you to deliver vastly improved customer service. It could open up opportunities for personalised marketing, spot offers and entice customers in-store (the ability to geolocate every single one of your products is a powerful thing). It has the potential to open up avenues for innovative new products and revenue streams.

 

Perhaps the most powerful encapsulation of the value of the IoT to retailers is the ability to add enhanced experience to products. Research shows that more than 80% of American and British millennial adults place more value on experiences than material items. So if you’re a producer of the latter, you can use the IoT to deliver more of the former.

 

But there are considerations to take into account. Key amongst those is ensuring that a rush to connect your products to the internet doesn’t have an adverse or unwanted effect on your customers’ privacy and security. Allowing and incentivising customers to opt-in (and out) and being clear about how you collect and use any personal data is essential.

 

But the IoT has moved far beyond ‘if’ to ‘when’. It’s time to get connected (Tweet this).

 

You can find out more about SAP's view on the Internet of Things here.

 

This blog appeared originally in SAP for Retail on Nov 3, 2014

In this new era, everybody uses smartphones, tablets and other portable devices for their personal and business functions. To know how exactly the mobile can do business, you should get to know what 'Enterprise Mobility' is.

 

Simply, it’s a new way of business practice, wherein employees or users can work away from office and can access secure corporate data. This can happen with the use of mobile devices or cloud based services.

Image.jpg

Enterprise mobility was never as complex as it is today. Business phones were once deployed and managed by companies, and apart from the usual and frequent daily calls, they were used only for checking emails. But it all got changed a few years ago when the smartphones and tablets entered the business world.

Every business has to be ‘managed’ well for a hassle free continual operation. So should be the usage of mobile and mobility in business. And there comes the role of enterprise mobility management (EMM). EMM refers to a set of technologies that is a combination of mobile device management (MDM), mobile application management (MAM) and mobile information management (MIM).

Today’s EMM solutions are very safe with tight security policies. The speed of smartphone revolution combined with the flexibility has unleashed immense value and innovative solutions to run business better and faster.

Enterprises are at the cusp of realizing the power of mobility. The future of EMM lies with Contextual EMM. This means that EMM will build up solutions with emphasis on features like position, role, type of information etc… As the trend goes like the consolidation of business activities, the true focus of EMM will be about the creation of custom native apps, improved UI changes for existing web-apps and in the long run we may expect structural changes like back end transformations with managing employee interactions or applications on a wide spectrum of devices.

Now, think beyond and innovate all the ways by which mobility can transform work in the enterprise.

In what ways do you see enterprise mobility management help support the business? What features would you require/like software vendors to develop?

Share in your ideas and thoughts!

Be sociable and share!


Read the same at http://blogs.sap.com/innovation/mobile-applications/whats-beyond-enterprise-mobility-01248609

Is your HR department purely transactional and yet their aspirations are to have the right people in the right roles to execute on the business strategy? Is your organization ready for transformation? Are you having discussions with the business executives about their level of organizational readiness and adoption of your new strategy, structure, people, processes and technology?


Like other business units, HR is focused on continuous improvement. That may come in the form of a new organizational structure, improving people and skills, or implementing new processes or best in class technology. Regardless of the level of transformations the outcome is the same -- to be more efficient, provide greater level of experience, and add value to the business.


A successful transformation must have both a strategy layer and an execution layer.  These layers and the strategic ingredients within them must all be in place to achieve a successful HR Transformation.


So let’s start peeling back the layers, and I’m not referring to onions…


Strategic Layer:

The strategic Layer is not only the starting point, but consists of foundational elements that need to be addressed in order to position HR in the right way.  These elements are:


Strategy & Business Alignment:

  • The strategy is HR’s position to achieving its future state. This position is not only aspirational, but also actionable and should directly aligned to the business goals and outline a common set of outcomes to illustrate HR’s direct quantifiable value to the business.


Change Management:

  • In order for the strategy to be successful, it will require business sponsorship. The right level of sponsor engagement will not only create visibility, but will deliver a higher level of success.  Starting the change processes early is not a nice to have, but a requirement to set expectations and drive the desired behaviors.


Workforce Experience and Support:

  • Workforce Experience is focused on designing your department with the end consumer/user in mind. In this case, when you think about HR, the end consumer/user is the entire organization. When you consider the level at which HR interacts with the organization through processes, programs, technology, etc., the user experience must be defined based on each stakeholder group to ensure a high level of adoption.


Support:

  • There are two primary types of support. The first is system support and the second is consumer/end user support.
  • System support is focused on maintenance, system enhancements, system issues, etc. and although this can impact all users, the process is fairly segmented to the HRIS, IT and SAP team.


  • The second type of support is consumer/end user support. Consumer/End User Support is probably the most critical component of transformational success, and is often one of the most common areas that is overlooked. The purpose of these support processes is to ensure that our consumer/end user has a single destination to find answers/content or request help. Organizations should use a tiered delivery model that starts with self-service enabled by a personalized consumer/user portal that will allow our consumers/user to search for content, training, supported by a series of additional tiers to offer support and manage escalations to provide resolution solution.


Execution Layer:

The execution layer is focused on the realization of the HR strategy. The level at which HR can manage, deploy and execute will ultimately determine its ability to transform.


Governance

  • Defining a governance process is the number one priority. The structure of the committee should consist of both HR and the business, and require a frequent cadence for escalations reviews. Since transformations will require decisions be made across people, process, and technology, there are often sub-committees to own the decisions based on their areas of expertise.


People

  • The biggest common denominator in any transformation is people. People at all levels and across the organization become engaged to support the deployment. Having the right resources does not mean having butts in seat, but it means having the right resources with capabilities to deliver.


Process

  • The goal of designing process should focus on the future state and as stated above build based on the consumer/end user. Process optimization will be the key driver for demonstrating HR efficiency and effectiveness, so it is important that we aren’t just looking at end to end steps, but variables such as roles, role actions, i.e. number of approvals, areas to automate, local requirements and areas of global consistency. It is important that processes are designed prior to the implementation, but should be calibrated to the system for configuration.


Technology

  • When considering implementing new cloud HR technology, many organizations have been led to believe that it is easy, limited resources are needed, limited pre-work needs to be completed, and it will automatically drive end user adoption. In reality, technology is the enabler, and without putting all the layers and ingredients in place, it will be difficult to design, configure and integrate to deliver the desired workforce experience and business outcomes.

Were you satisfied the last time you flew?

 

For most, flying usually results in complaint correspondence with airline customer service representatives sparked by canceled connecting flights, an excessively long airline delay, or astronomical charges for customarily gratuitous extras: checked luggage, seat selection, section upgrades, and food.

 

In a 2011 study by MSN Money and Zogby International Surveys, of the top 10 worst companies for customer service, four were airlines. Of those four, three held the top spots on the leaderboard for worst service.

 

bangkok airways 2.PNGHowever, not all airlines operate the same.  Bangkok Airways will stop at nothing to ensure that all customers are happy. A regional airline that only flies within four hours of Bangkok, it is dedicated to providing customers a pleasurable experience each and every flight.  Pratit Santiprabhob, the advisor to the president of the company summarized the company mission best, “The key to success is customers; we definitely need to make our customers happy.

 

For Bangkok, a main struggle resided in the ability to maintain a customer friendly, competitive price while also controlling operating costs.  To do this, Bangkok needed a system that would update all airline information instantly, especially changes or difficulties in the flight schedule.  The IT infrastructure in place for the past 45 years was outdated and siloed, restricting full information integration and real-time financial processing, comparison, and analysis.

 

After comparing various in-memory computing solutions and talking to current SAP customers, Bangkok Airways moved forward with SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA.  With a centralized platform for integrating company information, Bangkok can now analyze important financial information as well as internal and external data to help its business by:


1. Unifying Silos


Prior to implementing SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA, Bangkok Airways operated in silos.  The company’s internal processes were disconnected, but now, all information is up-to-date and in one centralized location. In response, Bangkok Airways is better communicating any flight or status changes to their customers.

 

bangkok airways.PNG2. Simplifying Operations


By connecting a mobile application to its SAP HANA in memory computing, Bangkok Airways now has infinite insight into its financial transactions.  The app was deployed and used by the field, specifically those who control the turn-around of flights and those who need to log expenses.  What was once a manual, lengthy, paper process is now instantaneous. The company is able to log expenses in real-time, seeing the consequences immediately after processing transactions, and quickly understanding the monetary gain or loss associated with flights and operations. Prior to its SAP engagement, the company had no visibility into operating costs for months or longer after paper invoices finally arrived from suppliers.


3. Cutting Costs


With real time insight provided by its SAP HANA engagement, Bangkok Airlines now analyzes its data to strategically trim unnecessary costs. In turn, Bangkok can keep prices competitive in the market and reasonable for customers. Also, with SAP HANA, Bangkok can evaluate customer demand and add frequencies and customer services such as comfortable waiting areas with complementary snacks for all passengers.

 

As Pratit Santiprabhob explains in the below video, “We are a growing company.  We have 25 aircrafts now (as of May 2014), and we’re adding more aircrafts  every year.  SAP HANA will provide the solid competitive infrastructure we need to process more transactions.” Bangkok Airway’s partnership with SAP is enabling the company to grow and positively impact a larger group of fliers.

 


A 2011 study from American Express Survey states that 7 in 10 people said that they were willing to spend more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service.  Consumers greatly appreciate companies that go above and beyond to please customers, especially in the airline industry. Like most fliers, more times than not, my airline experiences run sour, however, I’ve never flown Bangkok Airways.  Looks like it’s time to take a trip to Thailand. Who’s with me?

 

 

Fly with me on Twitter @CMDonato, LinkedIn, and on Google+.

Shell_7.jpgBy 2020, Gartner estimates that the Internet of Things (IoT) will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion worldwide. The Internet of Things, or this network of physical objects (excluding PCs, tablets, smartphones)  that contain embedded technology to communicate and interact with internal and/or external environments, is growing rapidly. 


By 2020 nearly 26 billion devices will be connected via the IoT, and every industry wants a piece of this virtual pie.  Insurance is using the IoT to improve safety, security, and loss prevention.  Finance is innovating around mobile and micropayment technology using point-of-sale terminals and improved security systems. The health and fitness industry is investing heavily in the IoT by combining medical advances and wearable technologies.  Utilities, transportation, and agriculture are growing as well. 


This gigantic shift toward hyper-connectivity is triggered by a need to simplify business. The customer of today has different expectations than the customer of yesterday, and the businesses who keep up are the ones that will survive. 


Today’s customer demands flexibility, simplicity, choice, convenience, and value.  The automotive industry is already innovating to satisfy consumers. Shell Global and Volkswagen AG in co-innovation with SAP, recently announced their pilot foundation of a range of connected services including an integrated system for connected fueling. 


Shell_5.jpgWhen I read the announcement from SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 Berlin, I immediately thought of my sister, Melissa.  She is a mother of five, ages ranging from one to 15 years. Between running errands, food shopping, endless sports practices, and doctors’ appointments, she is constantly on the move. She’s an awesome mom, yet as you can imagine, with five kids, she’s always late, and she can be quite forgetful…especially when it comes to her wallet. 


However now, with the joint innovation created by the harmonious collaboration between Shell, Volkswagen AG, and SAP, Melissa will save time and money, making her everyday tasks simpler and easier.  


The new connectivity between Volkswagen vehicles and Shell service stations, running on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, will direct Melissa to the closest parking spot when she’s running errands; she’ll save wasted time spent driving endlessly searching for a space with kids in the car. Melissa can even pay for the parking spot from the convenience of her mobile device, without having to leave her children unattended in the car while she searches for a payment kiosk.


Most significantly, when the vehicle runs low on gas, the system will notify Melissa and navigate her to the nearest Shell Service Station.   Next, and most importantly, the vehicle will actually sync with the corresponding pump number and my sister can, again, pay directly from her mobile device. Forgetting her wallet will no longer be a valid excuse for asking to borrow money from her little sister. 


Rene Honig, vice president, Strategy, Portfolio and Innovation at Shell’s Technical and Competitive IT division put it best, “We consider the connected car important in the development of our customers’ experience at Shell retail stations and will help us continue to provide outstanding customer service.”  .
 

Co-innovation at its finest


Shell_1.jpgFor over 100 years, Shell has strived to improve the customer experience.  The company runs over 40,000 retail stations and fuels 12 million customers each day. However, today, what was once an idea has become reality.  Representing the first time SAP, Shell, and Volkswagen are piloting an end-to-end, scalable solution, this innovation is connecting technology and humanity. 


The goal is to deliver drivers a hosted cloud-based solution that saves time and can deliver new, exciting customer offers through connected vehicles that could not be delivered by the three companies individually. The convenience associated with a gasoline pump that identifies your vehicle and allows you to pay right from your mobile device is uncanny. 


“We believe the combination of simplicity, functionality and innovation is needed to create a seamless consumer experience. No company alone can deliver such an end-to-end experience,” said Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Products & Innovation. “Our collaboration with Volkswagen and Shell is a great showcase for the power of collaboration and innovation within a networked economy, with SAP HANA Cloud Platform, to simplify daily complexity.”

Seamlessly Simple


With the new advancement of technology between driver, vehicle, mobile device, and service provider, the customer is granted a seamless experience, customized to what he or she wants and needs.  By choosing SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP can offer services that are new and exciting and easy to implement into Shell systems.  Now the customer has more incentive to fuel at a Shell station as opposed to a competitor because it’s more comfortable, more intelligent, and more connected. 


For more information about the Co-Innovation between SAP, Shell, and Volkswagen read the press release, watch the announcement made at SAP TechEd && d-code Berlin, and watch this short video.  Also click here to learn how the Networked Economy runs SAP.


For more family photos of those kids packed in the car (my nieces and nephew), follow me on Twitter and Google Plus. And connect with me on LinkedIn.

photodune-1969324-touching-screen-on-tablet-pc-m.jpgThere are many markets around the world that have a thriving broadband system. The likes of China and The United States Of America are among the most prominent with over one billion fixed line subscriptions in the former and 87 million in the latter. However, while many people in developed countries like this now have the luxuries of broadband access, several markets around the world have been immensely neglected. Areas of economic strife and political hardship, in particular, have large pockets of population with no internet access whatsoever. Cameroon has only 1000 subscriptions, for example, while Liberia has just 78.

 

Telecommunications companies felt fixed broadband was a simply unsustainable option for these markets for several reasons: the very technology that utilizes broadband, how expensive computers are in these underdeveloped nations, and the general population's ICT illiteracy. Countries rife with widespread poverty were also believed to have no real consumer base even if a major investment in broadband was possible. Companies felt that the low incomes in some areas would dissuade people from committing to costly ongoing broadband contracts. This is not to mention how nations of political instability are considered risky investments (there is a reason why Libya, Iran and Syria have some of the slowest internet speeds in the world).

 

However, this is all beginning to change as mobile broadband becomes more popular amid the global demand for smartphones than tablets - which are cheaper, simpler and more widely used than standard personal computers. For young people living on much lower incomes, mobile broadband on handheld devices is a much more economical option than its fixed alternative. Customers can pay via a pre-paid contract instead of the expensive ongoing contracts that fixed line services require. Furthermore, for telecoms corporations, mobile broadband does not require the same kind of complex infrastructure as a fixed one either. In short: there is an emerging need for mobile broadband in markets that have previously been neglected that companies can easily cater to.

 

In Brazil, for example, there were no major companies providing broadband access to rural areas at the beginning of the century. However, when smartphones came along equipped with mobile broadband, many people who had limited internet connection in the past, or had no connection at all, were suddenly able to use the technology. Smartphone purchases grew by 170 per cent between 2010 and 2012 and rural Brazil became a promising market; major telecommunications businesses began to explore areas that they had previously been neglected. British Telecoms, for instance, expanded operations in the area to allow rural customers access to greater mobile broadband services. While their fixed line packages like BT Infinity are still uncommon (only 9.2 per cent of the country use them) mobile subscriptions are close to 37 per cent.

 

The benefits of mobile broadband in emerging markets such as this are many. Consumers in these areas will be able to access information and content in a way that was formerly impossible. But it is certainly not just consumers that can benefits from the formation of a strong telecommunications system. Studies in areas like Brazil suggest that there are major social and economic benefits as well because they advance education, employment and health. This is precisely why the likes of the European Commission were determined to push for ambitious broadband targets throughout the continent  in 2010, demanding that the continent have total basic coverage by 2013 and total super- fast coverage by 2020.

 

So while there was once large pockets of our civilization that remained unconnected to a satisfactory broadband network, the popularity of smartphones and the mobile broadband capabilities they possess might just see a big change. Markets that were neglected might emerge as major telecoms areas in the years to come with hugely positive economic, political and societal consequences.

This is part two of an ongoing series to share 'digitaliKa', a concept to simplify how to discover, solution and deploy SAP Solutions.

  • Part I:  Introducing digitaliKa - Backgrounder
  • Part II: The idea and operating principles
  • in preparation - Part III: How to get there
  • in preparation - Part IV: Demo - showcasing the operating principles


 

With digitaliKa we want to enable SAP customers to digitally discover, solution and deploy SAP solutions - all by themselves. By providing this customer-operated engagement cycle, we expect costs of implementation to go down dramatically, time-to-value to improve and risks to reduce.

 

Let's illustrate the idea and operating principles behind digitaliKa along three essential steps: Discovery, Solutioning and Deployment. The illustration below may help to visualise the structural components of digitaliKa.

 

Slide14.png

 

Discovery

The objective is to facilitate discovery of SAP solutions for a stated customer situation. This involves mapping the plain language a customer uses to outcomes SAP solutions can provide. Today this involves a lot of interaction: meetings, analyses and expert inputs often combine in a variety of way to achieve a single outcome. DigitaliKa changes this by exposing pre-defined outcomes and using data science to do the mapping.

 

The whole discovery and specification is done in this step, and it ends with the creation of a briefcase (note: not a shopping cart yet). In the ideal state, digitaliKa knows who the customer is, what SAP has in store, and how the customer is using SAP and his affinities. By applying appropriate data science, digitaliKa is capable of making targeted recommendations to be included in the briefcase. This process is fully customer-operated in the end-state; in interim stages, this part can be operated by a SAP sales specialist.

 

Through the process, digitaliKa interacts with the backend systems like CRM creating opportunities or changing their status. The system exposes all the needed collateral in the most recent version, and only what is needed.


Solutioning

The briefcase, an expression of the customers requirements, is translated into SAP-language and into a project scope. To that end, digitaliKa fetches assets from a repository to expose Rapid Deployment Solutions (RDS) which will address the business requirements. In many cases additional design-based tasks will have to be conducted to complement the whole solution. They are identified in the same moment.

 

As digitaliKa is fetching these assets, it is also fetching the underlying work breakdown structures and hence is capable of running an estimation (pricing) to execute the project scope. A contract is auto-populated with this content, commercial terms are set based on the identity and purchase history of the customer, and the contract is proposed to the customer. The briefcase has then to be translated to a shopping cart.

 

Once this contract has been accepted and confirmed, digitaliKa communicates with the various backend systems. CRM status is changed, commercial documents are created in the ERP system, and technical specifications are created.

 

The technical specifications are used to pre-assemble the solution and provision it in our Cloud. Specified RDS are fired-up and are immediately available. As we pre-tested them, we ensure that every given combination is technically working together. The pre-assembled solution sits now in the Cloud for the next step.

 

Deployment

If the pre-assembled solution needs additional design-based activities to be complete, a deployment is necessary. The project scope is transferred and exposed in a way that a project manager can get his job done.


Based on the work breakdown structure and agreed upon start dates, resource requirements are identified. A connection to the resource management system provides automated staffing strawmen. The project execution can start and is monitored on task level.

 

Once done, the solution is ready for production environment - in pre-production state. There are then two choices: (1) either keep it in the Cloud environment use during the implementation phase, or (2) deploy it on-premise.

 

During this phase, digitaliKa is interacting with the backend systems, to report progress of delivery, to forecast project financials, and ultimately to generate an invoice at the end. Consultants staffed to the project get their skill database automatically updated and are released for the next assignment.

 

Recap

If this sounds benign as a concept, it is not. The medium-complex nature of solutions make it actually quite a challenge. It involves several key components:

  • outcome-based portfolio
  • data lakes and associated data science
  • a repository of rapid deployment solutions
  • pre-assembly procedure and IP
  • common taxonomy and meta-data models

 

In addition to this, the bi-directional connection to backend systems as well as the embedding into a fully functional digital commerce platform need to be enabled. As appealing the end-state is, the path to it needs likely to be broken down into digestible phases. We think of three of them.

Level 1 digitaliKa is close to be fully operational and tested at SAP Services. The benefits are stunning our test-pilots. We think the concept is applicable to up to 40% of the projects we conduct, gaining efficiencies of 40% and more, whilst reducing time to value and risks for our customers.

 

 

|  Follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Xing  |  Check out my other articles on SCN  or on my personal Blog |


 

Steve Lucas

A Roadmap for Simple

Posted by Steve Lucas Nov 25, 2014

Our CEO, Bill McDermott, has thrown down the gauntlet on enterprise complexity so to speak and issued a challenge to every single SAP employee: Make our valuable products and solutions simple to understand, simple to discover, simple to deploy, simple to use and simple to support. Do that, he promises, and our customers will be successful. There is no more noble pursuit for SAP than that as far as I am concerned!


Why so much focus on simplicity? The answer is that we believe enterprise computing, in a broad sense, has become absurdly complex (both on premise and in the cloud). I should also share that we aren't blind to that fact that SAP has to lead from the front on simplification. We need to be committed to the mission of simplification for the long term.


Hence, my commentary here related to the pursuit of simplification spans all enterprise software worlds – on premise, the cloud and anything in between. And rather than just tell you what we plan on doing or how we are simplifying, I will provide some concrete examples of what we are delivering today that are down-payments on our promise of simple.


Before we get there, I think it’s worth contemplating our passion at SAP. What we LOVE doing, put simply, is to enable customers to run their businesses, end to end in the simplest and most agile manner possible. To that end, we put the people who use products and solutions from SAP first and will enable them to run their business from their phone, anywhere, anytime through the cloud. Bill articulates this often as "The Cloud Company Powered by HANA"...which in itself is a simple but profound statement. How I interpret that as an SAP employee goes something like this: "Hey Steve, you need to make our products easy to use, run and love" and I am up for that call to action!

 

How will we do that?


That depends on your point of view and what you need from SAP. On the one hand, if a business user just wants something like a simple tool to visualize data and nothing more from SAP, then said individual can go to saplumira.com, download Lumira for free and have a great experience. Done! And frankly that end user shouldn’t have to talk to anyone at SAP to have that great experience.


On the other hand, a company may want an application like the best HR solution available anywhere in the cloud and nothing more. Likewise, they should be able to go to successfactors.com and sign up right away.

 

But with all that said, what about companies who want more than a singular and focused product experience?


I believe most enterprise organizations want SAP to deliver a simplified, end-to-end business applications suite that is integrated with their global business network, all powered by our modern platform and easily extended or customized to suit any need. And oh by the way, that experience can be had from SAP entirely in the cloud, on premise or a mixture of the twoAnd this, my friends, is where SAP will outshine all our rivals. Why? Because I believe there is no other company on the planet equipped to deliver this except SAP.


The reason I make this last point is not because it’s what SAP wants to sell, but again – because I believe it’s what customers WANT. As a case in point, think about what’s happening today in the cloud and how similar it is to the "best of breed" apps developed in the mid 90’s. The scenarios playing out in the cloud aren’t that different actually – a bunch of companies who have a core application (e.g. CRM, HR, etc.) in the cloud, trying to expand beyond their core…then customers end up with integration challenges between those apps or in the current case, clouds. Tough to run a business that way!  The point is that our customers typically don't ask us to think about one thing. They ask us to think about a lot of things, including how a business, big or small, can best operate end to end.


Now equipped with that background, I think we are ready to discuss the roadmap for Simple. I’ve chosen to break this down into three areas:

  

1.  Simplifying SAP's Focus & Portfolio

 

2.  Simplifying Enterprise Infrastructure & Applications

 

3.  Simplifying Your Experience & Consumption

1. Simplifying SAP's Focus & Portfolio

With thousands of products produced by SAP, it’s challenging to take it all in as well as make sense of what you need and when you need it. To that end, we’ve made the decision to simplify our product roadmap and focus on three key areas – Applications, Network and Platform. It makes sense to do this as our customers have needs that span all of these areas, but most often it’s the consumer of these technologies that is very different. For our business apps and network, generally speaking it's business users and for platform technologies it's IT (with admitted exceptions). This thinking tightens our aperture and gives us the ability to focus on what business challenge we are trying to solve, who buys products from SAP and why. Hence, we are on a journey to not only innovate but to simplify our apps, network and platform portfolio.


As a side note, this also enables us to foster conversations between customers with similar interests. Our wish is that the SAP user group communities will embrace this categorization and focus education/enablement/dialog efforts around those areas to better align.


2. Simplifying Enterprise Infrastructure & Applications

Infrastructure-wise, I know you are all expecting me to use the "SAP HANA Platform" as an example of simplification – and why not? We massively simplified the required enterprise infrastructure necessary to develop or run enterprise business applications on-premise by consolidating database, analytics, application processing, planning, text processing, predictive, and data management all on one platform with one copy of your data. This means you don’t need to buy and integrate all those parts separately. For the record, every SAP application we build already runs or will eventually run on the HANA platform, including our cloud apps like SuccessFactors. (Should any detractor state anything to the contrary, please refer them to this blog or me directly)

 

On the application side of the business, we are leveraging HANA to expand breadth & capability yet reduce complexity in core applications...and any time you hear SAP refer to "s" innovations - Simple Finance, Simple Logistics, etc., you should assume SAP has taken a business application like Logistics and created compelling new capabilities for that business area on HANA as well as re-written some of the existing code natively on HANA to be more "svelte". More importantly you should assume that these innovations and simplifications are NOT available on third party database products. Once a CFO spends some quality time understanding Simple Finance from SAP, any question she might have had regarding "why HANA" will quickly disappear.


What's so great about Simple Finance? With it we will give every company on the planet the ability to know it's cash balance on hand with precision at any moment vs. just at month or quarter end. This will dramatically impact the market in a profound and positive way. Like I said, CFO's love Simple Finance from SAP (this is awesome BTW)!


Speaking of CFO's, I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention that we offer managed Infrastructure as a Service, known as HANA Enterprise Cloud (commonly known as "HEC"). This is a data enter network we've developed in partnership with some pretty brilliant companies like IBM, HP etc., that simplifies your operations by allowing you to move your existing SAP applications investment in it's entirety to these managed data center(s). I don't want to get caught up in the exercise of labeling what HEC is, so I will just tell you that it's cheaper to run SAP on HEC. ASAP. (Maybe I should simplify myself by eliminating some acronyms!)


While those are very compelling examples of simplification, yet another is the recently launched Platform as a Service offering, HANA Cloud Platform from SAP. To be clear, HCP is a cloud based platform for everyone and anyone using any business application from SAP to build and extend their apps...regardless of whether you've deployed HANA on premise or not. It exists to simplify the customization of all business applications from SAP, starting with on premise ERP and Successfactors in the cloud. It's free to sign up and try out as well. It's awesome!


With HCP, all required software to build a solution, including user portal, analytics, data integration, identity, mobile, collaboration, API management, document management, data management and much more are pre-integrated and ready to run in the cloud. (In other words, "no assembly required"... just start making an app!) If you want to see real apps in action, talk to people like @_bgoerke, @prakashdarji and a number of SAP Mentors including @wombling who are doing a great job building apps such as "Enterprise Jungle socialgraph" using the HCP platform.

 

HANA Cloud Platform.png

As you can see in the graphic, the idea is to make the HANA platform your broad, single product underpinning all business applications SAP delivers, both on premise and in the cloud. This implies our customers will have a more consistent experience as well, so we aren't pursuing this for the sake of speed or performance alone! Our broad intention with HCP (remember, HCP is Platform as a Service) is similar to HANA, but it will be focused on giving customers one simple way to customize all SAP business applications, whether you use or run HANA on premise or not. (Even if you never plan to use HANA, you can still use HCP!)


This model of simplifying business applications via HANA and labeling them "s" or simple solutions as well as enabling the extension of these SAP applications (or data) via the HANA Cloud Platform is a formula you will see SAP use repeatedly over the next several years.


3. Simplifying Your Experience & Consumption

Your experience and success with SAP is paramount. We need to build more solutions that you will love to use. It would also be helpful if we made them easier to access and discover. That's why we created solutions like Fiori and made it free for all existing SAP customers. Fiori literally transforms how people experience SAP. Beautiful, fast and mobile is exactly what you get with Fiori and the experience spans most SAP business applications. If we haven't "Fiori-ized" an SAP application yet, we will.


Of course the experience you deserve with SAP goes way beyond Fiori. We're encouraged by your feedback on Fiori (inspired even!) and have looked at how we can extend and expand that everywhere. With SAP Lumira for example, you can google it or visit the website (saplumira.com) and with one click, download an amazing data visualization tool - for free! The product makes even the ugliest of data sources pretty to look at and easy to understand.

 

On the subject of accessibility, you've also told us we need to make it easier to learn more about how to use our portfolio of products, ranging from ERP and HANA to Fiori and Lumira. Consequently, beyond making our tools just flat out easier to use, we've made free and low-cost, accessible education a top priority. We live in the age of Khan Academy, Coursera and Udacity – online education, both free and paid options is now the norm. Tools like SAP HANA Academy and SAP Learning Hub, are driving continuous education (remember the cloud world has frequent & rapid releases) whether you are in Silicon Valley, India, China or anywhere around the world.


We're also making it easier to discover amazing third party apps built on the SAP platform. There are thousands of amazing apps you never even knew existed built on SAP HANA and HANA Cloud Platform just waiting to be discovered, all in the SAP HANA Marketplace. I can't wait for you to see what we have in store for you at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 regarding the marketplace and what's going on with developers building business apps on SAP's platform all over the world! It's awesome!


Lastly, we know that your success is a journey and your targets evolve over time. We want to make it easy to understand how to best leverage SAP so we can help you on that journey... so we've created journey maps that articulate in 5 simple steps how customers can explore customer success stories, identify use cases, try, deploy with easy cookbooks and experience our products. We've begun the journey with dozens of easy to access software evaluation editions via
SAP HANA Marketplace, including BW on HANA, ERP on HANA, CRM on HANA, Cloud for Sales, and Customer Engagement Intelligence on HANA.


Wrapping this up...


We know your journey isn’t trivial. We know that no two SAP customers are alike. We know that many of our customers have different starting points like SAP ERP or SuccessFactors or BusinessObjects. We know that heterogeneity is the name of the game in the cloud (as well as on premise) and we have to collaborate with other vendors to make this a reality. This is why we’ve encouraged our customers to get started with HANA ASAP. Moving SAP on premise business applications to HANA puts you that much closer to additional strategic options like moving to the HANA Enterprise Cloud (our aforementioned IaaS) and creating a more seamless flow between other SAP solutions. It also gains you immediate entry to all the simplified apps & solutions SAP began rolling out with Simple Finance and will continue to do with myriad other products in the near future. Your organization needs to be on SAP HANA to capitalize on the influx of simple, lower TCO innovation opportunities coming your way. Once we arrive at our HANA waypoint together, we will be in a position to do amazing things, together.


I view all of this collectively as the pursuit of "The Cloud Company powered by HANA". I believe Bill McDermott's proclamation to "Run Simple" is the way forward and we will endeavor to make this roadmap for simple a reality for you, every single day.


My last blog post talked about DemoJam (#DemoJam) at SAP TechEd && d-code (#SAPtd) 2014 in Berlin. But this companion video will show DemoJam to you!

 

SAP TechEd DemoJam 2 VIDEO 11-25-2014-A.jpg

Spoiler Alert: Third place went to went to a team -- half-inspired by the Muppets -- that created a virtual marketplace for buying or trading care for the elderly and the infirmed. This app could attract more people into voluntary caregiving.

 

Second place went to guys who built their own 3D printer so they could print their own wireless brainwave-sensor and virtual reality headset. This lets shoppers virtually test drive a product while monitoring their brainwaves; that way salespeople can gauge a shopper’s interest in specific products in real time.

 

The winners brought the social networking game FarmVille to life with an app that lets users direct and observe the planting, cultivation and harvesting of crops -- all from a smartphone. There’s no need to watch a 90-minute replay when you can check this out:

 

 

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

 

More From SAP Business Trends:

 

Fighting Crime, Chasing Storms and Gardening via Smartphone at #DemoJam #SAPtd 2014

 

Solving the Data Problem, #SAPtd Keynote Tells the Future of Running Simple

 

SAP HANA Is Changing Business by Changing Itself, #SAPtd 2014

Karen Isaacson

Two Truths and a Lie

Posted by Karen Isaacson Nov 25, 2014

Have you ever played ‘Two Truths and a Lie’ as an icebreaker at a company meeting?  Here’s how it goes: you share three things about yourself to the other meeting attendees, and they need to figure out which two are true, and which is a lie. [My typical contribution is “I have 30 first cousins; I ran track competitively in high school; and I’ve studied five languages”.] 

 

Ok, now that you understand the premise of the game, let’s play. Here’s the context: SAP and Oxford Economics recently co-sponsored a major research study in 27 countries, with 5,400 executives and employees participating.  The objective was to understand how demographic shifts, technological advances, and changing attitudes are affecting the workforce.

 

Here are the two truths and a lie (well, at least a myth) from this study:

 

Finding 1 – There is a disconnect between the compensation and benefits that employees want, and what companies offer (TRUE).

 

The biggest gaps: Employees want more competitive compensation, retirement plans, flexible work location, vacation, flexible schedules, and education.

 

ttaal 1.png

Finding 2 – Executives value education and loyalty far ahead of performance (TRUE).

 

Surprisingly, job performance and results is ranked #10 by executives as the most valued employee attributes.  That really surprised me.

 

ttaal 2.png

 

Finding 3 – Women are more interested than men in the quality of life over career path (FALSE).

 

In fact – 51% of men responded they wanted more focus on the quality of life over career, versus 47% of women.

 

ttaal 3.png

 

 

With five generations in the workplace and evolving expectations of workers, we are seeing a huge shift in what matters to employees, what matters to executives, and how companies are addressing this.  Progressive companies are taking a fresh look at compensation, benefits, and learning programs, as well as tools and policies to enable employees to work flexibly.

 

More employees, managers, and teams work in different locations, and on different schedules. This has changed the way routine communication occurs and how feedback is delivered.  The days of MBWA (management by walking around) are passé in many organizations, and good managers have found new ways to monitor employee work, provide feedback, and create a sense of team spirit.

 

Three of my favorite ways to bridge this gap with my team are:

 

  • Web-based collaboration sites that allow information to be shared and enable true knowledge management,
  • Performance processes and systems that encourage on-going discussion
  • Video-enabled conference calls to see each other and minimize the dreaded multi-tasking

 

What do you think matters most to workers?  If you want to hear more about this topic, please register for the upcoming What Matters Most at Work webinar on December 3, 2014.  For more information on the Workforce 2020 study and to download the report, please visit our Workforce of the Future hub.

 

[By the way, anyone who knows me at all knows that I most definitely did not run track in high school.]

“We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community.” Cesar Chavez

 

 

SAP has a great Month of Service program, held every year for the past 10 years in October that I recently participated in. It was an extremely fast paced 3 hours on a Wednesday afternoon at the Alameda County Food Bank here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Our teams were sorting fresh produce – namely in season apples and green peppers (I think I personally handled about 500 green peppers in those 3 hours and there were many more to go!)

 

At the end, we regrouped for an overview of all the services and programs that the Alameda County Food Bank provides and I was amazed to learn that even here, where you would never think, software and technology has an impact to make peoples’ lives run better and run simpler. Here are some of the facts that they shared with us:

 

  • The Food Bank serves 1 in 5 Alameda County residents
  • Demand for emergency food has doubled since 2008
  • 43% of their clients are children
  • This year, the Food Bank will provide 23.3 million meals to the community.

acfb photo 1.JPG

And last but not least:

 

  • For every $1 donated, they can distribute $6 worth of food

 

Technology can be their friend and can help present new opportunities. For example, in the past the Alameda County Food Bank got leftover supplies from major grocery chains such as Safeway, Lucky’s etc. As these companies have moved to better understand and manage their supply chains, grocery stores with the help of software from the likes of SAP, they have minimized the amount of spoilage and additional inventory left on their shelves. This has meant that they have also reduced the amount of food that they donate to Food Banks – forcing food banks to generate food supplies from other sources.

 

This forced the Alameda County Food Bank to think outside the box – literally. They made the switch and moved from packaged, boxed goods to put more emphasis on healthy eating and actual fresh produce. The end results of this included being able to provide healthier options for the community that they serve and also now are a major buyer of fresh produce direct from California growers.

acfb 2.JPG

There are always opportunities to do better and reinvent. Sometimes a change can mean regrowth and new opportunities. This was a great opportunity to serve the community, learn more about the real story behind what the Food Banks do and also see some elements of technology in action.

 

The Alameda County Food Bank’s main mission and hope would be that they would go out of business – because they aren’t needed any more. Technology should have opposite objective in my mind, to become more integrated into everyday usage, improve people’s lives and help make the world a better place.

 

Learn more about the Alameda County Food Bank: www.accfb.org/

 

Follow us on twitter: @sapoem

What makes a good leader? Looking at my own personal growth at SAP, I have found that the Holy Grail of leadership today is engagement. It’s only through truly engaging customers that we’ve increased profitability, and only through employee engagement do we increase productivity. I have been lucky enough to work with an executive coach who truly understands how leaders can inspire teams and foster engagement within both their organizations and their customers’ organizations. This is some of the insight I’ve gained from her on engagement, people management, and leadership.

 

Build a team of your own personal challengers

 

A recent article in the Economist claimed that as technology continues to become more intelligent, the role of the leader will center more and more on innovative thought leadership. In order to prepare themselves for this reality, leaders must continually nourish their minds with complex problems, new ideas, and divergent perspectives. To this end, everyone needs their own group of personal challengers; external experts who fulfil that part of their development and growth on an ongoing basis. This could be mentors, coaches, business advisors, or just friends who work in different industries. While it takes some work to assemble and practice, it’s a critical element to developing your breadth of thinking and continuing your growth.

 

Convene and intervene

 

A very helpful leadership philosophy that I have learned is to convene and intervene. On one hand, part of being a leader is cultivating growth which entails convening people under a common purpose and allowing ideas to flourish. On the other hand, it’s about knowing when to jump in and steer the ship which entails helping the team take their ideas and shape them into something meaningful and executable. The leadership philosophy of convene and intervene allows you to be more present in a meeting by taking the onus off getting to the answer and instead focusing on the process of watching ideas grow and then simply shaping them. Not only does this help people feel engaged in the process, it also helps you learn a lot about the people you work with.

 

Two-to-one

 

Traditional thinking says that when coaching people, be sure to balance things that are working (positives) with lessons to be learned (negatives). Recent thinking suggests that the magic ratio is not 1:1, but in fact, 2:1. The 2:1 theory is that by emphasizing the positives, you create more buoyancy, leaving people feeling bullish and supported while at the same time having something constructive to work on. It’s so easy to jump right into the issue, especially in a company like ours where urgency can sometimes rule the day. I find myself needing reminders to adhere to this simple 2:1 rule of thumb, but when I do, I am stunned by the results.

 

Flying high and diving deep

 

Leadership in a sales driven organization requires an interesting balance of skills: the ability to help refine the details while simultaneously understanding the business with enough breadth to shape the strategy. The balance of knowing when to ‘fly high’ and ensure the overall health of the business, and when to ‘dive deep’ and run right alongside the teams, is a careful balancing act that is imperative to master for the sustainable health of both the business and the team. It can be really unnerving for people when a leader moves from one to the other quickly, which happens when leaders have both skills. Over time, and with amazing
support, I have learned that announcing the switch – in a deliberate way – can help people understand what you’re doing. It ensures that people know they’re still trusted even though you need to understand the finite detail, and it allows them to understand that you also see the big picture and are looking out for their long term wellbeing.

 

Give, give, give, gone

 

Because there is never enough of it, time is the most valued gift we have to give. I’ve learned that when you have time with someone, give them everything you’ve got – your absolute undivided attention. If you say you’ll do something for them, do it there and then. Make the phone call, find them the document, send the email – but when they leave, move onto the next thing. This means you can always be true to your word, people get from you what they need, and you’re fresh and available to do it again when you move on to your next meeting.

 

 

Leagh Turner is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for SAP Canada. In this role, she leads value and solution engineering, marketing and communications, sales operations, as well as the industry solution group.

It’s not a pretty sight when an air compressor blows at a wastewater facility. It’s not pretty for the environment, and the repair bill can be pricey. That’s why predictive maintenance is a top priority for the CEO of Kaeser Compressors, a company that prides itself on delivering state of the art solutions for a range of industrial activities like drilling, pressurizing and vacuum packing.To improve the lifecycle of their products and provide customers with greater insight into maintenance needs, Kaeser measures the performance of their machines through sensors by the second, amassing one million measurements per day, adding up to over one hundred terabytes of data per year.

 

 

 

Kaeser, like many other companies, has been creating big data through machine to machine communications for over 15 years, making them experts on the Internet of Things (IoT). What differentiates them is the way they analyze the data on SAP HANA and use the insights for collaborative research and development projects with their customers and partners, impacting not only their own sales and service teams, but their entire ecosystem. Instead of just managing data, they are getting value out of it, enabling the  field force to react faster to customer requirements.

 

 

Falko Lameter, the CIO of Kaeser, says the IoT has radically changed the business.  Five years from now, Kaeser will be a service provider, not just selling machines but selling a holistic package of services and usage models including fleet management so that the customer just uses the product without having to maintain it. To me, this is a perfect example of the technology trends changing the world around us: connected things generate data, data must be stored and managed, data can be analyzed to gain knowledge which in turn shapes the way business is done.

 

A secret business weapon

 

 

 

Technology has often been used as a secret business weapon, a tool to out perform the competition, increase efficiency and cut down costs. Technology is now becoming so prevalent that it is no longer just a tool to improve the way we do business – it is a disruptive force that is completely reshaping our economy. Black cabs in London, for example, are driven by people who spend three years memorizing every possible route in the entire city and learning how to apply that knowledge to get passengers from point A to B in the fastest, most efficient way. GPS has eliminated the need for that skill, and Uber’s drivers need nothing but a driver’s license to get paid for driving people around, disrupting a traditional business and 70 years of conditioning around the fixed price of taxis.

 

 

Many of the dramatic Fortune 1000 changes over the past 10 years had deep roots in technology. For better or worse, the inability to embrace new technology trends is what triggered the demise of such powerhouses as Kodak and  Blockbuster. Conversely, the ability to leverage new technologies is what enabled the emergence of companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Netflix.

 

 

From atoms to bits


Our world is shifting from atoms to bits. Our economy is increasingly dealing with intangible goods and many of the most valuable companies in the world only trade bits.Think about the profound transformations companies must go through to survive that shift. Take the example of a game company. Ten years ago, games were shipped on physical media: cartridges and CDs that ended up as boxes on the shelves of retailers. Their supply chain and order-to-cash processes were not that different from the ones of a company manufacturing furniture or clothing. But who ever buys games on a physical media these days? The same applies to book publishers or the movie industry.

 

This transition from atoms to bits entails a lot of other things beyond the fact that companies no longer ship boxes. Enterprises today must adapt their complete business models and payment systems to the new consumption models and behaviors which now translate into subscription models and micro-payments.

 

 

From complexity to simplicity

 

 

Without a doubt, technology is a key transformer, constantly reshaping the world we live in.  Each new shift in technology, however, adds more layers of complexity. Consequently, companies are often overwhelmed by business challenges and need guidance along with simplified solutions.

 

For us at SAP, the way to combat complexity is to run simple and to do so, you need to have one truth, one platform and one experience. By one truth we mean having a holistic view of the entire business. To provide a holistic view, we offer just one platform, SAP HANA, for computing, consuming, and storing all data, and this platform can be run on premise or in the cloud. And finally, experience is the key to adoption, because if the user experience for consumers and developers is not beautiful, the platform will not be adopted.

 

In my next three blogs, I will explain in detail how SAP’s Run Simple approach helps enterprises benefit from the great technology trends shaping the world today: cloud, big data and the IoT, and the business networks of the new connected economy. Companies that are already running simple, like Kaeser Compressors, will not only survive technology trends but thrive as leading innovators in the years to come.

 

Stay tuned!

smallmoocblog.jpgOne of the biggest criticisms of MOOCs is that they can’t replicate the unique learning environment of the classroom. The latest course from the openSAP MOOC curriculum, entitled, “Introduction to SAP Fiori UX,” has turned that argument on its head by fostering a remarkable level of collaboration between instructors, classmates and SAP overall.

 

SAP Fiori UX is the company’s new user interface that’s designed to give people faster access to the tools they need for their job. But when over 20,000 people registered for the MOOC, they were treated to much more than the typical design class. First, they were encouraged to provide feedback to SAP on how SAP Fiori UX might be used in their situation, industry, or company. Their input was shared with classmates as well as SAP product teams. Then the fun really began.

 

Participants could compete in the Fiori Design Challenge and create their own Fiori use case. The kicker was that their submissions would be assessed by other participants in the MOOC. To qualify (and earn points), they had to agree to participate in the peer review themselves by submitting their design ideas and providing written feedback on other submissions. Each competitor was assessed by three different anonymous and randomly assigned peers. Instructors only weighed in to settle disputed rankings. I heard from the three lucky winners of the Fiori Design Challenge who took home an iPad Air.

Elena Flocos, who works as a Functional Analyst at United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), decided to explore SAP Fiori UX as part of her organization’s quest to simplify business processes. She plans to bring back what she’s learned to support these efforts. “This approach made me think multiple times about how to formulate the business case and the solution in a clear and simple way that’s also understandable to non-experts. Evaluating other participants helped me learn about their challenges and ideas for improvement, some of which could be applicable to our organization.”

Pierre-Edouard Paris, a SAP Security and Authorization Consultant for SOA People in Belgium said that the course directly supports his career ambitions to become a SAP Solution Architect working with new technologies, including mobile. “This was a great opportunity to work with knowledge gained without being limited by the profitability point of view of the professional life. The format is close to perfect, allowing everyone to progress at their own pace, and practice what they’ve learned in a fun way.”

David Lincourt, Solution Expert at the SAP Global Defense & Security Business Unit, recently shared his prototype to customers who said ‘Wow, this is the new SAP. You guys are really listening.’ According to Lincourt, “I deepened my understanding of this solution, and immediately applied what I learned. The course reaffirmed that I shouldn’t be shy of building more prototypes to share the capabilities of our solution, using it to reinforce our SAP corporate strategy around simplification. I plan to reapply the design principles I learned to demonstrate for customers the art of the possible.”

Interestingly, participants generally accepted the reviews of their peers; a relatively small percentage of submissions required a second opinion from the instructor. In fact, some students suggested increasing the number of peer reviewers for greater statistical relevance. Here’s how Elvira Wallis, Senior Vice President of Solution and Knowledge Packaging at SAP, explained the rationale for crowdsourcing and peer assessment.

 

“We see crowdsourcing and peer assessment as a next step in the MOOC evolution. By submitting their own ideas and engaging in feedback and review discussions with other users, participants were much more empowered to behave as active contributors and designers. They realized that there was no right or wrong answer, and their creative potential emerged.”

 

No doubt the coming year will bring more innovation to MOOCs, including SAP’s which currently have over 450,000 course enrollments. Meantime, openSAP is receiving some well-deserved industry kudos that bode well for the next generation of innovators.

 

Follow me @smgaler

 

Related Content:

Watch Aircraft Acceptance  - Fiori UX submission from David Lincourt

Download MyHolidays - Fiori UX Submission from Pierre-Edouard Paris

Download UNICEF Country Office Funds Management – Fiori UX Submission from Elena Flocos

openSAP wins GOLD Brandon Hall Award in Learning

Santa.jpg

Generation after generation of children and adults have pondered the mystery of Santa Claus.  How does he manage to run such a complex, global industry, delighting his customers year after year?  Thus far, we’ve had to be content with the results, not knowing how they are achieved.  But no longer!

 

Today’s Networked Economy, fueled by hyperconnectivity among people, businesses and devices, is providing deep insight into the inner workings of Santa Inc.

 

So here it goes – answers to your burning questions about Santa:

 

How does Santa produce so many toys in such a short amount of time (given that children mail their lists so close to Christmas)?

Two key ways:

  • Outsourcing / nearshoring.  With the growth in population, there is no way Santa could produce all the toys himself. So he increasingly outsources and nearshores production, leveraging business networks to help discover, connect and collaborate with suppliers across the globe.  They also help him in other ways.  Santa Inc. policy prohibits working with naughty suppliers.  But Santa’s own database is limited to those that believe in him so lacks information about many potential suppliers.  Community feedback available in business networks helps him qualify new suppliers.  For example, positive reviews from the Hindu goddesses Lakshmi & Shashti helped him qualify a nice Indian supplier last year.
  • Contingent Labor.  Santa still produces some of the toys in house.  But his challenge has always been managing capacity at peak production periods in Nov-Dec.  Being a non-profit, he could never pay the Elf labor required during the holiday season all year long.  Hence, he leverages a large contingent labor force, leveraging Cloud-based solutions and business networks that allow him to tap into a large talent pool of skilled toy makers when and where he needs them.

 

Is Santa’s sleigh really driven by flying reindeer?

Absolutely.  While we still aren’t sure how he makes those reindeer fly, we do know that they have to be in perfect shape to do so.  Santa uses health monitors embedded in the reindeer collars that track various vital signs 24/7.  At the first sign of any illness, automatic notifications are sent to Santa’s veterinarian to initiate treatment, and Santa’s logistics Director is notified, allowing him to prepare a substitute reindeer for the big night.

 

Is Rudolph real?

Yes, but he doesn’t fly every year.  Santa has weather sensors around the globe that feed an advanced sleigh app which determines the optimal reindeer crew configuration for each Christmas.  Rudolph is called upon when fog patterns require the extra illumination, being notified via his collar-mounted mobile device.

 

So there you have it – some of Santa’s deepest secrets revealed.  Santa may be a forward-looking pioneer, but the power of the Networked Economy is there for all us to use today. Yet one more lesson for all of us to learn from Santa Claus.

 

On Cyber Monday I’ll reveal more secrets, including how Santa knows if you’re naughty or nice (I’ll give you a clue – it’s not magic).

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