1 2 3 127 Previous Next

SAP Business Trends

1,894 Posts

What do Audrey Hepburn & Angelina Jolie have in common? Like millions of women, a love of Italian shoes. Learn how Ferragamo and other SAP customers keep their customers coming back.




Luxury brands have an extremely loyal following. Add star power from a celebrity wearing a brand and the brand’s reach becomes exponentially more powerful. With this global fan base comes demand from the far reaches of the globe. As the McKinsey Report “The glittering power of cities for luxury growth” states, “The global economy is experiencing an unprecedented shift toward emerging-market cities.”


One example of a growing luxury goods maker is Salvatore Ferragamo. A rich tradition from the 1920s as shoemaker to the stars, Ferragamo is still a leading brand with celebrities and is made in Italy. In recent years, Ferragamo has seen increasing demand for its products. In Asia, they opened new stores and experienced double-digit growth.


In order to maintain their brand and keep pace with demand, Ferragamo had to find a balance between quality and quantity. They were challenged to maintain the high quality their brand is known for and produce increasing large quantities of their products. At the core of their business is
the quest for continuous improvement:


“We need to continue to surprise” and delight them, states Chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo. “The product is an

instrument to doing business but the customer must have the desire to come back to us…after enjoying the shoes.”


Business IT matters had to be addressed to support their growth. The most important functionality was the capability to have complete insight into the merchandising solution – from better leather sourcing to informing sales associates of geographic availability for sizes & styles. This functionality is fundamental to better serving the customer.


To make this possible, they needed to standardize on one platform across all regions. This is key to:


  • Achieve integration, which was lacking in the home grown systems
  • Gain full control of processes
  • Capabilities for complete insight into the merchandising solution


Watch our video to learn more about the tradition of Ferragamo, their outlook for the future and how they use the SAP HANA platform to simplify business processes.


Attending NRF’s Big Show at New York’s Javits Center, January 11-14? Meet with Adidas, Luxottica, Ulta Beauty, and other SAP customers, event
information available here


The holidays are traditionally a time when people fly home to gather with family – or sometimes travel to exotic locales to escape the winter weather. While traveling, airline customers hope for clear skies, careful luggage handlers, and on-time flights.


To keep aircraft flying safely and provide excellent customer service, many airlines are relying on new predictive analytics technology. Savvy operators use equipment health monitoring solutions to analyze huge volumes of data. With this insight, airlines can pinpoint maintenance requirements, predict likely failures, and proactively repair or replace parts – before problems delay or cancel a fully booked flight of holiday travelers.


But how do companies in the aerospace and defense industry – whether they are OEMs, operators, or third-party service providers – decide that equipment health monitoring and predictive maintenance is a valuable investment for their business? What is the best way to get started deploying these solutions?


Launching a new initiative with confidence


At SAP, we often work with A&D companies to uncover new opportunities to use equipment health monitoring technologies to reduce disruptions, improve customer satisfaction, and improve cash flow. We offer a variety of exploratory and business planning services that can help organizations understand the potential value of analytics solutions, create a strategy for deploying technologies in a cost-effective way, and implement best practices that help maximize business benefits.


A typical first step is for A&D companies to explore opportunities through a design thinking approach. Design thinking is a mindset that we use to solve problems and unlock potential. Backed by a suite of tools, our design thinking approach helps us focus on understanding the human side of things – considering not only what our technology is but also what that technology means to our customers and their customers. With design thinking, we put ourselves in the shoes of customers to create new value for all stakeholders.


Next, we engage the SAP Value Engineering methodology to help A&D companies assess the likely value of deploying an equipment health monitoring solution. SAP Value Engineering facilitates thought leadership, benchmarking, and best practice surveys that diagnose business performance. The group also develops high-impact recommendations to help customers improve current performance and uncover business value potential in a timely, and cost-efficient manner.


SAP Value Engineering consultants input real customer data into projections and scenarios to determine how the solution could contribute value to the organization or help the company reach its business goals. Tools in the value engineering toolbox include:


  • Collaborative value assessment – Identify and prioritize target opportunities; develop high level cost estimates, model solutions, and value proposition


  • Business case - Comprehensive and highly structured methodologies that capture both the quantifiable and unquantifiable characteristics of a proposed project


Once profitable scenarios are clearly identified, we work with the customer to develop a highly detailed business case that specifies how and where the solution should be deployed and rolled out, the areas of the business where it can be used (often in stages across the enterprise), and the anticipated benefits of the deployment over time. Once the project is approved and funded, the business case can serve as a foundation for project planning and management.



Identifying the benefits of new insight


The deployment of equipment health monitoring and predictive analytics technologies promises to deliver quantifiable business benefits to A&D companies. For example, imagine that a flight from Newark to Chicago experiences an intermittent hydraulic fault code. The equipment health monitoring solution sends a message to the ground station, where maintenance control personnel investigate details of the fault history, both for that aircraft and the entire fleet.


After identifying the likely problem, maintenance control orders the shipment of a pressure transmitter to the airline’s operations in Chicago. When the aircraft lands, the ground crew replaces the pressure transmitter during the scheduled cleaning and refueling time. The next leg of the flight takes off as scheduled, without delay.


As shown in this example, the business benefits of reduced cost, enhanced customer satisfaction, and increased profitability are significant. According to SAP Benchmarking, operators who track and analyze standard equipment KPIs typically reduce maintenance costs by 29 percent.


Yet it’s not enough for A&D enterprises to intuitively understand the value of these solutions. Instead, companies need a well-crafted plan that explores use cases, tests different value scenarios, and builds a solid business case for an equipment health monitoring solution.


We’re here to help. By providing design thinking, value engineering, and business case development services, SAP can help A&D companies identify well-qualified options that not only give stakeholders confidence but also deliver maximum benefits from equipment health monitoring and predictive analytics technologies.  For more information, visit us at www.sap.com/aerospace/bigdata.


For more information about SAP Value Engineering services, please click here.

Consumer payments took a huge leap forward in 2014 as technologies emerged to make paying for things electronically more convenient, easy and secure than ever. Businesses around the world took steps – albeit small ones – to improve what remains a largely manual, error-prone and risky process. And they’ll continue to do so in the year ahead. Here are four things you can expect:


1) Risk mitigation will become a priority

As attacks on corporate payment systems continue, the risk around maintaining vendor bank account information has gone from a smoldering issue to a blazing one. To mitigate their exposure, companies will turn to innovative payment methods that use non-sensitive proxy numbers that prevent hackers from doing anything with numbers should they somehow gain access to them.


2) Outsourcing will increase

Payments are a necessary part of commerce. But managing them requires capturing, managing and maintining sensitive information, complying with complex regulatory requirements and validating the identities of those seeking to be paid. Rather than taking this on, many companies will outsource the payment process to organizations that specialize in it.


3) Electronic payments will take hold

Electronic payments have been slow to take hold in the United States, primarily because paper checks - though opaque, slow and prone to fraud – provide all the information needed to effectively reconcile payments.  But new forms of payment that electronically deliver rich remittance data before payments reach a bank are fast emerging. And vendors will embrace them to enhance the reconciliation process and get paid more quickly.


4) Business networks will lead the way

When shopping on Amazon, you don’t worry about connecting to each individual merchant. When it comes time to pay, you don’t worry about integrating into each individual bank or credit card company. It’s all done for you within the network. Business networks will fuel the same consumer-like experience, creating a payment ecosystem that connects companies to their suppliers, banks and other partners and enables them to exchange and settle funds in the simplest possible way.


Is 2015 the year that B2B payments sees real transformation? Technology certainly exists to make it possible. And companies that leverage it can drive it by fueling a more simple, efficient and effective process that creates real business value.

Millennials, the cohort of Americans born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, are the largest generation in the U.S., representing one-third of the total U.S. population in 2013. With the oldest of Millennials only in their early thirties, most members of this generation are at the beginning of their careers and so will be an important engine of the economy in the decades to come.


The significance of Millennials extends beyond their numbers. Theirs is the first generation to have had access to the Internet during their formative years. Millennials also stand out because they are the most diverse and educated generation to date: 42% identify with a race or ethnicity other than non-Hispanic white, around twice the share of the Baby Boomer generation when they were the same age. About 61% of adult Millennials have attended college, whereas only 46% of the Baby Boomers did so.


And it’s difficult to imagine, but 21% of the U.S. population – including a great number of Millennials – will be senior citizens by 2050. And they will see a far different medical landscape, compared to today’s 65+ population.


The challenge: increasing number of chronic diseases


Today, the number of people being treated for chronic, expensive-to-treat diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and Alzheimer’s disease and related disabilities is on the rise. It is projected that by 2020, chronic diseases will be the cause of 73% of all deaths.

  • Chronic diseases cause 7 out of every 10 deaths.
  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart
    disease are the leading causes of disability and death in the U.S.
  • About 25% of people with chronic diseases have
    some activity limitations. These include difficulty or needing help with
    personal tasks such as dressing or bathing. It may also mean being restricted
    from work or attending school.


Those suffering from chronic diseases face rising health care costs. They also receive lower-quality care and have fewer options. Chronic conditions also cost vast amounts of money. Consider these statistics:

  • Obesity increases the risk of developing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. The rate of obesity in adults has doubled in the last 20 years. It has almost tripled in children ages 2-11. It has more than tripled in U.S. children ages 12-19.
  • If circumstances do not change, 1 in 3 babies born today will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
  • Average healthcare costs for someone who has one or more chronic conditions is 5 times greater than for someone without any
    chronic conditions.
  • Chronic diseases account for $3 of every $4
    spent on healthcare. That’s nearly $7,900 for every American with a chronic


These chronic diseases drive U.S. healthcare costs at an alarming annual rate:

  • Heart disease and stroke: $432 billion per year
  • Diabetes: $174 billion per year
  • Lung disease: $154 billion per year
  • Alzheimer’s disease: $148 billion per year


And as health insurance co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses continue to rise, choices and care are becoming more limited.


In order to treat today’s and tomorrow’s senior citizens, particularly those with chronic diseases, it’s clear that medicine needs to become not only better, faster, and cheaper, but also more prevention-oriented. The country needs a proactive approach to handle this growing population, and to manage healthcare costs that are rising at an unsustainable rate.


Life science companies’ role in addressing the challenges of chronic disease


Tackling chronic diseases begins with prevention. Measures range from early diagnosis and therapies to disease management and health tracking. To achieve best outcomes for each patient, treatments need to be tailored to each patient’s individual situation, including pre-existing conditions such as genomic markers, lifestyle, and adherence to medical instructions.


Life science companies can add value to the fight against chronic disease on various levels by turning away from a product-centric approach towards a more patient-centric model. Life science companies’ vast clinical knowledge can help educate physicians and patients on the best use of their drugs and devices, especially recent, innovative products or personalized drugs and devices.


Life science companies can also support physicians and patients via services that increase adherence to health programs, such as mobile medical devices or health apps.


According to a U.S. survey by Accenture, not all patients are receptive to interacting with life sciences companies, but there is a significant group of patients who are willing to engage and share data with the industry; especially if the interactions are linked with tangible benefits such as financial rewards or free information or services.


When it comes to moving toward a more patient-centric approach, life sciences companies are off to a good start. GSK, for example, states on its Web site that by 2015, it will stop working with individual sales targets in favor of rewarding its sales staff according to their technical knowledge and quality of service for healthcare professionals. Medtronic offers products for connected care that support health monitoring to establish early warning systems against heart failures. Medtronic also aims to improve diabetes management by providing information to all relevant stakeholders in real time.


Life sciences may also be able to contribute to accountable care organizations (ACOs), which are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers who share best practices on maximizing quality of care efficiently. There are several benefits life sciences companies could add, such as educating patients, providing monitoring tools, and working with physicians on how to ensure patient adherence to therapies.


These are only a few of many examples that show that the life sciences industry is shifting towards innovating processes and products in order to improve patient outcomes. In the future, we will see more life sciences companies start initiatives to improve monitoring, as well as change the behavior and lifestyle of their end consumers, by leveraging game-changing technologies such as mobile health, social media, and electronic health records (EHRs). Life sciences companies will have the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to fighting chronic disease by the time today’s Millennials become tomorrow’s seniors.



Would you like to discuss more about Life Sciences? Please feel free to join the conversation in the chat field below or via our twitter handle @SAP_Healthcare! We very much look forward to hearing from you!


This blog was written jointly by Jasjeet Singh and me. I would like to express to Jasjeet my appreciation for his inputs, research, and contribution and thank him for his fantastic engagement!

I’ve just been reading a report from CFO Research and it seems there's a major consensus within the business community – companies need to invest in technology to ensure they grow and remain profitable in the future. The firms that don't will start being left behind, and at a severe disadvantage in the long-term.


I speak with experience of what I see and hear. From interactions with customers, I know that if a company has a board with people that are united, as well as a long-term vision – they will be successful. If a firm has a strategy where they are simply sticking to the short-term, relying on IT departments to come up with best-of-breed solutions, or continue to invest into developing bespoke systems, you have to worry. This might be outdated and far more expensive than it should be.


In terms of the technology, you may have heard a lot of talk around the cloud and big data. It’s a global phenomenon, and there's no doubt that unity around IT investment into this technology, as well as real time computing, will drive the future growth of companies.Finance 272507_l_srgb_s_gl.jpg


My advice to companies is that they must not ignore the future of technology – we’ll see it come sooner or later, and at an accelerated pace. I used the example of the cloud in a previous blog – a hugely significant technology and genuinely game-changing – but I've seen companies avoid it because they simply don’t understand it, or they might deny this is the future.


And the firms that have been risk-averse, insulated, adopting a strategy of avoidance, will have problems in the long-run competing with businesses that have the right technology integrated into their systems. Thinking about the future will put you in good stead.


The need for future predictions

Look at predictive analytics – the general consensus is that without it, companies will struggle to grow profitably. It's crucial to the business, and well established that better information reporting and data visualisation with the forward  looking touch will help line-of-business managers make better decisions.


There’s a demand from managers to access data quickly and easily. A realisation that the information can help them reach their growth targets if systems were easier to use. They're looking to analyse situations quickly, and make decisions fast enough to benefit the business positively.


The forward-thinking around this type of technology often comes from the finance function. That makes sense – deriving real-time, sophisticated insights from complex data will support better financial analysis, planning and recommendations to the business.


Changing the company culture

Analytics shouldn’t be restricted to the finance function. Companies will be much better served in having analytics as a commodity across the entire business. The future lies in everybody being aware of the power of analytics without finance being the driver. We need to enable a company culture where everybody understands the more effective decision-making that data can support.


I think that some companies are very advanced when it comes to this view of data and analytics, but many are not. And I understand the challenges very well – even if you're an inquisitive company with bright leadership, integrating the technology you might need is a big task and might be a challenge.

But what I'm finding is that there is a common understanding of the global challenges, and that they need to be addressed very quickly. The good news is that it looks like companies are aware of what they need to do – as ever, the value will be in the right level of investment and effective execution.

I would love to hear your comments in the box below and you can also download the research paper in full here.


Wave 4 banner.png

Across the life sciences industry, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies are faced with rapidly changing business models at a time when healthcare reform is dramatically reducing reimbursements. Margins are eroding, forcing companies to find new go-to-market strategies that improve
the customer experience and enhance the company brand while reducing the cost to serve across a broad array of customer channels.


Life sciences companies must continue the evolution of customer service that has been primarily focused on shared service call centers since the early 2000s. They are recognizing the need for a faster, more responsive, and less costly model that enables a strategic use of multiple channels and a transparent view of customer engagement across those channels.


Consequently, these organizations are looking at a digital business-to-business (B2B) commerce model as the answer – in fact, for most, it’s not only the answer, but it’s a necessity. Whether a customer is a wholesaler, hospital, clinic, or healthcare practitioner, digital B2B commerce will simplify the process and greatly enhance the customer experience while creating a consistent view of a company’s products and brands.


For instance, a comprehensive digital strategy will help companies standardize their product content views so their customers have a consistent interaction with their products, regardless of the channel. And self-service capabilities will allow customers to interact with an organization at their convenience. In addition, the technology behind these capabilities will provide insights into the customers, their buying behavior, and the various channels that they leverage. At the same time, the buying experience of customers is simplified by intelligent recommendations on other products they may find interesting.


Early adopters are evolving quickly to a new business model


Organizations target many different market segments and leverage a wide array of strategies to market their products. These strategies include direct and indirect sales models across all channels as well as agreements on delivery and customer service levels. A company’s ability to execute on these strategies will provide a significant competitive advantage given their ability to enable an easy and compelling customer experience at a cost per transaction that is as much as 90% less expensive than traditional models.


Further, the early adopters are expanding their channel offerings to leverage a more flexible and iterative approach. These organizations have greater visibility into their customers across all channels than previously available and, typically this is much more than what their competitors can leverage. They are gaining a competitive advantage based on the ability to deeply understand buying preferences, buying habits, channel access, the preferred channels of each customer, transaction time, order volumes, and many more valuable metrics.


Conversely, for companies in North America, the benefits may not be as obvious as in other markets given the use of the “Big Three” pharmaceutical wholesalers. For these companies, the primary interaction is an electronic data interface (EDI) message that is focused on supply and demand, with little emphasis on a personalized interaction with a customer. These transactions are narrow in their focus and they do not address areas such as standardizing product content, improving the user experience, and increasing top-line revenue through cross- and up-sell opportunities.


The benefits of a digital multichannel approach


When adopting a digital B2B commerce strategy, organizations can expect a wide array of benefits, including:


  • Reduced transaction costs – A typical call center transaction could cost anywhere from US$10 to US$15. An online commerce solution can dramatically reduce that cost to under US$2.
  • An improved buyer’s experience:   An online commerce solution can make it easier for customers to interact with their suppliers, as they can make purchases and conduct business when it’s convenient for them via 24/7 self-service. 
  • Increased leverage of mobile devices – Buyers can access B2B commerce applications from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone for easier, more convenient transactions, which increases usability and enables higher volume sales.
  • A unified buying experience:  A multichannel approach ensures a unified and consistent product representation that can enhance the brand and purchasing experience across a company’s entire product portfolio.
  • Enhanced customer insights:  Companies gain deeper insights into customers through a comprehensive view of the buyer and their transactions.  This provides them with more opportunities to cross- and up-sell products while simultaneously making it easier for customers to buy from them.


Life sciences companies are leveraging digital strategies to transform legacy business models by improving the customer experience, providing a consistent view of their products, and driving customers to lower-cost transaction models like Web self-service. Product content is rationalized to ensure a consistent  experience that highlights the value and efficacy of products while also mitigating off-label marketing risk by ensuring positioning for clinically approved therapeutic protocols.


In the end, it’s a win for both life sciences companies and their customers.  


To learn more about digital B2B commerce and the success companies are having already with these multichannel strategies, visit hybris  solutions for B2B commerce.

ExtremeTech Challenge (XTC) recently chose a company run by a friend of mine to compete as one of the top 10 companies at CES in Las Vegas. This is a great honor, being invited to the world’s largest consumer electronics show. I know she is excited and anxious, I expect to hear great news coming out of the show. 

Out of the 10 companies invited, what is the ultimate prize? The three chosen winners will get the chance to Pitch Sir Richard Branson on his private island, Necker.

As I read through the start-up company profiles, I noticed a common thread. Whether these companies were building devices or providing services, they were all connected to the mega trend we know as the Networked Economy[MM1] .

In What’s Trending at #CES2015 – Part 3, Shawn DuBravac, Chief Economist for The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) talks about the connection of devices, from smart hones to appliances to our cars how it’s changing the overall experience, in how we live and work today. 

While the established global brands are recognizing this trend, adjusting their processes and internal infrastructure to provide a more personalized customer
experience, the young start-ups are thinking this way from inception.


I would love to highlight all10 start-ups that were chosen in this challenge, but that would make it a lengthy write-up. I’ve decided to choose the two young startups that are not only part of the fast growing hypperconnectivity trend, but also address road safety. 


Did you know that the top three biggest causes of fatalities on the road are Alcohol (30.8%), Speeding (30%) and Distracted driving (26%)? Skully and Breathometer have come up with wearable technology that addresses these causes and is a great examples of the Networked Economy in action.


For the motorcycle enthusiasts, Skully, founded in 2013 by the Weller brothers, offers a smart motorcycle helmet with Bluetooth and internet connectivity to your smartphone, audio visual GPS navigation and rear-view camera all in one.  The idea is to give the rider the ultimate
riding experience while enhancing motorcycle safety through technology.




For all the wine enthusiasts, Breathometer founded by Charles Michael Yim in September 2012 is the first portable Breathalyzer platform, called Breeze. The device offers law enforcement grade accuracy of BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) levels and also analyzes your drinking trends. The smart app makes recommendations of how long before you are back to zero and ways to get home or where to stay nearby.





The future of wearable technology is here to stay. These examples demonstrate how in a Networked Economy, activities like safely riding a motorcycle or drinking a glass of wine and knowing when you’re sober enough to get behind the wheel are optimized by the introduction of smart wearable technology.These devices are not only capturing and analyzing our behavior, but helping us make smarter decisions.


One thing is certain, whether you’re a large global enterprise or a 20-person startup; the mega trend of the Networked Economy will continue to accelerate.


Do you want to learn more about the Networked Economy and the growing trends? Click here



Personalized medicine may be described as tailoring medical treatment to the individual characteristics, needs, and preferences of a patient during all stages of care, from prevention and diagnosis to treatment and follow-up. This medical model proposes the customization of medicine – with medical decisions, practices, and products being personalized for each patient.


The use of genetic information has played a major role in certain aspects of personalized medicine. It is becoming more common for doctors to test for gene variants before prescribing certain drugs. For example, children with leukemia might get the TPMT gene test to help doctors choose the right dosage of medicine to prevent toxic side effects. Some HIV-infected patients are severely allergic to treatment drugs, and genetic tests can help identify who can safely take the medicines.


There are many benefits associated with the greater accessibility of genetic information, and decoding genomes will increase our understanding of the genetic make-ups of diseases. DNA extraction and analysis used to cost up to $1 million U.S. But DNA sequencers and data analysis could bring that cost down below $1,000, according to MKI, one of Japan’s most prominent technology consultancies specializing in bioinformatics.


Pharmacogenomics – the study of how genes affect the way medicines work in the body – is frequently used for cancer treatment. Some breast cancer drugs only work in women with particular genetic variations. If testing shows patients with advanced melanoma (skin cancer) have certain variants, two new  approved drugs can treat them. Further examples of successful therapies include BiDil, used in addition to routine medicines to treat heart failure in African American patients. Other examples of personalized therapies include drugs aimed at molecular targets specific to a patient’s disease state, such as adydeco for cystic fibrosis and Zykadia for melanoma, and immunotherapies that combat tumors using the body’s own immune system.


The implications for life sciences companies


Under the personalized medicine model, drugs could be tailored to a group of patients’ profiles, dramatically improving efficacy rates and reducing the costs and complications associated with one-size-fits-all medications. For life science companies, this approach has the potential to improve sales and profits through a new business model: differentiated products for segmented populations.


For life sciences companies, determining if they would like to make necessary investments in personalized medicine is a strategic decision. The steep costs required seem out of proportion to the small markets for each drug, with the exception of cancer-treatment drugs. Furthermore, the technologies required to identify and quantify all the molecular markers and mutations linked to specific diseases are still in their infancy. While the cost of sequencing the human genome has decreased, the analysis needed to interpret the data is still a challenge for many companies.


According to Eric Lai, the head of pharmacogenomics at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, part of the largest drug maker in Asia, life sciences companies have been doing it all wrong when it comes to advancing personalizing therapies. Development shouldn't start with the drug – it should begin with the patient. Lai advocates using large databases to first identifying the molecularly defined patient groups in need of effective treatments and then working backwards.


As genome sequencing becomes more and more affordable and even proteomes can be analyzed more and more quickly, new correlations can be found faster – such as the effect of specific therapies for dedicated genome mutations, which again can provide enormous opportunities to explore complex interrelationships of the human metabolism. Genomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, phenotypes – the amount of data for personalized medicine is growing at breathtaking pace.


Harvesting and utilizing this ever-growing amount of data can enable life sciences companies to make sound decision in earlier R&D stages than ever before, which means saving cost and time to market.



Let us know your thoughts on personalized medicine! Please feel free to discuss with us in the chat fields below or via our twitter handle @SAP_Healthcare. We very much look forward to hearing from you!



This blog was written jointly by Jasjeet Singh and me. I would like to express to Jasjeet my appreciation for his inputs, research, and contribution and thank him for his fantastic engagement!

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


After all conceptual discussions, we thought it would be a good idea to put together a demo of the operating principles of digitaliKa. We're showcasing digitaliKa on Level 1, not its full-fledged end-state, and highlight 5 key steps of the flow.





The team working on digitaliKa has put together a hands-on  / LoFi technical demo to showcase above flow. Courtesy Oleg Figlin, Hermann Reiter, Jan Musil, Marc-Alexander Winter. Duration is 15 minutes. Click on the chart to start the demo.

Digitalika Demo.png



Note: This demo showcases the operating principles of digitaliKa, not its final look and feel or any type of solution. It does not represent a commitment or plan to develop such a solutions.






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


As a tween in the Midwest during the early 80s, I was a huge fan of John Hughes movies. Characters like Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, and the rest of The Breakfast Club crew were fascinating to me. Personal style was a key part of these characters self-expression. It is a cliche, but pop culture opened my eyes to different styles and variety beyond the local mall.

That interest in style and variety made me a devoted catalog reader – everything from alternative music that was in the John Hughes movies to vintage clothes. I was in heaven when e-commerce brought catalogs on-line in the mid-90s. By that time, Imyadidas.PNG was a recent college grad and thrilled to work with catalogs launching their e-commerce websites.

Now that we are deep into Web 2.0 and connected consumers expect 24/7 access, it is exciting to work with companies that are making this possible. To me, SAP is one of these companies. It is the technology that allows us to not only be connected but to consume such a wide variety of styles – whether it is shoes, music, or artisanal foods.

One example and one of my favorite recent offerings is from Adidas. They launched mi adidas to both serve the customer of one, by allowing people to customize their shoe, and to analyze customer demand. When consumers have a blank slate, what do they design? And how can this be used as a feedback loop for Adidas’ designers? And how does this experience increase loyalty?

I found that after I created this shoe for my Christmas wish list, I wanted it more than I even expected. The picture I used reminded me of the beach, which has more emotional value for me than an off-the shelf shoe model. This is one small example but I think it illustrates the power of how running simple brings variety to our lives. And as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.

Attending NRF’s Big Show at New York’s Javits Center, January 11-14? Meet with Adidas and other SAP customers, event information available here.


More on how Adidas Runs Simple:

The Internet of Things (IoT) might well be the most important shift in business since the advent of the computer, as it moves the world of business from one in which SKUs and consumers are disconnected points on the supply chain to one where they are
tightly integrated with one another, constantly providing data and feedback to those corporations that are willing to listen to them.

The simple definition of the Internet of Things is an army of tens of billions of connected devices making our lives easier.  IoT is a seemingly infinite number of devices with a seemingly infinite array of sensors producing effectively an infinite amount of data.

We are going to have more than 9 Billion connected things by 2018 and software is becoming more important than ever to make hyper-connected things smarter.

The Internet of Things is the next revolution in computing and includes the expectation that we will see a pervasive integration of semiconductors, mobile communications, Big Data and analytics propelling the IoT into the wider economy.


The Internet of Things is opportunity for Wholesale Distributors to drive potential changes in business models and realize significant cost savings.  Wholesale Distributors are now seeking ways to drive growth from data on the billions of connected devices on their wired and wireless networks as the permeation of smartphones, tablets, and home broadband reaches maturity.

But that data comes at a cost. Data requires the ability firs to capture it, second to analyze it, and third to act upon it. Each of those steps takes effort, often a great deal.  The Internet of Things produces so much data, in such varied ways and formats, that collecting and understanding what is being said requires capabilities that are only beginning to appear in the marketplace.

There are significant opportunities around IoT. The most obvious area is in data management as IoT creates new varieties of data as well as greater data volume. However, we believe the opportunities go much further than data management.  Companies need to analyze and interpret the data, which we believe requires investment in real-time and predictive analytics. 

Finally, any optimization suggested by the analysis has to be presented to end users for them to take action—or automatically to
initiate a new process.  We believe that IoT applications need to be integrated into existing business processes and IT landscapes.

A common view might be that the most important software implication from the IoT is the database/data storage layer. It is true that the IoT creates very significant data volumes that will only increase (dramatically) over time.

The real value of the IoT for wholesale is in connecting your infrastructure to your broader business process software. The use of in-memory technology will become a necessity to successfully combine IoT data with business transactional data in one shared


For example, running the IoT for wholesale on an in-memory platform can help you operate in real time, enabling unprecedented benefits in terms of customer insight and just-in-time distribution and maintenance. It enables an environment where you can finally
monitor, analyze, and automate in ways that greatly improve customer experiences, streamline key business processes, and create new business models, saving your organization millions in efficiencies and generating new streams of revenue in even greater proportions.


To learn more about Internet of Things innovations for Wholesale Distribution and top priorities to consider when building a successful IoT strategy, visit:  http://www.sap.com/bin/sapcom/en_us/downloadasset.2014-10-oct-30-20.ceo-perspective-interrnet-of-things-for-wholesale-distribution-pdf.html

Please follow us @sapindustries for the latest updates on SAP Industries News, Insights and Events.


This post originally appeared on SAP Business Innovation.

Business is different today. The rise of globalization, outsourcing, and rapidly changing market dynamics have prompted companies to adopt more variable operating models to maximize agility and minimize risks. Businesses are more dependent upon external suppliers, talent, and partners than ever to do everything from product innovation to manufacturing to distribution and customer service. And a growing portion of their workforce isn’t even on their full-time payroll.

Welcome to the Virtual Enterprise. And a new era for procurement.

Business is no longer about executing a service within a company, but across an entire value chain. It’s not only about the intelligence within an organization, but the intelligence of entire communities. It’s not about automating and doing things faster, but tapping collective insights and best practices to do things better - and in entirely new ways.

Procurement can and will play an increasingly strategic role in managing this virtual enterprise, leveraging technology to simplify the way complex business gets done and manage their operations in a new and dynamic way that keeps their companies ahead of the competition. Procurement is evolving from service to a function. And with increasing frequency, it is focused on business value and enabling supplier innovations as opposed to just driving procurement savings through cost reductions. 

And this transformation will continue in 2015. Here are a few predictions for what lies ahead:

Collaboration will become a priority

The 21st century businesses simply can’t achieve its cost, revenue and cash flow goals without being connected. Empowered by business networks, the Chief Procurement Officer will effectively become the Chief Collaboration Officer, organizing resources and optimizing collaboration within the enterprise and across the supply chain to achieve new levels of innovation, efficiency, and agility for the enterprise.

Technology will change the game

Technology has driven a new wave of productivity by digitizing key financial and business processes and enabling collaboration across the organization and this trend will continue. Paper based purchase orders and invoices will become a thing of the past, replaced by end-to-end automated transactions. But more important,  best-in-class organizations will fuel the next wave, leveraging business networks to extend these processes and systems beyond the four walls of the enterprise and create a virtual ‘extraprise’ of partners into a shared community executing improved, fully automated, and coordinated processes in a more informed way than in the past.

Innovation will accelerate

Driving supplier innovations is critical in today’s connected and global economy. Business networks will drive them by enabling new processes, insights and levels of collaboration among buyers and suppliers that lead to more cost-effective manufacturing, product enhancements, and even new services.

Business will run simpler

Personal networks from Facebook to Twitter have made it simple for consumers to shop, share and consume in new and more informed ways. Business networks provide an equally easy and scalable way for companies to discover, connect and collaborate with the trading partners and resources they need to operate in today’s dynamic world.  Procurement will tap into these networks to create a simple, consumer-like experience where with just a few clicks, they can shop for goods and services, place and manage orders and pay for them electronically, view and manage spend across all major categories through a single, connected platform.

Imagine combining the social media capabilities of Facebook with the selling opportunities of ebay, Amazon and Alibaba for business…

Lines will blur

Fueled by networks, procurement will take the lead in integrating business processes and collaborating across functions in entirely new ways that drive value. CPOs will, for instance, engage in helping to manage the financial supply chain, turning payables into a profit center because they have real-time visibility into whether an invoice is okay to pay and whether it has it been matched against purchase orders and contracts. Or extending days payable outstanding to improve the overall balance sheet while at the same time offering early payment discounts to suppliers because to mitigate both financial and supply risk.

Procurement will continue to transform

With the automation of core processes - sourcing, procurement, and payables – procurement will finally be freed from the basic blocking and tackling of negotiating agreements, managing suppliers, and executing orders to spend more time working with suppliers, developing supply, capturing innovation, and driving long-year roadmaps to create value.

The time has never been greater for procurement to contribute to the corporate agenda. Just as network-powered upstarts like Square and Airbnb are creating new models that are transforming entire industries, procurement organizations that leverage business networks can fuel a new way of operating - and deliver their organizations to levels of excellence they never imagined were possible.

Check out the Bentley Systems website and you’ll understand the following riddle: It’s invisible, but you see it every day.


What are the folks at Bentley talking about? Infrastructure – that often under-noticed framework of structures, systems, and solutions on which we literally build our lives.


ward.pngInfrastructure, Hard and Soft

Infrastructure comes in many forms. Obviously, it includes our roads and bridges, telecommunications systems, electrical grids, and water supplies. These elements are actually relatively easy to see. But software solutions are also a critical part of the infrastructure framework.


As a software provider to architects, engineers, geospatial professionals, and construction personnel, Bentley knows a lot about both hard and soft infrastructure.


“We build comprehensive software to support the infrastructure lifecycle in a variety of markets worldwide,” explains Kiran Koons, Bentley Systems’ director of enterprise solutions.


In fact, Bentley operates from 50 different global locations. And the company’s software has played a crucial role in complex projects around the world – from the construction of a supercritical thermal power plant in India to the salvage operations to raise the Costa Concordia cruise ship wrecked off the coast of Italy.


Using the Right Technology for the Job

Bentley recognizes that some infrastructure is as solid as steel; some is as ethereal as a cloud. The important thing is having the right technology for the job.


Or should that be technologies?


To support its own sales operations, for example, Bentley is using business solutions that combine both on-premise and cloud-based technologies. Specifically, this includes the complete integration of an on-premise SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application with the SAP Cloud for Sales solution using SAP HANA Cloud Integration technology.


“We are using this solution to manage the entire sales cycle,” says Koons, “from account and contact management to activities, leads, and opportunities management for all our sales globally.”


Using the existing SAP CRM infrastructure while transitioning other aspects of the solution to the cloud is improving the speed and power of the systems overall.


This new approach to sales support provides Bentley’s global sales teams with mobile access to client information anytime, anywhere. Client interactions are now more relevant and meaningful, and this has resulted in better service to a worldwide customer base.


The Bridge to Simplicity

“This hybrid solution allows us to use our business processes as we see fit,” says Lew Reed, VP of global sales operations at Bentley Systems. “Solutions like this help us simplify a very complicated business.”


Bentley Systems serves as a great example. Whether you are building a bridge or a successful business, it all starts with infrastructure.


As Bentley will tell you, without infrastructure, “we are separated, exposed, adrift, and a long way from home.”


Please follow me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.


Everything about marketing has changed; the audience, the channel, the message and even the marketing role itself. The dynamic mediascape has shifted a marketer's one-time reliance on the five Ps - product, price, place, promotion and people as the means to reach customers to the five Ds - digital, disruption, devices, distribution, data (more on that in next month’s blog). The result of this shift in media has also changed the CMO’s role within the business structure. As the future of business progresses, the traditional marketing skill set has become increasingly dated. New challenges around customer engagement and consumer loyalty now see a greater emphasis on technology and thus, the need for the CMO role to become more closely aligned with that of the CIO.


Earlier this year, Gartner projected that, “By 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO”. But this change is happening now. Forrester recently issued a report, stating that, “the two roles that matter most for 2015 are the CIO and the CMO, their relationship and joint strategy to boost the business will determine the future of any corporation.” Considering this, what skills must the modern marketer possess in order to succeed in the face of the ever-evolving consumer, marketplace and technology? To take full advantage of the limitless opportunities that abound in today’s dynamic mediascape, the modern marketer must first be grounded in the tried and true marketing fundamentals, then seek to become the visionary, technologist, operative and storyteller for their business.


The Visionary

The visionary marketer surveys the landscape, understands the audience and sorts out what creative concepts resonate with them. The modern marketplace is fragmented. Audiences are more empowered. They are social, mobile and can purchase on a global scale, with the world as their shopping centre. From a creative perspective, the fundamentals are changing. Today, it is about omni content marketing and audience engagement. The key to creativity is successfully initiating a conversation with the consumer while being able to respond when the customer initiates one with you. To achieve this, the modern marketing function must sit across advertising, branding, corporate communications, public relations and sales – business units that were once in silo, must now be unified. The visionary marketer must generate compelling content that fits the local market landscape and appeals to a social, mobile and global audience.


The Technologist

The technologist marketer must understand and adopt the latest platforms and mobile devices with an eye on the future to drive organizational innovation. Innovation is about creating unique synergies that have yet to be employed. Paired across the right platform and device, they can capture customer data and foster engagement once unheard of. Big Data platforms can be used to engage the consumer, to measure and modify the success of campaigns in real time. Mobile devices paired to networking ecosystems can enable marketers to engage in a more meaningful way. Unlike legacy IT, ubiquitous technology is both flexible and scalable. As employees and customers are equipped with their own devices, it provides a cost effective opportunity to engage and measure audience interaction any time, any place and across any platform. This is why marketing is increasingly spending more of what once was the traditional IT budget. To succeed, the technologist marketer must break down the walls that once divided marketing and technology to unite them.


The Operative

The operative marketer realizes that in order to get the job done, they must have a strategy, know how to execute it and show leadership. Having a unique vision is one thing; a clear path to achieve this vision is entirely different. A solid plan, budget and support from within the organization will get the CMO there. To successfully execute, the modern marketer’s role must shift in status from support function to a full seat at the table with influence on the executive, financial and operations suite. The modern CMO requires autonomy to set the vision and then the authority to implement that strategy. When it comes to leadership, today’s CMO must inspire change, foster consensus and deliver results. The operative marketer knows how to navigate across the organization and when to exhibit leadership to drive disruption, positive change and ultimately achieve successful results.


The Storyteller

The storytelling marketer understands that audiences are constantly bombarded with and highly distracted by competing messages across transmedia channels. The best way to reach them is by wrapping compelling content, engaging platforms and disruptive strategies around a meaningful brand influx of narratives that will attract, engage, convert and retain them. Not every corporation is blessed with natural storytellers. The CMO must champion the internal brand ambassador role to determine who best should be the external spokesperson, mascot, employee or even a customer who will serve as the face of the organization. The storyteller marketer recognizes the importance of having a C-level spokesperson as the vehicle to deliver the company's brand narratives by providing the audience with a face to identify with.


By combining all four of the above traits, the modern marketer becomes a content curating, media savvy, optimized influencer. As the chief customer experience marketing officer (CXMO), they can be the one, who enables, equips and empowers their organization to innovate to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s evolving mediascape and consumer, today.




Ronald C. Vining

Brand Advisor. Customer Engagement Expert. Visionary Chief Marketing Officer.

From technology, entertainment and retail to hospitality, financial services and politics, Ron has advanced over 25 of the top 100 iconic brands such as Apple, Google, BMW, Disney, Amex, Levi Strauss and The White House.

He delivers an influx of innovative B2B2C brand experiences to millions of users by fostering brand and customer engagement strategies between enterprise and their customers through omni-channel platforms including mobile, social, buzz, online and direct marketing.  As a creative, tech-savvy & visionary C-level marketing professional, Ron is a renowned masterclass speaker on transmedia content marketing to audiences across the globe.

Ron is the founder of BrandInflux, a Learnami Interactive Technologies company, Singapore, a consultancy specializing in brand experience marketing and digital media engagement strategies for B2B and B2C. He is also an Adjunct Professor & Fellow, Digital Media Lab at The University of Massachusetts - College of Management, Boston.

Connect with Ron on LinkedIn via www.RonVining.com, Twitter via @RonaldVining and via LinkedIn Groups: www.CMOretail.com, www.CXMOnetwork.com, www.eNetworkMkt.com and www.OmniContentMarketing.com.

Stretching the Boundaries to Maximize Innovation

Picture 1.jpg

All companies need to innovate. What Don Tapscott wrote in  his groundbreaking book The Digital Economy
applies today more than ever, “The new economy is all about competing for the future, the capacity to
create new products or services, and the ability to transform businesses into new entities that yesterday couldn't be imagined
and that the day after tomorrow may be obsolete.”[1]


With our growing digital economy, innovation is a necessity. Organizations must be able to innovate and apply the latest technologies
in their go-to-market strategies to capture emerging opportunities and thrive in a rapidly changing business landscape. But all companies have limited capacity for innovation – whether those limits are financial, human capital, or organizational. The challenge is to stretch the boundaries that limit innovation to maximize our potential to succeed. How? That’s what I’ll focus on
in this Innovation blog series.


Grasp the concept of infinite capacity


Say your company is brainstorming ideas to capitalize on the digital economy. People have a natural tendency to put constraints around
those ideas. “We don’t have expertise in that area.” “Our company is not prepared to grow in that direction.” “Our current infrastructure won’t support that business model.”


Picture 2.jpg

But what if your business had unlimited resources? What would you build? What technologies would you pursue? How would you prioritize business ideas?


That’s what the Accenture and SAP Business Solutions Group helps companies determine. We help remove the boundaries that limit
innovation. We pool our respective strengths and resources and collaborate with companies to develop industry-specific solutions that are powered by the latest digital technologies – cloud, in-memory, big data, analytics, and mobile.


This partnership model allows us to apply the collective expertise of SAP and Accenture, specific to an industry or domain area, and
focus it to build solutions that are highly valued in the market. The joint team includes some of the world’s leading solution development talent. Together, they created their first industry solution, the UpstreamProduction Operations by Accenture and SAP which features a set of solutions, services, and training for oil and gas companies’ production
operations. Another solution in the early planning stages focuses on the use of big data and in-memory computing to enable predictive maintenance in the utility industry. 


The saying “two heads are better than one” comes to mind. By working as a team with Accenture and SAP, you can exponentially increase
your ability to identify business needs, develop and implement solutions, and execute go-to-market strategies.
Picture 3.jpg 


Explore opportunities to co-innovate


Co-innovation is an ongoing effort at SAP.  By working directly with customers, we maximize our talent and develop solutions to specific industry needs. Some of the ideas we’re currently developing with customers include:


-      Working alongside higher education and research institutions, we’re developing a student
information system to manage students’ interactions from the application
process, through academic progress to graduation and alumni relations.



-     In Retail, we’re building a standard solution for Chief Marketing Officers, tying together
financial performance, pricing visibility, marketing and promotion
optimization, and markdown planning and optimization.



-     To comply with emerging legislation, SAP is working with pharmaceutical companies to
build a solution to track prescription drugs down to unit level throughout the
entire supply chain.
Tap into the power of many


In this Innovation blog series, I’ll be exploring co-innovation models and opportunities at SAP, and how we work with customers and partners to help them address their unique business challenges. While we’ll continue to offer standard developed products
as the foundation of our business applications, we also recognize that customers will need industry specific solutions – and by leveraging the SAP HANA Cloud platform as the basis for these solutions, we can implement them faster and with minimum disruption.


If you can draw on the expertise of 500 or 5,000 or 50,000 people, your ability to innovate is almost endless. Then you can prioritize those ideas to work within your financial, human capital, or organizational limits.



[1] Tapscott,
Don. The Digital Economy Anniversary Edition: Rethinking Promise and Peril
in the Age of Networked Intelligence
. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014. 54.


Steven Birdsall is senior vice president of Industry Cloud at SAP





Follow Steven: @sdbirdsall






Filter Blog

By author:
By date:
By tag: