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As NFL football fans await the outcome of Tom Brady’s appeal of a four-game suspension for his involvement in DeflateGate, a teaching moment should be explored to protect the sanctity of the NFL -- and more specifically, continuous monitoring of balls used during NFL games.


shutterstock_279210842.jpgEarlier this year, Sports Illustrated published, How Officials Check Ball Pressure, designed to release some of the hot air surrounding the DeflateGate scandal swirling the New England Patriots and the NFL. While it’s an enlightening, behind-the-scenes look at how NFL officials monitor ball pressure throughout the game, allow me to call “time out” with this one passage:


The balls would be in the officials' possession until just minutes before the start of the game, at which point they would hand to ball boys on each side of the field. For balls to be tampered with, it would most likely have to take place on the field during the game.


Since most NFL games take a few hours to complete, that’s obviously a very big lapse in ball monitoring to say the least. But is it too big of a lapse to bother monitoring or one that would interfere with gameplay?


Definitely not.


Let’s consider a few modern-day examples where this type of continuous monitoring, via The Internet of Things, is already at work preventing global catastrophes, accidents and every day annoyances.


Tires are an obvious example as most of us have tire pressure monitor systems in our cars to let us know when pressure is low. According to How Stuff Works, “sensors within the tire, or on the car, send information to one or several modules in the car. These modules are programmed with a range of acceptable circumstances.” Couldn’t small sensors be placed inside NFL game balls with the ability to send continuous pressure updates to officials?


Droughts continue to plague California’s farms but Community Water Dialogue developed an ingenious idea to create a wireless irrigation network (entitled Project WIN) to help growers improve irrigation efficiency. Wireless communication towers connect with sensor technology to measure soil tension in real time via the internet. Perhaps this type of continuous monitoring could be used during NFL games?


Hazardous work environments like mining, ports and construction currently benefit from anti-collision software. If something happens to a crane operator, for instance, sensors can alert co-workers on the ground and also divert a potential accident by taking over the controls. Is this another possible solution to help NFL teams keep a close eye on equipment and players during games?


Hopefully, the media firestorm surrounding Brady’s Deflategate appeal won’t distract from this teaching moment; that technology can help protect the sanctity of the NFL in an effective and unobtrusive manner. Heck, if we can create fake elephant tusks pimped out with GPS sensors to elude poachers and terrorists, surely we can make this ball monitoring thing work?

 

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SAP HANA Cloud Platform the Secret Sauce to Make Internet of Things Run Simple


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SAP Cloud for HR Ensures this NFL CIO is Never Without Her Playbook

Real-time analytics isn’t worth much if you can’t make sense of the analysis -- and act upon it right away. The need for such instant action is driving uptake of business intelligence dashboards, which intuitively display key performance indicators (KPIs) -- and the most useful dashboards help users collaborate.

 

SAPinsider Birgit Starmanns 08-28-2015.jpg
Users can create their own business intelligence dashboards, tailored to their own needs -- with the capability of quickly and easily collaborating with others.

“Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has used what she called her ‘dashboard’ of jobs data to justify the Fed’s easy money policies,” Bloomberg noted earlier this month.

 

Executives can create their own dashboards using SAP Fiori, according to Birgit Starmanns, senior director of product management for SAP S/4HANA and SAP Fiori. At SAPinsider 2015, she showed how the platform’s simple and personalized user experience (UX) can help a financial professional evaluate KPIs in real time.

 

Find Problems in Real Time

 

Three easy-to-read graphs pop up on Starmanns’ tablet, and she immediately notices a problem with operation margin, how much of an organization’s revenue remains after paying specific costs. Tapping the screen lets Starmanns drill down into greater detail.

 

“I’m following the path here ... the problem is in Expenses, and it’s with the Global Customer Operations Unit in Latin America,” Starmanns said. “I’m shown here that the problem is in Brazil.”

 

Drilling down farther reveals that third-party expenses are rising too quickly for Starmanns’ comfort. The dashboard’s collaboration tools let Starmanns notify her team that something is amiss, and then she continues her real-time analysis -- which exposing several abnormally high transactions.

 

Don’t Just Stand There ...

 

Global maps and line items on Starmanns’ screen give way to a bar vertical graph for Accounts Receivable; a magenta column stretching upward promptly indicates an abnormally high number of accounts are more than 90 days overdue. Next, a horizontal bar graph instantly displays the customers who aren’t paying their bills.

 

“The customer at the top has, by far, has more outstanding receivables than the other customers,” Starmanns said. “I’d like to take a look in more detail, and I can look at these across many different dimensions.”

 

Within a few clicks, the app lists unpaid invoices -- and she can do something about it. Starmanns’ dashboard lets her use Jam, e-mail and other collaborative apps to instruct applicable account executives to get their accounts in order.

 

... Do Something!

 

When Starmanns identifies and clicks on the pesky $18 million invoice, SAP HANA and SAP Simple Finance display the details in real time. Now Starmanns has all the information she needs to help resolve this issue with the customer in question.

 

“With the power of SAP Fiori, S/4HANA and SAP Simple Finance ... we can see that there’s a lot of interactivity here, all the way down to the transactional level,” Starmanns said.

 

This interactivity takes place on SAP Fiori apps, as well as new solutions that are natively designed with the UX. It helps users and their colleagues make the most of real-time analytics by better understanding their business intelligence, enabling them to collaborate and react more quickly.

 

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

 

 

More From SAP Business Trends:

 

How Real-Time Analytics Will Kill a Financial Tradition @SAPinsider 2015

 

Why Paranoia Is Good for Business @SAPinsider 2015

 

Nipping Fraud in the Bud @SAPinsider 2015

Mining 1.jpgZero harm and injury is a goal that mining companies have long strived for. By using sensors, analytics, and wearable devices, a new solution enables faster detection and reaction to safety threats, making zero harm achievable. Part of the IoT kickstarter program at the SAP Co-innovation Lab in Silicon Valley, this product is being developed jointly by SAP, wearable technology firm Vandrico, and SAP systems integration and management consultancy Illumiti.

 

In this interview, we learn about the new technology and its scope by speaking with representatives of the three co-innovators. The contributors include Ruediger Schroedter, global lead for mining at SAP; David Cruickshank, senior director at SAP Co-innovation Lab; Gonzalo Tudela, CEO of Vandrico; and Lorraine Howell, vice president of research and development at Illumiti.

 


Tell us about the IoT kickstarter program at the SAP Co-innovation Lab in Silicon Valley.

 

David: The IoT kickstarter is about the cultivation and early validation of potential Industry 4.0/IoT solutions that SAP can build with its partners. The projects involve integrating IoT applications and sensor technologies developed by partners with SAP technology. The program provides complete enablement of a project environment, knowledge brokering, applied principles of design thinking, and project management and showcase.

 

What is the problem that this co-innovation seeks to address?

 

David: Mining is an asset heavy industry and can be a dangerous work environment. Safety is a critical issue and the industry is progressing toward a goal of zero harm. The work environment needs solutions that enhance two-way communication between workers in a mine and those topside monitoring the operation, predict dangerous situations, and deliver real-time situation awareness.

Ruediger
: There are a lot of manual steps currently necessary to trigger safety alerts. A worker detects a safety issue, notifies a safety officer (often by phone), and the information is processed before an alert is issued, and the alert (usually stench gas) takes time to reach miners. This process can faster and more efficient with sensors and electronic transmission. This will greatly reduce reaction time to safety concerns and make mines safer.


What are the capabilities that each partner brought to the co-innovation?

 

Ruediger: The co-innovation approach allowed us to bring partners together with different solutions and expertise to provide an end-to-end solution. The solution involves the transmission of reports/sensor information to a central database. This data is then analyzed and any emerging safety concerns are transmitted as alerts to wearable devices. SAP HANA is the infrastructure on which the solution is built.

 

Gonzalo: Vandrico’s main contribution to the partnership is the Canary Platform. This is a real-time wearables and IoT communications platform designed specifically for enterprise. We also helped source the appropriate smartwatches for the solution. By leveraging SAP HANA, we can take real-time operational intelligence into new territory and tackle larger problems. This partnership enabled us to scale real-time wearable solutions in enterprise.

 

Lorraine: Illumiti’s primary role is to manage, design, and build SAP HANA applications to integrate with Vandrico’s Canary Platform. In addition, we are also working with Vandrico and SAP on the commercialization of the product, to develop a go-to-market strategy, and to find the leads and opportunities for the solution.

The solution receives real-time information from sensors in the mine and miners reports logged into smartwatches. These reports are analyzed and converted into alerts in SAP HANA when a safety hazard is detected. The Canary Platform is then used to send alert messages to the miners’ wearable devices. In addition, safety tips and triggers requesting safety status of the workers are sent on a schedule to the miners.

 

Tell us how a miner would use the smartwatch.

 

Gonzalo: Smartwatches will help workers do their job in a safer, faster and more effective way. For example, the watch will immediately send personalized evacuation notices during dangerous situations, such as rock instability or fire.

 

The watch also has safety checklists for miners that will prompt a worker as he/she begins to use a piece of machinery. The watch will send confirmation notices and ask if there are any issues to report to maintenance. The miner's responses will feed into enterprise resource planning and get logged for any future audits.

 

How is Illumiti helping Vandrico integrate Canary with SAP HANA?

 

Lorraine: Illumiti developed a configurable solution for emergency evacuations and several other use-cases on SAP HANA. Using a RESTful API, Vandrico’s Canary Platform sends information from devices to SAP HANA. Canary’s API is then used to send messages to miners’ wearable devices. Illumiti works closely with Vandrico in the development of APIs that make the most of the capabilities offered by SAP HANA.

 

What is the possibility for taking this solution to other industries?

 

Gonzalo: The biggest benefit of smartwatches in enterprise is actually quite simple – contextual notifications. When compared to radios, tablets, and smartphones, the watch outperforms by a large degree. The device is always on the person and can provide valuable insight to enhance real time operational intelligence.

 

The key is to have an intimate understanding of situations where instant information adds value. For instance, Vandrico is also working with a ski resort to help front line workers overcome challenges of safety, pass fraud, and lift maintenance.

 

Vandrico is based in Vancouver. Why did you partner with the SAP Co-innovation Lab in Silicon Valley?

 

Gonzalo: We chose SAP for two reasons: credibility and learning. We are here to solve big problems for large organizations, and partnering with SAP enables us to do that. In addition, we are interested in improving our applications through design thinking. The best startups in the world are using design thinking practices to build solutions that truly address their clients’ needs. Working with the SAP Co-Innovation Lab in Silicon Valley provided the opportunity to learn from a market leader.

 

Where does the project stand currently?

 

David: The project was designed to run approximately 90 days. It began with a design thinking workshop where the co-innovation partners brought in three mining companies to ratify the target problem statement and create a solution storyboard and multiple personas for key end users of the solution. The team is just past 60 days into the effort and final work is underway related to user experience on wearable devices and the integration of Canary and SAP HANA. We are also now focusing on defining the go-to-market strategy. A solution demonstration will take place at the end of summer in the Co-innovation Lab Silicon Valley.

It's a new digital age in business, with the Internet of Things (IoT) heralding transformative technology. Connections are being made every second – between businesses and customers, businesses and machinery, and customers and machinery. The potential for this kind of symbiotic information sharing is so great that industries are changing the way they think about their products and services. The great potential for the auto industry lies in the concept of the connected vehicle.

 

cars.jpgThe auto industry is currently addressing IoT-related issues, including:

 

  1. Sending and receiving data
  2. Storing Big Data in an economic manner
  3. Managing analytics and services for Big Data
  4. Creating new business models
  5. Building platforms as data and services marketplaces

 

And beyond this, it’s become necessary to differentiate your services – especially as a manufacturer. Bringing additional services to the table can give your business a whole new life.

Owners of corporate fleets, forklifts, farm equipment, and service trucks want to ensure that their vehicles are used in the most efficient and optimal manner possible. With so many vehicles and reports to manage, the utmost transparency is required – and this is the scenario in which the connected vehicle can make all the difference.

 

The connected vehicle as a sponge

We’re not talking about making machinery porous – we are referring to vehicles that can do far more than go straight ahead. Today’s vehicles have a 360-degree sense of the world around them and can absorb every bit of information about their surroundings – like whether the environment is pavement, soil, or a corn field. The connected vehicle doesn’t just deliver goods of value, it holds value intrinsically.

So how can these vehicles provide ROI? Let’s consider several vehicle types and the scenarios enabled when they are connected:

 

  • For company car fleets:
    • Increase cost savings for fuel, tires, service, and maintenance
    • Improve mobility mix for employees by understanding commuting habits
    • Gain insights into usage of cars as moving assets

 

  • For commercial fleets:
    • Optimize travel routes to any production site
    • Enhance navigation based on internal constraints such as gates and construction sites

 

  • For forklifts:
    • Achieve real-time visibility into the status of the forklift fleet
    • Increase maintenance and repair service-level efficiency as a commercial fleet operator

 

  • For agricultural equipment
    • Integrate data from various sources, delivered on one platform, centralizing the farmer’s concerns
    • Develop and deploy applications and services faster
    • Solid shared data platform for all business processes between OEMs, suppliers, and customers

 

 

Connecting the vehicle through the cloud

The connected vehicle is a dynamic concept with a broad variety of use cases. SAP HANA Cloud Platform provides a platform for any connected vehicle. The platform can be used to collect vehicle data, but more importantly, gain insights and take actions. By delivering the technology and the application foundation with our software as a starting point, the applications and services can be built on top of it.

 

For example, think about telematic sensor data. The data from vehicles is streamed in real time through mobile network connectivity to SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Once sensor data is in the SAP HANA platform, a complete spectrum of analytical processing can be executed. Take advantage of more advanced analytics that combine telematics with process and business data from production, supply chain, CRM, retail, warranty, or insurance back-end systems. Put the vehicle into business!

 

SAP is making use of its decades of application development history by delivering more than technology – we’re now delivering a business platform as a service upon which our customers can build and create apps. This offers our clients the ability to differentiate their services, better serve and understand their customers, and gain insights that spur innovation.

 

All these benefits extend beyond automotive – we see this as a multi-industry scenario extending to insurance and even farming.

 

Let me know what you think!

robot_highres-240x300.jpgFascination—and fear of—the interplay between man and machine is as old as industrialization itself, from Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics creating a quasi code of ethics for our potentially menacing mechanized counterparts to director James Cameron’s cinematic series featuring cyborg assassin and an ongoing battle between humanity and a race of robot warriors.

 

Self-actualized automatons and an impending robo-pocalypse certainly make for great science fiction. And in an era in which we define our lives largely by the work that we do, concerns about the impact of a fully mechanized workforce are understandable.

 

But while the quickly advancing fields of automation and artificial intelligence will most certainly revolutionize every aspect of human life—and are already making an impact on everything from military strategy to medical procedures—the future of robotics doesn’t have to be a dystopian one. Rather, as robots take over increasingly complex tasks, new forms of man-machine interaction will emerge and the structure of both industry and society will evolve to accommodate this emerging and symbiotic relationship.

 

The new, new robot

 

Already used for everything from fighting wars to cleaning floors, robots are poised to invade the personal and consumer space in the near future. A number of trends are converging that will advance the robotics field over the next 15 to 20 years and put it virtually light-years ahead of the likes of Fritz Lang’s steely-eyed machine-human in Metropolis.

  • In 2010, the military and industrial market for robots ($10.9 billion) far outweighed the market for personal and commercial uses ($3.2 billion), according to analysis performed by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). By 2025, military and industrial applications will grow to $16.5 billion and $24.4 billion, respectively. Commercial and personal use will skyrocket to $17 billion and $9 billion.
  • The number of Internet of Things sensors (14.8 billion as of February) will grow to 50 billion by 2020, according to Cisco. And Intel predicts there will be 200 billion Internet-connected things in 2030.
  • The data universe (the amount created, replicated, and consumed annually) will swell to 44 zetabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes, according to EMC and IDC—with 10 percent of that digital load coming from connected objects.
  • The speed of analytics will intensify thirty-fold by 2030, with 95% of queries answered in mere milliseconds, according SAP estimates.
  • Image, speech, and voice recognition will advance to near 100% accuracy by 2025, according to the latest published research.
  • Tactile technology is improving remarkably as a result of research and development in robot-assisted medicine.
  • The nascent virtual reality market will explode to $30 billion in the next five years, while augmented reality will be a $120 billion business by 2020, according to digital mergers and acquisitions advisors Digi-Capital.
  • Nearly three-quarters of executives surveyed by Accenture said that just within next three years, companies will need to invest as much on training their machines as training their people.

Together, these trends will spur a new form of robotics technologies—flexible, sensory, tactile, intelligent, and interactive—with capabilities far beyond what we envision today. The result will be a wide assortment of new robot forms and applications.

 

A lack of imagination

 

Robots are already augmenting the human workforce in a number of areas. After all, they excel in crunching numbers, lifting heavy objects, working in dangerous environments, moving with precision, and performing repetitive tasks. This leads to the natural concern that we will be replaced by robots  for nearly all human endeavors, resulting in a “labor-light” economy in which most work is automated and people take what little is left.

But such a prediction is based on last-century thinking. A wave of emerging technologies is already turning the industrial revolution on its head. Robots won’t simply replace workers on the assembly line. In fact there won’t be many classical assembly lines with centralized factories anymore. 3D printing and the Maker Movement will change all that.

Also disconcerting is a Terminator-esque scenario in which humanoid robots take over the globe. In reality, however, it’s anyone’s guess whether mankind could actually either invent—or enable—that level of artificial intelligence.

Instead of either scenario a different future is more probable, and likely more profitable, for everyone.

 

Man-machine co-evolution

 

Humans still have a number of advantages over their automated counterparts, including creativity, curiosity, empathy, self-motivation, and the ability to provide fast, multidimensional feedback. And by working hand-in-hand with advanced robotics technology, we can combine the best of man and machine.

As speech and image recognition improve, memory and analytics capabilities increase, and virtual and augmented reality options advance, better, faster, and cheaper robotics options for humans will emerge.

In this future, robots in industry and society won’t be consigned to standalone workers with limited capabilities, autonomy, and artificial intelligence. There will be a new class of sophisticated man-machine units with defined autonomy, heightened empathy, and significant artificial intelligence.

Thanks to this symbiosis, we’ll be able to take on challenging adventures like colonizing our oceans or space travel in ways that neither man nor machine can accomplish alone. Artificial extensions of the human form, such as suits or exoskeletons that strengthen arms and legs, night vision, and other sensory enhancements will be commonplace.

 

The rise of man-machine collaboration

 

Today, medicine is at the forefront of man-machine advancement. Researchers at New York University and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition are developing lower-extremity exoskeletons for the disabled. At the University of California, Berkeley, robotics experts are testing a similar device designed to help parapalegics walk. Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering is working on a fabric “exosuit” that works to “reduce injuries, improve stamina, and enhance balance even for [people] with weakened muscles.”

Another example is the U.S. military, which is tapping industry to develop a special outfit for commandos. Dubbed the “Iron Man” suit, it could include “super-human strength, sensors that respond directly to brain functions, and liquid armor,” according to The Washington Post. A team of researchers at Harvard University have created a prototype for a “smart suit“ that makes its wearer faster, more agile, and better able to move heavy objects. A device called Tacit helps the visually impaired actually feel objects around them. Attached to the wrist, it uses ultrasound waves to scan the surrounding area and delivers pressure to the wearer when objects get too close. A German programmer has invented a way to pilot a camera-mounted drone by using just his head.

 

Embracing our robot allies

 

There’s no denying that advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will displace some jobs performed by humans today. But for every repetitive job that is lost to automation, it’s likely that more than one interesting, creative job will take its place – a job that only a human can do. As the authors of a recent report by the Pew Research Center point out: “[A]dvances in technology may displace certain types of work, but historically they have been a net creator of jobs.”

Enterprises must explore how they can best bring together the creativity and experience of their human workforce with the advanced capabilities of automation and artificial intelligence. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Develop future scenarios and strategies built upon their own unique business models and industry requirements
  • Digitize those business operations ripe for automation and identify those processes that benefits from human advantages like creativity and problem-solving.
  • Identify functions that could be enhanced by a robot-human combination.
  • Experiment with the latest sensor and robotic technologies as they emerge.
  • Pilot and implement virtual and augmented reality in production and supply chains
  • Invite users to come up with new design ideas and future scenarios for man-machine interaction
  • Be open to imagining entirely new robotic forms and functions.

 

Rather than fearing either the arrival of robot overlords or the mass loss of jobs, companies should start thinking about how they might incorporate man-machine collaboration to innovate, spur growth, and invent entire new categories of work.

 

This article has been published first on the Digitalist Magazine To learn more about how exponential technology will affect business and life, go to SAP Digital Futures.

AstonMartin.png

During the Monterey Automotive Week, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer sat down with Geoffrey Moore (of Crossing the Chasm fame) for a candid discussion.  The talk was held at the Churchill Club. Palmer gave insights into the future of the century-old automaker.

Early on Moore asked Palmer to describe Aston Martin’s business model. The answer was a surprising “102 years of losing money.”  Palmer admits that Aston Martin has been making “ludicrous” cars for 102 years.  He went on to say that the business model “clearly doesn’t work.”  In fact, Aston Martin has been bankrupt seven times.  Yet, it keeps going.

How?

Aston Martin has only made 70,000 cars in the last ten years.  Less than half left the UK.  Only 2,000 made it to the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] countries.  Women purchased only 3,500.

Aston Martin is a luxury goods company.  It aims to be compared to Hermes rather than big auto. Many of its private equity investors come from the oil-rich nation Kuwait.  Andy Palmer hopes his investors will agree with positioning Aston Martin as a company with a high enterprise multiple.  According to Yahoo Finance, Hermes’ enterprise multiple is 21. Traditional automakers have much lower multiples.  (Volkswagen 7.4; General Motors 6.0; Fiat Chrysler 3.2, etc).  If the Hermes comparison holds true, then the growth potential of the luxury automotive segment far exceeds that of cheaper options.

Yet, it is a supply and demand game. Scarcity protects demand.  Palmer concedes that, “There always needs to be one more customer than there are cars [available].”

General Motor’s Research Labs did a study on the income elasticity of demand for automobiles.  It found that luxury cars have greater income elasticity of demand than small, compact or economy cars.

To survive, Aston Martin needs to grow sales to emerging markets and women.  The automaker has a plan to do just that.  As BRICs become bigger buying centers, luxury goods makers like Aston Martin will benefit from the high elasticity of demand. Yet to appeal to female buyers, targeting the right persona might just make all the difference.

Meet Charlotte

At the moment Aston Martin has four models. However, they are adding new models, expanding to reach new segments within the broad spectrum of high net-worth individuals. Perhaps the most innovative new segment is aimed at females (and shorter males).  Historically cars have been designed to ergonomically fit tall men.  The 99th percentile American male is over six feet tall.  Yet, the majority of people are not that tall. The average American female is only 5 feet 4 inches tall.   The average height of a Chinese male is around 5 feet 5 inches.

Aston Martin knows that women are supporting and influencing the men who ultimately buy the cars.   What they don’t know is why women aren’t buying the cars themselves.  The company is taking steps to collect female opinion.  For example, Aston Martin has created a female advisory board.  There, use cases unique to females, such as how driving in high heels affects using pedals, are explored.

DBX_Concept.png

DBX Concept via astonmartin.com

 

As a result of this and other research, Aston Martin has developed a uniquely female target persona for their upcoming DBX model. Her name is Charlotte.  “Charlotte” describes a woman in her early 40s, who lives in California, is successful, and wants to reward herself.   She’ll join other personas such as “Richard” a proxy for the Vanquish model, “Marcus” a German proxy for the Vantage model, and “Philip” a French proxy for the DB9 model.

As unique as the DBX styling will be, it will still be clearly an Aston Martin.  At a glance, Charlotte’s DBX will have the distinctive Aston Martin grill.  It will likely have the unique handcrafted styling that sets Aston Martins apart.  As Andy Palmer said, “Aston Martin is not about demonstrating your midlife crisis. It’s a statement of maturity.  It’s when you are inwardly satisfied with yourself.  [You tell yourself] I’m buying a piece of handcrafted British heritage.”

TweetAstonMartin.png

Image source: Twitter feed

Analog vs. Digital

During the Churchill event, Palmer said that Aston Martin is the “antidote for the Apple watch.  We are analog.  We are like fine Swiss watches.  But I think there is a place for a fine Swiss watch on one hand and an Apple watch on the other.”  Yet, according to Car and Driver, the DBX previewed at the 2015 Geneva show was electrically powered.

Can the ‘silence’ of an electric vehicle compete with the iconic sound of V-8 and V-12 engines? It needs to.  For Aston Martin to survive they need to grow their new segments.  This will allow Aston Martin to preserve the exclusivity of their flagship sports cars.  Back in 1914, Lionel Martin raced a car up Aston Hill.  In 2015 another race is underway – to capture the heart of Charlotte, especially in key markets like California and the BRIC countries.  Will Aston Martin win financial stability with their segmentation and persona strategy?

In recent weeks, we’ve examined the rapid expansion of business-to-government compliance in countries that rely on VAT tax income. While Latin America is the current hotbed for such legislation, similar mandates are cropping up worldwide as countries prove the effectiveness of financial legislation in maximizing tax revenues. The reach of these mandates is far – affecting sales,procurement and even HR. Though many companies see compliance as cumbersome, there are multiple benefits to the automation required under these mandates – not the least of which is improved cash flow.

Business-to-government compliance can require extensive changes to accounts receivable and accounts payable processes – but with change, comes opportunity. On the AR side, e-invoicing requirements mean that XML invoices have to be sent to the government and approved before being issued customers and often before goods are shipped. Brazil is even acting as its own e-invoicing network, meaning that customers can easily download invoices from the server, eliminating the distribution burden on AR teams and ensuring that there is never an excuse for a missed invoice.

 

The real cash flow benefit, however, comes from the impact of business-to-government compliance on AP processes. Because invoices must be available to buyers even before goods arrive, e-invoicing mandates streamline AP approval processes, opening the door for improved cash flow and supply chain financing. Automating the inbound receiving process means that invoices can be deemed “okay to pay” as soon as goods arrive, reducing operational costs and providing greater flexibility over cash flow.

Proactive companies are using this automation to introduce supply chain financing in regions of the world where supply chain stability is critical. Using supply chain financing, corporations can lower the cost of payment processing while providing suppliers with greater access to liquidity, as payment approval windows decrease from weeks to hours. Suppliers have the ability to immediately convert invoices into cash, and can speed up the payment process based on their unique cash flow needs, payment terms and billing cycles.  

With improved cash flow comes increased stability in the emerging markets most inclined to implement business-to-government legislation, ultimately ensuring supply chain effectiveness and making these economies a less risky place to do business.

When it comes to most fund-raising efforts, we usually have little direct connection with the people we hope to help.

 

This certainly doesn’t diminish the value of our personal contributions. But isn’t it great when we can put a human face to a cause we really believe in?

 

MATOMA NYUMBA KUMI SHG (8) (1)_Final.jpg

 

The Best Practices for Oil & Gas Conference (BPOG) – an industry event hosted annually by SAP, The Eventful Group, and ASUG – created its own charitable initiative called Wells for Water. Its goal is to raise funds that benefit the work of The Water Project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing clean water and sanitation to countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Attendees at last September’s BPOG conference raised thousands of dollars to help establish a sustainable water source for Mumbuni – a village of some 97 households located in an arid region of southern Kenya.

 

It’s been less than a year since the BPOG event, but already you can see the smiles on the faces of the very people whose lives are being transformed by the power of clean water.

 

The Villagers of Mumbuni


Mumbuni is a community of nearly 500 men, women, and children. The villagers here raise their livestock and tend crops that include maize, cowpeas, mangoes, and citrus fruit. But they do so without a reliable source of water. In fact, The Water Project estimates that 43% of the nearly 40 million Kenyans lack clean water.

 

The village has historically relied on the Matoma River, which is located less than one kilometer away during the rainy season. “But the river is seasonal,” explains Tess Crick, director of fund raising and outreach for The Water Project. “The annual rains that typically come in March and April and again October and November are usually lost quickly to run off.”

 

In the drier seasons, access to clean water is even more limited. Villagers, most often the women and young girls, must queue up for more than two hours each day to buy water.

 

Time spent waiting for water leaves less time for school and farming. And what water the villagers manage to buy must be rationed. Home hygiene is affected and livestock raised without adequate water doesn’t command a good price at market.

 

“It is a cycle of poverty driven by a lack of clean water,” says Crick.

 

Meet the Oasis Makers


But things are changing for Mumbuni.

 

Working as a community and supported by The Water Project, the villagers have completed an ingenious bit of civil engineering known as a sand dam across the Matoma River. Soon the annual rains will backfill the area behind this wall of concrete and stone with tons of sand. This sand acts as a natural filter and reservoir, capturing millions of liters of fresh water.S_H_G-Matoma-Nyumba-Kumi_progress_15_051_DLS_May-2015-46_Big.jpg

 

A shallow well and pump funded directly by the BPOG donations is now being installed adjacent to the dam. It will provide year-round access to this naturally stored resource.

 

As the earth recharges, a new ecosystem is created. Before too long, an oasis of green vegetation will spring up around the dam and its life-sustaining waters.

 

Always Close in Spirit


Mumbuni is a long way from Houston, the site of the upcoming 2015 BPOG conference. But the villagers remain top of mind for the event’s organizers.

 

“We developed the Wells for Water initiative specifically for this event,” says Tom Martin, a conference producer at The Eventful Group. “We are thrilled with the great progress we’ve seen in Mumbuni, and we’re extremely proud of how this community’s efforts are helping those in the greatest need.”

 

Martin’s colleagues agree.

 

“This is perfectly aligned with SAP’s vision of helping the world run better and improving people’s lives,” says Ken Evans, vice president and global head of oil and gas at SAP. “Drilling for water seems like a perfect way for our oil and gas community here to give back to the global community.”

 

The good work of Wells for Water is far from over. “At this year’s conference, we want to raise US$25,000 for additional future projects,” Martin says. “It’s pretty simple, the more contributions we can raise, the more lives we can positively affect as a community.”

 

Water Changes Everything


Meanwhile, the villagers of Mumbuni must wait for the annual rains to return before they can fully benefit from the clean water that will transform their lives. But soon the crops and livestock will be well-watered. The food supply will become more reliable. And children can return to school.

 

As a local man remarked, “When water comes . . . everything changes.”

 

Hearing those words, it’s hard not to smile.

 

Join leaders from the oil and gas industry as they exchange ideas at the 2015 Best Practices for Oil & Gas Conference from September 22nd through the 25th in Houston, Texas. Click here for further details and registration information. You can also follow what’s happening at the event on Twitter via @SAPOilGasConf and #BPOG.


Please join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.

Paul Taylor

Learning from the Dodo

Posted by Paul Taylor Aug 26, 2015

The Darwinian theory of natural selection holds that It Is not the strongest of the species that survives, or even the most intelligent, but the most adaptable.

It’s the same in business:  the companies that will thrive in the digital economy are those that are best able to respond to its demands – in particular, the shift to a consumer driven marketplace.

As Bill McDermott, SAP’s chief executive, noted this week, “the digital economy is disrupting businesses, industries and entire value chains. The proof is everywhere, from how we use technology and data as consumers, to how cutting-edge businesses are reshaping the consumer marketplace."

“Anywhere we look – sports, healthcare, manufacturing, finance and government – digital transformation is a pervasive force. Our customers are increasingly facing a difficult choice today: they either adapt or they die.”

The evidence for this is all around.  In just the last 15 years the media, publishing and advertising markets have been reshaped by online giants like Google, Yahoo and Amazon,  the cable TV and  video markets  have been up-ended by streaming services including Netflix and the market for recorded music has been shaken to its core by upstarts like Spotify.

Hardly anyone buys physical maps anymore and sales of personal navigation devices and digital cameras have plunged as consumers tap into the astonishing capabilities of their smartphones. The smartphone market itself provides a textbook case study in the dangers of complacency and failure to adapt.

Less than 10 years ago Nokia, Blackberry and Motorola dominated the market for high end feature phones and smartphones. Today,  Nokia is out of the market entirely, Motorola is owned by China’s Lenovo and BlackBerry is struggling to survive – a shadow of its former self.

digitaltransformationinforgraphicMeanwhile new digital leaders are emerging  to shake up traditional, staid markets like banking (PayPal), hotels  (Airbnb) and even taxi service (Uber and Lyft). The automotive industry is being disrupted by Google, Tesla and Apple and software is replacing steel  and other hardware in connected and self-driving cars.

Industry boundaries are blurring. Embedded software is changing everything. Smart executives know the world has changed, but aren’t sure how to respond. Research shows 90% of CEOs believe the digital economy will have a major impact on their industry. But only 25% have a plan in place and less than 15% are funding and executing a digital transformation plan.

This digital transformation is being driven by a set of technology mega trends including mobility, hyperconnectivity, super-computing and real-time big data analytics, cloud computing and social. The resulting pace of change is staggering. In the next 10 years it is estimated that 40% of the S&P 500 will no longer exist if they fail to keep up with these technology trends and recognize that the world has changed.

In the new digital economy, every company is a technology company and every company needs to embrace change before new digital competitors emerge – even if it means cannabalizing their existing operations . As Andy Grove, Intel’s former ceo, noted,   "Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction…..Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure.

Today consumers are in the driving seat and they expect a new type of experience: one that is frictionless, where commerce is seamless, and where technology is invisible. One that makes their lives easier.

Significantly research shows that companies who have embraced the digital world and execute on their digital strategy register real gains in shareholder and stakeholder value. Typically they boost revenues by 9% , increase profitability by 26% and gain 12% in market valuation.

But companies also need to address another key issue: complexity. “Complexity is the most intractable issue of our time,” says McDermott. He describes it as “an epidemic of wide-ranging proportions, affecting our lives, our work and even our health. “

Complexity also exerts negative pressure on the collective bottom line. The 200 biggest companies in the world lose over 10% of their annual profit because of complexity – over $237 billion. As a result, productivity growth in almost every advanced economy is slowing or declining.

Business technology companies, including SAP, have a unique role to play in helping their customers reduce this complexity, foster innovation and respond successfully to the special challenges of the digital economy. If he were around, Charles Darwin would approve.

SAP’s digital framework – outlined last week in an internal memo from Bill McDermott  –underscores the importance of this task and represents the next step in SAP’s own transformation.Learning from the Dodo

The responsibilities of the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) are as diverse and challenging as the terrain of the state itself. In addition to maintaining a 23,000-mile latticework of highways, they plow snow from 6 million lanes of roadway each year, maintain 3,500 bridges, and monitor 278 avalanche paths. This is all done with systems in place for protecting the environment. Additionally, CDOT provides intelligent transportation systems for high-speed rail and aeronautics. CDOT1.jpg

 

Robert Corman is the procurement director for the Colorado Department of Transportation. He said when he arrived from the private sector the goal for CDOT was to continue to cover all transportation needs for the state of Colorado, while simultaneously bringing 7 disparate systems together into one agency. Mr. Corman also stated that in addition creating a more collaborative environment through this simplification effort, goals for CDOT operations included extracting customer information, accessing real-time data, and viewing spend analysis.

 

In order to succeed, CDOT needed one comprehensive solution for facilitating critical transportation services. The department had to be able to respond rapidly to situations, provide real-time traveler information, offer transparent 24x7 status on bids, and more. 

 

“We took a very archaic system and streamlined it into one efficient process where we now have an end-to-end solution for procurement and contracts for the state of Colorado,” says Corman. “We’re also now better able to interact with the vendor community, since they can submit their requests for proposals through one system.”

 

Corman believes that with the implementation of the SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SAP SRM) and SAP Extended Procurement, public sector and regulated industries extension packages, CDOT was finally able to integrate their myriad of services together. Since CDOT now has a centralized repository within the records management system, there has also been an environmental impact as well due to the dramatic reduction of paper files.

 

Additionally, with the implementation of the vendor self-service module, CDOT went from seven disparate systems down to just one. Now all available bidding opportunities are continually transparent to the vendor community and requests can now be submitted electronically. Vendors are also able to receive push notices on future procurement transactions with the state.

 

One of the biggest benefits has been enabling everyday people to see where in the process their transportation-related requests are. In the past, residents would have to sort through multiple websites from different agencies to find what they needed, and there were no options for tracking applications. Today residents of Colorado are empowered with access to a one-stop CDOT Web site where they can see everything related to their account any time of day.

 

Corman added, "Choosing SAP SRM and SAP Extended Procurement was the right decision for the Colorado Department of Transportation. Not only did we come in on budget and on time, but we also had a very thoughtful implementation and training, with the SAP support staff at our side. Now we can actually concentrate on what we consider our most important mission - serving our customers while bringing more value to the state."

 

“We had such a complex system and now it’s so much easier. I’m no longer going home at night worrying about what’s going on in the office,” says Corman. “I actually now have the time to spend riding my bike around the trails of Denver.”

 

Indeed Denver is a paradise for bike trails. And thanks to CDOT, Corman has over 85 well-kept miles of bike trails that connect to hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails to explore.

latamseesawscn.pngRegardless of how successful companies in Latin America are today, research shows many may be unprepared to meet the challenges of the future workforce.  Feedback from Latin American executives surveyed as part of the SAP-supported Oxford Economics “Workforce 2020” study reveals both high-performing and underperforming organizations in this region are struggling to understand the impact of the top three labor market shifts affecting workforce strategy: millennials entering the workforce, globalization, and recruiting employees with base-level skills.

 

Unlike other parts of the world like United States and China, there is little difference between the workforce strategies of high-revenue-growth and low performing companies in Latin America. For example, 61 percent of executives at high-revenue-growth companies in the United States say Human Resources (HR) works with the C-suite to make strategic decisions about the business vs. 31 percent of underperformers. In Latin America, about the same percentage of high-revenue-growth companies (36 percent) and underperformers (40 percent) say workforce issues drive strategy at the board level (See graphic above). The numbers are the same when it comes to workforce management. Thirty-six percent of high-revenue-growth companies and 40 percent of underperformers in Latin America have a plan to achieve the workforce management vision. Contrast those findings with China where 91 percent of high-revenue-growth companies have an execution plan for achieving their vision of workforce management compared to 59 percent of underperformers in that country.

 

         Closing the technology skills gap

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There were more differences between high and low performing companies in Latin America when it came to training and education. Low-revenue-growth companies were significantly more likely than high performers to say it is difficult to acquire employees with analytics or programming/development skills. And, executives at high-revenue-growth companies were more likely to say they have well-defined processes and tools for developing talent. However, low-profit-margin-growth companies are more likely to offer incentives for pursuing further education (55 percent vs. 35 percent), suggesting they may be looking outside their organizations to develop skills.

 



 

Leadership for the Future

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Similar to regions worldwide, Latin American companies are challenged in developing leaders to support future growth. Interestingly, high-revenue-growth companies are significantly less likely than underperformers to say their leaders can lead a global workforce, and that talent in leadership positions can drive global growth. However, more high-performing companies (68 percent) say leaders are able to drive and effectively manage talent than underperformers (51 percent).


In many countries worldwide, HR has begun to assume a more strategic role, working in partnership with the business to achieve corporate growth objectives. Based on this survey, some Latin American companies across all performance levels may need to consider strengthening the connection between HR and the rest of the business to help drive growth.

 

Follow me @smgaler

 

Related posts:

 

Over 90 percent of High-Performing Chinese Companies have this in Common

How Leading U.S. Companies Keep Employees Happy

Oxford Economics Research: Can Companies Avoid the Leadership Cliff?

Latest Oxford Economics Research Debunks 5 Myths about Millennials

New Workforce 2020 Study: 5 Ways High Performing Companies Manage People and the Business

HR and talent professionals have known it for years and now it’s been proven: a better-prepared workforce delivers better results. In fact, a global survey of more than 2,700 executives conducted by Oxford Economics and SAP backs up intuition with data. The study examined thousands of high- and low-performing companies worldwide, examining correlations between workforce priority and financial success.

 

The results named several key characteristics of high- performing companies that leverage talent to drive bottom-line growth. Many HR departments make the case that talent drives results to the C-suite, and some findings show that employees are worth investing in. High- performing organizations approach their human capital management in specific ways, including:

 

1.     Drive workforce strategy at the C-level. Top-performing organizations prioritize workforce issues at a far higher level, extending them through the top management of the company. Executives at high-growth companies are significantly more likely to say that workforce issues drive strategy at the board level (64 percent versus 49 percent). Nearly a quarter of underperformers say that workforce issues are an afterthought in current business planning and will continue for three years.

 

Preparation for the future workforce means more than just reacting to changing trends—it requires that workforce issues, including developing talent, implementing learning programs, succession planning, and onboarding, be on the C-suite agenda. In HR, urgent tasks often take priority over big picture ones, making it difficult to pay attention to what’s truly strategic. Yet the survey shows that companies that perform well place an emphasis on board-level discussions of workforce strategy. Making time to implement strategic workforce issues will help organizations achieve high-performer status.

 

2.     Prioritize training and mentoring. More than half of high-performing companies say they offer supplemental training programs as an employee benefit. In fact, high- performing companies were nearly 10 percent more likely to have a mentoring program as compared to underperformers. Additionally, high-growth companies are 16 percent more likely to have a formal mentoring program than underperforming companies.

 

Training programs are important because the new generation of workers expects these initiatives to be in place in order for them to grow and succeed. The survey found that Millennials rated development as a bigger priority than compensation in the United States. This is a big factor in attracting the next generation of talent. Plus, as baby boomers exit the workforce, there will be a strong need for new leaders to replace them. Organizations should start developing leaders through training programs and developmental job assignments in order to be ready for the future.

 

3.     Plan for the changing demographics of the workforce. Executives at higher-growth companies tend to be better prepared to adapt to changing workforce trends by paying greater attention to the demographic shifts shaping the workplace. According to the SAP/Oxford study, 60 percent of high-revenue growth companies believe that Millennials entering the workforce is the top labor market shift affecting workforce strategy, as compared to 51 percent of underperformers.

 

According to Pew Research, in 2015, Millennials became the largest generation in the workplace in most countries, including the U.S. What do Millennials look for? SAP research shows that this younger demographic wants feedback 50 percent more often than other generations. Relying on an annual performance appraisal won’t give them what they need so organizations must prepare management to provide feedback at least monthly, and to incorporate developmental planning during those discussions.

 

4.     Attract quality talent. Higher-growth companies are better at recruiting the best talent: 55 percent of high- performing companies say that they are satisfied with the quality of job candidates recruited for most positions, compared to only 46 percent of firms with below-average profit margin. The talent void for lower performers persists beyond recruiting, as more than half of underperforming companies say that recruiting problems are having an impact on overall workplace strategy.

 

Talented people want to work for companies with high potential. To attract the best talent, organizations must have a compelling narrative for how a candidate can make a real difference and receive development opportunities. HR can help line managers understand the need to provide an outstanding offer that will make a difference.

 

5.     Reward based on merit, not tenure. Sixty percent of high-growth companies say they are more merit driven than tenure driven, compared with less than half of underperformers. In other words, underperformers may be more likely to focus on developing internal talent and engendering loyalty as they look toward downsizing (and may be outmaneuvering high performers in this area). However, they may be bypassing more qualified candidates to reward more tenured candidates when filling leadership roles.

 

Some of the most admired companies in the world, such as Apple and Google, have average employee tenures of only a little over a year. According to a study commissioned by the Freelancers Union, over one third of the workforce in the U.S. reports having at least some contingent work aspect. We are increasingly moving toward employee relationships that look more like stints than long-term engagements. Recognize and promote people for their performance and contribution, and they are likely to remain loyal. Recognizing loyalty above results doesn’t always yield high performance.

 

6.     Recognize the value of data. While both groups say they are currently impeded by a lack of data, lower performers expect to be significantly more likely to suffer from a lack of data required to do their jobs effectively in the future. This includes data related to the job market, industry, customers and financials, as well as visual representations of complex data.

 

Fifty-five percent of underperformers believe a lack of industry data will impede their employees’ ability to do their jobs in three years, as compared to 31 percent of high performers. In addition, 50 percent of underperformers believe a lack of job market data will restrict their employees’ ability to do their jobs in three years, as compared to 32 percent of high performers.

 

According to research from CSC, big data is only going to get bigger, with an estimated 4,300 percent growth in data yearly. Data can help organizations understand their people as well as predict performance success. HR must be able to provide meaningful information to the business. Start now, before the universe of data gets so big that the task will be unapproachable.

 

As the saying goes, people are our greatest assets, and this new research proves that people are worth investing in. In today’s tight labor market, talent matters need to be a main concern and prioritizing them will deliver better results. Research finds that high-performing companies are strategic about their workforce and in return, their employees deliver better products, services, and financial results.

 

To learn more about the workforce and how your company can better prepare for the Future of Work, check out the Workforce 2020: The Looming Talent Crisis with Oxford Economics and SAP. Follow Karie on Twitter @Angler

The local dump was so overflowing that it had to refuse refuse.


If you’re like most people, that sentence looks wrong. After all, it has the same word repeated twice in a row. Most of us assume it can’t be proper grammar.


While it’s true that repeated words usually are bad grammar, in this case there are two different words spelled identically. Read the sentence again: the first refuse is a verb meaning deny while the second is a noun meaning trash.


Heteronyms are words spelled identically but with different meanings and pronunciations. There are lots of heteronyms in the English language. Since they have different pronunciation, you wouldn’t notice them in everyday speech.


Things are a bit trickier in writing – especially if English isn’t your first language. But usually there’s enough context to figure out the right pronunciation and meaning. Here are ten examples:

 

  • I wound a bandage around my wound.
  • The chair was so close to the door we couldn’t close it.
  • Don’t just give the gift; present the present.
  • The Polish man decided to polish his table.
  • When he wrecked his moped, he moped all day.
  • She shed a tear because she had a tear in her shirt.
  • Farmers reap what they sow to feed it to the sow.
  • How much produce does the farm produce?
  • More people desert in the desert than in the mountains.
  • The researcher wanted to subject the subject to a psychology test.

 

Did any of these sentences trip you up?

 

If people add more examples of heteronyms in the comments, I will be more content with the content of this blog.

 

This blog was originally posted on Manage by Walking Around on August 23, 2015.

Please follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Recently, we’ve been examining the tidal wave of business-to-government regulations in emerging markets and their impact on business operations, including sales and procurement. Heavily involving both the accounts receivable and accounts payable teams, it’s clear that these mandates have significant implications on financial processes. However, recent legislation is adding a new operational unit to those affected by business-to-government compliance mandates: human resources.

Looking back 18 months at the compliance landscape in Latin America, only three countries – Mexico, Argentina and Brazil – were enforcing mandates, and these all encompassed A/P and A/R processes only.  Now 10 countries have introduced mandates, and they are entering an increasing number of busines processes.  While Brazil is typically considered the leader in compliance legislation, having the most robust, complex requirements, Mexico was actually the first to introduce HR-related mandates.  Last year, Mexico introduced Nomina Electronica - electronic payroll receipts.  Now, Brazil is testing eSocial, which collects labor, social security, tax and fiscal information related to hiring and employment practices. 

As IT and finance struggle to adapt to the pace and complexity of legislative change in this region, these additional business-to-government regulations present whole new challenges to HR departments.  Specifically, under Nomina Electronica, any company operating in Mexico paying employees a salary or wage needs to be issuing electronic payroll receipts. These payroll deductions are a critical component to the recent eAccounting legislation as you can’t deduct taxes until payroll has been submitted to the government electronically for approval and the approval codes linked to your monthly Journal Entry (Poliza Report). 

As has come to be expected of Brazil, its tax authority takes HR requirements to the next level. Under eSocial, which will go live in the next 12-18 months, employers must submit all information regarding their labor force to the government electronically. This includes labor events such as hiring, contracts, warnings, suspensions and terminations, which must be sent as soon as the event occurs, as well as payroll details, benefits, etc. This equates to up to 41 individual XML files per employee per month!

With the additions of personnel-related mandates, Mexico and Brazil are looking beyond VAT taxes and into payroll and income taxes in an increasing effort to ensure that they are receiving maximum tax revenue. We anticipate this trend continuing throughout emerging markets like Latin America as government’s attempt to stabilize and grow their economies, making it critical that companies operating in these regions begin creating proactive compliance strategies so they aren’t caught off guard.

The New York Stock Exchange might close at 4 p.m. every weekday, but that doesn’t mean your company closes at the same time. Indeed, modern technology is allowing businesses to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in multiple parts of the world.

 

If you are a CFO or finance professional in today’s round-the-clock business climate, you are likely getting hit with a maelstrom of financial data that’s taking longer and longer to process. However, in spite of the increasing volume and complexity of this real-time information, you are being forced to stay accurate while completing accounting tasks in a timely fashion.

 

Fortunately, savvy CFOs and accountants are overcoming these challenges through predictive finance, which is helping them achieve the following goals and more:

 

Save time for finance teams by dramatically simplifying processes

Allow for better integration between financial plans and actual data

Provide CFOs with more data and input to steer better business decision-making


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Accuracy and efficiency during “crunch time” is key

 

Your closing and disclosure processes need to be seamless and unobstructive to business operations. At the same time, they need to be accurate. The best way to achieve that is through “real-time closing” — a concept that was nothing more than a pipe dream before the advent of predictive finance technology.

 

Predictive finance solutions optimize financial analysis across all business platforms to help CFOs increase efficiency, accuracy and profitability in today’s non-stop business climate. The advent of predictive finance has enabled new kinds of information to be classified and re-purposed in real time. This gives you the ability to make changes that are captured and revised on multiple platforms simultaneously — exactly when time saving measures are needed most.

 

For accounting managers, period end closing is when many key finance activities have to come together. Predictive finance helps CFOs and accountants more effectively manage their closing processes to ensure increased profitability and strong business growth.

 

However, to ensure a timely, accurate and trouble-free closing, you need more than just an automation. You need cross functional real-time insights, and you need to be able to assess and predict entity close shortcomings so you can take the right steps to avoid problems.

 

The benefits of predictive finance

 

Predictive finance can help you leverage market signals to maximize forecast accuracy, increase forecast speed, set clear benchmarks, and accelerate actions. It can also help you respond faster and with greater certainty to changing business conditions. Most importantly, predictive finance helps you optimize analysis across finance processes to drive superior business outcomes.

 

Predictive finance works at both the corporate and the local level. Here are some of the specific technical benefits offered by our predictive finance platform:

 

Foresee shortcomings in entity close processes.

Collaborate to stay ahead of problems and remain on schedule.

Evaluate and predict the processing speed of closing functions, and anticipate the likelihood of re-bookings and inter-company mismatches through maximum cross-functional insight.

Close corporate books through accelerated run-times for period end reports.

Create statistical analysis of historical data to automate real-time accruals.

Create quick-access financial statements and management reports in accordance with IFRS and other local legal requirements.

Get insights into period end data during the mid-period to help you prepare statements quickly and accurately.

Receive guidance so you can proactively course-correct your business.

Incorporate human judgment to help you respond faster and with greater certainty.


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Learn more about predictive finance solutions today

 

The predictive finance by SAP Solutions translate to financial closings that are delivered on time, with deeper insight, greater accuracy, and compliance. By leveraging predictive finance with SAP Solutions, you benefit from closer alignment between organizational tactics and strategic vision, and from closing processes that help you ensure increasing profitability and strong business growth.

 

Find out how predictive finance with SAP Solutions can benefit you by watching SAP Advanced Closing video!

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