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SAP Business Trends

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People want to work where their efforts make a difference. That’s what the surveys say, and it’s not just Millennials who are doing the talking.


272069_l_srgb_s_gl.jpgIn a recent survey from the United Kingdom, nearly half of the respondents across the entire age spectrum said they wanted to work for an organization that has a positive impact on the world. Meaningful work that benefits others was even more important than a high salary for 44% of those surveyed.


Fortunately, there are plenty of like-minded companies out there. In fact, Guy Kawasaki – an American businessman and former chief evangelist at Apple – once suggested, “Great companies start because the founders want to change the world . . . not make a fast buck.”


So the question is: How do idealistic job candidates and visionary businesses find each other?


Recruit More Creatively

Increasingly, it’s employers who are taking the initiative. Innovative HR organizations are turning to more creative recruiting methods and are exploring dozens of new channels to find the kind of talent they want and need.


The telecommunications giant Ericsson is a great example.


That’s right; not all the companies changing the world are nonprofits and startups. Ericsson has been part of what is arguably one of the most significant social revolutions of the last 30 years. Mobile communications have literally redefined what it means to be connected, and these technologies continue to provide billions of people around the world unprecedented access to information and human services.


As a video on Ericsson’s career site points out, “Not only do we enable change makers all over the world with our mobility, we hire them.”


As part of its hiring strategy, Ericsson uses around 100 online sources to connect with the best talent available. This includes the company’s own career sites, LinkedIn, social networking sites, external job boards, search engines, and e-mail alerts. Collectively, these various channels have helped Ericsson build a global talent community of some 314,000 people in less than a year.


And Ericsson isn’t just throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks.


Ericsson rolled out a new recruiting system based on the SuccessFactors Recruiting Marketing solution to help optimize this mix of channels. Furthermore, built-in analytics let Ericsson measure the effectiveness of its talent acquisition strategies and determine which messages are best received by the talent community.


Become an Employer of Choice

Multiple recruitment sources are only part of the answer.


In addition to simplifying its HR systems, Ericsson is also working to authenticate the company as an employer of choice. It introduced a new employer value proposition last year designed to emphasize the company’s 135 years of industry leadership and describe what candidates can expect from working at Ericsson. These workplace attractions include the freedom to innovate, autonomy to get things done, and continuous learning and development.


A Sense of Purpose

Companies like Ericsson clearly recognize the importance of cultivating a sense of purpose among their employees. As Ericsson’s career video goes on to say, “At the end of the day, progress is what gets us out of bed every morning; all of us working together to make a change.”


The world doesn’t lack idealists. We just need to get these change makers together.


Please join me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.

You might also like:

The SuccessFactors Business Transformation Study about Ericsson


Is it Time to Rename the Cable Industry?

In a co-innovation project, Siemens and SAP developed a pilot of the Building Performance Management Cockpit, which enables real estate managers and other roles to gain transparency across the building portfolio and align property resources with business objectives.


Combining Expertise for a Joint Solution

Siemens' Building Technologies Division is a leader in the field of building automation. Its energy efficiency solutions and consulting services are based on many years of experience collecting, visualizing and evaluating building-related energy data. Some of this data come from technical building automation systems, some from commercial systems. “SAP is a leading provider of such commercial systems, for instance enterprise resource planning software. In light of this, both companies complement each other perfectly to offer corporate customers, many of which are customers of both companies, an innovative and efficient solution”, says Dr. Johannes Milde, CEO of the Siemens Building Technologies Division. Siemens approached SAP with the idea to connect technical infrastructure data with sustainability and energy efficiency together with the real estate operators of large sites. “Major corporate customers with extensive real estate portfolios have told us that simply collecting and evaluating energy consumption data is not enough to efficiently manage their building portfolios. They need significantly more data from different sources”, explains Dr. Milde. Siemens and SAP started to dedicate resources to the project, and to generate ideas with real building operators – SAP Global Facility Management and Siemens Real Estate. While presenting the idea to joint customers, “we soon figured out that you can talk to customers and tell them about your plans, but it is not really impressive unless you see it”, says Peter Marburger, Head of Sales Energy Efficiency, Siemens Building Technologies. This awareness was crucial for the decision to bring the idea to life.


Meeting Core Needs through Co-Innovation

To take the idea a step further, the Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) from SAP suggested to approach the challenge “How can we enable Facility and Real Estate Managers to analyze the performance of their buildings” from a co-innovation perspective. During a two-day workshop at the SAP AppHaus Heidelberg different employees from Siemens and SAP collaborated to explore the challenge and its opportunities and to brainstorm and sketch out first ideas. Surprisingly, they discovered over 50 different roles. They thus prioritized the different roles and built paper prototypes as a first iteration for the four roles that best represent the most important needs: CEO Real Estate, Real Portfolio Manager, Sustainability and EHS Manager, and Head of Location Manager. After in-depth analysis of the workshop and research results the DCC came up with the idea of a generic Real Estate Cockpit framework that can be adjusted to different roles. They designed a click dummy, a functional mockup specific to the needs of different personas, and tested these cockpits with stakeholders from SAP Facility Management and Siemens Real Estate. In a third iteration they refined the cockpit concept and the visual design language while developing a functional, user friendly, and technical pilot.


Developing a Customized Dashboard

The design concept evolved into in the Building Performance Management Cockpit creates transparency regarding the building performance and allows the managers in charge to make fast and precise decisions on how to optimize building-related costs. Overall, it manages about 18 million square meters of offices and factories. Both companies know very well what it takes to professionally manage corporate real estate holdings. This experience has shaped the joint solution. It offers predefined user profiles for all essential user roles: from facility manager to project manager, from energy manager to chief financial officer. For each role, the relevant key performance indicators are displayed in an easy-to-understand format. Today, this transparency is either difficult to create or is missing altogether in many companies. The device-independent cockpit also supports insights to actions: Users can directly comment on a cockpit, create tasks, download data sets, and contact people with whom the dashboard can be shared. “I guess we were a challenging group, and we needed a lot of flexibility. But the project was really constructive and the cockpit as output is excellent”, recalls Peter Marburger, Head of Sales Energy Efficiency, Siemens Building Technologies. In terms of scope and depth, there is nothing comparable on the market. “The co-innovation project is a successful example of how co-innovation supports stakeholder alignment and incorporates user needs”, reflects Marion Fröhlich, Senior Strategic Design Consultant at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP. “Working as one team made us bridge the gap between design, engineering, and business, and to be faster”, adds Alessandro Sposato, Strategic Design Consultant at the Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP. Due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback, the dashboard is now being productized at the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam to become a standard SAP solution. The implementation at SAP Global Facility Management and Siemens Real Estate as early adopters is currently being planned. In addition, Siemens is going to offer not only a software platform, but also an application specially tailored to corporate customers.

MOOCfioriblogscn.jpgWhen I began writing about MOOCs a couple of years ago, much of the furor revolved around the imminent demise of classroom education. That hasn’t happened. For example, they are a valid, complementary offering at institutions of higher education like Pennsylvania State University. For businesses such as SAP, MOOCs are a fast, fun way to help people gain the skills they need on the latest technology innovations including digital transformation, internet of things, mobile and cloud. At the same time, MOOCs are undoubtedly instigating tons of innovations that are forever changing how learners learn and teachers teach.


Penn State launched its first MOOC in 2013. Since then, Kathryn Jablokow, an associate professor there, said they’ve caused everyone to rethink teaching in the traditional classroom format.


“Residential instruction isn’t going to go away. But now you have people thinking about the use of technology because you’re working at a new scope and scale and integrating truly globally across 190 countries. Those kinds of things are starting to trickle down and influence the way instructors teach all of their courses in all the different formats, and it’s been tremendously positive.”


SAP Fiori_screenshotscnblogMarch15.pngConsider the concept of self-grading. Relatively rare in classroom settings where teachers rule, self-assessment is a practical alternative in sessions with thousands of students. But this isn’t the only reason the next openSAP MOOC includes peer and self-assessment modules. Participants who sign up for the Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud course, which begins March 25, will be challenged to submit a prototype SAP Fiori app, and in doing so, enjoy a richer educational experience. The idea is that by grading peer submissions as well as their own work, students learn more – about not only SAP Fiori technology but also what it takes to create a quality app on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. Three lucky contest winners will win MacBook Air computers. Instructors will also spotlight on the course’s home page additional submissions that participants grade exceptional.

Jablokow thinks peer assessments in MOOCs are valuable.


“Assuming you have a good rubric, it encourages people to be reflective practitioners, and to think about the quality of work," she said. "When you think about the quality of other people’s work you think about your own. It also teaches you how to give feedback to other people in a constructive and not a destructive way.”


All this is well and good, but how can instructors ensure the integrity of the grading experience? Before participants in SAP’s upcoming Fiori MOOC can conduct assessments on themselves or classmates, they’ll engage in a pre-evaluation training session. By practicing on submissions graded by experts, they’ll learn assessment standards to help ensure grading consistency and fairness. The peer assessment activities are a percentage of each participant’s total course grade, along with weekly assignments and the final test. Participants can also earn extra points if their self-assessment score aligns with how their peers graded them.


Another valid question is what happens to the role of the instructor? Similar to all brilliant innovations, MOOCs empower instructors to focus on higher value pursuits such as the quality of the overall learning experience. “If I’m not worried about grading, I can spend that time looking at the trajectory of the students overall, what they’re saying about each other, if they’re going in the direction I was hoping they’d go, and maybe learning other things I didn’t anticipate,” said Jablokow.


MOOCs are now a bona fide educational option. They haven’t made classroom learning obsolete and probably never will. Yet they’re beginning to indelibly impact learning in ways no one could have anticipated. 


Follow me @smgaler


SAP is known as “THE Cloud Company Powered by SAP HANA” and is known for “Run Simple”.


Co-innovation with both our partners and our customers plays a unique role in helping enterprises of all sizes accelerate to the Cloud model of their choice, and to deliver on the “Run Simple” promise.


Why is co-innovation important?

SAP alone cannot produce all solutions that the market needs. By leveraging our ecosystem, partnering with the best and brightest developers, and incorporating feedback from customers into agile development cycles, we can provide the Applications, Platform and Business networks to create & capture more value, faster for our customers.


How does co-innovation work at SAP?

We encourage others to create enterprise class, standard software that integrates with SAP solutions or to build new solutions on top of SAP software and the SAP HANA Cloud Platform . Co-innovators can be our customers, individual or corporate developers, endorsed software companies or our global, regional, and local partners.


Faster, better, cheaper

Co-innovating on the cloud simplifies the way companies create, deploy, and consume innovative solutions. By developing solutions that can run on a public, hybrid, or managed cloud environments, customers can engage in a leaner, more agile process that allows for faster innovation and for users to consume solutions quickly and easily.


By co-innovating and developing solutions on the cloud, SAP customers can:

  • Embrace simplicity and eliminate complexity
  • Harness insight from the edge and from the Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Use the power from real-time, any time data
  • Gain advantages from social and enterprise networks
  • Develop next generation business models and  business processes
  • Delight users with intuitive user experience



Co-innovating for the Industry Cloud

Some customers or partners are interested in co-innovating with SAP on specific functionality that serves their industry. In these cases, they sometimes assign small teams of their personnel to work with us, often onsite. This effort helps us bring development closer to the market and the users, and helps incorporate deep domain expertise into the initial product design and subsequent agile development rounds.


For example, SAP and Accenture recently announced a new solution that will help the oil and gas industry simplify production monitoring and management. By combining the knowledge and domain expertise of SAP and Accenture, and using the cloud as the delivery model for the solution, this co-innovation partnership quickly developed a new version of the SAP Upstream Operations Management application. This solution helps companies quickly identify underperforming wells and the underlying causes of decreasing production. By enabling production managers to intuitively allocate volumes back to the wellhead, and plan operations across the operations network, the solution helps the oil and gas industry Run Simple.


It’s your turn to co-innovate!

SAP’s Industry Cloud organization brings together our industry & core line of business expertise, along with our strategic pricing and inbound innovation / business development teams. Joining forces with our ecosystem and with our partners, we are ready to innovate together!   Let’s go!


Learn more about co-innovating and partnerships with SAP.



Simon Paris. President, Industry Cloud at SAP

Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn

As part of my ongoing exploration of business evolution, disruption is a key theme and driver of transformation for businesses to stay relevant. I hope you'll find some of my thoughts and research of interest, as well as my ongoing dialogue with futurist, Thornton May. I look forward to discussing these topics with Thornton and SAP Global Innovation Evangelist, Timo Elliott on March 3, 10 AM EST. I hope you can tune into our live discussion on Digital World with Game-Changers Radio, presented by SAP, or check the link for the audio record of what I'm sure will be a lively discussion on today's disruptive time and the digital capabilities that businesses need to thrive.

Disruption driving business evolution

I recently developed the disruptive scenario visual below to show the acceleration and convergence of the digital platform, and the innovation accelerators that build on that platform. The blue curve is the technology progression curve. The progression of technology continues its unabated exponential rise, and leaders can only see so far on the curve. This creates an uncertainty that makes it difficult to understand the implications of technology into the future.

disruptive-scenarios Frank Diana44.jpg

This progression starts with the technology foundation – or the third platform as IDC calls it. In their 10 Predictions For Emerging Technologies In 2015, IDC focuses on the disruptive impact of this third platform. They describe the three waves of computing, the first being the early computing era of mainframes, and a second that encompassed the PC, networking, relational databases, and client server applications. The third wave in IDC's estimation is our current era, built around cloud computing, social applications, big data, and mobile computing. I had the pleasure of meeting with Frank Gens – IDC's Chief Research Officer – while in Berlin. Frank believes this third platform will form the basis for the development of new solutions for the next 20 years. Rather than focus on new solutions, my focus is on the coming disruption and my belief that its ramifications are historic– here’s why. In a recent post on A New Economic Paradigm, I reference a recent book written by Jeremy Rifkin where he argues that a third revolution is upon us, and it is fueled by a new general purpose technology platform (GPT). In his book, he describes the economic paradigm shifts of the past, and points to three elements that converge to create a general purpose technology platform to drive the shift: new forms of communication, new forms of energy, and new mechanisms for transport and logistics. The two prior Industrial Revolutions were driven by this GPT phenomenon. In the first Industrial Revolution, it was the steam engine, the printing press, and the railroad. In the second, it was electricity, the telephone and the car. Rifkin believes a powerful third revolution platform is emerging to drive an economic paradigm shift in the next 40 years. The three components of this third revolution platform in his estimation are the Internet (communication), renewable energy, autonomous vehicles and the Internet of Things.

Frank: The intent with this disruption graphic is to get leaders to start thinking about the impact of these scenarios, sooner rather than later, and to begin to understand opportunities, risks, and potential responses. The discussion therefore is one of scenario thinking, response generation through iterative cycles, and rapid experimentation. What are your thoughts on the visual and if I am missing anything in terms of disruption that you are seeing, or innovation accelerators that I am not seeing?

Thornton: With your fascinating visual I think you have captured the essence of the technology disruptions defining the transformative age in which we live. As a next step, I suggest fleshing out the behavioral and psychological disruptions linked to your technology disruptions. There is no more urgent task for global executives today than to think critically about the combinatorial impacts of technology disruptions on our individual, professional and collective lives.

Frank: When you look at disruptive scenarios like the connected car, the smart home, or connected healthcare, it is clear that we are shifting from a vertically oriented, value chain world, to a horizontal ecosystem world. I believe firm-centric thinking is a major obstacle for companies that must shift to an ecosystem thinking paradigm. What are your thoughts on this shift, and are government and business ready for this?

Thornton: The paradox is that while ‘things are becoming connected’, humans are not. Americans now eat more than half of their meals alone. When they convene at communal meals such as Thanksgiving many ‘thought to be connected’ have trouble connecting conversationally with other humans. This bodes poorly for the kinds of knees-under-the-table collaboration that gives way to real breakthroughs.

Please share your thoughts on disruption and its impact on business evolution. I hope you will tune into our live discussion on Digital World with Game-Changers Radio, presented by SAP on March 3 and join TCS' microforum discussion on the Internet of Things at this year's SAPPHIRE NOW, May 5-7.

Last year at this time I was at the Mobile World Congress asking myself what’s next for SAP in enterprise mobility. I had just joined the company, and everyone I met at the congress -- customers, partners, influencers and industry experts -- agreed that no one else was better positioned than SAP to support customers and partners on their journey to mobilizing the enterprise. In 2014, we went on to become the market leader in Enterprise Mobility Solutions, we enabled the best user experience for SAP Cloud Services and we simplified the mobile journey.

shutterstock_227709301.jpgNext generation consumer experiences need next generation telcos

Thanks to the ubiquity of mobility, people everywhere are more and more connected. Shoppers can ‘try on’ clothes and accessories in a virtual dressing room while sitting on a bus. Doctors can prescribe embedded transceivers in pharmaceutical packaging to monitor patient compliance to medication. And technicians in the field just need a pair of glasses responding to touch and voice commands.


Market research indicates as many as 2.5 billion augmented reality apps will be downloaded onto smartphones and tablets by 2017. This means next-generation telecom companies will have to deliver more than just calls; they will have to deliver next-level experiences. Brands are already using next-level telecoms to offer service deals, product suggestions, and sale promotions when and where customers want them.


In the connected consumer world, mobile service providers will engage customers with relevant, contextual information delivering the right products for the right price at the right time. Your smartphone will manage your calendar, inform you about promotions, provide directions and act as a mobile wallet. And in fact, thanks to your online profile and beacon technology, the salesperson will greet you by name when you do enter a store!


Barcelona For You exemplifies what’s next for SAP in 2015


Fuelled by a combination of consumerization, big data, analytics, cloud, and machine-to-machine, enterprise mobility is changing how, when and where customers decide, transact and buy. This year at the Mobile World Congress, I’m truly excited about the massive opportunity ahead for telecom companies to lead the revolution in enterprise mobility together with SAP.


The path ahead is about partnerships. One of the most delightful examples is SAP’s new urban intelligence solution set, which provides an intelligent cloud network that delivers contextual, personalized information in real time through an easy to use app.  SAP is showcasing the power of the new solution with the new Barcelona for You (BCN4U) tourist network, developed by SAP for the city of Barcelona. BCN4U will take advantage of the power and scalability of SAP HANA Cloud Platform mobile services to connect public and private enterprises in Barcelona with its citizens and visitors to simplify and transform the way people experience the city.

This is a perfect example of our ability to handle large amounts of data in real time to deliver personalized information to the right people at the right time and right place. The platform offers suggestions on transportation routes, cultural activities and restaurants based on profile details providing visitors with a smooth city experience. At the same time, the city will gain better insight into tourist flow and behavior to better customize offerings. 

Be sure to stop by the SAP Booth at Mobile World Congress (Hall 6, A30) to experience the app as part of an interactive showcase.I could not have predicted all of this a year ago!


"Human behavior is changing. Digital behaviors permeate if not dominate our lives. As soon as we wake up, here comes the screen for the first digital moment of the day," said Sondergaard of Gartner.



We recently talked about the new paradigms of the subscription economy (http://scn.sap.com/community/coil/blog/2015/02/05/the-subscription-economy-you-can-only-manage-what-you-can-measure).Today we would like to get our head into the cloud.


A day without cloud and without networks? Is that possible? Most likely it is but would take us some effort to keep our hands off the cloud for an entire day. We´re all using services that did not even exist 10 years ago. And we´re are increasingly relying on these services. Though from a supplier perspective it is important to understand which services are adopted and work well, which services do not create the expected value.


And all of these capabilities of our modern world – mobile apps, social and business networks, analytics are being powered by the Cloud…basically
everything comes as a service on our devices these days. Customers simply don´t want to think of a release or version anymore. Consumers simply want an App (or URL) and consume a service. Bug fixes? Just get a new App from the store and install it – without specific IT knowledge.


And the cloud provider´s point of view? Deliver innovations at an unprecedented pace to the end consumer. No barriers, no delay, stellar fast adoption (if the service creates value)


My Everyday Life In The Cloud


Zitat1.jpgLet us peep in the life of a tech-savvy business executive and see how much of cloud and networks is actually getting consumed each day. After reading this, if you find yourself in him; do not be surprised.


6.35 AM: Our man wakes up to his favorite play list from a cloud music streaming service and generates his first cloud and digital moment of the day.


6.45 – 7.40 AM: Coffee and a healthy breakfast, a brisk morning walk, tracked by the latest fitness gadget and loaded up into the web to share with others. So he gets a mobile dashboard of the activity and ability to validate cardio progress real-time anytime. And compete with his friends around the globe.


7.45 AM: Catching up on the news on his mobile. He flips through flipboard which shows the news and articles curated to his interest and personalized from what his friends are also reading. Social media is embedded already, emails are checked right afterwards.


8.20 AM: On way to office. Using the cloud, he made a smarter choice to park his car few miles away from his usual parking slot. Why? Because it helps him meeting his goal of walking at least 1.000 steps/day and safes him 45minutes queuing as displayed on his navigation system fed with latest news from the cloud.


He is not a creature of habit and does not take the same route to office every day. Rather he relies on Waze to take a different route every day. On the way he stops at the fuel station to refuel his car. Every time he has filled up the fuel, he instantly updates the fuel price on his mobile app. He is just doing his part – so that it is easier for others to quickly spot the most inexpensive fuel station on the way.


9.00 AM: At the office. Alert on this desktop reminds him that this is the last day for submitting the proposal for the next review. The reminder is triggered by the Enterprise Collaboration platform on the web.


12.27 PM: By Lunch time he has finished the solution proposal and also a self-review of the same. He quickly uploads the document on the project collaboration group and all the members of the team get thus informed. No more asynchrony communications or old versions.


12.30 – 1.30 PM: The only clouds he sees during this precious hour are in the sky while having lunch with his colleagues on the open terrace. Though he loves to track his calories on his App to compose a daily balance at the end of the day.


1.35 – 1.40 PM: He is an avid reader and an occasional blogger. Three days back he posted a blog and he is checking how many actually viewed, how many colleagues actually endorse his opinion (Likes), how many have a different point of view and if people would like to engage with comments on the topics.


1.40 – 2.30 PM: He gets into the company cab which drops him to the customer site where they have a design thinking workshop. He truly represents the face of today’s mobile workforce and efficiently utilizes this commuting time to fine tune a pricing scenario example he has built on a cloud tool, now finalizing it by using his iPad.


2.10 PM: He gets a quick alert from the shared cloud application from his wife that she has placed the order for the month’s grocery and he can check if he needs something in addition. He can check the shopping basket on his mobile device and quickly add that missing shaving kit. He checks out and


2.30 – 5.00 PM: Design thinking workshop at customer site. He opens the prepared document from his shared drive directly on his client’s laptop. He is also taking notes using an online tool for 1st drafts to later complete it seamlessly from his desk.


5.00 – 6.00 PM: Heading back to office. No surprise, it‘s a traffic jam again. He quickly opens the tutorial video for the online learning course. He likes this pretty much because it allows to study at own pace and the 15 minutes are well used. Thanks to the cloud, he can do his assignments anywhere anytime.


6.00 PM: Back Home. He quickly puts a glance at his phone and gets a notification that one of his colleague from quality department posted a review feedback on the solution proposal. It seems the colleague points to him that he has missed to put the section for glossary as there are many acronyms used. No worries. He just opens his iPad and quickly updates the glossary in the document online. His colleagues living miles away can now refer to the updated version on their devices when they resume the work. So far, so cloudy!


7.25 – 8.45 PM: No more screens. Time reserved for dinner with dear family and chit chat.


8.50 PM: His wife asks him to seriously start planning for the first family vacation with their little son; which they are thinking about for so long. He opens his phone and hunts for the resort which is “kids friendly”. He then quickly checks for the rating and reviews for this resort on Trip Advisor. The in-app purchase makes it easy to quickly reserve the rooms. He is also connoisseur of food and does not miss to quickly as well find out the trending restaurants in the city where he and his family would be heading.


9.20 PM: He and his wife frequently watch movies streamed online after putting their son to sleep. Mostly, they do not watch the fully movie in one go. On Demand is perfect, they can pause the show, then resume it again the next evening.


10.15 PM: Before hitting the bed, he flips onto the book on his e-reader, which he prefers in dark environments. Once again, thanks to the cloud the bookmarks are synched across all his devices and he can start reading from where left on the other device. With his e-reader, he learns more about his reading style. It lets him discover his prime reading times, average page turns, and latest reads from his friend and so much more!


10.45 PM: Good night. Sleep tight. Healthy sleep tracked by his monitoring device. Cloud is awake!




Surprisingly not, cloud is reiterating its presence without us recognizing if we are using it or not. Cloud and Networks are becoming fundamental to how we live and work. Cloud is kind of omnipresent today. Without conscious realization, we are also increasing our data foot print. Our private lives are conquered by cloud and usage measurement per se. This illustrates the prominence of the cloud that quietly made itself central to our life. It has embedded itself into the most banal facets of our routine life. And changed it in many ways already today.


But to make it beneficial, relevant and individual, it is important to measure consumption and behavior.


Do not miss our next post when we will interact with subject matter experts to explain the relevance and use cases in the enterprise context.


Let us know your thoughts...Bert Schulze (@BeSchulze ) and Himanshu Sewalkar (@HSewalkar).

Like every innovation, cloud computing has reached the point where it’s time for demystification.  Although early adopters in human resources (HR) are already scaling new heights with cloud, many more professionals are just as keen to understand how cloud can bring value to their company.

In a candid interview on the debut broadcast of “Firing Line with Bill Kutik,” Mike Ettling, president of HR Line of Business at SuccessFactors/SAP, talked about what HR should demand from cloud software, as well as the vendors providing it. He boils success down to his leadership philosophy gained from lessons learned while growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era. The conversation began when Ettling responded to Kutik’s question about his email signature which is a famous quote from Nelson Mandela: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands it goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language it goes to his heart.”


Ettling explained that this embodies his philosophy about leadership.

“When you can resonate with people and talk to their hearts, you get people engaged with you, and you can motivate people to do what they need to do.”


His interview is the first in a monthly series of short videos with thought-leaders from the HR technology community hosted by Bill Kutik, HR Technology Columnist for Human Resource Executive magazine and host of The Bill Kutik Radio Show. In a captivating discussion, the two HR gurus touched on how cloud fundamentally changes what HR decision-makers should expect from their software providers.


First and foremost, Ettling believes HR vendors need to understand that customers are buying outcomes.

“We are selling software combined with data centers, combined with network infrastructure, combined with support which is enabling a customer to engage their people in an HR context. This differentiation between selling software and selling an outcome will be the great determinant between the winners and losers in the next five years.”


Not surprisingly, it all comes down to long-term relationships. Ettling said his background in the outsourcing world was the ideal preparation for a career in cloud.

“In outsourcing, you’re only as good as the last mistake you made the day before -- or not. Renewals are made and happen during the life of the contract. If you find yourself in a position where you’re selling the renewal, you’ve failed. That is so similar to the cloud world.”


In the same vein, Ettling and Kutik agreed cloud makes the vendor always responsible.

“It doesn’t matter whether the partners implemented it wrong or the network’s fallen over. In the cloud world it comes back to the vendor,” said Ettling. “Customer service models have to recognize that and enable it. You can’t have delineation between what is and isn’t the vendor’s problem. The customers want the outcome fixed and the outcome delivered.”

Upcoming episodes include an interview with David Ludlow, Group Vice President of HR Line of Business at SAP, who will talk about how companies are finding cloud is a fast affordable route to speed up innovation. This will be followed by Ann Miller-Rauch, VP of Talent Management for Software AG, who will share her company’s step-by-step journey to the cloud.

S/4 HANA is announced early in FKOM 2015 in January followed by official announcement by Bill McDermott and hasso plattner. In 20 days many articles have been posted regarding what is S/4 HANA, what is new, what should be the migration strategy… For me best of those posted by John Appleby


SAP S/4HANA: What we must learn from SAP R/3: Part 1, History


SAP S/4HANA: What we must learn from SAP R/3: Part 2, Present & Future


Today we have performed the first S/4 HANA event in Turkey, customers were very much interested and excited about the transformation brought by S/4 HANA.  Murat Kaptan from SAP delivered a perfect S/4 HANA and Simple Finance introduction to the Turkey SAP Community. When I have seen the desire over the existing SAP customers to move to S/4 HANA, I have noticed and underlined that S/4 HANA triggered digital transformation should be performed under professional guidance. As John Appleby mentioned in detail, there are many actions should be taken preciously and immediately by all parties.


Technically migrating to S/4 HANA from anydb is not a big deal, once existing SAP ERP upgraded to EHP7, migrating to HANA is the easiest part. Job will be completed after activating SAP Accounting Powered by HANA add-on (this requires some efforts existing Financials documents should be checked and converted to new database which will be more simple)


However, this is not enough. To get the best outcome from S/4 HANA, total mindset should be changed. All processes and future plans should be handled and re-imagined by design thinking. Otherwise only platform will be change, very good initial results will be achieved (thanks to HANA), but expected real benefits will be fade away.


SAP and SAP partners (the ones who prepared and trained themselves) are ready for helping customers during this digital transformation). Sven Denecken led digital transformation efforts have to be digested and applied. In open.sap.com new course has just started and being lectured by Sven and Bert Schulze can be enrolled here : Digital Transformation and Its Impact - Sven Denecken and Bert Schulze


Finally please focus on the real benefit brought by S/4 HANA.




SAP Image Shippor1000x677 (2).jpgNear the start of every year, business observers release their predictions.  Search Google for “2015 business predictions,” and you’ll find over 86 million results. Many of these predictions are informed by innovations in technology that enable companies to run smarter, simpler and faster.


I spoke with Tim Minahan, CMO, SAP Cloud and Line of Business, about his predictions for the future of business commerce. Tim is a recognized thought leader on cloud and business networks and will serve as host of the mainstage talks at Ariba LIVE, which takes place April 7 to 9 in Las Vegas and 8 to 10 June in Munich.


Q:  Tim, what trend is having the greatest impact on business commerce?


There are actually several trends that are reshaping business-to-business commerce:


  1. Globalization – As companies look to reach new and emerging markets, they’re recognizing that their supply chains can help them establish footholds in these markets. Companies gain market intelligence and experience when they build relationships with local suppliers. And they can leverage this to transform the supply chain from a cost center to a strategic advantage for business growth.
  2. The Virtual Enterprise – Companies are less vertically integrated than ever and are turning to a variety of partners to serve critical needs within their business – including suppliers, consultants and contingent workers. This approach extends an organization’s eco-system and requires greater levels of transparency and collaboration as these partners take on responsibility for areas ranging from product innovation to customer service. It enables greater agility, but also requires a networked platform to support knowledge sharing and co-innovation and minimize risk.
  3. Procurement as a platform for innovation – Companies are realizing new ways to generate business growth and boost working capital through their supply chains by enabling new processes that are only possible in a networked environment. Savvy payment practices such as dynamic discounting for instance, companies improve working capital while enabling suppliers to get quicker access to cash. Or contingent workforce management through which they can identify and manage highly-specialized resources needed to develop that next-generation product.


Q:  Collaboration is a common thread across these trends. How else is collaboration influencing supply chain practices?


Increasingly, companies are recognizing the importance of being the customer-of-choice among their suppliers by maintaining mutually-beneficial relationships. Today’s businesses are operating in an era of growing scarcity. There’s a finite amount of raw materials, resources and manufacturing capacity. Companies are looking at developing joint roadmaps with their suppliers and devising new service models where suppliers oversee service support, maintenance and repairs. In the automotive industry, 55% of the profit from an auto sale comes in the after-sale market. Companies are looking to replicate this approach to create new revenue streams with their suppliers. The information sharing among devices – the Internet of Things – will propel and automate these revenue opportunities.  For example, an industrial manufacturer can monitor its customers’ turbines to ensure the equipment delivers optimal efficiency. When a part starts to deteriorate, the equipment can transmit an alert and order a replacement part to ensure minimal downtime.


Interested to learn more from Tim? Stay tuned for the second part of our conversation, where Tim shares more insights on the future of business commerce and the journey to procurement transformation.


Connect with Tim via Twitter at @tminahan and read his blog postings at SAP Business Trends.


Stay tuned to the latest news and conversation about Ariba LIVE by following the #AribaLIVE hashtag on Twitter.


This blog originally appeared at Ariba Exchange.

The entire workforce is responsible. But who leads them? A workforce might need a spark to enlighten the company. Who is responsible for creating a social and technical foundation? In my opinion that can only be the CHRO or the chief PEOPLE officer. Let me explain why.


What is social collaboration?

It’s people working together, interacting and sharing. Usually towards a goal, but that goal doesn’t have to be pre-defined. That’s the beauty of it. Combining brain power to get (better) ideas and evolve.


collaborate_team.jpgDidn’t we used to call this teamwork?

Yes. And spirit of teamwork is still key, but technological innovations have changed the scale. A new idea in your brain is a network of neurons that comes in a certain configuration for the first time. You can achieve this by thinking very long and very deep. This is what a genius like Einstein did on his own. But anno 2015 we can do it together. Technology can help us build global connections; combine ideas of many different individuals; and give those ideas time to incubate. This incubation time is necessary for the idea to develop into a concept that we one day we may call a stroke of genius. More of this can be found here and here. So social collaboration is really teamwork 2.0.


Why is this important?

More social collaboration leads to more ideas. More ideas lead to more innovation. Innovation leads to newer, better products. And those usually lead to more customer satisfaction. And higher customer satisfaction leads to a lot of positive outcomes for any organization: more revenue and profit, more research & development, more growth and a bigger impact on society. That is why social collaboration is the Holy Grail for any organization.


When people are able to collaboratively use a platform without interference from a manager then the entire enterprise is in really good shape. I only see this happening in smaller, younger startups. Larger, older companies have a hard time breaking through their traditional company culture.


What is preventing big enterprises from establishing a strong foundation for social collaboration?

Usually stuff like this:

  • A hierarchical culture. That conflicts with the non-hierarchical world of social collaboration, where everybody can create content and consume content.
  • Silo thinking that limits collaboration. What do you think would happen to your body, if one department, let’s say your liver, no longer collaborated with the rest?
  • Focus on the people who will not participate in social collaboration, rather than focus on the ones who will.
  • IT systems (including social collaboration software) are often ‘owned’ by IT, which may not care about people engagement.
  • Internal communication (a key component of social collaboration) is often ‘owned’ by marketing, which focuses more on clients and prospects than on the internal workforce
  • HR is often caught up in core processes (getting people paid now) rather than adding strategic value (making sure that people can be paid five years from now). Getting stuck at in administrating can prevent you from utilizing the power of social collaboration.


If there ever was a concept that involved all lines of business; breaks down department barriers and hierarchy; brings people together, social collaboration is it! So who needs to lead?



The HR department and thus the CHRO is responsible

Because the core responsibility of HR is to engage the workforce to execute the company’s vision, mission and strategy. Administrating your workforce is the foundation; good talent management is a next step; but allowing the workforce to collaborate and continuously enhance the proposition for the end-customer is what it’s all about. And that means adopting a social collaboration environment within your company.


That means embracing today’s technology to allow the entire workforce to do so. It’s about people. It’s about social. Who else will take responsibility if HR doesn’t?


If you think that Workforce Analytics is the greatest value that HR departments can bring to an organization, think again. Social Collaboration is much bigger. HR never had a bolder opportunity to add value than to enable the workforce to socially collaborate!


What can you do about the social collaborative state of your company?

If you feel that your company can improve its social collaboration, don’t be afraid to step into the office of your CHRO with a plan. Anybody with the right attitude and energy can trigger a first follower and the rest of the company. If stepping into the office is a bridge to far, you can always consider forwarding this blog to your Chief Human Resources Officer.

Travel is evolving rapidly alongside technology. My childhood summer vacation involved a small car, a road book with some old frayed maps, a bag of candy, some comics and listening to heavy discussions between my mom and dad on which road to take.


New Picture (1).jpg

It really was not that long ago, but it feels ancient compared to how we travel today.

Navigation systems, Google Maps, AirBnB and recently Uber have completely revolutionized the way we travel. Travelling without our mobile phones has become unthinkable, while it is not even 10 years ago that Steve Jobs announced the iPhone. And beyond the obvious, there are many other fantastic new initiatives that revolutionize the way we travel. The next stage of Self Service check-in for instance. Have you seen how  Packnada can help you travel without luggage? Or how boardconnect offers an inflight wireless LAN? Or maybe you like a personal shopper at Heathrow? Or a blind date with a thought leader? Or do you take a hyper fast ‘train’? And what to think of the next wave of wearable devices and the hands-free benefits that comes with it?


All of these innovations are connected through the cloud! And two strong forces in the cloud have combined their power to provide something special.


The Perfect Trip


SAP and Concur are on a journey they call The Perfect Trip, based on a Concur platform that seamlessly connects all relevant and already-available travel information (see the video below). This means anytime, anyplace access to your itinerary on your mobile device, including your electronic boarding pass.



It’s about receiving real-time travel updates and having the fastest lane to your hotel room, the one where you can bypass the front desk with an app. And make your ground transportation easier with Uber and quicker curbside pickups. Or, in SAP terminology, Travel Simple.


It’s the journey that’s important


I actually am writing this while travelling in a bit old-fashioned way. This morning I had my boarding pass printed at the front desk of the hotel. So I can’t wait to not only see the next generation of business travel in action, but also to use it myself.


It’s the journey that is most important in life, but that doesn’t mean we cannot make it more comfortable.


I would love to hear your thoughts on what make a trip perfect for you. Let’s discuss on Twitter.


Recap: In December 2013 SAP in collaboration with TSC rolled out the SAP PSN platform that provides the Sustainability Index for Walmart decision making. By the end of 2017, Walmart announced to buy 70% of the goods it sells in U.S. stores and in U.S. Sam’s Clubs only from suppliers in the United States, China, and around the world who use the Index to evaluate and share the sustainability of their products. Meanwhile more than 700 product categories are covered by the Index. I wrote about it in previous blog posts here and here.


Today I had the pleasure to meet Walmart CEO Doug Mcmillon in an ‘invitation-only’ meeting in the Bay Area. In this meeting, Walmart discussed with us their progress towards their very ambitious sustainability goals:

  • Energy -- 100% renewable energy (progress to be seen here)
  • Waste -- Zero waste (progress to be seen here)
  • Products -- Sell products that sustain people and the environment


We know that for consumer goods and retail industries the vast majority of environmental damage happens in the upstream supply chain.


The Index is used as a guidance tool to stipulate collaboration between Walmart merchants and their supplier to make improvements in their respective product categories, in order to ‘…sell products that sustain people and the environment’.

But the Big News today are Walmart’s announcement of a new online store promoting sustainability leaders in their respective product categories. So for the first time, the Index is used towards consumer decision-making on their e-commerce platform.



Starting today, visitors of www.walmart.com can not only learn more about ‘sustainability insights’ and ‘hotspots’ for specific product categories, they can now find products that are good for the environment because of industry leadership. The new online shop features already more than 12,000 products in 80 different product categories.



Twitter community excerpts following the announcement:




Central to my focus on business evolution is an investigation into the many dynamics that are rapidly changing our world and lives today. To help companies understand this change and prepare for the future, I recently interviewed renowned futurists Thornton May and Gerd Leonhard. I will share highlights from these interviews in a series of upcoming blog posts and hope you find these insights helpful as you explore business evolution and need to continue to transform to remain relevant in today’s rapidly changing environment.


I invite you to tune into my live discussion with Thornton May on the business evolution imperative: Are we Entering a Paradigm Shift as Transformational as the Steam Engine? as part of Digital World with Game-Changers Radio, presented by SAP, taking place on March 3, 10 AM EST.


To introduce the business evolution imperative discussion, I started off by asking both Thornton and Gerd to weigh in on the today’s pace of change. Please let me know if you think we are entering the most transformative period in history by responding on my poll and share your comments on what Thornton and Gerd had to say.


Are we entering the most transformative period in history?

Frank: I am a big believer that the next 20 to 40 years will ultimately be viewed as the most transformative period in history. It will be ushered in by a convergence of forces and a new general purpose technology platform. The exponential progression of technology and innovation, the digital phenomenon, and the ability to rapidly combine building blocks (combinatorial) to create value will make this transformative period unlike any other. Do you agree? If so, why?

Thornton: A parallel question– Did the people living in the Middle Ages know they were living in the Middle Ages? The answer is “of course not.” In the Middle Ages, the concept of progress had not been invented yet. The defining essence of the modern world is that positive change is possible. The real question is: do people living today – at the mid-point of the information economy – know that disruption, constant and ever-accelerating change – is the new normal? Probably not.


Transformation is accretive. From this day forward, every day will be more transformative than the one previous. Every day will be a new adventure. Every day we will go to school. Every day we will have to unlearn something, abandon a deeply held belief and learn something new. The critical competency of this new age will be the ability to daily create new competencies. We need to get comfortable with a world characterized by new devices being on sale before we learn how to use the ones we just bought.


Gerd: We were not there for the printing press, so it’s hard to compare. The technologies we have been playing with for 50 years are finally going to be possible. You know the Internet of Things is a whole order of magnitude more disruptive than the Internet. Everything we have been looking at, including energy, connectivity, and speed, puts us very much in an explosive period, which is both a benefit and an extreme danger. For example, artificial intelligence in this transformative period could be setting the stage for something that is inevitably going to be determined by what we do now. For example, self-learning artificial intelligence could have side effects that can never really be fixed. Clearly, we are living in a period where in the next five years, a lot of companies will need to re-invent about 25 to 50 percent of their revenue streams.


Frank: Do you think companies understand that need for business evolution, or do you see a wait and see attitude?


Gerd: It depends on who you ask within the organization. There is always someone who understands this, but the question is do they make decisions? Part of my job, and probably the same for you, is to instill a little bit of fear that this is actually happening. It’s not just a scene from “Blade Runner,” it’s actually here. If you look at what is happening in the world of technology and science, and the breakthroughs that we are seeing on a daily basis, if you just observe that, you have to be worried and excited at the same time. In Europe, this shock and awe strategy is needed, because otherwise you don’t feel the need to move because it looks like you are going to be OK. In this transformative period, it is good to spend the first 10 to 15% looking at the more scary things, those things that may worry you. But worry isn’t a very good driver of change, because it eventually just depresses you when you have too much of it. Most companies then fall into a state of paralysis. The other 85% should be the idea of saying this is very exciting; what new things can we contribute? That requires a certain amount of imagination. This is one of the biggest differences between the U.S. and Europe, we have imagination, but we don’t let it run free on the business issues. Business imagination is crucial.


What’s next?

Clearly the business evolution imperative is a broad topic with many and short and long-term implications. I look forward to your comments on this and future posts where I will explore different aspects of business evolution and how companies embark on the transformation process to remain relevant and thrive in our time of rapid change.

BigData.jpgUndoubtedly Big Data is here – and it’s growing even bigger by the second.


People get excited about Big Data, not just because it’s big but also because it holds the promise of providing big impact and return for the business.

But Big Data by itself is of little use. And so far, few organizations have been able to harness it and make a big impact on their business, whether it’s for customer retention, improving financial planning, or optimizing marketing campaigns.


So why is that?

  • Most often, organizations have a myopic view of their data. They only use a narrow slice of the information to make decisions because they have lacked the technology and the expertise to fully harness the Big Data available out there.
  • Technology has also been quite complex, cumbersome to use, and mostly reserved for skilled statisticians. It’s a bit like a black box to say the least.



Well, the good news is technology has tremendously evolved, providing easier to use interfaces and applications (with predictive analytics embedded) that are self-service and highly accessible. You can run them anytime and anywhere, whether at your desk or on a mobile device.


Make Big Data Useful and Actionable with Predictive Analytics

Now, nearly everyone in an organization can make decisions backed by analytics and predictive analytics. The skill gap that existed for skilled statisticians can be filled with the people who can enable and self-serve themselves with all the information needed (like corporate data enriched with social media and smart devices data) via easier to use and understand data visualization to make trusted, confident decisions.


Did I say trusted?

  • One of the things to not forget is to lay out a proper data foundation in order to build your analytics and predictive analytics on top.
  • Too often, people tend to forget that a beautiful dashboard powered by the latest predictive technology is useless if the data can’t be trusted (it’s the famous GIGO: garbage in/garbage out).

One last secret ingredient?


Your very own people in your organization are the last secret ingredient to success. Since this is a journey, your analytics and predictive analytics should be evolving over time as data, business needs, and technology will continue to evolve. This can only be achieved by having both IT and the business speaking the same language and heading towards a common goal.


So can Big Data yield big returns for your business? The answer is yes – thanks to analytics powered by predictive technology.


For more information, watch our video, Reinvent Your Business: Turn Opportunities Hidden in Your Data into Real Results.



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