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SAP Business Trends

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Mobile is a truly transformative technology. As the number of mobile devices around the world continues to soar, it’s changing the way we work, the way we live, and the way we interact and connect. Yet despite being recognized by 71% of IT leaders as a strategic challenge, only 18% claim to have a comprehensive enterprise mobility strategy in place.[1]

How can you quickly and cost-effectively develop and deploy mobile apps to satisfy the demands of a highly mobile workforce? How can you ensure the security of devices and data – particularly on employees’ personal devices? And how can you enable mobile commerce to engage with customers how and when they want? As a world leader in mobile technology, SAP can help you address these challenges. With our latest innovations you can embed exciting, new, ready-made functionality in your products to:
  • Increase product revenue
  • Create greater competitive differentiation
  • Enhance software development efficiency
  • Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
For every mobile challenge there is an innovation opportunity. Today’s wide range of operating systems and the continuous introduction of new devices and operating system upgrades are adding to the complexity, making the development and secure management of mobile devices, apps, and content a major issue for many organizations.
Not all companies have the resources, skills, and focus to address these challenges, creating opportunities to embed world-class mobile technologies into products and services, thereby opening up new revenue streams and creating competitive differentiation.
  1. Mobilize your solutions
    • Stand out from the competition by offering enhanced mobile access capabilities and advanced security tools
  2. Secure your mobile devices
    • Simplify the complexity of enterprise mobility and enhance security with a complete, end-to-end, mobile-device management solution
  3. Safeguard your mobile content
    • Secure and control your corporate data while giving business users anytime, anywhere access to personal business documents and corporate content
  4. Drive mobile commerce
    • Enable a mobile transaction channel that makes it easy for customers to make purchases, pay bills, and transfer funds
SAP is at the heart of today’s technology driven revolution, turning innovation into practical solutions designed to help our digitally connected and socially networked world run better. Here are just a few reasons why SAP is the right choice as a co-innovation partner for your organization:
  • Strong position as an industry leader and innovator
  • Breakthrough innovation without disruption
  • Reinvention of the cloud and database markets
  • Local and global support and services
  • Extensive global partner ecosystem


Follow us on Twitter: @sapoem


[1] Source: “Mobile in the Enterprise: The Gap Between Expectations and Expertise,”CIO Magazine white paper sponsored by SAP AG, 2012


Wednesday was a great day. Not because I rocked comfy jeans, a tee, and sneakers to the office, but because I volunteered and gave back to my community. 


Watch this vine that sums it up in 6 seconds.


October marks SAP Month of Service, and as such, the entire global company is encouraged to volunteer. Whether you’re an animal lover, environmentalist, avid reader, or artist, there is an event for you.  Test your muscle strength at KaBoom! Sort and organize donated clothing at Cradles to Crayons.  Package food for Meals on Wheels.  Cheer up children through Ronald McDonald House. I wasn’t kidding; there is literally an event for everyone.   

Below is a group of SAP Newtown Square colleagues beautifying Ridley Creek State Park, a local treasure down the road from corporate headquarters.


MOS Ridley 2.jpg

My volunteer event this month was hosted by The Foundation for Hospital Art.  The organization strives to provide each hospital patient with comfort and hope through the use of visuals.  Studies show that different colors influence different moods.  And a colorful and cheerful mural hanging in a hospital can help change a gloomy attitude to a more positive one. 


The Foundation hopes to someday donate one painted mural to each and every hospital on Earth.  So far, they've hit 195 countries, donated over 40K paintings to more than 4K healthcare facilities, and involved over 1 million people. To me, that’s pretty awesome. 


This week, my colleagues and I gathered in the SAP cafeteria and painted a beautiful mural consisting of greens and yellows and oranges.  When dried and assembled, the final product showcased a calming garden scene. 


MOS 2.jpg

Earlier in the morning, another group of colleagues painted this oceanic mural pictured below.




My participation in PaintFest was especially unique because some of the SAP Autism at Work colleagues were among the painters.  I had the pleasure of meeting new faces and learned a lot about this awesome program.


Patrick Viesti, one of the colleagues I had the pleasure of meeting, works as an IT Project Associate under the Cloud & Infrastructure Delivery Foundations Services Project Management Office, hired through the Autism at Work program. I found it especially interesting that as part of the hiring evaluation process, Patrick and his group were tasked to work together to pitch an idea purposed to improve the lives of the elderly through the power of a Lego Mindstorm Robot.


The project resulted in two fully workable robots, one that dispensed medication and reminded patients when to take it and one that cleaned for and danced with the elderly.

MOS 18.jpg


At the Month of Service event, Patrick told me that he “loves working with such a great and dedicated team of people, specifically Brian Jones and Will Lin. They are very supportive of me and have helped me to learn about the ins and outs of working in project management.”


Here’s a picture of all the volunteers after we finished painting our mural.


MOS 15.jpg

In addition to organized volunteer outings, the Newtown Square office is partnering with the Chester County Food Bank to pack 2000 snacks for the After the Bell program, and across the globe, SAP employees are collecting gently worn shoes for S.T.E.P’s Leave a GOOD Footprint campaign.


S.T.E.P. stands for Save the Earth Projects, an organization dedicated to organizing social change through youth social entrepreneurship. S.T.E.P was founded by 13 year old, Olivia Russo-Hood.


After losing her home and community to epic floods in 2009, Olivia was determined to make a difference.  At the age of 11, Olivia set out to collect 100 pairs of shoes and raise money for children that could not afford to play soccer at her local YMCA.  After about a month, Olivia had collected 1500 pairs of shoes, and her “Leave a Good Footprint” campaign was launched across the USA.


Here’s a picture of Olivia (daughter to proud mom and SAP employee, Denise Russo) with some of the collected shoes.


MOS 16.jpg

Today, 300 million pairs of shoes wind up in landfills annually, yet 300 million people around the world lack adequate footwear.  This year, through the Leave a GOOD Footprint project, Olivia hopes to collect 10,000 shoes by December 31st. So far, she’s collected 7,000 pairs, and that doesn’t include the collection from the SAP drive.  I’ll share those numbers once the drive ends on October 31st.


For each pound of shoes collected at SAP offices, $.50 is being donated to the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.


Here’s a picture of the bin in Newtown Square last week.  Shout out to my family for overflowing it.

MOS 13.jpg

How can you get involved?

Like the S.T.E.P. Facebook page and learn more about other Save the Earth Projects.


Find your local food bank at http://www.feedingamerica.org/ and donate food.

Go to the Foundation for Hospital Art’s website and volunteer to paint.


Check out http://www.benevity.com/ to see how you can start a social corporate responsibility program at your company.  Or check out https://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find volunteer opportunities near you.


Get active with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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The huge opportunity and deep business impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) is now widely acknowledged and accepted. Organizations that are adopting the first wave of IoT technologies are already capitalizing on it and staying well ahead of their competition. The journey from “Internet of Content” to “Internet of People” to “Internet of Things” is well on its way. If we all, collectively, are able to connect information, people and things together to derive new insights (and in turn more human) then we all have a chance to completely transform the world and make it a better place. Such is the potential force and opportunity of IoT. It is indeed a great time to be in software industry!

SAP has been actively investing and co-innovating with our customers and partners in IoT over the last few years.  At the recent SAP TechEd & d-code event in Las Vegas Michael Lynch, Global Co-Lead, SAP Internet of Things presented SAP’s IoT strategy, our point of view, and how this market is shaping up for SAP, and our partners, to jointly participate and harness the power of IoT for our customers’ advantage.


IoT Business Opportunities - Connect, Transform and Re-Imagine

From 2014 till 2020 about 50 Billion devices are anticipated to be connected and this creates a huge business opportunity.  There is $14.4T dollars in increased revenues and lower costs from 2013 to 2022 expected because of IoT across Retail, Mining, Oil & Gas, Transportation and Industrial Machinery & Components (IM&C) industries.


So, how do you do it?


SAP’s vision and positioning is around the following three foundational elements:

  1. Connect - with billions of internet enabled things to gain new insights by combining transactional and social sentiment data, with intelligent analysis of new signals from devices and networks.
  2. Transform - the way you do business based on the new insights that you get from the edge of the network to the core
  3. Re-imagine - your customer’s experience by empowering innovative business models, value added services and customer responsive products


SAP’s place in the IoT Market

Per Michael, we at SAP are solely going to be focused on IoT for business. That is, “We are going to be helping organizations drive real time value in their businesses and for their customers,” said Lynch.  And he added “SAP is very uniquely positioned to do so at Platform, Business Networks and App levels to ensure business outcomes as desired by our customers.”


The slide below captures what Michael talked about. Plus, Michael also touched on the tremendous opportunities our ecosystem partners can participate in and around connectivity as well as apps powered by SAP HANA Cloud Platform.


Michael showcased some compelling customer solutions and successes and brought the whole notion of Connect, Transform and Re-imagine to life as well made it real.


Here’s the listing of IoT co-innovations with customers across the globe:

  • John Deere – transforming from manufacturing company to a solutions-based enterprise
  • Kaeser Kompressoren – transforming from selling compressors to compressed air
  • Port of Hamburg – building smarter port logistics to overcome traffic congestion challenges
  • City of Nanjing, China – smarter city and traffic management
  • Harley Davidson – smarter manufacturing plant and automation


Please do take the time to watch Michael Lynch’s strategy session. It is a terrific ½ hour use of your time and should help you get started on your IoT plans and projects.


It is a great time to start harnessing the power of IoT for your business. And as Bjorn Goerke, head of products and innovation technology at SAP said the other day at TechEd - “What are you waiting for? Start the journey and come & partner with us. We are providing the one platform to offer non-disruptive innovation.”



Additional resources:



Neetin Datar leads Industry Marketing at SAP America. He has over 20 years of SAP and enterprise software experience. He is passionate about technology and its use by organizations to run better. Follow him on Twitter @neetin_datar

You’ve heard about the Internet of Things (IoT), right? If you’re like me, it’s not so easy to wrap your head around the myriad use cases of connecting everything or why it’s even necessary. This week at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, I got schooled at the IoT Lab in the Hacker’s Lounge. And now I am a believer. Even more surprising is the secret sauce to make it run simple – SAP HANA Cloud Platform.




Demo 1: Water Pump


Similar to the Alliander demo showcased in the Day 2 keynote, this demo also proved the power of sensor technology and how it drives safety and maintenance efficiency across the enterprise. In essence, this water pump is constantly being monitored with various sensors. If one pump fails, a sensor kicks off an alert to rout the water flow to the back up pump. All pump activity data is being collected and pushed to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform where it’s easy to analyze data and identify patterns to avoid catastrophic situations and perform predictive maintenance.









Demo 2: Augmented Reality Solutions


It was a blast getting hands on action with SAP’s recent augmented reality announcements. With SAP AR Warehouse, the user’s Google Glass is authenticated on the back end via a temporary QR code. Once authenticated, the user/picker might get their first task of the day beamed to their glasses. The system confirms the picker’s activities and the picker must answer “yes” or “no” via voice recognition before getting their next task. The Service Technician app was just as impressive. Simple directions with detailed 3D images hover right before your eyes, making maintenance a breeze. Can’t fix something? No problem, users can “Call An Expert” (who sees exactly what you see in the glasses) to help resolve the maintenance request. And yes, the SAP HANA Cloud can be used to connect to the gateway.




Demo 3: Connected Retail


I covered this delicious demo at a prior event. For a refresher, see “SAP Gets the Munchies at Mobile World Congress.”







Demo 4: Remote Asset Management


When it comes to protecting the safety and well being of workers who operate heavy machinery, there’s really no arguing the critical role of remote asset management. The Day 1 keynote featuring Steve Lucas was a home run in this regard as we got an up close and personal look at just how busy and potentially hazardous some working environments can be. “Anywhere there are heavy assets involved like in mining and ports, it creates unsafe situations,” Severin Kezeu CEO of SK Solutions told me. SK Solutions orchestrates SAP edge and cloud technologies used for real time tracking info. 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. Sensors could also reveal the integrity of the crane before it’s fully operational to ensure it’s set up safely. There are literally hundreds of working cases out there in the world today making remote asset management “one of the most sophisticated examples of Internet of Things,” according to Severin.






Demo 5: Scarecrow


SAP TechEd attendees are having fun making this friendly scarecrow move and blink simply by tweeting #iotscarecrow and $blink. Now imagine how many crows would run scared if IoT enabled scarecrows populated cornfields around the world? Maybe they would have to move their arms to scare away a bolder variety of bird? Or in a different agriculture scenario, maybe less pesticides could be used with more targeted weed control via sensors? That's the whole idea around this demo - to get folks to open up their minds and think of all the incredible possibilities that sensor technologies, IoT and the ease of sending data to the SAP HANA Cloud platform offers.

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adidas JS Wings 2.pngFew companies span the worlds of sports and fashion as admirably as adidas. For decades the company has not only produced high quality sports shoes and apparel for the most discerning athletes – it’s done it with style. So much style in fact, the famous triple stripe has become a fashion statement for everyone from musicians to models.


The adidas Group has a multitude of brands in apparel, footwear, and hard goods that help customers stay on top of their game and looking great. The company has always been on a mission to provide athletes with the best possible equipment. But maintaining a global leadership position in such a competitive industry is not easy.


“It’s all about the love of sports, its uniqueness, its legacy, and the constant drive for innovation,” said Kai Bienmueller, IT Director for Wholesale ERP Solutions at adidas Group. To bring the best products to market each and every season, the company has to know what consumers want and when.


Recently adidas has introduced Springblade and boost technology, two major innovations in the running market. It’s also collaborating with musician, producer, and fashion designer, Pharrell Williams, on a bold new collection of the legendary Stan Smith tennis shoe. Stan Smiths have been cooler than cool since the 80’s, and continue to be one of the most popular selling sneakers of all time.


“We are growing dramatically and very positively in retail and especially in the e-commerce space,” said Bienmueller. However, a big challenge facing adidas Group, and the entire industry, is omnichannel commerce. Consumers expect brands and retailers to offer a seamless shopping and buying experience in-store, online, and on mobile devices.





To meet this demand, adidas Group is implementing the SAP Fashion Management application running on SAP HANA. The adidas Group, along with Luxottica, Giorgio Armani, and Tommy Hilfiger, worked side-by-side to develop the new application with SAP.


SAP Fashion Management helps bring together wholesale, manufacturing, and retail business operations onto a single platform. “With SAP Fashion Management we will finally have one flow from the factory to the store or our ecommerce customer,” said Bienmueller.


Big Data and predictive analytics are also important initiatives for adidas Group. Its innovative mi adidas tool allows consumers to customize shoes and apparel with colors and features of their choice. Knowing what styles and colors consumers are buying off the shelf as well as what they are creating on their own gives adidas real-time insight into what’s hot now and what to anticipate in the near future.


“With SAP Fashion Management, and especially with the capabilities of SAP HANA, we can get more information about customer demands,” said Bienmueller. SAP solutions are also helping to reduce complexity for adidas Group, which is leading to both time and cost savings. “I estimate a savings for the nightly replenishment run of at least 50% – just for the fact of lower complexity,” said Bienmueller. He expects further time and cost savings when the company moves its SAP ERP application onto SAP HANA.


With SAP on its team, adidas Group has the systems and insight it needs to keep winning the game in sports and style – good news for the superstars on the field and trendsetters on the streets.




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Sam Yen, chief design officer at SAP, presented a session at TechEd && d-code in Las Vegas entitled: The Users Strike Back – The Force Behind the New SAP Experience. Here are the top videos highlighting the paradigm shift in enterprise software and the importance of design in SAP and IT organizations.


Paradigm Shift – Why Experience Matters

Sam explains the paradigm shift in enterprise software – from features and functions to experience.



Design for Tomorrow
Make design part of your culture. Nothing is impossible - you just have to look at the world with fresh eyes.


Project Drive
See Caroline Welsh give a demo of Drive.SAP, a new tool that provides lightning-fast feedback from end users.



What's Next? Humanizing IT
There is a huge opportunity and need to understand design in IT organizations.



And finally, here’s the last slide of Sam’s strategy talk that provides a good summary. Watch the entire session to learn more about user experience and design in the enterprise.


Sam Yen, chief design officer at SAP, presented a session at TechEd && d-code in Las Vegas entitled: The Users Strike Back – The Force Behind the New SAP Experience. Here are the top videos highlighting user experience strategy, SAP Fiori overview and implementation tools.


UX Strategy
Sam emphasizes our clear focus for the UX strategy with key components of new, renew and enable.



SAP Fiori Overview
Sam explains the SAP Fiori user experience – explaining the concept, design and technology dimensions.



Focus on Users
Sam explains the paradigm shift from monolithic functional systems to user-focused experiences that provide relevant tasks and activities across lines of business.



UX Panel Presentation
Sam interviews ASUG CEO Geoff Scott and Douglas McLeod from ExxonMobil.



Improving the UX Implementation Process
Learn about tools and services that help the end-to-end experience for developers and IT to adopt UX solutions.



Watch Sam's entire strategy talk to learn more about user experience and design in the enterprise.

Last week, I had the honor of speaking at the World Investment Forum, organized by the United Nations and hosted at the UN Palais de Nations in Geneva. The central theme for this gathering that brought together government and business leaders from over 150 countries was "Investing in Sustainable Development". The Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs as they are  known, is a set of 17 proposed goals, which together reflect the UN's plan for ensuring the world is on a sustainable path by the year 2030 from economic, social, and environmental perspectives. The proposal covers areas such as poverty, hunger, health, education, sustainable cities, and combating climate change. The goals are ambitious, noble -- and expensive. $5 to $7 trillion USD of investment per year is required if these goals are to be met, $3.3 to $4.5 trillion of which must flow into developing countries. The problem, however, is that the UN estimates a $2.5 trillion annual gap that the public sector cannot fill. It is the private sector that is being called upon in action and investment to help make the SDGs a reality.


One of the issues when it comes to past calls for support from the private sector on sustainable investments is that it has been a plea too often made on the grounds of social responsibility; an appeal to doing the right thing. While it is hard to disagree with these perspectives - we should, after all, strive to do the right thing and be socially responsible, whether as individuals or organizations - the approach fails to take into consideration the priorities and objectives of the private sector. I believe it is helpful to look at the private sector the way the private sector looks at its customers. Rather than resort to exhortations, think of the private sector as the customer and focus on the value proposition. The goal should be to deliver a crystal clear understanding of tangible value to be gained by the private sector from investing in sustainable development. After all, the easiest way to get a corporation to do something is to convince it that doing so will yield a good return on the investment.


At SAP, we have a broad portfolio of investments into sustainability, both internal and external. These investments have gained us recognition such as being named the Most Sustainable Company in our sector by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for eight years running and among the top 100 most sustainable companies globally for the last ten years. Most importantly, we are able to realize tangible value from each of these investments. For example, at the World Investment Forum, His Royal Highness, Prince Charles called upon companies to embrace integrated reporting. This is something SAP is familiar with. Our annual report looks at our performance with a triple bottom line that includes not only financial metrics, but also our social and environmental impact. This is further supported by our  Sustainability Dashboard, which enables us to measure our performance across the entire company on dimensions such as CO2 emissions, waste, and women in management, to name a few. The effort to improve results is supported by a network of 100 "sustainability champions" around the world that drive awareness and develop new regional programs. This has supported a variety of corporate initiatives such as running all of our facilities on renewable electricity, launching corporate ride-sharing programs and apps, and introducing incentives to increase electric vehicle adoption in our corporate fleet.


Do we benefit from this beyond generating goodwill and reputation? Of course. Monitoring our carbon emissions helps us improve our operations and reduce our total energy expenses. Cost avoidance leads to margin expansion. Increased workforce diversity leads to higher customer satisfaction, productivity, and profitability. Involving our people in creating new sustainability programs drives employee engagement, development, and retention. And from a stock price standpoint, it's worth noting that a growing proportion of our institutional investors formally classify themselves as sustainable and responsible investors.


The topic of education and knowledge transfer was prevalent at the WIF with calls for increased focus on skills training coming from a broad spectrum of voices such as the Prime minister of Tunisia, Mehdi Jomaa, the chairman of Nestle, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, and the chairman of Mcgraw Hill, Harold McGraw III. Education is a core pillar of SAP's CSR efforts and manifests itself in partnerships with programs like KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) and the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, but it's also a critical component of our business development roadmap in emerging markets. Over the next seven years, SAP plans to invest $500 million in support of our growth plan to expand our business in Africa. One of the most critical components of that investment is our Skills for Africa program, which will provide 10,000 students in key African markets with specialized technology skills training. Why are we doing this? Does it help these young people and these nations develop? Of course. But it is also critical to our success.


While Africa directs a higher percentage of its government spending to education than the OECD average (20 percent vs. 11 percent), unemployment is a massive problem with rates ranging from 25 percent in places like South Africa to upwards of 48 percent in Senegal. Part of the reason for that is that education does not directly translate into jobs when it does not provide in-demand skills. One of those skills that are lacking in much of Africa is technology. This is a fundamental inhibitor to our ability as a company to grow this market. By training young people on directly relevant skills, we are helping to develop resources that will help our customers innovate and realize returns on their investments into our products, resources for our partners to grow their businesses, resources that will enable the existence of a healthy ecosystem on which our business so depends. Higher rates of employment in higher paying jobs leads to an expanding middle class and greater prosperity. This is a positive externality and contributes to a virtuous cycle that we directly benefit from as well. We recently completed the first phase of the Skills for Africa program by training 80 young university graduates to be SAP certified professionals in Nairobi, in partnership with the Kenyan ICT Authority. The graduates were matched with a job coming out of the program with one of our customers or partners in the region. That is a truly unique outcome when it comes to training programs and one that only a private sector player like SAP can enable. Public institutions are starting to realize this. One of the leaders in that awareness is the World Bank, with whom we've recently signed a cooperation agreement on skills development.


The Honorable Bronwyn Bishop, Australia's Speaker of the House, noted the overwhelmingly important impact of small businesses and entrepreneurship on economies; A message echoed by the UN Secretary General's Envoy on Youth and countless others. If there is any one area of social investment at SAP that rivals education, it's entrepreneurship, and for good reason. One such program is the Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative which has been launched in Brazil and India and will soon launch in Africa. SAP partners with entrepreneurship organizations (Endeavor in Brazil, National Entrepreneur Network in India) to select and support entrepreneurial ventures that are ready to scale, in need of technology to grow, and are driving social impact in their local markets. SAP then provides these entrepreneurs with technology, a mentorship network, and access to impact capital. The benefit to these entrepreneurs and societies is obvious, but since SMEs, entrepreneurship, and the innovations they bring are key growth drivers and job creators, we stand to benefit too. SMEs make up 80 percent of our global customer base. Working with entrepreneurs helps us understand the SME market at a very local level so that we can serve it better and continuously innovate our products to meet their evolving needs. Experimental efforts in partnership with nonprofits to build procurement networks and mobile applications for rural shea nut and cashew farmers in Ghana have given us invaluable insights that can only be gained on the ground. And by deploying our own people into mentorship roles in projects like these, it helps us promote an entrepreneurial mindset within our own company - an important quality as we become a "forty-something" corporation.


SAP also recently launched our global Social Sabbatical program in which we give our top performers the opportunity to join a team of SAP colleagues from around the world to spend one month helping a social business or NGO to solve critical business problems full time. These skill-based volunteers are offered pro-bono as an investment in both our employees and the emerging economies in which SAP operates. The value to these developing market organizations is tremendous, but once again, we stand to benefit as well. SAP is a global company and we need to develop our future generation of global leaders; Leaders with intercultural sensitivity and an ability to operate in diverse teams of people with different backgrounds and perspectives. Programs like these enable us to provide our best talent with invaluable international exposure and learning experiences. Furthermore, today's young generation, the millennial generation, cares deeply about sustainability. It's a major factor in deciding which jobs they choose. What better way to enable this generation to express their support for sustainability, than by letting them roll up their sleeves and directly contribute with our help? Doing so allows us to attract and retain the best talent; something that is absolutely critical to sustaining competitive advantage in the technology industry.


The sustainable development challenge is a daunting one, to say the least. Yes, the private sector needs to play a role if we are to meet it. The sooner the private sector understands the benefits to be gained from investing in sustainable development and the more we do to help make that value proposition tangible, clear, and compelling, the more we'll be able to make the world Run Better, together.





Alexander Meyer is Vice President, Global Business Development at SAP. With over 260,000 customers spanning 180 countries and nearly 70,000 employees, SAP is the global leader in enterprise software technology and innovation.

Techies from around the world clashed in Las Vegas on Wednesday night during the 10th annual ultimate developer competition, Demo Jam (#DemoJam), where SAP customers, partners and employees demonstrate new technologies and applications. Two-person teams squared off against each other in front of a live SAP TechEd && d-code (#SAPtd) audience.


SAP TechEd DemoJam 10-23-2014-2.jpg
Developers Nic Doodson (right) and Will Powell (left inset) presented an interactive virtual environment to facilitate collaboration around the world

Each of the eight teams, up from six last year, had to demonstrate its app in six minutes -- no more, no less. Every demo must be live, without PowerPoint, screen shots or other subterfuge. And the #SAPtd audience determined the winner via the controversial-but-fun Clapometer.


Eight Is Enough


Three-time Demo Jam winners Nic Doodson and Will Powell of Keytree went first, building on their HANADeck from last year with an interactive virtual environment that could foster and improve collaboration among users across the globe. They deftly lifted a paper sketch onto a 3D computer dashboard for interactive viewing and data management with either a state-of-the-art Oculus Rift virtual reality headset or a simple tablet computer.


“One of the great things about this analytical environment is that it’s hosted in HANA Cloud Platform, which means multiple users can interact in the environment with the data at the same time,” Doodson said.


Next, John Appleby and Brenton O’Callaghan of Bluefin Solutions extended ERP and CRM into mobile applications, making it easier for SAP customers to innovate. And users of the Swift-based app can view and drill down into customer data from anywhere with just an iPhone.


SAP TechEd DemoJam 10-23-2014-3.jpg
Developers Chris Rae and Clint Vosloo used Twitter, surf forecasting data and SAP Lumira to create stunning visualizations showcasing the world’s top surfing locations -- and the best times to visit them.

Diego Menese and Lucas Lopez of Kimberly-Clark Corporation had already optimized their newly developed mobile app, but they weren’t happy with the response time for large queries. Their fix: Super-Fast Cache for Mobile algorithm, which achieves sub-second performance while still complying with data-level security.


SAP’s John Astill swapped his treadmill from last year for an iPhone, teaming up with Eric Vallo of EV Technologies to improve home security. Using the SmartThings open development ecosystem, they created a simple mobile interface to monitor your house, appliances and even family members, especially children and the elderly.


“We’ve printed a device type within SmartThings on HANA itself,” Astill said. “So this is communicating with HANA and saying, ‘Well, what’s wrong with your house?’”


Tom Turchioe and Bill Griep of Critigen combined mobile technology, geo-event processing and more to help get utility workers to their service calls more efficiently. Linking products and innovations from SAP, Critigen and Esri, this can improve customer satisfaction and enhance competitive advantages.


But the DemoJam audience didn’t clap loudly enough for anyone above ...


... And Then There Were Three


Third place went to Swell Analytics, which looks for the best surfing locations in the world -- and the best times to visit them -- by conducting sentiment analysis via SAP software, geocoded tweets and surf forecasting data. Chris Rae of Super Retail Group and a wetsuit-clad Clint Vosloo of EV Technologies showed how they used SAP Lumira Server technology to create stunning visualizations.


“I’ve been surfing for 30 years,” Vosloo said. “If I want to make sure that I have a great trip [abroad], I can use 17 years’ worth of data to make sure I pack the right boards.”


SAP TechEd DemoJam 10-23-2014-1.jpg
Developers Santosh Kumar and Simranjeet Kaur’s cloud-based app that anyone can use to find anything anywhere is what won #DemoJam 2014 at #SAPtd in Las Vegas. The duo took home Olympic-style medals in lieu of the traditional glass bowl prize.

The runners up were the winners of this week’s SAP InnoJam, Thomas Wilder and Cynthia Johnson of California State University, Chico, whose robot can patrol a garden or farm, identify weeds by consulting a HANA database, and then dispense the proper weed control solution in the appropriate dose -- all instantaneously. Their system also tracks data on the diminishing presence of weeds and the decreasing need for chemicals.


“Looking at Month 3, we can see even more weeds gone -- some new ones are popping up, but we can get them when they’re small,” Wilder said. “And that’s the key: The least amount of solution to spread on it, the better off we are.”


And the winner: SAP’s Santosh Kumar and Magna’s Simranjeet Kaur demonstrated how their HCP-powered application can find any object with a GPS tracking device -- including children -- using any laptop or mobile devices from anywhere in the world. Spot On relies on HANA’s predictive analysis functionality to look at where users typically lose objects, and then predicts where the missing item might be.


Kumar and Kaur didn’t receive the traditional glass bowl as a prize -- apparently because said bowl is no longer in one piece. So they received Olympic-style medals, which will hopefully prove tougher to break.


And if their medals ever wander off, they should be easy to find.


Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher


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At SAP TechEd && d-code, Science Fiction Becomes Business Reality


Cloud Users Do the Talking at SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 Keynote

There’s no question that mobile technology and wearables are changing the way we work and play. And with 80 billion mobile apps downloaded in 2013, according to this story from my colleague Amisha Gandhi, there is enough variety to satisfy nearly every need. This week at SAP Tech Ed in Las Vegas, I am learning that the full execution of cool mobile apps is not always an easy process - but definitely worth the effort if you want to run simple.


newell.JPGMohanned Siddiqui of Newell Rubbermaid, a global marketer of consumer and commercial products, led a session about how his company is building business case momentum to create and distribute mobile apps to customers and employees. He warned the audience that every few months the entire mobility landscape changes, so if you find a true mobile expert at your company, “hold onto them.”


“When we talk about mobile, its kind of fun and people want to do all sorts of different things for the business and customers,” said Siddiqui. “A lot of these ideas sound cool and interesting but the full execution of a mobile app is much more complicated than a cool idea.”


Siddiqui got the mobile ball rolling at Newell Rubbermaid by building a few small apps first to test the waters.


“We learned that if we don’t have a strong business partner behind us, it’s hard to get the usage you’re looking for. It might not be communicated properly or not as cool as initially thought. Identify key business users and partners to help facilitate the apps. From an IT org you build and deliver but is hard to find the users, so it’s imperative to rely on business partners.”


In addition to lining up business partners, Siddiqui said it’s also important to think about distribution early and often.


“Who is your audience who are you building the apps for?”, asked Siddiqui. “We have suppliers, employees, customers (retailers) and consumers. Four different groups we can build apps for, all with different requirements.”


Finding a use case


Siddiqui doesn’t recommend jumping out of the gate with a complex application -  try something you won't have too many issues with instead.


“Sales is always the de facto,” said Siddiqui. “Sales people are all over the place - at airports, hotels with customers so sales made sense as one of the first areas to build mobile apps.”


As a result, Newell Mobile Sales app was created which employees access through their SAP Portal. They use Google Analytics to track portal usage. Other apps were created to gain different types of competitive advantage.


“Our competition is not just Container Store, it’s carpenters and people who can just go out and buy wood and bypass us,” said Siddiqui. “So our apps need to really mine value for the business. What if you could design a closet in real time and get quotes? That’s what we came up with.”


The “Custom Closets” app enables users to:


  • Draw closets with your touch
  • Provide measurements for closets
  • Add obstructions (such as windows or doors)
  • Add/remove components to a closet in 2D
  • Change color and trim options
  • Provide 3D model of closets with multiple angles


The demo of the aforementioned looked simple and fun to use so it's not hard to see how this type of app can engage customers and help drive the business forward.


How are you building business case momentum for mobile apps at your company?

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At #SAPtd, Science Fiction Becomes Business Reality

smallsiyafunda.jpgSince I began writing about the Siyafunda Community Technology Centres (CTC), this group’s accomplishments in training and educating people in South Africa have been nothing short of spectacular. I recently talked with founding director, Ahmed Ismael, for an update on 2014 activities, and a look ahead to next year. What I find most groundbreaking about this organization is its cascading impact across the country.


Siyafunda CTC has opened almost 100 community knowledge centres, created 300 employment opportunities for centre management, and developed 15 social entrepreneurs. By training hundreds of thousands of community members that include people of all ages, the Centres have become much more than a standalone resource. Ismael described how the vision is unfolding as a force multiplier for opportunities.


“It’s not enough to just set up a centre. Sustainability is crucial.” said Ismael. “We’re focused on helping managers run and manage the Centres following the business principles of the social enterprise model.  We initially provide the train-the-trainer program and the education, and then tell the Centres to charge affordable rates covering operational expenses. The money generated sustains the Centre while more people can be educated. The notion of free goods and services is not sustainable. You can only create value and commitment when something is paid for.”


It’s a remarkable model for exponential growth. According to Ismael, the Centres field numerous support requests from community organizations, schools, and government agencies, and now have close to 80 community partners. One is with the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and Social Economy, to provide both facilities set-up and computer training for students within the institution.


Siyafunda CTC is equally committed to expansion in rural South Africa where access to modern technology is a challenge. There are now four centres operating in the Free State province, and two weeks ago the Rea Ruta ICT Lab opened, introducing computer learning to children aged four to 12 through gamification.


“Adding computer training to the regular curriculum with gaming technology has been very positive in increasing math and science literacy for these young children,” said Ismael. “It’s a new way of learning that’s fun as they navigate 3D virtual learning environments, scoring points and getting rewards.”  


For older students at the Centres, training extends beyond the technology. The Centres also build soft skills to help instill a strong work ethic along with practical training like how to ace a job interview. Many students take advantage of simulated virtual interviews practicing a variety of scenarios to gain confidence before entering the actual workforce. This is especially crucial for those who haven’t been exposed to a professional business environment.


Looking ahead to 2015, Ismael said the Centres, which have become a source for research on training and education, will use SAP Business All-in-One ERP software in the cloud to provide real-time data to governmental and other agencies. The Centres will also use the software to analyze their own data for impact monitoring and other research purposes. As a designated SAP education partner, the Centres will continue to offer accredited training in SAP software, opening up additional opportunities for employment. For applicants unable to secure one of the limited spots at an institution of higher learning, the Centres offer access to MOOCs through the Regenesys program, providing students with online access to a higher education.


It can be difficult for most of us to fathom the disadvantaged circumstances many people face in parts of South Africa. By empowering people from all walks of life with technology and business acumen, Siyafunda CTC is trail-blazing the way communities can create for themselves a more sustainable future.


Follow me @smgaler


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For many companies, like here at SAP, October is the pressure-filled time to set projections for next
year.  These targets must be gauged and translated into performance metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  So, since a lot of us are involved in this activity, let me share a few pragmatic tips
that may help you approach KPIs from a fresh perspective without going into detailed theory.


For performance metrics to best help us monitor and steer our organization,  they must have two fundamental features: they have to be

  • Relevant - They have to provide to the information youneed to steer the business, when you need it
  • Communicative - They have to fairly epresent your business and be easily understood by your audience


Now, let’s zero in on the relevance. To determine whether your KPI makes the grade for this feature, check it against the following three points of relevance:


  1. Adequacy: Does it cover an important or strategic portion of my business?
  2. Ambiguity: Does it clearly relate back to my performance?
  3. Readiness: Are the data points new? Are they easily available?


If A, B or C is “no” or “maybe”, you do not have a good KPI.



Let’s put the following easy (and common) statement to the test:  “Our target is to get a market share for our xyz product of 25% in the next 12 months”.

Adequacy: if the xyz business is a strategic one or a large one, the adequacy is clearly assessed.

Ambiguity: I see on our scorecard exactly 25%, so my first reaction is to celebrate. But then I must ask myself, ‘is the 25% because we perform better than planned, or because the market performance is lower than predicted?’ The broader the ambiguity, the more KPI clarity and value is hampered. If you got 25% because the market was poor, you may have a success story at hand, but you could also still have 12 months of weak sales, and thus, probably a weaker-than-expected operational income. So, your KPI already appears to not make the grade in the broader company context.

Readiness: If you want to use this KPI to steer your business, you will have to regularly assess both the internal sales performances (easy) and the external market performances (difficult, unreliable, and expensive) . This will take extreme effort and time, with subsequent costs and missed opportunities.



Bottom line: Try using a more narrow and straightforward KPI such as “I want my revenues of my xyz product to be x000 mEUR in the next 12 months”.
This is simpler -normally already available- and it absolutely fits A, B, and C.


In a large company like SAP, where we have more than 64-thousand global employees spread across different lines of businesses, Relevancy is our number one focus. A relevant KPI directly links the unit’s performance  (in the case above the unit xyz) to both the specific company goals and to the individuals’ contribution and related rewards (MBOs). During this process, we are constantly gauging the Adequacy, Ambiguity and Readiness.


It is actually pretty common for teams and managers to be constrained in their comfort zone and adjust the Ambiguity gauge to make sure they have full power or minimal risk of a particular KPI.  For instance, in the case above I measured the market share  -not the revenues-  to parameterize my sales performance to the market situation. Or in a product development unit, I measured  the number of new products launched –and not the revenues they generated-  to detach my unit  from the sales. This normally leads to reduce the Adequacy and the Readiness of the KPI itself and to produce a KPI proliferation (…of “bad” KPIs…) across the organization.



Clearly, the more we move from the perspective of a single department or division to a more corporate or conglomerate view, the broader and more heterogeneous your audience becomes – so finding the right Relevancy for your KPI is the magic.




Next time, we’ll talk about framing your KPI with the Communicative feature. Get ready to discover some new strategies to determine the positive direction of your organization!


|  Follow me on Twitter  |  Check out my other articles on my personal Blog  about Simple Strategy & Management |

Jonathan Becher

The Kardashian Index

Posted by Jonathan Becher Oct 22, 2014


"I am concerned that phenomena similar to that of Kim Kardashian may also exist in the scientific community. I think it is possible that there are individuals who are famous for being famous."

Writing in Genome Biology, Professor Neil Hall of the University of Liverpool suggests that too many researchers get invited to present at scientific conferences due to their public profile, rather than their academic standing. To help quantify this potential disconnect, Hall compares the number of followers a research scientist has on twitter with the number of citations they have for their peer-reviewed work. The ratio of the two measures is called the "Kardashian Index":

The kardashian Index


If your number of twitter followers is more than 5X your citations, you're an academic Kardashian; presumably famous for no good reason. In Hall's words,


"In an age dominated by the cult of celebrity we, as scientists, need to protect ourselves from mindlessly lauding shallow popularity and take an informed and critical view of the value we place on the opinion of our peers."

"If your Kardashian index gets above 5, then it's time to get off Twitter and write those papers."

We all know people who flaunt their social credentials (# followers on Twitter, # friends/likes on Facebook) but I think Hall's suggestion trivializes the situation. Executed properly, social media breaks down barriers to information by giving people access to information they might not have otherwise. Social media encourages discussions on a wide range of topics. This can be equally true in business and in university research.


In my opinion, neuroscientist Micha Allen gets it right:


"While a (sorta) funny joke, [...] we (the Kardashians) are democratizing science. We are filtering the literally unending deluge of papers to try and find the most outrageous, the most interesting, and the most forgotten, so that they can see the light of day beyond wherever they were published and forgotten. We seek these papers to generate discussion and to garner attention where it is needed most."

Social media has fundamentally changed the disciplines of marketing and communications, and I suspect it will also change academia. Eventually academics might be rewarded both for publications placed in traditional journals and for having a measurable impact through social media. Like all changes, it's both scary and a huge opportunity.


A note to my academic friends: You don't have to keep up with the Kardashians, but don't ignore social media.



This blog was originaly posted on Manage by Walking Around on October 19, 2014.
Please follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Look around, our world is changing - with a growing middle-class globally and data doubling every 18 months, we are heading into a new era of working and interacting with machines and each other. We work and live in a multi-device world from smartphones to wearables. Enterprise mobility is changing – from devices, it’s shifted to apps, driven further by the melding of mobility, cloud and in-memory computing.


wearing.jpgAs mobile apps increasingly become a fixture in the enterprise and at home, they must be simpler, smarter, more contextual, and more powerful. For example, look at Nest, recently acquired by Google - you can easily adjust temp, lights and even monitor your smoke alarms from a mobile device. Context-aware mobility is the information intersection where the physical and digital worlds meet, and mobility lies at the heart of cloud and big data context awareness. Context also filters out the noise so you can simply get things done!


Companies will use connected wearable devices and build applications to take advantage of this contextual data – allowing people to work from anywhere, anyplace - this is the future of the workplace and beyond. With up to 80B mobile applications downloaded in 2013, according to analysts, there are apps for everything at home and work - health, social media, productivity, entertainment, and now even in warehouses.

The implications for healthcare, oil/gas, transportation and even in the office are enormous - this is an opportunity for all of us to develop something impactful.  Imagine a field maintenance worker being able to use his voice to log in activity and also monitor his biometrics for safety. With wearables properly combined with analytics and data  - we can literally save lives.

This week, during his keynote speech at TechEd && d-Code Vegas, Steve Lucas showed us how a smartwatch (Samsung Gear S) can be impactful for business and demonstrated an example of real-time, context-based opportunity management using a combination of: CRM. Cloud, Predicitve Analytics paired with Samsung's enterprise SDKs. Simple, how powerful software on a device can move business.


According to Rick Costanzo, head of SAP's mobile business, success for wearables in the enterprise need to have the following elements: information needs to be valuable, contextual and personalized, delivered to the correct screen size with actions that are easy to use and most importantly, easy to engage and immediately take action.


Bottom line, the most important information should be pushed forward - and adjustable to various screen sizes and device features. This is how wearables can win in the workplace and we can benefit beyond the fitness band.


Don't delay, get started on your mobile journey today.

Real-time analytics has evolved beyond instantaneous data queries and slick visualizations, as evidenced by Steve Lucas’ walk in the cloud at SAP TechEd && d-code (#SAPtd) as automated cranes swung heavy construction hooks behind him. SAP’s President of Platform Solutions was demonstrating the latest in event stream processing, trusting machines to make reliable real-time decisions that keep people safe.


SAP TechEd IoT-Big Data Roundtable 10-22-2014-1.jpg
“Think of HANA as a real-time connected network of activity,” SAP’s Irfan Khan told an IoT and big data roundtable on Tuesday at #SAPtd.

And SAP HANA is evolving to make this possible, SAP’s CTO of Global Customer Operations Irfan Khan stated Tuesday at #SAPtd. That’s because it is eliminating old-school data management. You just can’t do things in real time by physically storing data somewhere, retrieving it and then making alerts and adjustments on top of that.


Out with the Old-School


“Processes run outside of a data management platform tend to have little or no context,” Khan said at an #SAPtd IoT and Big Data Roundtable. “Something runs, and it has some kind of activity, but the activity doesn’t necessarily have an endpoint; it doesn’t have a connection with the event that initiated it.”


So HANA’s evolution will focus on keeping states -- or context -- open and constant, in effect bearing in mind the event it supports. In doing so, SAP’s flagship in-memory platform can trigger a series of its own events as necessary, such as the alarms that sounded whenever Lucas got too close to the SPYDERCRANES on Monday night (see photo below).


“So the simplified way of viewing that is: Think of HANA as a real-time connected network of activity, and having the ability not only to branch out, but also build context inside the platform,” Khan said. “We’ve done an awful lot of work in the core to achieve that.”


Crash Course


“It saves lives,” SK Group CEO Severin Kezeu told the roundtable.


SK Group developed the software that kept Lucas safe on Monday night, but it couldn’t have done so before HANA, according to Kezeu. For perspective, it once took SK Group a week to fully process key performance indicators (KPIs).


Today the French anti-collision software developer has a HANA-powered solution in place that helps run the world’s largest construction site. IoT sensors and RFID tags on the site’s hundreds of cranes and thousands of workers make everyone safer.


SAP TechEd IoT-Big Data Roundtable 10-22-2014-2.jpg
SAP HANA Cloud Platform helped keep SAP’s Steve Lucas safe from moving construction cranes on stage during the #SAPtd keynote on Monday night in Las Vegas.

“With technology like HANA, we’re able to provide our KPIs not in one day, not in one hour,” Kezeu said. “We can do that in real time ... on your screen, on your mobile, on your iPad.”


Lifting All Boats


“The technology itself is really sort of rising the tide and starting to lap against the shores of many different types of industries,” Daniel Bogda, technical lead for Cisco Alliances, told the roundtable. “And what we’ve found is, in Severin’s case exactly, we can take those limits that used to be imposed by technology or physics ... and get passed them now.”


Organizations have the tools to prepare, connect and analyze data in any way they’d like, according to Bogda. These tools can help streamline capital intensive businesses by converting what are usually reactive activities into something more proactive.


“We’re doing it much more efficiently to the point where we can actually schedule downtime for equipment,” Bogda said. “So even in a very traditional, very conservative environment, very capital heavy -- things like mining -- we’re seeing these IoT technologies and new technical tools really changing how that business can run itself.”


Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher


More From SAP Business Trends:


At SAP TechEd && d-code, Science Fiction Becomes Business Reality


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