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When I was a girl engineer, we didn’t have personal computers.


Let me digress and explain the phrase, “girl engineer”. Early in my career, I worked with a very senior engineer who used to say, “when I was a boy engineer.” This of course led to discussions about gender and age related language in the workplace. And whether or not you could refer to a 25 year old woman as a girl. He had daughters entering the workforce, and he wanted them to have equal opportunity to have high paying jobs and great careers. Calling someone “boy” can be even worse than “girl” because it is used even more pejoratively. But as long as it was him calling himself a boy and in good fun, it was fine. Anyway, obviously this had an impact on me because still to this day, when I think about the early days of my career, I still think to myself “when I was a girl engineer.”


Getting back on topic, when I graduated and started my career as an engineer, we didn’t have personal computers. I remember getting the first one for the department, and we all had to share it. We coordinated our schedules so that we could each use it for a few hours a day. What was so great about it? Lotus 123 spreadsheets! All of a sudden, you could create a spreadsheet to do your calculations instead of writing them out by hand, getting out your calculator, and punching away. I was responsible for pilot plant trials of new products and had to scale up lab recipes to pilot plant quantities. There were many ways to optimize the trial, including maximizing the quantity we produced, or scaling it to some even number of drums of chemicals to avoid having to measure them out. Often there were multiple steps, so you could optimize one step at the expense of another. And therefore being able to look at different options was critical. And when each one involved manual calculations, it was time-consuming and prone to error. Now we could create a procedure using a spreadsheet and put in the formulas to calculate everything. If the Production Manager asked for it to be optimized a different way, all you had to do was change one number and everything else changed. It met the number one criteria for successful software – it made my life easier!


The other early use for me was calculating air emissions. This is often done based on assumptions and estimates because not all equipment has instruments to measure this exactly. The one thing everyone learned in engineering school was to state your assumptions. So, in the spreadsheet, I stated my assumptions, but I could also change those assumptions to see how much impact it had on the calculated emissions. We did some other checks and balances as well to make sure that the overall numbers made sense (for example, that we weren’t estimating releases to the air that were greater than what could theoretically be there in the first place.) And then each year, we improved our models to better match the data that we had available. Some environmental engineers are still doing it this way today! Why? Because most other software had the formulas hidden and unreadable by regular people (ie. not software developers.) Classic case of poor user experience – it’s hard to trust the software when you don’t know what it is doing!


I remember learning to use a spreadsheet through trial and error. Early on, I would read the manual, but later, I knew it had to be able to do what I wanted, so I just searched around until I found it. I still approach new software that way today. And when I find out that it can’t do what I think it should be able to do, I am disgusted at the design. “How could the software developer not understand that I need it to do this!” Good software is easy to figure out and does what the user expects it to do!


The most complex spreadsheet I ever saw was a financial model for a start-up I worked at. This one was so complex that the CFO had to turn off the auto-calc function. And when he hit calc, it could take 6 hours to run. But hey – we were a start-up! We couldn’t afford anything else.


Why are spreadsheets still so heavily used today for all kinds of business processes? Flexibility! When you aren’t even sure yet what you want to model, using a spreadsheet is the way to go. You have complete control. You enter the calculations and you can see the result immediately. Of course, if you enter it wrong, you might not realize it. If it doesn't give an error message and the result isn’t orders of magnitude too large or too small, you’ll probably assume it is correct. And the worst kind of spreadsheet is one that someone else created and that you inherit. Since there are no rules, the other person almost certainly followed a different thought process than yours, and if they didn’t leave good notes, you’ll never know what they really did or how you should modify it.


As useful as spreadsheets can be, global organizations should not be still using spreadsheets to calculate their air emissions. Check out the new Environment Management application. It is easy to use and a regular person can write the formulas for your calculations.

If you hire only those people you understand, the company will never get people better than you are. Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don't particularly like. Soichiro Honda

Over the last few months, I spent a fair amount of time looking for people to add to my team. Actually that’s not quite right – other people spent time recruiting. I thought I didn’t have to do the work myself. After all, the positions didn’t report directly to me.

I was wrong.

Recruiting is hard and most of us aren’t very good at it. We don’t know how to differentiate outstanding candidates from ones who have a great résumé and interview well but don’t pan out on the job. In these days of hyper competition for talent, we also don’t know how to spot candidates who might don't look that good on paper but are exceptional talents.

One technique I’ve used effectively is to ask candidates about their current team. Diminishers might start by talking about their team but the conversation will quickly shift back to themselves. Multipliers, on the other hand, will extol the contributions of the people on their team, often providing details on individual employees. Multipliers are usually worth hiring, regardless of their résumé.

In the book “The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else” George Anders interviews ‘the world's savviest talent judges’ and comes to similar conclusions. His advice:

Be careful with "talent that shouts”; the spectacular but brash candidates who might have trouble with loyalty, motivation, and team spirit.

Instead we should try to find "talent that whispers”. These are rare candidates overlooked by most recruiting systems because they have so-called jagged résumés; unusual, almost erratic backgrounds, littered with both successes and failures. In the right settings, these candidates can do spectacular work.

So how do decide whether to hire someone with a jagged résumé? Anders provides three rules:

  1. Compromise on experience; don’t compromise on character. You can teach people to do a job but you can’t teach them to be hungry for knowledge.
  2. Use your own career as a template. Ignore the commonly-held beliefs on what’s required for success and concentrate on what you’ve seen work.
  3. Rely on auditions to see why people achieve the results they do. Exceptional talents recovery quickly from setbacks. They are passionate, sometimes irrationally so.

The book has lots of great advice for everyone who is passionate about attracting and developing exceptional talent. But don’t forget the title – exceptional candidates are a rare find.


This blog was originally posted on Manage by Walking Around on Tuesday, October 6,2015.
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SAP will be hosting its annual Financial Excellence Forum 2015 on October 13 and 14th in New Town Square, Philadelphia.


Join SAP, our customers, partners and analysts at this informative event.  The main theme of the event is transformation and innovation, how to drive Financial Performance Excellence.  Sessions will cover the transformation happening within finance organizations, technology innovations that can support transformation and how these innovations can be easily adopted.


Lisa Hershman, from the DeNovo Group will kick off the event, elaborating on the transformation of how work gets done.  Then SAP Executives Arlen Shenkman, CFO North America and Thack Brown, GM, LOB Finance Solutions, will talk about the impact of SAP S/4HANA Finance including SAP’s own experience.  Gagan Saxena, Principal of Saxena, Principal Decision Management Solutions will start the second day on the topic of modern decision management, then Paul Sharman, Editor in Chief, Journal of Cost Management will discuss finance thought leadership.


Customers, including New York Life, GE, Florida Crystal, Disney, ServiceNow, Dow Chemcials and Deloitte will share their own stories of SAP S/4 HANA Finance, Finance Transformation and other finance solutions. There is also the opportunity to attend detailed breakout sessions on S/4HANA Finance - Universal Journal, Central Finance as well as Business Planning, Revenue Recognition, Shared Services and Product Lifecycle Costing.


There will be many networking opportunities, including the dinner on Tuesday night hosted by award-winning wine author Marnie Old hosting "Sommelier's Secrets: Vibrant Rioja". This interactive wine dinner explores the sensory science behind wine and food chemistry, and the remarkable pairing strengths of Rioja wines from Northern Spain


We are looking forward to a great event.  For more information or to register visit.


We hope to see you there!

Can you imagine a scenario in which all members of the C-suite became collaborators and best buddies? You’re probably not the only person shaking your head in comic disbelief. But that’s exactly what an expert panel believes is coming, according to a recent SAP Game-Changers radiocast http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/85981/cfo-led-revolution-integrated-business-planning with Greg Wright, CEO of Vantage Point Business Solutions; Ingmar Christiaens, partner in the advisory practice of Ernst & Young; and Floyd Conrad, global senior director of enterprise performance management and finance with the center of excellence at SAP.


Your CFO doesn’t just run a basic cost support center anymore – he or she is a partner to the business. CFOs have evolved from pied pipers to trusted analysts at a rapid speed. Those who haven’t caught up are going to be left behind in this role revolution.


business leader.jpgSee finance’s reach expand across the business


Finance leaders are now expected to be all things to all people in every department. Conrad explains, “We have to be the data steward for all the various areas within the organization, and yet be able to establish the trust that people need to have in the department of finance.”


Validating numbers is a task of the past. In fact, that job is nearly obsolete. With so much innovative technology, data is now routinely organized, sorted out, and reliable before anyone in finance touches it. Financial professionals don’t spend nearly as much time on back-office processes.


Instead of gathering data, it’s all about analysis, which includes two parts:


1. Talking with the functional areas outside of finance and explaining what those numbers mean to them so that they can run the business better – on the manufacturing floor, in the marketing department, or on sales teams

2. Producing reports that are valid to all functional areas and creating reports that can have an impact, such as “Who do you think your top 10 customers are?”


There is so much demand on the CFOs that they have to push their IT departments to find new technology to handle all the data. The mentality borne out of a Facebook- and Instagram-savvy world is one of instantaneous gratification and knowledge. They all want their data five minutes ago, and they expect it to be correct.


Stop striving for perfection


Christiaens urges companies to have a more realistic view of their data, citing how, in an unrealistic quest for perfection, “you only get 20% to 40% qualitative data. And big companies really need to shift away [from] thinking that 100% is the target. They need to realize that if you have 80%, even 60%, nowadays, it is more than enough.”


Wright concurs, “The key thing here is [that] the relevant data needs to be correct. And the irrelevant data, it doesn’t matter.” He finds communication and collaboration to be far more important. Finance, he says, is the custodian of numbers, and the rest of the organization needs access to those numbers. So there is constantly pressure on finance to provide those numbers – typically on a tight deadline.


The panelists agree that the CFO will be at the helm of the C-suite in years to come. Wright goes so far as to refer to the CFO as “the new doctor of technology.” This shift is going to require much flexibility, patience, and collaboration on the part of the C-suite, but the benefits realized will make it all worthwhile.


Is your organization ready for the CFO-led revolution? Listen to the full radiocast http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/85981/cfo-led-revolution-integrated-business-planning to find out more.

Insights from a cash management study by CFO Research and SAP

Two-thirds of treasury and finance executives agree that it takes more work than it should to develop accurate views of their companies’ cash positions and cash forecasts. That was one conclusion reached in a recent global study conducted by CFO Research and sponsored by SAP. All in all, the treasury, finance, and corporate executives responding to our survey feel that the time treasury staff spends on simply collecting, conforming, and preparing cash data is at the expense of the higher-value contribution to corporate growth they could be making instead.

Given that cash reporting and forecasting have become more important than ever for a company’s success, business leaders are increasingly looking to their treasury colleagues to provide additional insights and expertise that can better support business decision making. For many, that means getting more from treasury than just a massive data dump. It means taking treasurers into the fold—gleaning their insights into how best to deploy the cash on hand to drive the business forward, and on the flip side gaining a deeper understanding of how their own business decisions will affect the future flows of cash.

But the survey results highlight a persistent problem with this vision for the future—the fact that very few companies currently are taking advantage of ready access to up-to-the-minute cash information. Only about one in ten survey respondents report that their treasury function can use fully interactive, self-service interfaces to instantly aggregate cash balances from global bank accounts or to prepare consolidated cash forecasts.




Companies these days are able to instantly link far-flung operations through tightly integrated information and communication systems, and so more and more business decisions are being made virtually at the speed of thought. It’s time that increasingly critical cash management capabilities were brought up to speed, as well.


About This Study

In May 2015, CFO Research, in collaboration with SAP, conducted a global survey to examine the pressures Treasury departments face in providing timely, accurate cash reporting and cash forecasting to business decision makers. We collected 371 responses from of Treasury executives, senior finance executives, and other corporate leaders working at large companies with at least US$250 million in revenues. The companies surveyed, representing a broad range of industries, were located in North America, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia/Pacific region.



Roughly 40 million people are estimated to compete in fantasy sports this year. But only one in ten on average, actually wins. So if you’re one of the 36 million fantasy losers out there, listen up…Beckham.Marshall.PNG

Each summer you enter the season thinking, “this is my year.” You probably spend hours studying in preparation for the big draft. But then, the surefire player you honed in on gets taken right before your turn. The frenzy of who to pick sets in. And before you know it, all of that scenario planning was wasted as hopes of a championship season fade away. But fear not, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Championships are won through in-season management

Contrary to what you may believe, a solid draft can only carry a team so far. In fact, often times it’s the team that loses the first few games (through poor drafting) that ends up hoisting the trophy. The reason? Striking gold during with the waiver wire. Last year, Odell Beckham Jr., Jeremy Hill, Justin Forsett, and C.J. Anderson were undrafted in most leagues. But if you were lucky enough to have signed any of them during the season, the impact was huge. This year, we’re already seeing value for teams that were lucky enough to sign Tyrod Taylor or Devonta Freeman. Just like that, turn your three and outs into blowouts.

Think less, do more

Let’s face it, winning your league is important. It’s so important, that 39% of you would sacrifice a year’s worth of beer, and another 19% would give up your cell phone. For the avid football fan, each Sunday is a holiday. But we’re all busy during the week. What if you could spend more time enjoying all of the action, and less time studying?

A simple tool with powerful results

The Player Comparison Tool powered by SAP HANA was launched by the NFL and SAP back in 2013. It’s been used to compare players over 10 million times already. Why is that important? Well, it’s not. If your league is hosted on nfl.com, then you’ve probably already gained an advantage from the tool. So has your competition. But what is important, is the fact that for the first time… everyone can use the tool, regardless of which site your fantasy league is hosted on. Think about what this means. It means, you’ll have a major competitive advantage with a powerful tool that no one else in your league even knows about. Plus it’s free and customizable. Here’s what it does:

  • You can analyze a trade or the waiver wire, in one click
  • Gain insights on intangibles, like weather, game location, team support, and more
  • It can even project ceilings vs. floors on players, to compare potential vs. consistency


Even if you’re a traditionalist and you don’t quite trust technology, there’s a “Fantasy Genius Community” on NFL.com to give you the human element for any football questions you might have.

It’s game time!

It’s been a crazy offseason, and an even crazier start to the regular season. Your draft night is a distant memory, and the games are underway. Now is the time to shine through smart in-season management. Those diamonds in the rough are out there. And if done correctly, you might just acquire enough firepower to fix all of those draft day mistakes. The ones you made back in the preseason, when neither the games, nor your draft, mattered as much as you might have thought.

Who are you debating between starting this week?

This blog was originally posted on SAPSponsorships.com

BTS2015scn.jpgAttending an event about digital transformation in person might sound like an oxymoron, but the business leaders headed to this year’s fifth annual SAP Business Transformation Summit know better.


Absolutely not-your-average industry conference, this year’s Summit, which takes place in St. Leon-Rot, Germany on October 22-23, cuts through the noise to zero in on what business innovators really need to understand: what digitization is, and how it impacts business in their daily lives. The two-day agenda is replete with insightful sessions covering everything from how to exploit groundbreaking technologies to rethinking leadership skills and time management for the digital age. Interactivity rules across showcases that will feature virtual reality experiences, the Boardroom of the Future, Smart Vending Machines, and demonstrations of the power innovations like SAP S/4HANA.


Christoph Steiger, Global Head of SAP Business Transformation Services, is particularly excited about this year’s event, saying that “people will see what digital transformation looks like and how it feels to run a business in a hyper-connected world. It’s an opportunity to share experiences with thought leaders from companies that have gone through this process.”


Here’s a sample of the luminaries on this year’s agenda, including sneak previews of several keynotes:


Kerstin Plehwe, author and political analyst - Leadership in Times of Digital Transformation – Business Lessons from US Presidential Campaigns: Calling this the age of learning and adapting, Plehwe’s message is deceptively simple. Success in the digital age involves rewiring our brains to embrace change.

“Digital transformation is rapidly changing every area of our lives, and our biggest challenge is adapting our cultures, business processes and personal mindsets to that change. But people don’t like change; our brains aren’t wired that way. Yet digitization demands high flexibility and adaptability to innovation,” said Plehwe. “I’m excited about this event because I’ll share lessons learned from United States Presidential campaigns on how to lead and communicate with customers, voters and donors to generate support and funds in the digital age.”

Anders Soreman Nilsson - Digilogue: how to win the digital minds and analogue hearts of tomorrow's customer: Nilsson, a futurist and innovation strategist, will reveal the drastically new role of marketers in a world of well-educated and increasingly demanding consumers.

“When customers arrive at your doorstep virtually or in-person, their minds have been digitized and mobilized by all the rational information about your company from online customer reviews, comparisons and ratings. But people will enduringly demand and pay a lot for a good experience. Marketing and sales need to blend the digital and analog worlds.”

Prof. Dr. Walter Brenner, Professor at the University of St. Gallen - The Race for the Industrial Internet: The next battlefront from market dominance will be the industrial internet as new and established companies and partnerships disrupt industries with digital services powered by smart products.

“The combination of sensors for the Internet of Things, data analytics and cloud computing provides companies with the ability to change business models and with new services. It’s important to understand who the players are, where the opportunities lie, and the rules of the game in this new era of industrial services.”

We’re bombarded with messages about digital transformation wherever we look. But we can never underestimate the power of in-person meetings to build trust and hash out complex issues like digital transformation. Registration is still open so it’s not too late to add the Summit to your company’s transformational journey.


Follow me @smgaler

Insights from a cash management study by CFO Research and SAP

Treasury Blog Image.jpg


Six out of ten respondents say that treasury needs to increase its contribution to high-value activities, but in order to do so treasury executives need to be on the same page as their finance and corporate colleagues. In a recent global study conducted by CFO Research and sponsored by SAP, executives working in the treasury functions of large companies do not appear to be quite as comfortable about their systems capabilities as are their counterparts in other functional areas. Two-thirds of finance and other corporate executives surveyed believe that their companies can quickly and easily migrate data from their treasury information systems into the company’s financial planning or ERP systems. But only half of the treasury executives in the survey are willing to make the same claim.


And ease of access to accurate, timely data will only become more critical for treasury’s success. Eight out of ten respondents overall agree that, within the next two years, the treasury function will need to be able to prepare cash reports and liquidity forecasts much more quickly than they can now. But it may not matter how quickly treasury can pull together their reports if the information isn’t getting into enterprise information and planning systems as quickly as business decision makers need it.


Looking to the future, treasury respondents point to another potentially troubling gap. Many in the business world are still struggling to figure out how to make the most out of “big data”—that is, much larger and more unstructured data sets. In our survey, only 11% of treasury respondents say that their companies’ cash management information systems and tools currently do a good job of accommodating “big data.” That’s just half the rate of those outside of the treasury function.


Treasury Blog Infographic.png

More often than not, finance and business leaders expect treasurers to work with them as full partners in the business enterprise. For that, they’ll be looking for rock-solid data, certainly—but they’ll also be looking for more insight into how the cash implications of business decisions ripple through the enterprise’s many parts.

It may be that all the effort treasury staff put into getting the best cash data into their business partners’ hands simply takes place out of sight of their colleagues. But as treasury functions become more and more integral to, and integrated with, a company’s decision-making processes, the gaps between treasury’s views of reality and those of everyone else are also likely to become more visible.


About This Study

In May 2015, CFO Research, in collaboration with SAP, conducted a global survey to examine the pressures Treasury departments face in providing timely, accurate cash reporting and cash forecasting to business decision makers. We collected 371 responses from of Treasury executives, senior finance executives, and other corporate leaders working at large companies with at least US$250 million in revenues. The companies surveyed, representing a broad range of industries, were located in North America, Latin America, Europe, and the Asia/Pacific region.

Treasury Blog banner.png

Technology remains the most significant invention for this generation. It is not only the driving force behind businesses today, but will remain an important factor for years to come. Companies intending to remain relevant into the future have to embrace technology since the future remains firmly driven by technology.


Here are technological trends that will dominate the next decade and inspire businesses to better performance:


Target Recipient: Spam messages remain a turnoff for any potential client. Technology has enabled brands, institutions and individuals to provide specific messages depending on the locality and interests of an individual. This is through proximity technology that, for instance, introduces a product to a patron by virtue of being within the vicinity of a mall. This technology is headed for greater precision as an excellent marketing tool. It ensures that your message gets to the right people to avoid the backrush that comes from unsolicited and non-target marketing.


Personalized Business Apps: Business apps are gaining traction with clients as a way of maintaining loyalty and simplifying access to both goods and services. It is much easier to create and distribute apps regardless of the size of your business or budget. Beyond marketing, apps are useful in enhancing visibility and ensuring quick access to goods and services. Apps also ensure that the message or product details are delivered only to a target group, one that has downloaded the app.


Mobile Technology: The uptake of apps is boosted by increased mobile penetration around the world. Wrike works with clients to develop marketing strategies that will be effective on different platforms. Mobile technology has been used on innovative platforms which are bound to expand with time. The availability of smart phones and technology has made the use of mobile technology easier and more effective. This trend is bound to get refined as the years go by.


Feedback Channels: Client feedback is increasingly becoming a crucial part of product development and innovation. Customers are becoming increasingly sensitive to ensure that their feedback is taken into account. It is upon a brand or company to ensure that feedback channels are quick and effective. Beyond social media, product reviews and direct feedback, brands are looking for other channels that will ensure that feedback is received promptly and acted upon.


Customer Service: The place of effective customer service in any business cannot be over emphasized. Technology is becoming a quick, convenient and cost effective way to deliver reliable customer service. It creates reliable systems that enable provision of standardized services 24/7. Solving customer queries promptly and satisfactorily is crucial in maintaining a loyal customer base. Technology intervenes to ensure that this target is realized.


Technological trends in business are taking the lead in shaping the future of profitable companies. Technology has been used to reduce the cost of operations as well as minimize the time taken to deliver goods and services. It is also an admirable contributor towards enhancing precision in service delivery to ensure that the expectations of every client are met.


When I first entered the job market, I interviewed at a few different companies, one of which was a small insurance firm outside Philadelphia. My interviewer was a C-level executive, and he gave me a piece of advice I’ll never forget.  He said, “You know, at a large corporation, you’re going to learn a lot about a little.  Here with us, at a small business, you will learn a lot about a lot.”


He meant, of course, that employees of small to mid-sized companies wear many hats.  And usually, their organizational leaders are accessible resources and serve as CEO, CMO, CIO, CFO, and more all at one time.


Size doesn’t matter


Today, small businesses can be just as successful as, if not more successful than, their larger competitors. Why? Because with the right technology, small businesses can easily cause positive disruption in the market.


Within the boom of the digital economy, small businesses now have the power to reshape their markets and industries.  A couple popular examples of this are Uber disrupting the transportation industry and Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry.


Both have significantly shaken their larger competitors because they are successfully leveraging the Internet of Things to provide customers with a simple and easy way to purchase a service. And according to a recent blog by Vivek Bapat, 70% of consumers will recommend brands that offer a simpler experience.  And 38% of consumers will pay a premium for it (The Digitalist).


Learn more… Listen to #SAPTalks


According to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit study, 59% of executives agree that in order for their businesses to survive with today’s customers, their businesses must embrace and adapt to hyperconnectivity.


To learn more about numerous small and mid-sized businesses that are ditching legacy processes and inside-the box thinking to become disruptive forces in their markets, check out the new podcast series, #SAPTalks…Small to Midsized Business hosted by David Trites.


In about 20 minutes an episode, guest speakers from small and midsized companies share their unscripted and in-depth digital transformation experiences. They explain their industries, challenges, current technology projects, best practices, and lessons learned along the journey.


The first episode will air on the Voice America Channel on Tuesday October 13th and will feature Paula Muesse, CIO and CFO of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea. On the show, Paula will explain how Zhena’s adopted new technology to best sell organic, fair-trade, and competitive teas.


You can follow the conversation on Twitter by hash tagging #SAPTalks and by following @SAPSmallBiz.


Follow the Blog Series


Read how the following companies have also broken the myth that SAP is only for big business:


How to be a World-Leading Publisher in a Digital World


Franklin Valve Shows How Small Business Tackles Rapid Growth


Who is Feeding China’s Half Billion Pigs?


How Prime Meats Cuts Through Business Complexity


High-Tech ERP Helps EvoShield Protect Athletes and Grow Business


Stick to Basics in Family Recipes and the Sausage Business



For more on how you can successfully sell into the small and mid-sized market, please click here.


For more stories, follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Although executives, analysts, and experts regularly try to predict where business is headed, the pace of innovation continues to exceed our expectations and imagination – especially when it comes to the world of work. Not only is technology impacting how we work and interact with each other, it’s transforming what we actually do for work.


Consider this: 2 billion jobs that exist today will disappear by 2030, according to futurist Thomas Frey. 2 billion. That’s roughly 50% of all of jobs worldwide. Cathy N. Davidson, Duke University professor, backed up this prediction in her book Now You See It, noting that 65% of children entering grade school this year will assume careers that don’t yet exist.


How can you possibly plan for a future workforce in jobs we can’t today know? And how can we develop talent when we don’t what our business will need not just in a few years, but even in a few months from now?




The future of talent acquisition relies on a broad footprint enabled by technology


The dynamic of workforce mix is changing. Employees no longer fit neatly into a box, nor should they. Salaried employees. Hourly employees. Contingent employees. These categories are more fluid than ever.


As digital businesses like Uber and Airbnb have shown, the understanding of “employee” is being redefined to include people who are not employed in the traditional sense or necessarily found on the company payroll. Rather, they are customers – on the other side of the seller-buyer relationship.


This new approach does not come without risk. Once the salary-wage relationship is removed from the employer-employee equation, the degree of employee loyalty and affinity seen in the past will slowly deteriorate. This forces CHROs to adjust how to relate to their existing workforce, and as important, their future employees and the people who influence them.


To create an employer brand that is more fluid and differentiated, CHROs should consider four things:


1. Your employer brand matters whether you’re actively recruiting or not.


Your employer brand needs to be an interaction that happens consistently – whether or not you are looking for new talent to join your team at the moment. And while the brand is not the sole purview of HR, HR is in the best position to shepherd it.


2. Expand your footprint to attract the best – before they’re even in the workforce.


In our age of social media, people follow brands they admire. But here’s a secret: This also brings an opportunity for following high-performing professionals within or outside the industry as well as students of all ages who are mastering valuable skills.


As I look at my two school-aged boys, I see firsthand how their new generation – Gen Z – will create their own definition of work and career fulfillment. Pretty soon, new graduates will be less concerned about job titles and more interested in working for companies with whom they feel an affinity. And increasingly, these interactions begin long before a job search.


3. Master the science of data – no PhD required.


How many of us groan when terms like “data science” and “number crunching” get mentioned? Today’s technology is taking away the fear factor; analysing data is becoming more intuitive and delivering more valuable insights. And increasingly, the machines are doing it for us, melting processes along the way.


4. Engage before Day 1.


HR today has the tools to become less about process and more about employee engagement. Onboarding is a perfect example of how, and why it matters.


Typically, onboarding has been about providing the physical things a new employee needs to start working: security badge, laptop, desk assignment, setup of a 401k account, and payroll deductions to name a just a few. None of this generally happens until the person walks through the door on Day 1.


Now we have the ability to make onboarding a social interaction, allowing a new employee the opportunity to be engaged before they even start. HR can provide the ability for new employees to connect with their manager, along with peers who can help them better understand and navigate the organisation, and potential mentors who can help them become successful – reducing the traditional ramp up process that can take months or longer.


In today’s digital economy, it’s less about the job and more about the talent. How are you preparing?

Originally published on Digitalist.com

It is now well understood that an excess of complexity in business operations and IT systems results in a significant limitation for the business to drive better performance. But overcoming complexity in a business is not a quick to-do item assigned to IT and department managers. Rather, it needs to be a company-wide, well-crafted journey with a singular approach: drive digital transformation with new technologies by putting simplicity at the core of your business.


As I mentioned in a previous blog, companies can overcome complexity and unite their mission-critical business processes by starting with a digital core.


The digital core is essential on the journey to digital transformation. Bob Parker, Group Vice President at IDC Research, writes in his blog, “Digital Transformation is a Strategic Priority,” that digital transformation is not a one-off project. “This effort is truly transformational, requiring organizational commitment and a robust digital foundation to enable the scale and repeatability necessary to be successful.”


With a digital core, businesses understand the myriad bits of information that flow in and out of the company. Companies can take their mission-critical business processes digital, based on a single source of information that interconnects all aspects of the value chain in real-time. This includes workforce engagement, assets and the Internet of Things, supplier collaboration and business networks, and customer engagement and the omni-channel experience. The digital core empowers your decision-making and gives you a significant advantage in today’s digital economy.


SAP offers that digital core with SAP S/4HANA, the next-generation business suite. But not only is SAP providing customers with a digital core to reimagine their business, IT, and user experience, we have made the journey to SAP S/4HANA simpler. Here are four simple steps that you can make use of today to start your journey to digital transformation.




Companies are seeing tremendous potential in leveraging digital technologies to create new business models and are looking to define a strategy.


Start to build your own digital transformation strategy, take time to determine your digital maturity starting with the IDC Digital Transformation Maturity Scape Snapshot. This tool allows you to assess the maturity of your digital transformation across strategic dimensions by placing your business along a continuum of different maturity stages — from "digital resistors" to "digital disruptors."


After answering a few short questions, you will receive a complimentary customized IDC benchmark report with quantitative research based on input from 300 of your industry peers. By determining your digital maturity level, you will have the knowledge to move to the next level in digital transformation.




To sharpen your digital transformation strategy, experience reimagined business processes and user experience with a digital core at your own pace. Sign up for the SAP S/4HANA trial, available as a cloud edition 14-day trial or on-premise edition 30-day trial. Anyone can experience the value of instant insight across end-to-end business processes with our free trial. In the trial, you get access to a pre-configured system that already includes live sample data. Pick roles and try various predefined scenarios. Our guided tours walk you through the apps, step-by-step.


After you experience the SAP S/4HANA trial with sample data, get ready for the next stage of your journey. Use your own SAP information, and get deeper analysis on how SAP S/4HANA can transform your business.




If you are an existing SAP ERP customer, you can go one step further and explore customized benefits from SAP S/4HANA. If you take just five minutes to register and share your company information, SAP will gather your personalized Business Scenario Recommendations report within five business days.


This report is not fiction—it is based on your own current SAP usage information, and it will help you identify which scenarios would benefit most from instant insight. To see what type of information the report produces, download the sample report. You can easily discern from the sample how SAP S/4HANA delivers value across different lines of business, such as finance, supply chain, manufacturing, and procurement.


Now that you understand the business value of a digital core, you can move to a key phase of your journey: deployment.




We have reimagined IT for our customers and made the process to implement a digital core simpler with SAP Activate. SAP Activate offers ready-to-run digitized business processes optimized for SAP S/4HANA. This new experience allows customers to flexibly choose the right approach for their business needs, be it a new implementation, integration, or migration scenario. This implementation methodology is a unique combination of SAP best practices, methodology, and guided configuration to help customers and partners get quick time-to-value with SAP S/4HANA, on-premise and cloud editions.


In addition to customers, SAP Activate enables partners to easily extend the ready-to-run business processes shipped by SAP and (in parallel) efficiently design and continually update their own custom best practices and co-innovate. Using SAP Activate methodology, SAP customers and partners have the ability to innovate across deployment modes, strengthening the SAP S/4HANA digital core offering and digital business processes.


The path to a digital core is an incremental journey. As your guide, use the wealth of information on the SAP S/4HANA Journey Map, which outlines how to establish a digital core and how to drive quick time-to-value. This digital summary tool includes key resources like the SAP S/4HANA Product Roadmap and Cookbook that covers the most important aspects of implementation, including abstracts for specific topics and links to deep-dive information. These resources show you how to reimagine your business with SAP S/4HANA and build your digital core. So start transforming your core for the digital economy and put complexity behind you.



By Jairo Fernandez - SVP HR - SAP Asia Pacific and Japan Region

The news is out: Digitalization is affecting the entire planet and will continue to do so. Executives worldwide are well aware of this wave of change. In fact, the Economist Intelligence Unit recently confirmed that 60% of CEOs believe that failure to adapt to this new era of hyperconnectivity is the biggest challenge their company faces. But for Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ), the stakes are even higher.

What makes APJ unique? For one, it’s home to 60% of the world’s population. With this massive people power comes more opportunities for innovation and growth. But first, emerging countries within APJ must make a quantum leap to close the gap between their current state and the desired capabilities needed to cater to the needs of digitalization.


Get ready! Four game-changers every APJ business can expect


Whether they’re paving the way for a telecommunications infrastructure or mass adoption of advanced technology, many APJ countries have already responded with regulations and frameworks that support growth in the digital economy.

Take Singapore, for example. Topping the World Economic Forum’s Global Network Readiness Index this year, this island nation has a nationwide high-speed, optical-fiber network and 87% broadband penetration. Plus, it is the first to publish a regulatory framework for the use of TV white space in wireless connectivity. However, Singapore is not the only one taking such measures. Even Laos, South Korea, and the Philippines are enacting e-transaction laws, cloud-first policies, and investments in high-quality, widespread access to the Internet.

What does this progress mean for APJ businesses? Four key changes that will forever alter how we work, learn, and interact with each other.


1. Demand for greater access to information

As technology continues to advance, companies will evolve exponentially – even blurring the lines between the business world and leisure (“bleisure”). As a new generation of digital natives matures, long gone are the days when information was confidential and owned by one source. Instead, unfiltered feedback, exposure to global influence, and dynamic cultures become the norm. And people will expect that same degree of flexibility and transparency as employees and consumers.

This is where social collaboration tools play a central role. By giving people the same degree of flexibility and transparency they experience in their personal lives, this technology keeps the entire workforce connected, productive, and collaborative while accelerating business operations and response to fluctuating market dynamics.


2. Accelerated, dynamic career paths

Twenty years ago, people entered the workforce expecting not necessarily a lifetime career, but at least a long-term position. Times are changing now that Millennials and Gen Z are changing jobs every 12 to 24 months – either leaving for another company or accepting a new position with their current employer.

To quell this loss of talent, many international companies are leaving behind traditional forced ranking systems and performance management processes. For example, an international high-tech behemoth is now judging its employees based on the customer’s perspective – not on a specific manager’s or executive’s standpoint. Plus, there’s a greater emphasis on recruiting internal candidates for open positions and developing current talent through an in-house “university.”


3. Radically new leadership styles

Employees expect employers to be collaborative and open – as opposed to only giving directions. By distributing the power of knowledge and control, employees have greater freedom to procure information and generate ideas.

“Why rely on the wisdom of the few when in you tap into the collective intelligence of many?” cites futurist Jacob Morgan. “Bringing people and information together – anywhere, anytime, and on any device – to create new networks of fresh ideas and new approaches to solving problems.”

Once leaders decide to embrace this key advantage of the digital economy, the more engaged and knowledgeable their workforce will become – ultimately driving better results at a pace the company (and consumer) demands.


4. A culture of learning and thinking

Access to the digital world enables people from all walks of life to exchange their knowledge, thoughts, and ideas – anywhere, anytime, and anyhow. By ingraining a culture of learning, the process of learning is migrated from a single, local instance to a global stage that enables organizations to innovate based on what someone else has already learned.

During a panel discussion on SAP Radio’s “Transforming Your Business,” Ben Dollar, principal in Deloitte Consulting’s Human Capital practice, believes that employees are yearning for this type of culture. “The culture this digital economy is driving is almost making information sharing second nature,” he observed. As we focus less on keeping information proprietary and concealing ideas, we realize as a business culture that the quality of our decisions relies on the insights gained from open sharing of all information.

Embracing change is not just necessary – it’s inevitable


Change of any kind is uncomfortable. However, if leaders continue to hold tight to the principle “I keep information; therefore I have the power,” everyone loses, especially the economy.

I must admit: I was once guilty of abiding by that old leadership style. In the past, I would tell my employees what they needed to do, which tools should be used, and when I expected achievement of the final goal. I quickly learned of the need for a more collaborative effort to foster the hallmarks of competing in the digital economy – free thinking and innovation.

Managers must be prepared to provide a vision and challenge the workforce to realize it. Now that people can crowdsource ideas, collaborate with a virtual team, and access information anywhere, we all need to realize that all team members are empowered to go and learn without asking for permission. I realize that by doing so, my own team is producing better results because they are invested in the knowledge they have gained.

The faster we adopt this new reality, the better off everyone will be. Otherwise, we’re just making things more difficult and overly complex by fighting the inevitable – social and economic progress in the digital economy.


(Photo - Experimental prototyping of table concepts by Beatrice Oh, Loren Jo, Jay Kim and Sophie Lee)

Designers are familiar with different types of prototyping across user experience and product design. Prototyping is a key element of the Design Thinking process, and also of great value for communication, as IDEO founder and Stanford d.school professor David Kelley explains: “If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a million words.” Prototyping helps transferring ideas into experiential forms such as user interface mockups, storyboards, role-plays, etc.,

Creating a Human-Centered Innovation Culture – Prototyping for Validation and Collaboration

What is the main purpose of prototyping? The answer is straightforward – validation. With ‘prototyped’ ideas, a team can test and refine their ideas based on customers’ feedback. Iteration of the prototypes throughout the design process improves the quality of the project outcomes that finally lead to market success in the future.

There is a second purpose of prototyping – collaboration. Design Thinking consists of teamwork-driven processes. Especially prototyping plays an important role in collaboration because it increases interaction between team members. In general, prototyping session is a highly interactive process while a team is achieving one goal (making prototyping happen!). Under such circumstances, their collaboration becomes closer and deeper. For instance, people share their opinion while making something tangible: Is it big enough? How about this color? Do you need any help? Let’s build it together… One’s personality and behavior can be shown to others through the casual interaction. Hence, this is the time for getting to know other colleagues and their way of working by making something together. I’ve learned a lot from this aspect of prototyping, because the process allows people to understand and empower each other. This is the moment when prototyping can bring human centered innovation culture to our life.

Recently, my team, the SAP Design and Co-innovation Center had an opportunity to think about a new type of workspace in SAP Korea. In general, most companies delegate entire design works to external vendors who have expertise in interior architecture. In this project, however, we tried to co-design the space where we applied our prototyping skills to design a better space experience ourselves. Having created the space prototypes, we could collect a lot of feedback from colleagues. After several iteration loops, initial ideas were refined to the final design plan. Job’s done, prototyping for validation was successful!

Growing as One Team – Prototyping as Hands-on Team Activity

Through the hands-on prototyping and experimentation, I learned a lesson in terms of prototyping for collaboration. The prototyping session was not just making cardboard furniture, but understanding other colleagues’ views and behavior, and growing as one team. As a new hire at that time, I was given the opportunity to get to know other team members in a natural way while engaging and interacting with them to build cardboard furniture. From my experience, prototyping can help a team build rapport between members by doing something together rather than just thinking.

Nowadays, more and more companies are applying prototyping process as low-cost ‘validation’ tool. However, the second purpose of prototyping – an interactive process for better collaboration – should not be overlooked, because the process allows people to understand others from their ‘actions’. Understanding between project members can be vital in order to work effectively within a team. Again, prototyping does not just provide moments for validation; it creates a space in which a team gets to know each other.

Most organizations today have some type of analytic tools in use. However, some organizations derive more benefits from these tools than others. These organizations are likely to have an analytically-oriented culture driven by management and characterized by both widespread and regular use of analytics as well as reliance on analytics in decision making.


Achieving this kind of culture begins with leadership by example. Managers who rely on analytics act as champions of such a culture. They often build a cross-functional team of IT and line-of-business representatives that work together to assess and implement the unique analytics requirements that exist across the organization. In meeting the analytics needs for specific use cases, the relevance of the analytics solution is increased and it will grow in use and importance.

Getting the right analytics into the hands of employees who make decisions has nearly immediate quantifiable benefits as both an investment and a set of capabilities available to the entire organization. We see that analytically-oriented organizations are able to increase revenue, decrease costs, and increase agility to better anticipate and respond to market changes over and above competitors that do not have this culture.


When no such culture exists, it can motivate line-of-business departments to adopt their own analytics tools. This may solve a specific business problem in the short term and even foster a broader interest in analytics as colleagues in other groups see effective solutions and then want something similar.  It's a reality that's not likely to go away, so IT should take a supportive role by helping to guide purchase decisions, assess what functions are needed, and place specific analytics tools in a broader context.  These actions can help the line-of-business better understand the organizational analytical strategy that will best meet user needs and also enable IT to focus on its core competencies.

Key Requirements


Key requirements for delivering successful solutions include:


  • Providing access to multiple, trusted data sources to gain a holistic view of the business versus a myopic view
  • Educating and guiding line-of-business on the importance of data governance and working with one version of the truth
  • Establishing processes to continually evolve analytics solutions based on rapidly changing business needs. Eliminating costly information silos while meeting changing requirements requires collaboration between IT and business.


IT needs to remain involved in all of these processes. Enabling the line-of-business with self-service analytics that allow them to better control dashboard development spreads the responsibility for meeting user change requests and scales the ability of an organization to be agile. As groups of users become more knowledgeable about the use of analytics, they will seek additional functionality and the IT organization can help find and acquire appropriate capabilities.

As descriptive analysis becomes more ubiquitous, there will be an increased need to perform predictive analysis. Typically, this is the domain of statisticians and data scientists. However, there are offerings now available that mask the complexity of advanced analytics technology by providing tools suitable for business analysts and business users alike. Invariably, new data sources will also need to be analyzed and unstructured content, including text, images, video, and audio, may come into play in certain processes as well.


The emergence of the Internet of Things adds sensor data and the need for real-time analysis to the mix of analytics capabilities that agile organizations will need to address. So while business users may see an immediate need for self-service analytics today, they could be better supported over the long term by a cross-functional team focused on assessing and meeting analytics requirements as they exist today and as they emerge in the future.


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