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There is nothing more rewarding than witnessing the awe of children when they open up a computer for the first time. What a thrill to see their eyes light up as they eagerly learn skills which could fundamentally change their future, as well as the future of their families, and even their country.

 

That is what I got to experience firsthand when we taught software coding – the language of the digital world – to primary school students and their teachers during Africa Code Week this past May in Rwanda.

 

Today’s youth are our future leaders, consumers, and entrepreneurs – and they will be driving economic growth all around the world. Programs such as Africa Code week provide the gateway to this growth. The coding workshops give these children educational opportunities that will help them become a thriving members of the 21st century workforce and a cornerstone of Africa’s economic development.

 

Improving people’s lives through digital literacy

 

Africa Code Week, which aims to empower future generations in Africa with coding tools and skills, may be one of the largest digital literacy initiatives in the world. The program kicked off in 2015 and it has already touched the lives of nearly 90,000 African children and youth.

 

This year, we are aiming even higher. We want to reach 150,000 additional students, plus thousands of teachers. And from what I experienced in Rwanda, I can tell that the 2016 program is off to a good start.  It was inspiring and exciting to see the happiness, concentration, and focus of the students and teachers I met during these workshops. And it was particularly humbling to witness the hope for a better future for them and their country.


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A key step to digital transformation in Rwanda

 

According to the World Economic Forum on Africa, Rwanda is transforming itself in a big way. The country is emerging as a regional high-tech hub and boasts one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest GDP growth rates. It is one of the continent's most competitive economies and a top reformer in improving the business environment. Yet, as the Forum notes, there’s more work to do to accelerate development. Digital transformation is key to expanding this country’s socio-economic opportunities.

 

This is why Africa Code Week – and digital literacy – is so important. Young people around the world need to be taught the right skills, now, so they can thrive in the digital economy. "Today literacy should go beyond just knowing how to read and write, even beyond digital literacy — knowing how to use computers,” says Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT of the government of Rwanda. “Basic literacy for the next generation should be about coding."

 

As timing would have it, the 26th World Economic Forum on Africa convened in Rwanda at the same time as Africa Code Week. During a session on the urgency of digital literacy, Nsengimana shared, “We are a country that is in a hurry. We are on a journey to transform its people and its economy.”  He added that the young generation – the digital natives – has the opportunity to shape the country’s digital transformation. “Having an opportunity like Africa Code week, really learning this new skill at a very tender age, so that it becomes the new standard of basic literacy – I think it is an opportunity that is unprecedented.”

 

 

Award-winning education

 

Last year’s Africa Code week recently won an “Education of the Future” Communication 4 Future (C4F) Davos award from the World Communication Forum Association. According to C4F, “Skillful communication teams of educational organizations and initiatives who stand out with their innovative approach to education and who can efficiently promote creativity among students are the key to a better world.”

 

Yes, Africa Code Week is an innovative approach – and it is certainly key to a better world.

 

Our long-term goal is to empower more than 200,000 teachers and improve the lives of 5 million children and youth within the next 10 years. And together with SAP, hundreds of partners spanning local African governments, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and businesses, will help make this happen.


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Helping the world run better and improving lives is SAP’s higher purpose, and today’s youth are a key part of this. We are proud to help these African children become the workforce and innovators of the future. This endeavor also contributes towards the achievement of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, specifically goal 4, which is dedicated to ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.

 

I hope to return to Africa this fall, when the next round of workshops take place, so I can keep focusing on this cause that is near and dear to my heart.

 

Follow Pat Bakey on Twitter @pbakey

 

  This article is also available on the Digitalist!

Last week, I came home from work, switched on my laptop and looked at the hundreds of email chains that have been sitting in my mailbox, unread, unanswered and un-actioned. Looking through the relentless list of emails with countless individuals copied in who add no value, I thought about the cumulative time wasted sifting through emails to find something actionable. It brought me to the conclusion that email is dead and probably has been for over a decade.

 

Every day we spend hours reeling off emails at speed, with the delusion that we are working fast and therefore at the same pace as the business around us. The problem is the person on the other end may not necessarily be there to see it, to action and to leverage the opportunity. With customers now capable of accessing data and information in seconds, it is vital that businesses are able to keep up with them to leverage the opportunities they present.

 

There are currently over 2.6 billion email users, who every day send over 215 billion emails, of which 116 billion of these are business facing. [The Radacati Group Inc., 2015] About 60% of employees say they will wait around two days before replying to an email, meaning under half of those emails have a chance of being actioned within a 48 hour period. [Fottrell, 2015]The implications this has on our businesses is profound- we are wasting two days for every opportunity- which means two days for our customers to find a solution elsewhere.

 

Communication tools such as text, WhatsApp, Skype and social media are instant, but more critically, are active. We can see when those we want to talk to are online, we know if they have read our message, are typing or when the conversation was last seen. These platforms are live and enable us to more efficiently target our communications to reach recipients at a point where they can immediately read and respond. The availability of intuitive forms of communication like this should be marking a shift in the way businesses operate, but still we use tired and stagnant emails, that result in lengthy chains of unsolved opportunities. The workforce is getting younger and more technically savvy. They have grown up in world where communication is instant and synced to all of their devices. We must start changing business practices to fit the needs of our employees, in order to improve efficiency and navigate the increasingly competitive business environment.

 

The world has moved on from email, but businesses haven’t, making them a static list of things we will eventually get to. If we can leverage the power of live communication alongside the latest technology innovations, businesses will be able to truly run in real-time and inevitably, succeed.

 

For more information on the stats included in this blog, please see below:

http://www.radicati.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Email-Statistics-Report-2015-2019-Executive-Summary.pdf

  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-how-fast-you-should-reply-to-work-emails-2014-12-11

Workforce diversity and inclusion are no longer nice-to-have elements of organizational culture. As the world’s population becomes increasingly diverse and the talent shortage continues to plague businesses, only the companies that are able to effectively attract, retain and engage diverse talent are going to be the ones to survive. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to meet with 150 diversity practitioners coming from companies that recognize this and are ready to do something about it. Below are some of the key insights I gathered from the Conference Board’s 20th Annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference.

 

1.  Counting is not culture, and it’s a relic of the past

 

When we think about workforce diversity, we typically think about the numbers—how many women, ethnic minorities, and other underrepresented groups we are able to hire, retain, and promote to advanced positions. But diversity practitioners are increasingly realizing that this is just one very incomplete indicator of success. Having the numbers in place does not necessarily mean those numbers are going to translate to bottom-line profits for an organization; there needs to be some mechanism by which diverse thoughts, ideas and values are included in organizational functioning. So which comes first- the chicken or the egg? Do inclusive cultures promote greater numbers of diverse employees, or do the numbers precede building a culture that encourages innovation and idea sharing from everyone? This question remains at the forefront of diversity research, but one thing is clear—both diversity and inclusion are needed in today’s world of work.

 

2.  Big change does not have to be complex

 

“Diversity fatigue” is a common occurrence among today’s workforce, diversity practitioners included. This occurs because it’s exhausting to try and get business leaders to change their behaviors when those behaviors have served them fairly well in the past. It’s exhausting to have to explain that a system is broken when the people at the top succeeded within that system. And for employees and managers, it’s exhausting to constantly be told that they are inherently biased and need to change. Because the behavioral and mindset change required is so great, we see organizations launching large-scale, multi-year diversity campaigns that often run out of steam. But there is ample evidence that it doesn’t need to be so complex. Research presented by Professor Valerie Purdie-Vaughns from Columbia University suggests that closing performance and engagement gaps between majority and underrepresented groups may be as simple as the message coming from the immediate supervisor, with a communicated belief that employees can meet expectations resulting in the best employee outcomes. Arin Reeves from Nextion shared the concept of “choice architecture” as a tool for diversity experts: developing processes and tools that make unbiased decisions the easiest ones to make, rather than hoping implicit bias training and awareness will have a downstream impact on behavior (which tends to be more complex). These insights make clear that big changes can happen from small adjustments to how people work and make decisions.

 

3.  Inclusion is not synonymous with innovation, but it can be

 

We are told that diversity and inclusion drive greater innovation, but how does this really happen? Research presented at this conference suggests that inclusion does not automatically drive innovation, but active collaboration between diversity and innovation practitioners certainly helps. This collaboration includes aligning on what it means to be diverse—while diversity practitioners tend to define diversity in terms of demographics, innovation experts tend to think about diversity of experiences, values, ideas, and in some cases geography. Both of these definitions have value in creating an innovative, agile workforce, and when they come together they form a truly powerful framework for driving innovation through inclusion.

 

4.    Adapt to keep diversity initiatives relevant across the globe

 

As more and more companies traverse national boundaries and adopt truly global operations, consistent administration and management of diversity initiatives becomes challenging. What does it mean to engage “ethnic minorities” in countries where they are in fact the majority? What are the implications of initiatives meant to attract people with differences in regions where those differences may be discouraged or even outlawed (consider LGBT candidates in Liberia)? According to presenters, maybe consistency is not key in these situations—because you’re facing different cultures, you’re facing different challenges, values, and ideals, and diversity initiatives need to adapt accordingly. As one presenter vocalized, “You can’t bring football to the regions that really need futbol”.

 

5.  Diversity and Inclusion practitioners, you are not alone

 

Overall, I was struck by the camaraderie among the group of conference presenters and attendees. They share similar frustrations, challenges and experiences. But when one diversity practitioner has a success, it is obvious that this represents a success for all. Diversity and inclusion can be a powerful competitive differentiator, but after this conference I realize that it’s also about working toward a bigger goal, bigger than any individual company or industry. The attendees of the 20th Annual Diversity and Inclusion Conference have made a career of creating diverse, inclusive companies that will ultimately strengthen the global workforce of the future.

 

To learn more about how SAP SuccessFactors is helping companies build more inclusive, diverse workforces, visit Designing Diversity and Inclusion.

As marketers, we spend a great deal of time dissecting the customer experience and attempting to define the moment where a prospective customer takes the plunge and commits to a purchase. While many aspects of this decision making process stem from a very tangible and quantifiable side, there is an emotional and psychological component as well. Emotions play an enormous part in how buyers act and react. They propel decisions and instill a personal connection between the buyer and the brand that extends beyond the transaction itself.

 

At their very core, brands that evoke emotion are creating a deep personal connection with their customers. The root of this connection is the trust we feel. At some point, we want to be able to purchase without taking the time to research. If we have established a relationship with a certain brand and trust that whatever they produce will be in line with what we want then we can make decisions and purchase quickly.

 

Even at work, we have preferences around who we buy from. Perhaps we want to source from locally-owned or organic suppliers. Or minority owned firms. Or vendors who are aligned with causes that we support. Or companies who can certify that no forced labor is used to produce the goods and services they sell. Sadly, there are more than 30 million forced laborers around the world today. The good news is that my company is stepping up to break it, leveraging more than 16 years of transactional, relationship, and community-generated content to help companies find out where slavery might exist in their supply chain and wipe it out.

 

When I think of the psychology behind marketing, I categorize techniques into one of two categories: nostalgia and ‘feel good marketing’. The nostalgia technique is fairly straightforward. We’re drawn to brands and products that feel familiar and remind us of a simpler, perhaps, happier time in our lives.

 

Take Legos for example, an admired brand whose fundamental product and design has remained unchanged in the 80 years since its establishment. Legos is a remarkable example of a brand that remains extremely relevant despite keeping their core product unchanged. The brand taps into cultural events (e.g., Harry Potter and Star Wars) to sync up with their younger audience while still evoking feelings of familiarity from the adult purchasers. This is a prime example of the power behind multiple brands, and how older and theoretically less modern brands are leveraging the modernity and popularity of newer brands and attractions to generate results.

 

Feel good marketing takes a different approach, it taps into our inherent desire as humans to “do good”. It evolves around the idea that consumers will lean towards brands that make a positive social or environmental impact on the greater world versus those that strictly offer products that benefit the customer.

 

Take for example, Beauty Counter, a beauty brand that places the emphasis on safe, environmentally conscious ingredients. They offer insight into the cosmetics industry and the potential implications that come from many commonly found ingredients. And at the end of the day, they offer a safer alternative that you can feel confident in using. This is the same concept as “eating clean” and the motives that drive us to purchase organic, safe food and mirror those that drive us to select skincare products with safe ingredients.

 

Recently, I hosted a luncheon for Women in Leadership during SAP Ariba Live in Madrid. One of our guest speakers, Elena Corchero, the founder of Lost Values, a creative lab focused on smart materials and wearable technology, reminded us of the irrefutable truth that emotion will be a key player in the future of technology as well as buyer behavior. Elena showed several of her notable innovations, including a wedding dress created with artificial flowers that literally bloomed as the bride became nervous while walking down the aisle. The technology reacted to the user’s emotions and the effect was remarkable and a reminder that the capabilities we have with connecting innovation to human emotion and behavior are unbridled.

 

Over the past year, at SAP Ariba we have been tapping into the needs and emotions of our customers. With over a dozen new innovations introduced in 2016, we are partnering to solve problems for our customers so they can be game changers in their industries and ultimately part of a community that wins their hearts and gains their brand loyalty. There’s nothing more memorable than an emotional reaction to a brand. Companies that leverage and learn from their customer’s behaviors and emotions will be the ones we look to as examples going forward. The confines of what we define as “consumers” are blurring and the relationship between consumers and brands now transcends the actual buying process. Loyalty is the goal and brands that invest in cultivating an emotional relationship with their customers will come out on top.

 

Alicia Tillman is Chief Marketing Officer at SAP Ariba. Follow me: @aliciatillman

Business networks and cloud applications are making it easier for companies to connect and collaborate with their trading partners in a more simple, smart, and open manner than ever before. Innovative companies are leveraging these solutions to manage their supply chains with greater agility and efficiency, while extending and maximizing their investments in on-premise technology.

 

Take Al-Futtaim. As a diverse automotive company going through a rapid phase of growth, the company understands the need to keep things moving. So when manual processes and lack of standardization began to hamper its procure-to-pay operations, the company set out on a new course.

 

Achieving source-to-pay excellence

 

“We needed to gain better visibility into and control over our spend,” says Asad Zaidi, director of Procurement and Performance Improvement, Automotive Division, Al-Futtaim. “And we knew that in order to achieve this, we’d need to automate our operations.”

 

So the company tapped into the Ariba Network and the SAP Ariba cloud-based applications for procurement and invoicing that run on it as part of an aggressive plan that included:

 

  • Creating a standard, best-practice procure-to-pay process that would provide a clear view into spend and contracts and improve controls and compliance.
  • Enabling suppliers to collaborate electronically on everything from sourcing and orders to invoicing and payment.
  • Giving business users a friendly, consumer-like, experience by enabling them to procure through catalogs.
  • Digitizing invoices to reduce errors and inefficiency.

 

“We needed to change the way we did business,” Zaidi recalls. And since implementing solutions from SAP Ariba, it has. Today, Al-Futtaim has a uniform and centralized process for purchasing goods and services across its operations. It has all but eliminated manual purchase orders and the majority of its invoices are received and processed electronically.

 

Learn more about supply chain and procurement excellence

 

On June 29, Al-Futtaim will share the story of its transformation during a webinar, “Roadmap to Procurement & Supply Chain Excellence: Integrate SAP Ariba into you SAP Portfolio.” This free event features Dharmendra Singhvi, General Manager Enterprise IT, Al-Futtaim Group. There will also be SAP Ariba experts who will discuss current and future ready-to-use integration capabilities that make it easy for you to integrate SAP Ariba cloud-based applications and the Ariba Network into your SAP infrastructure.

 

To register for the event, click here.

More than an outcome, co-innovation is a journey. If done right, it has the power of building trust and expertise. SAP and Mercedes-AMG have started this journey and are still driving at full speed.

 

Results at a glance:

  • Revolutionized planning
  • Optimal collaboration
  • Maximum transparency

 

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Expanding Product Portfolio, Excellent Quality

 

Mercedes-AMG is the sports car and performance brand of Mercedes-Benz, known for outstanding quality, bold looks, and exclusivity. But performance is not only a characteristic of the vehicles and motors. It is also part of the corporate culture and a life principle for many employees. “AMG has its own culture, the ‘inner force’ of AMG in driving performance. Always in search of the optimum next step, we challenge the status quo. This is what characterizes and distinguishes us. Every employee has this spirit which defines AMG”, explains Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Management Board at AMG.

As part of its business strategy, AMG wants to expand its product portfolio drastically while keeping the excellent quality standards that have always characterized its products. This goal has triggered several changes inside the company, one of them being the introduction of a new organizational structure based on cross-functional collaboration to foster the expertise of each member within a multidisciplinary team. However, AMG realized that organizational changes would not be enough. The standard systems currently used to plan and document the production of a vehicle are not tailored to the specific needs of AMG. This has prompted managers, coordinators and engineers to search for different solutions, decoupled from each other. As a consequence, the information required to plan and coordinate the work during different stages of the manufacturing process has become fragmented, and the effort to store or find it has turned into an overhead that no one has the time to afford.

This brought AMG to work together with SAP on a customized collaborative planning solution that would increase efficiency during the production process and support the new organizational structure. “Bernd Leukert convinced me that SAP has the innovative power and the technology to develop such a user friendly software”, recalls Tobias Moers. That’s how the Design & Co-Innovation Center (DCC) from SAP was approached to start the project with a design driven focus.



User Participation at Its Best


The design of a custom solution requires a thorough understanding of the end-users’ current processes and challenges. AMG was aware of this and therefore engaged with the Design and Co-Innovation Center (DCC) from SAP on an intensive research plan.

They organized workshops with different user roles at the customer site to obtain a high level overview of the planning process across functional areas. A tangible approach to process mapping based on a methodology called Business Origami was used to increase participation and structure the information to be gathered during the sessions. These workshops helped participants to better understand the needs and tasks of their colleagues and to increase awareness of different planning procedures among teams. “I really have to compliment you. The workshop participants learned so much, and most importantly, they developed a deeper understanding amongst themselves which is supporting their daily work”, reflects Dirk Zeller, Head of IT Consulting, quality engineer at AMG.

The DCC also conducted several interviews with end-users to dive deeper into their mental models regarding the planning process of a project. The analyzed data revealed that only half of the challenges found in relation to project planning originated in software problems. The other half were rooted in organizational issues apparently known to everybody, but never made explicit. These insights, visualized as humorous comic scenes, prepared the ground on which the new software had to be designed, and helped AMG to understand its own challenges as a company. This was highly appreciated, not only by the management, but also by the end-users.

The DCC used a participatory design approach to gain insight into the end-users’ ideas and expectations for the future software solution. Some of them had already been working on static solutions for years and therefore had a clear picture of what the project planning application should incorporate. “The engagement of AMG in the project was remarkable. From the beginning, AMG adopted a user-centered perspective that as designer you don’t experience too often with customers. It was not necessary to convince them about the importance of doing user research. They supported us all they time”, explains Karen Detken from the DCC. The findings revealed that designing the software application was just part of the challenge. The whole planning process had to be redefined and improved.


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Agile Design and Development: Iteration is Key

 

“Design is not a straightforward process. It runs in cycles. The more cycles you run, the better it gets”, states Thomas Biedermann from the DCC. During the discovery phase of the project, three main stages of the planning process were identified: conception, detailing, and taskforce. This division helped to structure the next step of the project: the design phase.

However, a great design can’t make it far if its implementation is not possible. Therefore, the DCC joined with Custom Development (CD) from SAP to find not only a desirable solution, but one that could be turned into reality. “We focused first on the conception phase of the planning process and created personas for the different roles involved in this stage. Together with the customer’s project team, designers and developers from SAP identified the most important goals that these personas have when starting their planning. Then we focused on how to support these goals in the best way”, explains Moritz Gekeler from the DCC. Together, AMG, CD and the DCC entered into an increasingly faster iterative design and development phase. Design concepts in the form of clickable prototypes and storyboards were produced on a weekly basis and tested with end-users on the customer site. The feedback flowed back into the design and development streams and helped to continuously improve the outcome. At each iteration, the customer became more knowledgeable about the agility of the process, which was well received by Reinhard Breyer, CIO at AMG, who confessed to Holger Kauffmann at Sapphire: “We should construct cars by applying the DCC’s approach.” In the same way, each iteration increased SAP’s expertise in the car manufacturing planning process.

Currently, the project continues successfully at fast pace. The close collaboration between customer, end-users, developers and designers has proven to be an essential mix capable of making everyone satisfied.

 

 

Customer testimonial


"The design-led co-innovation process at SAP’s AppHaus acted as a catalyst for changing the nature of our organization’s relationship with SAP."

Dirk Zeller, Head of IT Consulting, Mercedes-AMG

Epidemic.jpgCurrently, we have a historic opportunity to effectively and sustainably improve healthcare in Latin America. Technology innovations that support our fight against epidemics are already available, and have been successfully used in other parts of the world. However, what do we actually need to make this possibility a reality across our region? On one hand, we must rethink the traditional approach adopted by our healthcare systems on capturing and organizing data, analyzing it and acting in real time. On the other hand, we must gain the ability to transform current healthcare processes and join forces with government agencies and public control entities to update their regulations and adapt them to the new digital landscape.

A week ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel about “Securing the Continent’s Health” at the World Economic Forum on Latin America held in Medellin, Colombia. In the session, we discussed the overarching need to apply technology to ensure healthcare across the region. I pointed out that in the past three years, businesses across our region have made significant progress in digital transformation, but we are clearly lagging in the public healthcare area, especially in those countries with more challenged economies. However, the good news is that throughout the region, public entities are conscious of the value from analyzing Big Data, and consequently, they are assessing their options to deploy innovative technologies to overcome epidemics like zika, chikungunya and dengue.

This is precisely where innovation-driven companies can play a key role and have already taken steps in the right direction. In 2014, at SAP we actively and successfully supported government efforts to control the spread of the ebola virus in Africa. Now, we are directing our efforts to implement this same solution throughout Latin America.

When ebola emerged as an epidemic, there were multiple challenges to deal with, which included controlling a highly contagious disease that was spreading at exponential rates, and crossing borders. To fight it effectively, it was crucial to devise a preventive strategy and enforce strict controls that would help to contain it.

When Nigeria faced the threat of an imminent ebola outbreak, SAP joined forces with various healthcare organizations and developed SORMAS (Surveillance Outbreak and Response Management System). This solution, which runs on the SAP HANA platform and includes a mobile app,  contributes to identify emerging cases and flag suspicious ones, using data analysis to support real time decision-making. In a field trial in Nigeria, SORMAS proved to be very effective and contributed to lower the health risk.

SAP is working with several Latin American governments to define the best way to apply SORMAS as a tool to control epidemics such as zika. This initiative clearly reflects how technological transformation can bring together government agencies, healthcare institutions and private companies, to effectively impact the health of all our citizens.

Without doubt, the innovations from this new digital era are on our side. This is definitely the right time to join forces to build a healthier world.

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The purpose of a business is to create customers.

Sharper performance results in more and happier customers

Thus… we aim to optimize performance, hence the business term: Performance Management.

 

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Sounds simple, but of course it isn’t. Humans have a lust for control and have developed quite a few mental concepts to ‘control’ performance management; processes, ratings, manuals, competency frameworks, forms, collective labor agreements, etc. While all these things once had a purpose, the sum of it is not fit for duty 16 years into the 20th century.

 

It doesn’t take an academic study to know, to feel that these concepts are obsolete when we like to advance team collaboration. In today’s fast changing environment, collaboration is the key, because it’s the only path to innovation, which is the only path to happy customers.

 

What really matters is this: People connecting and leaving each other valuable feedback to improve the way you work. That will drive performance.

 

Let’s look at what we need to stop doing (the old) and what we need to start doing (the new).

 

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While some things (need to) change, others remain pivotal. The following six topics are fundamental for any performance management process and culture. Including six questions to challenge yourself how your transition to modern performance management.

 

1. Workforce Alignment is fundamental

Aligning the employees to the right set of objectives remains the success factor. Showing employees the purpose of the company and what is expected of him/her is the most important factor in performance management.

 

Without workforce alignment, any performance management process - annually or instantly - has no frame of reference and is entirely useless.

 

If your mission and strategy is sound and your workforce is connected and engaged, then all they need is real time meaningful feedback, peer coaching and mentoring.

 

“Pro-active alignment is more important than re-active measurement”

Ask yourself: How is goal alignment incorporated in your new Performance Management process?

 

2. Feedback is magic

Feedback is essential for people to connect and learn from each other. The better people can exchange feedback, the stronger their network and its outcomes in terms of collaboration and cooperation. This feedback needs to be constructive and authentic to become meaningful and instrumental in animating teams and corporate culture.

 

And it needs to be real-time! Why? Well if there is one thing our multitasking social media world is messing with, it’s our ability to remember. If I make mistakes helping out a client, then immediate feedback is needed. Not 11 months later in my performance review. You have to make hay when the sun shines! This has nothing to do with generations Y (Millennials) or Z (iGeneration). It’s the world turning faster.

 

Giving feedback is a skill. Educating the workforce to give each other authentic feedback is the single most important aspect of performance management

 

Ask yourself: How have you integrated real time, continuous, open feedback in Performance Management?

 

3. Space for mistakes is crucial

Everybody knows that people learn from mistakes. That’s how children grow up and how we evolve as a species. But how many performance management processes allow employees to make mistakes? They are often constructed to do the opposite. Employees covering up mistakes, because their sole focus of the performance management meeting is to get a salary increase. And managers are breaking their minds on how they should apply the mandatory forced rankings. Both are not helping to create an environment for healthy mistakes.

 

Ask yourself: How do you allow people to make errors and learn?

 

4. From judging to mentoring

Too many performance conversations are one way traffic where the manager is ‘judging’ the employee. Stop managing. Start leading. Don’t tell employees what to do. Involve them, explain things to them and demonstrate how it’s done. Not annually, but constantly and empathically.

 

Coaching and mentoring programs are often separated from the performance management process. While rethinking the performance management process it’s worth to rethink a tighter integration between them. Coaching and mentoring are the real-time components that drive the effectiveness and productivity of teams. A crucial component of performance.

 

Ask yourself: How are protégé, coach and mentor relationships incorporated in your new performance process?

 

5. Time to rethink performance vs compensation

This might be the biggest paradigm shift for organizations, their work councils and the trade unions. Let’s rethink the way that performance and compensation are connected. Yes, money can stimulate performance, but it remains an extrinsic motivation. It’s the intrinsic motivation that deserves more attention, because that is what really motivates us in a deeper and sustainable way.

 

And if it’s the intrinsic motivation we need, then we can ask ourselves to what extend we can decouple the compensation from the performance ‘cycle’, without losing a performance culture.

 

Why not decouple remuneration from tenure and yearly performance cycles and move towards compensation based on certain gigs, projects and/or roles that are performed by the employee? Trusting people to do their job and only act if they don’t. And then coach them to better performances and keep on giving them other challenging gigs. Preferably even connected to customer satisfaction ratings.

 

The biggest naysayers are usually work councils and trade unions, responsible for complex collective labor agreements, that have the lion’s share in HR’s attention span. The focus should be on creating an open, authentic and constructive feedback culture. Only such a culture will enable the company to progress and that will be the most significant contribution to employee happiness and engagement, which ultimately drives revenue. A disrupted bankrupt company pays no compensation at all.

 

Ask yourself: How is customer satisfaction connected to compensation?

 

6. Time to rethink the purpose of ratings

If you don’t pay based on performance ratings, do you then still need them? Well… ratings have a purpose on its own. Ratings can drive performance, but also the opposite.

 

There are studies that show big benefits of using ratings in a competitive way, utilizing the competitive nature of people and driving performance in that way. Other studies show reverse results; using ratings in the wrong way can also demotivate people.

 

It ultimately comes down to thinking carefully about what you like to rate and why. And in which way to create transparency in those ratings. If you measure rating, you better do it right, otherwise it will backfire on your ultimate goal: increasing performance.

 

Ask yourself: How are performance ratings contributing to a performance culture?

 

7. Performance of contractors needs to be managed too.

Teams deliver results, not individuals. This aspect is often addressed with a team target that is rarely motivating the individuals of a team to step up their game. What’s really needed is a collaboration platform where the entire team can monitor its own performance. Where they can instantly give feedback to each other to steer the team in the right direction.

 

The rise of the freelancer is adding a layer of complexity. This group of contractors is growing exponentially (globally), but are often excluded from performance management, because presenting contractors with a yearly performance form is like asking Kanye West to spend a year in a silent monastery.

 

But… presenting a yearly form is not the goal here. Improving performance is the goal. If you want to manage the performance of the entire team, then flex workers are part of it and the ability to share instant feedback should go beyond employees on the payroll.

 

And there is more we can learn from freelancers. Their ‘simple’ compensation model is an blueprint of how we can deal with compensating performance as discussed earlier (point 5). Free lancers have a job for which they get paid. They receive feedback and gain experience to improve their skillset, which they use to take on other gigs, for which they get paid a different compensation.

 

Ask yourself: How is your new performance model supporting team output including contractors?

 

Where to go from here?

A new performance management ‘system’ can only be applied in a new paradigm. I do not believe that you can have a hierarchical management structure/culture and then move to team based feedback. This would be a step back from traditional performance rating as most of us have today.

 

There is no way around it: to be successful you have to animate the culture, management style and attitude that propels performance management to the next level.

 

@PattWiller

For Success Factors and Ariba, the SAP Chief Customer Office offers three chapters that are covered in a 1/2 day workshop.  There is no cost for the delivery of this information:

 

The Governance Chapter covers the Journey in the Cloud and whom to work with inside SAP.  New skillsets and resources have been added in the Cloud space.

The Operations Chapter covers quarterly release topics as well as an overview on data centers and related assets.

The Support Chapter covers Support process and escalation procedures including assets that can be used across the SuccessFactors and SAP organization.

 

Many times I have been asked if Solution Manager, for example, is used in the Cloud products.  A new host of products now monitor the data centers.  This leads to new customer capabilities.  Other awareness is slso provided into how the data center paradigm is now shared across many customers in most scenarios.

 

The shift to quarterly releases and the timeframe to test new functionality has also changed in the Cloud.

 

These and other concepts are reviewed during these knowledge sharing workshops to help with your preparedness moving into the Cloud.  If you have an interest in participating in the program, please do contact us.  We want to ensure this information is provided to you in a timely manner.  This service is custom, flexible, and collaborative so we can deliver the content that is important to fit your needs when you need it.  In many cases there are new resources at customers taking over new responsibilities and we can provide "refresher sessions" should this be necessary.  In most cases, we deliver this information at the beginning phases of implementations.

 

Rudolf Schoof

Director, SAP Chief Customer Office - Cloud Ambassador Program

rudolf.schoof@sap.com

The SAP Chief Customer Office offers a free of charge Proactive Cycle Care Program to mitigate risk during a customer's critical cycle.  These cycles can entail Compensation or Performane Review cycles with large volumes, for example.  We and the CSM meet with your team to dicuss and capture the detailed events during your cycles and drill down in those areas to identify specific risk areas where proactive monitoring can take place or if we need to involve other experts within SAP proactively.


Some of the benefits of participating in this program:

 

Cost reduction with thorough planning

Less lost productivity

Less reactive work toward deadlines or during a cycle event

Assists with innovative technologies where processes are not yet formalized

Increases accountability across organizations

Escalation paths within SAP are identified proactively

 

At the moment this is limited to live SuccessFactors Preferred Care customers in North America.  We look forward to your feedback on the program and methodology.  Please do contact us if you have any questions, including how to participate.

 

 

Rudolf Schoof

Director, SAP Chief Customer Office, Cloud Ambassador Program

rudolf.schoof@sap.com

Let’s start with a short quiz. Which African country is: the world’s fastest developing country according the UN's Human Development Index - and has annual growth rates of about 8%? The second easiest place to do business on the continent? The safest to walk at night in Africa and fifth globally?[i]

 

If you guessed Rwanda, you’d be right. Rwanda is a small country located in Eastern Africa bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

 

For many foreigners, the country is still associated with the civil war that occurred in 1994. But Rwanda has done an exemplary job putting its past behind with a commitment to democracy, justice, reconciliation, and development.

 

Last month the World Economic Forum on Africa took place in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, and was focused on “Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation.” It’s no coincidence the event was located there, given that Rwanda is now known as a “regional high tech hub and boasts one of sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest GDP growth rates.

 

Also, no surprise that SAP kicked off its second year of Africa Code Week from the Forum in Kigali. SAP and partners created Africa Code Week to teach software coding skills to young people from age 8 to 24. Last year the initiative reached 89,000 youth in 17 countries. The goal for 2016 is to train more than 150,000 youth across 30 countries.

 

                                     


Why Rwanda?

 

Walking the streets of Kigali, the city is clean and beautifully landscaped with new buildings are everywhere. When I spoke with is Abdul Musare Arsene, a young journalist in Kigali last month, I asked him what excited him most about Rwanda right now.

 

He said, “Rwanda is developing so quickly. Much more so than neighboring countries – Burundi, Congo, Uganda -- if you leave Kigali for two months, you come back a stranger. There are new buildings everywhere and so much economic development.”

 

Rwanda’s progress is due to a very deliberate strategy. Enacted in 2000, Vision 2020 is Rwanda’s strategy to become a middle-income country by the year 2020 and transform Rwanda into a knowledge-based economy that can compete regionally and globally.

 

Increasing the technology infrastructure is arguably the most important pillar to the success of Vision 2020 and cuts across all of the program’s priorities such as good governance, a skilled workforce and vibrant private sector.

 

The government has been steadily dedicating funds and raising foreign investment for the ICT sector. The result: Rwanda is now a best practice showing how a nation can overcome historical trauma, forging a new identity as technology innovators. An interim report on progress shows that since 2000:

  • ICT grew at 25 percent, while the rest of the economy grew at about 7 percent.
  • Phone and internet penetration is at about 70 percent and 28 percent respectively
  • The country is well on its way to providing 4G LTE coverage for 95 percent of Rwandans by 2017.
  • Over 5,000 kilometers optic fiber have been laid throughout the country.

 

Private and Public Ignite Tech Entrepreneurship

With 43 percent of the Rwandan population under 16 years, sustained growth depends on teaching young people technology skills and inspiring entrepreneurship. This is partly why government officials have embraced Africa Code Week, like Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT of the government of Rwanda.

 

Minister Nsengimana said, He continues, “Africa Code Week is opening a new area of opportunity up to everyone. It’s shaping a mindset that coding is going to be the new language - that everyone has the right to be literate in the 21st century, especially the young generation. And it’s a challenge also, that more needs to be done to equip schools so that we close the gap as much as possible between those who have access to the best infrastructure and those in rural Africa that have been left behind.”

 

The country’s burgeoning private sector also avidly supports Africa Code Week. Aphrodice Mutangana is a young entrepreneur who started several businesses, including a platform that crowd-sources care for elderly survivors of the 1994 genocide; and mobile healthcare solution that delivers information about prescription pharmaceuticals available in Africa.

 

Aphrodice serves as Rwandan ambassador for Africa Code Week 2016, helping to identify trainers, students and partners across the private and public sectors. He is also managing director of kLabs, an innovation hub that brings together young IT entrepreneurs with more experienced mentors.

 

Here’s an example of how Aphrodice and kLabs help spark innovation amongst young Rwandans. Eric Kubwumucunguzi is a 20 year old entrepreneur who receives support from kLabs for his company that improves software users experience. In turn, Eric is helping his 14 years-old brother start a company that will use internet of things technology (via wearables and sensors on motorcycles) to help prevent “mototaxi” accidents. Motorbike taxis are the major form of public transport, and very dangerous, so this solution could have significant impact on citizens’ safety in Kigali.

 

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In July, SAP will send employee volunteers to support organization that are advancing the ICT agenda in Rwanda including HeHeLabs, a mobile technology company, and Rwanda ICT Chamber, which supports new technology-focused businesses and entrerpreneurs – including kLabs.

 

Rwanda is truly an incredible story of transformation. Coming back from a genocide where extremist members of the Hutu majority ethnic group slaughtered approximately one million of their Tsutsi neighbors over only a few months, as well as moderate Hutus, the country is now well on its way to become a model for development and digital transformation.

 

When asked what other African countries could learn from Rwanda, Minister Nsengimana said the difference is making education a priority, even when it means sacrifice. “It’s a complicated situation. You have to choose where to put that one dollar, which every sector is crying out for. Rwanda has done proportionally much more than other countries to prioritize education, to really invest in the next generation. That’s what Rwanda is doing.”

 


[i] Taken from Rwanda Achievements

In its second year, HIVE didn’t disappoint.

 

In keeping with the “design better together with immersive technologies” theme, last Wednesday’s internal SAP event saw over 20 presentations from SAP and external thought leaders that dove right into today’s most talk-about technologies. VR, AR, IoT, 3D, wearables – you name it, HIVE addressed it.

 

Sam Yen, the Chief Design Officer of SAP, set the tone for the day with an opening keynote that highlighted the growing presence of design thinking in today’s tech industry and budding responsibility of designers to improve the human-machine relationship.

 

Throughout the day, the over 250 SAP employees who attended heard from colleagues doing pioneering work in immersive technologies, as well as representatives from Amazon, Catabolic Design, Facebook, Frog Design, Ease VR, IXOMOXI, Space-Time Insight, Suzanimator, Vulfine and Zero Labs. See the full line up here.

 

As a forum facilitating connection and a platform for stimulating, inspiring content, HIVE serves an important role within SAP. For employees around the world who were unable to attend, we will be uploading complete footage of all of the presentations in the next few days. Until then, enjoy this video highlighting the event!


When bitcoin was released in 2009, it fundamentally changed the way that people think about money and financial transactions. And while bitcoin never became as universal as it hoped to be, the system behind bitcoin is now poised to disrupt the way financial organizations operate. That system is the blockchain. Some have gone so far as to say blockchain will do for business transactions what the internet did for information. Those early adopters might just be right.

 

The blockchain is, at its core, a ledger of all information pertaining to a digital transaction. For financial organizations, the ability to harness that information poses a tremendous opportunity. It allows for faster processing time, lower costs, greater insight into market moves, increased transparency and compliance. But that’s just the start of it.

 

In a study from September 2015, titled “Deep Shift: Technology Tipping Points and Societal Impact” by the World Economic Forum, blockchain is listed as one of the driving forces behind the sharing economy. And a report co-authored by Santander earlier this month estimated that blockchain technology could reduce banks' infrastructure costs by up to $20 billion a year. Investors and the Venture Capital (VC) community are pushing hard to realize those cost savings. At the end of 2015, investments and funding of blockchain-related start-ups had grown from $298 million in 2014 to almost $460 million.

 

This influx of capital has allowed for increased experimentation and partnerships between traditional banks and the VC and start-up communities. This is especially true in the payments space where banks, as well as companies like eBay, PayPal, etc., are using blockchain to build a secure verification process for users.

 

Since late 2015, these experimentations and partnerships have begun to generate results and momentum for blockchain. In January 2016, R3CEV, a blockchain start-up working with more than 45 banks to advance adoption of the technology, announced that 11 banks, including Barclays, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Royal Bank of Scotland, TD Bank, UBS, UniCredit and Wells Fargo, among others, had successfully completed a blockchain connectivity experiment. This news followed the announcement from NASDAQ that the Nasdaq Linq blockchain ledger technology had successfully completed and recorded a private securities transaction.

 

Blockchain’s Potential and its Obstacles

Speed and accuracy are the currencies of the digital economy, and blockchain’s ability to quickly validate trusted partners and facilitate accurate record keeping and trade is very relevant to banks and financial institutions. But with a banking engagement, it’s not often a 1:1 flow of information. Instead, it could be shared access for multiple parties (with the right security clearance) or a one-to-many flow of information.

Let’s consider supply chain processes around letters of credit, as an example. These currently rely on different parties — buyer, seller, bank, insurer, logistics provider, etc. — accessing the same information. Traditionally, it’s taken days, if not weeks, for that information to be passed through each organization. With blockchain technology, that information can be shared instantaneously. It does this by creating a shared repository where all data is accessible in real time to those with the right security clearance or access codes.

As evidenced above, banks and financial institutions are already heavily investing in blockchain. In fact, many have been doing so for years. But it’s still mostly done in a silo – undertaking very specific tasks, like: crypto currencies, managing the clearing and settling process, payments, or R&D initiatives. The true test for blockchain will be in how it integrates with existing technologies and infrastructure to scale from small, test cases to larger, enterprise wide operations. And this is where it will, undoubtedly, get interesting. Leaders in the field will now need to work on establishing procedures that connect blockchain’s rich data to an organization, allowing businesses to quickly analyze information to make informed choices about business operations or strategy.

 

There will no doubt be challenges along the way to mass integration - blockchain was not initially designed to take on the complexities and challenges of the enterprise. It was meant to serve an individual consumer – the bitcoin user. For it to be a successful, widely used tool for banking institutions, there must be a greater emphasis put on architecture and data integration as well as security and regulatory policy.

Like other new innovations in FinTech, blockchain will have to figure out how to cope with and adapt to regulations that vary in degree and complexity. In April of this year, The Chamber of Digital Commerce and three leading blockchain trade organizations launched the Global Blockchain Forum, whose mission is to help form blockchain regulations. Expect to see those regulations put in place sooner rather than later, especially as the technology continues to advance. Certain countries and states may have an easier time reaping the benefits of blockchain, as regulations and experience with blockchain vary depending on the location.

 

What Does the Future Hold?

Everyone in the banking sector should be paying attention to blockchain concepts and technologies. For blockchain to advance, technology and service providers – like SAP – will need to step forward and serve as a trusted advisor to the banks that are leading the development of these technologies.

 

Here at SAP, we are looking at concepts, technologies, existing implementations, partnerships and future product integrations that will allow us to help our customers understand the role that blockchain could play in their business.

 

For businesses considering the blockchain today, it’s important to keep these questions in mind:

o   What are the operational implications?

o   How can blockchain propel our business model forward?

o   Will it increase efficiencies or allow us to scale more effectively?

 

In the next two to three years, many of these questions will be answered. There will be an increase in business use case examples, in banking and other industries, which demonstrate ways of overcoming blockchain’s obstacles and the benefits it can bring to a business. As these use cases begin to overwhelm the current, technical discussions, we will have a better understanding as to the long term business relevance and viability of the technology.

 

While bitcoin may have been a flash in the pan technology, it has given the financial world a new way to look at its architecture and systems with blockchain. As this space evolves throughout the few years and more banks integrate blockchain into their overarching operations, one thing is certain – the possibilities are endless.

For years Human Resources was only expected to deliver basic administrative tasks to the business. Set up interviews, get the correct paperwork to selected candidates, pay people correctly, and when necessary process terminations efficiently. David Ulrich called this administrative efficiency. It was the core currency for many HR professionals, and it earned them a seat at the table but like someone said, “Be seen but not heard”.

 

Many HR people became quite proficient at tracking data on what occurred in the past. Turnover reports, who attended training, who passed compliance training – “rear view mirror” metrics were the domain of efficient HR organizations. The reality is that while this is interesting information it is not compelling in terms of measuring business impact or effect, nor can it help predict future activities or outcomes. Unfortunately, many HR teams just don’t know how to move from reporting on what happened to predicting what might happen.

 

SCN Blog 062216.png

 

A significant part of this conundrum is the sheer amount of data that HR organizations collect, with little if any capability to meaningfully retrieve or analyze the data. In addition, due to the complexities of many organizations, the data is challenging at best to make sense of. So much of what is transacted in the typical HR organization is done manually by different people on disparate systems.

 

The fundamental reality is that many HR professionals are not experienced nor aware of analytics and the ability to connect data and make predictive assertions. Unfortunately this has the real risk of making HR irrelevant going forward. In a recent study done by Oxford Economics and sponsored by SAP SuccessFactors the message was very clear from the 1,000+ CxOs we talked with. HR needs to be measuring the impact of HR programs on the organization’s bottom line and predicting the success of talent acquisition, learning, and total rewards programs as they are implemented.

 

Many business functions are doing that today. In the world of health care there are solutions now that can aggregate data from wearables, traditional monitoring devices, and more sophisticated machines and provide an integrated, real-time view of a patient’s current condition. This allows the treating medical provider to understand the patient’s health over a period of time, not just in the doctor’s office. Manufacturing and Transportation are using the immense data being collected by machines to predict maintenance and efficiency and ultimately lower costs to provide higher margins.

 

Why is it then that we in HR are still trapped in the era of using simple data that is easily collected, ignoring the vast data collected by performance management systems, talent acquisition systems, job portals, and external social media that would help us create a more holistic view of current and potential employees?

 

As an example, what if an organization could utilize a broader set of data to make decisions around who should be hired, promoted, or even recommended for additional training? I am not suggesting that we move to a mathematical algorithm to determine who our top performers are, but what if we could truly understand and identify top performers by analyzing social media or email traffic? Not so much the content as that has privacy issues, but who are the “hubs” of communication within the organization? Who do other employees go to more frequently? Who is active on social media and has a strong cadre of followers? Organizations where information flows freely are more likely to be seen as innovators and first movers. Those that hold information in silos underperform on most important metrics.

 

Understanding who these top performers are and how they work could lead to a better profile and selection process, resulting in hiring more people who exhibit the skills that lead to success in the business. These “connected” people are described by Malcolm Gladwell in Tipping Point as “Mavens”, or “Information Specialists”. They are the people others go to for information. These people are often at the intersection of interesting ideas and the execution of those ideas. This where innovation thrives in successful organizations.

 

As HR organizations are asked to do more with less headcount and budget we must learn to encompass more machine learning into what we do every day. We no longer have the luxury to allow valuable people to work on routine tasks. We have to be more sophisticated in how we approach delivering HR solutions and we must be able to use data to not just report on past activity but predict future impact.

 

Another key area to apply machine learning is through the routine processing of people activities and changes inside the HR system of record. To address this emerging topic we at SAP SuccessFactors we have introduced a concept call Intelligent Services. This offering will transform the entire concept of HR service delivery, moving from a series of individual and isolated self-services into end-to-end intelligent services that can easily cross software modules and integrate disparate processes. For example, when someone goes on leave even the most basic HR systems can suspend pay and notify benefits providers, but anything beyond that is up to a service center or HR administrator to update. What if the system would automatically reassign approvals to the next person in the organizational hierarchy without someone having to go into the system and make the necessary changes? The data is usually in the system already but often needs manual intervention. Through Intelligent Services, a trigger to the employee and manager can be automatically generated to potentially update goals and objectives rather than waiting until the end of the review cycle when valuable data could be lost.

 

The possibilities are endless and the value is priceless. Forward looking HR organizations must be thinking about how to use data more effectively and to be as comfortable predicting the future as many are at reporting on the past.

 

It’s time to look ahead so you don’t get left behind. Transform HR so HR Runs Live.

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At one point or another, we’ve all heard the tale of a little girl named Goldilocks, who decides to make herself comfortable in the home of three bears. She eats their food – going from a bowl of porridge that was too hot, to another that was too cold, and finally finding one that was just right. And she continues to do the same as she tests each chair and bed until she finds the one that is optimal for her comfort.

 

When you think about digital transformation, the balance between innovation and competitive advantage can be just as arbitrary. Some strategies just scrape the surface to create a more engaging customer experience while others go deep into its operational core to reimagine how the business runs and which products and services are offered.

 

However, unlike Goldilocks, no business has the luxury of time to sample digital transformation strategies and determine which one is just right. The key is knowing how each approach impacts the overall transformation and direction of the brand.

 

The reality of digital transformation strategies: No two are the same


Most CEOs are focused on understanding all the different ways their business can be disrupted over the next 5–10 years and identifying how they can win given this dynamic landscape. During the Americas’ SAP User Group (ASUG) Webcast “Why Digital Transformation Should Be a Strategic Priority,” Julie Goran, leader of McKinsey’s Digital Strategy and Organization Practice, shared, “Most [CEOs] feel at best uncertain and completely overwhelmed. So, in response, we studied different types of disruption that we have observed and found that there are some distinct flavors of disruption.”


In fact, recent McKinsey research has identified six different strategies for digital transformation, ranging from modest to extreme disruption and influencing demand, supply, or both:

 

 

Slide2.jpg

 

 

Figure: Digital transformation strategies based on degree of disruption and impact on demand and supply (Courtesy of McKinsey & Company)


1. Undistort demand

By focusing on the demand side of modest disruption, companies can make an existing product easier to purchase through digital channels or unbundle it to address an unmet need. Amazon is a great example. It takes products purchased at existing stores and allows customers to browse the “store” and buy the product online anytime and anywhere.

 

2. Unconstrain Supply

Shifting a modest disruption towards supply reimagination enables businesses to sell products that customers already want, but also source them in an entirely different way. Airbnb has based its entire model on this strategy, unleashing the market for hotel rooms or accommodations.

 

3. Make new markets

When demand and supply are both affected by a modest disruption, the transformation is more meaningful. Think about what Uber has done to the taxi industry. While the service is fundamentally the same, Uber took a different path to answering demand with a new way of sourcing. In turn, this has created a service that is faster, more transparent, and streamlined than traditional taxi services, which are all key factors in the customer experience.

 

4. Create new value propositions

Extreme disruption on demand opens an opportunity to enrich current offerings with information, connectivity, or social content. By doing more of the customer’s work, businesses can offer added value to the client while finding a new source of revenue through service monetization. Take John Deere, for example. In a short time, it moved being “just a manufacturer” to becoming a partner that can help farmers grow crops more productively through the information generated from their machines’ sensors.

 

5. Reimagine business systems

If extreme disruption is redirected towards supply, the cost structure is changed through automation, virtualization, and disintermediation. This tactic is allowing Progressive Insurance to break down an age-old industry paradigm with user-based pricing. Rather than guessing the risk of a policyholder, the insurer is analyzing real-time data to get a more accurate view of the individual customer to reward safe driving with the best price and incent for performance improvement.

 

6. Hyperscale platforms

Innovating new products and services, while changing how they are supplied, brings tremendous value to the customer and the business. More important, the model causes damage to adjacent industries and competitors. Google and Apple are a testimony to this type of extreme disruption, especially when you consider what they have done to industries beyond their own.

 

 

Which strategy is “just right” for your business ?


Digital transformation is challenging, undermining, and disruptive. It’s changing how customers engage with a brand. It’s empowering people to resolve problems that were long perceived as unsolvable. But more important, it’s allowing startups to emerge and rise to the same level of competitiveness of long-time, established, multinational brands. No business is immune from digital transformation.

 

And for these reasons, I warn: Time is not on your side. You must map out a digital transformation path now that is “just right” enough to help your company evolve for an increasingly digital economy.

 

To help you get started, check out the replay of this episode, Why Digital Transformation Should Be a Strategic Priority, in a series of Webcasts hosted by ASUG, to hear McKinsey & Company’s latest thinking on the topic.


Top image credit: © Robert Byron | Dreamstime.com – Porridge Bowls

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