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SAP Business Trends

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Cutting-edge new products, soaring volumes of flight and operations data, advanced manufacturing, disruptive new competitors… the technology evolution is taking off, disrupting how business is done around the world and fueling fast changes in aerospace and defense (A&D).

Digitizing and transforming business


In the digital economy, simplification and business innovation matter more than ever. A&D businesses need to provide more for less, find new revenue streams, and adopt new technology faster. And to do this, you must reimagine business models, business processes, and work.


A five pillar framework to guide A&D companies on their digital strategy

The increasing volume and variety of information available along the A&D product lifecycle provides ways for you to innovate with new solutions and grow in new markets. You can reimagine business models and:


  • Pursue revenue in adjacent markets with customer-tailored Big Data solutions and enable digital aviation platforms
  • Develop partnerships to bring new innovations to market faster and access new markets and technologies
  • Focus on the aftermarket with new services based on real-time operational and engineering data
  • Transform the value chain and fulfillment with technology such as 3D printing


Digital technologies enable business-critical operations from engineering and manufacturing to supply chain and maintenance, repair, and operations. Automation, hyper-connectivity, and artificial intelligence can bring much needed increases in throughput times and cost reductions. Reimagine business processes to:


  • Employ smarter, more connected manufacturing operations
  • Enable non-conformance management with early warning systems and predictive quality controls
  • Predict machine failures and optimize production asset utilization
  • Gain global visibility through real-time, responsive supply chain processes, embedded machine learning, and predictions and simulations
  • Enable full lifecycle tracking with smart parts
  • Integrate sensor-based product data and predictive analytics to support reliability programs
  • Redesign customer service processes for greater efficiency

Technologies such as smart glasses, 3D printers, and geospatial functionality change how people learn, interact, and grow. Reimagine work and:


  • Enable efficient decision processing across large volumes of operational data through exception based interaction with proposed solutions
  • Improve governance and collection of information from assets
  • Enable access to the right information at the right time on the right device with role-based presentation
  • Understand Big Data by automatically detecting significant signals from noise with predictive and self-learning software
  • Improve user learning and daily tasks with interactive technologies like augmented reality and deliver the right visual, text, video, and audio information on demand
  • Eliminate data silos and enable cross-departmental optimization with a single source of truth


Getting started


SAP brings expertise, assets, and proven methodologies to support the development of your digital business strategy. We want to be a partner in your journey and help along each step of the way. Here’s how it works:



  1. Strategy alignment – Understand your business objectives and SAP strategic direction and identify initiatives
  2. Opportunity assessment – Identify and prioritize your strategic initiatives
  3. Solution road map and ROI – Develop a solution road map that delivers the solution, strategic plan, and expected ROI
  4. Value realization – Implement the solutions on time and within budget
  5. Solid governance – Maximize investments and speed value creation thanks to executive engagement and continuous innovation



Why SAP – your business benefits


With solutions from SAP, you can build a digital core for the next generation of your aviation business to simplify processes and drive innovation. The solutions improve collaboration and connect sources such as equipment, geospatial, airline operations, and customer service data.


With an advanced digital business framework, you can drive outcome-based customer experiences. You can replatform core business processes and bring together transactions and analytics in real time to be smarter, faster, simpler – and more efficient and profitable. You can engender a skilled, flexible, and engaged workforce across all employees and contractors and improve supplier collaboration. And you can harness assets and the Internet of Things to drive real-time insights and new business models.

Take off with the SAP Aerospace & Defense community at the Innovation Days on March 7th to 9th in Dallas Texas.  Your industry peers are sharing their digital journey.  Find out more about the free event  - click here 

Many great companies are born by solving a singular, widespread problem. For Under Armour, that singular problem was sweat.  The innovative, moisture wicking athletic undergarments and apparel on which the company was founded have completely changed the way athletes dress and perform. Now the company is innovating digitally to solve a health data problem and improve the way people live.


Kevin Plank Under Armour CEO SAP NRF 2016.jpg

Kevin Plank, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Under Armour Inc., at #NRF16


“Think about the fact that you know more about your car than you know about your own body,” said Kevin Plank, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Under Armour, during his keynote speech at Retail’s Big Show in New York City. Plank is right. When we get in our cars we have a dashboard that tells us how much gas we have and how long it will last. We know the oil and tire pressure, how far the car has traveled, the engine temperature, and more. And if one of those indicators gives us a warning, we do something about it quickly so the car doesn’t break down.


But when we wake up in the morning what kind of dashboard do we have about our current health and wellness? What kind of warning do we get if we haven’t slept enough? Is our recent food and water intake going to get us through the next few days we have planned or are we going to break down? Do we need more or less exercise and what adjustments should we take when we don’t feel well?


It would be nice to have all those answers at our fingertips. It would also be great to track all that data over time, analyze trends, and compare it with other datasets. We could see if we were on track to achieve our health goals or facing potential medical issues in the future. And it would be a gold mine of information for our doctors to analyze during and in-between visits.


Connected fitness

Under Armour’s vision to address this problem is called “connected fitness.” It’s a big idea with many facets and data points. It connects your body, apparel, activity level, and health into a single app that makes it easy to manage and analyze your data. Plank feels this is a good role for Under Armour to play and will ultimately make it a better company for the consumer. “When we think about our competition we aren’t worried about the next shoe that someone is going to build, we are thinking about the competition that doesn’t exist yet and we are thinking about it from a digital perspective,” said Plank.


To achieve connected fitness, Under Armour had to completely revamp its digital strategy. “Three years ago our digital strategy consisted of a single Web site,” said Plank. Now the company has 25 e-commerce sites globally and plans to launch five more in 2016. It has also put a strong mobile strategy in place. On Black Friday in 2015, mobile accounted for 28% of sales, up from 19% the year before, and Plank doesn’t see that trend slowing down. And most importantly, for the vision of connected fitness, Under Armour acquired a few technology-based fitness companies like MapMyFitness that had very large communities of people keeping track of their fitness and activity levels on mobile apps.


Acquiring fitness tracking companies gave Under Armour the technology leadership and engineering expertise it needed, as well as access to 160 million registered users. “It’s the largest digital health and fitness community by a factor of a lot,” said Plank. And it is growing rapidly. Every day 150,000 people download an Under Armour app. How the company engages with the community is a key part of its strategy.


The goal is to combine all the apps, data, and users into one health and fitness tracker app called Under Armour Record. It will connect with any wearable device and enable you to monitor and manage your sleep, fitness, activity, nutrition, weight, and how you feel overall. Users can analyze the data over time and share and compare themselves against other datasets as they see fit. “The problem with wearables before was that they may have been able to track your steps or sleep, but there was no call to action. There was no ability to compare your data with anything or anyone else to help make yourself better,” said Plank.


Under Armour Record app NRF 2016 SAP.jpg


Big Data improves customer experience

Combining the data in Under Armour Record with customer purchase history will help the company service its customers better. It will see fitness and health trends emerge in real time. It will be able to identify and react faster to customer needs based on actual activity and offer a more personalized product assortment and buying experience.


“In 2015 we had more than 2 billion workouts logged into our system. And I can tell you empirically that the average run is 3.116 miles. This type of data helps us make informed decisions,” said Plank.


For example. There are 800,000 people tracking their running shoes in Under Armour’s system. Past data shows that running shoes start to break down after 400 miles, which increases the chances of injury. To help prevent injury, Under Armour can send notifications to people, letting them know it’s time to replace their shoes when the app shows they’ve passed 400 miles.


The data in the system also shows Under Armour that there is a walking trend happening in Australia right now. Could anyone at company headquarters in the United States predict that was going to happen? Doubtful. But now Under Armour can plan and react better. It can localize its marketing and get merchandizing and products to the right place at the right time.


The more Under Armour knows about its customer’s fitness habits and health, the better it can serve them. “We are building, in partnership with SAP, something we call the single view of the consumer. This will truly tie together the fact that, if we know someone went on seven hikes last summer, they may want to look at our new hiking shoes,” said Plank. Having that type of personalized information will open up many opportunities to improve the customer experience.


The vision of connected fitness and the Under Armour Record app isn’t about technology or sportswear. It’s about improving people’s lives. It’s a complete system that includes a tight relationship and constant communication with consumers. “If we know how people feel when they work out, we can better understand how their needs are met,” said Plank. That will make life easier and better for customers and keep Under Armour on its staggering growth curve.

Visit the SAP NRF Resource Center to access keynotes, theater presentations, and videos from NRF 2016.


Related content:

#NRF16: Turning Big Data into Micro-Insights

How Brookshire Grocery is Personalizing the Customer Experience

ULTA Beauty Gives Beauty Product Shopping a Makeover



Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn

header-summit2016-general.jpgAs SAP CEO Bill McDermott recently proclaimed, Companies can no longer rely on the costly, siloed systems of yesterday to engage with their customers, who are savvy, multi-device digital natives. They want their needs understood and met — right now and every time.”

Companies ready to go beyond traditional CRM to meet the immediate needs of customers have the opportunity to get hands-on experience (and so much more) at the upcoming SAP Hybris Summit 2016. Planning to attend? Here are five experiences you cannot miss:

1) Be sure to visit the Mini-Theater throughout the Summit for comprehensive demonstrations of the latest SAP Hybris solutions like SAP Hybris as a Service and industry specific demos spanning manufacturing, wholesale, utilities, retail, public sector and many more.

2) When it comes to sessions, the SAP Hybris Summit has something for everyone. Thought leadership presentations, panel discussions and “How-To’s” focus on five areas: marketing, commerce, sales, service and billing. On Tuesday, make sure to attend the session “How To Unleash Your Digital Predator” featuring Pascal Matzke of Forrester Research. Download the agenda PDF here.

3) Hybris Spaces are designed to be the ultimate “unconference” experience, free form discussions where you choose the topics. Anyone can suggest or vote on a topic and you can start, participate or listen in. It’s up to you. Be sure to download the conference app (registrants will receive e-mail instructions) so you can vote on topics.

4) Funky Retail from Hybris Labs:



5) Don’t miss the Customer & Partner Awards Ceremony where the “best of the best” among SAP Hybris customers and partners will be recognized in a dazzling awards ceremony, complete with dinner and celebration.

For more information, check out the official event news release here and follow yours truly (@TClark01, @SAP_Journalism) and my colleague Judith Magyar (@magyarj) as we will be on-site providing detailed, daily coverage.

Sarah McMullin

You are what you eat?

Posted by Sarah McMullin Feb 10, 2016


In January, the Toronto Star published this article reporting on a restaurant that was “misrepresenting” its patrons through either direct substitutions (for example corn syrup for “Canadian Maple Syrup”) or “mislabeling” (for example regular Boned & Cut salmon for “BC Organic Salmon”). But it’s not just consumers who feel this pain.  Enterprises do too – particularly retailers and food producers.


Imagine you are a global retailer who sells a common staple like honey all around the world. How can you tell the golden material you are receiving at your warehouse is actually honey and not corn syrup?  Restaurant patrons in Toronto couldn’t.  Not only are retailers potentially losing money by paying higher prices but they may also become complicit in food fraud without even knowing it.


The same goes for food producers.  Imagine there is a drought in Colombia, where you regularly source Arabica coffee. What might your suppliers be more motivated to do if they cannot fulfil your large orders due to this drought? Dilution with Robusta is not unheard of.


At SAP we are collaborating with global leaders in food production, retail, and food safety on real solutions to address food fraud so we don’t have to rely on whistleblowers who have occasional pangs of conscience.  We want to rely on robust supply chain software solutions that can prevent food fraud in real-time, ultimately saving our customers money before it gets to their consumers and irrevocably damages brand equity.


Feel free to share this infographic to raise awareness and join us in being part of the solution to #StopFoodFraud


>> Sarah McMullin is a Director for Emerging Technologies at SAP Waterloo.  Working for a big company does not stop her from running simple like a startup.  Successful creator of junior honey badgers and applications that create new markets.  Fascinated by biogenomics and food fraud.  Follow me on twitter @Sarah_Sugoi


If you own a business that needs to manage inventory, you already know that means hard work. However, nowadays, this kind of work can be reduced by using a barcode inventory system that will help you track your products and deliveries at every moment.


What Does a Barcode Inventory System mean?

A typical barcode inventory system has two main components – hardware and software – and both of them need some devices to work, such as barcode printers, scanners, and mobile gadgets. This means that when you buy a barcode inventory system, you will also invest in tools and programs.


This system will allow you to track all the products you have, and you can see the progress and all the details of a delivery only by accessing a simple program, at any moment. This way, it will be a lot easier for youand your employees to stay organized and monitor the deliveries and the goods.

Avoid Human Mistakes

Even if you have a small business, you should know that human mistakes cannot be avoided and you should take them into consideration from the very start. No matter how hard your employees try, it is impossible not to make a mistake. A hard day at work, a personal problem or even a common headache could lead to an error that may cost you a small fortune. This is normal, as your staff is not a machine, but it’s made of human beings.


But this problem can be overcome by using a barcode inventory system, which dramatically reduces the chances of mistakes. Of course, these machines aren’t perfect either, but they are far more accurate that humans and they don’t get tired. Statistics show that inventory accuracy reaches more than 99% when businesses use a barcode inventory system.

Spare Time

Processing stocks through manual methods takes a lot of time and energy – resources that could be used for increasing your business’ profitability if you opt for barcoding systems. Moreover, the delivery time will be significantly reduced, which contributes to customers’ satisfaction. Saving time by using such an inventory system only comes with advantages for your business and encourages loyal customers.



Be Prepared for Growth

A barcode inventory system doesn’t have the same limits as human beings when it comes to the volume of work. It can track 500 or 50,000 items at the same time, which means that purchasing such a system will help you invest in scalability.


Another advantage is that any new employee you hire will be much easier to train. There is no doubt that memorizing the products’ codes and descriptions in order to find them requires a lot of effort and time. On the other hand, it is very easy to learn how to use a barcode system, not to mention that most of the people who have any experience as shop assistants already know how it works.

Make a Good Impression

By using a barcoding system instead of manual methods of inventory, you will spare time, and you can monitor every single order from your clients, tracking the delivery until it reaches the customer. This way, the delivery time will be reduced a lot, and your customers will undoubtedly appreciate this. This also happens if you sell items directly to the client. The result? You will make a good impression, which can help your business gain a loyal audience.

Have you been hearing more about ‘instant insight’ lately? Join us February 23 to find out the benefits to finance.


Attend our next #askSAP session to learn more about how SAP is helping the finance sector benefit from the digital age with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, optimized for S/4HANA Finance.


Learn how to achieve faster and more insightful budgeting and forecasting, quickly analyze changes to actuals vs. budgets, and use a common financial platform for budgets, forecasts and actuals.


Hear from SAP executives Uwe Fischer (Development Manager, SAP Business Planning and Consolidation) and Kirk Anderson (VP Go to Market EPM Solutions, SAP) as they preview SAP finance innovations – including real-time data access and consolidations.


During the session, moderated by SAP financials expert David Dixon (TruQua Enterprises), you will:


  • Get a close look at SAP’s roadmap for S/4HANA, including real-time consolidations
  • Preview the latest SAP finance developments, particularly the integration of SAP Business Planning and Consolidation with S/4HANA Finance
  • See the solution in action
  • Get plenty of opportunity to ask questions through live chat or twitter


John Steele, a Principal with Deloitte Consulting and an SAP Finance expert, will kick-off the call with a keynote on his vision of finance and EPM within the current marketplace.


This is your opportunity to join the conversation and share your thoughts on the direction SAP is taking with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, optimized for S/4HANA Finance.


Connect with us and submit your questions via Twitter with #askSAP.


Don’t miss this key learning opportunity!

Digital Disruption

Digital is a top of mind issue for many executives, including finance.  This was highlighted at the Davos Conference in January 2016, where Digital was a key theme. During the conference, business leaders such as Pierre Nanterme, the CEO of Accenture argued that Digital Disruption has only just begun.  Nanterme believes digital will be so much more than just a commercial opportunity. He predicts that saving lives, creating jobs and better stewardship of the environment will also be direct outcomes.  In another Davos session Dominic Barton, Global managing director of McKinsey & Company asks   “How can companies catch the digital wave”  He points out that disruptive new players are having a massive impact on markets and technology is enabling disruption by lowering the cost of entry.  Thack Brown, general manager and global head for SAP’s Line of Business Finance, and Henner Schliebs, SAP VP and head of Finance Audience Marketing agree. "We are at the outset of a once-in-a-generation wave of innovation and transformation.” they write in a SAPinsider Article.  “Enterprises at the forefront of the digital revolution are reimagining traditional processes and beliefs about the role of the finance organization” the article continues.Technology Innovation has Removed Barriers273919_h_srgb_s_gl.jpg

So how will the Digital Economy impact finance organizations? Finance is the backbone of every process, yet still has a large number of manual processes.  If finance is no longer limited by technology, then processes can be re-imagined.  This means finance processes can be designed to meet business needs, not just accommodate what the technology allows.  This could be a daily soft close, weekly or continuous planning processes or touchless invoices.

Lets not overlook that existing processes can be automated right now.  Leveraging business networks will help remove media breaks and many manual tasks. Recent McKinsey research agrees stating that in most jobs, not only finance 30% of current tasks could be automated.  Increasing the level of automation will help finance organizations to focus on innovation and delivering insight. I discussed this in more detail previously in an earlier blog  5 Strategies Being Used to Reimagine Finance

Don’t Forget the People

Yet the digital revolution is not only about technology, it also about people and skills.  Bruno Berthon, Managing Director, Digital Strategy, Accenture Strategy raises this point in a re/code article. He states that it is a myth that all that is needed is greater technology investment.  To realize all potential benefits there has to be focus on the skills needed to apply the technology. This is particularly relevant in finance organizations. Finance professionals are looking to be more strategic and expand responsibilities. Business partners are asking them for more detailed analysis and insight.  This requires the technology to provide real time data, but also for them to be able to analyze, present options and influence decisions

The Digital Journey 273914_l_srgb_s_gl.jpg

All this is happening at an unprecedented rate.  Cloud solutions, business networks and platforms mean that implementations are happening faster than ever and at lower cost, and this is set to continue. Each company will have a different journey to a digital business, and it is often an incremental journey. They need the flexibility choose the right approach for their business needs, be it a new implementation, integration, or migration scenario. However there are many resources such as the SAP S/4HANA Finance Journey Map, which outlines how to manage finance transformation and how to drive quick time-to-value. Brown and Schliebs conclude in the insider article that “With more than 2,000 customers choosing SAP S/4HANA Finance, it is the fastest growing product in SAP’s history and the platform of choice for finance organizations around the world looking to transform themselves for the digital economy”

So it will be no surprise to hear that Digital Transformation will be front and center at the SAP Insider Financials 2016 and GRC 2016.  Come and join us to discuss how finance can meet the demands of the digital economy and how you can help your companies people, processes and systems be ready.  The co-located events will take place from March 15 to 18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Scale! The one facet of business that leaders and CXOs love and hate at the same time. They love it, as it drives down cost and allows them to increase their market reach. They hate is, as with scale comes complexity and the associated perils. The one common quandary that most leaders driving business transformation face is “How do we design a scalable business and technology framework that will drive simplicity?”. While we had looked at how a cloud based framework can help in driving simplicity in the post  “Designing for simplicity”, we shall look at how we can leverage cloud for addressing the other facet of the equation, Scale!

Let us consider the same example in the previous post, the large global corporation with multiple lines of business driving a procurement transformation initiative through a common “Procure to Pay platform”. As is the case with any global corporation with many business units, no two businesses are ever the same, be it in terms of revenue generation or cost of operations or process maturity or technology landscape. A good starting point in any IT led business transformation journey would be to assess the process maturity across the companies and analyze the IT enablement of the processes. Typically, a study of the above in a global company would throw up a picture like this:





As is evident, there are clearly two levers that are play here:

  • Process maturity/IT enablement
  • Landscape fragmentation

These levers present two approaches to driving transformation and the resultant technology approaches:







If one were to wear a CIO’s hat and approach the transformation, a logical choice would be to take a ERP family approach, i.e. roll out the new “Procure to Pay” platform, one ERP family at a time. While this sounds a valid approach from a technology standpoint, as it helps handling integration and master data harmonization, one ERP at a time, it presents a two front battle for the CIO. Given the fact that not all companies in the same ERP family have the same process maturity, the IT team will have to battle both process change and platform change at the same time.

Anyone with an interest in warfare would know that opening up two fronts in a battle is an extremely risky strategy and while it may not result in defeat always, can lead to a long drawn out battle.


The ideal approach to drive a successful business transformation would be to look at “process maturity clusters” and plan the roll out, one cluster at a time. This is akin to the staggered starting positions in a track event. While the finish line remains the same for all athletes, the start positions are staggered given the distances they have to cover.

With all “process cluster” based deployments of global scale, come the template based approach where in a set of global processes are designed as “core processes”, with the country/business unit specific processes handled locally. The key to any business transformation initiative at scale is to maximize global processes and minimize local processes, but it is easier said than done with both central and business units vying for a say in the way the “to-be” processes are designed. Typically, the scenario which emerges is a fought out compromise with a process structure which is optimal as well as feasible.


Now that the process clusters are identified and the template is finalized, what remains is the landscape architecture which will enable realization of the “To-Be” processes.


This is where the complexity presents itself and hence comes the need for simplification. Taking a process cluster approach would mean that different sets of data and ERP families need to be integrated to the new “Procure to Pay” platform at different points in time.

What would have been a challenge in the  traditional “On-premise” world presents a big opportunity for simplification in the "Cloud world".

With Ariba’s Procure to Pay solution and its Federated Process Control architecture, global companies can set up “One to Many” mapping between a common procurement platforms with “global processes and rules” set at a parent realm while the “local processes and controls” set at the respective child realm per ERP family. What this allows is the flexibility to deploy the common platform based on process maturity clusters without compromising on the nuances of the backend ERP. With a single integration later and ERP specific objects such as cost centers, org elements etc and modelling tools are available out of the box in Ariba Procure to Pay for most ERPs, plugging in different ERPs into a single rollout phase becomes as simple as rolling out the solution per ERP cluster.


This ensures that business and technology leaders have to fight only one battle and that is of process change, which is made painless by the simple and easy to use “Total User Experience” by SAP Aribascale-8.jpg

Now that we have looked at leveraging the cloud for driving simplicity and scale, , I shall explore how organizations can leverage the cloud for speed in the next post “Designing for speed”.

Kai Goerlich

12 Trends For 2016

Posted by Kai Goerlich Feb 8, 2016

During the last year it became obvious that digitization is speeding up, and in 2016 we expect that its impact on our societies and economies will further increase. As a result, some trends and effects will become clearer this year and we’ll also start to see new ones, like the things I’ve outlined below.

  1. More radical (digital) business strategies
    Digitization will lead to faster changes in 2016, and more organizations will start re-inventing their business strategies to get out of classical industrialization and into the next industrial revolution. In addition, we will see more digitization-related functions in companies, such as the chief digitization officer (CDO)
  2. More resources will get more volatile
    We’ve already observed with oil and gas prices how fast and furious the globalized world can react on resource fluctuations. With more expected weather extremes and increasingly large resource footprints, we can expect significantly higher volatility in 2016, forcing companies to save and replace resources and to expand their supply networks.
  3. Sustainable business will kick off
    The UN conference on climate change in Paris and the recent World Economic Forum in Davos clearly show that climate change is on the agenda. IT might help, but it will definitely need to get out of the old resource dependencies and use patterns. I think 2016 will be the year when – besides some early movers – more companies will start reducing their ecological footprint and evaluating approaches, such as the circular economy, to stay competitive.
  4. Industrialization goes platform
    Industry will rebuild its infrastructure for the next round of digitization and start building up more platforms for Industry 4.0, robotics, and IoT. We will hear more buzz around autonomous robots, machine learning, and fully integrated production in 2016.
  5. To print or not to print
    There’s no doubt that 3D printing has all the potential to be disruptive, but it seems that it is more an evolution than a rush. In 2016 companies will find more use cases, but otherwise cautiously evaluate the impact on product quality and supply chains.
  6. More discussions around jobs, skills, and employment uncertainty
    Increasing automation threatens to wipe out a substantial portion of the middle-class jobs from old industrialization. Whether enough new jobs can be created, and which ones they may be, will be one of the biggest political discussion in 2016. It seems we need new concepts and we will hear more from experiments around basic income this year. On the same level, companies and countries have to address the ongoing skills gaps between old and new economy jobs and the increasing pressure on employees to acquire new skills and work in more precarious jobs.
  7. Pragmatic IoT use cases
    This year IoT will finally get out of the tech niche into mainstream business, as more companies will start exploring the business potential with concrete use cases. After the mythbusting, we may see clearer where and how IoT will expand or significantly change business processes, which things are getting a digital boost first, and where devices will play an even bigger role. We expect more remote maintenance and digitized assets but some unexpected surprises as well.
  8. Customer experience across all channels
    Companies will step up their efforts to offer a lighter shopping experience and close the gap between digital and physical. We will see more digitization in stores by using beacons, near-field technology, augmented reality, and virtual reality in exploration mode. Helping customers find what they are really looking for will get more important.
  9. Finding patterns in a growing data pile
    The struggle will go on in 2016 to separate the necessary from the unnecessary data, and companies will focus more on real-time and live business processes. We will hear more about AI and machine learning from Hadoop, in memory, and algorithms, and security and privacy issues.
  10. Software factory The future of business IT will look more like a smartphone’s business process app than the old ERP we know. This year we will see more organizations using microservices to more freely select and combine their business functions from a menu of services and a variety of third-party vendors.
  11. Internet reloaded The Internet is one of mankind’s greatest inventions, but trolling, censuring, and the decline of independent media is starting to become a threat for democracies. We will see more discussion around this in 2016 – and hopefully some solutions.
  12. The new smart what? The touch-screen smartphone is nearly 10 years old, so we might start looking for a substitute this year. A hint: it may not be a solid thing anymore. .

For more insight on the impact of digitalization, see Our Digital Planet: A Digital-First World

276114_l_srgb_s_gl.jpgCan I afford public or private school for my family? Should we purchase that larger home next year? These are the types of questions small and mid-sized business owners must ask themselves.  The division between personal and professional is often unclear and the business consumes most of their day- and their future. Much is at stake. Given this, what can a business owner do to ease the burden of their worries?


Don't Supersize Me- and then charge me for it

In the modern world, a variety of tools are available to help a small business run smoothly. But small business owners often draw boundaries between what they view as tools for "big business" and the tools they believe are relevant to their needs. Even the naming of some of these tools can be confusing: How can software known as enterprise resource planning (ERP), for example, be a good fit for a one-person operation, or even a 10-person operation? Instead of viewing business software as a single entity, it's helpful to frame it as a collection of individual tools. An enterprise-level business may be able to afford the whole tool chest at once, but small businesses often don't need quite so much right away. Instead, they focus on being able to purchase technology in "bite size" pieces, choosing tools as needed, rather than all at once. While software isn't a cure-all for a small business, at the end of the day it simply helps life run more smoothly, by making it easier to manage finances, employees, and the never-ending regulatory changes, among other concerns. The freedom to mix and match is key, using only the useful tools with no obligation to explore the entire world of enterprise-level software right away.


Compliment my “Gut Feel” Decision Making

Software is often the tool that allow a business owner to keep their personal and professional worlds separate, while still ensuring both worlds are well managed. Whether it's bookkeeping, taxes, marketing or more, being able to turn to software that holds objective, unbiased information is a blessing in many forms. It provides data-based decision making and encourages less reliance on the inconsistent "gut feeling" that so many business owners have relied on for years. In particular, it's vital to be able to turn to data that has no relation to the often-subjective world that characterizes a business owner's personal life. Whether a business manager or employee is calm or upset, stressed or relaxed, tools will present clear, unbiased information, making it easier to pivot back into the objective business owner mindset and make smart decisions. Notably, medium sized business are often better at making use of technology than small businesses, as research shows that only 18 percent of small business owners use "big data" analytics to make informed decisions, in comparison to 57 percent of mid-sized businesses. This indicates that small business owners may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of using technology tools, when they should embrace the potential for that technology to make their lives easier, instead.



By leveraging the right tools, and using them in the right way, business owners are able to find some solstice in their decision making. Since the risk of success sits squarely on their shoulders, any comfort they can find via greater insight and data, as well as tools build for them (that can grow with them) are key. They allow for planning and data to accompany the gut feel. Together, these are a powerful combination.


"Every time I get another data point, I've added another piece to the jigsaw puzzle, and I'm closer to seeing the answer. And then, one day, the overall picture suddenly comes to me."- Joel Pittman, founder, MTV



About the Author: Jennifer Schulze is a small business owner and VP of Marketing at SAP.  She drives her company forward with not only gut feel, but also by leveraging the benefits of technology whenever possible.  In her SAP role, she leads a global team of marketing experts to ensure partner demand generation, awareness, and go-to-market success. She has more than 20 years of experience in consumer and technology marketing, with expertise in software, services, and consumer and business products.



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The holidays are over and chances are your checking account took a hit over the holiday break. Whether it was buying a ton of presents for the family and friends in your life, or a fun-filled vacation with the family, it’s not surprising that most bread winners are looking for ways to score some extra bread in the New Year.


Crank Up That Overtime!

If you’re paid on an hourly basis, there’s nothing sweeter than cashing a check at the end of the week with a ton of overtime. Sure, working more than 40 hours a week means spending less time with the family. But, in the end, if you can dig yourself out of a financial hole by picking up a few extra hours at work, why not make the time you spend with your family a little less stressful?


Explore Career Options

As a New Year dawns, it’s always a great time to explore your personal goals and where your career is taking you. Is it time to make a change? Are there things you could do differently at work to maximize your income? Annual reviews often happen at the beginning of the year. Are you ready to ask your boss for the raise you deserve?


If your answer is that you need to look at other options in order to make more money, then what education or skills do you need to gain in order to make the jump to the career of your dreams? Take a few courses at the community college, start looking at internships and build the bridge to your future!


Turn Overdue into Cash

If you work for yourself, it can be difficult getting clients to pay on time. Customers will always have excuses for why a payment couldn’t be made. Are you getting the “check’s in the mail” excuse time and time again? It’s probably time to reassess how you’re collecting payment for your work.


The gig economy is here to stay. It’s an amazing way to earn extra income while keeping the security of your day job. Getting paid to do what you love can be both financially rewarding and personally fulfilling. Take on new challenges and build a network of contacts in your industry that will help you get to where you want to go.


Cut Expenses

Take a close look at your monthly living and discretionary expenses. How are you spending money each month? Are you paying for multiple video streaming services? Do you really need that security system at the house? Assess your expenses and prune back costs where you can. You’ll enjoy the extra money every month!


Maximize Tax-Advantaged Savings

Tired of paying a huge chunk of your paycheck to Uncle Sam? Pay yourself first and screw the tax man by investing your money in a 401(k) at work. Let your money grow, tax-free, and watch your net worth skyrocket year over year. Charitable deductions are also a huge plus when it comes time to file those income taxes.

The Super Bowl holds a special place in my childhood memory. It was Super Bowl XIX, and the San Francisco 49ers were playing the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium. History was taking place in my hometown, and at least four separate children’s choruses were brought together to form the “Super Bowl Children’s Chorus” and sing The National Anthem. I was 11 years old and, as a member of the San Francisco Boys Chorus, I was there on the field with roughly 100 other children right in the center of it all.


The 49ers emerged triumphant, and the day served as an inspiration for thousands of fans, me included. I went on to play football myself, though not professionally, and the sport has continued to play an important role in my life. 


This weekend, I will attend the Super Bowl for the second time, and, yet again, it will be in my hometown. My role in this Super Bowl is quite different, though, and the Super Bowl itself will be far more historic. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, and I will be among a group proudly representing SAP as we celebrate our collaboration with the National Football League, the Super Bowl Host Committee and a number of great partner organizations and companies. 


SAP has long been a proud sponsor of the NFL and Levi's Stadium, where Super Bowl 50 will be taking place. The Silicon Valley region was chosen because the NFL wanted a marquee location for their most celebrated Super Bowl yet, and the Super Bowl Host Committee here in San Francisco set out to make this Super Bowl “the most technologically advanced and connected Super Bowl ever.” 



Sports bring people of all different backgrounds, cultures and nations together in celebration of not only triumph in athletics but also in celebration of what’s possible more broadly. That includes triumphs of technology and business. The Super Bowl presented a rich opportunity to showcase technology in a way that was accessible to sports fans and others who are not immersed in the technology world. This was our chance to make the cutting edge accessible to people, showing them its potential in a real way that provided them with not only a fun experience but one that was engaging, inspiring and even useful. 


If you are among the lucky few able to attend the game at Levi’s Stadium, you’ll see a number of opportunities to engage with the rich repository of data and information about the game and the players. We teamed up with the NFL to create player-comparison tools as well as technological enhancements made specifically for Super Bowl 50 to help people more deeply experience the game and follow-up via e-mail to track how certain players performed.


Those experiences are limited to the few thousand people who are fortunate enough to attend the game itself. What about the people who want to experience the Super Bowl outside of the stadium? We worked with the NFL and the Super Bowl Host Committee to make sure their needs were met as well.


If you find yourself in San Francisco during the Super Bowl celebrations, check out Super Bowl City and the “Fan Energy Zone powered by SAP”, which features virtual reality, data visualization and motion capture technologies in three separate games: “Quarterback Challenge”, “Amp It Up” and “Breakaway”. For the “Quarterback Challenge”, visitors will be able to don a virtual reality headset and become a quarterback. In “Amp It Up”, they can perform their own half-time show, measuring fan reaction through a musical and dance game. “Breakaway” gives them the chance to pretend to catch a ball and run with it, also using motion-capture technology. Visitors can have their scores captured on their player ID, which each visitor receives when they arrive.


There are also 5,000 people who have signed up to volunteer for Super Bowl 50, so we also designed a mobile app to coordinate that effort and provide volunteers with a valuable, social experience to manage schedules, participate in virtual training and access event info. All of these points of engagement are data-driven, interactive and, most importantly, they were created using human-centered design and powered by SAP HANA.


Traditionally, we have been seen as a product company, leveraging design thinking to think about next-generation solutions and products. There were products involved in our design for Super Bowl 50, but overall this was a bit different for us in that it was experience design rather than product design. We had to think about all aspects of the visitor experience — arrival, registration, retrieving a player ID for the interactive games, the experience for those in line and how to teach people the games quickly. Most importantly, there was the question of how to keep the experience memorable. That last question led us to design the follow-through experience, providing people information about their game performance via e-mail. 


We worked closely with the Super Bowl Host Committee to place the fans and attendees at the center of our design. We conducted design thinking sessions with members of the NFL and the Super Bowl Host Committee, and we also conducted empathy and need-finding work with fans to design the best possible Super Bowl experience. 


Beyond the nuts and bolts of designing the experience, this collaboration is particularly meaningful to me in that it presented an opportunity to show how technology can enhance the human experience. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other technologies that stand to play a key role in the digital transformation can, when designed with people at the center, bring us together, help us better coordinate and more effectively communicate.


These types of uses are on display at Super Bowl City and in Levi’s Stadium in a way and on a level that is accessible to those who might not have experienced technology like this before. So, if you have the chance to enjoy these experiences, I hope they are not only fun but that they also inspire you to think about technology in new and different ways.


Oh, and before I go, if you’re wondering how I did during my own tour through Super Bowl City, I think I held my own! You’re welcome to see for yourself, and if you get a chance to visit, I hope to hear how you did as well. In the meantime, enjoy this great city, have a great Super Bowl and, to the players and fans, have a great game. 

The statistics around obesity are shocking.


According to recent estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1.9 billion adults worldwide are overweight. Of these, more than 600 million are obese.shutterstock_197604530.jpg


Even more distressing is the fact that 42 million children under the age of 5 are considered overweight or obese.


The negative health consequences of excess weight are well-known. A high body mass index (BMI) – which is the weight-to-height measurement commonly used to identify obesity – is a major risk factor in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, and some cancers.


And new research now suggests a link between obesity and dementia.


The problem is global. WHO states that most of the world’s population live in countries where being overweight and obese kills more people than being underweight.


With the stakes this high, world governments and the private sector are seeking effective ways to confront the epidemic.


Latin America is a Case in Point

Latin America might be ground zero in this global struggle.


As reported by Reuters, more than 56% of Latin American adults are overweight or obese – compared to a global average of 34%. Many experts point to the region’s changing dietary habits since the 1980s – like an explosive increase in processed foods – as a key contributing factor.


Increasingly, the battle against obesity in Latin America and elsewhere is being fought with a broader arsenal of weapons that includes diet, exercise, weight-loss programs, surgical procedures, new pharmaceuticals, and even legislative action.


The Mexican government, for example, has levied an excise tax on certain food products as a way to cut down on the country’s growing obesity problem. The country’s congress passed a one-peso-per-liter tax on sugary beverages and an 8% percent sales tax on junk foods that include chips, cookies, candy, and ice cream.


Pharmaceutical Companies Join the Fight

The private sector is also looking to make a difference.


Productos Medix S.A. de C.V. is a good example. Based in Mexico City, Medix is a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer that specializes in comprehensive healthcare solutions. In addition to developing pharmaceuticals for obesity and metabolic disorders, Medix also works with strategic partners to market portion-controlled meal replacement products.


Although Medix has been around for more than 50 years, it is not surprising that the company has expanded significantly in recent years. It now has a presence throughout Central America and in countries such as Argentina and Columbia.


Medix is investing heavily in its Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (CIDEFARMA). CIDEFARMA’s primary function is to unify the company’s various technological projects. Here, Medix is investigating new obesity treatments that it hopes will offer lower, more effective doses and reduced side effects.


The company has also undergone a major transformation on its business side. For example, Medix recently implemented a cloud-based human resource solution to help develop the talent that will be needed in its continuing fight against obesity. And with assistance from OptiSoft S.A. de C.V. and Bayco Consulting S.C., the pharmaceutical manufacturer has consolidated 60 different software systems on a single business platform.


This integration will help Medix ensure the quality standards and regulatory compliance that are critical to pharmaceutical companies as they seek next-generation drug therapies.


Fighting Obesity on Many Fronts

Obesity is not a problem restricted to a single region of the world or to any one demographic. Again according to WHO, obesity has more than doubled worldwide since 1980.


Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a single answer to this problem. But with all the health consequences associated with being overweight, obesity is probably a challenge best met on many fronts.


It is always worth saying that controlling obesity starts with the basics of diet and exercise. And of course, be sure to consult your physician before starting any weight loss regime.


Building a successful company is hard work. SAP’s affordable solutions for small and midsize companies are designed to make it easier. SAP SME solutions help you automate and integrate your business processes to give real-time actionable insights. So you can make decisions on the spot. Find out how Run Simple can work for you. Visit sap.com/sme.

Follow me on Twitter at @JohnGWard3.

You might also like:

This SAP Business Transformation Study about Productos Medix.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” ― Charles Darwin



274657_l_srgb_s_gl.jpgAt the rate business is changing today, you have to stay a step ahead all of the time, while focusing on what made your business successful: the customers, your reputation, and driving outcomes. Technology is just one of the many ways to do this, but it’s an enabler, not a panacea. It should male and female lead togetherbe there to facilitate positive change, freeing up time for you as a business owner to leverage your expertise to keep things on track. Technology solutions need to work for you to stay on top of what your company offers as best practices to serve your customers. The good news is while change is good, what you have been doing today isn’t necessarily bad. It can be leveraged to keep up desired progress, saving cost and eliminating duplicative efforts.


Embrace the trends, but don’t forget the basics

When we as humans evolved, Darwin tells us we adapted some things (thumbs) and abandoned others (like big heads). Some things (fingers) remain and serve us very well to this day. This is important to remember as you embark on change and embrace the great new things that come your way. While customers may be looking for mobile technology to facilitate purchasing (replacing or combined with brick and mortar store purchasing), they will still buy from companies they believe in and trust.  81% of individuals say social media interaction about a product by a friend directly influenced their purchasing decision. Want to sell more? Get out there and create an army of friends who believe in you – it’s crucial to business success. The trust you gain from your customers/prospects won’t increase or decrease because they purchase on a mobile device; it’s your business promise that sells.


Stitch it all together

Ever seen a Liger? Nor have I, but I know one exists.

We likely haven’t seen them because the experiment of breeding a lion and a tiger just doesn’t work. Although it is a beautiful animal, it can’t function outside of captivity and without lots of extra care. While embarking on your organization’s change and putting in new people/processes and systems to succeed, make sure you don’t build a Liger. It will cost you a fortune to manage. Instead, build a highly productive donkey, taking the best of what you have and what you need to succeed in a manageable way. Your “donkey” may not be perfect but it will function well and keep you on track. Essentially think of a hybrid, highly functional landscape as your best solution. Not only are on-premise and cloud software being used together, but this blended deployment model also changes what skills are needed to deploy and stitch the infrastructure together to run effectively.


Beware of extinction

We don’t know much about the dinosaurs but we do know that when they were around, they were truly strong and impactful. They were on top of their game, roaming earth without a clue that they might not be around in the future. A few animals out there today are direct ancestors of dinosaurs and made it (ever heard of the Kimono Dragon?) What did they do right? The answer is they adapted and used the skills they needed to take them into whatever lied ahead. They took the best of the old world, used it in the new and kept adapting to their environment. You can do this with your business and technology too.  Need access to a great solution that you don’t have to manage? Have someone else do it for you. Don’t want to hire a multitude of people for a part time project? Outsource. It’s key that you adjust and provide immediate proof of concept and flexible solutions to customers so they understand your relevance and see immediate value. The benefit of this is that you too can evolve when and where you need to in order to stay relevant for years to come and avoid the way of the dinosaurs.


In closing, remember these words from Darwin: “A monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.” Learn to adapt and change (like the monkey). In doing so, you will be wiser. You’ll also take your business where it needs to go, growing when and how required and pulling everything together in a manageable way, facilitating success for years to come.

World Cancer Day.png

Today is World Cancer Day (WCD), a day devoted to recognizing that we can all take steps, big or small, to help this often fatal disease.  From preventative and precautionary measures, to raising awareness and educating ourselves and others, WCD promotes the notion that every effort counts.


Currently 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide each year, and of that number, four million people die prematurely (between the ages of 30 and 69.)  The number of new cases is expected to grow exponentially over the next 10 years.


Today governmental, technology, and healthcare organizations are working together to make big strides in the fight to cure cancer.


“For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all,” said President Barack Obama during his recent State of the Union Address.


Obama then called on US Vice President Joe Biden to lead a cancer moonshot to find a cure for this disease.


To begin, Vice President Biden summoned a group of international leaders in cancer research, treatment, and data science. The panel, which recently convened at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, covered potential opportunities to advance the pace of progress in the fight against cancer.


SAP CEO Bill McDermott was seated on the panel to cover the topic of Big Data analytics and the critical role technology is already playing in the hunt for a cure. Through partnerships with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Molecular Health, and the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg, Germany, SAP has proven that its in-memory computing platform, SAP HANA, is changing the way doctors and health systems comprehend and handle massive amounts of cancer research and data.


With high speed data analysis capabilities, organizations can comprehend billions of patient data sets on DNA sequences, electronic health records, past health history, and all existing cancer research.


Doctors are on the brink of finally being able to benchmark current patients against past instances of similar cancers, dig deep into how people with certain genes will respond to different treatments, and be able to make informed decisions based on facts, not judgment.



Current Pioneers

Varian Medical Systems, for example, is a leading manufacturer of oncology radiation equipment. Varian Medical Systems recently deployed SAP HANA and SAP Fiori user experience as a native app to improve processes around early product costing and employee efficiency.


ASCO, with its cloud-based health IT platform, CancerLinQ, will soon be able to harness big data from millions of de-identified patient records to deliver high-quality, personalized care to people with cancer and cancer survivors. The organization hopes to have 1 million patient records in the system by June 2016. So far, the system contains records from roughly 500,000 patients collected by 350 physicians in 15 practices.


NCT Heidelberg co-innovated to create SAP Medical Research Insights, a software designed to match patients to clinical trials based on various user-selected attributes such as type of cancer, tumor histology, and differences in survival rate. Doctors and patients are using this patient data to optimize individual cancer therapies and pioneer individualized care.


In honor of World Cancer Day, educate yourself on the ways that you can raise awareness and get involved.


For those that lost the battle and for those we can save…today we have the technology to provide precise and personalized treatments. Today, #WeCanICan. 




For more stories, follow me on Twitter @CMDonato


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