I was lucky to participate in a meeting with Douglas Shuptar and Patrick Bresnan where they were presenting to a long time SAP customer that is spinning up several new projects.  The customer has been extremely successful with SAP but they want to take their implementation to the next level.  Creating a CoE is the answer.


Doug's definition of a COE is "a team acting across business units to align stakeholders, manage operations and deliver innovative solutions at the “right” price and quality."


CoE Workshop.jpgThe following are four benefits of a CoE:


Drives Value from the SAP investments and provides the management and support for solutions as an integrated team using common processes.


Drives Accountability by assuring that all requests are balanced against a common resource pool, and prioritized by business value, current commitments and future plans


Drives Business Alignment through collaborative development of strategic plans, business cases, and requirements while involving SAP expertise early in the Demand Process


Optimizes Resources by focusing team members on high-value add functional and technical services while developing and maintaining a close alignment with their business counterparts


When building a COE, all decision should make sure they increase customer satisfaction, lower total cost of ownership (TCO), and generate business value.


I would be interested in your experiences with creating a CoE.  What term does your organization call a CoE?  Please comment below or e-mail me directly @ mark.marcus@sap.com.

We all know that consumers are disrupting companies’ business models. One visible example is the increasingly popular practice of “scan and scram” (a.k.a. “showrooming”), in which customers browse in brick-and-mortar stores but use their mobile devices to find better prices online. According to comScore, four out of ten consumers “showroom” first then purchase online. Some retailers have attempted to counter this trend by rolling out price-matching guarantees.

But discounting is not a long-term solution. Given access to information in the Internet age, low price is an indefensible strategy. At a time when business models are being continuously challenged, every customer must know exactly what your company stands for if you want to stand out.


For example, even though Target recently announced that it would match the prices of some online retailers, it has successfully staked out a position as “high design” (at an affordable price). Target understands that positioning means more today than a snappy tag line hatched by Mad Men. In a digital world, it’s no longer possible to have a gap between what you say and do. Everything, from the distribution network to the call center to R&D, must support a company’s positioning. It’s not just about consistency of message; it’s a matter of survival.


Said another way, positioning is no longer a marketing problem, it’s a company problem. The CEO needs to clearly articulate the urgency of this new reality and unite the organization. Marketing is strategically important to the follow through, both in terms of supporting the CEO in determining the right positioning and in becoming the glue that holds the different parts of the company together behind the promise. Why? Because armed with the voice of the market and an outside-in perspective, marketing is best equipped to help different areas of the company support the positioning.


However, many marketing groups are not ready to take on this kind of leadership role. They are trapped in their tactical silos, whether from a lack of skills, vision, or their place in the organization. Some tough love, resources, and air cover from the CEO will transform marketing from an order taker to a business driver.


To be that partner, marketing must embrace five key responsibilities:

  1. Represent the voice of the market. Most employees see no tangible benefit in their silo or in their KPIs from listening to the market, despite all the bromides from CEOs imploring them to do so. Marketing understands (or should, anyway) the voice of the market in all its different forms, from customers (and non-customers) to analysts to trending topics in social media and search. Marketing must be the cultural catalyst that gets the company thinking about the market.
  2. Be the champion of the overall experience. When people interact with brands, they still have relatively fragmented experiences—online is different from in-store, etc. The social Web has increased the urgency of addressing this fragmentation because customers can quickly identify—and amplify—any inconsistencies between what a company says it is (positioning) and how it acts.
  3. Be the brand steward. This traditional marketing role has taken on a new twist because companies no longer control their brand. Instead, marketers must take on a more subtle role: working with internal groups (such as customer service) to humanize the brand and influencing (rather than dictating) how those outside the corporate walls use the brand.
  4. Capitalize on insights. For the first time, marketing has the ability to get a view of customers in real time. Using customer, market, and social data together, marketing can get a macro view (think crunching data on a scale unheard of a few years ago) as well as a micro view (think data equivalent of a focus group) so that businesses can observe and react in the moment just like humans do. In retail it’s the instant offers in the aisles you’re hearing about; in other industries it could be adjusting territory and account planning on the fly. In high tech it could be serving up content in response to a person’s actions on the website. CMOs must learn how to apply both the art and the science of marketing.
  5. Be an integrator and force multiplier across the company. Most large organizations are designed around any number of silos—by geography, product, or function. Marketing needs to rise above these divisions (including its own) and think holistically about the company’s overall value proposition, integrating messages and insights across business units, geographies, and functional groups.


By doing these things, CMOs will see how the business model should change over time and play a role in helping make that happen. CEOs need to give them the permission to do that. Together, these five responsibilities add up to something very powerful: the ability for marketing to both visualize and evangelize the future.


CEOs, what do you think about this role for your CMO? Fellow CMOs, are we ready to handle it?


Follow me on Twitter: @jbecher

This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn on January 28, 2013.

Derek Klobucher

Press Release Rehab

Posted by Derek Klobucher Jan 31, 2013

A camel is a horse designed by committee. Sure, it’s got an onboard water reservoir, but it isn’t nearly as quick or nimble as it ought to be.


SAP Business Trends 01-31-2013-A.jpg
What do you get when you cross a horse with a committee? (Photo from http://animalvista.com)

So it is with the press release model, a clumsy style of writing by committee. Public relations experts spend way too much time and effort gathering the facts, generating fake quotes from executives, and then shopping the increasingly butchered document around for approval from a phalanx of other executives and cohorts.


“I’m not sure we will ever cure the addiction to press releases, but we should be able to manage the disease with alternative formats,” a colleague told me. “They can get better communications results by using other formats, such as blogs and articles.”


When prompted recently to think about better ways of reaching out to the press, I thought back to a blog post from this month about one-to-one marketing. Individually reaching out to a handful of journalists interested in a specific topic, I reasoned, would be far more valuable than blasting an impersonal press release to hundreds of reporters on a distribution list -- and hoping that the release would find fertile ground in a least a few places it had been scattered.


Peace of Mindset


There are many ways to effectively communicate, but institutional inertia is tough to overcome. So we often have to start with people’s mindset, which can be just as difficult because people grow ever more comfortable with familiarity.


SAP Business Trends 01-31-2013-B.jpg
Siddharth Taparia wrote in SAP Business Trends about how India’s universal identification program uses Big Data to improve the lives of millions of poor people.

That is why we’re trying to cultivate and showcase innovative thinking on SAP Business Trends.


Some organizations don’t see the business value in evolving IT strategy, while others clearly do. So conversations about intersecting value and strategy help everyone connect dots and open doors to emerging business trends.


SAP Business Trends garnered almost 73,000 page views in Q4 -- more if you count views from previous quarters’ blog posts. Q1 of 2013 looks even better with strong content, such as:



Early Adopter


SAP Business Trends 01-31-2013-C.jpg
SAP CIO Oliver Bussmann tried on clothes virtually in a store of the future at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show.

Oliver Bussmann knows a thing or two about business trends. He’s the SAP CIO who deployed more than 18,000 iPads to the company’s workforce.


“I have to watch [new wireless and mobile] trends because it becomes the demand in enterprise mobility,” Bussmann said earlier this month. “We at SAP are also helping our customers connect with their customers through mobile, game-changing consumer apps.”


While Bussmann went to the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to find out what was new and hot in his industry, the rest of us can stay put. The market landscape is changing, and SAP Business Trends is following it.


Odds and Trends


I’m not betting that my press release suggestions will revolutionize how public relations experts do their jobs at SAP -- or anywhere else. But a lot of what you read on SAP Business Trends is doing nothing short of changing the world.


And none of it is written by a committee.


Related Media:


Mobile Devices and Customer Service to Make 2013 the Year of the Consumer” on SAP Business Trends


Q4 Results Reward SAP’s Pioneering Walk in the Cloud” on SAP Business Trends


SAP CIO Explores Consumer Technologies Impacting the Enterprise at CES” on YouTube

Investors voted with their money at the end of 2012, sending almost €100bn in private funds back into the Eurozone’s periphery, Financial Times reported this week. This follows encouragement by the European Central Bank to reinvest in the region, and has reassured policy makers that their crisis is over.


Mid-Sized Companies Use HANA 01-30-2013-A.jpgBut 2012 also ended with a decline in lending to Eurozone businesses and consumers, according to The Wall Street Journal this week. Signs like this conflicting with ever more indications that the financial sector is healing have businesses around the globe streamlining their operations.


In-memory technology is one way for companies to get the most out of every dollar, euro or rand they spend. Analyzing streams of Big Data in milliseconds -- as opposed to hours or even days -- is a tremendous advantage for organizations of all sizes.


Papers In Order


SAP HANA’s in-memory technology provides immediate results and business benefits for the mid-sized Koehler Paper Group. Digital media has decreased demand for paper, causing overcapacity across the industry, so the Oberkirch, Germany-based paper manufacturer uses HANA to analyze solid facts, such as real-time raw material prices and exchange rates.


Mid-Sized Companies Use HANA 01-30-2013-B.jpgWhen margins are as tight as they are in the paper industry, even tiny factors are important to reaching business objectives.


“SAP HANA enables our management to achieve their business goals,” Koehler’s Karl Schindler, Head of IT, told SAP TV. “In the future, we’re planning to introduce mobile reporting ... so that board members, executives and salespeople have all business data available at any time no matter where they are in the world.”


More than 100 Koehler employees work with HANA, analyzing up to 14 million sets of data in seconds. HANA allows queries of any kind by anyone, from the CEO to the newest hire, providing new insights, which in turn let Koehler react to information -- and grow its business -- faster than before.


That’s Service!


Staying ahead of the competition means better decision-making in the paper industry. But providing first-class service to customers is what differentiates competitors in the communications industry.


Mid-Sized Companies Use HANA 01-30-2013-C.jpgLack of infrastructure makes much of Africa a tough place to run many types of business, but mid-sized Nashua Communications’ customers demand topnotch service throughout the continent. So the Johannesburg South Africa-based enterprise network and communication solutions provider relies on SAP Business One analytics powered by HANA to meet those needs.


“We have a lot of very, very stringent service-level agreements with some of our customers, meaning that we have to respond to service calls within a very short space of time.” Nashua CIO Darren de Vries told SAP TV. “Implementation of SAP HANA has definitely reduced the overhead required from IT to deliver certain services to our user base.”


Nashua is also using HANA to steadily increase its ability to react lightning-fast to consumer demands, allowing the company to attract more business from across South Africa.


Growing Fonder


HANA lets people access information using tools they’re already comfortable with. As a result, employees have the confidence to generate their own reporting content faster than before -- without having to rely on their IT department to generate reports for them.


So many tools and capabilities on a single platform have convinced employees at both Koehler and Nashua that SAP HANA will help their businesses grow.


Related Media:


Euro periphery draws back €100bn” in Financial Times


Euro-Zone Credit Sluggish Despite Upbeat Sentiment” in The Wall Street Journal


At the Speed of Light” on SAP TV

smallroboticsblog.jpgRobotics is one of the hottest trends in 2013. From its lowly beginnings in housework (think: Roomba), robotics are fast tracking up the ladder of importance in everyday lives. Self-driving cars, robotic surgery, and robotic exoskeletons for soldiers are indeed serious stuff. Even toymakers like Lego are moving from the ranks of hobbyists to make a huge difference in people’s lives. Case in point is the partnership between FIRST LEGO League (FLL), Trophy Computers & Robotics, and SAP in South Africa.


As founders of Trophy Computers & Robotics, Pieter and Zelda Pretorius introduced FLL in South Africa almost a decade ago. Headquartered in Vanderbijlpark, with clubs throughout Gauteng, South Africa, Trophy Robotics conducts clubs that give children hands-on experience in science and technology using Legos. Classes include basic programming and building skills. With sponsorship from SAP, Trophy Computer & Robotics trains coaches, mentors and students in 10 clubs from primary grade school through university level. Many participate in the FLL competition which grew to 120 teams in 2012.


“Our mission is to bring robotics to children who would otherwise never get an opportunity to work with these kinds of technologies. We want to give them an experience that will influence their career choices,” says Pretorius.


Students learn management and communication skills as they work on teams to design, build, program, and test a robot. It’s a unique combination of physics, mechanical, electrical, and structural engineering, along with math and computing. Many choose to participate in the FLL competition so they also learn how to present their designs to a panel of judges.


Bringing robotics technology to students in disadvantaged communities can have a profound impact at every grade level. Pretorius says training in robotics helps develop problem-solving skills as it fosters a student’s ability to design and build independently. All of this boosts self-confidence as students gain critical thinking and creative skills. Pretorius explains that “because technological problems have no one right answer, learners can explore an endless number of possible solutions.”


While he acknowledges results are difficult to quantify, Pretorius says that Trophy Robotics does keep track of club members of the years. Parent feedback indicates that students have benefitted greatly from the clubs, improving math grades and overall concentration. This is especially so with children in primary school, and those with learning disabilities. Some have become engineers, forensic scientists, auditors, and IT specialists.

“I would love to see FLL in all schools in South Africa, and I think that SAP has done tremendous work towards this vision I have,” says Pretorius. “SAP is a fantastic role model for all businesses in South Africa, and their involvement has made a huge difference in many young lives already.”

This title seems to be a little provocative, however, there is (some) truth in this assumption as sales enablement professionals fail because of missing value creation to sales. According to a recent blog by Tamara Schenk on “Outcome Selling Part 1 – What Is It And How Do We Tackle It?”, outcome based selling is key for sales success.


That said, sales enablement needs to develop into this direction. Sales Enablement is not about “output”-based performance, meaning number of sales enablement assets that have been produced or delivered. And here is the issue as most sales enablement functions still relay on this pattern.


So why is “outcome”-based selling to important also to sales enablement functions? It seems to be quite simple: With your sales enablement activity you would like to measure your business results. How many leads have been generated? How many sales people have been trained on a particular portfolio? What has been the “time-to-first-deal” for new hires? Those are all relevant questions when looking at your sales enablement tactics.


With having this in mind, keep the following principles in mind:



You may like:


Sales Enablement vs. Learning - What's the difference?


Sales Enablement 3.0: Cross functional alignment is key to success

SAP broke its record for growth in 2011. And it broke that record again in 2012, which is a wonderful way to celebrate a 40th anniversary.


Keeping the ball rolling, SAP released Q4 earnings Wednesday, showing the company enjoyed its 12th consecutive quarter of double digit growth in software and related revenue. Specifically growth was up 13 percent in the final quarter of 2012.


SAP Q4 Earnings 01-25-2013-A
SAP took a revolutionary walk in the cloud -- and it is paying off.

The results were stratospheric, thanks to exceptional performance in cloud computing. Revenue from software and cloud subscriptions increased 21 percent to €5 billion in 2012, and the annual cloud revenue run rate approached €850 million.


Critics attributed a slide in SAP’s share price earlier this month to missed Wall Street forecast or a perceived slow growth in American software revenue, as InformationWeek reported last week. But these numbers didn’t account for increased cloud computing uptake, a space in which the United States is at the forefront.


Rolling with the Punches


“So we are now reporting our revenues based upon the software that companies consume both in the cloud and on premises,” SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott told Canada’s Business News Network on Wednesday. “When you add those two numbers together in the fourth quarter, the U.S. grew by 24 percent.”


SAP Q4 Earnings 01-25-2013-B
SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott discussed Q4 earnings with Business News Network on Wednesday.

The market will have to adjust to customers buying and using software however they choose, according to McDermott. SAP has already done so, accounting for the company’s momentum in double-digit worldwide growth over the past three years.


Q4 revenue was up 12 percent to €5.06 billion quarter-over-quarter, and profit rose 10 percent to €1.96 billion.


On A Roll


“One thing to note in SAP results is operating margins, which fell to 31.7 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 37.1 percent a year ago,” ZDNet wrote, adding that SAP’s workforce jumped by 16 percent in the past year to 64,422 employees. “Its operating profits took a hit due to investments in the cloud business and ‘go-to-market activities.’”


In short, you’ve got to spend money to make money. And some had seen the overall rosy picture from a distance.


“We believed that SAP would show an in-line quarter and are therefore positively surprised by the outperformance on the license side, and in particular with the real-time solution HANA,” DZ Bank analyst Oliver Finger said in Reuters.


HANA contributed €392 milllion to SAP’s software revenue in 2012. And Q1 of 2013 started well with the announcement this month that SAP Business Suite will also run on HANA.


SAP Q4 Earnings 01-25-2013-C
“We have now become a major cloud player,” SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

“If you look at the 2012 numbers, it’s very, very clear that we’ve started a new era of enterprise computing with our software innovations,” SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe told Bloomberg on Wednesday. “The outlook for 2013 is one of keeping this momentum.”


Let the Good Times Roll


SAP’s top priorities in 2013 include:


  • Driving customer centricity
  • Expanding partner innovation
  • Accelerating new business models


“I think that’s very realistic because we have now become a major cloud player,” Snabe said. “And we have reinvented the database to be in real time now, so we can help companies predict the future and react faster to changes in market demand.”


Related Media:


SAP’s Software Revenue on the Rise” on BNN’s The Street


SAP Taking ‘Massive Market Share,’ Snabe Says” in Bloomberg


SAP beats forecasts with Q4 profit rise” in Reuters

cloud.jpgRemember the first time you used the Internet?

Today, we connect online far more than in person. And we generate reams of personal data as we go, via email, blogs, Twitter.

Add to that a billion mobile phones and new sensors to connect cars, refrigerators, TVs, even houses. We are generating so much data via the Internet that it is almost as much as all of the words ever spoken.   

How we manage that data efficiently via cloud computing was the focus of the National Institute of Standards (NIST)
Cloud and Big Data Forum. Technologists gathered to explore how big data analytics is emerging as the “killer app” for the cloud.

Data is now driving scientific discovery, converging the physical and life sciences. Researchers no longer start with a hypothesis. They examine the data first, then hypothesize what it reveals.

But answering science’s largest questions will require interconnected clouds that operate on data simultaneously or move partial results back and forth.

And in future, 80% of cloud workloads will come from other clouds. So interoperability standards will be key.

Interconnected clouds might be needed to predict global disasters and manage response, simulate astrophysics models or deliver specialized medical care remotely.

According to keynote speaker Vint Cerf, founding father of the Internet and Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, interconnected clouds are in the “same state of infancy as the Internet was in the 1970s.”

Interconnected clouds are an aspirational goal in NIST’s
definition of the hybrid cloud. As one of the earliest Internet users, NIST has been researching cybersecurity, identity management and other topics that enable hybrid cloud.

The hybrid cloud includes “two or more distinct cloud infrastructures bound together by standardized or proprietary technology to enable data and application portability (e.g. cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).”

In talking with Tim Grance, NIST co-author of the definition and NIST security expert Lee Badger, what began as an effort with co-author Peter Mell to understand cloud computing for themselves became a universal description of what cloud is – and what to do with it.

As NIST consulted with government and industry, the definition expanded. Its modularity in matching services to deployment models is meant to spark new business models that can be implemented quickly.

NIST’s ultimate vision for the cloud is to take a workload and move it anywhere within one’s cost and security requirements. This would drive powerful efficiency in today’s IT infrastructure and foster healthy market competition. As Tim noted, market forces will further interpret the definition over time.

While industry has first gravitated towards public cloud services, government has gravitated towards private cloud services. Now each is exploring the other XaaS/deployment combinations as well.

Today, NIST’s flexible definition of cloud is embraced all over the world. Commercial public sectors alike use it to assess which cloud solutions might best enhance operations or drive business growth. 

The value of NIST’s common definition is how it will lead to metrics and standards that harmonize global cloud connectivity. As Vint Cerf summarized in his keynote, if we “push the boundaries of cloud computing … the opportunities are enormous … and there for all of us.”



Follow @JacquelnVanacek for how cloud can reinvent government and the economy. 

entrepreneublogl.jpgOne number stands out amidst the uncertain talk of economic recovery: 500 million. According to a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey sponsored by SAP, that’s the number of new jobs needed by 2020 to get people back to work, whether they’re unemployed now or youth joining the workforce. I’ve written about how entrepreneurs and small and mid-size businesses are the growth engine of the economy. This is especially true in emerging countries like Brazil and India. For a closer look at how this works, check out this this infographic.


There’s significant optimism about emerging countries, and rightly so. But words like “emerging” and “high-growth” conjure images of widespreadprosperity. The everyday reality is very different. For example, despite significant economic expansion, millions in India still live below the poverty line—over 70 percent of the population by some estimates. While approximately 6 percent of urban households have internet access, that figure drops to less than half a percent of rural homes. The situation in Brazil reveals similar discrepancies. Although over 45 percent of the population in Brazil has internet access, widespread high speed access that’s necessary to run a business remains elusive due to the limited availability of affordable services. Yet the burgeoning middle class--195 million people with growing purchasing power—gives entrepreneurs in Brazil a huge market opportunity. And bear in mind, about 96 percent of jobs in Brazil come from small and mid-size businesses.


That’s why SAP’s partnership with Endeavor Global, Endeavor Brazil, and India’s National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) to support entrepreneurs is an exciting way to kick off 2013. Working together, these organizations will identify promising entrepreneurs in Brazil, India and other emerging countries. Selected entrepreneurs will receive access to SAP employee volunteers and mentors, plus innovation grants and technology support from SAP. To be considered for participation, entrepreneurs must have:


  • a proven business model
  • a focus on innovation and positive impact on
    society, and
  • potential to scale using technology


SAP has made a substantial commitment of 2 million euros to this worthy initiative. Endeavor Global brings a worldwide reputation for program success. It’s been recognized by no less than New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as “the best anti-poverty program of all.” Endeavor CEO Linda Rottenberg says Endeavor has supported 700 entrepreneurs who have created 200,000+ jobs and generated revenues of over 5 billion dollars in 2011.


The important of entrepreneurs to economic growth worldwide cannot be overstated. Private and public sector partnerships like these aim to provide promising innovators with a path to success that ultimately impacts us all.

hard rock cafe small.jpgEveryone loves a great design, but that is only a starting point to achieving iconic brand status. A key to long term success is being able to manufacture quickly, efficiently and at a price point that leaves enough margin in the product to achieve a profit.


There are many iconic brands, products and logos, as we saw in Part 1. And the companies behind iconic brands, from Fender guitars to Ray-Ban sunglasses or Porsche sports cars, must continually innovate their designs over decades to reach iconic status, as we saw in Part 2.


But year-on-year great designs are not their only challenge.  These companies must also consider:



  •      Manufacturing
  •      Marketing
  •      Sales
  •      Pricing


Once a design is in the market, competitors can imitate it. When Apple came out with the iPad, it didn’t take long for other companies to start producing their own tablet computers. However Apple’s manufacturing processes were so robust that, not only did Apple have a dominant share of the market in the early years, they also had 99 percent of all the profits in the tablet market.


In other words, they had competition, but their competitors’ manufacturing costs were so high, that to reach a competitive price, they were selling at a loss. There are still rumours that Amazon sells the Kindle at a loss.


Achieving a robust manufacturing process includes having an excellent supply chain. Towards that end, companies must:


  •       Know their suppliers
  •       Accurately forecast demand
  •       Buy raw materials in just the right quantities and quality


Marketing and pricing are also critical components to reach iconic brand status.  Cool advertising is not enough.  Neither are low prices or extraordinarily high prices.


Hard Rock Café achieved iconic status, but Planet Hollywood and other theme restaurants never knocked the memorabilia-adorned eatery off its perch.


Knowing your target customer, understanding your sales model, reviewing your pricing, adjusting your inventory, and many other processes are just as important as slick marketing. Companies that do this well over the long term, despite constant competitive pressures, will emerge as icons.


What else is required to reach iconic status? Why do you think certain iconic brands succeed?

Classic1.jpgWhen I wrote “Data Science: Buyer Beware,” I was certainly not expecting a spirited, standing ovation, as would follow a Scriabin performance by Vladimir Horowitz. Despite presenting a sharply contrarian view, I nevertheless expected to be largely ignored, with potential readers favoring articles about various gadgets, 3D printing, the deconstruction of Silicon Valley celebrities, or what the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show augurs for civilization.


Not surprisingly, the disaffection of those in the data science field quickly lit up the blog space and Twitter. Most appeared inclined to react; but as press time approached, few seemed to consider the message carefully enough to craft the sort of rejoinder they would present to their peers. That was disappointing, as the phenomenon of big data is a discussion we should all be taking very seriously, even if it includes opinions that on the surface appear abhorrent.


Yet there was a bright spot. A response by data scientist Melinda Thielbar stood out by its reflectiveness and style. In the interest of giving credit where it was due, I tweeted Melinda’s entry, which initiated a Twitter conversation between the two of us, and a subsequent hashtag started by Melinda, #FutureOfDS. During our Twitter exchange I recalled the 2004 Business Horizons article, “How to detect a management fad - and distinguish it from a classic,” and performed a thought experiment, what would data science need to do to become a classic?


A lot of thoughts emerged from this experiment.


The make or break time is surprisingly short.


Management fashion (an academic term used neutrally, implying no judgment as to merit or durability) typically follows life cycles, with the distinction of fad or classic being determinable approximately five years after the fashion has gained momentum. If this characteristic is true, and assuming late 2011 as roughly the time when substantial momentum had begun, then the next three years is a make or break time for data science. Since there is often a 12-18 month lag between widespread recognition of a need and full staffing, many new roles will be created relating to data science, and a whole ecosystem of users and products will emerge.


What will likely make data science? Keen responsiveness to user needs, adoption by a wide range of users, a clear cost-benefit proposition, and demonstration of authentic organizational change. What will break it? Gurus and academics with hyperbolic declarations, widespread circulation of case studies with outlier results, excessive rhetoric, superficial implementations, and as I argued earlier, monopolization of technology.


Contrary to what one might readily conclude, I don’t want to see data science disappear as a fad. Rather, two quotes by the late media theorist Marshall McLuhan sum up my opinion:


In the age of information, the moving of information is by many times, the largest business in the world.




From now on the source of food, wealth and life itself will be information.


In other words, data is truly a unique economic resource that up to now we have been able to industrialize only partially. Data science has the potential to create entirely new sources of wealth and social benefits, but cannot do so if it remains a pre-paradigmatic science or becomes a paraprofessional practice.


In that spirit, here are some of the things that data science can do to maximize the chance that it will be carried into being a classic.


Science is radical. Fads are novel. Be radical.


Data science methods and techniques contain unprecedented potential for capturing business behavior, and much effort is now being devoted to exploring what methods and techniques best apply. At present, business behavior is attributed to economic, sociological, and psychological phenomena. For data science to endure as an authentic science it has to be radical. It has to be more than a collection of novel techniques or business innovations, no matter how scientifically based both are. Data science has to demonstrate that data also drives business behavior in a predictable manner.


Right now I do not believe that has been established. But if data science can do so, to the point that within the space of a few meetings with senior managers, data scientists can describe the most likely ways a company's data can create business value, then the data scientist really will be the sexiest job of the 21st century. And it won't be gurus saying it.


Get experts in the social and behavioral sciences on your side, and into your practice.


Future business analytics projects will almost certainly require interdisciplinary teams in order to be successful, including persons trained in traditionally softer sciences. As many data scientists have been trained in hard sciences, suspicion or even contempt of social or behavioral science fields based on preconceptions in the academic hierarchy may still be present. Data science should fly above such invidiousness.


There are dozens of cognitive and social scientists at the 99th percentile of quantitative ability, and who know a lot of useful methods and techniques unfamiliar to physicists, statisticians, and computer scientists. Additionally, behavioral scientists routinely deal with messy data, and frequently have firsthand experiences with survey construction. They can offer invaluable advice in correcting errors in datasets, proceeding from their field experiences collecting data in sketchy nightclubs or on commuter train platforms in subzero temperatures, for example.


A lesson to be learned from many of the workflow improvement fads is not to neglect the fact that technological advancement is always surrounded by an equally complex social system. How individuals perceive and interact with workplace technology affects business performance along with the processes that technology enables. Ignoring the human contribution is simply inviting disaster.


Previously, I referred ironically to Thomas Davenport’s 1995 Fast Company article, “The Fad That Forgot People,” pointing out the regrettable results of information technology that fails its users. This time, I frankly urge everyone working in big data and analytics to read this excellent piece, and to heed Davenport’s timeless wisdom, “Talk softly about what you're doing and carry a big ruler to measure real results.”


Create a big space for lots of users, establish a currency, and make commitment valuable.


Data science is equipping itself to address some the most complex problems ever faced in business, and therefore data scientists will need to become fully immersed in the organizations they serve. Although requiring a rare set of extremely cultivated skills, data scientists should not exclude potential consumers of data science results as collaborators. Rather, it is to data scientists’ advantage to promote a robust, intelligent, and informed consumer base, one that creates many users, some of whom can advance to the level of a prosumer.


Fads usually attempt to address complex organizational problems simplistically, facilitating superficial implementations so that everyone can feel confident of buying in. To move in the direction of becoming a classic, data scientists need to create a big community without diluting the practice. One way is to become conversant in the subject matter of data science consumers, perhaps even obtaining basic certification in the subject matter area of the consumer.


Another way is to bring consumers closer to data science. Earlier, I criticized Davenport and Patil’s statement that declared coding as the fundamental skill of data science. Yet, power users almost always want to get to the lowest level their tools will allow, which usually involves some form of coding. While coding may not ultimately distinguish data science from other fields, it can provide the universal currency for data science stakeholders. Data science can create value by getting tools such as R and Hadoop into common parlance, making coding something that subject matter experts desire to learn in order to communicate effectively with data scientist colleagues. More broadly, data science should also consider the degree to which open sourcing would increase both the amount and knowledge of its consumers.


Start out by being classy. Sexy will follow.


Being smart carries a lot of cachet in 2013, but be careful about overplaying a good hand. Everyone knows data scientists are good. Wear it well. Do things that improve how we all think. Demonstrating that you are smarter than everyone else is not sexy. Making people smarter for knowing you is drop dead sexy.


The degree identifies you a scientist. The pedigree validates what you do as science.


Data science has set very high expectations by assuming the word science. Yet when applied to business, data science needs to be ever vigilant to avoid the excesses of scientific management, sometimes referred to as Taylorism.


In my previous entry, I argued that data science is the third generation of Business Process Reengineering, and belongs to the tradition of Taylorism. Data science needs to refute this argument resoundingly, and have a ready way to address residual Taylorist suspicions. Data science can achieve both by demonstrating that, rather than descending from a family tree of scientific management, it is the legitimate child of big science, an enterprise whose origins are Viète and Pascal, and which has proceeded uninterruptedly through, Bayes, Markov, Schrödinger, Einsten, Heisenberg, Terman, Hotelling, Shannon, Kolmogorov, Oppenheimer, von Neumann, Ulam, and Simon.


Big science mastered the transfer of technology from institutions to markets, facilitating the development of numerous wealth-creating industries, and countless improvements to quality of life. Its legacy is the convergence of theory and practice, whereby scientists are also practitioners, and knowledge accumulation is embedded in human artifacts, such as aircraft, satellites, supercomputers, and lasers, rather than academic journals. Thus one could argue that big science prefigured data science. Yet data science emerged from the decline of the big science enterprise, as scientific talent opted for employment in finance, consulting, and industry, and powerful computing resources became available outside government laboratories.


Show the world the radiant side of being very intelligent.


Classic2.jpgEvery brilliant person I have ever met has an internal world of very intense, vivid experiences. Find some way to communicate those experiences in data scientific work. That is the art that shadows science, and it will help make data scientific work endure long after the practical results are consumed. Develop a data science style that is unique to the content data science regularly conveys. Set new standards for beauty, elegance, and excellence in coding, structuring, modeling, analyzing, visualizing, and communicating.


Yours to lose.


The statement, “data is the new oil” has become something of a cliché, but there is an important message: big data is a big resource. Even more, data is an economic good like no other. We can create more of it, and often there are increasing returns to scale. It is a nonrival good, and increasingly accessible by firms with limited resources. Data contains unfathomed ways of creating prosperity, and data science needs to be a leader in insuring that this resource is subject to a fairly functioning economy.


The big message I tried to convey in my previous entry is there is an entire economy developing around how data is accumulated and consumed. Data science has the duty to manage this resource so that it is not subject to coercive monopolies or manipulation by the opportunistic and unscrupulous. If after 20 years, data science amounts to nothing more than a branch of economics where data is treated as the core resource, it will still be one of the significant innovations of our lifetime.


It’s yours to lose. But let the economy of it all become derelict, and you will lose it. And we will all lose.


As the creator of iconic games like Asteroids, Centipede and Pong it saddens me to see video game trailblazer Atari file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company is responsible for elevating video games to a serious recreational activity and booming, global business. And did you know late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs got his start with Atari? Despite this, the brand will probably not fetch top dollars, according to a recent New York Post article.


atari.jpg (1).png

“The brand and a handful of intellectual properties are all they have left,” said Michael Pachter of Wedbush Secutiries in the New York Post article. “Yes, somebody will pay for those, and no, they won’t pay much.”

Thankfully, Atari isn’t disappearing as the company intends to re-launch as a mobile games maker.


Putting management and monetary issues aside, Atari’s situation is not only indicative of the changing video game landscape (more mobile, less console) but signifies what is currently transpiring in the business software space.


SAP is continuously put to the test when disruptive technology like mobile computing infiltrates its core “on-premise” business. As we’ve come to learn, great leadership, a bold vision and an “intellectual renewal” of SAP’s core suite of products will help the company manage disruption and become more responsive to customer needs. Easy “consumption” also matters at SAP and for good reason. I’ll refer to another bit of video game news to underscore the importance of consumption.



From a recent GameSpot article:


The recently released iOS title Temple Run 2 was downloaded more than 20 million times within four days since its release on January 18. The free game was first place on the top 25 free apps list on Apple's App Store. The title garnered 6 million downloads on its first day of release. The previous game, Temple Run, was downloaded over 170 million times on Apple's App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Marketplace. Players can check the game out on the iTunes App Store page.


With built-in demand, improved graphics and gameplay and making it free on a variety of platforms, it’s not hard to see why the Temple Run franchise is, ahem, a runaway success. Atari will no doubt take a page from the Temple Run playbook as they concentrate on mobile games. SAP is also paying close attention to how this type of software is consumed and is already incorporating these attributes in the following ways:



As Isaac Asimov famously noted, "change is the only constant." By keeping a finger on the pulse of shifting consumer trends, SAP is betting change will be much easier to manage for its customers - and perhaps more importantly - its customer’s customers.


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Less than a year after Facebook went public the backlash is in full force. That doesn’t mean social is going away. For the business world, it’s just getting started. Of course there’s a huge difference between consumers using public social sites and companies intent on using the power of social to collaborate better with employees and partners. The operative word here is intent. I recently caught up with Sameer Patel, General Manager of SAP Enterprise Social Software, who told me why companies aren’t lining up to become social enterprises. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation. The entire interview can be found here.


“The Facebook concept works in the public forum because there is intent behind each post. In the business world you need intent, but it comes from business process applications, data and analytics, content and documents, and connecting people. Social has to be considered a means to a defined, productive business end. Social has to show up when and where I need it most. It has to make a difference. It can’t be in siloes, and has to be seamless across all applications. That’s what make social relevant to the core business problems the company is trying to solve.”


Essentially, SAP has turned social on its head. That’s because activities like new hire onboarding, invoice approvals, budgeting, callcenters, and sales require a different approach. Islands of collaboration don’t cut it. Social software has to provide capabilities directly connected to the processes people use. Or they simply won’t use it. 


That’s emphatically NOT the case with SAP’s social solutions. SAP Jam is a great example of translating the value of social to the business environment. This collaborative platform is integrated with SAP applications, targeting areas where collaboration adds the most value: CRM on-premise and on-demand, learning management, and finance on-demand.


Sameer tells me that SAP has already sold 2 million seats of its learning management solution. SAP JAM is integrated with SuccessFactors Learning, as part of the BizX Suite. Directly from the learning application, employees can create, share, and find all kinds of content, including videos, from the experts they need to do their jobs, even on their mobile devices.


It only makes sense. Human Resources doesn’t need a social business objective. They have to find and onboard top talent fast. Sales doesn’t want to become a social enterprise. They want to make their numbers. The list goes on and the lesson is clear. Social has to be embedded in the business applications people rely on daily. That requires deep domain and industry process expertise on top of an integrated platform that includes collaboration. It’s not about the social enterprise. This is about the serious fun of running a successful business.

SAP Radio Coffee Break with Game-Changers Logo-121211.JPGWelcome to "SAP Coffee Break with Game-Changers Radio" blog on SCN. I'm Bonnie D. Graham, creator, producer and host of our weekly live thought leader talk radio series. To end 2012 in grand style and to celebrate our first full year on the air, I interviewed a total of 29 thought leaders [yes!] in a two-part "2013 Predictions" special that aired live on Dec. 19 and Dec. 26. Listen on-demand at your leisure to their words of wisdom here and here.


Here's the show description:

What’s on your holiday business wish list this year? If it’s a crystal ball to help you predict what 2013 will bring for your company, we’ve got the next best thing. Today and next week, more than two dozen thought leaders from this year's Coffee Break with Game-Changers and In the Cloud with Game-Changers programs will gather to gaze into the SAP Game-Changers Radio crystal ball. Their gift to you: a grab-bag of insights into the technologies, strategies, people and trends that can help you grow and compete better next year and beyond.

Pour a cup of Joe, Earl, OJ or Dom, and join us at the game-changers’ table for smart business talk and good cheer on Game-Changers 2013 Predictions – Part 1 and Part 2. Can you match the guests' photos with their names below?



Segment 1:

12-26-12  Predictions Part 2 Show #64 Guest Collage_OK.jpg

Emily Jasper is currently a secret agent and writer with The Starr Conspiracy, a full-service marketing agency for companies in specialized market segments. She specializes on campaign and content development for niche clients. Previously, she worked with PDI Ninth House, a global leadership solutions company, as the Global Channels and Alliances Marketing Manager, in addition to her roles in marketing and business development. A two-time recipient of ForbesWoman’s Top 100 Websites for Women, Emily currently blogs at her own site, “From the Gen Y Perspective,” as well as at Forbes online. She specializes in generational issues, women in business, and marketing topics. In addition to writing, Emily speaks on topics related to women in business, most recently with Dow Chemical’s “The Future We Create” virtual conference and Duke University’s Smart Women Securities seminar series.

William “Bill” Newman, Managing Principal and Co-founder of Newport Consulting Group, is an author, professional speaker, writer and consultant with over 25 years of experience in strategy and IT planning across multiple industry sectors. A Certified Management Consultant since 1995, he has led consulting practices at Booz & Company, DMR Consulting, KPMG BearingPoint, and Grant Thornton. His strategy work with high growth companies – software start-ups, services firms, associations and green techs – has made him a leader in developing mindshare and market share in North America, Europe and globally. Bill was a national board member of the Institute of Management Consultants (IMC USA), and now serves on the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) Management Consulting Taskforce and the McKinsey Quarterly Executive Panel. He is a recognized SAP BusinessObjects Influencer by the Americas SAP User Group (ASUG) in EPM, GRC, Sustainability and mobile computing. 

Anneke Seley is CEO and founder of Reality Works Group (formerly Phone Works), a global sales-strategy, implementation-services, and content-development firm that delivers revenue results in the new Sales 2.0 reality. Her expertise in phone/online/social-media selling has helped over 450 clients increase revenue at decreased cost using Sales 2.0 practices: measurable, predictable, scalable selling combined with better engagement and customer relationships. Anneke is co-author of “Sales 2.0: Improve Business Results Using Innovative Sales Practices and Technology”. She began her career as the 12th employee at Oracle and designed their now multibillion-dollar global inside-sales organization. She received the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2012 she was named one of AA-ISP’s Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals and one of Sales Lead Management Association (SLMA) Twenty Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management.

Bob Nicols, AXIOM Sales Force Development CEO, has 34 years of experience in sales, sales management, executive management and sales force development. He founded Burton Training Group, now AXIOM Sales Force Development, in 1990 after being a top and highly recognized performer in sales, sales management and executive positions in the technology sector. He has managed and mentored thousands of sales people, sales managers and senior managers and been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. For more than 21 years, he has developed and delivered sales programs that have become the standard for many Fortune 100 companies including AT&T, BellSouth, Disney Enterprises, Alltel, Verizon and ESPN. AXIOM programs have been implemented in over 30 countries. Bob is the developer of AXIOM’s “Selling Sciences ProgramTM” and co-author of the “Selling Sciences” CD series.


Segment 2:

12-19-12 Predictions Part 1 Show #63 Guest Collage_OK.jpgSven Denecken is Vice President Strategy and Head of Co-Innovation Cloud/OnDemand Solutions at SAP. In this role, he is assessing customer and market requirements, defining the Co-Innovation approach to new developments with customers and partners, and supporting SAP´s OnDemand and Cloud strategy. Sven’s experience working with customers since 1990, and network to SAP´s field organization and partners, allows him to bring client issues and challenges directly into the solution development process, assuring that the next generation software solutions address customer requirements and help customers gain competitive advantage. Collaborating with market constituents and SAP´s Cloud / OnDemand organization, he and his team facilitate and enable sustainable relationships between SAP, customers, industries, as well as partners. His key expertise areas are ERP, CRM and HR as Cloud / OnDemand offering - as well as key aspects of platform and infrastructure as a service.

Roy Illsley, Principal Analyst at Ovum, has over 23 years of IT experience, working for a variety of consultancy and end-user companies with experience in the defence, utilities, automotive, retail, and Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industries. He works in the Infrastructure Software team and is recognized as Ovum’s expert on Virtualisation and Infrastructure Management. Since joining Ovum in 2006, he has worked on major report projects including Document Collaboration, IT Governance, SOA Platforms, IT Strategy and Architecture, and was report captain for the IT Virtualisation, Desktop virtualization, Systems Management, and Infrastructure Management. He is the lead analyst in delivering Virtualisation and Cloud Computing Master Classes. Roy is a Member of the Institute of Engineering Technology (MIET) holding the registered status of a Chartered Engineer (CEng).

Cindi Howson is the founder of BI Scorecard® (www.biscorecard.com), a resource for in-depth BI product reviews, based on exclusive hands-on testing. She has been advising clients on BI tool strategies and selections for more than 20 years, and first began working with BusinessObjects in 1994. Cindi is the author of “Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App” and “Business Objects XI: The Complete Reference”. Prior to founding BI Scorecard, Cindi was a manager at Deloitte & Touche and a BI standards leader for a Fortune 500 company. She is a TDWI (The Data Warehousing Institute) faculty member, a contributing expert to Information Week, and has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Irish Times, Forbes, and Business Week.


Segment 3:

Tom Suder is President and Founder of the advanced mobility solutions company Mobile Government Solutions, known as Mobilegov, which he launched in July 2011. Tom also serves as a strategic advisor for the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation & Training (IS&T), representing the university's interests in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for establishing academic agreements and grants between UCF and the government for research and development into the policies, procedures and best practices required for the successful federal implementation of mobile technology. Tom earned the “2011 Rising Star Award,” co-sponsored by Federal IT industry publications Federal Computer Week (FCW), Government Computer News (GCN) and Washington Technology, honoring individuals in the public and private sectors who have made an early and substantive mark in the government IT community. Tom writes for AOL Government and serves on the publication's Editorial Advisory Council.

Jesús Hoyos is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, speaker, influencer, consultant and blogger for the Latin American region (JesusHoyos.com, LLC). Jesús started his CRM career as consultant in 1990 at Data Code, now SemaTree, a CRM software vendor. He is Partner and co-founder of Solvis Consulting, a consulting firm that specializes in providing services in the execution of Customer Relationship Management strategies. At Solvis, he has worked with high profile international companies in Canada, United States and Latin America executing CRM strategies and implementing many business solutions. Before founding Solvis, he was the Regional Domain Partner for Customer Management Solutions in Latin America for Cambridge Technology Partners. Jesús is also co-founder of Customers Forever, LLC, a company dedicated to promote CRM in Latin America, and co-founder of the Social Media Club Mexico City.

Bill Tallent, CEO of Mercury Intermedia, has been applying cutting edge technology since college in 1962. In 1980, after two decades at a large Fortune 500 company, he began creating and operating small businesses. With a career that spans mainframe computers, mini-computers, personal computers and the Internet, Bill believes “mobile computing is larger than all three preceding computing classes”. He notes, “These days, I’m having a great time working with a bunch of very smart younger guys, watching them create astonishing products while contributing my years of experience on the business side. I’m having the time of my life innovating in this spectacular new field of mobile.” The staff at Mercury Intermedia calls Bill their ’70-year-old teenager’.

Christine B. Whittemore is Chief Simplifier of Simple Marketing Now LLC, an inbound marketing strategy consultancy helping organizations get found online using social media and content marketing. An active social media enthusiast, Christine established her marketing blog, Flooring The Consumer, about the retail experience and marketing to women in June 2006. It is listed in the AdAge Power 150 and the BuyerZone Top 20 Business Marketing Blogs. She publishes the Content Talks Business Blog, online marketing advice and best practices - SEGMENT 4: http://simplemarketingnow.com/content-talks-business-blog/. She presented on lead generation with social media at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2011 and on content curation at Info360 2012. Christine serves on the Columbia Business School’s Alumni Club of New York Board of Directors as Co-President and is a member of the Surfaces Education Advisory Council. Marketing blog: http://simplemarketingnow.com/blog/flooring-the-consumer.


Segment 4:

Rob Harles, Global Head of Social Media for Bloomberg LP, is responsible for developing and managing Bloomberg’s social media efforts and initiatives across the globe. He joined Bloomberg in September 2010 from Sears Holdings, where he was Vice President of Social Media. There, he was responsible for building Sears’ social media strategy, including creating the MySears community which now has over 1M registered members, making it one of the largest retail communities in the world. Previously, Rob was SVP and member of the Senior Operating Team for comScore Networks, in charge of the Retail, Travel and Technology client services practice. He began his career as a consultant in the Chicago office of McKinsey & Co.

Barry Trailer is a managing partner and co-founder of CSO Insights, a sales effectiveness research and benchmarking firm. In addition to more than thirty years of professional selling experience, Barry has been president of Miller-Heiman, a respected sales training firm, and Goldmine, a well-known CRM application. Barry has conducted seminars with hundreds of companies, including HP, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and Hitachi Data Systems. He has been a keynote speaker at dozens of sales events presenting Sales Mastery. In addition, Barry has been a regular contributor to CRM magazine, CustomerThink.com and, has been twice published in the Harvard Business Review. With Jim Dickie, he co-authored, The Sales & Marketing Excellence Challenge, and is author of the novel Sales Mastery.

Stuart Ravens, Ovum, Principal Analyst, Energy & Sustainability Technology, has worked in Ovum’s commercial verticals team since May 2008, and is responsible for the utilities workstream. He collaborates closely with analysts within Datamonitor’s Energy & Sustainability business unit as well as horizontal analysts within the wider Ovum group, to provide both vendor and utility clients with superior technology analysis. Recent research projects include Optimizing Customer Engagement in Smart Meter Deployments; Profiting from Smart Meter Communications Networks; Great Britain Smart Meter Infrastructure: Analysis of Potential Architectures; BI and Analytics: Making the Smart Utility Intelligent; Customer Satisfaction, Smart Meters and the Utility Billing Process; Billing Presentment and the Changing Utility Billing Landscape; Smart Meters Create a Huge Opportunity for Data Services in Utilities; Trends to Watch in Utilities Technology 2011.



Segment 1:

Russ LeFevre is Vice President, Industry Marketing for SAP, managing a team responsible for global go-to-market strategy and marketing program content for multiple industries, spanning public sector, education, defense, healthcare, oil and gas, utilities and mining. Russ has over 24 years of business development, strategy, marketing, sales and management experience with information technology providers, from entrepreneurial start-ups to established, large companies. Prior to SAP, he worked at PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, and H.T.E.. He began his career working for the U.S. federal government and formerly held a Top Secret Clearance. A frequent speaker on government policy, management and technology issues, he has contributed to industry, analyst and media organizations, including IQPC, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, the JFK School of Government at Harvard University, Gartner, IDC, Federation of Tax Administrators, Federal Computer Week, and Public CIO.

R “Ray” Wang is a Principal Analyst and CEO at Constellation Research Group. He previously was a founding partner and research analyst for enterprise strategy at Altimeter Group and the author of the popular enterprise software blog, "A Software Insider’s Point of View". With viewership in the millions of page views a year, Ray’s blog provides insight into how disruptive technologies and new business models impact the enterprise. Ray’s background in emerging business and technology trends, enterprise apps strategy, technology selection, and contract negotiations provides his clients and readers with the bridge between business leadership and technology adoption.

Alan Lepofsky is Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, Inc.  As a lead analyst on Constellation's research theme, The Future of Work, Alan focuses on how enterprise collaboration software/social business software can help people Get Work Done. Since 1993, he has been designing, marketing and helping customers deploy software solutions that enable people to connect with their peers and openly share information. Prior to joining Constellation, Alan spent 3 years as Director of Marketing at Socialtext, helping prospects and customers understand how social software can be used to improve core business processes. Before that, he spent 14 years in a variety of roles at IBM/Lotus, ranging from product management in the Lotus brand to supporting the IBM Business Partner ecosystem. He's an active blogger and speaker in the "Enterprise 2.0/Social Business" community, where he shares his thoughts on the business benefits of open communication and collaboration.

Mico Yuk is an SAP Mentor/BI Influencer and Director of Sales and Business Development at Benchmarkers Business Intelligence, a company she co-founded to represent the consulting and services side of EverythingXcelsius.com (“Xcelsius Gurus” network), which she founded in 2008. A computer engineer by degree, Mico has been designing and implementing enterprise dashboards for major corporate clients since 2006 and is considered one of the world’s top Xcelsius dashboard developers. She has implemented executive dashboards for SAP BusinessObjects Global Services clients including Allstate, Pfizer, Aviva Canada, McKesson, Ryder Logistics, Digicel Jamaica, Qatar Gas, St. Jude Medical, Walgreens, Chiquita, US Airforce, SAP Global Marketing, Amtrak, BOA,  and Schering Plough. Mico was named as one of the Top 50 Analytics Bloggers to follow by SAP. She hosted the Xcelsius Gurus Reception at the 2010 & 2011 ASUG/SAP BusinessObjects User Conference in Orlando, FL. Visit micoyuk.com.


Segment 2:

Michael Krigsman is CEO of Asuret, Inc., a consulting company dedicated to reducing technology implementation failures. A recognized authority on the causes and prevention of IT failures, he is considered an enterprise software industry influencer and is frequently quoted in the press on IT project and related CIO issues. Previously, Michael was CEO of Cambridge Publications and has been involved with hundreds of software development projects for small startups to Fortune 500 organizations. He serves on the Board of the America's Cup Hall of Fame and the Herreshoff Marine Museum in Bristol, RI.


Carl Snyder is a Senior Industry Principal in the Financial Services division for SAP in North America. His focus in on retail banking solutions – including core banking and the customer experience.  His role is to provide retail banking subject matter expertise to the sales team, marketing department and the product organization. Carl came to SAP in 2009 with more than 22 years in the banking industry. Most recently, he was the President of the Zions Internet Bank at Zions Bank. Previously, he was the EVP and Director of Retail Bank Operations for Zions Bancorporation. Tom’s banking career has been focused in the retail banking space, with experience in driving branch and bank profitability by implementing efficiency programs, retail pricing strategies and sales initiatives. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Business Strategy and Operations Management at the University of Utah. 

Esteban Kolsky is the Principal and Founder of ThinkJar, an advisory and research think-tank focused on customer strategies. Esteban has spent over 22 years in customer service and CRM consulting, research, and advisory services. During his eight years at Gartner, he coined the terms for EFM (enterprise feedback management) and CIH (customer interaction hub). Esteban also researched and wrote on the social networking topics that led to today’s revolution, and assisted Fortune 500 and Global 2,000 organizations in CRM deployments. He now advises vendors and organizations how to extend customer interactions from the CRM niche to the entire organization to become Social Businesses.


Segment 3:

Parveen P. Gupta, LLB, MBA, Ph.D., is the Professor and Department Chair of Accounting at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. He has more than 25 years of experience as a researcher, speaker, and an advisor on Governance, Risk, Controls and Compliance.  He is a former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Academic Accounting Fellow (2006-07) with contributions to various Sarbanes-Oxley related projects. He currently teaches a national award-winning course on Governance, Risk and Controls.  His numerous research articles have been published in leading journals and monographs in related areas. His advisory experience includes working with clients in manufacturing, biotechnology, financial services, energy, and public accounting industries. In 2000 and 2003, Dr. Gupta was recognized by his graduate students as the Outstanding MBA Professor of the Year. During 2005 he received the American Accounting Association’s prestigious “Innovation in Accounting Education” award.


Sina Moatamed is the Principal Consultant for Unified Clouds, where he helps mid-sized and large enterprises with their cloud computing efforts. In his previous role as CIO of a mid-sized manufacturing company, Sina restructured all IT infrastructures to the cloud through the use of Software, Platform and Infrastructure as a Service offerings , transforming the IT department from traditional IT delivery to an agile service-focused partner of the business. In 2010 he received the Managing Automation Progressive Manufacturing 100 award and in 2011, the CIO 100 award for executing business strategies with agility by leveraging cloud services. Sina wrote the blog series, “Building a Cloud Ecosystem,” describing strategies for engaging cloud services.  He has appeared as a panelist at Bloomberg, SAP, and Inc. Magazine conferences.


Ella Morgulis works on solution management team for Duet Enterprise software developed jointly by SAP and Microsoft.  She engages with customers , partners and sales force to help close deals and successfully implement solutions built on Duet Enterprise platform. She also works on marketing materials and social media marketing, publishing blogs on SAP SCN pages. Prior to earning her MBA degree, Ella worked in various technical roles at a various startups in Silicon Valley, and as a project manager at Autodesk. She holds a civil engineering degree from the Moscow Railroad University and MBA from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.  Ella manages http://scn.sap.com/community/duet-enterprise, and manages the Facebook Duet Enterprise page and YouTube SAPDuetEnterprise channel.

Mariano Kristensen, a Technology Manager at SAP AG in Europe, co-founded the Customer Advisory Office for the EMEA Region at SAP, where he was responsible for the implementation of new strategic products for customers. Working with IT managers and CIOs, Mariano develops strategies for turning future technological innovations into profitable solutions. Earlier in his career, Mariano joined Swedish Ericsson in 1997 where he held various positions in the area of IT and headed a team of enterprise architects at L.M. Ericsson. In 2004 Mariano started his career at SAP Denmark as Principal Consultant in the area of NetWeaver. Shortly after, his international profile resulted in many international assignments for leading European companies all over EMEA. Today, based in Copenhagen, he is working for the Global Business Development in Database & Technology Group, helping customers understand the value of and creating roadmaps for the adoption of Database & Technology Solutions.


Segment 4:

Jen McClure is the senior director of social media strategy for Thomson Reuters, the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, healthcare and science and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. She also serves as president of the board of directors of the Society for New Communications Research, a nonprofit research and education foundation that focuses on the latest developments in media and communications.  A communications professional with over 25 years in media and communications, Jen’s career includes journalism, market and media research, media relations, PR, strategic communications and publishing.

Dr. Volker G. Hildebrand, Vice President for CRM Solutions at SAP, has two decades of experience as a CRM expert, researcher, author, professor, and software industry professional. With a doctorate in business economics, an MBA from the University of Mannheim, and a degree in business and technology from the University of Stuttgart, he has been an instructor and pioneering researcher on how to optimize the relationship between a customer and its suppliers. He has served as a CRM consultant for large international companies and held SAP leadership positions in sales, marketing, and product management for CRM and e-commerce applications. Volker is the author of several books and over 100 articles on CRM. Database Marketing & Computer Aided Selling was published in 1993. His articles have appeared in the German edition of the Harvard Business Review, absatzwirtschaft (Germany’s leading sales and marketing journal), the CRM Project, HMD, Marketing ZFP, and SAP Insider journals.


Mark Johnson is President and CEO of Loyalty 360. He is committed to bringing loyalty to the forefront as a critical marketing strategy by creating an unbiased, market-driven clearinghouse and think tank through with which users and loyalty providers can interact and collaborate. Mark is driven to give members the expert insight and guidance they need to develop strategies and implement programs that effectively engage their customers and employees and build stronger relationships with them. He has significant experience in selling, designing and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well as data-driven marketing communication programs. He received his start in loyalty program design while at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, OH where he developed the bank’s open (merchant-based gift card) and closed (MasterCard) system stored value programs (Premiere Issue).

Barbara Schaedler is Interim Head of Global Communications at SAP.

leader1.jpgHave you made a New Year’s resolution for 2013? Midway into January, have you been able to stick to your New Year’s resolution? Research has found that 45% of North American adults make New Year’s resolutions, but after 6 months only 46% have managed to keep their goals. Why is it that people struggle doing what they believe are the right things for them to be doing? Shouldn’t it be easy to do what is good for you?


Two years ago I made a New Year’s resolution to improve my overall health and wellness, and two years later I am happy to report that I have been able to keep my New Year’s resolution. I wish I could say that achieving and maintaining the goals have been easy, but I was only about 6 months in when I realized that to maintain these results would require a daily recommitment and that this would mean hard work on my part. The next thought that popped into my head was my mother’s voice telling me, “You have to work hard for anything in life that is worth having.”


Now you may be wondering what this had to do with leadership… my New Year’s resolution this year was to improve my own leadership efforts and to keep leadership at the top of the lengthy priority list I know we all face every day. I know that this will take hard work. We all know leadership is important, so this should be easy shouldn’t it? Unfortunately I know for myself and others that I have worked with, that while we all may aspire to be great leaders, often leadership is the first thing to slide when the many demands we are faced with each day begin to pile up. So how do you combat this and keep leadership as your #1 priority? Here are a few basic ideas to consider:


  1. Set an explicit goal, document it and communicate this commitment to your team. Research tells us that people who set hard goals are 10 times more likely to achieve them then those who do not set a goal. By communicating your goals to others, you increase your commitment even further, and frankly who the heck wants to have their team see them not achieving this goal once they have told them that they are going to improve their leadership this year? 
  2. Spend time defining what great leadership looks like to you and to those around you. By being clear on what you want to achieve, it will be easier to develop and practice the skills that you need to realize your vision. What are the behaviors that you want to demonstrate? What are the specific actions that you want to commit to?
  3. Build time into your calendar each day. We all can find 15 minutes in our day to have a conversation with a direct report in support of their development, offer feedback to a team member, or take the time to discuss the vision and the strategy to ensure alignment of your team’s activity to the company’s success. There are many simple and easy actions you can build directly into your day. Over time this will become part of your normal mode of operation and you will no longer need to schedule specific time.
  4. Listen… as leaders we often feel the need to have the answer to all questions and all problems right away. Instead of offering your advice or a solution immediately, ask questions and coach others to arrive at a solution. This will not only help your team to develop their skills and create an inclusive environment, it will improve your coaching and advising skills while bring new thinking and innovation into the team.
  5. Be clear on what motivates and engages you and then use this energy to inspire those around you. Do not underestimate the positive impact your energy and enthusiasm can have on your team. People want to be around those who are creating a fun and engaging atmosphere. They are more likely to follow positive energy and will feel more positive themselves. On the flip side, also remember what a negative attitude can do and the impact this can have on your leadership brand.


At the end of the day, doing what you know is right can be hard, but if you feel yourself starting to slip, just remember your mother’s voice encouraging you to work hard and do your best! Our Moms are always right, aren’t they?!


Follow Tracey on Twitter: @Tracey_Arnish

In my previous blogs around Sales Enablement I focused very much on how to build a comprehensive Sales Enablement strategy and that cross functional alignment is key to success. When I looked back at my professional career within Sales Enablement, I observed one additional key success factor: my personal network.


Once I have started my roles with Sales Enablement, being responsible for training and consulting sales executives in the area of Mobile, HANA and Sustainability, I tried to figure out who are the most influencing people within the sales organization. During upcoming sales meeting, I observed the behavior and influencing factors of sales colleagues. After the meetings I connected to those sales colleagues who seemed to me most powerful and influencing, being thought leaders to me. 


During the upcoming weeks, I started to build on those relationships. Met on a regular basis, either during lunch or simply for a coffee corner meeting. During those meetings I had the chance to one the one hand, getting to know them personally, but, most importantly, getting to know their businesses, their pain points and customer situations. That particular point, is and was important to me to, at the end, build sales enablement assets that matter.


However, once I built those relationships, I thought we should extend and go beyond “just” sharing ideas, information and build content. Therefore I decided to join scheduled customer as well as sales meetings to learn more. This actually brought a complete new learning experience to me. On the one hand I learned a lot about the buying process and behavior, on the other hand, I broadened my horizon on sales skills.


In summary, I really love to work with my sales peers and mentors, following the leaders, and building up my network and expertise in order to provide high value Sales Enablement content.

game.jpgWhen looking at traditional sales enablement methods, such as creating brochures, one pagers etc., sales enablement professionals are looking for new, fresh ways for engaging sales teams.


Evolving technologies such as mobile, social media and gamification open a complete new area for sales enablement to become more relevant, engaging and drive retention. But why should you care about gamification in particular? What are the key methods to help drive sales success?


Here are two key factors to consider when implementing a gamification strategy:



1. Define your gamification strategy. Before starting the design and content, you should first think about what you would like to achieve and how you could measure your business impact. Consider the pros and cons related to your traditional ways of doing sales enablement. Conduct interviews with your key stakeholders and learn from them how they would like to consume information. What are their preferences in terms of potential “games” and how they normally access sales enablement information. Also consider making it “mobile”; sales should be able to access information every time and everywhere.



2. Measure you business impact: Once you have launched your “application” make sure you are measuring your impact to the business. Beside traditional metrics such as download rates or users that played the game, also collect feedback on how it helped your target audience closing more deals. This point is especially important when requesting additional funding for your app and defending it against traditional ways of doing sales enablement.


What are your experiences with gamification techniques? Are they relevant for your organization or do you consider them hype? Look forward to your comments and feedback.


Follow me on twitter: @stefan_funk


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The Gamification of SAP


Inside SAP InnoJam - Part 1


Can Wii U Save Humanity? A Skeptical Parent Weighs In

Within the last couple of years, the sales enablement function has become more mature within corporations. Sales Enablement has significantly shown its value to the business, most importantly its impact. However, especially when talking to the business, mainly sales colleagues, more and more the question arises: What is the difference between traditional learning and sales enablement?



According to IDC, Sales Enablement is defined as: The delivery of the right information to the right person at the right time and in the right place necessary to move a specific sales opportunity forward (IDC, Sales Enablement 2009). When looking for a definition of learning,


Wikipedia says: Learning is acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves. Learning is not compulsory; it is contextual. It does not happen all at once, but builds upon and is shaped by what we already know. To that end, learning may be viewed as a process, rather than a collection of factual and procedural knowledge. Learning is based on experience. Learning produces changes in the organism and the changes produced are relatively permanent.


Sales Enablement is all about learning, indeed, however encompasses additional elements:


Understand the buying process and be close to your stakeholders. Both elements are equally important as you, as a sales enablement professional need to be relevant and reliable to your sales force.

  • Understand the buying process and be close to your stakeholders. Both elements are equally important as you, as a sales enablement professional need to be relevant and reliable to your sales force.
  • Understand your external customer. Knowing your external customer is crucial in order to understand your sales’ needs and challenges.
  • Be on top of your competitors. Knowing your competitors is key in order to provide relevant, account-winning materials to sales. It also shows your expertise.
  • Leverage social media. Be aware of new media and social media trends. Learn directly from the sales force how they interact with their customers. With that in mind, you can tailor your sales enablement assets according to your sales force’s needs.


What differences and tips have you come across?


Follow me on twitter: @stefan_funk


You might also like:


Align Your Sales Enablement Strategy Internally


Mind the Gap: How to Close the Customer Expectation Divide?


According to ITSMA research, Thought Leadership (TL) has become a critical part of the buyers decision making process (ITSMA, February 2012). Thought Leadership is indeed important as it captures attention, create a dialogue between the vendor and potential buyer and is building trust which might lead to sales. On the other hand, most product/services companies are still looking for sales enablement only. So where should you focus on?


To me personally, both functions are equally important to drive sales. More precisely: they should go hand in hand in order to create most value for sales.

Sales Enablement needs to be an integral part of Thought Leadership – and vice versa. At the end, Sales Enablement organizations need to build TL material and educate sales how to leverage these during deal cycles.


What are your thoughts/experiences? Please join me in this conversation.

During the last couple of weeks, just arriving back to business from my Holiday vacations, I just started to re-connect with my sales network in order to finalize my Sales Enablement planning for 2013. During those sessions we discussed what worked and did not show us successful in 2012 and how we could do better in 2013.


One of the major observations during these meetings has been, that there still seems to be a lack of alignment between corporate functions, such as operations, portfolio management, marketing in order to drive successful Sales Enablement. Most functions do still seem to do sole planning cycles and does not interact/communicate very well.


Based on those observations, I come to the conclusion that Sales Enablement is becoming more and more of a cross-functional discipline, bringing all relevant parts of the organization to the table when it comes to planning, executing activities and measuring success. With that, Sales Enablement is taking more and more of a moderating role between marketing, portfolio management, and operations. It needs to make sure that strategies from all parts of the organizations are considered holistic.


Sales Enablement is no longer just a simple appendix of sales. It is an integral part of the whole planning and execution process of a sales strategy, and at the end, making sure that KPIs are being met. It is like a sailing journey, a sailing team is only as strong as every individual is contributing to the team's success.

Iran may be behind a massive and sustained campaign of cyber-attacks against numerous Western financial institutions, including Citigroup, Capital One and HSBC, we learned last week. The strikes exploit banks’ Web site encryption, which encode customers’ online transactions to keep them secure, but it also increases traffic volume.



Cyber-Attacks on Banks 01-18-2013-A
ItsOKNoProblemBro attacks bank Web sites via cloud computing networks and encryption, causing online traffic jams.

Enough of this traffic causes a jam that can completely halt business on these Web sites. So attackers seize control of sprawling cloud computing networks, using them to inundate these Web sites with encrypted requests in order to deny service to their target’s customers, hence the name Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.



“Even the well-defended Web sites of banking titans such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase have suffered connection problems under the weight of the recent onslaughts,” TechDailyNews Senior Editor Paul Wagenseil wrote last week. “Web sites can be cut off from the rest of the Internet, which for online banks adds up to a lot of lost business.”


Overwhelming Wirepower


Web sites for most midsize enterprises can handle about one gigabit per second, according to an expert in The New York Times last week. One victimized bank could handle 40 gbps, but some attacks were as strong as 70 gbps.


“The DDoS attacks against the bank sites are several orders of magnitude higher than the attacks led by the hacktivist movement Anonymous against PayPal, MasterCard and dozens of government sites over the past few years,” Wagenseil said. “The bank attacks ... have often used a DDoS tool called ‘ItsOKNoProblemBro’ to hijack and launch attacks from other Web servers, greatly amplifying the bandwidth of the bogus requests.”


And ItsOKNoProblemBro-infected servers are “bRobots.” Get it?


But It’s Not O.K. -- And There Is A Problem, Bro


If turning a Web site’s encryption against itself isn’t cruel enough, attackers use the same types of cloud computing networks that many businesses employ to help solve their Big Data storage problems. The New York Times characterized this as “transforming the online equivalent of a few yapping Chihuahuas into a pack of fire-breathing Godzillas.”


But the DDoS attacks don’t compromise anyone’s account or steal any money; they are extraordinarily difficult to trace; and they are far more sophisticated that what one would expect from a garden variety hacker. That has some experts thinking that Iran is sponsoring these attacks in retaliation for U.S.-led economic sanctions in the United Nations, and three U.S.-led cyber-attacks on Iran in as many years.



Cyber-Attacks on Banks 01-18-2013-B
State-sponsored cyber-attacks can be a form of asymmetric warfare.

Some see this as a form of asymmetric warfare, off-the-battlefield combat typically engaged against an opponent with significantly greater military might. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta addressed the threat in October, shortly after these attacks surfaced.



“Potential aggressors should be aware that the United States has the capacity to locate them and to hold them accountable for actions that may try to harm America,” Panetta said. “For these kinds of scenarios, the department has developed the capability to conduct effective operations to counter threats to our national interests in cyberspace.”


On the Cold Warpath


The stakes are high, but Iran denies being behind the attacks. Hackers known as Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters have claimed responsibility, citing an inflammatory online video. But the group is really a front for Iran, according to U.S. intelligence officials.


China, Russia and North Korea are also among the major perceived cyber-threats to the U.S. But not everyone is convinced that Iran is behind these DDoS attacks.



Cyber-Attacks on Banks 01-18-2013-C
Detection rules and an analysis tool can help defend against DDoS attacks.

“ItsOKNoProblemBro is far from sophisticated malware,” Roel Schouwenberg, senior anti-virus researcher at Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, recently told TechDailyNews. “Going strictly by the publicly known technical details, I don't see enough evidence to categorize this operation as something only a nation-state-sponsored actor could pull off.”



Still others see an impending Cold War-style showdown between the U.S. and Iran -- with hapless Wall Street caught in the middle.


Game Plan


“The only thing that banks can do is prepare for the next campaign,” Alexander Tabb wrote for TABB Group on Monday. “Given the increasing importance web portals and distributed architectures play in today’s capital markets sector, institutions on both the buy side and sell side have to start thinking about how they intend to protect themselves against a 70 gbps DDoS attack.”


Financial institutions should run detection rules and an analysis tool, as well as update patches in content management systems, according to Michael E. Donner, senior vice president at Prolexic, a Hollywood, Fla.-based DDoS protection services provider. He shared tips for defending against ItsOKNoProblemBro with American Banker earlier this month.


“[Banks] should make sure they are prepared for DDoS attacks of any type -- not just ItsOKNoProblemBro -- by creating a DDoS mitigation playbook,” said Donner. “Having an action plan in place goes a long way toward fighting off the attacks quickly and successfully.”


Related Media:


Bank Hacking Was the Work of Iranians, Officials Say” in The New York Times


Iran May Not Be Behind Bank Cyberattacks, Experts Say” in TechDailyNews


U.S. can trace cyberattacks, mount pre-emptive strikes, Panetta says” in Stars and Stripes

Welcome to SAP Coffee Break with Game-Changers Radio blog on SCN. I'm Bonnie D. Graham, creator / producer/ host of our weekly live thought leader talk radio series.

Episode #65 aired live on Jan. 2, 2013. Listen on-demand at http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/66513/social-media-iq-how-smart-is-your-company

SAP Radio Coffee Break with Game-Changers Logo-121211.JPG


Episode Overview:

Your company’s Social Media IQ. Do you know your score?

If you haven’t checked recently, or if it’s embarrassingly low [you are not alone], do something about it now – yes, right away today.

Why? Because in the time it takes for you to read this, zettabytes of fresh social media intelligence are whooshing by. And if you’re not listening, capturing, analyzing and taking action on this potentially rich business data, you could be missing the boat to success in 2013.

Our experts know what it takes to achieve a Mensa-level Social Media IQ.

Amber Mac, Konnekt Creative Digital Engagemen and TWiT.tvt: “If content is king, then conversion is queen." - John Munsell, CEO/co-founder of Bizzuka.

Arthur Bailey, Microsoft: “You cannot control what people say online about your company, but you can manage and track the volumes of conversation.”

Schalk Viljoen, SAP: "If everything seems under control, you`re just not going fast enough." - Mario Andretti, world champion racing driver

Pour a cup of Joe, Earl or OJ (or leftover Dom), and join us at the game-changers’ table for smart business talk to kickoff a positively game-changing New Year!


Meet our panelists:

01-02-13 Amber Mac Photo_Crop2.jpg

Amber Mac is an entrepreneur, television host, speaker, and bestselling author. She co-hosts the CTV/BNN TV show AppCentral, airing in Canada, Australia, and South Korea; is a regular contributor on CTV News Channel; and writes weekly for Fast Company on social business, digital productivity, and how to work smarter. In reviewing her book, Power Friending, the Miami Herald called Amber Mac, “a virtual Swiss Army Knife of networking ... she demonstrates a deep and practical understanding of the necessity of extending one’s personal and professional presence online.” Amber’s career began at Razorfish-San Francisco during the dot-com boom. Online, she has spearheaded and co-hosted The Social Hour on TWiT.tv network and commandN.tv, reaching about 100,000 viewers and listeners a week. Clients of her company, Konnekt Creative Digital Engagement, launched in 2007, include Tony Robbins, Discovery Channel, Microsoft, Canada Goose, American Dental Association, and Genumark.

Art01-02-13 Arthur Bailey Photo1_Crop.jpghur Bailey leads the public relations and analyst relations programs of Microsoft Corporation’s Worldwide Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partner (SMS&P) group, which includes Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner organization. With a strong emphasis on Microsoft’s channel recruitment and SMB sales strategies, he manages analyst/press engagements that focus on Microsoft’s core technologies as well as its channel and SMB programs’ strengths and challenges. Previously, Arthur served as the Microsoft EMEA regional license marketing manager, based in London. He joined Microsoft in 2002 through its acquisition of the Danish software firm Navision. Before joining Microsoft, he spent 10 years in Europe working in various communications and marketing roles in Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. Arthur began his communications career in the U.S. federal government serving in the U.S. Departments of Defense, Labor and the National Institutes of Health.

Schalk Viljoen is a transplanted South African, now living in Germany. He has been in the IT industry for 22 years, with roles ranging from technical sup01-02-13 Schalk Viljoen Photo_Crop.jpgport, pre-sales, sales, marketing and communications to general management. Currently Schalk works for SAP’s Cloud Business Unit and is responsible for external Social Media, which combines his love for technology with his love of socializing.  What “keeps him up at night” is the challenge of using social media for business development while staying true to the principle of Community. Schalk hangs out at the best social media watering holes and can be found at Twitter, Linkdln and Facebook.  The SAP Cloud communities are on SAP Community Network (SCN), Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Slideshare.


Visit http://spr.ly/SAPRadio for our archived episodes [launched Oct. 2011] and guest directory.

To suggest a topic for SAP Game-Changers Radio, email bonnie.d.graham@sap.com.

knowledge2.jpgKnowledge Management is becoming more than just creating content and storing it. Over the last couple of years, companies are looking for a more holistic approach. It is covering the entire lifecycle of content including defining a knowledge management strategy, structuring content and measuring business impact. However, questions like how knowledge management boosts innovations and to reach external leadership are becoming more and more important.


Moving forward, you should keep the following recommendations in mind:


  • Enable external collaboration: Most available knowledge management infrastructures only enable internal stakeholders collaborating. However, if you would like to implement an advanced knowledge management strategy, also include external audiences, such as customers and partners as well. This is a great opportunity for a more outside-in approach which will, at the end, enhance processes, services design and co-innovation.


  • Build a brand: Market your knowledge management system. Regular communicate your knowledge message and "sell" your success. Some companies already thinking about implementing an knowledge management brand manager.


  • Integrate social media: Social media should be one integral part of your knowledge management infrastructure. most importantly, mobile cloud initiatives should be also considered makting knowledge accessible from everywhere and every time.


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Is Your Knowledge Management Infrastructure 'Mobile Ready'?


Top 3 Success Factors for a Comprehensive Knowledge Management Strategy


Align Your Sales Enablement Strategy Internally

Most often sales enablement colleagues are challenged by their sales force. Sometimes they approach you with ad-hoc request in creating just another sales enablement assets, be it a video, podcast or simply a PowerPoint presentation, for their upcoming customer meeting. At this point, you are quite challenged as you have not been aware of this particular strategy area and worst case you have no funding in place to support this activity.


Plan strategically with your sales force

For sure, at the beginning of your planning cycle you would not be able to predict any changes to the sales strategy. However, start connecting with sales at an early stage of the planning process and build a sales enablement strategy together. Let your sales colleagues present their core priorities to you and jointly develop potential sales enablement activities that supports achieving those goals. Also identify learning needs with your sales colleagues. The most in common procedure by doing this is leveraging the ADDIE model (analyze, design, develop, implement and evaluation). This tool enables you to provide effective training to your sales force. In addition you might also think about using a design thinking approach.


Leverage the ADDIE model for building sales enablement content

As mentioned above, the ADDIE model is a perfect approach when it comes to creating sales enablement and learning in a sustainable way. At the end of the process you would not only have a concrete understanding of learning needs of your sales organization. It also give you the opportunity to


  • Learn more about your target group
  • Defining the desired outcome
  • Defining delivery options
  • Showcase your impact to the business


During the complete ADDIE phases, you should also identify key stakeholders within the sales organization supporting and communication your efforts. In addition, define joint KPI in order to make sales accountable for any outcomes and results, too.

It can be easy to forget about other continents. Regulatory talk about Dodd-Frank and Basel III -- not to mention economic worry about the fiscal cliff and Eurozone debt crisis -- can leave you thinking that there’s nothing beyond North America and Europe.


Innovation in Asia 01-16-2013-ASo regulators called for greater regional influence at this week’s Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong. The chairman of Malaysia’s Securities Commission even advocated official collaboration on a unified position relative to the rest of the world.


But Asia appears prominently on the map when we talk about innovation.


Targeting individual customers with personalized offers is a decades-old marketing theory that has only recently blossomed, thanks to new technology. And Asian enterprises are determined to capitalize on it.


“A lot of our retail customers here in Asia [are] looking to establish a deeper relationship one-to-one with their consumers,” Jason Yotopoulos, SAP’s global head of Next Business and Technology, told the BBC’s Asia Business Report. “We’re doing this ... through the mobile phone.”


Innovation will be critical to emerging economies in 2013, Yotopoulos told Asia Business Report’s Rico Hizon -- from a curious distance. These nations must cultivate entrepreneurship from the ground up, and get ahead of the competition.



Innovation in Asia 01-16-2013-B
SAP’s Jason Yotopoulos discussed the importance of innovation with the BBC.

“They see an important strategic advantage to get out early [and] try new things as these markets are shifting and growing,” Yotopoulos said. “Those that move most quickly with these new technologies get the advantage.”


But governments in Asia may not always be as helpful as they should.


“Businessmen ... feel that they are not getting enough support from the government and even worse, that government is ‘killing’ their businesses,” columnist and lawyer Emmanuel M. Dalman wrote in The Philippine Star Tuesday. “Instead of helping the local entrepreneurs develop their businesses ... the government allows big-time foreign investors to come and compete with our local entrepreneurs.”


Continual support for startups and the entrepreneurial spirit will be crucial to Asia maintaining its edge in the world of innovation. And it will be key to the region’s effort to get itself on other maps.


Related Media:


Asia Needs Bigger Voice in International Financial Rulemaking” on Risk.net


SAP increases investment in its Asia research centres” on BBC.co.uk


Are We Protecting Our Entrepreneurs?” in The Philippine Star

smallasugblog.jpgOften people talk about customer engagement in the context of consumer products and services like mobile devices and fashionable clothing, or personalized offers and fast delivery. In the realm of business-to-business, getting closer to customers is a very different matter. Consider a company like SAP. Innovative software is just the tip of the iceberg. What’s most powerful for customers is getting access to a wide and deep network of business professionals ready, willing, and able to share their experiences.


SAP has set up number of programs specifically designed to help customers prosper from the collective wisdom of others. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Bridgette Chambers, CEO of ASUG (America’s SAP Users’ Group), and she talked about the important role her organization plays for SAP customers. The entire interview can be found on SAP.info, but here’s an excerpt from our conversation:


“A customer community helps people avoid costly project failures, and instead implement quickly to make SAP easier for less technical stakeholders so they can get the most out of their SAP investment.


We are a true customer network. We aggregate customer input about their priorities, and share it with SAP regularly. Then, we engage with SAP to help improve and innovate in a manner that keeps these priorities at the forefront of everything SAP does.”


ASUG is over 130,000 members strong from 3,500 companies in 17 industries. To my knowledge, actively fostering a worldwide independent user group on the scale that SAP has is unprecedented in this industry. Putting a price on that kind of collective wisdom is impossible. It’s just one of the many ways that SAP puts customers first. Another is keeping promises. The release of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA is yet another proof point that SAP is on track with promised, non-disruptive innovations. Like all SAP solutions, this is the result of a customer co-innovation project. Customer advisory boards had an instrumental role in the development and packaging of the Business Suite on SAP HANA. That’s because business value is paramount to everything SAP does.


“Customer first” is not a slogan at SAP. It’s a fact of business life across the company. SAP Value Academy sessions provide customers with the tools needed to define, measure, and achieve greatest value from their SAP software with benchmarking against best practices by industry. Forums like this one, the SAP Community Network (SCN), offer a dynamic, open place for people to ask questions, share ideas, and test theories. Innovation is not an end itself, it’s on ongoing journey. All this and more is what you get every single day when you’re an SAP customer.

People.jpgSometimes your boldest hiring decisions are your best hiring decisions.


A few years back, I made one of these out of the box hires. I brought on an internal talent who came from a technical background and had no prior experience in HR. I took a chance because I knew her passion was with HR, not with technology, and after a few conversations I could tell this area was better suited to her talent and potential.


As you can imagine, my team was skeptical. How could someone with no HR experience fill this critical role? 


But over time, they understood my thinking. Not only did she exceed our expectations, but she added tremendous value to the team. Today, she is one of the most respected HR professionals on our team.


This got me thinking: How can we unlock this untapped talent and potential in everyone? How can we make sure we leverage our existing talent and that we have people in the “right place” for them?


As the war for talent continues today, we cannot afford to not embrace our internal talent. With today’s environment of instant gratification and the propensity for organizations to focus only on the short term, the result is a “drive for execution and delivery” approach today and not “planning for what is needed” approach for tomorrow.


This lack of planning and vision for the future has serious implications on our talent pipeline. By not taking the time to identify and nurture the talent that you have today, you run the risk of not sustaining the talent you need for the future. Whether your talent leaves to achieve their aspirations elsewhere or your talent stays but with unlocked potential, the result is lower levels of productivity, engagement, and lack of talent readiness for the future.


So how do you ensure that you get the most out of your talent?

  1. INVEST - Invest in a talent management process that examines all employees’ “potential”. Whether it is growth in their current role, expanded growth in a function or line of business, or fast track growth of your organization’s superstars by answering this first important question, you will be better able to maximize the potential and contribution of all of your talent, have an understanding of your overall talent landscape and, as importantly, where you have gaps.
  2. UNDERSTAND - Understanding what your talent has potential for is also critical. I can’t tell you how many individuals I know today who have no idea what their manager believes they have potential to do in the future and the individuals themselves have not spent the time to think about their future. If we cannot clearly identify what we believe an individual has the potential for, we are unable to focus their development which slows down their readiness for the next contribution.
  3. GUIDE - Take the time to help your employees understand their talent. This includes examining their passions and values, understanding their strengths and opportunities, and then aligning these two aspects with an organizational need. The intersection of passion, strengths/talents and organizational need, in my opinion, is the career sweet spot. It is here you will see the highest level of engagement and discretionary effort from your talent, when they are able to contribute to the organization doing something that aligns with their passions and leverages their strengths.
  4. DEVELOP - Develop talent with focus. Research today suggests that managers spend less than 20 % of their time focusing on the development of their employees. Prioritize this time and work with your talent to develop customized development plans for them that builds on their specific strengths and addresses areas for development. An individual who understands what the organization believes they have potential for, has a good understanding of their talents and what they need to develop will be more motivated to develop themselves, and ultimately will deliver more in the future.
  5. IMPROVE - Identify where you have gaps. Given the rapidly changing global business environment, it is inevitable that you will not have every skill set, experience or talent that you require today. By taking the time to understand the talent you have across your entire current internal landscape, you will be better positioned to focus on internal development and determine where you may have to look externally to address your talent needs in the future.


So take some time and think about your current talent pool. Are there people who can make a greater impact in other areas of the organization? Make a bold hire – not only can it pay off for the individual and the team, it demonstrates your commitment to the right people in the right roles to make the biggest impact.


Follow me on Twitter: @Tracey_Arnish


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What Will It Take for HR to Gain the Respect It Wants?


SAP HR Uses SAP Solution to Help Employees and Showcase Benefits to Customers

SAP Radio Coffee Break with Game-Changers Logo-121211.JPG

Welcome to SAP Coffee Break with Game-Changers Radio blog on SCN. I'm Bonnie D. Graham, creator / producer/ host of our weekly live talk radio series.

Episode #66 aired live on Jan. 9, 2013. Listen on-demand right here.

Episode Overview:

Truth time! On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your corporate social responsibility program.

If it’s below 5 (you know who you are), our panel of experts may inspire you to raise the bar in 2013.

Daniel Elliott: “International corporate volunteer programs are a win-win-win proposition. The host organizations gain access to pro bono world-class consulting services, volunteers gain a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and companies enhance their brand and increase exposure to new markets.”

Rebecca Wang: “The betterment of our society is not a job to be left to a few. It is a responsibility to be shared by all.” - David Packard

Gared Jones: “Global corporations are playing a catalytic role in accelerating community engagement around the world, transforming the way individuals, organizations and societies think and operate - in essence promoting a global culture of service and volunteering. They are also being transformed by these experiences as they continue to innovate how they impact local communities.”

Evan Welsh: “Garbage can be good.” (Referring to Evan’s mission to create a communications plan for the “catadores” garbage collector association in Brazil.)

Join us for smart business talk about the value of Corporate Social Responsibility to your company, your industry and your world.

Meet our panelists:

Daniel Elliott is Program Manager at CDC Development Solutions, an international development organization, whose mission is to reinvent how public, private, and social 01-09-13 Daniel Elliott Photo_Crop2.jpginterests converge to address global challenges. One way in which they do this is through the design, implementation and impact measurement of International Corporate Volunteer programs for over a dozen corporations. Daniel is the key client manager for SAP’s Social Sabbatical Program and was responsible for helping SAP launch the pilot teams deployed to Brazil, South Africa and India in 2012. Previously, Daniel was the Director of International Research at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a political consulting and public opinion research firm. He was named one of the “Top 99 Under 33” Foreign Policy leaders by the Diplomatic Courier Magazine in 2011 and has been published in the Council on Foreign Relations.

01-09-13 Rebecca Wang Photo_Crop2.jpgRebecca Wang is a member of the small but mighty community engagement team within HP’s Sustainability and Social Innovation team. She is responsible for employee engagement in the community for HP’s 320,000 employees around the globe.  Her specific responsibilities include creating and managing the company’s global skills-based/pro bono volunteering program.  Additionally, Rebecca works closely with the HP Company Foundation during times of disaster to engage employees through giving and volunteering. Prior to joining HP in 2010, Rebecca spent several years focused on raising her children and donating her skills to her local community and the public schools her sons attend.  She is very familiar with employee engagement and disaster relief in her previous role with Cisco Systems and the Cisco Systems Foundation between 2000-2007. Rebecca holds a Communications degree from UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Michigan.

01-09-13 Gared Jones Photo_Crop2.jpgGared Jones is Vice President of Global Service at Points of Light – the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service, mobilizing millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities in more than twenty countries and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year.  Gared leads Points of Light’s international efforts, including building its international operating network of innovative volunteer organizations and supporting global corporate partners to deepen their impact through volunteering. Previously, Gared worked with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in India and Deloitte Consulting in Africa and North America.


01-09-13 Evan Welsh Photo_Crop2.jpgEvan Welsh, Head of Sustainability and CSR Corporate and Product Media Relations at SAP, started at SAP on Valentine’s Day, and says, “It’s been a love affair ever since”. His primary area of focus consists of telling the SAP story to leading media around the world, focusing increasingly on social media and regularly giving presentations on the topic. Prior to SAP, he served as director of public relations and communications for The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, PA. Evan has also taught English and writing courses at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA. Growing up, he lived in Switzerland for nine years and graduated from the Kantonsschule in Zofingen. In July 2012, he spent one month in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, participating in SAP’s first social sabbatical program

It’s another shot across Oracle’s bow, according to CNBC. SAP’s Business Suite will now run on HANA, the company announced Thursday.


Business Suite on HANA 01-11-2013-A“SAP has made it even clearer than ever that HANA is its ticket forward, unveiling a version of its core Business Suite for the in-memory platform,” business and technology site GigaOM wrote Friday. “The point ... is to marry online transaction processing with analytics, with the primary benefit being speed.”


Business Suite on HANA may very well be the only product on the market to feature real-time analytical business applications on one in-memory platform, as IT news site ZDNet noted Thursday. The target demographic includes customers looking to scrutinize social media, oversee orders or just sift through torrents of Big Data.


“This is the biggest announcement since the launch of R/3 nearly 20 years ago,” SAP co-founder and Chairman Hasso Plattner told CNBC Thursday, referencing the company’s iconic enterprise resource planning software. “There are new customers that are so large ... we couldn’t run them without HANA.”


Business Suite on HANA 01-11-2013-BThis is the latest step in getting all of SAP’s products to run on SAP HANA, the company’s flagship data warehouse appliance, which processes heretofore unimaginable volumes of data. But the business operations and applications integrator Business Suite will continue to run on other databases as well.


“We’re also going forward, in a non-disruptive mode, for the other databases,” Plattner said. “So the customer has a choice.”


Related Media:


SAP marries transaction processing with analytics by putting business suite on HANA” by David Meyer


SAP prioritizes real-time apps with Business Suite running on HANA” by Rachel King


Hasso Plattner Talks SAP on HANA, CNBC” by Jon Fortt

strategy.jpgAligning the Sales Enablement strategy internally seems to be quite obvious to every sales enablement professional. This is, for sure, valid when mapping it with the corporate strategy. It provides overall guidance concerning overall strategic objectives and revenue goals. However, some roadblocks might occur if this strategy is not aligned with other functions such as marketing, portfolio management and sales.


In order to execute, successfully, on your sales enablement strategy it is crucial to integrate additional functions within your planning process at the very beginning:


  • Portfolio Management: Get insights from your portfolio team at a very early stage of your planning process. What products/services will be launched in the near term or are there any updates within the existing portfolio. With having this in mind, you will have some great starting point in jointly creating your Sales Enablement strategy with sales and determine and education needs.


  • Marketing: It does not seem to be obvious, but marketing should be also an integral part of your planning process. Align with them in order to get an understanding up planned and upcoming campaigns. This gives you the opportunity to link your Sales Enablement activities closely with marketing. With that in mind you might be also able to identify any additional enablement and training priorities reflected within you planning process. Sales will highly appreciate this approach, as you are enabling them to customer requests based on a specific campaign.


  • Sales: Last but not least, and this might be the most important part, align with Sales. A deep understanding of sales priorities, education needs and gaining insights into latest market trends is key to create tangible Sales Enablement materials. Make sure you have Sales constantly reviewing your enablement plan and adjust.


Also keep in mind there might be regional adjustments to make. 

john-deere-logo.jpgSAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA is finally here.


This core part of SAP’s intellectual renewal means companies of all shapes and sizes have the ability to run mission critical business processes in real-time, or “just-in- time” as Vishal Sikka, member of the SAP Executive Board told attendees during a global launch event held yesterday across Palo Alto, Frankfurt and New York.


As an attendee of the New York event, I wasn’t enamored with technical talk or jabs at Oracle. I was impressed with the notion that SAP HANA is not for everyone, a thought touched upon by none other than SAP Co-founder Hasso Plattner.


Plattner wasn’t trying to be provocative or use reverse psychology to drum up more business. He was simply reminding business leaders that there is a mental state of being one must adopt before the relationship with SAP HANA begins. It means letting go of the old way of doing things, like running important queries over the weekend or taking several hours to crunch data needed for materials requirement planning if you’re a consumer goods company.


dyer2[2].jpgDeere and Company (aka John Deere) is a great example of a global business that possesses the hunger and desire needed to shed old skin and transform into a lean and mean “just-in-time” machine. Derek Dyer, director, global SAP services (pictured, right, with Rob Enslin, Head of Sales, SAP) at Deere and Company was on hand in New York to explain why his company is “all-in” with SAP HANA.


Last year, Deere and Company celebrated its 175th anniversary with a diverse portfolio that is interrelated. Agriculture and construction are positioned well for growth. Turf and forestry units are ready to enhance worldwide development.


“Some change always comes with opportunity and our company has changed a lot,” said Dyer. “We are in a good position to take advantage of opportunities in regions like Brazil, Russia, India and China.”


Dyer said SAP HANA provides his company with the ability to become more productive and profitable – obviously good things to be armed with when entering emerging markets. Dyer said Deere and Company started its SAP HANA project a year ago and while they are excited about its speed, they are more excited to execute bold ideas across their business that weren’t possible before.


“Our existing solution was good but not doing everything we hoped,” said Dyer. “User experience was not there, reporting wasn’t great either. What we needed was real-time data to change this aspect of our business and SAP HANA gave this to us.”


This means Deere and Company can now manage their programs in real-time, the “wow factor” they were looking for, according to Dyer who had early success with an SAP ERP on HANA proof-of concept. “We look at this as a way to manage our business in ways like never before,” said Dyer. “Real time MRP closing in minutes is big.”


In addition, SAP HANA’s predictive analytics allows Deere and Company to:


   1.  Empower IT to deliver innovations to the business and “solve problems that were unsolvable.”


   2.  Simplify IT stack to reduce total cost of ownership and deal with huge amounts of data, mobile connectivity


   3.  Better serve the business. Real-time means better decisions, crisper insights, and opens doors for customer self-service.


“As we look at SAP ERP on HANA we see a new world to transform the business from being a manufacturer to becoming a solution based enterprise,” said Dyer. “For instance, we can take huge amounts of data from our global equipment sensors, get info on how customers are using that equipment in real-time and have a solution back to that customer in real-time.”



Follow Tim on twitter: @TClark01



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Re-thinking Your Supply Chain with SAP HANA

Thoughts by Achim Hebestreit, Global Lead SAP Mobile for Telecommunications, and myself on the new role of telcos in the mobile age:


Do you remember the last time you used a phone booth? I wouldn’t if it had not been last week. In search of a dry place to roll a cigarette in rainy London, I passed one of those signature red telephone booths. Upon stepping in it took me a moment to realize that I was not the first person to use this place for something other than making a call.

It smelled like a public toilet that was being used by about every drunk in London and was decorated with a zillion adult stickers. So, I decided to forgo the cigarette in favor of going to my hotel for a shower…


Thinking back, I realized that the decay of this once so proud British landmark makes sense in some way. Of course I do not mean its newfound use as loo or adult art gallery. But what could be more outdated nowadays than a single-service device that is bulky, stationary and unmovable? Today, the notion of going somewhere to make a call is as alien as it is now common to make a call on the go. Telcos made this change possible to a large extent. They developed the technology, they built the networks and they, of course, sold the service. And for a long time, traditional services like telephony were bestsellers. But once the technology became universally available, this business became less profitable. Traditional services alone won’t do it in near future. Telcos have to move on. It’s a twist of fate that it is the telco industry which is in danger of becoming today’s phone booth: bulky, stationary and not moving.


But in fact, telcos do have all the assets necessary to be a driving power of innovation. One could forget about that looking back on a decade that was ostensibly dominated by the internet. The telecommunication industry was the home team in the internet revolution, owning the infrastructure but ultimately had done little more than conceding the playing field that others have played on.


OTT-players were the innovators of the internet age who filled the gaps telcos had left open or did not see. Their success is for telcos a look in a mirror of missed opportunities. But we stand on the edge of the new mobile age that could give the momentum back to telcos.


Mobile services are getting more complex in both quality and in quantity. To manage a mobile service or to combine several, you need size and expertise. We have seen a number of OTT-players struggling recently. They lack fully developed business models, infrastructure and the capabilities to invest.

Guess where those qualities can be found? There are not many OTT-players who combine both elements as good as a telco. In order to offer a mobile services that provides customers with a whole new kind of mobile life you need telcos.


Take mobile payment. There are many stakeholders involved. But telco companies are in a unique market position (again), having all the assets to make (e.g.) the mobile wallet service a convenient and natural experience for consumers: Customer relationship, information, financial resources, considerable technological know-how and above all: trust. Would you entrust Facebook with your private banking information? Would you want to give Google that kind of knowledge? But you do have this trusting relationship to your telco. This gives them the possibility to be a broker of mobile services to their customers. These do not even need to be telco-made. In this way keen consumers would have access to many more services. And these in turn would become trustful due to the customer’s relationship to their telco. And at the same time, companies that offer good services but are not connected with consumers would get linked to those who opt in.


Telcos could elevate mobility to a whole new level by managing and harvesting different mobile services. In this way, telcos could become THE social aggregator of mobile services for customers and other businesses in the new mobile age. Not much of a phone booth, right?!


Interested in mobility and/or telcos – Follow on Twitter @AHebestreit

supplychain.jpgAs the New Year begins, stubborn business challenges persist. Global supply chains are under pressure to deliver from volatile demand signals, complex supply scenarios and processes that are difficult to change quickly.


Why? Customers are more demanding. By leveraging social media and online research, customers are plugged in and informed. Their expectations for those they do business with are increasing. At the same time, today’s supply chains are becoming more complex. We know supply has become global. But growth in emerging markets is increasing global demand in the face of rising prices and diminishing resources. Compliance, product safety and sustainability add complexity when bringing products to market in a timely fashion.


All of this is takes place in an era of ongoing economic uncertainty fraught with changing buyer behavior and consumer spending that is increasing only marginally. Balancing costs with service levels within the supply chain has never been so critical.


So, when I think of today’s supply chain, the old adage, “the only constant is change itself” comes to mind. We must be responsive to change and treat exceptions as the norm!  So as a New Year’s resolution I believe we need to rethink our supply chains and the processes that drive them:

  • Rethink Responsiveness by considering customer, product and supplier priorities when defining how to improve customer satisfaction. This requires the ability to act smarter through an accurate picture of demand for all products and markets at any time through real-time visibility.

  • Rethink Collaboration across departments and companies to build and adjust profitable business plans. This requires near real-time planning processes and “what-if” scenarios support to make faster and more profitable decisions.

  • Rethink Distribution to improve relationships and responsiveness to customer demands. This can potentially lead to a complete new strategy for warehouses (maybe many more local warehouses but much smaller ones) or different transportation models (change from big truck to small trucks).

  • Rethink Operations to introduce smarter, faster and simpler demand and supply planning processes in order to profitably plan and re-plan based on distribution and manufacturing costs.

  • Rethink Decisions with real time insight and information to rapidly analyse and respond to changing business dynamics.


Changing the Game with SAP HANA


With the introduction of Business Suite powered by HANA, these supply chain aspirations are achievable today. SAP HANA enables the collection and monitoring of huge volumes of internal and external supply chain “big data” in real-time. This can include information about orders, shipments and point-of-sale purchases, inventory positions and customer sentiment analysis. Supply chain professionals can then perform high-speed what-if analysis and KPI tracking against supply chain information. They can slash the planning cycles to drive profitable and smarter decisions with real-time insight. And with new real-time visibility, analytics planning and execution capabilities provided by SAP HANA, companies can completely re-think their Supply Chain. 


Here are some of the HANA enabled capabilities available to supply chain executives today.

    • Sales & Operations Planning powered by HANA leverages a unified model of demand, supply chain, and financial data to analyze in real time at any level of granularity or dimension. Decisions can be made faster through rapid simulation and comparison of scenarios on a complete, detailed S&OP model. And these decisions are smarter by empowering collaborative processes through an embedded, context-aware social platform to accelerate planning and decision making across the company.

    • Demand Signal Management powered by HANA leverages big data from both structured and unstructured (sentiment analysis, web chatter etc.) sources to accurately manage demand, and align consumer, promotional and forecast data into one complete view of your demand picture. A complete view of demand enables real-time visibility of both successful and problem products, regions and channels. You can then integrate the holistic demand view to drive planning, fulfillment and execution processes.

    • APO powered by HANA utilizes the high-speed computational capabilities of SAP HANA to improve time consuming and performance intensive process making planning faster and more responsive. APO now has real-time analytics for SCM planning scenarios to increase speed of information analysis, and simulations in areas of forecasting and supply network planning. It also supports pre-defined dashboards for different use cases (analytical workflows) for APO based planning scenarios.

    • MRP powered by HANA enables faster re-planning allowing more frequent MRP runs in shorter cycles and simulation of different ‘what if’ scenarios in real-time.

    • Supply Network Collaboration powered by HANA enables rapid collaboration with supply chain partners to gain multi-tiered visibility and status across your extended supply chain.

    • Real-time Inventory Management powered by HANA delivers an inventory management cockpit for real-time stock insight and inventory monitoring

    • Supply Chain Info Center powered by HANA helps to execute decisions in real time through embedded dashboards to drill down into issues and perform ad-hoc analysis and decision support based on near real time information (e.g. forecast accuracy,  stock coverage, supply projection)


Today, innovations from SAP offer you real-time supply chain management and the opportunity to rethink your supply chain and its processes to take it to new levels of responsiveness, efficiency and customer service.  Imagine what your business can do with this great opportunity.


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Variety may be the spice of life, but innovation drives variety. The pervasive taste of Apple would still dominate the smartphone palate if Samsung hadn’t kicked things up a notch.


Innovation Snabe 01-10-2013-AIn fact, the South Korean manufacturer of the iPhone-rivaling Galaxy S III enjoyed its fifth consecutive record-breaking quarter for operating profit in Q4, Financial Times reported Tuesday. Samsung also owes a lot of that success to not-so-high-end devices.


Though Apple hasn’t catered to that segment of the mobile phone market, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that a lower-price iPhone could hit the shelves by the end of this year.


Samsung’s success is a painful reminder to Apple that innovation is key to market success. SAP Co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe recently discussed the implications of a customer-driven, innovation-oriented company with German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle.


Innovation Snabe 01-10-2013-B“It means listen more to the customer,” Snabe said. “It means rethinking how we innovate.”


Shortening cycles of innovation and thinking like a startup company are components of this ambitious shift in focus, which Snabe considers SAP’s major change so far during his tenure as co-CEO. That requires agility and grand ideas.


“HANA is one of the very big breakthroughs that we had with this innovation strategy,” Snabe said. “It basically challenges one big assumption that we’ve had since the start of IT: that data is stored on a disk.”


The disk isn’t keeping pace with the rest of the computer’s evolution into something ever faster. So SAP engineers discovered how to store data in main memory, which is 10,000 times faster than a disk. Combine that with a data compression algorithm, and a large organization can store all of its information in main memory.


“Because of that, we can start predicting the future through mathematical models ...  instead of just reporting the past,” Snabe said, noting that HANA can help companies forecast consumer preference patterns. “We even helped predict the election in the U.S. based on Twitter sentiment analysis, again an example of large volumes of data analyzed very fast.”


SAP will announce Thursday other innovative ways to help customers cut efforts and costs with Business Suite on HANA.


Related Articles:


Galaxy Lifts Samsung Profit to Record” by Simon Mundy


A Low-Priced iPhone Awaits” by Jessica E. Lessin


What will the software of the future look like?” by Deutsche Welle

smallhanablog1.jpgStarting today, you’ll hear a lot about how SAP has changed the game with the release of the SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA. But exactly what does integrating transactional and analytical systems on SAP’s real-time data management platform mean for organizations and the people they serve? Amazing things happen when companies are able to integrate all kinds of data from a variety of sources. They run smarter, faster, and simpler.


  • Physicians efficiently customize a treatment plan that addresses each individual patient’s health care issues. People get well faster and stay healthy longer. Health care costs go down.


  • Retailers have the right products and services available where and when customers want them. Delighted customers buy more; the business grows.


  • Utility and other field service and repair technicians monitor maintenance systems to head off breakdowns. When problems occur, they get operations up and running faster with real-time communication. Integrated systems help reduce risk and fraud.


  • First responders bring succor faster to citizens in need during crises and disasters.


  • Government agencies send payments to the right recipients for the right amount at the right time. Less waste, meaningful collaboration, and better services help improve schools, create jobs, and make countries more secure.


  • Companies see the real-time impact of marketing campaigns. They can modify offers instantaneously wherever the customer is—via mobile device, website, or in the cloud.


  • Customers get the products and services they need without wasting time (not to mention annoyance) on things they don’t want.


  • Financial departments accurately calculate risk at any point in time based on comprehensive, quality data. They make better decisions by acting on anticipated shifts as well as unexpected, fast-moving events.


  • Inventory control has a unified view of customer demand, supply chain, and financial data. Efficiencies save costs while customers get the goods they want.




  • HR has ready access to top talent able to propel the company forward in a new era of Big Data, cloud, mobile, and social computing.


In short, SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA addresses the top CEO priorities for 2013: to improve products, services, and customer engagement, gain greater competitive differentiation, and consolidate and implement IT systems for better business value. Find more SAP HANA use cases here. The future may always be uncertain, but for organizations that adopt this software, nothing will ever be the same again.

big data.jpgBig Data can improve our everyday lives, but consumers should think twice before sharing their data.


Recently, I saw firsthand how a new “universal identification” program called Aadhar is taking shape in India. It has potential to improve the lives of millions of poor people via Big Data.


Aadhar is an ambitious government Big Data project aimed at becoming the world’s largest biometric database by 2014, with a goal of capturing about 600 million Indian identities (an Aadhar enrollment center is pictured, right). This could help India’s government and businesses deliver more efficient public services and facilitate direct cash transfers to some of the world’s poorest people -- while saving billions of dollars each year.


Many of the core ideas surrounding Big Data have been around for awhile, such as traditional data mining and analytics. But new technology enables the collection and analysis of, until recently, unimaginable data volumes at extremely high speeds.


“Big Data” refers to methods and technologies that help businesses and individuals make better decisions by analyzing large data volumes and predicting probable outcomes. The term has been around for a few years, but 2013 may be a year when Big Data moves from the technical to the practical, as real consumers and citizens start seeing its impact.


1. How we spend: Traditional and online retailers typically spent resources building huge datasets trying to understand their customer’s buying patterns using programs such as loyalty points. They offered big discounts on certain shopping days, such as Black Friday. New technologies help companies provide real-time offers to customers based on the date, the time of the day and the location of their shopping. As companies use Big Data to store and analyze more and more information about customers and competition, shopping will become more personalized and marketing more targeted. In short, you may get a better deal than someone sitting right next to you!

2. How we vote: If there was one area outside of business where Big Data had an enormous impact in 2012, it was in the U.S. presidential election. President Barack Obama’s campaign ran what has been referred to as the first Big Data-powered campaign that could micro-target individual voters most likely to be persuaded. The basic idea was to analyze every individual voter’s preferences instead of relying on traditional methods of taking polls with small sample sizes and extrapolating. This was historic because it upended traditional methods of running campaigns. Mounds of data from surveys, phone calls, external voter lists and past voting patterns drove real-time voter outreach and get-out-the-vote efforts. But Big Data was not limited to campaigns with huge technology infrastructure, as Nate Silver of The New York Times famously predicted the 2012 election outcome by applying statistical models to aggregate existing polling data.


3. How we study: A number of academic institutions are employing Big Data to address dual challenges of high dropout rates and the ensuing decline in state funding. The basic approach is to ensure that students select the majors that are best suited for them and nudging them to take classes that increase their chances of successfully graduating. Even the course material can be personalized for the students based on their interest, prior courses and the medium they find easiest to learn from (video, text, etc.). This is all made possible by analyzing vast amounts of student data, such as standardized test scores, previous grades and even real-time data points like clicks in an online class. Applying statistical models to each student’s profile and comparing results to similar students can predict the most likely outcomes (like succeeding in a class or completing a major) and offer constructive recommendations.


4. How we stay healthy: Healthcare has been a particularly difficult domain for analytics because of myriad privacy and regulatory restrictions that prevent the usage of data for research purposes. However the proliferation of smartphones and other “self-tracking” devices is fast changing the landscape. It is now possible to collect data from healthy individuals by constantly monitoring their vital information 24 hours a day, creating a very large unbiased control group that can be segmented by demographics such as age, *** and race. Analyzing large volumes of historical and real-time data can help individuals make healthy lifestyle choices, take preventive measures (e.g., flu vaccinations), predict their chances of being inflicted with a certain disease and possibly even provide personal analytics on their daily activities and how it impacts their health.


5. How we keep (or lose) our privacy: With all this data collection and analysis, privacy has rightly been a paramount concern with Big Data. Often individuals fear Big Data becoming the Big Brother (or Big Boss!) watching their every move and knowing the most intimate details about their life. An increasing amount of data -- especially online and on smartphones -- can be collected without the user’s knowledge or consent. Collection, analysis and sale of personal data on the Web can range from your search habits to shopping preferences to personal health issues, and it is a booming business, according to a recent Wall Street Journal investigation. Still consumers and citizens willingly share much of the data collected today.



India’s Aadhar collects sensitive information, such as fingerprints and retinal scans. Yet people volunteer because the potential incentives can make the data privacy and security pitfalls look miniscule -- especially if you’re impoverished.


Big Data is quickly becoming a vast goldmine for businesses, governments and even law-enforcement agencies, but it also attracts hackers and identity thieves. Savvy consumers will understand how and where to best share their data, and what they get in return.

Throughout 2013 we are sure to see more and more impact of Big Data in other aspects of our daily lives, such as how we bank, watch TV and even stay safe. Consumers would do well to weigh the cost and benefits before allowing access to their data.


Follow Siddharth Taparia on Twitter @siddharth31

Weather was partly cloudy for solar power startups last week. Investors in Santa Clara, Calif.-based photovoltaic panel maker MiaSolé saw no sun, as the acquisition price yielded pennies for the millions of dollars capitalists ventured last year, according to The Wall Street Journal on Friday.


Social Sabbatical 01-08-2013-AOn the bright side, Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary MidAmerican Energy Holdings agreed last week to pay as much as $2.5 billion toward solar energy projects in California. This is the third significant solar power investment in a little more than a year for the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffet, The Telegraph noted on Wednesday.


But all startups, from a solar-powered panel maker to a girl-powered ballet school, rely on more than venture capital and decades of profoundly sage experience from an iconic investor. Small business owners in developing markets and SAP employees are learning this firsthand through SAP social sabbaticals.


People from around the company and across the globe take time away from their SAP jobs to work abroad on not-for-profit projects in emerging market economies, helping startups while gaining new experiences and insights. The first group went to Belo Horizonte, Brazil last summer.


Social Sabbatical 01-08-2013-BSAP’s Michaela Degbeon and Christoph Zeidler (pictured, left and center) recently spent a month in India helping entrepreneurs in Bangalore. The two told German daily newspaper Die Welt and public television channel Deutsche Welle how they bridged technological, economic and cultural gaps.


“Many conversations [in Bangalore] begin with questions about your family and about personal things,” Degbeon said in an English-language version of the video, which aired last week. “Generally, it’s about building up trust via interpersonal relationships, and then achieving results.”


Degbeon and Zeidler worked at the National Entrepreneurship Network, where shelves full of car batteries help prevent computers from crashing during the city’s frequent power outages. That helpful and friendly nature of the people impressed Zeidler the most.


“It’s possible to be successful using approaches different than the way we do things in Germany,” Zeidler said. “Things always seem to end well despite the alleged chaos.”


And that’s a sunny forecast for startups around the world.


Related Articles:


The Daily Startup: Miasole Fire Sale a Solar Meltdown for Investors” by Venture Capital Dispatch


Warren Buffett to build world’s largest solar energy project” by Nathalie Thomas


Social Projects as a Break from the Job” (at 19:30) by Deutsche Welle

WiiU.jpegMore than once I tried to ask my dad for an Atari game console when I was a kid. The answer usually came back something like, “When you are old and sick and gray, then you can play video games. Right now you should be outside running around. Now, go pick up all the sticks in the yard.” Eventually, I internalized my dad’s strict attitude towards fighting sloth and mindlessness through character-building activities like yard work, sailing in November, and camping in chilly downpours. But I think part of giving up was also in response to my recognition that I just wasn’t good at video games; I never got practice time. This lost piece of my childhood lay dormant for many years.


Until – last month when my husband decided we needed Nintendo’s new Wii U system, so my four- and six-year-old sons could play – *gasp* – video games, namely Skylanders. I balked. I imagined my boys morphing into suburban marshmallows with crossed eyes, laying about and making varying grunting noises of delight and despair at the TV all day, all social skills hopelessly lost, no longer motivated to go out into the world and conquer anything real.


So, I watched them carefully. They quickly learned the basics of the game and could get themselves started pretty well. One handled the game console. The other managed the impressive “Portal of Power.” For the most part it didn’t really matter to them who did which task, and they switched back and forth easily in their excitement to complete the game’s challenges. The game was actually brilliantly designed. It helped the young players with tips and directions, and seemed to sort of adapt to their playing ability. In no time, they had reached Level 4.


One afternoon a friend joined them, and then it got really interesting. Instead of fighting it out to be the master of the game console, they arranged themselves so that one controlled the console, one oversaw the Portal of Power, and the third stood back to jump up and down and shout directions from his vantage point, occasionally dashing over to the Portal of Power to switch characters. No one was bossing, commanding, or name calling. They were all focused on the same task and engaged in harmonious – albeit loud – joint problem solving. Could this be… collaboration? Have my children reached the highest level of human collective action through… gaming?


I reached for my copy of Howard Rheingold’s Net Smart to find out if I was witnessing a textbook definition of collaboration among kindergarteners. Deep in chapter 4, Rheingold, a long-time writer and observer of digital culture, looks at how human collective action plays out in the digital world. On Twitter, he once asked, what’s the difference between coordination, cooperation, and collaboration? Canadian professor Wayne McPhail responded within minutes: “You need coordination to dance, cooperation to dance with a partner, and collaboration to dance with a flash mob.”


There’s something to that. Researcher Arthur Himmelman developed a taxonomy of collective action, comprising four levels:

  • Networking – simple, low-risk, and low commitment interactions, like handing out business cards or attending a conference.
  • Coordination – all parties share information and agree to modify their activities.
  • Cooperation – exchanging information, modifying activities, and sharing resources to achieve a common purpose.
  • Collaboration – this most sophisticated form of collective action goes even further to include adding to the capacity of another for mutual benefit.


And there it was, in my living room: collaboration. Are my children already on to the next step of human evolution? Will humanity be better if we develop collaborative skills at an early age? I don’t know. But I do know the thrill I felt when I was called upon to help the young players unblock a passage to reach the next level. Even in this new virtual world, mom still knows best.


Follow Jacqueline on twitter: @jacprause


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The Gamification of SAP

retail.jpgSmall and medium-sized enterprises in the UK's retail sector are expecting a busy year for e-commerce, which is likely to put pressure on their existing IT systems.


A survey conducted by Royal Mail found smaller companies in the country are optimistic about their prospects for the year ahead, with two-thirds of firms confident they will see an increase in sales this year - up from just over half who saw growth in 2012.


However, it will be highly important for businesses to have the best systems in place to ensure their operations are as efficient as possible as they grow, otherwise they could risk falling behind their rivals. In fact, seven out of ten organisations surveyed said the ecommerce environment is more competitive at present than two years ago.


Key reasons given for this included an increase in the number of websites selling goods online and customers becoming more price-sensitive. However, 31 per cent of firms suggested consumers are increasingly sticking to retailers they know rather than shopping around for bargains, which was put down to an increase in the use of smartphones and tablets to access online platforms.


As a result of this, it may be harder for businesses to attract new customers on the strength of low prices alone, so having the right management systems in place to ensure the ecommerce process flows smoothly from start to finish could be highly valuable to firms, as offering a positive customer experience is a key way to stand out from rivals.


Indeed, recent research by SAP suggested this is particularly important in the age of social media, as 59 per cent of people said they would share news of a great experience with a company with their followers and the negative effect is even more important, it only takes 7 negative tweets about a company for customers to think twice about spending with them.


Royal Mail's survey found 57 per cent of firms believe attracting new customers is their main challenge for 2013, with many planning to improve their operations to do this.


Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: "Our study shows that online retailers are responding to the needs of shoppers to grow sales in an increasingly competitive marketplace."

Forgo the Resolution in 2013

Your resolution is flawed, even before you begin it.  No matter if this is to lose some holiday weight, or to start running, or get a new better job, etc.  Typically, your resolution is based on some idea that you don't stack up to someone else - or someone's idea of who you should be.  Your resolution is based on others, not on you.  I would challenge that even if your resolution is something nobler - like volunteering or gifting to a charity - it is still based on some idea -in your head - of what others expect of you.


It Is All About You

The second you make a resolution, you are basically saying that you acknowledge that there is something other's perceive as wrong about you.  You enable and empower outsiders to command space in your head and dictate who you are.  Even if you are joking about it - that "fun resolution" - you are acknowledging the flaw of what you think others think about you.  Weight, appearance, getting out there more and being more social, whatever.  You always think of yourself as your own person, but - jokes on you - others get to invade your head whenever they want.  It may be well-intentioned family or friends, or it could be from seeing something in others.  Either way, you on the losing end of a "comparison battle."


Change Will Come When You Are Uncomfortable Enough

I wrote a well-received companion piece, To Be Your Best, Try Being 'Uncomfortable,' that discusses that real change comes from putting yourself in an uncomfortable place.  When you are uncomfortable enough with something, you will be in a place where you can effectively make a decision to change.  It doesn't necessarily mean you will change, but you will have a real chance for success.  'Uncomfortable Thinking' has led to some of the biggest advances in human history and in our own individual personal growth.  When you are sick and tired of being sick and tired you can make some real life-altering changes. Until then, you are just playing.


What Is Wrong With A Harmless Resolution?

On the face of it, I would say very little.  It might be like buying a lottery ticket: you don't really expect to win, but it is fun to imagine for a bit.  The problem is what it does to continually be reminded of flaws or where we are not living up.  We are naturally competitive and here in the US, we applaud hard-driving A-type personalities.  We want winners.  Winners never rest - they keep winning and want more.  Over time, that drive results in a sense of disillusionment or ennui.  We want what the Smith's next door have, or to volunteer more like Sally, or to have the new car like Tim.  It ultimately leaves us feeling hollow and focusing on others instead of us.  We are surrounded with reminders of where we don't stack up - it is impossible to be the best in everything.


Get Comfortable

How many could say they are comfortable with themselves - with who they are?  I would guess it is a remarkably small number. Instead of resolving, try accepting.  Instead of changing yourself, try changing your expectations of yourself.  Get comfortable with who you are.  Here is what happens - the little things don't matter so much.  You will start to appreciate what you have around you and the life you have created for yourself.  The big things - they will still be there - and when you are ready to make a real change in your life, those big things will still be there waiting. Focus on who you are and accepting who you are.  Those wrinkles won’t matter so much. You won’t need to give all of yourself at the office.  Gained a few pounds over the holidays? OK.  When you get comfortable with who you are, you can create a place where you can tackle those big things more effectively.


Let's face it - are you really happy, or are you just hoping that "this is going to be your year?"




Looking forward to a productive year with you in 2013.  If you are not comfortable with commenting here, let me know your thoughts via Twitter @toddmwilms or connect on LinkedIn.  This make sense to you? Pass it along to someone else who may benefit.


This story originally appeared on Forbes. 

light.jpgMark Buchanan is a theoretical physicist who writes about how physics can be used to understand biology, economics, psychology and other social sciences. His book, “The Social Atom: Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You” is a fun read in the style of The Tipping Point and Freakonomics. In an article entitled Science of Subtle Signals, Buchanan chronicles the work of Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland at the MIT Media Lab who is challenging the prevailing wisdom on organizational effectiveness.


Traditional models of human behavior assume people are primarily influenced by reasoning and logic. In other words, “it’s what gets said that matters, not how it is said.”  However the MIT researchers have shown they can predict the outcome of sales calls with 87% accuracy – without hearing a single word.


The researchers developed small, wearable electronic devices to accurately observe behavior.  The devices gather a wide range of information, including tone of voice, body language, the ways people interact, and the time spent on tasks.  This so-called science of subtle signals shows that participants with the highest ratio of listening to speaking and with the most voice fluctuation were the most successful in their tasks. In other words, what the participants said was less important than how they said it.


In marketing we could apply subtle signals to focus groups, consumer surveys and product design. Rather than relying on participants’ written or vocal responses, the sensors could be used to understand how people physically respond to a product.  This might dramatically improve accuracy, as participants tend to self-report skewed results. However, using sensors to track subtle signals would likely cause some privacy concerns which reduces their practical use.


What do you think?  Would you wear sensors to have a more productive workplace?


Follow me on Twitter @jbecher.


This blog was originally posted on Manage By Walking Around.



I don't want no iceman

I'm gonna get me a Frigidaire …

I don’t want nobody

Who’s always hangin' around

- Louis Jordan, “I'm Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town”, 1941



BuyerBeware1.jpgAny field of study followed by the word “science”, so goes the old wheeze, is not really a science, including computer science, climate science, police science, and investment science. And then there is the saying, “when *** is used to pitch something besides ***, someone is trying to get in your back pocket rather than the front.” If both of these are true, then Thomas Davenport and D.J. Patil’s over-the-top declaration that the data scientist is the sexiest job of the 21st century deserves a double dose of skepticism.


Indeed the skepticism is justified. Data science has much more in common with management fads than science, by its ordaining practitioners of obscure technical specialties with instant guru status, pitting them against the ignorant masses, and infusing the latter with itching uncertainty. More fundamentally, the bluesmen of prewar United States who wrote tunes like “I’m Gonna Move To the Outskirts of Town” were right be wary of a technology that caused their families and lovers to be dependent on persons coming regularly to the house to deliver necessary goods, whom bluesmen worried would take advantage of women at home alone.


Remember the fad that forgot people? It’s back!


Data science has not just emerged out of the blue, but rather is the fresh-faced third generation offspring of the 1990’s management fad Business Process Reengineering (BPR). The reader might recall Davenport as one of the captains of BPR, which true to its rhetoric of “Don’t Automate, Obliterate” became an ignominiously destructive management fad. BPR’s effects were so pernicious that its three main proponents, including Davenport, issued public apologies, which consisted mainly of blame shifting, usually to vendors, consultants, and errant management gurus, while maintaining that BPR was a good idea that unfortunately fell into bad hands.


In contrast to other management ideas of the day, BPR was charmingly simple. Yet when implemented, BPR ended up producing the opposite, requiring enormous amounts of IT investment, bureaucratic overhead, and technical specialization in order to achieve even simple results. All too frequently such results included downsizing by the thousands, with few survivors left to deal with even greater complexity, brought about by redesigned yet overengineered business processes. Like the gruesome medical practice of bloodletting, BPR left many businesses sicker than before, experiencing a 70 percent fail rate at the time of its height. To this date there is conflicting evidence as to whether BPR is truly cost-beneficial.


BPR’s demise left behind a lot of data and excess IT capacity, along with a sense of guilt over mismanagement of IT investments, giving birth to the field of knowledge management. During the next decade, knowledge management lived a modest life, supporting IT professionals wanting to sweep up all that data and store it, and management consultants trying to help companies turn complex processes into competitive advantage.


Data science is the spry third generation of BPR, responding to vastly increasing IT capacity, unprecedented ability of businesses to create data, widespread realization that data is a valuable resource, and the burdensome need to extract data from storage in order to realize business value. Yet, data science belongs to a family tree of business practices that for over a century have been governed by technocrats who view organizations as machines, desiring to automate everything and eliminate people wherever possible. Data science is shaping up to be a redux of its grandfather BPR, with the same structural features (BPR was never really engineering, nor as we shall see is data science really science), and its propensity for sin and indulgence.


No science please, we’re skittish


Davenport and Patil declare that “Data scientists’ most basic, universal skill is the ability to write code.” With this pronouncement, data science fails the smell test at the very outset. For how many legitimate scientific fields is coding the most fundamental skill? The most fundamental skill for any scientist is of course mastery of a canonical body of knowledge that includes laws, definitions, postulates, theorems, proofs, and descriptions of unsolved problems. Scientists are therefore characterized by mastery of a body of knowledge, not a collection of methods. What is this body of knowledge for data science? Davenport and Patil admit there is none.


The job of scientists is to conduct independent research, contribute to a body of knowledge, and improve professional practice, while adhering to a recognized standard of conduct. Coding is a tool that facilitates some of these objectives, but is a substitute for none of them. Lacking a definitive course of study to assure minimum competency, or a professional society to check conduct, data scientists are classified properly as faddists rather than scientists.


The principle of parsimony leads scientists to favor the theory that explains the most with the least amount of elaboration, that is, to simplify as much as possible. Coding does not simplify, but rather translates, abstracts, and sequentializes, often giving a false sense of concreteness to concepts that are poorly understood or articulated. Consequently, data science confuses the tool and the result, and the spurious science of data is confused with authentic science (an “-ology”) that drives business behavior.


That is not to deny coding is valuable if not crucial for persons conducting scientific inquiry, especially about business topics. Like many readers, much of my academic training and business career has involved demanding quantitative work, including merging databases, extensive data cleansing, giving dimensions to flat data, creating new variables, and performing analyses using numerous unconventional statistical methods. Coding certainly facilitated each of these steps. But invariably, the most valuable tool was my knowledge of the data and underlying phenomena I was studying, not coding. Scientists failing to master the former fool no one but themselves. Faddists mastering only the latter fool everyone, including themselves.


An economy of counterfeit goods


Businesses that adopted BPR were not stupid, though their opaque bureaucracies often made them feel that way. Part of the massive appeal of BPR was its approach of simplicity: begin with a blank sheet of paper, rethink key business processes, and then reduce them to as few steps as possible.


Indeed business transformation should strive for clarity and promote effective communication. It should behave similarly to a well-functioning market, with changes driven organically as knowledge is discovered and teams form around value-creating processes. It should not be dependent, like most management fads, on top-down, artificial organization changes, presided over by self-defined experts and gurus posturing themselves as the only ones capable of dealing with complex organization mechanisms.


As BPR morphed into knowledge management, the virtue of simplicity was reversed, and complexity came to indicate merit. Data science promises to deliver value by unpacking some of that complexity. Yet like the two fads that preceded it, data science tries to create value through an economy of counterfeits:


  • False expertise, arising as persons recognized as experts are conversant in methods and tools, and not the underlying business phenomena, thereby relegating subject matter knowledge below methodological knowledge,
  • False elites, arising as persons are summarily promoted to high status (viz., “scientist”) without duly earning it or having prerequisite experiences or knowledge: functionaries become elevated to experts, and experts are regarded as gurus,
  • False roles, arising as gatekeepers and bureaucrats emerge in order to manage numerous newly created administrative processes associated with data science activities, yet whose contributions to core value, efficiency, or effectiveness are questionable,
  • False scarcity, arising as leaders and influencers define the data scientist role so narrowly as to consist of extremely rare, almost implausible combinations of skills, thereby assuring permanent scarcity and consequent overpricing of skills.


For many businesses, the data most likely to yield valuable insight may not even be contained in databases, but rather shabbily maintained spreadsheets and text files, distributed across multiple systems, and lacking a codebook. Such data may not even be intelligible without context that is available only in the tacit knowledge of employees or the culture of the organizations. Those who manage under such conditions ought to reflect very carefully: should they trust counterfeit solutions to produce better analytics results than authentic experts who understand the deep psychological, sociological, and economic foundations of business behavior?


Nothing should come between you and your data


Real science discovers universal principles such as the gas laws, which yield many useful technologies, including refrigeration. Yet refrigeration creates value only when it is consumerized, not when it is hoarded. A refrigerator in every house is a sign of economic progression; an iceman delivering ice every day is a sign of economic retrogression.


People needed a Frigidaire in their kitchens, not dependence on icemen to come to the house every day, which the bluesmen of almost a century ago rightly identified as trouble. They were right to purchase technology that made the household self-sufficient and improved their family’s quality of life.


Analytics technology also belongs inside the house, making users independent consumers, and not requiring dubious experts to supervise a technology monopolization that creates value for mostly themselves, through false scarcity and fabricated expertise.


Rather than seeking out gurus to mollify big data anxieties, analytics users should demand that their vendors produce tools that can be used primarily by subject matter experts, in collaboration with analytics specialists, providing transparency and an appropriate level of functionality to both, and facilitating collaboration among business users.


Analytics has the potential to transform business like no technology that came before it. But if left to the sort of data science that Davenport and Patil describe, it will pursue the same life of debauchery as its grandfather BPR, becoming yet another business fad that forgets people, and probably just as destructive.


Buyer beware.

Targeting specific customers with tailored offers will become a much bigger business in 2013, according to one SAP expert. New technology could help the decades-old concept of personal marketing explode -- and make 2013 the Year of the Consumer.


Year of the Consumer 01-02-2013-AFocusing one’s message on a small demographic, as opposed to blasting it indiscriminately to as wide an audience as possible, was revolutionary when Don Peppers and Martha Rogers published The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time in 1993. More of a business-to-niche than a literal one-on-one approach, this technique expends more marketing effort on fewer consumers to:


  • Discover prospective customers
  • Identify their needs and wants
  • Adapt offerings to suit each individual
  • Continue learning about loyal consumers


“Peppers [and Rogers’] vision of the one-to-one future is becoming a reality,” SAP’s Volker Hildebrand said during last week’s 2013 Predictions episode of Coffee Break with Game-Changers. “You can truly treat different customers differently.”


Customizing treatment of individual consumers means more than knowing them very well, according to Hildebrand, businesses must engage with them one-to-one. He predicts that smartphones and other devices will be the dominant medium for this relationship.


Year of the Consumer 01-02-2013-B“In banking we find a lot of places where people are trying to get closer to their consumers,” SAP’s Sanjay Poonen told Bloomberg Television last week. These attempts include lending offers and “better real-time promotions.”


The New Year will see a renewed focus on the customer experience, according to SAP’s Carl Snyder. This revolves around consumer demands -- and consumers are demanding control of their financial situation.


“Banks are going to have to do much better at providing a consistent multi-channel experience to their customers across the board,” Snyder said on Coffee Break with Game-Changers. “If I want to start something in the online channel and I want to finish it in the mobile channel, then you need to be able to allow me to do that.”


And customers are getting what they want, thanks to all of the competition in the financial services industry. Banks that do not offer the desired services will lose market share to those that do in this Year of the Consumer.


“They will leave for that consistent, easy experience at another financial institution,” Snyder said. “This is a big one that I really see as coming to the forefront in 2013.”


Related Media:


The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers


Coffee Break with Game-Changers by Bonnie D. Graham


SAP’s Poonen: 2012 Was the Year of Enterprise” by Cory Johnson

newyearsblogsmallgl.jpgEveryone agrees that the democratization of content makes everyone content creators. What’s not talked about enough is the responsibility that comes with that incredible power. So while losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising more are all worthy commitments, I’d like to submit my humble New Year’s resolutions for consideration by everyone in our community.


  • Companies: Make sure you have the technology in place to get the latest version of the truth any time. Advanced technologies on integrated platforms (e.g., SAP HANA) offer unprecedented access to quality data of all kinds from many places. Use it wisely and you can transform your business.
  • Consumers: Before you impulsively retweet or forward words and images, research where it came from. Repeating false or misinformation is just as egregious as making it up yourself. Like any other communications tool, online technologies can be a weapon or pathway to genuine dialogue. Investigate and think before you hit send. And remember, opinions are NOT the same thing as facts.
  • Media: Triple check your sources before you go live with information. Being first shouldn’t trump being accurate.
  • Law Enforcement Officials: Don’t share information with the media until a thorough investigation is complete. The public would rather have the truth, digital world notwithstanding.
  • Everyone: Resist the urge to confuse real-time information with accuracy. Just because it’s gone viral on the internet doesn’t automatically make it true.

Of course, trust is foundational to this entire conversation. There seems to be an assumption that veracity is a given since ‘regular people’ are sharing their so-called personal stories. We’ve all had moments when we’ve realized this simply isn’t the case. For example, I recently received a promotional email from a company I had purchased services from. In exchange for a review from me on Yelp, they would enter my name in a drawing to win a fairly substantial prize. In response to my email telling them the promotion was antithetical to the purpose of Yelp, they were disingenuous. Apparently, Yelp told them it was okay to solicit reviews as long as the company didn’t ask people to write positive ones. What's more, they asserted that negative reviews were more valuable to them. The implication was that everyone had an equal chance of winning. Right.

The point is, the value of real-time data is not just about speed. Information quality is just as important. Let’s welcome 2013 with a deep breath of resolve to think first, then share. Take the time to ask: Where did this information come from? Has the accuracy been checked and by whom? Is this a trustworthy source?  It’s part of everyone’s responsibility, and will help us all have a Happy, Healthier, Safer New Year!


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