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Sustainability & CSR

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In February this year, I was delighted to read that SAP CSR was launching a new global program called SAP ELI (Engaging for Local Impact), and Ireland was chosen as one of the locations for 2015. In short, this is a 6 week program where SAP employees get involved with a local non-profit organisation, and work on a specific project tailored to the needs and priorities of that organisation.

 

On first glance, this program really stood out to me as:

  • a challenge, both personally and professionally.
  • a chance to move out of my comfort zone and try something different.
  • an opportunity to put my knowledge and skills to use for the better of a non-profit organisation, and hopefully learn something new along the way too.

 

 

“Knock knock, who’s there? Opportunity…..Don’t be silly, opportunity does not knock twice”

 

 

Following a successful application, Eoin Hurley, Michael Mulvey, John Keogh and I were assigned as the team to work with the Coderdojo Foundation. Delighted.

 

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Some of the SAP employees who took part in the ELI kick-off weekend in Dublin.

 

 

 

We kicked off the 6 week project by meeting with Coderdojo’s Community Associate, Laura Ivers, on a sunny Sunday in April for a project scope-athon. The day was spent defining the scope for the project, a mission statement, and just getting a feel for what Coderdojo was all about.

 

Our project was to “Complete an entire audit of the current content available via Coderdojo’s knowledge database KATA. Provide recommendations for a more intuitive content structure. Identify redundant, irrelevant and non-value-adding content, as well as gaps in the existing content.”

 

 

Following on from this, we spent 1 intense week onsite at the Coderdojo Foundation headquarters in Dublin’s CHQ building meeting with the Foundations staff and community members. We then dedicated approximately 8 virtual hours per week, for 3 weeks, to work on the project. As well as deep-diving into the Kata system and completing the project mission statement, this time also included learning about the different Coderdojo community members, all Kata user types and, most importantly, the Coderdojo ethos…an eye opener for us all coming from corporate backgrounds.

 

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Just a little insight into some of the methods we used to brainstorm during our week onsite with Coderdojo!

 

 

 

The project has now run its course, and having presented our final deliverables last week, now is the ideal time to reflect upon my SAP ELI program involvement using perfect hindsight!

 

It was a fantastic program to be part of. Earlier in this blog, I alluded to 3 reasons the ELI program stood out to me at first, and I can honestly say it lived up to each of those expectations and more. I learned so much from, working in a team of diverse backgrounds, time management and flexibility when it came to fulfilling my duties as a Support Engineer while being involved in this pro-bono project, remaining open-minded, project management skills, leadership skills, to adaptability! Stepping out from under the corporate umbrella to the non-profit sector involved unexpected transitioning for the entire SAP team. Understanding the cultural differences between the two sectors became surprisingly essential during our project.

 

Thankfully, my team and I successfully completed our project and were able to handover a complete new sitemap for Kata, including an audit of the content currently available (Kata As-Is versus Kata To-Be). We received great feedback from the Coderdojo Foundation who are delighted with the outcome of the SAP ELI program. This is a huge achievement for them as they did not have the resources available to carry out such a huge project. This will impact over 25,000 children, parents, and mentors who are registered for Dojo’s across over 50 countries. Coderdojo have already begun implementing our suggestions and are hoping to have this completed in the coming months, with a complete new launch of Kata planned later this year.

 

Exciting times ahead!

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Students from SAP partner high school, Templeton Secondary in Vancouver wrap their first year of STEM programming with a community celebration.

 

Late-June is an exciting time of year. It marks the last days of school, and whether you have children or not, the feeling that summer is around the corner is palpable.

 

While it’s been four years since I was last a student, this past year my work at SAP has sent me back to high school more times than you might expect. At the same time that students are celebrating the end of a successful year, SAP North America can share in a bit of that excitement.

 

June, 2015 marks the close of the inaugural year of SAP North America Corporate Social Responsibility’s signature initiative. In both Queen’s, New York and Vancouver, British Columbia students were enrolled in a program – a partnership between their local school board, a local post-secondary partner and SAP – that would see them focus much of their learning on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) content.

 

In Vancouver, this past October, in partnership with the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Vancouver School Board, SAP launched Templeton STEM – a first-of-its-kind program that uses project-based learning, mentorship, workplace experiences and a pathway to post-secondary to inspire and prepare students for careers in technology.

 

On Wednesday, June 17, the first year of Templeton STEM culminated with an event called TEMPTalks. In TED style, students presented a series of short talks that tackled big topics, including how the education system must adapt to celebrate the spectrum of learning styles, the strength of interdisciplinary collaboration, and suggested solutions to the tech gender gap.

 

To an audience of over 150 attendees, students Arjun and Sean closed the evening with an inspired talk that argued human connection is the fabric that powers technology.

 

As I sat in the audience, surrounded by the students’ SAP mentors, teachers, friends and family, what struck me was how much these young people had grown from when we met them back in October. The students that stood on the stage demonstrated poise, maturity and thoughtfulness. I think this is on account of two main factors: project-based learning methodology, and their exposure to industry professionals in their SAP mentors.

 

Project-Based Learning: Integrates many facets of design thinking, including an iterative design process. Rather than learning the material, being tested and getting the answers right or wrong, students instead had the opportunity to immediately see practical, relevant applications of the theory they were taught in class. By building mousetrap racecars, load-bearing cranes, wireless rovers, thermal cubes, and more, students were able to see real-life applications of, and make connections between, concepts that might typically taught in silos.

 

Mentorship: Before the event, students had the opportunity to come on-site to SAP Vancouver, where a team of 10 mentors gave feedback on the dry-run of their talks. The mentors in the audience that evening consistently remarked on the students’ eagerness to accept feedback and integrate it into their talks.

 

In addition to these in-person mentorship opportunities, students and mentors collectively spent over 1,500 hours this school year on an online mentorship platform, completing exercises that ranged from self-efficacy to career planning. The proudest moments for me during the TEMPTalks event were when students said things like, “my mentor taught me to think in sprints,” and “my mentor introduced me to so many technology careers that I didn’t know existed.”

 

And the students weren’t the only ones learning. When asked to share her reflections on the evening, and her experience as a mentor this year, Celine Burgle put it best:

 

 

"What comes to mind is 2 words: Raw Talent.

I’ve had the privilege to follow the evolution of students going through STEM this year and the progress they have made is astonishing. This platform is a fantastic opportunity to prepare youth to today’s work environment. It allowed them to be so creative, collaborative, passionate and confident, let alone presenting in front of a large audience, very impressive!

It is not just mentoring, it is also reverse mentoring. They are so effortlessly talented in so many ways. I know we will hear more about these individuals in the years to come."

 

 

Reflecting on the first year of STEM reinforced for me the power of this program to inspire our next generation of technology leaders while also inspiring the talented people we have at SAP today who are passionate about making the world run better.

As part SAP’s Networked Economy Forum taking place in Paris, France this June 17th and 18th, it has been my privilege to be given the opportunity to demo our brand new application SAP Digital Farming.

 

This application is just stunning, and has been given a warm welcome by all our guests on this first day of the Forum. And one can see why.


It addresses the needs of farmers, and beyond this, one topic concerning us all, that is food production, and how to make it more efficient, less resource-intensive, economically viable for the farmers while more eco-friendly for the planet. This equation has always seemed elusive to resolve up to now. But finally the agility and power of HANA as an IoT platform is bringing key answers in the path to solve those issues.

 

SAP Digital farming provides a satellite map of the entire farm (fig. 1).

 

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Fig. 1 - Farm overview

 


Using geo-fencing, it allows farmers to zoom on each plot constituting the farm where they can immediately see information pertaining to that particular piece of land: crop, humidity level, real-time standing of work taking place in the field, phytosanitary health of the plants, etc.

 

Information is streamed back to the platform either by sensors physically installed on the land (such as humidity sensors), and/or human action (Ex: pest or fungus detection) sent back through a mobile device. Fig. 2 shows such detailed view.

 


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Fig. 2 - Plots of land in detail

 

Additionally, the platform also receives real-time weather data (Fig. 3), alerting the farmer of potentially dangerous weather episodes for his crops: hail, gusts of wind, storm, etc.



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Fig. 3 - Weather forecast

 

Predictive analysis allows the system to calculate the future impact on the fields of such events (Fig. 4)

 



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Fig. 4 - Affected plots of land by weather event (flooded plots in this case)

 

Using HANA to process all this data and SAP Lumira for decision support, the farmer can then choose where and when to fertilize and what concentration of nitrates to use (depending on the soil analysis: e.g. chalky soils will need more fertilizer than argillaceous ones). He can water the fields with the exact amount of water needed by the crop, thus allowing precious saving in drought areas. Finally, he can spray pesticides only on those plots that really need it, and not as a global preemptive action on all the fields as previously.

The impacts are numerous: lower water consumption, lower and optimal fertilizer consumption, lower and targeted pesticide usage: all this not only makes economic sense, but of course also makes ecological sense.

 

Once a task needing to be done has been identified by the system, the farmer can dispatch it to subcontractors working in his fields. It can be his own network of farm workers, or he can contact them through the Business Network. (See Fig. 5).

 



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Fig. 5 – Affecting a task to a subcontractor

 

Using GPS, and tractor sensors, SAP Digital Farming can track work’s progress and visualize it in real time. The farmer can then monitor all the tasks taking place, which are assigned to his different fields.

 

For example, in Fig. 6, one can see in real-time a tractor spreading fertilizer in the field. The color coding corresponds to different concentration of nitrates applied depending on the quality of the soil.



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Fig. 6 – Tractor action in one plot.

 

 

Multiple applications of this technology can be considered, and discussions with partners and customers have been lively at the booth as the potential of the tool is huge. For example delegates from an African country were interested into the opportunity using it for better land and water distribution, but at the scale of a whole country! Agricultural cooperatives to offer new services to their members, helping them optimize their land use and increase the crop yields. Finally, it could be a great tool for winegrowers, especially in area of very complex terroirs, such as Burgundy for example.

 

From a purely technical standpoint, SAP Digital Farming is built on HANA Cloud Platform (HCP), leveraging HANA’s GeoSpacial Engine (SAP’s partner Luciad (www.luciad.com) providing the real-time situational awareness geospatial software), SAP Vehicle Insights for farming equipment data stream, and SAP Lumira for real-time decision support and predictive analysis scenarios.

 

I hope that these few insights will raise your excitement on the tool as much as it has for me and I will be keeping track on its adoption in the field, and keep you posted on real life project that it will help to power.

SAP has taken customer feedback and input from various projects around the world to create a compelling Feature Pack for MOC 1.0. It has been released on June 8th and is available for download from the service marketplace. Please look for Support Pack 6 (FP1=SP6).

 

The new features include a new user status concept, more table-driven checks and automation features to lower TCO for customers.

 

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We've revamped the online help as well as the former RKT material and built a new course for consultants in the Early Knowledge Transfer area of the SAP Learning Hub - the course code is: EKT_MOC10CONS.

 

Please refer to this document regarding access to the Learning Hub: http://service.sap.com/~sapidb/012002523100000886992015E.pdf

 

Early Knowledge Transfer - Learn, Collaborate, Practice - Early!

SAP’s enablement methodology for key innovations, available with Release to Customer.

 

The updated online help documentation is available under: https://help.sap.com/managementofchange100/

 

Regards, HaJo

 

HaJo Lockermann

Product Management

Operational Risk Management

Natural Resources & Sustainability Solutions

 

SAP Labs, LLC

3410 Hillview Ave

Palo Alto, CA 34310

 

T +1 650 320 3077

F +1 650 320 3709

M +1 650 576 5643

E hans.joachim.lockermann@sap.com

* Written by Aimee Feaver


Youth empowerment is at the crux of GENYOUth Foundation’s mission, specifically around health and wellness. By bringing together education, government and business, they are uplifting the student voice, and empowering America’s youth to achieve a healthier future.


In 2014, under the North America CSR initiative, SAP fostered a partnership with the organization to lend a technology voice to youth empowerment, and cultivate social entrepreneurship.


The potential of youth to create lasting, impactful change was brought into high relief last week when two key SAP executives convened with peers and influencers, along with GENYOUth leadership and outstanding students, for a meaningful dialogue.


On the heels of their report that documents GENYOUth’s commitment and learnings on the potential within youth-led change, Alexis Glick, the Foundation’s CEO, facilitated an estimated 25-person assembly of academic and government researchers on youth empowerment, student health and fitness, as well as corporate executives from a variety of industries, including SAP North America president, Jen Morgan, and Concur CEO, Steve Singh.


Held on Wednesday, May 13 in Silicon Valley, the objective of the executive roundtable was to have an honest and open discussion – from a variety of perspectives – about the role each can play in empowering youth.  From Glick’s perspective, “By elevating youth voice, we can, and will, embolden a generation of social entrepreneurs and change agents.”


While the roundtable discussions focused on how private and public sectors can impact pressing issues, such as the lack of nutritious food available to high-need students and childhood obesity, it was in the technology-orientated breakout session that the power of possibility reached grassroots levels. It included SAP’s corporate peers and customers like Adobe, NTT Data, and MyFitnessPal (recently acquired by Under Armour, also in attendance).


Kate Morgan, head of SAP North America’s CSR program, mentioned there was a central theme guiding the discussion: Scalability. “When creating social change, face-to-face interactions are powerful, but technology takes any cause to a whole other level. How can we apply that to youth empowerment?”


Good ideas can spread like wildfire with a little tech support. She went on to describe the two main session ideas.

  • Using technology to scale social change. Social media, gamification – how can we use technology to promote healthy habits, and civic engagement with youth?  How can we empower these students to take the tech they know how to use inherently, and apply it to a greater good?
  • Using big data. Companies around the world are harnessing big data to impact business. Youth around the world are creating vast amounts of it (we’re looking at you, Facebook). How can technology gather, unpack, and analyze the Everest-like collections of posts, likes, tweets et al to affect social change and support youth empowerment?

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Alexis Glick (far left) and Jen Morgan are joined by two AdCap finalists at the recent GENYOUth executive roundtable.


For SAP, that meant sharing insights on AdCap, the signature program of the SAP/GENYOUth relationship. Central to the three-year, three million dollar partnership (now in its second year), the recently launched social entrepreneurship platform helps students across the country, thirteen and over, bring to life their ideas to improve health and wellness in their schools and communities.


Using the site’s project planner, a wealth of supporting information (for example, creating and managing a budget, or delivering a pitch), and leveraging access to mentors – including SAP employees – students turn their vision into an actual plan for potential investors. Every project completed within AdCap finds its way to a rotating panel of judges – also SAP employees – who can award micro grants to help get winning ideas off the ground.


Prior to SAP’s involvement, the AdCap application program was very one-dimensional, Kate explained, and offered little to no support to get ideas off the ground; students simply submitted an essay for judging. The newly launched platform transformed that process. “We took the SAP passion for Design Thinking, and hunger for innovation that’s in our DNA, and applied it to a platform that allows technology to fuel youth and social entrepreneurship.”


Of the AdCap partnership with SAP, Glick commented, “it’s taken us to places we had never imagined.”


To learn more about the SAP/GENYOUth partnership, visit the CSR North America Jam group, or watch this video from a 2014 pre-Superbowl edition of CNN’s New Day, featuring Jonathan Becher and Alexis Glick.)


With Month of Service on the horizon, be on the lookout for a number of exciting AdCap-based projects to participate in.


Tell it like it is: How do you think technology can be used to nurture social entrepreneurship, or create youth change agents?

co-written by: Alex Bogdan, Silicon Valley Marketing and Community Engagement

 

SAP continues to empower the youth, generate future leaders in technology, and create career pathways for students though the invested interest in STEM education. On Tuesday, May 19, Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) announced a new college and career pathway with, SAP, Berkeley Community College (BCC), and the Career Ladders Project. This partnership will give Skyline High School students a chance earn Associates Degrees in business systems, information technology while still in high school. This landmark partnership marks the first “9-14” college and career pathway for students in the East Bay where students will not only build technical skills, and earn certifications; they will obtain workplace experience and receive mentorship from SAP employees.

 

Students spent the day attending game design classes and learning the ins and outs of what being a high school student at a community college is all about. At lunch they were able to mingle with SAP employees, ask questions, and learn about a day in the life working at SAP.  Students were (of course!) excited to hear about SAP and to learn about our work with the NBA, 49ers, and big data. While some of the students were unsure of their future in computer science or other technical degrees, after speaking to our employees, the students understood the importance of technical degrees and how this program could positively impact their future. Additionally, students learned about opportunities available to employees without a technical degree, as we shared personal experiences working at SAP in a variety of areas, ranging from legal to marketing and human resources.


Following the lunch students attended, a career panel which featured Lisa Brown, Head of IT Services Enterprise Mobility SAPsv, Mary Clarke-Miller, Adjunct Faculty Lead, Animation and Game design Berkeley City College, and Tom Miller, Lead Technical Director Sets: The Good Dinosaur, Pixar. The major threads of the, discussion focused on the benefits of a specialized program like this which offers technical training which wasn’t available to them. All three careers also emphasized how necessary it is for them to work on teams.

 

The high demand for employees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math is steadily increasing, and this partnership is aimed at filling the gap between vacant jobs and students unable to receive early and proper education to enter this workforce. Tuesday was only the beginning of this partnership. SAP employees will have opportunities to mentor Skyline High students, be featured career speakers and even possibly have these students as interns. This partnership will give SAP the opportunity to connect with these young students early on in their education, and help to develop our technology leaders of the future

 

Media hits:  San Jose Mercury News

 

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It’s no longer a secret: Corporate ridesharing saves costs and improves a company’s carbon footprint. But it can do far more than that. Ridesharing also strengthens employee loyalty, enhances work-life balance and encourages networking. Find out how companies and employees benefit from corporate ridesharing solutions:

 

Employer Branding

Rail strikes, traffic jams, delayed trains: From time to time it can be quite a challenge for employees to get to work on time, particularly if a corporation has its headquarters far from the city center or in a rural area. The issue is even more pressing for generation X and Y, whose levels of car ownership are significantly lower than in previous generations.

 

However, ridesharing is a promising alternative – both for employees and companies. Not only do corporate carpools offer employees a more flexible commute, they also signal that the company takes their needs seriously. That strengthens existing employees’ identification with the company, but also boosts an employer's attractiveness among potential job candidates, particularly young talents.

 

Whatsmore, in comparison to subsidized travel schemes, the ridesharing app TwoGo is by far the cheaper option to get your employees from A to B.

 

Employee Benefits and Satisfaction

Corporate carpooling works like an indirect pay raise for your employees. As they travel together, they will save fuel and maintenance costs for their cars while at the same time still being eligible for commuter allowances. Consequently, they will have more money left at the end of the month. Compared to public transit, carpooling has yet another advantage: employees have a guaranteed seat. They will no longer have to stand in crowded train compartments, change vehicles or waste time waiting for their connecting train or shuttle service. And as a result, employees will be more relaxed when they get to work.

 

By the way, the same goes for their car-owning colleagues. If they occasionally let others drive, they will suffer less from commute-related stress because they won’t have to weave their way through rush-hour traffic or search for a parking space. Studies even suggest that employees who share a ride to work are more satisfied with their overall job situation and work-life balance than their colleagues who commute solo. This in turn has a positive influence on their job motivation and productivity.

 

Extended Working Hours

Carpooling makes employees better networkers. The reason is obvious: co-workers who commute together get to know each other better - beyond departmental borders. And when they start talking, it’s often about work. The informal atmosphere also provides a good opportunity for sharing ideas, exchanging work-related information or even advancing joint projects – all without additional costs for companies.

 

Interested in the TwoGo business solution? Feel free to contact:

 

Melanie Paul

melanie.paul@sap.com

What do you want to be when you grow up?

 

We've all heard this question waaaaaayyy too many times. Yet, we've always answered differently whenever someone asked.

 

A few days ago, a very kind woman named Susan Galer from SAP has asked me this common yet, very challenging question; "What do you want to do in the future?"  How was I supposed to know? I was only attending high school as a freshmen and I would rather be texting my amazing friends after school for the next 10 years of my life, right? Wrong. We all come to a point in life where we get hit with the same question we hear almost endlessly and soon we realize that our answer means everything.

 

And so I answered her; "I want to be a CEO." Those words struck me. As I was growing up, I've wanted to be a pop star, a dancer, a comedian, an artist, a musician, a vet, and now, I suddenly wanted to be a CEO? So, what was it that really struck me about this question? Was it the fact that I was surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of businesswomen and men in a giant professional environment, or was it the effects of growing up and being serious? It was both.

 

Talking to Susan Galer had really untangled a few strings knotted together. She sat down with us and pressed the button on the recorder and began asking us questions about ourselves, our school, and what it was like, and what ambitions we wanted to achieve. In all honesty, I never would have thought I'd be attending a high school such as BTECH. Who would have thought I'd go after business, or even technology? Than I started to wonder, what do I want?

 

Growing up has very little to do with your ambitions. Its just a certain matter of time till you realize what you really want to do. Talking about it will be the best thing for you if you want to separate your interests with your actual ambitions.

 

 

 

So, what did you learn?

 

I learned that in order for someone to discover what they really want to achieve in life, they must be willing to sit down, talk with others and think to themselves; "Okay, so what do I really want to do in life?" Of course, anybody can get a job.. SAP offers fantastic opportunities already, and having them as a partner for your school is definitely a bonus! But just talk to another professional such as Susan Galer and SAP and all of it's fantastic partners and listen to them on how they have decided what they wanted to do when they became older. Trust me, talking to Susan Galer was the most significant experience in my time at SAP's Sapphire NOW because her questions have really got me thinking about what I really wanted to achieve in the future and what it really was that I felt passionate about in achieving.

     Hearing sales, I automatically picture a balding and perspiring car salesman with a bright yellow ‘SALE’ sign. This prejudice stems from the sad reality that I encounter a barrage of telemarketers and door-to-door salesmen more than software designers offering the latest processing equipment. “What’s the difference?” would be a question I would’ve asked. Well, here’s why “sales” isn’t such a bad word.

    Picture walking into an interview. In fact, it's an interview for your current SAP position. You sit down, the interview blurs by, and you find out a week later that you got the job. Congratulations, you just sold yourself! You convinced the company that they need you, and that you’re an asset. In fact, each time you sell a product, you’re selling yourself first.

    Now, this software designer may have some incredible tech to offer. He may even be selling this fantastic software to the largest distributor of bananas worldwide. Knowing that this software will greatly advance their business, both the company and the designer will benefit from this sale. The designer is rewarded for the hard work put into the newest, cutting-edge software and the business is now able to improve their distribution so we can get our daily dose of potassium. Without sales, we would've never been blessed with the banana in the first place. Surprised? A massive disease broke out in Panama and spread across the world killing all the Gros Michel bananas, which were the most ubiquitous at the time. Now, had businesses not sold the Cavendish banana, we wouldn’t have that wonderful fruit sitting on our desks today.

    What if this software has the potential to analyze data aggregates from a strand of DNA and instantaneously find a corrupted, cancerous cell. The software designer needs to sell his tech to the hospitals, so that they can start saving lives.

    This is why sales is so integral. Without selling products, and without the competition of sales, there would be no need for innovation and, consequently, progress as a species. We are already constantly selling ourselves, but without the sale of products, the economy would collapse and we would be stuck living a primitive lifestyle. So although there are some unsavory aspects to sales, when that software designer is selling a product like SAP HANA, that will revolutionize businesses and has the potential to save lives, he’s more so on a humanitarian mission.

When I thought of software development or IT, I imagined a proverbial nerd in glasses, sitting in front of a computer screen punching in an endless stream of numbers. Such is not true with SAP. Yes, it is a technology company, but no, a technology degree is not necessarily required.

    The Chief Information Officer of Walmart Karenann Terrell said that she’s part of a technology company that happens to do retail. That’s because technology, the use and development of it, is imperative to every business.

    Technically speaking, since Chris Burton works for a software company, he is part of the tech industry. Now, Chris Burton doesn’t sit behind a computer screen coding all day long. He doesn’t even wear glasses. He flies around the world, building technology partnerships with organizations like the NFL. A job that would have never been considered a tech job 10 years ago is now integral to SAP.

    They say that in 10 years, every job will be a tech job. Now, am I suggesting that the family run farm in Wyoming will be a tech job? Yes. Not only is technology unavoidable, but it is essential to all businesses. Investing in a computer based management system will allow this farm to operate in a much more efficient manner. At the SAPPHIRE NOW conference this very technology was exhibited. “The Octogon,” as it was called, featured an interactive demonstration of SAP HANA and how it could help improve of businesses, including farming. It could be used to track the movements of a tractor as it harvested a crop, estimate the duration of the task, and suggest possible routes for the tractor to follow. When used, this unparalleled technology  would facilitate more sustainable rangeland management practices.

    Speaking of sustainability, isn’t that why we continue to innovate and create new technology- to keep our species afloat? Aren’t we trying to get closer to solving global issues, from keeping time more accurately to curing diseases? If every job is a tech job in 10 years, then we’ll all have the same job and be working towards the same goal: the progress of humanity.

The distance from the Earth to the Sun is 15 000 000 km. Having told you this, you may nod your head, reel back in awe, or gaffaw in astonishment but you, nor anyone, can truly comprehend such a distance. It is merely a disambiguated number with some shock value. This reaction is much like the one I had when told that there would be 20 000 people at the conference, or that the convention center had an area of 2 000 000 sq. ft. You can imagine, then, that when I finally reached SAPPHIRE, it took me quite a bit of time to process the magnitude of what was going on around me.

    Why was I at the convention, you may ask? I came as part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program at my school, Templeton Secondary in Vancouver, British Columbia, which is supported by SAP. I came, partly, to gain insight into the company and its employees. I also had the opportunity to interview SAP’s equivalent of hockey’s Team Canada, whose starting lineup included Cindy Fagen, Torie Clark, Joel Bernstein, Denise Broady, Chris Burton, Bob Elliott, and Brian Reaves. Now, when an SAP employee looks at this list, they see stats and positions instead of names. Having only discovered SAP this year, I knew very little about these amazing people before the interview, which basically meant that I had no intention to start asking about the scope of their job now. Rather, I focused on their lives- their accomplishments, their failures, and their greatest life lessons. After 7 inspiring interviews, I have amalgamated their knowledge and advice into a definitive “cheat sheet” for success.

  1. Communication will get you 90% of the way. This may not be a huge shocker, but as a teenager, I dread those oral presentations more than immunizations. Just about everyone mentioned that being able to communicate your ideas was an imperative skill to have. This makes total sense. You can’t possibly sell a genius product if you can’t explain why it’s so ingenious. Now the stakes are much higher when I hear “presentation” in class now. Not just my grade, my future depends on it!
  2. Work hard. Don’t scoff at me! This is a legitimate point on this list. Brian Reaves mentioned how “you have to earn the right to do something, and then keep earning the right to continue.” This seems incredibly true. Also, after hearing Denise Broady talk about how she arrived in USA as a Vietnamese refugee and worked 3 jobs to support her education, I realized that even though I work pretty hard- I can always work harder. Sadly, that means no excuses for that calculus homework.
  3. Experiences are everything. Cindy Fagen and toured Europe on three separate occasions, Torie Clark who went from her passion in horse riding to studying organic chemistry, and Bob Elliott sky-dives (that wasn’t discussed in the interview, it was on his Twitter account). Whether it’s an internship, a co-op, a vacation or just picking up the newspaper from time to time, having a comprehensive knowledge of any aspect of the world is beneficial and broadens perspective. Plus, your Instagram followers will burn with envy as they double tap your photos.
  4. Have a purpose. “How can I affect change?” and “How can I make a difference?” and “What problem am I trying to solve?” are just a few questions that you better be able to answer while working…  or checking SCN blog posts.
  5. Life is wacky. Few people I spoke to knew that they would end up at SAP. o don’t sweat the details. As long as you do the above 4, you’ll do fine!

    Well, there you have it! This cheat sheet must bring back fond high-school memories in science class. Sadly, I don’t have coordinates to any fountain of success. All I have is some incredibly inspirational stories and lessons to carry with me every time I’m handed a new homework assignment.


     My time at SAP’s SAPPHIRE conference has become a once in a life time experience, it was extraordinary. Entering the show floor I was shocked and surprised, but it was phenomenal. Especially the Octagon! In my head, I thought it wouldn't be that big, but seeing it with my own eyes was amazing! The Octagon had a demo program about SAP's software and how it can help track certain things like planes, ships and wheat fields. SAP's program helps by notifying you if the plane needs to take a detour because of a storm or the wheat field needs more water depending on the weather. It would help notify you beforehand. Even before I came to the convention I thought SAP was just a global software company. But after SAPPHIRE my knowledge of SAP expanded. Meeting with company partners of SAP and SAP customers like Vistex. When I met with Denise Broady and Adam Smiley iallowed me to realize that everyone had a different background and most of them didn't expect to be part of SAP.

While walking around I found out that SAP doesn't only help large businesses but smaller businesses as well. I learned that even companies that don't have to do with technology can still benefit from SAP's software. All of the information available through S/4HANA and stored in the Cloud has allowed us to actually think about how this software will help companies and even inspire students like me. People in the business world always find other people to work with because not everyone is an expert in a specific field of knowledge. One thing that I had learned from SAPPHIRE would be to do what you love most, do something you’re passionate about and can wake up every morning excited to do.

In the end, I met some friendly people and gained a lot of information.

2015-05-13_22.35.26[1].png

Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner, we have SAP SAPPHIRE NOW, up against the one and only kid magnet...Disney World!

 

  1. SIZE
    Disney World is huge, but I’d say the SAP SAPPHIRE Conference Centre comes in a close second. It probably took 15 minutes to walk from one end of the conference centre to the other. Seriously! Okay, maybe 15 minutes including an ice cream stop…

    WINNER: Disney World

 

  1. FOOD
    Food! I have no idea what the food is like at Disney World, but I suspect that they look, some way or the other, like Disney characters. As appealing as that may sound, SAP SAPPHIRE NOW offers a sophisticated variety, with muffins, juice, coffee, and tea available in almost every corner. The refreshment and snack stations at the conference is like the ABC stores in Hawaii! The dining hall was amazing! No photograph that I took could depict just how vast the area was. What also makes the dining experience so much better was the servers that lined up, forming a pathway as you enter the hall. Despite having to repeatedly say “Enjoy your meal!” or “Welcome!” to a population of approximately 20 000 people- these ladies and gentlemen don’t just smile with their teeth, but also their eyes. They are the ones who make you feel truly welcomed to be at the conference, I think.

        
        WINNER: SAP SAPPHIRE NOW

  1. GAIN
    Usually at the end of vacations, I reflect on the flight home what I’ve learned or gained from that experience, and every single time, I have loads of things to say. If someone were to ask me what I did during my trip, I would go on about how I ate field mice in Vietnam, or wrestled with a professional wrestler in Germany, but this trip was different.


For some, the conference lasted for three days. For me, the conference lasted for two days, because I arrived on the day the
conference began. It’s remarkable how many freebies I got within those two days, though.
Okay but on a serious note, I probably learned more within those two days about what I actually need to know in life than what I learn in three years in high school.

 

Upon returning to school, a lot of students asked me about my experience. Do you remember having a crush on someone back in high school? There’s always that one friend that asks you why you like the person that you do, but you have no idea how to explain it. You just do. Asking me how my experience was at SAP SAPPHIRE NOW is just like that. There’s so much more going on beyond learning about SAP HANA, marketing, interactions with people, expansions of small businesses, analysis of data, business analytics, etc, that words become useless in these interactions I have with my friends and family.


Usually, when I can’t think of a word that explains just how I feel, I make hand motions or sounds to truly express myself. For this experience, the best sound I can make to reflect how I felt about this trip would have to be: DAH!! I think this word explains for itself. In comparison to Disney World, SAP SAPPHIRE NOW kicks Disney World right out of the park! (Oooh, the puns!) With Disney World, you gain a temporary state of euphoria, and as memorable as the trip may be, nothing sticks better in your memory than knowledge. True knowledge is something unforgettable. I’m not talking about the knowledge that you think you had in high school about chemistry or physics. I’m talking about knowledge gained from actual experiences, interest, and curiosity.

WINNER: SAP SAPPHIRE NOW

 

AND THE WINNER IS… SAP SAPPHIRE NOW!   

Blog post by: Linh Diep

Linh Diep

Business and I

Posted by Linh Diep May 13, 2015

 

Business. Before coming to the SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference, I didn’t support businesses at all. (Interestingly enough, I live in a world run by businesses and corporations.) I support my local businesses at home though, because I feel as though the interactions that my local business owners and I had were genuine, and when I was purchasing something from my local grocery store, I didn’t feel as though they were trying to sell me something. I felt as though they were helping me get just what I needed. I suppose I thought this way because of my misconception about businesses back when I was in elementary school.

 

Ads can be misleading, if you only let it mislead you. As humans, we like to do things on our own accord- or at least I do. I like to think that the path I’m taking, is a result from my own decision, which isn’t completely true, but that feeling of independence feels good. With ads, I feel as though businesses are pushing me to buy their product, so I resist.

 

This only stems from my bad experiences with ads as a kid. I remember watching Spongebob Squarepants with my sister on a Saturday morning when a commercial for the new candy called “Juicy Drop Pop” came on. I wanted it so badly! The ad showed a teenage boy squirting the liquid candy onto his tongue, and what I thought was some wild chemical reaction at the time, the candy made the boy scream “WOO HA HA HOO!”. Being so naive and desperate, my sister and I begged our mom to go to the grocery store, so we could buy ourselves that same candy. My weak little fingers couldn’t handle the resisting plastic packaging around the candy, so my sister tried her candy first. She dropped the liquid candy onto her tongue and screamed “WOO HA HA HOO!”. I was so excited, and when I finally opened the packaging and tried the candy for myself, I can’t begin to explain that sheer disappointment I felt. The commercial lied- so did my sister- but the commercial was made by adults! I remember wondering if what they did was legal or not.

 

SAP SAPPHIRE NOW tugged at the little grudge I had against advertisements, and showed me that businesses can also be good. Here’s a quick summary of what I learned.

1) Businesses are like spider webs, and they’re all interconnected. It’s also this interconnectedness that allows for each and every one of their developments.

 

2) Businesses and corporations don’t specialize in one thing- they can also be the jack of all trades rather than a master of one.

 

3) Data is so important, but what you do with that data, and how quickly you process it is even more important.   

 

4) It doesn’t matter if you discovered or created something as the cure to terminal illnesses such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). If you aren’t able to articulate what you want to say in a simple enough way for people to quickly grasp what you’re saying, your discovery will not progress. If you are trying to sell an idea, but are not personable, your discovery will not progress. Delivery is key, and mastering this very element is essential to marketing.

 

Blog post by: Linh Diep

 

Ann Weiss

Containers as Classrooms

Posted by Ann Weiss Apr 24, 2015

Migrant workers have been the main contributor to Beijing's explosive growth over the past decade. People leave their rural homes to join the labor market in China’s capital. Most take low-paying jobs and have little access to resources like medical care and schooling. And many children of migrant workers also move to Beijing with their parents.

Ju Fei is one such child. He is a 10-year old student at the Little Swan Migrant’s school in the Changping District. Ju Fei is small for his age. He has a tentative smile, a contagious laugh and a strong need to keep moving with his soccer ball. Children like Ju Fei, whose parents are from the countryside, don't have a permanent residency permit (hukou) for Beijing and are only permitted to live there as temporary workers - even if their parents have lived there for years. Without a Beijing hukou, it is almost impossible for children to attend the educationally superior public schools. Therefore, Ju Fei goes to one of the schools for migrant children funded by private donors like SAP.


Containers as classrooms instead of bricks and mortar

 

Ju Fei and his classmates learn the basics in reading, writing, math and English. Their rudimentary classroom stands in stark contrast to the chrome and glass buildings of tech giants like Google, Lenovo, Intel and Microsoft that have research centers clustered in China’s so-called ‘silicon valley’ just minutes away. Ju Fei’s classroom is a container. Land for development is in high demand. The metropolis is growing fast. So these schools can be shut down by authorities at any time to make room for development. Container classrooms can be moved; bricks and mortar cannot.


Education for the 21st century in China is online


Just south of the Little Swan Migrant’s School, China’s elite Universities are training the 'best and the brightest'. The Peking University, Tsinghua University and Renmin are located merely 20 kilometers away and yet - they are light years away from the Little Swan School. Chances are slim that Ju Fei and his classmates will go to any one of these Universities.


At these Universities, and the NGOs they partner with, economists are thinking about the future of China and how to deal with educational and economic disparity. And they are coming up with innovative answers. One such innovator is economist, Dr. Min Tang. He is driving a vision to bring high-quality education to all classrooms in the country through the internet. Imagine: one large screen that provides the best training possible to an entire classroom. Rural students typically don’t have individual computers. The quality of teachers at rural and migrant schools is often low. So with this solution, the local teacher can show high-quality instructional internet videos to the entire class and then guide students through offline exercises.

jufei.JPG


Chinese entrepreneurs need to be nurtured


China is placing a lot of hope and money in internet learning. NGOs, like YouChange, are at the forefront of developing online learning models that work. Now, more than 60% of high school graduates attend a University (up from 20% in the 1980s).* Many worry however that the Chinese economy will not provide the majority of them with well-paying and highly-skilled jobs. Therefore, the future belongs to entrepreneurs, according to Dr. Min Tang and the YouChange team leading the Startup Cafe. People who have a business idea and who know how to launch and manage a profitable business will be the ones to propel the Chinese economy forward. How are they going to learn those entrepreneurial skills? Through online learning, of course. The Startup Cafe’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is designed to help Chinese students understand how to start a business so they can create those
highly-skilled jobs.


Let’s ‘fast forward’ to the China of the future and the vision of the leaders at YouChange: children like Ju Fei will be receiving a high-quality education regardless of where they live – with the help of the internet. As a result, they will have better opportunities for higher education and – just maybe – they will launch a business that improves their neighborhood or changes the world.


As a participant in the SAP Social Sabbatical Program in Beijing, it was a privilege for me to have the chance to learn about educational and entrepreneurship opportunities in China while contributing to the work of the Startup Cafe at YouChange, China Social Entrepreneur Foundation.

 

 

*Source: The New York Times “The China Boom”. Nov. 5, 2010.

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