Stop Playing Digital Roulette: Get The Right Guidance For Your Digital Strategy

Caroline Conlon and Gerd Stumm

Analytics, mobile apps, social networks, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things are quickly turning traditional business models upside-down. As digitization continues to move from an innovative trend to an all-encompassing reality, companies need to understand and take advantage of digital technology across all aspects of their operations. Otherwise, they run the risk of limiting their competitiveness in delivering on market expectations and creating products, services, and delivery models that bring value to customers and the business.

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) report “Digitising IT,” sponsored by SAP, 97% of business and IT leaders are engaging their organizations in a digital initiative. Yet, rarely is there a comprehensive digital strategy present. Although 86% of respondents believe that digital transformation is the most important action to achieve better outcomes from their digital investments, only half of them believe that they fully understand it. Under these circumstances, digital transformation is, well, daunting.

EIU report: How IT departments worldwide are digitally transforming their business

Enterprise support value maps: A new phase in support service and IT expertise

There are many ways to reach a destination, but it is often difficult to find the right path. A full understanding of the potential of digital technology enables companies to make informed decisions about their path to digital and in which areas to invest. With the right guidance and digital skills, businesses can reduce the time to value and benefit from concrete and demonstrable outcomes.

Enterprise support value maps provide support and guided access to the knowledge, skills, and services needed to drive innovation. Covering topics such as custom code management, security, and data volume management, value maps empower members to build up their digital proficiency and prepare the IT landscape for innovation. And with topics such as in-memory computing and digital core platform implementation and cloud solutions, employees are prepared to complete the next step in their business’ digital transformation journey.

With this insight, businesses can accelerate their digital agenda by answering critical questions such as:

  • Which services and tools can best address my business challenges?
  • Which support services and on-demand expertise can help empower my employees?
  • How long will it take and what skill level do I need?
  • What is the best approach to prepare for and adopt innovation?
  • How can IT optimize software landscape operations and maximize efficiency while ensuring data security and regulatory compliance?

Michael Kleinemeier, member of the SAP Executive Board of SAP SE and head of the Digital Business Services organization at SAP, says, “the feedback from our customers and research vendors, such as Brandon Hall Group, speaks for itself. Value maps help drive digital transformation, unlock business value, and realize measurable benefits by integrating processes, operations, and technology to create measurable benefits. This methodology for future-oriented social media-based learning and support is a key part of successful digital transformations.”

Take, for example, Carsa S.A., a leading retail company in Argentina that wanted to innovate in the cloud, integrate SAP SuccessFactors into their landscape, and leverage integration capabilities between cloud and on-premises solutions. The company decided to keep things as simple as possible, follow best practices, and reduce total cost of ownership. By registering for and participating in the value map for cloud and hybrid implementations, Carsa was well-equipped to make strategic decisions, having upskilled with best practices, documents, meet-the-expert sessions, expert and peer customer collaboration through social collaboration, and much more.

With the support of the enterprise support advisory center and the enterprise support value map for cloud and hybrid initiatives, Carsa improved its ability to adopt an integration strategy and determine integration tools that best fits its needs. This level of insight frees the company to dedicate 30% more time and resources towards driving innovation and make better use of its human capital management cloud solutions.

Mapping a clear path to competitive, value-add digital transformation

While digital transformation is a fundamental requirement to survive and grow, all-encompassing, business-wide change typically takes a long time to execute. Unfortunately, your market, stakeholders, customers, and competitors are not willing to wait.

With enterprise support value maps, you can accelerate the reinvention of your business through a broad range of services, tools, best practices, and expertise. Best of all, this level of insight empowers your workforce to resolve business challenges and drive competitive, value-add outcomes.

Check out the award-winning value maps from SAP Enterprise Support, part of SAP Enterprise Support Academy.

Caroline Conlon is the communications and global operations lead for the SAP Enterprise Support value maps program at SAP.

Gerd Stumm is a communications and knowledge management professional at SAP, with a focus on SAP Enterprise Support.


What Really Matters In An Event-Monitoring Product

Jeff Adams

What really matters in IT event management? Short answer: meaningful alerts. A bit longer answer: a single pane of glass combining real-time event analytic visualizations with contextual alerts sent in real time. Why? Event-monitoring systems show their true value only when a component is trending towards failure or has already failed (for example, a solid-state storage device [SSD] in a rack-mounted storage array).

With proper configuration and pertinent events streaming in, event-monitoring systems can continually perform single-level and multilevel analytics to determine if anomalies are occurring, if thresholds are about to be breached, or if they have already been breached. When such a condition exists and it continues to exist for a user-specified period, meaningful alerts can be sent via appropriate channels to assist with prompt resolution of the issue.

This is all that really matters.

I can hear you asking, “But what about all the beautiful visualizations I display on my wall monitors showing the state of my systems?”

They’re great – if someone happens to be looking at them when issues are beginning to occur. After the fact, these displays are of minimal value given the likelihood of cascade failures. They do look great on the walls, though!

When an alert is received, the ability to quickly synchronize the alert time with the visualizations is key. That’s when the visualizations show their true worth. A skilled practitioner looks at them and needs to figure out what is causing the issue. The ability to quickly view the alerting component, associated components, and drill down quickly are the hallmarks of useful analytic visualizations.

Key capabilities of an event-monitoring system

Meaningful alerts and analytic visualizations that can be synchronized with the alert time are the two primary criteria that must be evaluated when selecting an event-monitoring system. If an event monitoring system has top-tier capabilities in these two areas, it will be used, and its return on investment (ROI) will be easy to measure.

The reason is simple.

The underlying cause(s) of the alert will eventually be determined. Once the causes are identified, additional analytic processing will be set up to monitor those components for the condition that caused the original alert. A library of analytic-processing workflows will be built over time that continually monitor the component problem signatures associated with previous issues.

All systems will improve over time, as the continual monitoring becomes better at noticing issues before they become problems. For example, a storage array manufacturer might set up up different analytic processing workflows for different SSD manufacturers or batches of SSDs based on previous issues.

Additional capabilities

Other event-monitoring system criteria to evaluate, in decreasing order of importance, are:

  • Ease of creating analytic processing on input data streams
  • Richness of analytic library functions (statistical, predictive, and so on)
  • Scaling capability with increases in input volumes
  • Alert hierarchies (like a rack of SSDs versus individual SSDs)
  • Security

How easy it is to set up input streams, parse input streams, create users, and so on are all necessary features. However, they don’t constitute the core value that is needed for effective IT event management.

SAP’s IT operations analytics focuses on what is important. It leverages the analytic power, processing speed, and scaling capabilities of the SAP HANA platform. And that’s why it deserves to be on your evaluation short list. To find out more about IT operations analytics:


Jeff Adams

About Jeff Adams

Jeff is a Senior Solution Engineer for Digital Platform at SAP with a record of positive material impact in business management, leading new product development, and business development. With more than 20 years of product management and software development experience, Jeff is uniquely positioned to drive partner integration and customer implementations with a focus on business value. Since graduating from electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, Jeff has held a wide range of both technical and business roles in enterprise and startup environments.

The CIO’s Starting Block

Eric Piscini , Gys Hyman and Wendy Henry

Do your customers trust you? And do you trust them? The emerging trust economy depends on each transacting party’s reputation and digital identity—and that’s where blockchain comes in. The technology behind digital contracts transforms reputation into a useful, manageable attribute.

Part 5 of a 5-part series. Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

You can also read the full article or download a copy at Deloitte University Press.

The hype surrounding blockchain is reaching a fever pitch. While this technology’s long-term impact may indeed be formidable, its immediate adoption path will most likely be defined by focused experimentation and a collection of moderately interesting incremental advances. As with any transformative technology, expertise will have to be earned, experience will be invaluable, and the more ambitious deployment scenarios will likely emerge over time. The good news? It’s still early in the game, and numerous opportunities await.

Here are some suggestions for getting started on your blockchain journey:

1. Come all ye faithful

The financial services industry is currently at the vanguard of blockchain experimentation, and the eventual impact of its pioneering efforts will likely be far-reaching. Yet blockchain’s disruptive potential extends far beyond financial services: Every sector in every geography should be developing a blockchain strategy, complete with immediate tactical opportunities for efficiency gains and cost savings within the organization. Strategies should include more ambitious scenarios for pushing trust zones to customers, business partners, and other third parties. Finally, sectors should envision ways blockchain could eventually be deployed to challenge core business models and industry dynamics. While it often pays to think big, with blockchain you should probably start small given that the technology’s maturity—like that of the regulations governing blockchain’s use—is still relatively low.

2. Wayfinding

Startups and established players are aggressively pushing product into every level of the blockchain stack. Part of your adoption journey should be understanding the fundamental mechanics of blockchain, what pieces are absolutely necessary for your initial exploration, and the maturity of the offerings needed for the specific scope being considered.

3. The nays have it

Ask your blockchain gurus to define scenarios and applications that are not a good fit for blockchain. This is not reverse psychology: It’s simply asking advocates to keep a balanced perspective, and thoughtfully casting a light on this emerging technology’s current limitations and implications. Sure, expect challenges and prescribed roadblocks to yield to future advances in the field. But until then, challenge your most enthusiastic blockchain apostles to remain objective about the technology’s potential upside and downside.

4. You gotta have friends

Blockchain offers little value to individual users. To maximize its potential—particularly for applications and use cases involving digital identity—explore opportunities to develop a consortium or utility for blockchain use.

5. Stay on target

Far-reaching potential can lead to distracting rhetoric and perpetual prognostication. As you explore blockchain, focus your brainstorming and your efforts on actionable, bounded scenarios with realistic scope that can lead to concrete results and—hopefully—better value. Wild-eyed aspirations are not necessarily bad. But they are best served by grounded progress that leads to hands-on proof and an earned understanding of what is needed to realize the stuff of dreams.

What you should know: Insight from Matthew Roszak, co-founder of Bloq

I’ve been in the venture capital business for over 20 years, co-founding six enterprise software companies along the way. I began hearing about Bitcoin in 2011, while serving as chairman of one of the largest social gaming companies in Southeast Asia. In that business, cross-border payments and payment processing quickly becomes a core competency. As the buzz around Bitcoin grew, I initially discounted this technology as “silly Internet money,” but by 2012, a number of people I trusted told me to take a harder look. So I did what I still tell people to do today: lock your door, turn off your phone, and study this new technology frontier for a day. I realized that this ecosystem will likely have incredibly profound effects on enterprise, government, and society—and is a generational opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors.

I began investing in a wide range of companies across the blockchain ecosystem, including digital wallets, payment processors, exchanges, and miners. This helped me develop a heat-map of the ecosystem, and more importantly, a network of technologists and entrepreneurs who were building the scaffolding for this new industry. It also led to my friendship and, later, partnership with Jeff Garzik, with whom I co-founded Bloq.

Enterprise demand for blockchain is real, but there are many questions to be answered. What type of software infrastructure do you need? What can we learn from enterprise adoption patterns of other transformative technology?

To the first question, the emergence of an open source, enterprise-grade blockchain software suite is developing quickly, and we’re investing an enormous amount of time and energy helping companies develop an infrastructure that, in many ways, defines the basic anatomy of a blockchain:

    Blockchain platform as the base communication and management layer of the network

    Nodes to connect to a blockchain network, which behave much like routers

    Wallets to securely manage and store digital assets

    Smart contracts to automate and streamline business processes

    Analytics to drive better decisions and detect network anomalies

The second question revolves around adoption curves. I see a story unfolding that is similar to those of the Internet and cloud computing. Right now, organizations are implementing blockchain technology internally to reduce costs by moving value and data in a more secure, more efficient manner. We are also beginning to see some activity in core operations and business processes that utilize blockchain’s encrypted workflow features. These are important stepstones helping drive an architectural step change in blockchain adoption.

Next, companies deploying blockchain networks should consider extending those platforms to their customers, suppliers, and partners. This is where network effects should start to blossom, and will likely lay the foundation for pursuing new economic opportunities—measured in trillions of dollars—think central banks issuing digital currencies, land title registries, a secure digital identity, and more. Yet organizations don’t strive just to be better—they want to operate at a different level. With blockchain, moving money should be as easy as email. In 10 years, banks may look more like Apple, Amazon, and Tencent, coupled with access to tons of products and services within those ecosystems. The discussion won’t be about whether to use blockchain—it will be about the economics of the platform and how to develop strong network effects.

The blockchain genie is out of the bottle, although the adoption curve remains unclear—will it be three to seven years? A decade, or longer? These networks for money’s new railroad will take time to adopt.

In the late 1990s, CEOs wondered if they should risk their careers by investing in and innovating with the Internet; today CEOs are in the same boat evaluating blockchain. Like any great technology evolution, the blockchain transformation requires passion and investment, dynamics that drive innovation. Right now, neither appears to be in short supply.

Bottom line

In a historic break from the past, the foundational concept of trust is being tailored to meet the demands of the digital age, with blockchain cast in the role of gatekeeper of reputation and identity. While the broader implications of this trend may not be fully understood for years to come, business and government are beginning to explore opportunities to selectively share composite digital identities with others not only to help establish trust but to exchange assets safely and efficiently, and—perhaps most promisingly—to proffer digital contracts.

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, or read the full article or download a copy at Deloitte University Press.


Eric Piscini

About Eric Piscini

Eric is a Deloitte Consulting LLP principal serving the technology and banking practices with 20 years of experience defining IT strategies including M&A, technology infrastructure, IT operations, post-merger integrations, echannel strategies, payment, and digital transformations. In addition to serving financial institutions and banking regulators in core aspects of their technology environment, he also leads the Deloitte global cryptocurrency center serving financial institutions and retailers.

Gys Hyman

About Gys Hyman

Gys is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Deloitte Digital practice, the world’s first creative digital consultancy. He is currently focused on the banking industry and has helped a number of organizations with large scale digital transformation efforts, ranging from designing, building, and implementing green field’s digital banking capabilities to large scale core banking systems transformation efforts.

Wendy Henry

About Wendy Henry

Wendy is a specialist leader in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Federal Technology practice and works with clients to distill emerging technologies into simple business value discussions. An ever-curious individual, she thrives on understanding how emerging technologies can drive her clients’ business towards newly created value. She is a hands-on technologist with 30 years of large-scale, complex system integration experience across a wide variety of technologies, including blockchain, cloud, digital innovation, and location-based technologies.

Teaching Machines Right from Wrong

Dan Wellers


By 2018, smart machines will supervise over 3 million workers worldwide.
21% of consumers in an FTC study had confirmed errors on their credit reports.
2014: the first annual Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning conference.
A private university encouraged 20-25 students to drop out based on AI predictions of
poor grades.

Real-world examples of misused AI algorithms abound. These are just a few:

  • Women who weren’t pregnant — or weren’t ready to reveal it — received special offers of baby products and “congratulatory” messages.
  • People with minority ethnic names received a disproportionate number of ads implying they had criminal records.
  • Guests at a party learned a ride-hailing company kept track of customers who stayed out all night and went home in the wee hours.

Ethical-Edge Cases

Credit scoring algorithms designed to evaluate lending risk are now commonly used to gauge reliability and trustworthiness, determining whether someone should get a job or apartment.

Insurance underwriting algorithms determine the extent, price, and type of coverage someone can get, with little room for disagreement.

Healthcare algorithms could be used to penalize the currently healthy for their probability of future illness.

Algorithms often use zip codes as proxy for (illegal) racial profiling in major decisions, such as employment and law enforcement.

Self-driving cars will have to learn how to react in an accident situation when every possible outcome is bad.

What Should We Do About It?

All machine learning contains assumptions and biases of the humans who create it — unconscious or otherwise. To ensure fairness, business leaders must insist that AI be built on a strong ethical foundation.

We can:

  • Monitor algorithms for neutrality and positive outcomes.
  • Support academic research into making AI-driven decisions more fair, accountable, and transparent.
  • Create human-driven overrides, grievance procedures, and anti-bias laws.
  • Include ethics education in all employee training and development.

Above all, we must consider this a human issue, not a technological one. AI is only as unbiased a tool as we make it. It’s our responsibility to keep it on the ethical straight and narrow.

Download the executive brief Teaching Machines Right from Wrong.

Read the full article AI and Ethics: We Will Live What Machines Learn


About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers is the Global Lead of Digital Futures at SAP, which explores how organizations can anticipate the future impact of exponential technologies. Dan has extensive experience in technology marketing and business strategy, plus management, consulting, and sales.


Why Millennials Quit: Understanding A New Workforce

Shelly Kramer

Millennials are like mobile devices: they’re everywhere. You can’t visit a coffee shop without encountering both in large numbers. But after all, who doesn’t like a little caffeine with their connectivity? The point is that you should be paying attention to millennials now more than ever because they have surpassed Boomers and Gen-Xers as the largest generation.

Unfortunately for the workforce, they’re also the generation most likely to quit. Let’s examine a new report that sheds some light on exactly why that is—and what you can do to keep millennial employees working for you longer.

New workforce, new values

Deloitte found that two out of three millennials are expected to leave their current jobs by 2020. The survey also found that a staggering one in four would probably move on in the next year alone.

If you’re a business owner, consider putting four of your millennial employees in a room. Take a look around—one of them will be gone next year. Besides their skills and contributions, you’ve also lost time and resources spent by onboarding and training those employees—a very costly process. According to a new report from XYZ University, turnover costs U.S. companies a whopping $30.5 billion annually.

Let’s take a step back and look at this new workforce with new priorities and values.

Everything about millennials is different, from how to market to them as consumers to how you treat them as employees. The catalyst for this shift is the difference in what they value most. Millennials grew up with technology at their fingertips and are the most highly educated generation to date. Many have delayed marriage and/or parenthood in favor of pursuing their careers, which aren’t always about having a great paycheck (although that helps). Instead, it may be more that the core values of your business (like sustainability, for example) or its mission are the reasons that millennials stick around at the same job or look for opportunities elsewhere. Consider this: How invested are they in their work? Are they bored? What does their work/life balance look like? Do they have advancement opportunities?

Ping-pong tables and bringing your dog to work might be trendy, but they aren’t the solution to retaining a millennial workforce. So why exactly are they quitting? Let’s take a look at the data.

Millennials’ common reasons for quitting

In order to gain more insight into the problem of millennial turnover, XYZ University surveyed more than 500 respondents between the ages of 21 and 34 years old. There was a good mix of men and women, college grads versus high school grads, and entry-level employees versus managers. We’re all dying to know: Why did they quit? Here are the most popular reasons, some in their own words:

  • Millennials are risk-takers. XYZ University attributes this affection for risk taking with the fact that millennials essentially came of age during the recession. Surveyed millennials reported this experience made them wary of spending decades working at one company only to be potentially laid off.
  • They are focused on education. More than one-third of millennials hold college degrees. Those seeking advanced degrees can find themselves struggling to finish school while holding down a job, necessitating odd hours or more than one part-time gig. As a whole, this generation is entering the job market later, with higher degrees and higher debt.
  • They don’t want just any job—they want one that fits. In an age where both startups and seasoned companies are enjoying success, there is no shortage of job opportunities. As such, they’re often looking for one that suits their identity and their goals, not just the one that comes up first in an online search. Interestingly, job fit is often prioritized over job pay for millennials. Don’t forget, if they have to start their own company, they will—the average age for millennial entrepreneurs is 27.
  • They want skills that make them competitive. Many millennials enjoy the challenge that accompanies competition, so wearing many hats at a position is actually a good thing. One millennial journalist who used to work at Forbes reported that millennials want to learn by “being in the trenches, and doing it alongside the people who do it best.”
  • They want to do something that matters. Millennials have grown up with change, both good and bad, so they’re unafraid of making changes in their own lives to pursue careers that align with their desire to make a difference.
  • They prefer flexibility. Technology today means it’s possible to work from essentially anywhere that has an Internet connection, so many millennials expect at least some level of flexibility when it comes to their employer. Working remotely all of the time isn’t feasible for every situation, of course, but millennials expect companies to be flexible enough to allow them to occasionally dictate their own schedules. If they have no say in their workday, that’s a red flag.
  • They’ve got skills—and they want to use them. In the words of a 24-year-old designer, millennials “don’t need to print copies all day.” Many have paid (or are in the midst of paying) for their own education, and they’re ready and willing to put it to work. Most would prefer you leave the smaller tasks to the interns.
  • They got a better offer. Thirty-five percent of respondents to XYZ’s survey said they quit a previous job because they received a better opportunity. That makes sense, especially as recruiting is made simpler by technology. (Hello, LinkedIn.)
  • They seek mentors. Millennials are used to being supervised, as many were raised by what have been dubbed as “helicopter parents.” Receiving support from those in charge is the norm, not the anomaly, for this generation, and they expect that in the workplace, too.

Note that it’s not just XYZ University making this final point about the importance of mentoring. Consider Figures 1 and 2 from Deloitte, proving that millennials with worthwhile mentors report high satisfaction rates in other areas, such as personal development. As you can see, this can trickle down into employee satisfaction and ultimately result in higher retention numbers.

Millennials and Mentors
Figure 1. Source: Deloitte

Figure 2. Source: Deloitte

Failure to . . .

No, not communicate—I would say “engage.” On second thought, communication plays a role in that, too. (Who would have thought “Cool Hand Luke” would be applicable to this conversation?)

Data from a recent Gallup poll reiterates that millennials are “job-hoppers,” also pointing out that most of them—71 percent, to be exact—are either not engaged in or are actively disengaged from the workplace. That’s a striking number, but businesses aren’t without hope. That same Gallup poll found that millennials who reported they are engaged at work were 26 percent less likely than their disengaged counterparts to consider switching jobs, even with a raise of up to 20 percent. That’s huge. Furthermore, if the market improves in the next year, those engaged millennial employees are 64 percent less likely to job-hop than those who report feeling actively disengaged.

What’s next?

I’ve covered a lot in this discussion, but here’s what I hope you will take away: Millennials comprise a majority of the workforce, but they’re changing how you should look at hiring, recruiting, and retention as a whole. What matters to millennials matters to your other generations of employees, too. Mentoring, compensation, flexibility, and engagement have always been important, but thanks to the vocal millennial generation, we’re just now learning exactly how much.

What has been your experience with millennials and turnover? Are you a millennial who has recently left a job or are currently looking for a new position? If so, what are you missing from your current employer, and what are you looking for in a prospective one? Alternatively, if you’re reading this from a company perspective, how do you think your organization stacks up in the hearts and minds of your millennial employees? Do you have plans to do anything differently? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

For more insight on millennials and the workforce, see Multigenerational Workforce? Collaboration Tech Is The Key To Success.