Cybersecurity: It’s More Than Just Technology

Stefan Guertzgen

Last week I visited the ARC Forum in Orlando, and cybersecurity was one of the most prominent topics throughout the whole event. Here are some key lessons I learned:

There are different categories of cyberattacks. On one end are high-frequency attacks perpetuated by attackers with low-level skills. Those typically have a low impact on your company and its operations.

On the other end are less frequent but high-impact attacks that affect critical operations or that target high-value data. Such attacks require a high skill set on the attacker’s side.

How do you protect yourself and your company from both types of attacks?

The first category includes such things as spam, common viruses, or Trojans, most of which you can to fight with technology like spam filters or anti-virus software. However, the boundaries are blurring. The more the attacks move toward the high-impact category, the more you need resources with special skill sets that at least match those of the cyberattackers.

In other words, technology, skilled resources, and executive-level commitment and support must go hand-in-hand to build a resilient cybersecurity and threat protection system.

Sid Snitkin, from ARC, presented a five-stage maturity model comprising the following levels:

  • Secure
  • Defend
  • Contain
  • Manage
  • Anticipate

The higher you climb on this “maturity ladder,” the more skilled resources come into play, and the more you have to break up silos within and beyond your company boundaries. Dan Rosinski, from Dow Chemical, stated that “it takes more than a village” to establish a strong cybersecurity. Fostering collaboration between IT, engineering, operations, legal, safety, purchasing, and business is a critical success factor.

Also, cybersecurity is not a one-off exercise. As hacker’s skill sets grow exponentially, you need to dynamically revisit your strategy and tools. Increasingly, new hardware and software are developed with embedded security and self-protection, especially tools that are used at the perimeter of a company’s environment. Hence, cybersecurity should be considered as a journey that just has started.

Share your experiences and thoughts on cybersecurity with us!

For more insight on cybersecurity technology, see Machine Learning: The New High-Tech Focus For Cybersecurity.


About Stefan Guertzgen

Dr. Stefan Guertzgen is the Global Director of Industry Solution Marketing for Chemicals at SAP. He is responsible for driving Industry Thought Leadership, Positioning & Messaging and strategic Portfolio Decisions for Chemicals.

How 3D Printing Benefits From Chemical Industry Innovation

Stefan Guertzgen

While many people consider 3D printing a recent technology, it has actually been around for more than 30 years.

Early predictions indicated 3D printers would be in every home by now, but widespread adoption of additive manufacturing had to wait for other areas to catch up, including materials science, engineering techniques, digital transformation in the supply chain, and advances in the chemical industry.

Even when all these areas came together in support of 3D printing, the biggest driver of acceptance became the manufacturing world’s revived focus on satisfying the customer, and the chemical industry’s drive to invent innovative materials that satisfy unique customer requirements.

How materials shape manufacturing

Manufacturers have always been at the mercy of the materials available to them, and every great leap in manufacturing technology has been influenced in some way by advances in materials science. Consider the Bronze Age giving way to the Iron Age, leading through history to the Age of Electronics and high tech. In every case, advances in materials enabled engineers to design new products and production methods that took advantage of the new material.

Today we have 3D printing, which started with a few polymers and has branched out into metals, food, ceramics, and even biological materials. As a result, engineers have developed innovative ways to design parts to be lighter in weight, more resilient, or lower cost by combining the unique capabilities of 3D printers and advanced materials created by the chemical industry.

3D printing and the supply chain

3D printing is having a major impact on the design and optimization of supply chains across all industries. Today, it’s not uncommon to see airlines, utilities, and manufacturers eliminating or reducing their inventory of spare parts via 3D printing. They no longer need to stock the same parts in multiple locations to reduce down time of expensive assets such as airplanes. As a result, they have increased asset utilization and reduced cost.

In many cases, rather than manufacturing and building components to be shipped to OEMS or higher-tier manufacturers, companies now print these parts in house as needed. While the printing speed may not be able to support high-volume manufacturing yet, it is more than adequate for prototypes, short runs, and spares. In the near future, companies may outsource much of their component manufacturing to nearby “printer farms” that will fulfill their requirements. This will reduce the volume of shipments around the globe, decreasing the environmental impact of manufacturing.

More than ever, chemical companies will be the backbone of all manufacturing as they create and deliver new materials designed to take advantage of 3D printing.

3D printing and the chemical industry

The most forward-thinking chemical companies are working directly with customers and the manufacturers of 3D printers to optimize materials with the right combination of characteristics to satisfy the customer’s needs and ensure that the printers run efficiently. Examples of this level of partnership include BASF working with HP, and Farsoon and Solvay working with Reico and Arevo Labs. These companies are inventing new resins, new polymers, and powdered metals that will advance manufacturing into a new era of productivity and innovation.

For more on 3D printing and the supply chain, see The 3D-Printed Future Needs A New Supply Chain.

This story also appeared on the SAP Community.


About Stefan Guertzgen

Dr. Stefan Guertzgen is the Global Director of Industry Solution Marketing for Chemicals at SAP. He is responsible for driving Industry Thought Leadership, Positioning & Messaging and strategic Portfolio Decisions for Chemicals.

Innovation In The Chemical Industry

Judy Cubiss and Ginger Shimp

The only constant is change, right?

For the chemical industry, this could not be more true. In fact, if we were to travel back in time just five or ten years, we would be amazed at the difference.

The industry is in a constant state of flux, with mergers often in the news. While this happens in all industries, it is especially prevalent in the chemical industry, and mergers and acquisitions are one of the most disruptive things that can happen to any company. Many executives lie awake pondering how to quickly integrate acquisitions to release promised synergies and onboard new revenue sources; how to reduce complexity, integrate across silos, and streamline workflows across the entire global value chain; how to resist commoditization by embedding themselves more intimately within customers’ innovation and operations cycles; how to rapidly enter, differentiate, and win in new markets.

And so much more.

Recently, Brian Fanzo and Daniel Newman, co-hosts of the popular S.M.A.C. Talk (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) Technology Podcast, caught up with Lauren McCallum, part of SAP’s global chemical industry group at SAP, on an episode of an extraordinary series entitled Digital Industries, which examines how digital transformation is affecting 16 different industries.  Listen to a short perspective from a recent podcast.

SMAC podcast

McCallum observed:

if you are going to merge two companies the size of DuPont or Agrium or Potash what are you going to do with the software that runs both

The benefit of this form of “disruption” is that it drives each chemical company to grow faster in an attempt to outpace the competition. In a world where mergers and takeovers are frequent, there is no time to lag behind.

However, during a merger or takeover it can be hard to keep the day-to-day operations of a firm in check. Also, employees can become frustrated as they try to learn yet another new system for sales, vendor records, marketing, and other common tasks. In this way, a merger or takeover can mean a significant loss in productivity.

Can technology help?

There are many new technologies out there that could be exciting from a chemical industry perspective, to either help these giant companies that have just merged together, or help the actual industry transform and leverage data in a different way.

58 percent of chemical companies are embracing digital to gain competitive advantage over their peers

One example is cloud solutions. For example, Dow and DuPont between them have spun off and started any number of new companies over the past few years. These spin-off companies are sometimes public, sometimes not. They need a cost-effective, instant software system that they can move to quickly—a cloud solution would be a perfect fit.

Another example of how new technologies are helping the chemicals industry is the Internet of Things (IoT), which has already impacted the industry and yet still has potential. McCallum said, “Chemical companies have had sensors in equipment for a really long time. You talk to them and they’ll say, ‘Internet of things. Yeah, that‘s old news. We’ve been doing that for a long time.’”

Since sensors with controls from afar have been used in the chemical field for years, management can keep track of all the little details and make adjustments from a desk across the property. But when you can track your production data through to your customer’s production data—such as an automotive manufacturer—and see their production outcomes, and be able to trace back to plant conditions, that has the potential to become very interesting.

Tying all the IoT sensor Big Data together could revolutionize the industry, but other technologies can have a large impact too.

blockchain could be an interesting technology for streamlining authentication of transactions and processes in a cleaner way

To listen to this episode of Digital Industries for the chemicals industry, co-produced by SAP and S.M.A.C. Talk Technology podcast, click here.

Transforming into a truly digital business is so much more than just implementing new technology to meet the demands of a digital age. It’s more than keeping up with the deluge of transformation happening all around us. Digital transformation is about understanding how to harness these changes and incorporate them into your business strategy. It’s about driving agility, connectivity, analytics, and collaboration to run a Live Business. A digital core empowers you with real-time visibility into all mission critical business processes inside your four walls, and in your interactions with customers, suppliers, workforce, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.

For more on how SAP can help you drive your own digital transformation in the chemical industry, visit us online.

1“The Chemicals Industry: Getting Ready for Next-Generation B2B,” Accenture, 2015


Judy Cubiss

About Judy Cubiss

Judy is director of content marketing for Finance at SAP. She has worked in the software industry for over 20 years in a variety of roles, including consulting, product management, solution management, and content marketing in both Europe and the United States.

About Ginger Shimp

With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, Ginger Shimp has been with SAP since 2004. She has won numerous awards and honors at SAP, including being designated “Top Talent” for two consecutive years. Not only is she a Professional Certified Marketer with the American Marketing Association, but she's also earned her Connoisseur's Certificate in California Reds from the Chicago Wine School. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA in marketing and managerial economics from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Personally, Ginger is the proud mother of a precocious son and happy wife of one of YouTube's 10 EDU Gurus, Ed Shimp.

Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences

Kai Goerlich


Google Cardboard VR goggles cost US$8
By 2019, immersive solutions
will be adopted in 20% of enterprise businesses
By 2025, the market for immersive hardware and software technology could be $182 billion
In 2017, Lowe’s launched
Holoroom How To VR DIY clinics

From Dipping a Toe to Fully Immersed

The first wave of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is here,

using smartphones, glasses, and goggles to place us in the middle of 360-degree digital environments or overlay digital artifacts on the physical world. Prototypes, pilot projects, and first movers have already emerged:

  • Guiding warehouse pickers, cargo loaders, and truck drivers with AR
  • Overlaying constantly updated blueprints, measurements, and other construction data on building sites in real time with AR
  • Building 3D machine prototypes in VR for virtual testing and maintenance planning
  • Exhibiting new appliances and fixtures in a VR mockup of the customer’s home
  • Teaching medicine with AR tools that overlay diagnostics and instructions on patients’ bodies

A Vast Sea of Possibilities

Immersive technologies leapt forward in spring 2017 with the introduction of three new products:

  • Nvidia’s Project Holodeck, which generates shared photorealistic VR environments
  • A cloud-based platform for industrial AR from Lenovo New Vision AR and Wikitude
  • A workspace and headset from Meta that lets users use their hands to interact with AR artifacts

The Truly Digital Workplace

New immersive experiences won’t simply be new tools for existing tasks. They promise to create entirely new ways of working.

VR avatars that look and sound like their owners will soon be able to meet in realistic virtual meeting spaces without requiring users to leave their desks or even their homes. With enough computing power and a smart-enough AI, we could soon let VR avatars act as our proxies while we’re doing other things—and (theoretically) do it well enough that no one can tell the difference.

We’ll need a way to signal when an avatar is being human driven in real time, when it’s on autopilot, and when it’s owned by a bot.

What Is Immersion?

A completely immersive experience that’s indistinguishable from real life is impossible given the current constraints on power, throughput, and battery life.

To make current digital experiences more convincing, we’ll need interactive sensors in objects and materials, more powerful infrastructure to create realistic images, and smarter interfaces to interpret and interact with data.

When everything around us is intelligent and interactive, every environment could have an AR overlay or VR presence, with use cases ranging from gaming to firefighting.

We could see a backlash touting the superiority of the unmediated physical world—but multisensory immersive experiences that we can navigate in 360-degree space will change what we consider “real.”

Download the executive brief Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences.

Read the full article Swimming in the Immersive Digital Experience.


Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation. Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu


Jenny Dearborn: Soft Skills Will Be Essential for Future Careers

Jenny Dearborn

The Japanese culture has always shown a special reverence for its elderly. That’s why, in 1963, the government began a tradition of giving a silver dish, called a sakazuki, to each citizen who reached the age of 100 by Keiro no Hi (Respect for the Elders Day), which is celebrated on the third Monday of each September.

That first year, there were 153 recipients, according to The Japan Times. By 2016, the number had swelled to more than 65,000, and the dishes cost the already cash-strapped government more than US$2 million, Business Insider reports. Despite the country’s continued devotion to its seniors, the article continues, the government felt obliged to downgrade the finish of the dishes to silver plating to save money.

What tends to get lost in discussions about automation taking over jobs and Millennials taking over the workplace is the impact of increased longevity. In the future, people will need to be in the workforce much longer than they are today. Half of the people born in Japan today, for example, are predicted to live to 107, making their ancestors seem fragile, according to Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, professors at the London Business School and authors of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity.

The End of the Three-Stage Career

Assuming that advances in healthcare continue, future generations in wealthier societies could be looking at careers lasting 65 or more years, rather than at the roughly 40 years for today’s 70-year-olds, write Gratton and Scott. The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

It will be replaced by a new model in which people continually learn new skills and shed old ones. Consider that today’s most in-demand occupations and specialties did not exist 10 years ago, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum.

And the pace of change is only going to accelerate. Sixty-five percent of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist, the report notes.

Our current educational systems are not equipped to cope with this degree of change. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is outdated by the time students graduate, the report continues.

Skills That Transcend the Job Market

Instead of treating post-secondary education as a jumping-off point for a specific career path, we may see a switch to a shorter school career that focuses more on skills that transcend a constantly shifting job market. Today, some of these skills, such as complex problem solving and critical thinking, are taught mostly in the context of broader disciplines, such as math or the humanities.

Other competencies that will become critically important in the future are currently treated as if they come naturally or over time with maturity or experience. We receive little, if any, formal training, for example, in creativity and innovation, empathy, emotional intelligence, cross-cultural awareness, persuasion, active listening, and acceptance of change. (No wonder the self-help marketplace continues to thrive!)

The three-stage model of employment that dominates the global economy today—education, work, and retirement—will be blown out of the water.

These skills, which today are heaped together under the dismissive “soft” rubric, are going to harden up to become indispensable. They will become more important, thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, which will usher in an era of infinite information, rendering the concept of an expert in most of today’s job disciplines a quaint relic. As our ability to know more than those around us decreases, our need to be able to collaborate well (with both humans and machines) will help define our success in the future.

Individuals and organizations alike will have to learn how to become more flexible and ready to give up set-in-stone ideas about how businesses and careers are supposed to operate. Given the rapid advances in knowledge and attendant skills that the future will bring, we must be willing to say, repeatedly, that whatever we’ve learned to that point doesn’t apply anymore.

Careers will become more like life itself: a series of unpredictable, fluid experiences rather than a tightly scripted narrative. We need to think about the way forward and be more willing to accept change at the individual and organizational levels.

Rethink Employee Training

One way that organizations can help employees manage this shift is by rethinking training. Today, overworked and overwhelmed employees devote just 1% of their workweek to learning, according to a study by consultancy Bersin by Deloitte. Meanwhile, top business leaders such as Bill Gates and Nike founder Phil Knight spend about five hours a week reading, thinking, and experimenting, according to an article in Inc. magazine.

If organizations are to avoid high turnover costs in a world where the need for new skills is shifting constantly, they must give employees more time for learning and make training courses more relevant to the future needs of organizations and individuals, not just to their current needs.

The amount of learning required will vary by role. That’s why at SAP we’re creating learning personas for specific roles in the company and determining how many hours will be required for each. We’re also dividing up training hours into distinct topics:

  • Law: 10%. This is training required by law, such as training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

  • Company: 20%. Company training includes internal policies and systems.

  • Business: 30%. Employees learn skills required for their current roles in their business units.

  • Future: 40%. This is internal, external, and employee-driven training to close critical skill gaps for jobs of the future.

In the future, we will always need to learn, grow, read, seek out knowledge and truth, and better ourselves with new skills. With the support of employers and educators, we will transform our hardwired fear of change into excitement for change.

We must be able to say to ourselves, “I’m excited to learn something new that I never thought I could do or that never seemed possible before.” D!