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 Many “Digital” Executives Are In The Chemical Industry?

Rich Seltz

In my work, I come across many companies and executives. Without a doubt, most are aware of digital and have plans to leverage emerging digital capabilities.

But how much formal attention is digital getting within the chemical industry? Without a doubt, every CIO is involved in shaping digital strategies. But are chemical companies appointing dedicated leaders to lead digital efforts?

I decided to find out. Although this is not a scientific survey, I have taken great pains to evaluate the data and eliminate errors. My methodology is simple:”

  • search LinkedIn for individual profiles where the job level is “VP” or “CXO”
  • Filter only on the “chemical” industry
  • Filter on job titles including the word “Digital”

And now, the results:

Analysis by company

  • 20 chemical companies have a VP level or above executive with “Digital” in their title.
  • 16 of these are in the top 100 companies as measured by revenue (2017 ICIS data).
  • Of these, 12 (60%) are located in Europe; 25% in the USA

Analysis by executive
For these 20 companies, there are actually 28 individual executives who meet the criteria.

  • 19 of the 28 (68%) work for top 50 global chemical companies
  • Two companies headquartered in Europe have multiple executives (3 executives each)
  • Two companies headquartered in the USA have multiple executives (2 and 4 respectively)


Without a doubt, Europe is leading the way on appointing dedicated digital leaders. Although there are nine executives in the USA, they represent only five actual companies.

Versus other industries, there are fewer dedicated digital leaders. Does this mean that chemicals is behind? Not necessarily. Most companies that I engage with are clearly addressing the digital economy. However, we can’t ignore the growing body of evidence and thought leadership that supports the case for appointing a dedicated leader of digital.

Final notes

As stated above, this analysis is focused on “digital.” In fact, there are many roles who are leading digital efforts but do not have this as part of their title. Examples include “SVP, Innovation”, etc. Keywords of “innovation” or “transformation” yield many more results. But, they also represent a variety of roles that often focus on R&D or process excellence.

For more on technology in the chemical industry, see How 3D Printing Benefits From Chemical Industry Innovation.


About Rich Seltz

Rich is a Vice President of Digital Transformation at SAP with emphasis on the chemicals and industrial sector. He works with leading companies to understand and exploit digital opportunities. He brings extensive experience as a former global CIO, supply chain leader, and general manager in the chemicals industry.

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.

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

Link to Sources

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


Blockchain: Thoughts On The "Next Big Thing"

Ross Doherty

Many people associate blockchain with bitcoin—which is, at least for today, the most common application to leverage blockchain. However, when you dig a little deeper and consider the core concepts of blockchain—distribution, consensus achieved by algorithm rather than opinion, cryptographically secure, private—you start to think about how these aspects can be applied, both technically and strategically, to solve problems simple and  complex. Blockchain is neither a product nor a system – instead, it is a concept.

Blockchain applications disrupt conventional thinking and conventional approaches regarding data processing, handling, and storage. First we had the “move to the cloud,” and many were cautious and even frightened of what it meant to move their systems, infrastructure, and data to a platform outside their organization’s four walls. Compound this with blockchain in its purest form—a distributed and possibly shared resource—and you can see why many may be reluctant.

My sentiment, however, is a little different. Creating a solid basis that harnesses the concepts of blockchain with sufficient thought leadership and knowledge-sharing, along with a pragmatic and open-minded approach to problem-solving, can lead to innovative and disruptive outcomes and solid solutions for customers. Blockchain should not be feared, but rather rationalized and demystified, with the goal of making it someday as ubiquitous as the cloud. Blockchain should not be pigeonholed into a specific industry or use case—it is much more that, and it should be much more than that.

Grounding ourselves momentarily, allow me to relay some ideas from both within the enterprise and customers regarding possible use cases for blockchain technology: From placing blockchain at the core of business networks for traceability and auditability, to a way for ordinary people to easily and cheaply post a document as part of a patent process; a way to counteract bootlegging and counterfeiting in commodity supply chain, a way to add an additional layer of security to simple email exchange; from electronic voting systems through to medial record storage. The beauty of blockchain is that its application can scale as big as your imagination allows.

Blockchain is not the staple of the corporate, nor is it limited to grand and expansive development teams—most of the technology is open source, public, and tangible to everyone. It is not an exclusive or expert concept, prohibitive in terms of cost or resource. Blockchain is a new frontier, largely unmined and full of opportunity.

In closing, I invite you to invest some time to do what I did when I first encountered the concept and needed to better understand it. Plug “Blockchain explained simply” (or words to that effect) into your preferred search engine. Find the article that best speaks to you—there are plenty online. Once you get it (and I promise you will) and experience your “eureka!” moment, start to think how blockchain and its concepts might help you solve a business or technical problem.

For more insight on blockchain, see Blockchain’s Value Underestimated, Despite The Hype.


Ross Doherty

About Ross Doherty

Ross Doherty is a manager in the SAP Innovative Business Solutions team, based in Galway, Ireland. Ross’s team’s focus is in the domain of Business Networks and Innovation. Ross is proud to lead a talented and diverse team of pre-sales, integration, quality management, user assistance and solution architects, and to be serving SAP for almost 4 years.