Jumpstart Your 2017 Digital Transformation With A Model Company-Driven Approach

Arend Weil

Digital transformation can be an exciting experience with the right mix of technology, commitment, and leadership. Someone on the executive team sets a company-wide initiative to improve a particular area of the business by using the latest technology. The entire leadership team is committed once they understand the possible outcomes. The workforce, in general, is inspired about the opportunity to simplify their daily work experiences, deliver customer experiences that make a difference, and add value to the bottom line.

Year after year, I see an exponentially growing number of companies putting digital transformation at the center of their corporate strategies. Some are committed to sweeping digital transformation initiatives, while others may take a more conservative “one organization at a time” approach. But no matter their comfort level, there is one common thread that connects these businesses: The fear of wasted time, effort, money, and potential.

And this fear is not made up out of thin air. Each year, enterprises spend US$400 billion on digital projects that do not deliver what they promise, according to a Genpact study. The culprit? Misjudged business transformation strategies.

Now suppose you had a road map that clearly showed the path to digital transformation and a reference solution that demonstrates the feasibility of the ultimate goal – all tailored for your industry or line of business. Could it change your digital transformation narrative for 2017?

Introducing model companies

A model company is a pre-packaged, ready-to-use, end-to-end reference solution, tailored to an industry or line of business. It comprises state-of-the-art applications and proven best practices and encapsulates the experience from successful, real-life digital transformation projects. Embedded in an overall transformation road map and delivered as part of a service, a model company-driven approach enables you to reduce cost, decrease risk, and accelerate adoption.

Here are four ingredients which are, based on my experience, essential to delivering on that promise:

  • A preconfigured solution that includes all required applications, customized settings, and sample data to get started immediately. These components are all prepackaged in a way that lets you decide whether you want to run your model company in the cloud or on premises. No matter which path you choose, you gain quick and easy access to these solutions without consuming limited resources.
  • Relevant business content covering end-to-end processes that encompass the experience and knowledge relevant to your industry, line of business, and business users. Every element is documented in an easy-to-access format to help you understand, adapt, and adopt best practices.
  • Proven accelerators that support configuration guides, test cases, how-to advice on scenarios, process variants, implementable steps, demo scripts, or questionnaires. With these tools, you can make the best use of the solution in an efficient and guided way.
  • Quick-start services that help you become familiar with the model company and unlock the full potential of all related tools, accelerators, and processes. These services are delivered in a manner that allows you to enjoy the hands-on experience very quickly.

The beauty of the model company approach is that you can jumpstart your transformation not just in theory, but hands-on. You can access lessons learned in real systems and move in an agile way – instead of spending your resources and time on commodities. Driven by a model company, your digital strategy can become a detailed map for true innovation.

Get on the path to digital transformation that delivers outcomes

Planning and resolving post-transformation challenges is the toughest battle in the digital transformation journey. Business leaders must choose the right roles and functions to hire or outsource. New operational processes must be created and established. And even the workplace culture should foster a safe environment for information sharing and unprecedented transparency.

All too often, these decisions are nothing more than guesswork. A model company-driven approach can help chart the finer details of your digital strategy with certainty. By injecting a level of standardization into your digital strategy, you can build a future of disruptive value for your business and customers with low-cost implementations of the latest technology, faster time to value, and constant innovation.

The choice is yours: disrupt or be disrupted. Learn more about The Disruptive Effects of Digital Business Models.


Arend Weil

About Arend Weil

Arend Weil manages the SAP global service portfolio for R&D, engineering, sustainability, and asset management. He is focused on creating service offerings and solutions that increase delivery speed through reuse and repeatability. Latest initiatives include for example cloud based model companies, which combine SAP software innovations with real best practices. Over the course of 20 years, his passion for IT has taken him from the days of C-64 to the Internet of Things.

The Future Of Innovation: Simple, Fast, And In The Cloud

Oliver Huschke

Part 5 of the “Kick-Starting Innovation” series

Throughout this blog series, we have examined a variety of ways to drive business innovation. Showrooms, digital design zones, and empowerment sessions – each of these mechanisms is combining the skills and insight needed to explore the potential for industry-disruptive innovation.

For many businesses, these tools are an excellent way to prove their innovation muscle when creating and delivering digitally enhanced products, services, and experiences. But now that we’re living in a pivotal time where technology and industry routinely intersect, it’s also critical to democratize information and encourage collaboration to help quickly and efficiently transition a “really good idea” from prototype to production and revenue generation.

Increasing the speed and efficiency of innovation with cloud platforms

Over the last few years, I have noticed a dramatic shift from on-premises IT environments to cloud platforms among companies that want to adopt an all-inclusive innovation style. They’re rapidly building and deploying applications to deliver more value faster to customers as well as the business. They’re extending and integrating business processes to command greater agility. And they’re instantly analyzing and responding with real-time mobile apps that encourage action within a short window of time to seize opportunity.

Take, for example, Danone, a multinational corporation dedicated to bringing good health through delicious, nutritious food products to more than 7.5 billion people worldwide. To develop closer ties with its customers in unexpected ways, the company decided to leverage personalized two-way communications to capture interaction data on its backend systems. But there was a problem: Danone didn’t have an IT budget that could support the upfront costs for innovating a proprietary system with great sophistication.

After migrating on-premises applications to a cloud platform, Danone is starting small and paying incrementally throughout its innovation process. This approach not only provides access to a reliable, scalable, highly secure infrastructure; it also allows the ease and speed needed to build user-friendly applications without overburdening resources.

The company now benefits from standards-based development, seamless integration, and flexible and scalable operations – which are accelerating the development cycle and helping developers learn new technology faster. More important, Danone is combining data from its own applications with resources such as Facebook and Twitter to find insight and actionable data that can help decision-makers quickly explore potential new markets and opportunities.

As Danone clearly demonstrates, a cloud platform empowers businesses to innovate in ways never thought possible. The cloud strips away barriers that would otherwise prevent organizations and employees from working together to build new applications. In turn, companies can expedite the extension and integration of existing applications, power innovative customer scenarios, and accelerate new products and services that use emerging technology such as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and much more – all faster and easier than ever before.

Find out how your business can benefit from unlimited access to a showroom, a set of empowering sessions, and an innovation platform. Read the whitepaper “Achieve Digital Transformation and Create a System of Ongoing Innovation.” And don’t forget to check out all installments of this blog series “Kick-Starting Innovation.”


Oliver Huschke

About Oliver Huschke

Oliver Huschke is the global head of Solution Marketing for Digital Business Services at SAP. He has worked for SAP since 1997, starting with development where he built up and led the central test organization. Oliver was head of application management and managed marketing activities at SAP Hosting. Further stations include strategic development and Active Global Support with responsibility for global product management of the SAP Premium Engagement Program. Share your thoughts with Oliver on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Apathy, Not Hackers: The Real Enemy Of The Cloud And Emerging Tech

Paul Kurchina

The cloud is quickly moving past the hype to deliver tangible and transformational value. Across the board, cloud-based products and services are growing to the point where more than 92% of all workloads will be processed in cloud data centers by 2020. The cloud is also enabling heavy-hitter, emerging technology along the way, including advanced analytics, containers, artificial intelligence, cognitive computing, and virtual reality. And even the Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining momentum in the cloud as it sets to impact the world in the next decade 5-10x more than the entire existence of the Internet.

According to Mark Weatherford, senior vice president and chief cybersecurity strategist of vArmour, there are no signs of the cloud’s influence slowing down. In his upcoming Webcast “The Cloud, IoT, and Critical Infrastructure: It’s Not Too Late for the Cyber,” sponsored by Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG), he will share a much-needed reality check:

“Today is the slowest day in your life in terms of technology. If you think the pace is frantic now, just wait until Q4 … or 2018 … or 2020. The rate of change in business is going to be faster every year for the rest of your working life.”

Even though there is so much potential, very few business leaders understand how the cloud – and the technology it supports – will impact their company. Why? It’s most likely because their organizations are still outmatched in their ability to combat cyberattacks of any kind.

The truth about the cloud, virtualization, and cybersecurity

In no other area of the business are companies fighting to protect their business from so many ill-intended actors, ranging from international organized crime rings to terrorist organizations, politically charged hacktivists, and cyberspies acting on behalf of global nation states. Although there are high-stakes risks in the cloud, this doesn’t mean that locking down your IT systems and data to limit information-sharing and real-time insight is the answer.

Thomas Friedman, American journalist, author, and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, poetically laid out the dangers of this lack of know-how in one of his recent New York Times columns:

“We’re moving into a world where computers and algorithms can analyze (reveal previously hidden patterns); optimize (tell a plane which altitude to fly each mile to get the best fuel efficiency); prophesize (tell you when your elevator will break or what your customer is likely to buy); customize (tailor any product or service for you alone); and digitize and automatize more and more products and services. Any company that doesn’t deploy all six elements will struggle, and this is changing every job and industry.”

To realize Friedman’s vision, businesses must somehow whittle down a seemingly infinite number of digital options to find technology that best fits their needs. But, as Weatherford suggests, the key to investing in the right technology is focusing on nine fundamental areas of strategic security:

  • Identity and access: Monitor privileged-account usage while allowing only authorized users to access critical systems and countering threats.
  • Network: Ensure that all networks in the IT landscape are secure.
  • Applications: Identify risks to all applications.
  • Security breaches: Understand the threat landscape and plan the right strategy to protect the business.
  • Compliance: Adhere to all application obligations as the company reduces its compliance burden.
  • Supplier risk: Track whether suppliers are adequately safeguarding organizational assets.
  • Business continuity: Strengthen protections to ensure continuous operations during a crisis.
  • Mobility: Secure mobile applications.
  • Cloud: Assess any security risks as a result of a cloud migration.

Weatherford also warns that insiders need to be better trained to prevent unintended security breaches. “The real danger is the uneducated user who is more likely to click on a link or push a button that shouldn’t be touched in the first place,” he said. “Educate, educate, educate. Drill, drill, drill. This is all necessary to raise the bar on security.”

In our increasingly digital world, hope is not a strategy, but a reasonable security program is. Maybe, one day within the next 10 years, security will become a top priority that everyone understands and acquires as a natural skill. But until then, let’s put a little more attention, time, and care into the security of the IT architecture and data while engaging technology that can drive significant competitive advantage.

For more cybersecurity insights and advice from Mark Weatherford, senior vice president and chief cybersecurity strategist of vArmour, join us on October 23 for the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) Webcast “The Cloud, IoT, and Critical Infrastructure: It’s Not Too Late for the Cyber.”


Paul Kurchina

About Paul Kurchina

Paul Kurchina is a community builder and evangelist with the Americas’ SAP Users Group (ASUG), responsible for developing a change management program for ASUG members.

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.