3 Surprising Reasons Why Social Collaboration Should Be Part Of Your 2016 Sales Strategy

Roger Noia

Even though 2016 just started, it’s obvious that the digital economy is changing the world around us. And if there is one area of your business that is most affected, it’s your sales operations. For decades, sales reps have accurately targeted qualified buyers that are ready to select a product and finalize the purchase. They could lead the potential customer through the purchase journey – one step at a time. Thanks to the Internet and social network, those “simpler” times are a thing of the past.

Sales processes have accelerated to the point where it’s difficult to see who is considering your products, services, and competitors. In fact, CEB reported that the average buyer is 57% done with the purchase decision process even before their first interaction with a sales rep or channel. Plus, there’s no real customer loyalty since brands comprise only 12% of their customer’s mindshare during the buying experience.

In essence, the digital economy has made the sales process more complicated and less transparent. However, it can also fix this common problem. With a commitment to digital transformation, sales organizations can provide multiple touch points that make the brand more accessible to every existing and potential customer throughout the customer experience.

How can sales teams adjust to this highly digital world? According to The Total Economic Impact™ Of SAP Jam, a March 2015 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP, social collaboration may be the right first step.

Did you know sales deals close 9% faster with social collaboration?

One question, one delay, or one miscommunication can shut down an entire deal at a moment’s notice. To avoid this situation, sales reps need to access expertise, information, and customer data together in one place at all times. With an average of seven people scattered across business areas and geographies involved in a single deal, a collaborative team approach powered by a Web-based, mobile-enabled social collaboration platform can help win new business.

Forrester’s research indicates that a reduction of one week (9%) in time to close new business results in $9.63 million in new deals over three years. The average time required to close a deal decreased from 13 weeks to 12 weeks, which enabled sales professionals to close more deals per year. Furthermore, with an average of seven people working on every deal, that saved time means increased productivity for those workers.

How your sales team can benefit from social collaboration: Say goodbye to the painstaking, time-consuming process of gathering information through email, phone, and the Internet! All of this information is now a click away. As a result, your team can close deals one week sooner – leading to more sales and higher win rates.

Did you know social collaboration reduces onboarding and training costs by 13%?

The sales organization is known to be a source of high turnover. Whether the reason is low earnings or disengagement, proper onboarding and training are a key part of lowering that rate. But at the same time, the business needs reps in the field as soon as possible and closing profitable deals.

In the composite analysis, Forrester found that social collaboration reduces onboarding and training costs by 13% – a savings of nearly $1.7 million. This advantage is attributed to the creation of a community where new hires engage with one another, work together on onboarding activities, and receive support from experts in other departments.

How your sales team can benefit from social collaboration: When sales reps are supported with expertise anytime and anywhere, they are liberated and empowered. With direct access to the intellectual power of the entire organization, they can avoid common pitfalls, mitigate potential risks, and strengthen their sales acumen. And this can create a scenario where reps meet or exceed their quotas every quarter and effectively close more deals.

Did you know social collaboration can help you resolve customer issues 10% faster? 

In every business, the customer experience is everything. And this is most likely the case for your sales reps. Nothing is worse than having a customer who is unhappy with your products and services and unwilling to purchase more or looking to go elsewhere.

Using social collaboration for customer service, employees can quickly locate the best experts and information across the company to answer any need. They can also access a complete customer view, including service and sales histories, and quickly gather the right team to handle escalations of any degree of difficulty. Through its composite analysis cited above, Forrester found that this capability leads to a 10% faster resolution of customer and internal issues with an associated annual benefit of approximately $384,600.

How your sales team can benefit from social collaboration: Improving this side of the customer experience can also dramatically impact the success of your sales reps. By connecting service agents with critical customer information such as a pending deal or ongoing sales activities, the customer service and sales functions can work together to make sure the customer remains happy and identify ways to accelerate the close of the deal.

Real-time transparency, access to information, and communication

For years, organizations have struggled to collaborate in the most efficient way without getting lost in email chains and outdated spreadsheets. And for sales, this scenario can spell disaster. By centralizing collaboration to streamline and connect business processes, sales operations can hasten the advancement of sales opportunities, decision making, and understanding of customer needs.

Are you interested in learning more about social collaboration? Check out The Total Economic Impact™ Of SAP Jam, a March 2015 commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of SAP.

Comments

Roger Noia

About Roger Noia

Roger Noia is the director of Solution Marketing, SAP Jam Collaboration, at SAP. He is responsible for product marketing and sales enablement for our dedicated sales team as well as the broader SAP sales force selling SAP Jam.

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Bhavya Kamaraj

About Bhavya Kamaraj

Bhavya Kamaraj is an Industry Value Advisor for SAP ANZ. She has over 6.5 years of work experience in Financial Services - as a Developer, Techno-Functional Banking Consultant and Industry Value Advisor. During this tenure in the Industry, she have gained rich experience in SAP Development, SAP Consulting, Management Consulting, Value Advisory, Enterprise Architecture, Design Thinking and Business Development.

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Tony Klimas

About Tony Klimas

Tony Klimas, global finance practice leader with EY, LLP, is a member of EY’s Advisory Executive team with global responsibility for the Finance consulting practice. He is an experienced consultant with 20+ years of experience across a variety of industries. His areas of expertise include finance strategy and transformation, shared services/offshoring, and BPO advisory. Tony also has significant experience with finance and accounting systems and has traveled and worked extensively in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He spent most of his consulting career in the Southeast U.S. before moving to the greater New York City area in 2009.

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Joerg Koesters

About Joerg Koesters

Joerg Koesters is the Head of Retail Marketing and Communication at SAP. He is a Technology Marketing executive with 20 years of experience in Marketing, Sales and Consulting, Joerg has deep knowledge in retail and consumer products having worked both in the industry and in the technology sector.

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Holger Tallowitz

About Holger Tallowitz

Holger Tallowitz is Director of Future Cities (Blockchain) at SAP. After finishing his studies in economics and foreign trade, he worked as a sales representative for a company in Berlin exporting electrical equipment and then joined SAP. Since 1990, Holger has been involved in various positions across SAP including a consultant for software implementation, manager for SAP R/3 basis and logistics solutions, account manager for a top 10 automotive customer, and a director of support for the Middle and Eastern Europe region.

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Malcolm Woodfield

About Malcolm Woodfield

Malcolm Woodfield is the Global Vice President, Head of Industry Business Unit Education & Research, at SAP. He manages a global team accountable for the overall business, market, customer, and revenue success of the Higher Education / Public Services portfolio (including all Applications, Analytics, Mobile, HANA, and Cloud) globally.

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Stefanie Haar

About Stefanie Haar

Stefanie Haar is Audience Marketing Manager at SAP Ariba. In her role, she drives market awareness and demand generation for source-to-settle solutions and business networks. She has almost 20 years of experience in marketing and business development in the procurement solutions space.

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Ted Basile

About Ted Basile

Ted Basile is the senior director responsible for global marketing for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. His charter spans messaging, positioning, and building customer-facing assets to support all marketing and sales activities. @teddybgame | LinkedIn

In Digital Transformation Finserv Is A Fast Follower — But Fast Enough?

Tom Groenfeldt

When it comes to going digital, time is money, according to a new study from Harvard Business Review and Verizon.digital transformation

The Digital Dividend – First Mover Advantage shows that companies that are early adopters of new technologies are apt to lead their peers in revenue growth and market position.

“There is a correlation between the early adoption of new technologies and better business outcomes,” the study found, adding that IT is increasingly becoming a key part of business decision.

“This is causing a shifting and blending of roles across IT and other parts of the business, with leaders from across the organization more involved in formulating technology strategy (in partnership with IT) and deciding how technology is used to enable business change.”
The study classified companies into pioneers, fast followers and cautious, said Chandan Sharma, global managing director for financial services at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

“Most of the financial services firms are in the fast follower category,” he explained, “in some cases for very good reasons such as regulation and compliance. But at the same time, many of them are facing competition, not necessarily just from financial services, but also some from Silicon Valley and technology companies which are impacting the financial services industry,” he added.

“Our message to financial institutions is that technologies like cloud give them more agility in experimentation with these technologies to drive innovation. Financial firms are starting to be more mindful of that. They recognize where the competition is, and they are looking at these technologies in a pretty serious way, more than they have done in the past.”

For banks, old, very old, legacy systems have been a barrier to adopting new technology. Sharma said that leading banks are taking a selective approach to modernization.

“Core transformation or uplift is a big risk and it takes a long time,” he said. “Institutions are looking at their legacy systems and picking a set of services they can transform and expose in a much more agile model, an incremental change.”

The Harvard Business Review study found that change was being driven from outside in.

“Most significant, named by 65% of all respondents, are changing customer behaviors and expectations, closely followed by cost. Today’s consumers are mobile- and tech-savvy. They expect to be connected, to have access to information, and to be able to conduct transactions anywhere. Any company that wants their business must cater to these expectations.”

The study found a link between consumers and costs.

“Consumers can access products and services from literally millions of vendors—from independent eBay sellers to main street stalwarts. It is easier than ever before for them to find exactly what they want at the best possible price. This is having a commoditizing effect on a whole host of products and services and putting significant cost pressures on companies. To win customers, companies have to be able to sense and respond quickly.”

“When customers get in their vehicle, they want the same experience that they have with their mobile device,’ said the U.S.-based CIO for a large automobile company.” They also expect a bank’s presentation to be as clean as an Apple app.

Changing customer expectations was also the number-one change driver for financial services and healthcare, the report said, though increased regulations wasn’t far behind; 62% of financial services companies and 57% of healthcare organizations named this a top driver.

The pace of change is changing with new technology, it added, and financial firms may struggle to keep up.

Software companies have traditionally had long product cycles and invested a lot of time and money in getting things right up front, said a long-time industry executive now working at an enterprise cloud company. “We had to predict the future,” he said. Now with cloud services, “we ship all the time.”

When the company rolled out a new feature with a different pricing model last year, it created a revenue report that blended new data with its existing financial reporting information so that the company could understand which customers were switching and the revenue impact as they moved from the older to newer products. Advanced analytics is a critical capability in a “sense and respond” world, where the company that can meet new customer needs first wins.

The report said that top executives are out of touch and underestimate the resistance to change within their firms, compared to mid-level executive who are often frustrated by the delays.

Sharma took a very diplomatic approach to that comment.

“Their vantage point is different,” said Sharma. “If you are responsible for a narrow function, like distributed technology and looking at a move to cloud, that could take months to lay out the strategy and do it as you have to convince a lot of stakeholders. From management, the process may look very slow while from the corner office it may appear to be moving faster.”

The survey noted the threat from mobile banking, in both developed and developing markets.

Financial services companies have seen the most change in their products and services, as mobile banking has taken off. In many cases, less-developed countries are leading the way as they leapfrog the fixed infrastructure stage and embrace services that avoid the need to use cash or visit a branch. Mobile banking services can be truly transformative in a region that doesn’t have a network of branches or readily available—and affordable—broadband. Innovations from developing nations are now finding a foothold in the developed world.

The report called for closer collaboration between business and IT, not exactly a new recommendation, but impressive in its persistence.

“This closer collaboration is critical as business leaders become more involved in technology strategy decisions. A full quarter of respondents are very involved in making such decisions, with another 48 percent being somewhat involved. This is significant, given that less than 10 percent of the people participating in the study said that they work in the IT function. The more senior the leader, the more likely he or she is to be very involved, with 42 percent of executive leaders very involved, compared with 30 percent of senior managers and 14 percent of other managers.”

How is that going to turn out?

Sharma said Verizon has met with customers who have very deliberately made the decision not to be first a mover.

“It’s interesting in today’s environment,” he added, suggesting it might have made more sense in a time when technology wasn’t as central to customer experience as it is now.

Business is about to face two demographic waves, he added. The first is a large wave of millennials, larger than the baby-boomers, with very different customer experience expectations.

“And then, as baby boomers start to retire we will see a rise in the ranks of enterprises, people in decision-making who were born with technology, their entire experience is very different. That is a second wave that will push the wave in this direction [of digital innovation].”

Comments

Mukund Rao

About Mukund Rao

Mukund Rao is Director of the Automotive Business Unit at SAP. He has been a key contributor to the business unit for over 18 years, focusing on both OEMs and suppliers. Mukund earned his MBA from University of Michigan and M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University.

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Tags:

awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Bhavya Kamaraj

About Bhavya Kamaraj

Bhavya Kamaraj is an Industry Value Advisor for SAP ANZ. She has over 6.5 years of work experience in Financial Services - as a Developer, Techno-Functional Banking Consultant and Industry Value Advisor. During this tenure in the Industry, she have gained rich experience in SAP Development, SAP Consulting, Management Consulting, Value Advisory, Enterprise Architecture, Design Thinking and Business Development.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Tony Klimas

About Tony Klimas

Tony Klimas, global finance practice leader with EY, LLP, is a member of EY’s Advisory Executive team with global responsibility for the Finance consulting practice. He is an experienced consultant with 20+ years of experience across a variety of industries. His areas of expertise include finance strategy and transformation, shared services/offshoring, and BPO advisory. Tony also has significant experience with finance and accounting systems and has traveled and worked extensively in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He spent most of his consulting career in the Southeast U.S. before moving to the greater New York City area in 2009.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Joerg Koesters

About Joerg Koesters

Joerg Koesters is the Head of Retail Marketing and Communication at SAP. He is a Technology Marketing executive with 20 years of experience in Marketing, Sales and Consulting, Joerg has deep knowledge in retail and consumer products having worked both in the industry and in the technology sector.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Holger Tallowitz

About Holger Tallowitz

Holger Tallowitz is Director of Future Cities (Blockchain) at SAP. After finishing his studies in economics and foreign trade, he worked as a sales representative for a company in Berlin exporting electrical equipment and then joined SAP. Since 1990, Holger has been involved in various positions across SAP including a consultant for software implementation, manager for SAP R/3 basis and logistics solutions, account manager for a top 10 automotive customer, and a director of support for the Middle and Eastern Europe region.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Malcolm Woodfield

About Malcolm Woodfield

Malcolm Woodfield is the Global Vice President, Head of Industry Business Unit Education & Research, at SAP. He manages a global team accountable for the overall business, market, customer, and revenue success of the Higher Education / Public Services portfolio (including all Applications, Analytics, Mobile, HANA, and Cloud) globally.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Stefanie Haar

About Stefanie Haar

Stefanie Haar is Audience Marketing Manager at SAP Ariba. In her role, she drives market awareness and demand generation for source-to-settle solutions and business networks. She has almost 20 years of experience in marketing and business development in the procurement solutions space.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Ted Basile

About Ted Basile

Ted Basile is the senior director responsible for global marketing for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. His charter spans messaging, positioning, and building customer-facing assets to support all marketing and sales activities. @teddybgame | LinkedIn

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Mukund Rao

About Mukund Rao

Mukund Rao is Director of the Automotive Business Unit at SAP. He has been a key contributor to the business unit for over 18 years, focusing on both OEMs and suppliers. Mukund earned his MBA from University of Michigan and M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University.

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The Blockchain Solution

By Gil Perez, Tom Raftery, Hans Thalbauer, Dan Wellers, and Fawn Fitter

In 2013, several UK supermarket chains discovered that products they were selling as beef were actually made at least partly—and in some cases, entirely—from horsemeat. The resulting uproar led to a series of product recalls, prompted stricter food testing, and spurred the European food industry to take a closer look at how unlabeled or mislabeled ingredients were finding their way into the food chain.

By 2020, a scandal like this will be eminently preventable.

The separation between bovine and equine will become immutable with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which will track the provenance and identity of every animal from stall to store, adding the data to a blockchain that anyone can check but no one can alter.

Food processing companies will be able to use that blockchain to confirm and label the contents of their products accordingly—down to the specific farms and animals represented in every individual package. That level of detail may be too much information for shoppers, but they will at least be able to trust that their meatballs come from the appropriate species.

The Spine of Digitalization

Keeping food safer and more traceable is just the beginning, however. Improvements in the supply chain, which have been incremental for decades despite billions of dollars of technology investments, are about to go exponential. Emerging technologies are converging to transform the supply chain from tactical to strategic, from an easily replicable commodity to a new source of competitive differentiation.

You may already be thinking about how to take advantage of blockchain technology, which makes data and transactions immutable, transparent, and verifiable (see “What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?”). That will be a powerful tool to boost supply chain speed and efficiency—always a worthy goal, but hardly a disruptive one.

However, if you think of blockchain as the spine of digitalization and technologies such as AI, the IoT, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and drones as the limbs, you have a powerful supply chain body that can leapfrog ahead of its competition.

What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?

Here’s why blockchain technology is critical to transforming the supply chain.

Blockchain is essentially a sequential, distributed ledger of transactions that is constantly updated on a global network of computers. The ownership and history of a transaction is embedded in the blockchain at the transaction’s earliest stages and verified at every subsequent stage.

A blockchain network uses vast amounts of computing power to encrypt the ledger as it’s being written. This makes it possible for every computer in the network to verify the transactions safely and transparently. The more organizations that participate in the ledger, the more complex and secure the encryption becomes, making it increasingly tamperproof.

Why does blockchain matter for the supply chain?

  • It enables the safe exchange of value without a central verifying partner, which makes transactions faster and less expensive.
  • It dramatically simplifies recordkeeping by establishing a single, authoritative view of the truth across all parties.
  • It builds a secure, immutable history and chain of custody as different parties handle the items being shipped, and it updates the relevant documentation.
  • By doing these things, blockchain allows companies to create smart contracts based on programmable business logic, which can execute themselves autonomously and thereby save time and money by reducing friction and intermediaries.

Hints of the Future

In the mid-1990s, when the World Wide Web was in its infancy, we had no idea that the internet would become so large and pervasive, nor that we’d find a way to carry it all in our pockets on small slabs of glass.

But we could tell that it had vast potential.

Today, with the combination of emerging technologies that promise to turbocharge digital transformation, we’re just beginning to see how we might turn the supply chain into a source of competitive advantage (see “What’s the Magic Combination?”).

What’s the Magic Combination?

Those who focus on blockchain in isolation will miss out on a much bigger supply chain opportunity.

Many experts believe emerging technologies will work with blockchain to digitalize the supply chain and create new business models:

  • Blockchain will provide the foundation of automated trust for all parties in the supply chain.
  • The IoT will link objects—from tiny devices to large machines—and generate data about status, locations, and transactions that will be recorded on the blockchain.
  • 3D printing will extend the supply chain to the customer’s doorstep with hyperlocal manufacturing of parts and products with IoT sensors built into the items and/or their packaging. Every manufactured object will be smart, connected, and able to communicate so that it can be tracked and traced as needed.
  • Big Data management tools will process all the information streaming in around the clock from IoT sensors.
  • AI and machine learning will analyze this enormous amount of data to reveal patterns and enable true predictability in every area of the supply chain.

Combining these technologies with powerful analytics tools to predict trends will make lack of visibility into the supply chain a thing of the past. Organizations will be able to examine a single machine across its entire lifecycle and identify areas where they can improve performance and increase return on investment. They’ll be able to follow and monitor every component of a product, from design through delivery and service. They’ll be able to trigger and track automated actions between and among partners and customers to provide customized transactions in real time based on real data.

After decades of talk about markets of one, companies will finally have the power to create them—at scale and profitably.

Amazon, for example, is becoming as much a logistics company as a retailer. Its ordering and delivery systems are so streamlined that its customers can launch and complete a same-day transaction with a push of a single IP-enabled button or a word to its ever-attentive AI device, Alexa. And this level of experimentation and innovation is bubbling up across industries.

Consider manufacturing, where the IoT is transforming automation inside already highly automated factories. Machine-to-machine communication is enabling robots to set up, provision, and unload equipment quickly and accurately with minimal human intervention. Meanwhile, sensors across the factory floor are already capable of gathering such information as how often each machine needs maintenance or how much raw material to order given current production trends.

Once they harvest enough data, businesses will be able to feed it through machine learning algorithms to identify trends that forecast future outcomes. At that point, the supply chain will start to become both automated and predictive. We’ll begin to see business models that include proactively scheduling maintenance, replacing parts just before they’re likely to break, and automatically ordering materials and initiating customer shipments.

Italian train operator Trenitalia, for example, has put IoT sensors on its locomotives and passenger cars and is using analytics and in-memory computing to gauge the health of its trains in real time, according to an article in Computer Weekly. “It is now possible to affordably collect huge amounts of data from hundreds of sensors in a single train, analyse that data in real time and detect problems before they actually happen,” Trenitalia’s CIO Danilo Gismondi told Computer Weekly.

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will change Trenitalia’s business model, allowing it to schedule more trips and make each one more profitable. The railway company will be able to better plan parts inventories and determine which lines are consistently performing poorly and need upgrades. The new system will save €100 million a year, according to ARC Advisory Group.

New business models continue to evolve as 3D printers become more sophisticated and affordable, making it possible to move the end of the supply chain closer to the customer. Companies can design parts and products in materials ranging from carbon fiber to chocolate and then print those items in their warehouse, at a conveniently located third-party vendor, or even on the client’s premises.

In addition to minimizing their shipping expenses and reducing fulfillment time, companies will be able to offer more personalized or customized items affordably in small quantities. For example, clothing retailer Ministry of Supply recently installed a 3D printer at its Boston store that enables it to make an article of clothing to a customer’s specifications in under 90 minutes, according to an article in Forbes.

This kind of highly distributed manufacturing has potential across many industries. It could even create a market for secure manufacturing for highly regulated sectors, allowing a manufacturer to transmit encrypted templates to printers in tightly protected locations, for example.

Meanwhile, organizations are investigating ways of using blockchain technology to authenticate, track and trace, automate, and otherwise manage transactions and interactions, both internally and within their vendor and customer networks. The ability to collect data, record it on the blockchain for immediate verification, and make that trustworthy data available for any application delivers indisputable value in any business context. The supply chain will be no exception.

Blockchain Is the Change Driver

The supply chain is configured as we know it today because it’s impossible to create a contract that accounts for every possible contingency. Consider cross-border financial transfers, which are so complex and must meet so many regulations that they require a tremendous number of intermediaries to plug the gaps: lawyers, accountants, customer service reps, warehouse operators, bankers, and more. By reducing that complexity, blockchain technology makes intermediaries less necessary—a transformation that is revolutionary even when measured only in cost savings.

“If you’re selling 100 items a minute, 24 hours a day, reducing the cost of the supply chain by just $1 per item saves you more than $52.5 million a year,” notes Dirk Lonser, SAP go-to-market leader at DXC Technology, an IT services company. “By replacing manual processes and multiple peer-to-peer connections through fax or e-mail with a single medium where everyone can exchange verified information instantaneously, blockchain will boost profit margins exponentially without raising prices or even increasing individual productivity.”

But the potential for blockchain extends far beyond cost cutting and streamlining, says Irfan Khan, CEO of supply chain management consulting and systems integration firm Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group company. It will give companies ways to differentiate.

“Blockchain will let enterprises more accurately trace faulty parts or products from end users back to factories for recalls,” Khan says. “It will streamline supplier onboarding, contracting, and management by creating an integrated platform that the company’s entire network can access in real time. It will give vendors secure, transparent visibility into inventory 24×7. And at a time when counterfeiting is a real concern in multiple industries, it will make it easy for both retailers and customers to check product authenticity.”

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials. Although the key parts of the process remain the same as in today’s analog supply chain, performing them electronically with blockchain technology shortens each stage from hours or days to seconds while eliminating reams of wasteful paperwork. With goods moving that quickly, companies have ample room for designing new business models around manufacturing, service, and delivery.

Challenges on the Path to Adoption

For all this to work, however, the data on the blockchain must be correct from the beginning. The pills, produce, or parts on the delivery truck need to be the same as the items listed on the manifest at the loading dock. Every use case assumes that the data is accurate—and that will only happen when everything that’s manufactured is smart, connected, and able to self-verify automatically with the help of machine learning tuned to detect errors and potential fraud.

Companies are already seeing the possibilities of applying this bundle of emerging technologies to the supply chain. IDC projects that by 2021, at least 25% of Forbes Global 2000 (G2000) companies will use blockchain services as a foundation for digital trust at scale; 30% of top global manufacturers and retailers will do so by 2020. IDC also predicts that by 2020, up to 10% of pilot and production blockchain-distributed ledgers will incorporate data from IoT sensors.

Despite IDC’s optimism, though, the biggest barrier to adoption is the early stage level of enterprise use cases, particularly around blockchain. Currently, the sole significant enterprise blockchain production system is the virtual currency Bitcoin, which has unfortunately been tainted by its associations with speculation, dubious financial transactions, and the so-called dark web.

The technology is still in a sufficiently early stage that there’s significant uncertainty about its ability to handle the massive amounts of data a global enterprise supply chain generates daily. Never mind that it’s completely unregulated, with no global standard. There’s also a critical global shortage of experts who can explain emerging technologies like blockchain, the IoT, and machine learning to nontechnology industries and educate organizations in how the technologies can improve their supply chain processes. Finally, there is concern about how blockchain’s complex algorithms gobble computing power—and electricity (see “Blockchain Blackouts”).

Blockchain Blackouts

Blockchain is a power glutton. Can technology mediate the issue?

A major concern today is the enormous carbon footprint of the networks creating and solving the algorithmic problems that keep blockchains secure. Although virtual currency enthusiasts claim the problem is overstated, Michael Reed, head of blockchain technology for Intel, has been widely quoted as saying that the energy demands of blockchains are a significant drain on the world’s electricity resources.

Indeed, Wired magazine has estimated that by July 2019, the Bitcoin network alone will require more energy than the entire United States currently uses and that by February 2020 it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

Still, computing power is becoming more energy efficient by the day and sticking with paperwork will become too slow, so experts—Intel’s Reed among them—consider this a solvable problem.

“We don’t know yet what the market will adopt. In a decade, it might be status quo or best practice, or it could be the next Betamax, a great technology for which there was no demand,” Lonser says. “Even highly regulated industries that need greater transparency in the entire supply chain are moving fairly slowly.”

Blockchain will require acceptance by a critical mass of companies, governments, and other organizations before it displaces paper documentation. It’s a chicken-and-egg issue: multiple companies need to adopt these technologies at the same time so they can build a blockchain to exchange information, yet getting multiple companies to do anything simultaneously is a challenge. Some early initiatives are already underway, though:

  • A London-based startup called Everledger is using blockchain and IoT technology to track the provenance, ownership, and lifecycles of valuable assets. The company began by tracking diamonds from mine to jewelry using roughly 200 different characteristics, with a goal of stopping both the demand for and the supply of “conflict diamonds”—diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance insurgencies. It has since expanded to cover wine, artwork, and other high-value items to prevent fraud and verify authenticity.
  • In September 2017, SAP announced the creation of its SAP Leonardo Blockchain Co-Innovation program, a group of 27 enterprise customers interested in co-innovating around blockchain and creating business buy-in. The diverse group of participants includes management and technology services companies Capgemini and Deloitte, cosmetics company Natura Cosméticos S.A., and Moog Inc., a manufacturer of precision motion control systems.
  • Two of Europe’s largest shipping ports—Rotterdam and Antwerp—are working on blockchain projects to streamline interaction with port customers. The Antwerp terminal authority says eliminating paperwork could cut the costs of container transport by as much as 50%.
  • The Chinese online shopping behemoth Alibaba is experimenting with blockchain to verify the authenticity of food products and catch counterfeits before they endanger people’s health and lives.
  • Technology and transportation executives have teamed up to create the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for developing blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.

It’s likely that the first blockchain-based enterprise supply chain use case will emerge in the next year among companies that see it as an opportunity to bolster their legal compliance and improve business processes. Once that happens, expect others to follow.

Customers Will Expect Change

It’s only a matter of time before the supply chain becomes a competitive driver. The question for today’s enterprises is how to prepare for the shift. Customers are going to expect constant, granular visibility into their transactions and faster, more customized service every step of the way. Organizations will need to be ready to meet those expectations.

If organizations have manual business processes that could never be automated before, now is the time to see if it’s possible. Organizations that have made initial investments in emerging technologies are looking at how their pilot projects are paying off and where they might extend to the supply chain. They are starting to think creatively about how to combine technologies to offer a product, service, or business model not possible before.

A manufacturer will load a self-driving truck with a 3D printer capable of creating a customer’s ordered item en route to delivering it. A vendor will capture the market for a socially responsible product by allowing its customers to track the product’s production and verify that none of its subcontractors use slave labor. And a supermarket chain will win over customers by persuading them that their choice of supermarket is also a choice between being certain of what’s in their food and simply hoping that what’s on the label matches what’s inside.

At that point, a smart supply chain won’t just be a competitive edge. It will become a competitive necessity. D!


About the Authors

Gil Perez is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President, Futurist, and Internet of Things Evangelist, at SAP.

Hans Thalbauer is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Dan Wellers is Global Lead, Digital Futures, at SAP.

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology.

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Four Retail Technology Trends To Take Off In 2018

Shaily Kumar

Over the past few years, technology has seen a significant shift from cyclical, invention-led spending on point solutions to investments targeting customer-driven, end-to-end value. The next wave of disruption and productivity improvements is here, which means a huge opportunity for digital-focused enterprises – if you are following the right roadmap.

Technology trends have significant potential over the next few years. Establishing a digital platform will not only set the stage for business innovation to provide competitive advantage, but it will also create new business models that will change the way we do business. Technology trends in 2018 will lay the foundation for the maturity of innovative technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning and will prepare both businesses and shoppers to be ready for their consumption.

Like any other industry, retail is being disrupted. It is no longer enough to simply stock racks with alluring products and wait for customers to rush through the door. Technological innovation is changing the way we shop. Customers can find the lowest price for any product with just a few screen touches. They can read online reviews, have products sent to their home, try them, and return anything they don’t want – all for little or nothing out of pocket. If there are problems, they can use social networks to call out brands that come up short.

Retailers are making their products accessible from websites and mobile applications, with many running effective Internet business operations rather than brick-and-mortar stores. They convey merchandise to the customer’s front entry and are set up with web-based networking media if things turn out badly.

Smart retailers are striving to fulfill changing customer needs and working to guarantee top customer service regardless of how their customer interacts with them.

2017 saw the development of some progressive technology in retail, and 2018 will be another energizing year for the retail industry. Today’s informed customers expect a more engaging shopping experience, with a consistent mix of both online and in-store recommendations. The retail experience is poised to prosper throughout next couple of years – for retailers that are prepared to embrace technology.

Here are four areas of retail technology I predict will take off in 2018:

In-store GPS-driven shopping trolleys

Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s now enable their customers to scan and pay for products using a mobile app instead of waiting in a checkout line. The next phase of this involves intelligent shopping trolleys, or grocery store GPS: Customers use a touch screen to load shopping lists, and the system helps them find the items in the store. Customers can then check off and pay for items as they go, directly on-screen. These shopping trolleys will make their way into stores around the last quarter of 2018.

Electronic rack edge names

Electronic rack edge names are not yet broadly utilized, but this could change in 2018 as more retailers adopt this technology. Currently, retail workers must physically select and update printed labels to reflect changes in price, promotions, etc. This technology makes the process more efficient by handling such changes electronically.

Reference point technology

Despite the fact that it’s been around since 2013, reference point technology hasn’t yet been utilized to its fullest potential. In the last few years, however, it’s started to pick up in industries like retail. It’s now being used by a few retailers for area-based promotions.

Some interesting uses I’ve observed: Retailers can send messages to customers when they’re nearby a store location, and in-store mannequins can offer information about the clothing and accessories they’re wearing. I anticipate that this innovation will take off throughout 2018 and into 2019.

Machine intelligence

The technological innovations describe above will also provide retailers with new data streams. These data sources, when merged with existing customer data, online, and ERP data, will lead to new opportunities. Recently Walmart announced it would begin utilizing rack examining robots to help review its stores. The machines will check stock, prices, and even help settle lost inventory. It will also help retailers learn more about changing customer behavior in real time, which will boost engagement.

Clearly, technology and digital transformation in retail have changed the way we live and shop. 2018 will see emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence using structured and unstructured data to deliver innovation. As technology develops, it will continue to transform and enhance the retail experience.

For more insight on e-commerce, see Cognitive Commerce In The Digital World: Enhancing The Customer Journey.

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Shaily Kumar

About Shaily Kumar

Shailendra has been on a quest to help organisations make money out of data and has generated an incremental value of over one billion dollars through analytics and cognitive processes. With a global experience of more than two decades, Shailendra has worked with a myriad of Corporations, Consulting Services and Software Companies in various industries like Retail, Telecommunications, Financial Services and Travel - to help them realise incremental value hidden in zettabytes of data. He has published multiple articles in international journals about Analytics and Cognitive Solutions; and recently published “Making Money out of Data” which showcases five business stories from various industries on how successful companies make millions of dollars in incremental value using analytics. Prior to joining SAP, Shailendra was Partner / Analytics & Cognitive Leader, Asia at IBM where he drove the cognitive business across Asia. Before joining IBM, he was the Managing Director and Analytics Lead at Accenture delivering value to its clients across Australia and New Zealand. Coming from the industry, Shailendra held key Executive positions driving analytics at Woolworths and Coles in the past.