Why Online Communities Should Connect To Commerce

Steve Hamrick

As digitization continues to gain momentum, consumers have become more and more comfortable researching and buying goods online. By 2020, an estimated 30% of all purchases will be influenced through an online community. Not only are consumers going online to make their purchase, but a recent Forrester study found that customers typically complete 70% to 90% of their buying journey prior to engaging with a vendor.

Companies and brands that can seamlessly integrate commerce and communities will increase customer engagement, improve customer loyalty, and significantly improve the number of initial and repeat purchases a customer makes.

Companies that leverage communities as a cornerstone of their customer engagement initiative will also gain tremendous amounts of customer data and insight that can be leveraged to shape future incentives and loyalty programs. Creating brand ambassadors will be a critical factor for success in the future because brands are losing control over the customer experience as consumers increasingly trust peer reviews and peer-generated content.

While online communities are increasingly important, they’re not well-connected to the customer buying process and are often set aside as “yet another destination.” As a result, brands miss out on huge revenue opportunities and fail to provide material improvements leading to customer satisfaction and loyalty. Because there is no call to action, the ability to capitalize on that customer’s interest and intent to purchase is lost. The brand’s inability to show customers an offer for a product that might fit their needs results in a missed opportunity and a lower return on promotional content.

This leads to two major problems: missed opportunities to provide a consumer with a personalized solution recommendation and failure to integrate the purchase journey into the early stages of the customer experience. All of the effort and expense in crafting these communities, engaging with members, and creating valuable content is at risk of going to waste. More importantly, these brands are missing an opportunity to better engage with customers, build brand loyalty, and cultivate brand ambassadors they will need in the future.

To make communities more effective, it’s important to understand the types of behaviors customers display based on their purchases, as customer journeys can vary significantly in both transaction and emotion. If the goal of one customer’s journey is to buy a simple product such as a phone charger, brands need to provide a quick form of validation, such as user ratings, and get the customer to the shopping cart as fast as possible. However, if a customer is looking to find support for a more complex product purchase, such as a vehicle accessory, sporting equipment, or a household appliance, directing them into user ratings without context may add anxiety or purchase uncertainty.

Online communities must respect these varied paths to purchase as a starting point to solving customer journey issues. Customer journeys need to be positive throughout, or the outcome can spell trouble for a retailer. An expert-authored blog post or a question-and-answer facility included on the product page can prove to be beneficial, but nothing is more valuable than enabling customers to read peer reviews—in fact, this is one of the most important and reliable factors for millennial shoppers. If the goal of another customer’s journey is to learn and share their experiences with other relevant peers in a product community, they will not want to be rushed into a purchase; rather, they would want to learn and contribute.

In today’s digital economy, even something as seemingly simple as buying a pair of running shoes can become complicated considering the different customizations and personalizations available. Online communities that support consumers who are evaluating a product by providing tools such as questions and answers, along with moderator and extension capabilities (for example, a question that is unanswered for a period of time can be automatically escalated to a call center representative) can help drive sales of complex goods. By enhancing an online community to meet the criteria of millennials and future shoppers, brands can build trust and loyalty among these groups.

Without online communities that are connected to commerce, brands are missing a huge opportunity to provide customers with deeper insights from end users, as well as the chance to gather data that creates a more comprehensive product profile based on customers’ questions.

Online community solutions built for commerce can provide a wealth of helpful insight on consumers’ buying journeys: What questions and answers were asked or viewed before a decision was made? How many conversations and interactions did it take to make a final purchase decision?Which social content — such as blogs, reviews, or discussions — helped to influence a purchase? Which pieces of paid content actually drove sales?

By integrating the commerce catalog within the online community and knowing which customer journeys relate to which products, forums can provide deep, meaningful engagement metrics on what drives successful conversions. This in turn enables more successful transactions and boosts the number of satisfied, loyal customers.

A community integration does not start and end with community content, however. Retailers must look at integrations that translate across other channels, such as incentives or loyalty programs. The content from online communities creates non-promotional dialogue that impacts buyer decisions. As brand awareness blends between the promotional and organic content, smart retailers are putting that quality content to their advantage across a wide variety of channels.

By identifying and solving real-world, everyday business challenges, successful online communities can bring organizations closer to their customers. Communities can offer deeper insights about why customers choose the products they do and why customers become loyal advocates of a particular brand.

Brands need to stop thinking of communities as “nice to have,” one-off places for customer dialogue and integrate them more closely into their online marketing strategies.

To learn more about supporting the online customer journey with communities, read this Forrester whitepaper.

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The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

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Joseph Msays

About Joseph Msays

Joseph Msays is an experienced IBM global executive, currently serving as Vice President and Global Managing Partner for NextGen Enterprise Cloud Applications Center of Excellence. In this role, he is pioneering new ways of engaging CxOs in their digital reinvention agendas, and building and migrating new cloud-based business applications. Joseph has experience managing many IBM professional services units and large strategic systems, integration and outsourcing relationships, and has lived and worked in virtually every major market across the globe.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

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Vaag Durgaryan

About Vaag Durgaryan

Vaag Durgaryan is the commercial finance director for SAP in the Middle East and North Africa, which comprises of over 20 countries. Starting in 2017, he oversees a multinational team that provides finance expertise, knowledge, and strategy outlook for finance sales support in the region. Prior to that, Vaag was chief of staff for the CFO for SAP Global Field Finance and co-drove global transformation initiatives with focus on process simplification and people enablement. He holds an Executive MBA degree from ESSEC Business School and Mannheim Business School. Vaag has a passion in digitalization and learning culture.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

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About Richard Howells

Richard Howells is a Vice President at SAP responsible for the positioning, messaging, AR , PR and go-to market activities for the SAP Supply Chain solutions.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

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About Stefan Guertzgen

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

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

Comments

Andy Hirst

About Andy Hirst

Andy Hirst is vice president of Banking Solutions, SAP Banking Industry Business Unit, at SAP. He is responsible for driving the success of the SAP go-to-market strategy in Line of Business Cloud Applications and Analytics in Financial Services. Previously, Andy was responsible for Capital Markets solutions for banking. Andy is an expert in Big Data and analytics use cases in financial services and has been involved in many digital banking initiatives for banks.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

Comments

Tina Gunn

About Tina Gunn

Tina Gunn is the content marketing manager for the Enterprise Americas team at SAP Concur. Tina earned her degree in Journalism from the University of Washington and brings her experience in content strategy and digital marketing to SAP Concur. When she’s not creating thought leadership and sales enablement content, Tina writes fiction and screenplays of the horror and sci-fi genres.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

Comments

Rushenka Perera

About Rushenka Perera

Rushenka is Head of Marketing at SAP ANZ.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

Comments

Jennifer Horowitz

About Jennifer Horowitz

Jennifer Horowitz is a journalist with over 15 years of experience working in the technology, financial, hospitality, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, not for profit, and retail sectors. She specializes in the field of analytics, offering management consulting serving global clients from midsize to large-scale organizations. Within the field of analytics, she helps higher-level organizations define their metrics strategies, create concepts, define problems, conduct analysis, problem solve, and execute.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

Comments

Patrick Crampton-Thomas

About Patrick Crampton-Thomas

Patrick Crampton-Thomas is Vice President of Supply Chain Solution Management at SAP, with global responsibility for the response and supply orchestration portfolio, based in the UK. This includes the strategy and go-to-market for existing and new supply chain solutions including integrated business planning solutions, supply chain control tower, and supply chain collaboration.

The Future Of Innovation: Digital Transformation And Next-Generation Customer Service

Ana Ammann

Technology continues to revolutionize the ways we live, conduct business, and function as a road sign keep it simplesociety. One of the most recent, and pervasive, changes is the rise of the Internet of Things – the web of connections linking the myriad physical objects and digital systems that surround us. The result is a massive set of real-time information designed to help people make better, more informed decisions on everything from how to bundle and sell more products to finding the best intercity parking spot to saving energy at home.

However, it’s easy to get bogged down in the size and complexity of this new information set. If businesses are to take advantage of its power and, just as important, serve their customers using it, they must focus on innovation. But that’s easier said than done, especially when they’re dealing with overly complex business systems and processes.

In a Harvard Business Review study, sponsored by SAP, 60% of business managers reported that complexity increased their operational costs by at least 11%. Plus, the average business spends two-thirds of its IT budget only maintaining current systems, which can encompass hundreds or even thousands of applications.

Just maintaining such a complex status quo leaves little time, energy, or resources for innovation. What if those resources could be freed up? Could IT and lines of business come together and dream? What new business models could you adapt to grow the company? Which product lines or services have growth potential? How can you support new channels, service levels, or geographical expansion? What if you could simplify inherent complexities, often rooted in IT, and apply efforts toward re-imagining your business?

Tackling business and IT complexity

To address such challenges and help enterprises simplify in today’s digital economy, businesses are creating value across industries by generating instant insight from real-time connections to Big Data, the Internet of Things, and business and social networks. With this approach, they are simplifying and reinventing their processes to make real-time changes that maximize efficiency.

On top of it all, they can obtain immediate insight from their data, access personalized information and recommendations on the fly, and apply advanced predictive analytic capabilities to a single trustworthy version of data. In short, they can drive business decisions with confidence.

Customer service: The next generation

So how do you want to innovate? Want to enhance the customer experience with smarter, faster service? Provide expert guidance? Predict what your customers need before they know they need it?

Let’s take the travel industry as an example. Flight delays are a major source of customer frustration and fuel for negative social media sentiment. Using the power of technology such as SAP S/4HANA, an airline can run simulations and crunch data – processes that used to take several hours – and develop alternative routing before customers are even aware of the problem. With a real-time view of the business and strong communication channels, the airline can reduce customer anxiety and even replace it with positive sentiment.

Digital transformation and innovation

To adapt to ever-changing dynamics like these, organizations need to focus on innovation, supported by a digital foundation built on current technology. SAP Service and Support can help you envision and implement innovation throughout your organization – whether your greatest need is in finance, HR, marketing, or operations.

Over the next coming weeks, we’ll take a deeper look into various lines of business that are tackling digital transformation and innovation. Keep an eye out for this blog series by my SAP colleague, Julia Caruso!

To learn more about digital transformation and SAP S/4HANA, read the piece from Fortune “The Innovation Transformation” and visit us online.

Ana Ammann is senior director of SAP Global Marketing.  She Ana Ammann_bl_1brings over 20 years of experience developing best practices in international management and professional services, is focused on Big Data and S/4HANA and facilitates customer adoption of game-changing technology through SAP Global Service and Support.

Comments

Timo Elliott

About Timo Elliott

Timo Elliott is an Innovation Evangelist for SAP and a passionate advocate of innovation, digital business, analytics, and artificial intelligence. He was the eighth employee of BusinessObjects and for the last 25 years he has worked closely with SAP customers around the world on new technology directions and their impact on real-world organizations. His articles have appeared in publications such as Harvard Business Review, Forbes, ZDNet, The Guardian, and Digitalist Magazine. He has worked in the UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Silicon Valley, and currently lives in Paris, France. He has a degree in Econometrics and a patent in mobile analytics. 

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

Joseph Msays

About Joseph Msays

Joseph Msays is an experienced IBM global executive, currently serving as Vice President and Global Managing Partner for NextGen Enterprise Cloud Applications Center of Excellence. In this role, he is pioneering new ways of engaging CxOs in their digital reinvention agendas, and building and migrating new cloud-based business applications. Joseph has experience managing many IBM professional services units and large strategic systems, integration and outsourcing relationships, and has lived and worked in virtually every major market across the globe.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

Vaag Durgaryan

About Vaag Durgaryan

Vaag Durgaryan is the commercial finance director for SAP in the Middle East and North Africa, which comprises of over 20 countries. Starting in 2017, he oversees a multinational team that provides finance expertise, knowledge, and strategy outlook for finance sales support in the region. Prior to that, Vaag was chief of staff for the CFO for SAP Global Field Finance and co-drove global transformation initiatives with focus on process simplification and people enablement. He holds an Executive MBA degree from ESSEC Business School and Mannheim Business School. Vaag has a passion in digitalization and learning culture.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

About Richard Howells

Richard Howells is a Vice President at SAP responsible for the positioning, messaging, AR , PR and go-to market activities for the SAP Supply Chain solutions.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

About Stefan Guertzgen

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

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

Andy Hirst

About Andy Hirst

Andy Hirst is vice president of Banking Solutions, SAP Banking Industry Business Unit, at SAP. He is responsible for driving the success of the SAP go-to-market strategy in Line of Business Cloud Applications and Analytics in Financial Services. Previously, Andy was responsible for Capital Markets solutions for banking. Andy is an expert in Big Data and analytics use cases in financial services and has been involved in many digital banking initiatives for banks.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

Tina Gunn

About Tina Gunn

Tina Gunn is the content marketing manager for the Enterprise Americas team at SAP Concur. Tina earned her degree in Journalism from the University of Washington and brings her experience in content strategy and digital marketing to SAP Concur. When she’s not creating thought leadership and sales enablement content, Tina writes fiction and screenplays of the horror and sci-fi genres.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

Rushenka Perera

About Rushenka Perera

Rushenka is Head of Marketing at SAP ANZ.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

Jennifer Horowitz

About Jennifer Horowitz

Jennifer Horowitz is a journalist with over 15 years of experience working in the technology, financial, hospitality, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, not for profit, and retail sectors. She specializes in the field of analytics, offering management consulting serving global clients from midsize to large-scale organizations. Within the field of analytics, she helps higher-level organizations define their metrics strategies, create concepts, define problems, conduct analysis, problem solve, and execute.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

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Patrick Crampton-Thomas

About Patrick Crampton-Thomas

Patrick Crampton-Thomas is Vice President of Supply Chain Solution Management at SAP, with global responsibility for the response and supply orchestration portfolio, based in the UK. This includes the strategy and go-to-market for existing and new supply chain solutions including integrated business planning solutions, supply chain control tower, and supply chain collaboration.

Following The Red Thread Of Innovation At SAPPHIRE NOW

Fred Isbell

Recently I wrote about the search for innovation at SAPPHIRE NOW and examples of these advancements across a series of keynotes, sessions, and more at the three-day event. I was struck SAP SapphireNOW 2014, Orlando, USAby how SAPPHIRE NOW tied in the ubiquitous concept of innovation into everything.

Besides the keynotes and sessions, there were analyst briefings, customer events, and the expertise of people supporting the event. Putting on my “analyst hat,” I was surprised by the commonality and congruence – the red thread, if you will – across a number of industries, use cases, and predictions.

Here are some of my perspectives on how these events uncovered the red thread of innovation.

SAP executive insights for analysts

The SAP Service and Support organization held an analyst briefing the day before the start of SAPPHIRE NOW. The entire day was devoted to more than 20 industry analysts from firms that cover the marketplace for consulting, systems integration, support, and related services.

Although entering a new era of unprecedented change isn’t news, the briefing discussed the impacts of these shifts – business complexity, technology, and innovation – which is gaining more attention. The sobering reality is that business complexity is lowering innovation, shrinking profits, and stunting growth. By breaking away from complexity, companies can free up resources and funds for innovation. One direct and tangible result is the ability to respond to the need for digital innovation and transformation.

The technology represented by the innovations I wrote about in my earlier blog on the 3rd Platform are driving this evolution. And believe it or not, the principle of simplification is now eclipsing people SANOW Tech Graphicsand their devices – especially when you consider the Internet of Things (IoT) along with its data growth on an unprecedented scale.

SAP customers La Trobe University, ConAgra, Mercedes-AMG, and Petrobras all spoke about their thoughts on these trends. One panelist noted that a greater focus on agility, flexibility, and business impact is required to succeed in today’s business landscape.

For more details about this discussion and the SAP Executive Insight for Analysts event, read the blog “Finding Simplicity with SAP Service & Support – Analyst Day 2015.  

The future of IT services: Simplification

Michael Kleinemeier, worldwide head of SAP Service and Support and a member of the SAP Global Managing Board, hosted an executive audience at the SAP Select executive event. From my
vantage point, I was enthused to see such a large gathering of our marquee customers in one room!MKL_SAP_Sapphire2015_08558

Kleinemeier explained common business challenges including complexity, the speed of change and innovation, and the rise of competitors leveraging disruptive technologies to enter markets long-dominated by established players. (Uber, anyone?) He stated that the key to addressing these issues is  the need for innovation road maps, the use of real-time technology and cloud deployments to deliver the promise of business and IT solutions, and outcome-based solutions and services. Meanwhile, increased attention to cost reduction in terms of ownership and implementation is enabling greater simplification, streamlining, and most important, efficiency across all business operations.

With these shifts happening worldwide, SAP Service and Support acknowledges the need for a simpler way of delivering services. According to Kleinemeier, “SAP Service and Support is simplified in a way that provides greater unity across program and project management efforts and a commitment to partnering together to realize value over the short and long terms.”

Hot topics, road maps, and expertise in action

It’s no secret that SAPPHIRE NOW is a great event to tap into the expertise SAP brings to our customers on a daily basis. However, SAP Service and Support took it to a whole new level.

Small sessions were given to focus on specific topics, with those covering the IoT, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP Solution Manager being the most popular. The same applied to the “expert table” S4 HANA Roadmap Graphicsessions that gave customers an opportunity to sit down with our experts and discuss their specific issues and questions.

Another area generating great interest was the series of sessions and workshops that showcased the value of SAP Support in a customer’s journey to innovation – especially when implementing SAP S/4 HANA.

Get a quick overview of the journey to SAP S/4HANA journey and related road maps from one of our experts.

Want to see more? Read “Top 13 Sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW” for additional insights.

The true rock stars: Our customers

I normally describe SAPPHIRE NOW as almost an “eclectic Woodstock” for SAP customers to network, present, and discuss best practices and success stories. And this year was no different when you consider the number of customers featured in the opening analyst briefing, keynotes, and general sessions and breakouts.SANOW customers

During his SAPPHIRE NOW session “Journey to the Cloud and Transform Your Business with Expert Support,” Peter Nikoletatos, executive director and CIO at La Trobe University, discussed how a one-on-one relationship with SAP is supporting a cloud-based transformation that answers the needs of its students while paving the way for simplification. Shawn Reynolds, the worldwide head of SAP Service and Support Marketing, cited that La Trobe University is following a digital strategy that has eliminated ineffective, redundant, and outdated legacy applications and fewer hours dedicated to supporting requests.

One of my favorites was a customer panel discussion, “Follow a Simple Unified Approach to Services and Support.” Loblaw Companies Ltd., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson Corp. discussed how it is possible to overcome complexity and achieve better business outcomes.

If that’s not enough, visit our top 10 customer replays of SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 for even more insights.

What is the red thread of innovation?

As SAPPHIRE NOW taught me this year, there are four strands that make up the red thread:

  1. Disruptive technologies that bring unprecedented change
  2. Much-needed innovation funded and driven by simplification
  3. Road map to innovation
  4. Proof from companies worldwide that it is possible to overcome complexity and drive achievable business outcomes

Save the Date for SAPPHIRE NOW in 2016: May 17 – 19, 2016

SAPPHIRE NOW comes only once a year. Be sure to mark your calendar for May 17 – 19, 2016, for three days of insightful discussion, expert advice, and networking. Sign up for event updates to learn what’s coming!

For more on the simplification imperative, see Taking Charge of Business Simplification: Why Simplification Initiatives Succeed Only When Executives Lead.

Fred Isbell is senior marketing director for SAP Service and Support Marketing for thought leadership, demand management and planning for the Worldwide Service and Support Marketing team. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

Comments

Timo Elliott

About Timo Elliott

Timo Elliott is an Innovation Evangelist for SAP and a passionate advocate of innovation, digital business, analytics, and artificial intelligence. He was the eighth employee of BusinessObjects and for the last 25 years he has worked closely with SAP customers around the world on new technology directions and their impact on real-world organizations. His articles have appeared in publications such as Harvard Business Review, Forbes, ZDNet, The Guardian, and Digitalist Magazine. He has worked in the UK, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Silicon Valley, and currently lives in Paris, France. He has a degree in Econometrics and a patent in mobile analytics. 

Hack the CIO

By Thomas Saueressig, Timo Elliott, Sam Yen, and Bennett Voyles

For nerds, the weeks right before finals are a Cinderella moment. Suddenly they’re stars. Pocket protectors are fashionable; people find their jokes a whole lot funnier; Dungeons & Dragons sounds cool.

Many CIOs are enjoying this kind of moment now, as companies everywhere face the business equivalent of a final exam for a vital class they have managed to mostly avoid so far: digital transformation.

But as always, there is a limit to nerdy magic. No matter how helpful CIOs try to be, their classmates still won’t pass if they don’t learn the material. With IT increasingly central to every business—from the customer experience to the offering to the business model itself—we all need to start thinking like CIOs.

Pass the digital transformation exam, and you probably have a bright future ahead. A recent SAP-Oxford Economics study of 3,100 organizations in a variety of industries across 17 countries found that the companies that have taken the lead in digital transformation earn higher profits and revenues and have more competitive differentiation than their peers. They also expect 23% more revenue growth from their digital initiatives over the next two years—an estimate 2.5 to 4 times larger than the average company’s.

But the market is grading on a steep curve: this same SAP-Oxford study found that only 3% have completed some degree of digital transformation across their organization. Other surveys also suggest that most companies won’t be graduating anytime soon: in one recent survey of 450 heads of digital transformation for enterprises in the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany by technology company Couchbase, 90% agreed that most digital projects fail to meet expectations and deliver only incremental improvements. Worse: over half (54%) believe that organizations that don’t succeed with their transformation project will fail or be absorbed by a savvier competitor within four years.

Companies that are making the grade understand that unlike earlier technical advances, digital transformation doesn’t just support the business, it’s the future of the business. That’s why 60% of digital leading companies have entrusted the leadership of their transformation to their CIO, and that’s why experts say businesspeople must do more than have a vague understanding of the technology. They must also master a way of thinking and looking at business challenges that is unfamiliar to most people outside the IT department.

In other words, if you don’t think like a CIO yet, now is a very good time to learn.

However, given that you probably don’t have a spare 15 years to learn what your CIO knows, we asked the experts what makes CIO thinking distinctive. Here are the top eight mind hacks.

1. Think in Systems

A lot of businesspeople are used to seeing their organization as a series of loosely joined silos. But in the world of digital business, everything is part of a larger system.

CIOs have known for a long time that smart processes win. Whether they were installing enterprise resource planning systems or working with the business to imagine the customer’s journey, they always had to think in holistic ways that crossed traditional departmental, functional, and operational boundaries.

Unlike other business leaders, CIOs spend their careers looking across systems. Why did our supply chain go down? How can we support this new business initiative beyond a single department or function? Now supported by end-to-end process methodologies such as design thinking, good CIOs have developed a way of looking at the company that can lead to radical simplifications that can reduce cost and improve performance at the same time.

They are also used to thinking beyond temporal boundaries. “This idea that the power of technology doubles every two years means that as you’re planning ahead you can’t think in terms of a linear process, you have to think in terms of huge jumps,” says Jay Ferro, CIO of TransPerfect, a New York–based global translation firm.

No wonder the SAP-Oxford transformation study found that one of the values transformational leaders shared was a tendency to look beyond silos and view the digital transformation as a company-wide initiative.

This will come in handy because in digital transformation, not only do business processes evolve but the company’s entire value proposition changes, says Jeanne Ross, principal research scientist at the Center for Information Systems Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “It either already has or it’s going to, because digital technologies make things possible that weren’t possible before,” she explains.

2. Work in Diverse Teams

When it comes to large projects, CIOs have always needed input from a diverse collection of businesspeople to be successful. The best have developed ways to convince and cajole reluctant participants to come to the table. They seek out technology enthusiasts in the business and those who are respected by their peers to help build passion and commitment among the halfhearted.

Digital transformation amps up the urgency for building diverse teams even further. “A small, focused group simply won’t have the same breadth of perspective as a team that includes a salesperson and a service person and a development person, as well as an IT person,” says Ross.

At Lenovo, the global technology giant, many of these cross-functional teams become so used to working together that it’s hard to tell where each member originally belonged: “You can’t tell who is business or IT; you can’t tell who is product, IT, or design,” says the company’s CIO, Arthur Hu.

One interesting corollary of this trend toward broader teamwork is that talent is a priority among digital leaders: they spend more on training their employees and partners than ordinary companies, as well as on hiring the people they need, according to the SAP-Oxford Economics survey. They’re also already being rewarded for their faith in their teams: 71% of leaders say that their successful digital transformation has made it easier for them to attract and retain talent, and 64% say that their employees are now more engaged than they were before the transformation.

3. Become a Consultant

Good CIOs have long needed to be internal consultants to the business. Ever since technology moved out of the glasshouse and onto employees’ desks, CIOs have not only needed a deep understanding of the goals of a given project but also to make sure that the project didn’t stray from those goals, even after the businesspeople who had ordered the project went back to their day jobs. “Businesspeople didn’t really need to get into the details of what IT was really doing,” recalls Ferro. “They just had a set of demands and said, ‘Hey, IT, go do that.’”

Now software has become so integral to the business that nobody can afford to walk away. Businesspeople must join the ranks of the IT consultants.

But that was then. Now software has become so integral to the business that nobody can afford to walk away. Businesspeople must join the ranks of the IT consultants. “If you’re building a house, you don’t just disappear for six months and come back and go, ‘Oh, it looks pretty good,’” says Ferro. “You’re on that work site constantly and all of a sudden you’re looking at something, going, ‘Well, that looked really good on the blueprint, not sure it makes sense in reality. Let’s move that over six feet.’ Or, ‘I don’t know if I like that anymore.’ It’s really not much different in application development or for IT or technical projects, where on paper it looked really good and three weeks in, in that second sprint, you’re going, ‘Oh, now that I look at it, that’s really stupid.’”

4. Learn Horizontal Leadership

CIOs have always needed the ability to educate and influence other leaders that they don’t directly control. For major IT projects to be successful, they need other leaders to contribute budget, time, and resources from multiple areas of the business.

It’s a kind of horizontal leadership that will become critical for businesspeople to acquire in digital transformation. “The leadership role becomes one much more of coaching others across the organization—encouraging people to be creative, making sure everybody knows how to use data well,” Ross says.

In this team-based environment, having all the answers becomes less important. “It used to be that the best business executives and leaders had the best answers. Today that is no longer the case,” observes Gary Cokins, a technology consultant who focuses on analytics-based performance management. “Increasingly, it’s the executives and leaders who ask the best questions. There is too much volatility and uncertainty for them to rely on their intuition or past experiences.”

Many experts expect this trend to continue as the confluence of automation and data keeps chipping away at the organizational pyramid. “Hierarchical, command-and-control leadership will become obsolete,” says Edward Hess, professor of business administration and Batten executive-in-residence at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. “Flatter, distributive leadership via teams will become the dominant structure.”

5. Understand Process Design

When business processes were simpler, IT could analyze the process and improve it without input from the business. But today many processes are triggered on the fly by the customer, making a seamless customer experience more difficult to build without the benefit of a larger, multifunctional team. In a highly digitalized organization like Amazon, which releases thousands of new software programs each year, IT can no longer do it all.

While businesspeople aren’t expected to start coding, their involvement in process design is crucial. One of the techniques that many organizations have adopted to help IT and businesspeople visualize business processes together is design thinking (for more on design thinking techniques, see “A Cult of Creation“).

Customers aren’t the only ones who benefit from better processes. Among the 100 companies the SAP-Oxford Economics researchers have identified as digital leaders, two-thirds say that they are making their employees’ lives easier by eliminating process roadblocks that interfere with their ability to do their jobs. Ninety percent of leaders surveyed expect to see value from these projects in the next two years alone.

6. Learn to Keep Learning

The ability to learn and keep learning has been a part of IT from the start. Since the first mainframes in the 1950s, technologists have understood that they need to keep reinventing themselves and their skills to adapt to the changes around them.

Now that’s starting to become part of other job descriptions too. Many companies are investing in teaching their employees new digital skills. One South American auto products company, for example, has created a custom-education institute that trained 20,000 employees and partner-employees in 2016. In addition to training current staff, many leading digital companies are also hiring new employees and creating new roles, such as a chief robotics officer, to support their digital transformation efforts.

Nicolas van Zeebroeck, professor of information systems and digital business innovation at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management at the Free University of Brussels, says that he expects the ability to learn quickly will remain crucial. “If I had to think of one critical skill,” he explains, “I would have to say it’s the ability to learn and keep learning—the ability to challenge the status quo and question what you take for granted.”

7. Fail Smarter

Traditionally, CIOs tended to be good at thinking through tests that would allow the company to experiment with new technology without risking the entire network.

This is another unfamiliar skill that smart managers are trying to pick up. “There’s a lot of trial and error in the best companies right now,” notes MIT’s Ross. But there’s a catch, she adds. “Most companies aren’t designed for trial and error—they’re trying to avoid an error,” she says.

To learn how to do it better, take your lead from IT, where many people have already learned to work in small, innovative teams that use agile development principles, advises Ross.

For example, business managers must learn how to think in terms of a minimum viable product: build a simple version of what you have in mind, test it, and if it works start building. You don’t build the whole thing at once anymore.… It’s really important to build things incrementally,” Ross says.

Flexibility and the ability to capitalize on accidental discoveries during experimentation are more important than having a concrete project plan, says Ross. At Spotify, the music service, and CarMax, the used-car retailer, change is driven not from the center but from small teams that have developed something new. “The thing you have to get comfortable with is not having the formalized plan that we would have traditionally relied on, because as soon as you insist on that, you limit your ability to keep learning,” Ross warns.

8. Understand the True Cost—and Speed—of Data

Gut instincts have never had much to do with being a CIO; now they should have less to do with being an ordinary manager as well, as data becomes more important.

As part of that calculation, businesspeople must have the ability to analyze the value of the data that they seek. “You’ll need to apply a pinch of knowledge salt to your data,” advises Solvay’s van Zeebroeck. “What really matters is the ability not just to tap into data but to see what is behind the data. Is it a fair representation? Is it impartial?”

Increasingly, businesspeople will need to do their analysis in real time, just as CIOs have always had to manage live systems and processes. Moving toward real-time reports and away from paper-based decisions increases accuracy and effectiveness—and leaves less time for long meetings and PowerPoint presentations (let us all rejoice).

Not Every CIO Is Ready

Of course, not all CIOs are ready for these changes. Just as high school has a lot of false positives—genius nerds who turn out to be merely nearsighted—so there are many CIOs who aren’t good role models for transformation.

Success as a CIO these days requires more than delivering near-perfect uptime, says Lenovo’s Hu. You need to be able to understand the business as well. Some CIOs simply don’t have all the business skills that are needed to succeed in the transformation. Others lack the internal clout: a 2016 KPMG study found that only 34% of CIOs report directly to the CEO.

This lack of a strategic perspective is holding back digital transformation at many organizations. They approach digital transformation as a cool, one-off project: we’re going to put this new mobile app in place and we’re done. But that’s not a systematic approach; it’s an island of innovation that doesn’t join up with the other islands of innovation. In the longer term, this kind of development creates more problems than it fixes.

Such organizations are not building in the capacity for change; they’re trying to get away with just doing it once rather than thinking about how they’re going to use digitalization as a means to constantly experiment and become a better company over the long term.

As a result, in some companies, the most interesting tech developments are happening despite IT, not because of it. “There’s an alarming digital divide within many companies. Marketers are developing nimble software to give customers an engaging, personalized experience, while IT departments remain focused on the legacy infrastructure. The front and back ends aren’t working together, resulting in appealing web sites and apps that don’t quite deliver,” writes George Colony, founder, chairman, and CEO of Forrester Research, in the MIT Sloan Management Review.

Thanks to cloud computing and easier development tools, many departments are developing on their own, without IT’s support. These days, anybody with a credit card can do it.

Traditionally, IT departments looked askance at these kinds of do-it-yourself shadow IT programs, but that’s changing. Ferro, for one, says that it’s better to look at those teams not as rogue groups but as people who are trying to help. “It’s less about ‘Hey, something’s escaped,’ and more about ‘No, we just actually grew our capacity and grew our ability to innovate,’” he explains.

“I don’t like the term ‘shadow IT,’” agrees Lenovo’s Hu. “I think it’s an artifact of a very traditional CIO team. If you think of it as shadow IT, you’re out of step with reality,” he says.

The reality today is that a company needs both a strong IT department and strong digital capacities outside its IT department. If the relationship is good, the CIO and IT become valuable allies in helping businesspeople add digital capabilities without disrupting or duplicating existing IT infrastructure.

If a company already has strong digital capacities, it should be able to move forward quickly, according to Ross. But many companies are still playing catch-up and aren’t even ready to begin transforming, as the SAP-Oxford Economics survey shows.

For enterprises where business and IT are unable to get their collective act together, Ross predicts that the next few years will be rough. “I think these companies ought to panic,” she says. D!


About the Authors

Thomas Saueressig is Chief Information Officer at SAP.

Timo Elliott is an Innovation Evangelist at SAP.

Sam Yen is Chief Design Officer at SAP and Managing Director of SAP Labs.

Bennett Voyles is a Berlin-based business writer.

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.
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Cloud Computing: Separating Myth From Reality

Misa Rawlins and Krishnakant Dave

Across industries, many enterprise leaders believe and understand that cloud computing is here to stay. Globally, public cloud services market revenue is projected to reach US$411 billion by 2020, compared with $260 billion in 2017, according to research firm Gartner, Inc. Cloud technology in all its forms—software, platform, or infrastructure as a service—is rapidly becoming essential to the needs of business today. With cloud computing, organizations can simplify IT, save costs, scale rapidly, drive standardization and user adoption, and start getting ahead of tomorrow’s needs when it comes to customer engagement, the supply chain, the workforce, a simplified finance function, and more.

Despite the short- and long-term advantages, some executives remain uncertain about the next steps or have lingering questions about the benefits of moving to the cloud. For many leaders, separating the cloud myths from the facts can prove daunting. Start here, with these insights that can help you bust big myths about the cloud and start moving confidently toward a cloud-enabled transformation of your organization.

Myth No. 1: Moving to the cloud is too costly. “Costly” is a relative term. The cloud can be costly – but costs should be weighed against benefit and return once requirements and migration plans are in place. Rapidly evolving business demands, for example, can dramatically alter cloud-related requirements. Meanwhile, new technologies are dramatically redefining the art of the possible with the cloud. Because migrating to the cloud is not a true “plug-and-play” proposition, and many enterprise leaders underestimate what a migration or implementation involves, some organizations can be surprised by the costs of a cloud transformation. Without a clear understanding of the potential benefits—without a clear business case for moving to the cloud—the focus on costs can overshadow the return on investment. Knowing the value that cloud solutions can bring—not just the costs—can help manage expectations.

Myth No. 2: The benefits of the cloud aren’t substantial enough. As vendors adopt a “cloud-first” stance for many solutions and product updates, organizations that move to the cloud may have a competitive advantage—no matter the size of the enterprise. Cloud solutions continue to offer abundant and increasing functionality. And with the help of an end-to-end solution provider, you can configure cloud solutions to the specific needs of your industry and your business. For larger organizations, rapidly deployable cloud solutions can help support growth or the unique needs of certain business units, such as new acquisitions or foreign subsidiaries, for example. For smaller organizations, the cloud can help you position your organization to tap new opportunities and tame growth challenges.

Myth No. 3: Cloud is too risky. All digital technologies and all business models come with inherent risk. In a hyperconnected world, no system is immune from cyber attacks, insider threats, data leakage, or related risks. No transformation project is a guaranteed success. Market changes, new competition, regulatory issues, and other factors can require you to change your cloud strategy overnight.

Because the risks are real, take advantage of resources and capabilities that can help reduce risk and ensure that your technology investments align tightly with clear business objectives. The maturity of the software goes a long way toward mitigating risk with cloud projects. You can add an extra layer of capabilities such as managed cloud services to provide active, hands-on oversight of cloud applications and infrastructure—helping you to avoid service interruptions and address issues proactively.

Myth No. 4: Cloud computing is still an immature technology. Like other evolving technologies, cloud is advancing every day. Those who wait for the next generation of cloud offerings may find themselves missing out on tangible benefits as competitors leverage cloud technology to sharpen their edge. Across industries, leading organizations are not waiting. Many view cloud technology as evolving but necessary, and they are leveraging it effectively today. Some, for example, are tightly integrating cloud software solutions to streamline supply chain processes, boost information transparency, and improve decision-making across the board—all the while tapping the cloud benefits of cost savings and scalability. Others are confidently turning to infrastructure solutions delivered and running solutions in a private or hybrid cloud. Still others are turning to cloud platform solutions to extend the power of existing applications, build modern analytics platforms, or support new Internet of Things business models. Turning the cloud to your advantage may depend less on the maturity of the technology and more on the power of your imagination.

Myth No. 5: Moving to the cloud will be easy. Cloud technology can help organizations streamline and simplify their IT landscapes and their business processes, reducing needs around capital expenses and infrastructure while helping to save costs. But migrating to the cloud requires more than simply plugging in technology. It requires an ability to address a host of considerations—data migration, the business-specific capabilities of solutions, change management, governance, systems integration, security, and more.

A cloud transformation is more than a plug-and-play project or a traditional system implementation. It requires progressive thinking and an ability to align technology with your business needs and processes— for today and for the future. Migrating to the cloud is a journey. Moving forward with the cloud will require a vision of your “to be” state—your destination—as well as a strategy for getting you there.

To learn more, and to find out what IDC thinks about the future of the cloud, please read this study that presents a strategic blueprint for enterprises on their digital transformation journey.

For more information on how to simplify innovation with cloud technology, learn more about SAP Cloud Platform.

Ready to reimagine the potential of the cloud? Contact us to get the conversation started.

Contact Krishnakant Dave at kdave@deloitte.com and follow him on Twitter: @kkdave

Contact Misa Rawlins at mrawlins@deloitte.com and follow her on Twitter: @misa_rawlins

www.deloitte.com/SAP

SAP@deloitte.com

@DeloitteSAP

This article originally appeared on Deloitte.com and is republished by permission.

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Misa Rawlins

About Misa Rawlins

As a senior manager and consultant in Deloitte’s SAP practice, Misa Rawlins enjoys helping her clients not only to figure out how to solve their current business problems, but also to envision how a modern cloud platform can transform their organizations moving ahead. Within the practice, she has specifically chosen to take a leadership role around the sales and delivery of SAP S/4HANA Cloud because she considers it the wave of the future. She has made it her mission to deeply understand this technology to better advise clients on what moving to a cloud infrastructure really means.

Krishnakant Dave

About Krishnakant Dave

As a principal in Deloitte’s global SAP practice, KK Dave is a consulting leader for Deloitte’s largest clients; part of the U.S. SAP leadership team where he spearheads Deloitte's cloud offerings; and leader of global go-to-market efforts in the wholesale distribution and manufacturing sector. In these roles, he assists clients in their business transformation journeys using the absolute latest SAP toolset, which presently comprises SAP S/4HANA, SAP Cloud Platform, and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, among other technologies.