It's A Small World After All: Disney Revamps Online And In-Store Retail To Boost CX

Amy Hatch

“Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.”
— Walt Disney

Long before customer experience became the rage, Walt Disney espoused the importance of it in everything he created. His successors are following his lead, announcing a new and improved online shopping experience and interactive, personalized experiences in redesigned stores. The multi-pronged effort aims to boost the profits of its retail consumer product division, which have fallen, as have the bottom lines of so many other brick-and-mortar retailers.

Let it go: standalone retail is over

While online retail seems like a given in the digital age, Disney has long resisted the trend of e-commerce, instead offering a only a small selection of items online. The strategy was to drive consumers to the parks or retail outlets. For a very long time this model worked, but as consumers have become more sophisticated, so have their expectations – including their ability to access whatever they’d like, whenever they’d like.

Coupled with a remodeling of its physical stores, the online makeover means myriad new products will be available to the at-home Disney fanatic. Carefully curated collections by Coach, David Lerner, and Ethan Allen furniture now grace the e-commerce catalog, and those products will also be sold in the stores, making a complete omnichannel experience for the consumer.

Reimagining the magic of the customer experience

True to Disney fashion, no detail has been overlooked. The revamping of its brick-and-mortar stores includes melding the interactive experiences of the parks with their physical locations. In-store shoppers can battle Darth Vader on a big screen and even purchase cotton candy and the iconic mouse ears from carts that are the same as those found in Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Guests visiting Disney stores will see live streams of the multiple theme parks, fireworks displays on giant screens, and personalized experiences for children, including birthday parties and other milestone celebrations. Even the coveted apparel at The Dress Shop has become available for online purchases.

“Many analysts predict that 2017 will be the year of the customer as consumers continue to call the shots,” said Shane Finaly of SAP. “That requires retailers to follow their lead – and keep pace with customers through personalized engagement.”

All that’s left is to pipe in the (truly delightful) scent you can only breathe in while gawking at Cinderella’s Castle on the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, USA.

By creating seamless transitions between their parks, stores, and online offerings, Disney is acknowledging the desires of a 24/7/365 economy. And, if the brand can marry the physical retail experience with its online efforts in the same way it has approached customer engagement on the ground in the parks, it cannot lose.

The era of multichannel is here to stay. Disney has been considered the standard-bearer when it comes to customer experience. Once upon a time, it was enough to offer its unique experiences only in person, but not anymore. No amount of magic can transform a bottom line that doesn’t recognize the power of digital.

For more about generating more sales in the digital era, see Primed: Prompting Customers to Buy.

This article originally appeared on the Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce.

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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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Julie Stoughton

About Julie Stoughton

Julie Stoughton is the Head of Telecommunications Marketing & Communications at SAP. She is a seasoned professional with 16 years of marketing and product marketing experience in software and media technologies. Julie's specialties include strategic market development, positioning and messaging, customer segmentation, product launches, ROI analysis, and go-to-market execution.

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

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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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.

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Phil King

About Phil King

Drawing from his 30 years of experience in IT and public sector organizations, Phil King is the Sales Director for the Public Sector in the UK and Ireland at SAP. He is passionate about working with the public sector to drive innovation that improves people’s lives and makes the world a better place.

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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Richard McLean

About Richard McLean

Richard McLean, regional CFO for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, oversees all key finance and administrative functions for field and regional headquarters, supporting more than 16,000 employees. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior finance roles with leading global companies across a range of industries, including financial services, investment banking, automotive, and IT. He joined SAP in 2008.

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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Catherine Lynch

About Catherine Lynch

Catherine Lynch is a Senior Director of Industry Cloud Marketing at SAP. She is a content marketing specialist with a particular focus on the professional services and media industries globally. Catherine has a wide international experience of working with enterprise application vendors in global roles, creating thought leadership and is a social media practitioner.

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

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

Paul Kurchina

About Paul Kurchina

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

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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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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Konstanze Werle

About Konstanze Werle

Konstanze Werle is a Director of Industries Marketing at SAP. She is a content marketing specialist with a particular focus on the travel and transportation, engineering and construction and real estate industries worldwide. Her goal is to help companies in these industries to simplify their business by sharing latest trends and innovation in their industry.

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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Julie Stoughton

About Julie Stoughton

Julie Stoughton is the Head of Telecommunications Marketing & Communications at SAP. She is a seasoned professional with 16 years of marketing and product marketing experience in software and media technologies. Julie's specialties include strategic market development, positioning and messaging, customer segmentation, product launches, ROI analysis, and go-to-market execution.

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

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.

Comments

Phil King

About Phil King

Drawing from his 30 years of experience in IT and public sector organizations, Phil King is the Sales Director for the Public Sector in the UK and Ireland at SAP. He is passionate about working with the public sector to drive innovation that improves people’s lives and makes the world a better place.

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

Richard McLean

About Richard McLean

Richard McLean, regional CFO for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, oversees all key finance and administrative functions for field and regional headquarters, supporting more than 16,000 employees. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior finance roles with leading global companies across a range of industries, including financial services, investment banking, automotive, and IT. He joined SAP in 2008.

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

Catherine Lynch

About Catherine Lynch

Catherine Lynch is a Senior Director of Industry Cloud Marketing at SAP. She is a content marketing specialist with a particular focus on the professional services and media industries globally. Catherine has a wide international experience of working with enterprise application vendors in global roles, creating thought leadership and is a social media practitioner.

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

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

Paul Kurchina

About Paul Kurchina

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

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

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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Konstanze Werle

About Konstanze Werle

Konstanze Werle is a Director of Industries Marketing at SAP. She is a content marketing specialist with a particular focus on the travel and transportation, engineering and construction and real estate industries worldwide. Her goal is to help companies in these industries to simplify their business by sharing latest trends and innovation in their industry.

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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CEO Priorities And Challenges In The Digital World

Dr. Chakib Bouhdary

Digital transformation is here, and it is moving fast. Companies are starting to realize the enormous power of digital technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of things (IoT) and blockchain. These technologies will drive massive opportunities—and threats—for every company, and they will impact all aspects of business, including the business model. In fact, business velocity has never been this fast, yet it will never be this slow again.

To move quickly, companies need to be clear on what they want to achieve through digital transformation and understand the possible roadblocks. Based on my meetings with customer executives across regions and industries, I have learned that CEOs often have the same three priorities and face the same three challenges:

1. Customer experience – No longer defined by omnichannel and personalized marketing.

Not surprisingly, 92 percent of digital leaders focus on customer experience. However, this is no longer just about omnichannel and personalized marketing – it is about the total customer experience. Businesses are realizing that they need to reimagine their value proposition and orchestrate changes across the value chain – from the first point of interaction to manufacturing, to shipment, to service – and be able to deliver the total customer experience. In some cases, it will even be necessary to change the core product or service itself.

2. Step change in productivity – Transform productivity and cost structure through digital technologies.

Businesses have been using technology to achieve growth for decades, but by combining emerging technologies, they can now achieve a significant productivity boost and reduce costs. For this to happen, companies must first identify the scenarios that will drive significant change in productivity, prioritize them based on value, and then determine the right technologies and solutions. Both Mckinsey and Boston Consulting Group expect a 15 to 30 percent improvement in productivity through digital advancements – blowing the doors off business-as-usual and its incremental productivity growth of 1 to 2 percent.

3. Employee engagement – Fostering a culture of innovation should be at the core of any business.

Companies are looking to create an environment that encourages creativity and innovation. Leaders are attracting the needed talent and building the right skill sets. Additionally, they aim for ways to attract a diverse workforce, improve collaborations, and empower employees – because engaged employees are crucial in order to achieve the best results. This Gallup study reveals that approximately 85 percent of employees worldwide are performing below their potential due to engagement issues.

As CEOs work towards achieving these three desired outcomes, they face some critical challenges that they must address. I define the top three challenges as follows: run vs. innovate, corporate cholesterol, and digital transformation roadmap.

1. Run vs. innovate – To be successful you must prioritize the future.

The foremost challenge that CEOs are facing is how they can keep running current profitable businesses while investing in future innovations. Quite often these two conflict as most executives mistakenly prioritize the first and spend much less time on the latter. This must change. CEOs and their management teams need to spend more time thinking about what digital is for them, discuss new ideas, and reimagine the future. According to Gartner, approximately 50 percent of boards are pushing their CEOs to make progress on digital. Although this is a promising sign, digital must become a priority on every CEOs agenda.

2. Corporate cholesterol – Do not let company culture get in the way of change.

The older the company is, the more stuck it likely is with policies, procedures, layers of management, and risk averseness. When a company’s own processes get in the way of change, that is what I call “corporate cholesterol.” CEOs need to change the culture, encourage cross-team collaborations, and bring in more diverse thinking to reduce the cholesterol levels. In fact, both Mckinsey and Capgemini conclude that culture is the number-one obstacle to digital effectiveness.

3. Digital transformation roadmap – Digital transformation is a journey without a destination.

Many CEOs struggle with their digital roadmap. Questions like: Where do I start? Can a CDO or another executive run this innovation for me? What is my three- to five-year roadmap? often come up during the conversations. Most companies think that there is a set roadmap, or a silver bullet, for digital transformation, but that is not the case. Digital transformation is a journey without a destination, and each company must start small, acquire the necessary skills and knowledge, and continue to innovate.

It is time to face the digital reality and make it a priority. According to KPMG, 70 percent to 80 percent of CEOs believe that the next three years are more critical for their company than the last fifty. And there is good reason to worry, as 75 percent of S&P 500 companies from 2012 will be replaced by 2027 at the current disruption rate.

Download this short executive document. 

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Dr. Chakib Bouhdary

About Dr. Chakib Bouhdary

Dr. Chakib Bouhdary is the Digital Transformation Officer at SAP. Chakib spearheads thought leadership for the SAP digital strategy and advises on the SAP business model, having led its transformation in 2010. He also engages with strategic customers and prospects on digital strategy and chairs Executive Digital Exchange (EDX), which is a global community of digital innovation leaders. Follow Chakib on LinkedIn and Twitter