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Top 50 #Financial Twitter Influencers

Jen Cohen Crompton

We are aimed at becoming an authority on business innovation and want to help you identify the top influencers so you can follow the latest trends, news and opinions of these influencers in the field of Finance.

We’ve already published some great lists of Twiter influencers in big data, cloud computing, analytics, enterprise mobility, and human resources, and here is the next list – the Top 50 Financial Influencers on Twitter.

Note: Financial Twitter influencers were determined based on tweeted topics, influence as measured by Klout, number of followers, and number of tweets. Below are the “top” influencers at this time based on the combination of factors.

@WSJnumbersguy -The Numbers Guy/ @CarlBialik

Carl Bialik examines the way numbers are used, and abused. – New York, NY – http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/

@CNNMoney – The world’s leading business and finance website and the online home to @fortunemagazine and @money magazine. – http://money.cnn.com/

@moneymorning – Money Morning
Money moves the markets; Money Morning lets you move first. – Baltimore, Maryland, USA – http://moneymorning.com/

@karldeeter – Karl Deeter
Financial adviser/analyst, at Irish Mortgage Brokers & Advisors. ie in Dublin. Blogger, commentator, Sun on Sunday, Columnist & flatpicker. – Dublin, Ireland – http://www.mortgagebrokers.ie/blog/

@IreneAldridge – Irene Aldridge
World expert on high-frequency trading, author, fund manager, public speaker. – http://www.ablealpha.com/aa/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=156

@AAAMPblog – AAAMP Blog
The goal of the AAAMP Blog is to empower people to manage their own money. Find out more about me personally @kenfaulkenberry.- The Woodlands, TX – http://blog.arborinvestmentplanner.com/

@AwesomeFinance – Chris Smith
A man on a mission- to raise the personal finance IQs of young adults everywhere! – Seattle, WA – http://awesomefinancialfuture.com/

@ColinTWilliams – Colin Williams
Building opportunities for finance professionals and their clients through the Web and Social Media – Australia – http://www.humblefinancialservices.com/

@CoryRIchards – Cory Richards
Full time author and financial trader. I write non fiction and fiction. In between chapters I trade financial futures contracts. – La Quinta, CA – http://www.authorcoryrichards.com/

@Nouriel – Nouriel Roubini
Professor at Stern School, NYU, Chairman of Roubini Global Economics (www.roubini.com), blog at www.economonitor.com/nouriel/ , co-author of Crisis Economics – New York – http://www.roubini.com/

@TimHartford – Tim Harford
Author of Adapt; Undercover Economist at the FT; presenter of More or Less, Radio 4. (Email v/website is the best for important messages.) Views my own, of course. – Oxford – http://www.investopedia.com/articles/economics/11/difference-between-finance-and-economics.asp#axzz28G6ThBsi

@Finance_Wire – Finance Wire
The latest on Financial Stock and ETFs. – http://financewire.net/

@BenChu_ – Ben Chu
Economics Editor of The Independent. Views my own. – London, England – http://blogs.independent.co.uk/author/benchu/

@Lagarde – Christine Lagarde
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Also follow @imfnews. Washington, DC – http://www.imf.org/external/index.htm

@alessiorastani– Alessio Rastani
Experienced Stock Market and Forex trader. Keynote speaker on share trading. Mentor and dedicated to helping others succeed. – London, UK – http://www.facebook.com/alessiorastani

@Big4.com – For Big Four Alumni & Pros- Accenture, Andersen, BearingPoint, Capgemini, Deloitte, E&Y, KPMG, PwC – New York, NY, USA – http://www.big4.com/

@finplan – Financial Planning
Financial Planning magazine and its associated brands are dedicated to the needs of the independent financial planner. – http://www.financial-planning.com/

@susanweiner – Susan Weiner, CFA
Writer-editor and chartered financial analyst (CFA) who helps financial professionals increase the impact of their writing on clients and prospects. – http://investmentwriting.com/blog/

@loral – Loral Langemeier
Best Selling Author, International Speaker, Money Expert – Zephyr Cove, Nevada – http://liveoutloud.com/

@MarketWatch -MarketWatch
Tracking the pulse of the markets. Get business news, personal finance information and real-time commentary from MarketWatch. – San Francisco, CA – http://www.marketwatch.com/

@LewisFinancial – Bill Lewis
Com’l RE Sales/Finance since 1969. Specialize in Sr. Facilities, Apts, Office, Industrial, Bank Direct Assets. Kids (father of six), dogs, cabernet since… – Santa Cruz, CA – http://www.lewisfinancialwest.net/

@FinancialTimes – Financial Times
All the big stories on FT.com and updates from our news editors. Register  http://on.ft.com/socialregs to gain free access to up to eight FT articles per month  – London, UK – http://www.ft.com/home/us

@daily_finance – DailyFinance
DailyFinance helps its readers navigate through perilous economic times and make better decisions about their financial futures. Feed curated by @harrykeffron. – United States – http://www.dailyfinance.com/

@Wealthfront – Wealthfront
Online Financial Advisor to the Tech Community – Silicon Valley – https://www.wealthfront.com/

@allanschoenberg – Allan Schoenberg
Exec Dir of Corp Comm at @cmegroup; husband/father; B2B; Arsenal; F1; economics/tech geek; write at @b2bvoices; living in London from Chicago

@MoneyNing – David Ning
Personal finance blogger helping individuals reach their retirement and financial freedom goals. – Irvine, CA – http://moneyning.com/

@MichaelKitces – Michael Kitces
One nerd’s perspective on the financial planning world… Publisher of The Kitces Report and the blog Nerd’s Eye View at www.kitces.com. – http://www.kitces.com/contact.php

@EconomyUS – US Economy
US Economy News, Headlines, and Happenings, updated throughout the day, 24/7 – US, the hub of world economy

@qfinance_ – QFINANCE
The Ultimate Financial Resource. A collaboration of more than 300 of the world’s leading practitioners and visionaries in finance and financial management. – UK – http://www.qfinance.com/home

@Investopedia – Investopedia
We believe individuals can excel at managing their financial affairs. We strive to provide free educational content and tools to empower individual investors. –  http://www.investopedia.com

@CBSMoneyWatch – CBS MoneyWatch
Personal finance advice, analysis and financial planning – New York, NY – http://www.cbsnews.com/moneywatch/

@YahooFinance – Yahoo! Finance
Y! Finance is the #1 financial news website. 100% feed-free tweets – New York, NY – http://finance.yahoo.com/

@BethKobliner – Beth Kobliner
Personal finance journalist, President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability member who helped develop #MoneyAsYouGrow, and author of Get a Financial Life. – New York, NY – http://www.bethkobliner.com/

@CNBCnow – What’s Trending / CNBC
CNBC is the recognized world leader in business news, providing real-time financial market coverage & business information. Follow for what’s trending. – Worldwide – http://www.cnbc.com/

@tim – Tim Bradshaw
Tech & internet reporter @financialtimes. Recent transplant from London to SF. Views = mine, not FT’s. Retweets ≠ endorsements. tim.bradshaw@ft.com. San Francisco, CA – http://www.timbradshaw.net

@deborahgage – Deborah Gage
Reporter, Dow Jones VentureWire and wsj.com, covering tech and start-ups from Silicon Valley. – San Jose, CA – http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/?mod=tech

@Xconomy – Xconomy
Xconomy is the leading source for news about technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Boston, Detroit, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. – United States – http://www.xconomy.com/

@KarleneSinRob – Karlene S. Robinson
Small Business & Alternative Financing Expert; Motivator; Author; New Book Coming Soon… Reach for your DREAMS! They do come true! – Washington, DC Metro Area – http://www.smallbusinessfundingguide.com/

@FinanceFeed – Financial News
Financial news direct to you via Tweet. Business credit, personal finance, business loans, factoring & more. – Southern California – http://www.business-financing.net/

@SunFinancial – Suns Financial Diary
An electrical engineer happens to have the passion in personal finance. – Northern Virginia – http://www.thesunsfinancialdiary.com/

@NASBA_talks – NASBA
News, updates and important information for state boards, CPAs and other financial service professionals. – http://NASBA.org

@cfopub – CFO.com
News and Insight for Financial Executives. Offering CFO Magazine, Webcasts, White Papers, Research, and Conferences. Accounting, Finance and more. – Boston, MA & New York, NY – http://www.cfo.com

@davidkwaltz – David K. Waltz
Fortune 500 Financial Officer exploring strategy and finance excellence.. Author of Treasury Cafe blog. – Chicago – http://treasurycafe.blogspot.com/

@EarningsReports – Earnings Reports
Your source for the latest news on Corporate Earnings, Corporate Dividends and Corporate Stock Buy Backs. – ·http://www.earnings-reports.com/

@TheStreet – The Street
Get the latest business, consumer and financial news. @kavehkm leads the charge. Send your feedback to @thestreet. We want to hear from you! – New York, NY – http://www.thestreet.com/

@NYSEEuronext – (NYX) NYSE Euronext
NYSE Euronext (NYX) is a leading global operator of financial markets and provider of innovative trading technologies. – Global – https://nyse.nyx.com/

@mint – Mint.com
The free way to see all your finances in one place—from any place. Set a budget, track your goals and do more with your money, for free! – Mountain View, California – https://www.mint.com/

@calculatedrisk – Bill McBride
Author of Calculated Risk – United States – http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/

@retheauditors – Francine McKenna
Using tools instead of tools using me. Journalist/Speaker/CPA. Encantada de todo de America Latina. Accounting Watchdog @forbes Accountable @amerbanker Chicago – http://retheauditors.com/

@ryanavent – Ryan Avent
Economics correspondent for The Economist – Washington, DC – http://www.ryanavent.com/blog/

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About Jen Cohen Crompton

Jen Cohen Crompton is a SAP Blogging Correspondent reporting on big data, cloud computing, enterprise mobility, analytics, sports and tech, and anything else innovation-related. When she's not blogging, she can be caught marketing, using social media and/or presenting at conferences around the world. Disclosure: Jen is being compensated by SAP to produce a series of articles on the innovation topics covered on this site. The opinions reflected here are her own.

The Future Of Supplier Collaboration: 9 Things CPOs Want Their Managers To Know Now

Sundar Kamak

As a sourcing or procurement manager, you may think there’s nothing new about supplier collaboration. Your chief procurement officer (CPO) most likely disagrees.
Forward-thinking CPOs acknowledge the benefit of supplier partnerships. They not only value collaboration, but require a revolution in how their buying organization conducts its business and operations. “Procurement must start looking to suppliers for inspiration and new capability, stop prescribing specifications and start tapping into the expertise of suppliers,” writes David Rae in Procurement Leaders. The CEO expects it of your CPO, and your CPO expects it of you. For sourcing managers, this can be a lot of pressure.

Here are nine things your CPO wants you to know about how supplier collaboration is changing – and why it matters to your company’s future and your own future.

1. The need for supplier collaboration in procurement is greater than ever

Over half (65%) of procurement practitioners say procurement at their company is becoming more collaborative with suppliers, according to The Future of Procurement, Making Collaboration Pay Off, by Oxford Economics. Why? Because the pace of business has increased exponentially, and businesses must be able to respond to new market demands with agility and innovation. In this climate, buyers are relying on suppliers more than ever before. And buyers aren’t collaborating with suppliers merely as providers of materials and goods, but as strategic partners that can help create products that are competitive differentiators.

Supplier collaboration itself isn’t new. What’s new is that it’s taken on a much greater urgency and importance.

2. You’re probably not realizing the full collective power of your supplier relationships

Supplier collaboration has always been a function of maintaining a delicate balance between demand and supply. For the most part, the primary focus of the supplier relationship is ensuring the right materials are available at the right time and location. However, sourcing managers with a narrow focus on delivery are missing out on one of the greatest advantages of forging collaborative supplier partnerships: an opportunity to drive synergies that are otherwise perceived as impossible within the confines of the business. The game-changer is when you drive those synergies with thousands, not hundreds of suppliers. Look at the Apple Store as a prime example of collaboration en masse. Without the apps, the iPhone is just another ordinary phone!

3. Collaboration comes in more than one flavor

Suppliers don’t just collaborate with you to provide a critical component or service. They also work with your engineers to help ensure costs are optimized from the buyer’s perspective as well as the supplier’s side. They may even take over the provisioning of an entire end-to-end solution. Or co-design with your R&D team through joint research and development. These forms of collaboration aren’t new, but they are becoming more common and more critical. And they are becoming more impactful, because once you start extending any of these collaboration models to more and more suppliers, your capabilities as a business increase by orders of magnitude. If one good supplier can enable your company to build its brand, expand its reach, and establish its position as a market leader – imagine what’s possible when you work collaboratively with hundreds or thousands of suppliers.

4. Keeping product sustainability top of mind pays off

Facing increasing demand for sustainable products and production, companies are relying on suppliers to answer this new market requirement.

As a sourcing manager, you may need to go outside your comfort zone to think about new, innovative ways to collaborate for achieving sustainability. Recently, I heard from an acquaintance who is a CPO of a leading services company. His organization is currently collaborating with one of the largest suppliers in the world to adhere to regulatory mandates and consumer demand for “lean and green” lightbulbs. Although this approach was interesting to me, what really struck me was his observation on how this co-innovation with the supplier is spawning cost and resource optimization and the delivery of competitive products. As reported by Andrew Winston in The Harvard Business Review, Target and Walmart partnered to launch the Personal Care Sustainability Summit last year. So even competitors are collaborating with each other and with their suppliers in the name of sustainability.

5. Co-marketing is a win-win

Look at your list of suppliers. Does anyone have a brand that is bigger than your company’s? Believe it or not, almost all of us do. So why not seize the opportunity to raise your and your supplier’s brand profile in the marketplace?

Take Intel, for example. The laptop you’re working on right now may very well have an “Intel inside” sticker on it. That’s co-marketing at work. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s top 100 most valuable brands by Millward Brown Optimor, this largest supplier of microprocessors is world-renowned for its technology and innovation. For many companies that buy supplies from Intel, the decision to co-market is a strategic approach to convey that the product is reliable and provides real value for their computing needs.

6. Suppliers get to choose their customers, too

Increased competition for high-performing suppliers is changing the way procurement operates, say 58% of procurement executives in the Oxford Economics study. Buyers have a responsibility to the supplier – and to their CEO – to be a customer of choice. When the economy is going well, you might be able to dictate the supplier’s goods and services – and sometimes even the service delivery model. When times get tough (and they can very quickly), suppliers will typically reevaluate your organization’s needs to see whether they can continue service in a fiscally responsible manner. To secure suppliers’ attention in favorable and challenging economic conditions, your organization should establish collaborative and mutually productive partnerships with them.

7. Suppliers can help simplify operations

Cost optimization will always be one of your performance metrics; however, that is only one small part of the entire puzzle. What will help your organization get noticed is leveraging the supplier relationship to innovate new and better ways of managing the product line and operating the business while balancing risk and cost optimization. Ask yourself: Which functions are no longer needed? Can they be outsourced to a supplier that can perform them better? What can be automated?

8. Suppliers have a better grasp of your sourcing categories than you do

Understand your category like never before so that your organization can realize the full potential of its supplier investments while delivering products that are consistent and of high quality. How? By leveraging the wisdom of your suppliers. To be blunt: they know more than you do. Tap into that knowledge to gain a solid understanding of the product, market category, suppliers’ capabilities, and shifting dynamics in the industry, If a buyer does not understand these areas deeply, no amount of collaboration will empower a supplier to help your company innovate as well as optimize costs and resources.

9. Remember that there’s something in it for you as well

All of us want to do strategic, impactful work. Sourcing managers with aspirations of becoming CPOs should move beyond writing contracts and pushing PO requests by building strategic procurement skill sets. For example, a working knowledge in analytics allows you to choose suppliers that can shape the market and help a product succeed – and can catch the eye of the senior leadership team.

Sundar Kamak is global vice president of solutions marketing at Ariba, an SAP company.

For more on supplier collaboration, read Making Collaboration Pay Off, part of a series on the Future of Procurement, by Oxford Economics.

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Sundar Kamak

About Sundar Kamak

Sundar Kamak is the Vice President of Products & Innovation at SAP Ariba. He is an accomplished Solutions Marketing and Product Management Execuive with 15 + year's broad experience in product strategy, positioning, SaaS, Freemium offering, go-to-market planning and execution.

The CFO Role In 2020

Estelle Lagorce

African American businessman looking out office window --- Image by © Mark Edward Atkinson/Blend Images/CorbisThe role of the CFO is undergoing a serious transformation, and CFOs can expect their role to continue to evolve, according to a recent CFO.com article by Deloitte COO and CFO Frank Friedman.

In the futurist article, Friedman says one of the biggest factors that will contribute to the CFO’s significant change over the next five years is technology.

Digital technology is obviously expected to drive change in high-tech companies, but Friedman says it’s industries outside of the tech sectors that are of particular interest, as they struggle to understand how to grasp and harness the digital capabilities available to them.

Working with high tech in low-tech industries

Five years from now, a finance team may be defined by how well it uses technology and innovative business tools, regardless of what industry it’s in. The article outlines some examples of ways that digital technology will increasingly be used by CFOs in “non-tech” sectors:

  • Predictive analytics: CFOs in manufacturing companies can forecast results and produce revenue predictions based on customer-experience profiles and current demand, instead of comparing to previous years as most companies still do today.
  • Social media and crowdsourcing: You may not think CFOs spend a lot of time on social media or crowdsourcing sites, but these methods can actually expedite finance processes, such as month-end responsibilities of the finance organization.
  • Big Data: CFOs already have a lot of data at their fingertips, but in 2020 they will have even more. CFOs in both tech and non-tech sectors who understand how to use that data to make valuable, informed decisions, can strategically guide their company and industry in a more digitally oriented world.

To do this, Friedman says CFOs can lead the way by addressing some critical areas:

  1. Know the issues: Gather the key questions that leaders expect Big Data analytics to answer.
  1. Make data easily accessible: Collect data that is manageable and easy to access.
  1. Broaden skills: The finance team needs people with the skills to understand and strategically interpret the data available to them.

The tech-savvy CFO

The role of today’s CFO has already expanded to include strategic corporate growth advice as well as managing the bottom line. In 2020, Friedman says expectations placed on the CFO are presumed to be even greater, and CFOs will likely need a much more diverse, multidisciplinary skill set to meet those demands.

The article details several traits and skills that CFOs will need in order to keep up with the pace of digital change in their role.

  1. Digital knowledge: CFOs must be tech-savvy in order to capitalize on technical innovations that will benefit their company and their industry as a whole.
  1. Data-driven execution: CFOs will need the ability to execute company strategy and operations decisions based on data-driven insights.
  1. Regulatory compliance: Regulations continue to be more stringent globally, so CFOs will need to be proficient at working closely with regulators and compliance systems.
  1. Risk management: With the growing global economy comes increased cyber and geopolitical risks worldwide. The CFOs of 2020, especially those in large multinational organizations, will need to have the expertise to monitor and manage risk in areas that may be unforeseen today.

The future CFO’s well-rounded resume

By 2020, the CFO role will require much more than just an accounting background. According to Deloitte’s Frank Friedman, “CFOs may need to bring a much more multidisciplinary skill set to the job as well as broader career experiences, from working overseas to holding positions in sales and marketing, and even running a business unit.”

So if you’re a current or aspiring CFO, you have five years to round out your resume with the necessary skills to be ready for the digitally driven role of the CFO in 2020.

The above information is based on the CFO.com article What Will the CFO Role Look Like In 2020?” by Deloitte COO & CFO, Frank Friedman – Copyright © 2015 CFO.com.

Want to learn more about best practices for transforming your finance organization? View the SAP/Deloitte Webinar, “Reshaping the Finance Function”.

For an in-depth look at digital technology’s role in business transformation, download the SAP eBook, The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

To learn more about the business and technology factors driving digital disruption, download the SAP eBook, Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

To read more CFO insights from a tech industry perspective, read the Wall Street Journal article with SAP CFO Luka Mucic: Driving Insight with In-memory Technology.

Discover 7 Questions CFOs Should Ask Themselves About Cyber Security.

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Estelle Lagorce

About Estelle Lagorce

Estelle Lagorce is the Director, Global Partner Marketing, at SAP. She leads the global planning, successful implementation and business impact of integrated marketing programs with top global Strategic Partner across priority regions and countries (demand generation, thought leadership).

Running Future Cities on Blockchain

Dan Wellers , Raimund Gross and Ulrich Scholl

Building on the Blockchain Framework

Some experts say these seemingly far-future speculations about the possibilities of combining technologies using blockchain are actually both inevitable and imminent:


Democratizing design and manufacturing by enabling individuals and small businesses to buy, sell, share, and digitally remix products affordably while protecting intellectual property rights.
Decentralizing warehousing and logistics by combining autonomous vehicles, 3D printers, and smart contracts to optimize delivery of products and materials, and even to create them on site as needed.
Distributing commerce by mixing virtual reality, 3D scanning and printing, self-driving vehicles, and artificial intelligence into immersive, personalized, on-demand shopping experiences that still protect buyers’ personal and proprietary data.

The City of the Future

Imagine that every agency, building, office, residence, and piece of infrastructure has an entry on a blockchain used as a city’s digital ledger. This “digital twin” could transform the delivery of city services.

For example:

  • Property owners could easily monetize assets by renting rooms, selling solar power back to the grid, and more.
  • Utilities could use customer data and AIs to make energy-saving recommendations, and smart contracts to automatically adjust power usage for greater efficiency.
  • Embedded sensors could sense problems (like a water main break) and alert an AI to send a technician with the right parts, tools, and training.
  • Autonomous vehicles could route themselves to open parking spaces or charging stations, and pay for services safely and automatically.
  • Cities could improve traffic monitoring and routing, saving commuters’ time and fuel while increasing productivity.

Every interaction would be transparent and verifiable, providing more data to analyze for future improvements.


Welcome to the Next Industrial Revolution

When exponential technologies intersect and combine, transformation happens on a massive scale. It’s time to start thinking through outcomes in a disciplined, proactive way to prepare for a future we’re only just beginning to imagine.

Download the executive brief Running Future Cities on Blockchain.


Read the full article Pulling Cities Into The Future With Blockchain

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About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers is founder and leader of Digital Futures at SAP, a strategic insights and thought leadership discipline that explores how digital technologies drive exponential change in business and society.

Raimund Gross

About Raimund Gross

Raimund Gross is a solution architect and futurist at SAP Innovation Center Network, where he evaluates emerging technologies and trends to address the challenges of businesses arising from digitization. He is currently evaluating the impact of blockchain for SAP and our enterprise customers.

Ulrich Scholl

About Ulrich Scholl

Ulrich Scholl is Vice President of Industry Cloud and Custom Development at SAP. In this role, Ulrich discovers and implements best practices to help further the understanding and adoption of the SAP portfolio of industry cloud innovations.

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4 Traits Set Digital Leaders Apart From 97% Of The Competition

Vivek Bapat

Like the classic parable of the blind man and the elephant, it seems everyone has a unique take on digital transformation. Some equate digital transformation with emerging technologies, placing their bets on as the Internet of Things, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Others see it as a way to increase efficiencies and change business processes to accelerate product to market. Some others think of it is a means of strategic differentiation, innovating new business models for serving and engaging their customers. Despite the range of viewpoints, many businesses are still challenged with pragmatically evolving digital in ways that are meaningful, industry-disruptive, and market-leading.

According to a recent study of more than 3,000 senior executives across 17 countries and regions, only a paltry three percent of businesses worldwide have successfully completed enterprise-wide digital transformation initiatives, even though 84% of C-level executives ranks such efforts as “critically important” to the fundamental sustenance of their business.

The most comprehensive global study of its kind, the SAP Center for Business Insight report “SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart,” in collaboration with Oxford Economics, identified the challenges, opportunities, value, and key technologies driving digital transformation. The findings specifically analyzed the performance of “digital leaders” – those who are connecting people, things, and businesses more intelligently, more effectively, and creating punctuated change faster than their less advanced rivals.

After analyzing the data, it was eye-opening to see that only three percent of companies (top 100) are successfully realizing their full potential through digital transformation. However, even more remarkable was that these leaders have four fundamental traits in common, regardless of their region of operation, their size, their organizational structure, or their industry.

We distilled these traits in the hope that others in the early stages of transformation or that are still struggling to find their bearings can embrace these principles in order to succeed. Ultimately I see these leaders as true ambidextrous organizations, managing evolutionary and revolutionary change simultaneously, willing to embrace innovation – not just on the edges of their business, but firmly into their core.

Here are the four traits that set these leaders apart from the rest:

Trait #1: They see digital transformation as truly transformational

An overwhelming majority (96%) of digital leaders view digital transformation as a core business goal that requires a unified digital mindset across the entire enterprise. But instead of allowing individual functions to change at their own pace, digital leaders prefer to evolve the organization to help ensure the success of their digital strategies.

The study found that 56% of these businesses regularly shift their organizational structure, which includes processes, partners, suppliers, and customers, compared to 10% of remaining companies. Plus, 70% actively bring lines of business together through cross-functional processes and technologies.

By creating a firm foundation for transformation, digital leaders are further widening the gap between themselves and their less advanced competitors as they innovate business models that can mitigate emerging risks and seize new opportunities quickly.

Trait #2: They focus on transforming customer-facing functions first

Although most companies believe technology, the pace of change, and growing global competition are the key global trends that will affect everything for years to come, digital leaders are expanding their frame of mind to consider the influence of customer empowerment. Executives who build a momentum of breakthrough innovation and industry transformation are the ones that are moving beyond the high stakes of the market to the activation of complete, end-to-end customer experiences.

In fact, 92% of digital leaders have established sophisticated digital transformation strategies and processes to drive transformational change in customer satisfaction and engagement, compared to 22% of their less mature counterparts. As a result, 70% have realized significant or transformational value from these efforts.

Trait #3: They create a virtuous cycle of digital talent

There’s little doubt that the competition for qualified talent is fierce. But for nearly three-quarters of companies that demonstrate digital-transformation leadership, it is easier to attract and retain talent because they are five times more likely to leverage digitization to change their talent management efforts.

The impact of their efforts goes beyond empowering recruiters to identify best-fit candidates, highlight risk factors and hiring errors, and predict long-term talent needs. Nearly half (48%) of digital leaders understand that they must invest heavily in the development of digital skills and technology to drive revenue, retain productive employees, and create new roles to keep up with their digital maturity over the next two years, compared to 30% of all surveyed executives.

Trait #4: They invest in next-generation technology using a bimodal architecture

A couple years ago, Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research, observed that “CIOs can’t transform their old IT organization into a digital startup, but they can turn it into a bi-modal IT organization. Forty-five percent of CIOs state they currently have a fast mode of operation, and we predict that 75% of IT organizations will be bimodal in some way by 2017.”

Based on the results of the SAP Center for Business Insight study, Sondergaard’s prediction was spot on. As digital leaders dive into advanced technologies, 72% are using a digital twin of the conventional IT organization to operate efficiently without disruption while refining innovative scenarios to resolve business challenges and integrate them to stay ahead of the competition. Unfortunately, only 30% of less advanced businesses embrace this view.

Working within this bimodal architecture is emboldening digital leaders to take on incredibly progressive technology. For example, the study found that 50% of these firms are using artificial intelligence and machine learning, compared to seven percent of all respondents. They are also leading the adoption curve of Big Data solutions and analytics (94% vs. 60%) and the Internet of Things (76% vs. 52%).

Digital leadership is a practice of balance, not pure digitization

Most executives understand that digital transformation is a critical driver of revenue growth, profitability, and business expansion. However, as digital leaders are proving, digital strategies must deliver a balance of organizational flexibility, forward-looking technology adoption, and bold change. And clearly, this approach is paying dividends for them. They are growing market share, increasing customer satisfaction, improving employee engagement, and, perhaps more important, achieving more profitability than ever before.

For any company looking to catch up to digital leaders, the conversation around digital transformation needs to change immediately to combat three deadly sins: Stop investing in one-off, isolated projects hidden in a single organization. Stop viewing IT as an enabler instead of a strategic partner. Stop walling off the rest of the business from siloed digital successes.

As our study shows, companies that treat their digital transformation as an all-encompassing, all-sharing, and all-knowing business imperative will be the ones that disrupt the competitive landscape and stay ahead of a constantly evolving economy.

Follow me on twitter @vivek_bapat 

For more insight on digital leaders, check out the SAP Center for Business Insight report, conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics,SAP Digital Transformation Executive Study: 4 Ways Leaders Set Themselves Apart.”

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About Vivek Bapat

Vivek Bapat is the Senior Vice President, Global Head of Marketing Strategy and Thought Leadership, at SAP. He leads SAP's Global Marketing Strategy, Messaging, Positioning and related Thought Leadership initiatives.