GDPR: Point Solution Or Enterprise Solution?

Neil Patrick

In one of my previous blogs on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), I examined the complexity of GDPR and noted that it was complicated enough without having to manage incremental point solutions to sticky tape over pain points as they become evident. Then recently, I read a 19-page summary of niche GDPR solutions that are currently available. Although each of these solutions is valuable for some very specific needs, I still see some drawbacks.

Here’s the problem: They pick niche areas to solve, and they don’t talk to each other. This approach introduces a major area of exposure with regard to GDPR compliance: its impact is incredibly large, intrusive, cross-business, and inter-business. Companies cannot just pick the top two of the most important GDPR aspects and be done with it. More is needed for GDPR; therefore, more pieces of sticky tape are needed. Because different vendors supply these solutions, the software supply chain proliferates again, instead of heading in the direction of reduced total cost of ownership or simplified supplier relationships.

A recent GDPR event speaker, on behalf of a GDPR regulator, stressed the need for evidence of accountability, governance, and sustainable processes within GDPR compliance. Of course, in theory, this can be achieved with Excel spreadsheets, niche solutions, and emails. However, as an ongoing business-as-usual procedure for GDPR compliance, this approach quickly becomes unwieldy, unmanageable, very time-intensive, inaccurate, and ultimately ineffective. I would not want to tell a regulator who is auditing me for GDPR compliance, or during a data-breach event, that this was my master plan.
core business areas impacted
A strategic, repeatable approach opens an opportunity to optimise processes and reduce internal costs – leading to enterprise business resilience and process improvement as well as enterprise GDPR compliance. Adopting enterprise-ready, proven technologies for GDPR compliance will also allow you meet a substantial number of other regulatory or policy compliance needs with the same level of investment.


Experienced services and partners, plus legal advice, are required to guide a program towards GDPR compliance. For this reason, companies need to buy into GDPR for the long haul. The eye-watering magnitude of the potential fines springing from a very broad definition of a data breach suggests that this requires serious attention and an embedded enterprise answer.

Personally, I do not foresee a single monolithic solution covering everything for GDPR compliance. Why? It does not make sense in the modern complex IT landscape. However, it is achievable to implement a relatively small solution set that provides a pragmatic end-to-end answer for GDPR compliance.

Get the latest information on GDPR compliance. Attend the live stream session “Get Ready for EU GDPR Compliance,” one of many events taking place at the SAP Innovation Forum, hosted by SAP UKI, on March 1, 2017. Neil Patrick, EMEA Center of Excellence Business Development and Evangelist at SAP, will provide insight on what businesses should consider when complying with GDPR requirements.


Neil Patrick

About Neil Patrick

Dr. Neil Patrick is a Director of SAP Centre of Excellence for GRC & Security covering EMEA. He has over 12 years’ experience in Governance, Risk Management and Compliance (GRC) & Security fields. During this time he has been a managing consultant, run professional services delivery teams in the UK and USA, conducted customer business requirements sessions around the world, and sales and business development initiatives. Neil has presented core GRC and Security thought leadership sessions in strategic customer-facing engagements, conferences and briefing sessions.

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Shaily Kumar

About Shaily Kumar

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

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


David Parrish

About David Parrish

David Parrish is the senior global director of Industrial Machinery & Components Solutions Marketing for SAP. Before joining SAP, he held various product and industry marketing positions with J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and QAD going back to 1999.

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Ralf Kern

About Ralf Kern

Ralf Kern is the Global Vice President, Business Unit Retail, at SAP, responsible for the future direction of SAP’s solution and global Go-to-Market strategy for Omnicommerce Retail, leading them into today’s digital reality.

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Andre Smith

About Andre Smith

Andre Smith is an Internet, marketing, and e-commerce specialist with several years of experience in the industry. He has watched as the world of online business has grown and adapted to new technologies, and he has made it his mission to help keep businesses informed and up to date.

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Paul Dearlove

About Paul Dearlove

Paul Dearlove is General Manager - Retail, SAP ANZ based in Sydney. As a former professional athlete, Paul has a keen focus on high performance and believes there are many skills that can be transferred to the corporate environment.

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Marina Simonians

About Marina Simonians

Marina Simonians is the Head of Global ISV GTM Strategy at SAP responsible for building new global ISV software driven initiatives for Big Data, AI/ML, Advanced analytics and IoT. With a passion for ecosystems she believes partnerships are most critical success factor in today’s software-driven market.

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


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.

Compliance Drives Bank Business Improvements, Sometimes

Tom Groenfeldt

Financial organizations are spending vast amounts to comply with new regulations, but they aren’t building on that investment to improve their business, according to a recent survey by the UK-based GFT consultancy.

“Despite a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory change, most organizations fail to capitalize on regulation to drive strategic investment and business change – instead Using Automated Transaction Machinerelying on tactical work-arounds,” the survey reported. “Only 18 percent of respondents view regulation as an opportunity to drive strategic investment and business change.”

The research surveyed 66 organizations across capital markets, including global and domestic investment banks and central counterparts from the UK, mainland Europe, North America, and Asia.

In the way of consultancies, GFT has coined a term for this: “the new normal.” Not exactly a new term, it was used by Pimco and several economists to describe the slow recovery from the Great Recession. In 2007 it was used to describe a trade slowdown, and last year to describe low interest rates. J. Bradford DeLong at Berkeley also used it in 2013 to explain why interest rates, especially interest rates on U.S. treasuries, are likely to be remarkably low. Back in 2011, “the new normal”  was used to describe a global savings glut. In short, dragging up the term “new normal” to describe a constant state of regulatory change does little to illuminate the condition (but it does give GFT a clever-sounding tagline).

Still, the survey echoes findings a couple of years ago from Chartis, another UK consultancy. Its survey found that financial firms were focused almost exclusively on the regulatory requirements, with little attention to using their compliance spending to improve business.

“Currently, too many financial institutions are approaching regulation from a tactical rather than a strategic standpoint,” concluded GFT. “Over half (53 percent) of respondents’ organizations tend to view regulatory projects from a compliance sign-off perspective (or box-ticking exercise), leading to a legacy of technical debt.”

The report did have some apparent puzzling conclusions. For example, just over half (53 percent) said that regulatory change has helped drive consolidation of their business functions, yet a much larger group (85 percent) believe their firms have been able to make better business decisions as a result of regulatory changes.

“People are focused more on ticking boxes on compliance rather than on innovation,” said Amarpreet Grewal, head of business consulting for North America at GFT. Some large global investment banks look at the compliance requirements and understand them well, he added. “But how do they communicate throughout the organization? Very few do it consistently. They maybe have two or three parts of the organization who are working on it but not communicating and becoming aligned, so people go off in different directions. They need to realize that communications around regulations are important.”

If a bank builds up a warehouse for trading positions, it can also use that information for client segmentation, Grewal explained. Using data and metrics, a financial firm should be able to improve its architecture to become more effective. One investment bank GFT worked with reduced 15 trade booking systems to just a handful, including credit, fixed income, and prime brokerage. Getting down to one system probably won’t happen because the trade types are so different, Grewal noted, but banks can no longer afford the inefficiency of multiple disparate systems.

“Banks were making enough money [before the crisis]. Now the ROE for every investment bank, except maybe Goldman, is sub-10 percent, so they have to focus on their costs. Regulators are forcing them to do things they should have done years ago, like transparency in trade reporting. They are getting there now, achieving a view across the organization.”

Grewal recalls a banker on one panel who said the regulations looked impossible, but the bank got the work done and is moving on. The functionality isn’t as perfect and streamlined as it might have been if the architecture had been designed from day one, but it’s better than it was. “A lot of what we end up doing is helping with the business architecture and seeing it through to the technical architecture.”

GFT starts with looking for the breaks in processes and working with the institution to  figure out what the process should look like and deciding how to approach change. Choosing a platform and making the build/buy decision is the last stage.

“The classic way of technology change is to fix this thing and go look at vendors for a platform or decide to build. That should really be the last thing — you should start with the issue of what you are trying to solve,” Grewal explained. 
If a bank chooses to buy a system, the old style of buying and modifying is changing to buying a system and leaving it alone.

“We worked with one broker dealer that had 12 instances of the same order management platform and they were all configured completely differently. You should have one instance with some localization for regions,” he explained, adding that open APIs help firms achieve specific functionality without changing the core system.

As several other consultants have observed, Grewal noted that banks are generally not drawing the best programmers — those professionals are going to work for firms like Facebook and Google.

Today’s business environment requires adaptability. Read more at Taking Advantage of the Collaborative Economy: Mistakes to Avoid.


Lane Leskela

About Lane Leskela

Lane Leskela, global business development director, Finance and Risk, for SAP, is an accomplished enterprise software leader with years of experience in customer advisory, marketing, market research, and business development. He is an expert in risk and compliance management software functions, solution road maps, implementation strategy, and channel partner management.

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


Shaily Kumar

About Shaily Kumar

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

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


David Parrish

About David Parrish

David Parrish is the senior global director of Industrial Machinery & Components Solutions Marketing for SAP. Before joining SAP, he held various product and industry marketing positions with J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft, and QAD going back to 1999.

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


Ralf Kern

About Ralf Kern

Ralf Kern is the Global Vice President, Business Unit Retail, at SAP, responsible for the future direction of SAP’s solution and global Go-to-Market strategy for Omnicommerce Retail, leading them into today’s digital reality.

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


Andre Smith

About Andre Smith

Andre Smith is an Internet, marketing, and e-commerce specialist with several years of experience in the industry. He has watched as the world of online business has grown and adapted to new technologies, and he has made it his mission to help keep businesses informed and up to date.

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


Paul Dearlove

About Paul Dearlove

Paul Dearlove is General Manager - Retail, SAP ANZ based in Sydney. As a former professional athlete, Paul has a keen focus on high performance and believes there are many skills that can be transferred to the corporate environment.

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


Marina Simonians

About Marina Simonians

Marina Simonians is the Head of Global ISV GTM Strategy at SAP responsible for building new global ISV software driven initiatives for Big Data, AI/ML, Advanced analytics and IoT. With a passion for ecosystems she believes partnerships are most critical success factor in today’s software-driven market.

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


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.

How Can 5 Generations Possibly Work Together?

Mike Ettling

It’s graduation time, and with it comes this reality:shutterstock_243526609

This year is the first of the post-Millennial generation – the iGeneration — and they are off to college.

Which means more of us are soon to experience five generations working side by side. Recognize yourself?

  • Traditionalists, born prior to 1946
  • Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964
  • Gen X, born between 1965 and 1976
  • Millennials, also called Gen Y, born between 1977 and 1997
  • iGeneration, born after 1997

Not only will we work with people who could be our children, we’ll work with people who could be our grandchildren, even great-grandchildren.

And as I’ve talked about before, as have many others, with governments moving retirement age up, and older workers forced by the cost of living to stay in the workforce longer, age diversity will grow. According to our global research conducted with Oxford Economics, executives are not just concerned about Millennials, they’re thinking about how our aging workforce is affecting strategy. (Read my view on the recent moves made by the government of Japan.)

So what’s it mean? This is a huge opportunity for HR in leading business transformation for your CEO. Worth considering:

1. All talent matters

Millenials have been the talk of the business world, and for good reason – in under 10 years they will make up 75% of the global workforce. But talent management must focus on all talent, not just emerging talent. The ranks of the traditionalists and Baby Boomers is shrinking, and Gen X is too small to fill the gap. So to fill all positions, we all have to retain to style=”padding-left: 30px;”p talent, regardless of age. Which requires creativity and flexibility. Your Baby Boomer may seek a new experience to avoid becoming stale, your Gen X new mother may want a flexible work arrangement, short- or long-term, and your Millennial on his second job may be ready for an international assignment. If talent strategies don’t cover the age spectrum, I predict we’ll see more bidding wars for top talent. And that will require good data and analytics to recognize where gaps are emerging, what makes for a good employee fit, and how to retain the people you can’t afford to lose.

2. Make it personal

The internet has flipped the equation. With anywhere from 60%-90% of decision-making complete before we know a buyer wants to interact with us, the same holds true with potential employees. And from discovery to first contact to alumni status, people expect a personalized experience. So whether it’s the executive carefully recruited over a months to year-long process, or the new graduate who is welcomed by name every time she visits your website, HR needs to provide that range of customized experience. Today’s smart technology delivers the experience-focused solutions to attract, recruit, onboard, develop, and reward, at scale that feels like a 1:1 relationship.

3. Focus on flexibility

One of the great Millennial myths is that they care more about work/life balance than the rest of us. Our research, and experience, shows that the older you are, the more you value work/life balance, which increasingly means choice in schedule and place of work. Flexibility is king for attracting top talent. And modeling that has to come from the top, or you’ll end up with some managers who create a culture that attracts the best, and other managers who don’t. If that happens, your business stands to be crushed.

4. Double down on development

Globally, development is one of the top three factors for increasing loyalty and engagement for employees. In the U.S., Millennials cite development as the greatest contributor to sticking around. But it’s not just them. Employees over 50 are three times more likely to consider leaving when feeling stalled by lack of learning and development opportunities. Yet when dollars are cut, training is often the first and deepest cut. It’s time to revisit what training budgets look like, and include investment in opportunities like rotational programs, fellowships, mentoring and reverse-mentoring programs. Not only will you retain more people, you’ll be minding the generational gaps, to take an expression from my London underground.

5. Get social

If you still worry that older workers shy away from technology, especially social media, you are missing the boat. Our research shows that all ages care equally about having up to date technology and access to social media at work. What better way for people to connect on a social business networking platform, sharing in communities of practice, participating in group mentoring, or commenting on shared projects?

6. Design porous salary grades

I think one word that defines our career journey today is fluid. But we’re still in an age when salary grades tend to be fairly rigid, with an up or out approach. Think about yourself – and your people – many of us have times in our lives when we wish we could we step back or step up maybe it’s the new father who wants to contribute more at home. Maybe it’s the executive who is considering a technical fellow role as she considers new, less traditional ways to contribute over the long haul. Maybe it’s the retired alumna considering returning as an internal consultant. Addressing these realities means addressing our traditional view of comp, benefits, even career bands.

HR can create awareness and challenge old thinking. Grab this brilliant opportunity to lead the way in preparing organizations for the future of work.

Want more on where human resources is headed? See The Future of Human Resources.


Lane Leskela

About Lane Leskela

Lane Leskela, global business development director, Finance and Risk, for SAP, is an accomplished enterprise software leader with years of experience in customer advisory, marketing, market research, and business development. He is an expert in risk and compliance management software functions, solution road maps, implementation strategy, and channel partner management.

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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Survey: Four Ways Machine Learning Will Disrupt Your Business

Dan Wellers and Dirk Jendroska

We are entering the era of the machine learning enterprise, in which this subset of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities will revolutionize operating models, shake up staffing methods, upend business models, and potentially alter the nature of competition itself. The adoption of machine learning capabilities will be limited only by an organization’s ability to change – but not every company will be willing or able to make such a radical shift.

Very soon, the difference between the haves and the have-nots of machine learning will become clear. “The disruption over the next three to five years will be massive,” says Cliff Justice, principal in KPMG’s Innovation and Enterprise Solutions team. Companies hanging onto their legacy processes will struggle to compete with machine learning enterprises able to compete with a fraction of the resources and entirely new value propositions.

For those seeking to be on the right side of the disruption, a new survey, conducted by SAP and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), offers a closer look at organizations we’ve identified as the Fast Learners of machine learning: those that are already seeing benefits from their implementations.

Machine learning is unlike traditional programmed software. Machine learning software actually gets better – autonomously and continuously – at executing tasks and business processes. This creates opportunities for deeper insight, non-linear growth, and levels of innovation previously unseen.

Given that, it’s not surprising that machine learning has evolved from hype to have-to-have for the enterprise in seemingly record time. According to the SAP/EIU survey, more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) are already experimenting with it. What’s more, many of these organizations are seeing significantly improved performance across the breadth of their operations as a result, and some are aiming to remake their businesses on the back of these singular, new capabilities.

So, what makes machine learning so disruptive? Based on our analysis of the survey data and our own research, we see four primary reasons:

1. It’s probabilistic, not programmed

Machine learning uses sophisticated algorithms to enable computers to “learn” from large amounts of data and take action based on data analysis rather than being explicitly programmed to do something. Put simply, the machine can learn from experience; coded software does not. “It operates more like a human does in terms of how it formulates its conclusions,” says Justice.

That means that machine learning will provide more than just a one-time improvement in process and productivity; those improvements will continue over time, remaking business processes and potentially creating new business models along the way.

2. It creates exponential efficiency

When companies integrate machine learning into business processes, they not only increase efficiency, they are able to scale up without a corresponding increase in overhead. If you get 5,000 loan applications one month and 20,000 the next month, it’s not a problem, says Sudir Jha, head of product management and strategy for Infosys; the machines can handle it.

3. It frees up capital – financial and human

Because machine learning can be used to automate any repetitive task, it enables companies to redeploy resources to areas that make the organization more competitive, says Justice. It also frees up the employees within an organization to perform higher-value, more rewarding work. That leads to reduced turnover and higher employee satisfaction. And studies show that happier employees lead to higher customer satisfaction and better business results.

4. It creates new opportunities

AI and machine learning can offer richer insight, deeper knowledge, and predictions that would not be possible otherwise. Machine learning can enable not only new processes, but entirely new business models or value propositions for customers – “opportunities that would not be possible with just human intelligence,” says Justice. “AI impacts the business model in a much more disruptive way than cloud or any other disruption we’ve seen in our lifetimes.”

Machine learning systems alone, however, will not transform the enterprise. The singular opportunities enabled by these capabilities will only occur for companies that dedicate themselves to making machine learning part of a larger digital transformation strategy. The results of the SAP/EIU survey explain the makeup of the evolving machine learning enterprise. We’ve identified key traits important to the success of these machine-learning leaders that can serve as a template for others as well as an overview of the outcomes they’re already seeing from their efforts.

Learn more and download the full study here.  

 


Dan Wellers

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.

Dirk Jendroska

About Dirk Jendroska

Dr. Dirk Jendroska is Head of Strategy and Operations Machine Learning at SAP. He supports the vision of SAP Leonardo Machine Learning to enable the intelligent enterprise by making enterprise applications intelligent. He leads a team working on machine learning strategy, marketing and communications.