Data-Driven Vigilance Shines A Light On The Shadows Of The Supply Chain

Kevin McCollom and Howard Presland

A growing sense of global responsibility is prompting consumers to make supply chains more ethical – one purchase at a time. There’s at least one organic food aisle in most grocery stores. Coffeehouse baristas are brewing fair-trade coffee. Food distributors and apparel retailers are offering products that are socially conscious and sustainable. Even natural resources providers are showing their commitment to the delivery of conflict-free supplies and removal of any hint of a connection with bribery and corruption.

Despite this wave of consumer activism, I am routinely surprised that many businesses have no idea how their supply chains impact the environment and entire societies. Far too many businesses still accidentally fall victim to the discovery of abuse and neglect somewhere within their supply network, which can lead to regulatory, operational, and reputational damage, not to mention the impact on those affected.

Globalization brings greater risk to the supply chain

As businesses onboard new vendors and providers outsource their operations to third parties, this adds not only complexity and depth to the supply chain, but also greater risk from an ecosystem that is largely unknown to the primary supply-chain owner.

Consider a global firm that leverages a network of local resellers. Most likely, there is little information on sales agents that operate as one-person businesses because they do not have an online presence. With no data available in-house, the company relies on a Web search to carry out compliance checks and stores data on sales agents and suppliers on spreadsheets.

For many businesses, such incomplete due diligence is all too familiar. The lack of management, transparency, and monitoring – from the procurement office to the end consumer and everything in between – is exposing many businesses to increased risk of regulatory noncompliance, reputational damage, adverse financial impacts, and operational inefficiency. According to Thomson Reuters 2016 Global Third Party Risk Survey, on average only 62% of suppliers, distributors, and third-party relationships are stringently reviewed. Also, only 36% of all those surveyed thoroughly monitor their suppliers for ongoing risks, while 61% have no knowledge of the extent to which third parties are outsourcing.

Exercise accurate and timely due diligence with business partner screening

When a company does not communicate with its entire supply chain, there are most likely things that are happening undetected. Some of these activities may be safe and compliant, but others may be dangerous and illegal. Nevertheless, it’s always a bad sign when the company behind the brand name on the label cannot tell what’s happening – or not happening – in its supply chain.

Although there is no “one size fits all” approach to supplier and third-party risk management, here are six opportunities to infuse data and intelligence into your existing procurement and supply chain processes to build awareness and safeguard operations.

  1. Supplier onboarding: Automate onboarding management to increase process efficiency. By connecting your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with a global database that details supplier performance and compliance records, you can conduct due diligence and business partner screening with greater accuracy and speed.
  1. Risk assessment: Gain data-driven insight into the political, economic, and criminal risks of your suppliers and their country of origin. Support a risk-based approach using these data points, including access to a database that tracks global media coverage, helping ensure that you are aware of the most current negative news on the individual vendor or supplier entity under review.
  1. Third-party screening: Evaluate third parties to reveal connections and potential changes in risk status using a structured, up-to-date, and highly auditable risk intelligence database. This approach identifies and checks potential risks, including sanctions and politically exposed persons, as well as ultimate beneficial ownership – information that is typically hidden in business relationships and extended partner networks.
  1. Investigation of suppliers and third parties flagged for risk: Conduct further due diligence on heightened-risk individuals or entities. This step focuses on not only the supplier’s owners, operations, and litigation history, but also key management and decision makers.
  1. Ongoing monitoring and reporting: Check all saved database entries on a continuous basis for immediate alerts on any changes in risk status. Customizable searches lead to a simplified and accelerated due diligence process that increases the accuracy of name matching and lowers remediation time.
  1. Employee training and education: Raise enterprise-wide awareness of potential threats. A regular stream of education throughout the year to employees and third parties helps build awareness about compliance policies and regulatory updates, while bridging the knowledge gap.

Running ethical operations is the right thing to do, but it is the consumer who is the real force behind this change. Brand reputation alone no longer sells; people want to know what they’re buying no matter the name on the tag.

Luckily, data is on your side. The rise of 24×7 news cycles, government databases, and watchdog organizations has created a perfect environment for accessing risk data and intelligence. With this information, you can improve oversight of suppliers and other third parties to better anticipate and deflect potential regulatory, reputational, and operational risks; embed processes to detect and resolve them; and take action immediately.

Gain more insight on using Data – The Hidden Treasure Inside Your Business.


Kevin McCollom

About Kevin McCollom

Kevin McCollom is global VP and general manager for SAP GRC Solutions, based in Palo Alto, California.

Howard Presland

About Howard Presland

Howard Presland is the global head of Third Party Risk at Thomson Reuters, where he has worked in Risk Management Solutions since 2013. In his prior role, he oversaw the global market launch of "World-Check One" – one of Thomson Reuters flagship screening solutions. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Howard worked in the information industry for over 10 years across various senior product and operation roles for Factiva & Dow Jones in the area of risk & compliance. Howard graduated from the University of Wales with a B.A. in Modern Languages with Computer Science and went on to study Project Management at the George Washington University School of Business.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Kevin Jinks

About Kevin Jinks

Kevin Jinks is Vice President & Partner / Industrial Sector SAP Leader for IBM Global Business Services. With more than 22 years of IT consulting and client management experience, he has extensive knowledge in ERP systems, architectural design, system development and implementation management for major clients globally.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Anton Kroger

About Anton Kroger

Anton Kroger is an Energy and Natural Resources industry solution specialist for SAP based in Australia. Anton has worked in the resources sector for 16 years and has field operations and management experience, both locally in Australia and internationally. He now works with Energy and Natural resources companies across Australia and New Zealand to help them run better, more innovatively and imagine new ways of doing business. He is an advocate for clean energy and resources and believes that innovation is critical to the future of this industry. Anton believes that despite the disruption taking place in the industry today there is still a lot of opportunity for existing companies in the future.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Paul Dandurand

About Paul Dandurand

Paul Dandurand is the founder and CEO of PieMatrix, a visual project management application company. Paul has a background in starting and growing companies. Prior to PieMatrix, he was co-founder of FocusFrame, where he wore multiple hats, including those of co-president and director. He helped position FocusFrame as the market leader with process methodology differentiation. FocusFrame was sold to Hexaware in 2006. Previously, he was a management consulting manager at Ernst & Young (now Capgemini) in San Francisco and Siebel Systems in Amsterdam. Paul enjoys photography, skiing, and watching independent films. He earned a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Markus Steer

About Markus Steer

Markus Steer is an advisor with SAP & experienced leader for Digital Transformation to connect people, things and businesses to run the world better. He helps CEOs and Biz leaders to define their vision and leverage digital trends to transform their company. He provides guidance to CTOs and Enterprise Architects on end-to-end architecture design. Connect with Markus at www.linkedin.com/in/markus-steer-90b2b02a/.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Thierry Audas

About Thierry Audas

Thierry Audas is a senior director of Product Marketing with SAP and focuses on business intelligence and analytics. He works with SAP customers to help them better understand how SAP solutions help organizations to transform all their data, the foundation of a digital enterprise, into insight to drive innovation and create business value. Thierry has more than 20 years of experience in the BI and analytics field and has held various senior roles in presales, consulting, and product management.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Karen McDermott

About Karen McDermott

Karen McDermott is Global Head of Financial Services Industries Marketing and Communications at SAP, responsible for driving the growth of SAP's value proposition as a technology provider, trusted business partner, and thought leader for the financial services industry.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Catherine Lynch

About Catherine Lynch

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

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Nilly Essaides

About Nilly Essaides

Nilly Essaides is senior research director, Finance & EPM Advisory Practice at The Hackett Group. Nilly is a thought leader and frequent speaker and meeting facilitator at industry events, the author of multiple in-depth guides on financial planning & analysis topics, as well as monthly articles and numerous blogs. She was formerly director and practice lead of Financial Planning & Analysis at the Association for Financial Professionals, and managing director at the NeuGroup, where she co-led the company’s successful peer group business. Nilly also co-authored a book about knowledge management and how to transfer best practices with the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC).

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Rosina Geiger

About Rosina Geiger

Rosina Geiger is the Director of Startup Engagement at SAP. She has worked at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam before joining SAP in 2016 to establish the SAP IoT Startup Accelerator in Berlin and Palo Alto.

This One Mistake Could Cost You Billions

Danielle Beurteaux

According Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Brands list, the top two companies alone (out of 100) are worth in excess of $200 billion just in terms of brand value. A brand is a promise—no trust, and a brand’s worth takes a hit.Keys with red keychain in lock  close-up. --- Image by © Mike Watson/moodboard/Corbis

Last week, a hack of the federal government’s employee records hit the news. Some outlets further reported that even more information than was originally claimed had been hacked — as in every single social security number of employees past and present. (The hack was uncovered, ironically, during a demonstration of a security product).

There were also reports that Kapersky Lab, the Moscow-based tech security firm, just uncovered an attack which was possibly embedded in their systems for a year. Kapersky claims that neither they nor their customers were compromised.

We’re not trying to make anyone paranoid, but hacking has gone beyond the occasional attack to something we read about weekly, and at ever-increasing levels. And with the expansion of the Internet of Things, security is now an issue for companies that could previously ignore it. An example: a medical company producing a device that’s connected. If it’s connected, it’s hackable.

So think about this: Security flaws aren’t just about security, they’re also about brand reputation. A hack will cost you twice: once to get it fixed, and the second time in loss of trust. And that price tag can be so much bigger than the hacker’s loot.

Corporate boards are paying attention

According to a recent report, cyber security issues are discussed during most board meetings, and 70 percent of those surveyed are concerned about breaches via third-party software. And post-breach, not all fingers will be pointing at the head of IT—CEOs are now seen as responsible for company cyber security.

Legal stakes raised

The Department of Justice just released guidelines that cover the full pre- to post-breach response, and as these two experts write, these guidelines will be the steps against which cyber security is measured. Not conforming to this model could “leave companies that experience a breach open to new theories of liability and new claims of negligence.”

Cyber security experts needed

With more than 200,000 unfilled security positions and a 75 percent increase in jobs in the past five years alone, there aren’t enough cyber security experts to meet the need. Some colleges are rushing to get students on the training track.

Hire a hacker?

One of the problems of hiring hackers is the gray legal area in which they operate. There’s a proposal from the Department of Commerce on the table requiring licenses.

Or perhaps you’ll need to add a budget line item for bugs – like HackerOne in San Francisco, which acts as a link between ethical hackers and companies that want help with their security breaches. Facebook, Microsoft, Google and United Airlines have bounty programs in which they pay hackers who identify security flaws.

Want more insight on where business’s future opportunities – and challenges – lie? See Big Data, The Internet Of Things, And The Fourth V.


Dr. Markus Noga

About Dr. Markus Noga

Dr. Markus Noga is vice president of Machine Learning at SAP. Machine learning (ML) applies deep learning, machine learning, and advanced data science to solve business challenges. The ML team aspires to building SAP’s next growth business in intelligent solutions, and works closely with existing product units and platform teams to deliver business value to their customers. Part of the SAP Innovation Center Network (ICN), the Machine Learning team operates as a lean startup within SAP with sites in Germany, Israel, Singapore, and Palo Alto.

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Kevin Jinks

About Kevin Jinks

Kevin Jinks is Vice President & Partner / Industrial Sector SAP Leader for IBM Global Business Services. With more than 22 years of IT consulting and client management experience, he has extensive knowledge in ERP systems, architectural design, system development and implementation management for major clients globally.

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Anton Kroger

About Anton Kroger

Anton Kroger is an Energy and Natural Resources industry solution specialist for SAP based in Australia. Anton has worked in the resources sector for 16 years and has field operations and management experience, both locally in Australia and internationally. He now works with Energy and Natural resources companies across Australia and New Zealand to help them run better, more innovatively and imagine new ways of doing business. He is an advocate for clean energy and resources and believes that innovation is critical to the future of this industry. Anton believes that despite the disruption taking place in the industry today there is still a lot of opportunity for existing companies in the future.

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Paul Dandurand

About Paul Dandurand

Paul Dandurand is the founder and CEO of PieMatrix, a visual project management application company. Paul has a background in starting and growing companies. Prior to PieMatrix, he was co-founder of FocusFrame, where he wore multiple hats, including those of co-president and director. He helped position FocusFrame as the market leader with process methodology differentiation. FocusFrame was sold to Hexaware in 2006. Previously, he was a management consulting manager at Ernst & Young (now Capgemini) in San Francisco and Siebel Systems in Amsterdam. Paul enjoys photography, skiing, and watching independent films. He earned a B.A. degree in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley.

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Markus Steer

About Markus Steer

Markus Steer is an advisor with SAP & experienced leader for Digital Transformation to connect people, things and businesses to run the world better. He helps CEOs and Biz leaders to define their vision and leverage digital trends to transform their company. He provides guidance to CTOs and Enterprise Architects on end-to-end architecture design. Connect with Markus at www.linkedin.com/in/markus-steer-90b2b02a/.

Tags:

Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Thierry Audas

About Thierry Audas

Thierry Audas is a senior director of Product Marketing with SAP and focuses on business intelligence and analytics. He works with SAP customers to help them better understand how SAP solutions help organizations to transform all their data, the foundation of a digital enterprise, into insight to drive innovation and create business value. Thierry has more than 20 years of experience in the BI and analytics field and has held various senior roles in presales, consulting, and product management.

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Karen McDermott

About Karen McDermott

Karen McDermott is Global Head of Financial Services Industries Marketing and Communications at SAP, responsible for driving the growth of SAP's value proposition as a technology provider, trusted business partner, and thought leader for the financial services industry.

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Catherine Lynch

About Catherine Lynch

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

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Nilly Essaides

About Nilly Essaides

Nilly Essaides is senior research director, Finance & EPM Advisory Practice at The Hackett Group. Nilly is a thought leader and frequent speaker and meeting facilitator at industry events, the author of multiple in-depth guides on financial planning & analysis topics, as well as monthly articles and numerous blogs. She was formerly director and practice lead of Financial Planning & Analysis at the Association for Financial Professionals, and managing director at the NeuGroup, where she co-led the company’s successful peer group business. Nilly also co-authored a book about knowledge management and how to transfer best practices with the American Productivity and Quality Center (APQC).

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Rosina Geiger

About Rosina Geiger

Rosina Geiger is the Director of Startup Engagement at SAP. She has worked at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam before joining SAP in 2016 to establish the SAP IoT Startup Accelerator in Berlin and Palo Alto.

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Awareness

Spot Buying 101: Big Benefits from Small Transactions

Rob Mihalko

It’s summertime, and you’re hosting a big barbecue on the coming weekend. Your gas grill breaks unexpectedly, so on short notice, you head down to your local hardware store and buy a new one. Guess what you just did? You just made a spot buy.

Almost half of companies’ indirect spend

Companies make spot buys, too—all the time. They account for a whopping 42% of a company’s total indirect spend overseen by procurement, and half of the sourcing activities. In spot buyingcorporate procurement parlance, spot buys usually include one or more of these characteristics: one-time buys/emergency buys, low-dollar-value/low-complexity buys, unmanaged category buys, unique buys, or buys in a new commodity area that can’t be fulfilled by incumbent suppliers. At most companies, spot buying is definitely an under-managed, under-served purchasing type, with gaps in policy and process.

For sellers, most opportunities to participate in spot buys are unexpected—many times resulting in improperly routed requests for a quote (i.e. a phone call to the main receptionist).  At best, this can be distracting for sellers; worst case, business can be lost because the lead does not get to the right part of the organization for quoting.

How spot buying works

That’s where an online business network comes in. Buyers simply describe their needs in an online posting and get matched to sellers who are automatically notified of appropriate opportunities. Sellers have a single interface to evaluate and bid on spot buy opportunities quickly and efficiently. A streamlined response mechanism allows sellers to quickly submit bids, and gives buyers an easy framework for comparing them.

Clearly, spot buying is a lot different than the RFP process typically used by companies when making bigger-ticket, more considered purchases. The RFP process is longer, more formal and, at most larger companies, is well established and technology-enabled.

So if you’re a seller participating in an online business network, the good news is that you’re exactly in the right place to win more spot buy business.

Benefits for buyers…

Facilitated and accelerated by an online business network, buyers can find what they need in a way that’s economical, fast, and easy. They can procure the right product or services from a trusted community, on a platform that ensures they get it at a competitive price, and integrates spot buying with other key buying functions. Better matches between buyers and sellers mean faster turnaround, which in turn delivers significant savings in supplier identification cycles and resource costs.

… and sellers

Sellers have the opportunity to win business that is immediate, real, and needs to happen quickly. These sales are a great way for sellers to show off their capabilities. A spot buy win could be the beginning of a new customer relationship, or an opportunity to get added business with existing customers.

So, whether you’re starting a new relationship or building an existing one, spot buying presents a sure way to tap into 42% of a typical company’s business.

If you are a buyer, how are you managing your spot buys?

If you are a seller, how much of your business comes from quick-turn spot buys? If you’re already winning spot buy bids on an online network, how is it helping?

Let me know by commenting below.


Dr. Markus Noga

About Dr. Markus Noga

Dr. Markus Noga is vice president of Machine Learning at SAP. Machine learning (ML) applies deep learning, machine learning, and advanced data science to solve business challenges. The ML team aspires to building SAP’s next growth business in intelligent solutions, and works closely with existing product units and platform teams to deliver business value to their customers. Part of the SAP Innovation Center Network (ICN), the Machine Learning team operates as a lean startup within SAP with sites in Germany, Israel, Singapore, and Palo Alto.

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Awareness

The Human Angle

By Jenny Dearborn, David Judge, Tom Raftery, and Neal Ungerleider

In a future teeming with robots and artificial intelligence, humans seem to be on the verge of being crowded out. But in reality the opposite is true.

To be successful, organizations need to become more human than ever.

Organizations that focus only on automation will automate away their competitive edge. The most successful will focus instead on skills that set them apart and that can’t be duplicated by AI or machine learning. Those skills can be summed up in one word: humanness.

You can see it in the numbers. According to David J. Deming of the Harvard Kennedy School, demand for jobs that require social skills has risen nearly 12 percentage points since 1980, while less-social jobs, such as computer coding, have declined by a little over 3 percentage points.

AI is in its infancy, which means that it cannot yet come close to duplicating our most human skills. Stefan van Duin and Naser Bakhshi, consultants at professional services company Deloitte, break down artificial intelligence into two types: narrow and general. Narrow AI is good at specific tasks, such as playing chess or identifying facial expressions. General AI, which can learn and solve complex, multifaceted problems the way a human being does, exists today only in the minds of futurists.

The only thing narrow artificial intelligence can do is automate. It can’t empathize. It can’t collaborate. It can’t innovate. Those abilities, if they ever come, are still a long way off. In the meantime, AI’s biggest value is in augmentation. When human beings work with AI tools, the process results in a sort of augmented intelligence. This augmented intelligence outperforms the work of either human beings or AI software tools on their own.

AI-powered tools will be the partners that free employees and management to tackle higher-level challenges.

Those challenges will, by default, be more human and social in nature because many rote, repetitive tasks will be automated away. Companies will find that developing fundamental human skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, within the organization will take on a new importance. These skills can’t be automated and they won’t become process steps for algorithms anytime soon.

In a world where technology change is constant and unpredictable, those organizations that make the fullest use of uniquely human skills will win. These skills will be used in collaboration with both other humans and AI-fueled software and hardware tools. The degree of humanness an organization possesses will become a competitive advantage.

This means that today’s companies must think about hiring, training, and leading differently. Most of today’s corporate training programs focus on imparting specific knowledge that will likely become obsolete over time.

Instead of hiring for portfolios of specific subject knowledge, organizations should instead hire—and train—for more foundational skills, whose value can’t erode away as easily.

Recently, educational consulting firm Hanover Research looked at high-growth occupations identified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined the core skills required in each of them based on a database that it had developed. The most valuable skills were active listening, speaking, and critical thinking—giving lie to the dismissive term soft skills. They’re not soft; they’re human.


This doesn’t mean that STEM skills won’t be important in the future. But organizations will find that their most valuable employees are those with both math and social skills.

That’s because technical skills will become more perishable as AI shifts the pace of technology change from linear to exponential. Employees will require constant retraining over time. For example, roughly half of the subject knowledge acquired during the first year of a four-year technical degree, such as computer science, is already outdated by the time students graduate, according to The Future of Jobs, a report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The WEF’s report further notes that “65% of children entering primary school today will ultimately end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.” By contrast, human skills such as interpersonal communication and project management will remain consistent over the years.

For example, organizations already report that they are having difficulty finding people equipped for the Big Data era’s hot job: data scientist. That’s because data scientists need a combination of hard and soft skills. Data scientists can’t just be good programmers and statisticians; they also need to be intuitive and inquisitive and have good communication skills. We don’t expect all these qualities from our engineering graduates, nor from most of our employees.

But we need to start.

From Self-Help to Self-Skills

Even if most schools and employers have yet to see it, employees are starting to understand that their future viability depends on improving their innately human qualities. One of the most popular courses on Coursera, an online learning platform, is called Learning How to Learn. Created by the University of California, San Diego, the course is essentially a master class in human skills: students learn everything from memory techniques to dealing with procrastination and communicating complicated ideas, according to an article in The New York Times.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing.

Although there is a longstanding assumption that social skills are innate, nothing is further from the truth. As the popularity of Learning How to Learn attests, human skills—everything from learning skills to communication skills to empathy—can, and indeed must, be taught.

These human skills are integral for training workers for a workplace where artificial intelligence and automation are part of the daily routine. According to the WEF’s New Vision for Education report, the skills that employees will need in the future fall into three primary categories:

  • Foundational literacies: These core skills needed for the coming age of robotics and AI include understanding the basics of math, science, computing, finance, civics, and culture. While mastery of every topic isn’t required, workers who have a basic comprehension of many different areas will be richly rewarded in the coming economy.
  • Competencies: Developing competencies requires mastering very human skills, such as active listening, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
  • Character qualities: Over the next decade, employees will need to master the skills that will help them grasp changing job duties and responsibilities. This means learning the skills that help employees acquire curiosity, initiative, persistence, grit, adaptability, leadership, and social and cultural awareness.


The good news is that learning human skills is not completely divorced from how work is structured today. Yonatan Zunger, a Google engineer with a background working with AI, argues that there is a considerable need for human skills in the workplace already—especially in the tech world. Many employees are simply unaware that when they are working on complicated software or hardware projects, they are using empathy, strategic problem solving, intuition, and interpersonal communication.

The unconscious deployment of human skills takes place even more frequently when employees climb the corporate ladder into management. “This is closely tied to the deeper difference between junior and senior roles: a junior person’s job is to find answers to questions; a senior person’s job is to find the right questions to ask,” says Zunger.

Human skills will be crucial to navigating the AI-infused workplace. There will be no shortage of need for the right questions to ask.

One of the biggest changes narrow AI tools will bring to the workplace is an evolution in how work is performed. AI-based tools will automate repetitive tasks across a wide swath of industries, which means that the day-to-day work for many white-collar workers will become far more focused on tasks requiring problem solving and critical thinking. These tasks will present challenges centered on interpersonal collaboration, clear communication, and autonomous decision-making—all human skills.

Being More Human Is Hard

However, the human skills that are essential for tomorrow’s AI-ified workplace, such as interpersonal communication, project planning, and conflict management, require a different approach from traditional learning. Often, these skills don’t just require people to learn new facts and techniques; they also call for basic changes in the ways individuals behave on—and off—the job.

Attempting to teach employees how to make behavioral changes has always seemed off-limits to organizations—the province of private therapists, not corporate trainers. But that outlook is changing. As science gains a better understanding of how the human brain works, many behaviors that affect employees on the job are understood to be universal and natural rather than individual (see “Human Skills 101”).

Human Skills 101

As neuroscience has improved our understanding of the brain, human skills have become increasingly quantifiable—and teachable.

Though the term soft skills has managed to hang on in the popular lexicon, our understanding of these human skills has increased to the point where they aren’t soft at all: they are a clearly definable set of skills that are crucial for organizations in the AI era.

Active listening: Paying close attention when receiving information and drawing out more information than received in normal discourse

Critical thinking: Gathering, analyzing, and evaluating issues and information to come to an unbiased conclusion

Problem solving: Finding solutions to problems and understanding the steps used to solve the problem

Decision-making: Weighing the evidence and options at hand to determine a specific course of action

Monitoring: Paying close attention to an issue, topic, or interaction in order to retain information for the future

Coordination: Working with individuals and other groups to achieve common goals

Social perceptiveness: Inferring what others are thinking by observing them

Time management: Budgeting and allocating time for projects and goals and structuring schedules to minimize conflicts and maximize productivity

Creativity: Generating ideas, concepts, or inferences that can be used to create new things

Curiosity: Desiring to learn and understand new or unfamiliar concepts

Imagination: Conceiving and thinking about new ideas, concepts, or images

Storytelling: Building narratives and concepts out of both new and existing ideas

Experimentation: Trying out new ideas, theories, and activities

Ethics: Practicing rules and standards that guide conduct and guarantee rights and fairness

Empathy: Identifying and understanding the emotional states of others

Collaboration: Working with others, coordinating efforts, and sharing resources to accomplish a common project

Resiliency: Withstanding setbacks, avoiding discouragement, and persisting toward a larger goal

Resistance to change, for example, is now known to result from an involuntary chemical reaction in the brain known as the fight-or-flight response, not from a weakness of character. Scientists and psychologists have developed objective ways of identifying these kinds of behaviors and have come up with universally applicable ways for employees to learn how to deal with them.

Organizations that emphasize such individual behavioral traits as active listening, social perceptiveness, and experimentation will have both an easier transition to a workplace that uses AI tools and more success operating in it.

Framing behavioral training in ways that emphasize its practical application at work and in advancing career goals helps employees feel more comfortable confronting behavioral roadblocks without feeling bad about themselves or stigmatized by others. It also helps organizations see the potential ROI of investing in what has traditionally been dismissed as touchy-feely stuff.

In fact, offering objective means for examining inner behaviors and tools for modifying them is more beneficial than just leaving the job to employees. For example, according to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, introspection, which is how most of us try to understand our behaviors, can actually be counterproductive.

Human beings are complex creatures. There is generally way too much going on inside our minds to be able to pinpoint the conscious and unconscious behaviors that drive us to act the way we do. We wind up inventing explanations—usually negative—for our behaviors, which can lead to anxiety and depression, according to Eurich’s research.

Structured, objective training can help employees improve their human skills without the negative side effects. At SAP, for example, we offer employees a course on conflict resolution that uses objective research techniques for determining what happens when people get into conflicts. Employees learn about the different conflict styles that researchers have identified and take an assessment to determine their own style of dealing with conflict. Then employees work in teams to discuss their different styles and work together to resolve a specific conflict that one of the group members is currently experiencing.

How Knowing One’s Self Helps the Organization

Courses like this are helpful not just for reducing conflicts between individuals and among teams (and improving organizational productivity); they also contribute to greater self-awareness, which is the basis for enabling people to take fullest advantage of their human skills.

Self-awareness is a powerful tool for improving performance at both the individual and organizational levels. Self-aware people are more confident and creative, make better decisions, build stronger relationships, and communicate more effectively. They are also less likely to lie, cheat, and steal, according to Eurich.

It naturally follows that such people make better employees and are more likely to be promoted. They also make more effective leaders with happier employees, which makes the organization more profitable, according to research by Atuma Okpara and Agwu M. Edwin.

There are two types of self-awareness, writes Eurich. One is having a clear view inside of one’s self: one’s own thoughts, feelings, behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses. The second type is understanding how others view us in terms of these same categories.

Interestingly, while we often assume that those who possess one type of awareness also possess the other, there is no direct correlation between the two. In fact, just 10% to 15% of people have both, according to a survey by Eurich. That means that the vast majority of us must learn one or the other—or both.

Gaining self-awareness is a process that can take many years. But training that gives employees the opportunity to examine their own behaviors against objective standards and gain feedback from expert instructors and peers can help speed up the journey. Just like the conflict management course, there are many ways to do this in a practical context that benefits employees and the organization alike.

For example, SAP also offers courses on building self-confidence, increasing trust with peers, creating connections with others, solving complex problems, and increasing resiliency in the face of difficult situations—all of which increase self-awareness in constructive ways. These human-skills courses are as popular with our employees as the hard-skill courses in new technologies or new programming techniques.

Depending on an organization’s size, budget, and goals, learning programs like these can include small group training, large lectures, online courses, licensing of third-party online content, reimbursement for students to attain certification, and many other models.

Human Skills Are the Constant

Automation and artificial intelligence will change the workplace in unpredictable ways. One thing we can predict, however, is that human skills will be needed more than ever.

The connection between conflict resolution skills, critical thinking courses, and the rise of AI-aided technology might not be immediately obvious. But these new AI tools are leading us down the path to a much more human workplace.

Employees will interact with their computers through voice conversations and image recognition. Machine learning will find unexpected correlations in massive amounts of data but empathy and creativity will be required for data scientists to figure out the right questions to ask. Interpersonal communication will become even more important as teams coordinate between offices, remote workplaces, and AI aides.

While the future might be filled with artificial intelligence, deep learning, and untold amounts of data, uniquely human capabilities will be the ones that matter. Machines can’t write a symphony, design a building, teach a college course, or manage a department. The future belongs to humans working with machines, and for that, you need human skills. D!


About the Authors

Jenny Dearborn is Chief Learning Officer at SAP.

David Judge is Vice President, SAP Leonardo, at SAP.

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

Neal Ungerleider is a Los Angeles-based technology journalist and consultant.

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

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HR In The Age Of Digital Transformation

Neha Makkar Patnaik

HR has come a long way from the days of being called Personnel Management. It’s now known as People & Culture, Employee Experience, or simply People, and the changes in the last few years have been especially far-reaching, to say the least; seismic even.

While focused until recently on topics like efficiency and direct access to HR data and services for individual employees, a new and expanded HR transformation is underway, led by employee experience, cloud capabilities including mobile and continuous upgrades, a renewed focus on talent, as well as the availability of new digital technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence. These capabilities are enabling HR re-imagine new ways of delivering HR services and strategies throughout the organization. For example:

  • Use advanced prediction and optimization technologies to shift focus from time-consuming candidate-screening processes to innovative HR strategies and business models that support growth
  • Help employees with tailored career paths, push personalized learning recommendations, suggest mentors and mentees based on skills and competencies
  • Predict flight risk of employees and prescribe mitigation strategies for at-risk talent
  • Leverage intelligent management of high-volume, rules-based events with predictions and recommendations

Whereas the traditional view of HR transformation was all about doing existing things better, the next generation of HR transformation is focused on doing completely new things.

These new digital aspects of HR transformation do not replace the existing focus on automation and efficiency. They work hand in hand and, in many cases, digital technologies can further augment automation. Digital approaches are becoming increasingly important, and a digital HR strategy must be a key component of HR’s overall strategy and, therefore, the business strategy.

For years, HR had been working behind a wall, finally got a seat at the table, and now it’s imperative for CHROs to be a strategic partner in the organization’s digital journey. This is what McKinsey calls “Leading with the G-3” in An Agenda for the Talent-First CEO, in which the CEO, CFO, and CHRO (i.e., the “G-3”) ensure HR and finance work in tandem, with the CEO being the linchpin and the person who ensures the talent agenda is threaded into business decisions and not a passive response or afterthought.

However, technology and executive alignment aren’t enough to drive a company’s digital transformation. At the heart of every organization are its people – its most expensive and valuable asset. Keeping them engaged and motivated fosters an innovation culture that is essential for success. This Gallup study reveals that a whopping 85% of employees worldwide are performing below their potential due to engagement issues.

HR experiences that are based on consumer-grade digital experiences along with a focus on the employee’s personal and professional well-being will help engage every worker, inspiring them to do their best and helping them turn every organization’s purpose into performance. Because, we believe, purpose drives people and people drive business results.

Embark on your HR transformation journey

Has your HR organization created a roadmap to support the transformation agenda? Start a discussion with your team about the current and desired state of HR processes using the framework with this white paper.

Also, read SAP’s HR transformation story within the broader context of SAP’s own transformation.


Neha Makkar Patnaik

About Neha Makkar Patnaik

Neha Makkar Patnaik is a principal consultant at SAP Labs India. As part of the Digital Transformation Office, Neha is responsible for articulating the value proposition for digitizing the office of the CHRO in alignment with the overall strategic priorities of the organization. She also focuses on thought leadership and value-based selling programs for retail and consumer products industries.