Scenes: A New Method And Tool To Create Storyboards [VIDEO]

Karen Detken and Ann-Sofie Ruf

Storyboards are a powerful way to communicate user requirements and to validate ideas before they are fully designed or implemented. They are used during the earliest stages of the design process to visualize design solutions and to create a common understanding about the problem to be solved.

But what if there is not enough time to draw them or the necessary skills are missing?

Not everyone is a visual artist capable of illustrating a great-looking storyboard in a couple of minutes to present an idea. When working together with our customers in a workshop, this situation can get even trickier since many of them simply refuse to draw. Even though the point is not to create a work of art, people without the drawing skills required to create visually appealing storyboards often feel uncomfortable when asked to draw. This discomfort makes them focus on their limited drawing skills, rather than on developing and communicating their ideas.

“Scenes” is a method and tool to create stories about products and services quickly, collaboratively, and iteratively. It empowers people from any discipline to shape their ideas and scenarios in the form of fun, illustrative storyboards without the need of refined drawing skills.

Scenes from SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center from SAP UX Design Services on Vimeo.

How does Scenes work?

Scenes includes a set of pre-defined illustrations that can be combined physically or digitally to create a visual story. There are different types of graphical elements available: characters, speech bubbles, signs, arrows, buildings, devices, transportation elements, office furniture, and backgrounds. The basic Scenes set offers around 48 different illustrations ready to be used to create physical or digital storyboards.

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Some illustrations have a blank area for customization, which allows the users of Scenes to adapt the graphical elements better to their story if needed. For example, characters’ faces can be enhanced with emotions by drawing eyebrows and mouth on them; device screens can be completed with the corresponding UIs according to the story; buses or trucks can be branded with a logo.

Creating storyboards with Scenes

The creation of physical storyboards with Scenes can help multidisciplinary teams to communicate their ideas and scenarios during design workshops. These storyboards are built on horizontal self-adhesive surfaces, where the illustrations are placed. Each horizontal surface is a scene in the story, just like a frame in a storyboard. A storyboard is composed of two or more scenes.

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Since the graphical elements can be grabbed and physically moved around, the effort to make changes is minimal, encouraging people to try out ideas and actively participate.

This method allows every member of the team to simultaneously contribute to the creation of the story, facilitating collaboration.

The same graphical elements are available digitally for PowerPoint, where each scene is composed on one slide. The set for digital storyboarding contains examples and templates intended to make it easier for the users of Scenes to create their digital storyboards.

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Scenes in practice

We have used Scenes successfully with various customers from different industries: automotive, chemicals, insurance, public sector, etc. All of them have shared strong positive feedback. Some customers have even started to use Scenes on their own to visualize ideas for future scenarios.

Every time we use Scenes, we observe how this method increases participation, fosters creativity, and helps people from different disciplines and age groups to understand each other on a visual level.

During a project with the welfare agency of the City of Heidelberg, we used Scenes to prototype ideas for a service design concept for elderly people. In one of the workshops with the social workers, we observed how Scenes empowered all participants to develop their ideas instead of focusing on creating the drawings for the storyboard. All participants were highly engaged and could use the tool with almost no introduction.

The results from the workshop (see storyboard below) showed us how Scenes could highlight and enhance the potential of people from any discipline to visualize and shape their ideas, as well as to iterate quickly on a visual and tactile level.

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But the use of Scenes did not end with the workshop. We iterated further on the customers’ ideas and used the same characters and elements of Scenes to create digital storyboards. This helped to keep consistency through the whole design process and to generate empathy towards the end users or protagonists of the storyboards created. The characters became alive in the minds of the customer and remained present for further iterations of the concept.

At the Service Experience Camp in Berlin and at the UX Day in Mannheim, Scenes brought people from different disciplines together to create storyboards during a workshop. About 25 participants at each event had the opportunity to experience the tool. After a brief introduction to storytelling, the teams of participants started to create their stories. A narrative framework was provided to help them to structure their ideas. With the help of method cards and a Scenes box for each team, the participants created great storyboards with five to six scenes in less than one hour.

The strong positive feedback from the workshop participants confirmed the reason why Scenes was created in the first place: to allow people to express their ideas visually without focusing on a tool or worrying about their drawing skills.

Try out Scenes

We believe that every great experience starts with a great story. Now, you can build your own with Scenes. Get your free Scenes set here and tell us how you used it. We would love to see your stories.

The success of Scenes has given us energy to continue improving and expanding this method and tool. In 2016 we plan to grow the library and include more download packages, so stay tuned for more of “Scenes.”

Not everyone or every organization is comfortable with today’s expectation that information will be shared. If you fall into this category – or work with people who do, see Our Digital Planet: Collaborating For Success.

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About Karen Detken and Ann-Sofie Ruf

Karen Detken is a User Experience Design Specialist at SAP. Ann-Sofie Ruf works in Marketing & Communication at the SAP Design & Co-Innovation Center.

Saadia Zahidi: Advancing Gender Equality

Jane Lu

Saadia Zahidi, head of education, gender and work at the World Economic Forum, joins Michelle King, a leader in UN women’s gender innovation work, to discuss the unique skills women can contribute to the changing world of work, and offer insight on how leaders can help close the global gender gap.

According to “The Global Gender Gap Report 2017“, between 2016 and 2017, the average gender gap increased from 31.7% to 32% worldwide: The report examines the gap between men and women in four fundamental categories (subindexes): economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. The gaps between men and women on economic participation and political empowerment faces a second year of reversed progress in 2017, led by the world’s largest economies—China, India, and the United States. Meanwhile, France, Canada, and the Nordic countries represent “bright spots” for gender equality, offering targeted policies and more opportunities for women in the workforce.

Zahidi points out the need for gender parity in the labor force to prepare for an increasingly innovation-driven economic future. While women have long been a largely untapped resource in STEM fields, this could soon change: Over the past few decades, women outnumber men in college enrollment.

How can leaders help close the gender gap?

Zahidi believes “out-of-the-box” thinking will become increasingly important in the future and that diversity is critical for innovation. She cites three trends that will impact gender parity in the workplace:

  • The number of STEM positions in engineering fields, which tend to have a smaller pipeline of women, will increase. This means a widening gender gap in high-growth, high-pay jobs.
  • The next wave of digital disruption will greatly reduce the number of service and administrative positions, which have historically attracted more female workers.
  • While more women are employed in education and healthcare professions, they remain underrepresented in leadership roles.

These trends could become opportunities to “hardwire” gender parity into the future of work. Businesses need to start thinking differently when they look for talent to fill emerging roles. To address stereotypes and ensure a diverse pool of candidates, for example, companies could partner with schools and training programs. This would help broaden talent pipelines and encourage more females to seek careers in STEM fields.

To help advance gender equality in the workplace, Zahidi recommends that business leaders aim for three “levels:”

  • Commit to gender equality goals, because the tone for pursuing change is set by leaders.
  • Embed diversity initiatives into your organization’s hiring practices and workplace culture. Conducting a baseline analysis can help determine which issues your organization should tackle. One aspect of embedding is ensuring a level playing field for women and men—for example, offering the same opportunities for promotion and career advancement.
  • Scale your gender equality advancement strategies to extend beyond your own workforce, through participation in CSR initiatives and support of young entrepreneurs.

Honing your “human skills”

“A lot of traditional thinking around the fourth industrial revolution would say that if there’s a lot more technology embedded in what we do, we all need to be learning a lot more about technology,” Zahidi says. While adoption of digital tools is certainly increasing, she does not believe that means everyone should become a coder: “We did a survey…on the future of jobs…skills with greater premiums are human skills.”

Emphasizing the importance of diversity in today’s world, Zahidi recommends developing both digital and human skills, such as creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking, for anyone looking to get ahead of the curve. For women, she adds, offering fresh, creative ideas with confidence is key to building a stronger presence in STEM fields.

As workplaces become more diverse. companies must implement solutions that can adapt to change and that harness the value women bring to the workplace.

Listen to Saadia Zahidi’s interview on the SHE Innovates podcast.

SHE Innovates is a podcast that shares the stories, challenges, and triumphs of women in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. Listen to all our podcasts on PodBean.

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Jane Lu

About Jane Lu

Jane is a writer and marketing intern at SAP. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in English at the University of Waterloo. While Jane is currently studying in Waterloo, she is originally from Toronto.

How Left-Handed People Hold Phones, And Why It Matters To Your Business

Susan Galer

Being a left-handed person, I immediately understood the point Anka Wittenberg, chief diversity officer at SAP, was making about diversity during an intriguing breakout session at the recent SAP Ariba Live event. She told the story of a company (not hers) that asked people to record short videos and upload them online as part of a major branding investment. Fifteen percent of the videos were upside down because the project owners neglected to consider how left-handed people hold their mobile phones.

“We need to reflect the diversity of our customers and suppliers in order to truly understand their needs,” said Wittenberg. You need an inclusive cultural awareness in everything you do to drive business in a sustainable way.”

Top five global leadership qualities

I was among the many people applauding heartily during the session that was part of the event’s Diversity and Leadership Forum track.  The “Leadership of the Future in Procurement – Get Ready!” panel discussion was led by Gustavo Amorim, global marketing vice president at SAP Ariba. He played a short video featuring leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith, who shared the five top qualities of global leaders of the future: global thinking, cross-cultural appreciation, technological savvy, building alliances and partnerships, and shared leadership. While traits like vision and integrity are mainstays for leaders, these five qualities reflect what it takes to stand out in a significantly changed business world. The workplace is increasingly diverse, technology underpins just about everything, collaboration inside and outside corporate walls is paramount to good business, and leaders are managing knowledge workers who know more than they do.

A symbiotic relationship between buyers and sellers

A 34-year veteran in supplier diversity, Reginald Williams, consultant of supplier diversity at procurement resources, saw cross-cultural appreciation as both problem and challenge ‒ and a significant business advantage.

“There is no better way to expand your customer base than to do business with them,” said Williams. “Supplier diversity is a demonstrable way to reach out and do business with those who provide companies with revenues. We must become an extension of our customers that have a broad, diverse culture base. Our responsibility is to support the customers of our customers with leadership that provides tools, resources, and education to do this.”

Inclusive leadership multiples innovation sixfold

Wittenberg said that developing an inclusive leadership culture at SAP has been imperative for growth in an organization with over 320,000 customers in more than 150 countries.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to be leaders by listening, asking and learning,” she said. “Our research has found that companies with inclusive leadership are six times likelier to innovate, able to cope with change and to be agile. Leaders need confidence in themselves and to be curious about the future. We have training available for our nearly 90,000 employees to prepare them for an environment with lots of change.”

Collaboration equals shared ownership

Williams called for the development of an internal advisory council including people from every business unit fostering collaborative engagement.

“You can move the needle with continuous feedback and continuous participation being driven as a shared process,” he said. “There’s no more top-down leadership when people take ownership in what they’re doing. Collaboration results in shared ownership, commitment and results. The problem with diversity is that white guys think it’s got nothing to do with me. You must incorporate everyone into the solution driving the change.”

He saw supplier diversity as two-pronged with diverse suppliers on one side, and the application of standards of excellence for vendors on the other. The key to inclusion is that standards of excellence represent everyone. “We have a woman-owned supplier who returned $1.2 million in savings. She operates one of largest minority companies in the IT staffing industry. But if we hadn’t made sure she was in the pool, we wouldn’t have had that kind of diversity.”

Tech drives diversity

Leaders have a tremendous responsibility to make sure their companies are using technology to meet corporate diversity and inclusion commitments, and procurement is one way to do that.

“You can make a conscious decision on where you buy supplies and who you have in your supply chain. I believe technology is the catalyst for change, and to drive this change in an exponential way leaders need an understanding of technology,” said Wittenberg.

This blog was originally published on Medium: SAP Innovation Spotlight.

Follow me on TwitterSAP Business Trends, or Facebook. Read all of my Forbes articles here.

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Hack the CIO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Think in Systems

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Work in Diverse Teams

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

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

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

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

3. Become a Consultant

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

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

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

4. Learn Horizontal Leadership

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

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

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

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

5. Understand Process Design

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

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

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

6. Learn to Keep Learning

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

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

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

7. Fail Smarter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not Every CIO Is Ready

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About the Authors

Thomas Saueressig is Chief Information Officer at SAP.

Timo Elliott is an Innovation Evangelist at SAP.

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

Bennett Voyles is a Berlin-based business writer.

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

Misa Rawlins and Krishnakant Dave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.deloitte.com/SAP

SAP@deloitte.com

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

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Misa Rawlins

About Misa Rawlins

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

Krishnakant Dave

About Krishnakant Dave

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