Reinventing Diversity At Corning

Christine Pambianchi

Corning is a global specialty glass and materials science company that is over 160 years old. We invent and manufacture life-changing technologies in our chosen markets, and our people are the key to our success. We are passionate about the individuals who make up our company and believe it is incumbent on our leaders to create an environment where our employees can contribute to their potential. Valuing diversity and inclusion is key to this mindset.

More than 40 years ago, Corning formally committed to ensuring diversity within our workforce. What began as a U.S.-centric, compliance-focused effort, today has grown into a celebration of diversity and inclusion on a global scale. This philosophy starts at the top with our CEO, Wendell Weeks, who says, “innovation depends on a diversity of ideas, experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. The more diverse the team, the better the output.” Quite simply, if you don’t have diverse talent, you probably won’t be inventing for long in today’s fast-paced technical marketplace.

My own journey: Where did all the women go?

My personal diversity journey began when I first entered the workforce. I graduated from the industrial labor relations program at Cornell University, where some of the best research in this area was conducted. I did not take a single course about women in work during my time there because I thought those issues were solved in the 1960s.

I realized I could not have been more wrong about that when I got a job in the beverage industry at 22 years old. My classes at Cornell were evenly mixed, with 50% men and 50% women, so I expected to see those numbers reflected when I entered the workforce. In reality, I was the first exempt-payroll female in all of the six locations that I covered. I couldn’t help but wonder, “where did all the women go?” I carried this question with me as I progressed through my own career journey.

When I joined Corning in 2000, I was attracted to its overall mission and vision and its legacy of being one of the greatest institutions in the world committed to research, science, and development. I was also attracted by the high value the company places on the individuals who make up the organization.

As I reflect on my time at Corning, I feel fortunate to have been part of the efforts to build up a generation of women who contribute to this purpose-driven organization. And, in my role as senior VP of HR, I have integrated into our HR and talent systems the ability to take risks on people earlier in their careers. I do this because we know from research that developmentally challenging assignments correlate with exponential growth later in individuals’ career journeys.

Using data to find root causes

We want Corning to be an inclusive workplace and an employer of choice, where all employees can reach their maximum potential and thrive, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability. Using data to monitor hiring and promotion trends and formulate our diversity in leadership strategy has been key in building this kind of environment.

For instance, in 2003 we took a hard look at 25 years of previous diversity initiatives and recognized we still weren’t where we wanted to be with diversity in leadership. Our workforce was predominantly white and male, and lagging in standards such as those set by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the United States.

To change this, we used our wealth of internal HR information and U.S. Census data to identify opportunities for improvement. Then we deployed a strategy to close the gaps based on four focus areas. First, we set internal promotion goals and monitored them monthly. Next, we built our capability to hire available diverse talent; we also reduced attrition gaps. Finally, we implemented a promotions approvals process.

As a result, we were able to identify the source of problems, drill down to their root causes, and then take actions to remedy them. For instance, we found out that our attrition rate for women was two times that of men, and for minorities, it was about one-and-a-half times the rate of non-minorities.

Additionally, the data helped us discover why we didn’t have more women in certain job categories, such as general managers – a key leadership position at Corning. I was able to use 10 years of data to look at every woman who was identified with a high potential for a general manager position and find out how they progressed through the company. I could see what experiences they had versus their male counterparts and extrapolate the data to explore two or three differentiated outcomes. Perhaps these women didn’t get international assignments, or they didn’t have a senior officer as their corporate sponsor, or maybe they didn’t go to a top MBA school.

I knew all of this because of the data. And with this knowledge, we started doing things differently and increased the pipeline of women in our general manager pool. Since 2003, analyzing and using data strategically has enabled us to successfully double the number of women and African-Americans and triple the number of other ethnic minorities in senior leadership positions at Corning.

Building a future of diversity – and success 

As an innovation leader that relies on diverse talent as a strategic advantage, Corning wants to attract the best graduating engineers and scientists and move them quickly into our discovery programs. It’s been a challenge, because almost 70% of the professional people we employ have technical degrees in engineering or a hard science. Schools have consistently only graduated about 20% women and about five percent non-white minorities with these degrees.

Because of this, we’ve been aggressively pursuing STEM programs within school systems. We work to help increase the percentage of minorities in these programs at the college level, so we have a richer pipeline of diverse individuals coming into our company in the future.

This blog is part of our Defining Moment series. At SAP, our higher purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. We are committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and moving #BusinessBeyondBias. To learn more about the future of diversity and inclusion, visit www.successfactors.com and watch this video to hear from Christine and other leaders on the topic. 

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Christine Pambianchi

About Christine Pambianchi

Christine M. Pambianchi is Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Corning. In this role, she is responsible for leading the company's Global Human Resource and Global Security functions. Christine has led the HR function since January 2008 when she was named vice president.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Daniel Schmid

About Daniel Schmid

Daniel Schmid was appointed Chief Sustainability Officer at SAP in 2014. Since 2008 he has been engaged in transforming SAP into a role model of a sustainable organization, establishing mid and long term sustainability targets. Linking non-financial and financial performance are key achievements of Daniel and his team.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Michael Laprocido

About Michael Laprocido

Mike Laprocido serves as a Strategic Industry Advisor for SAP. He is responsible for developing thought leadership and driving SAP solution adoption in the chemical and oil and gas industries. With over three decades in various executive roles at BP Oil, BP Chemicals, Kuraray America, Panda Energy and IBM prior to joining SAP, Mike has gained a broad and deep industry knowledge base that he leverages to help his clients to innovate and transform their business through the application of digital technology.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Joerg Koesters

About Joerg Koesters

Joerg Koesters is the Head of Retail Marketing and Communication at SAP. He is a Technology Marketing executive with 20 years of experience in Marketing, Sales and Consulting, Joerg has deep knowledge in retail and consumer products having worked both in the industry and in the technology sector.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Rob Meikle

About Rob Meikle

Rob Meikle is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Toronto, Canada's largest city, sixth largest government and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Jason Bloomberg

About Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is founder and president of the agile digital transformation analyst firm Intellyx. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top digital transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists. Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books, including The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Lane Leskela

About Lane Leskela

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

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Jennifer Scholze

About Jennifer Scholze

Jennifer Scholze is the Global Lead for Industry Marketing for the Mill Products and Mining Industries at SAP. She has over 20 years of technology marketing, communications and venture capital experience and lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Matt Wilkinson

About Matt Wilkinson

Matt Wilkinson is the General Manager, Consumer Industries for SAP ANZ. Having operational roles in consumer industries organisations combined with 20+ years of professional services in both delivery and sales roles with cloud and on premise solutions, provide him with a unique insight to help organisations achieve effective digital transformation.

Workplace Diversity: Attracting And Keeping More Women In Technology

Susan Galer

Many people are drawn to careers in technology where they can shape our future by women in technologydeveloping innovations. Unless you happen to be a woman.

On a recent broadcast of SAP’s Game-Changing Women Radio – “Women in Technology: Decoding Diversity in Silicon Valley and Beyond,” four people who beat the odds to create accomplished tech careers talked about what challenges await women in the field today, and how we can improve their chances of success.

Believe in yourself

According to host Bonnie D. Graham, women earn only 18 percent of undergraduate degrees and less than 4 percent of doctorates in computer science and engineering. What’s more, in 2012 women filled only 25 percent of jobs in technology fields, and held just one-fifth of Fortune 250 CIO positions.

Rathna Kedilaya, Head of the SAP Financial Services, Healthcare and Utilities Practices at Tata Consultancy Services, was surprised by these numbers, given all of the women pioneers in computer programming in the last century, but she remained optimistic.

“It’s really a surprising status, because especially in the past, women were very much responsible for pioneering computer programming and it’s really sad to see their status dropping,” she said. “Despite all the challenges we women face, if we believe that we can achieve great things on par or even better than our male colleagues, we can break the glass ceiling. We have a lot of women leaders today like Indra Nooyi, Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina who have actually proven that to us.”

Transform workplaces

Sarah Allen, founder and Program Director of Bridge Foundry said that workplace transformation is needed to stop the exodus of two-thirds of women with a computer science degree from the field within a few years of graduating. Bridge Foundry is a non-profit organization offering free technology learning programs to underserved populations nationwide.

“I repeatedly hear these stories of very difficult work environments for women,” said Allen. “We need men to realize…that in order to get the talent and keep the talent, we need to transform our workplaces, and how we treat each other with respect and how we acknowledge work, and how we amplify diverse voices…I think we can absolutely change the flood of women leaving the workplace by finding those workplaces where women are able to do amazing work.”

In addition to established companies, startups have an important role fostering workplace diversity from day one.

“It is absolutely a success criteria to have a diverse founding team in all respects,” said Allen. “They’re bringing their whole networks, they’re bringing their perspective and friends and families…to your startup. You want to have this broad network as humanly possible for your company to be the most successful.”

According to Allen, creativity thrives in diverse groups of people. “We need the imagination, the inspiration of women and men and older people and younger people and people of all races and all backgrounds and all classes or we’re not going to secure that [creativity].”

Showcase accomplishments, not gender

Somewhat paradoxically, diversity also includes moving beyond gender-based discussions. According to Nicole McCabe, senior director of global diversity and Inclusion at SAP, focusing on someone’s achievements based on their gender can prevent women from getting the recognition they deserve.

“I really think you need to…move away from just talking about people as women to talking about their accomplishments, and talking about their expertise and their skills, and not always about the challenge,” said McCabe. “I think sometimes it gets negated when we talk about the fact that she is a woman – that takes away from her accomplishments.”

The technology industry’s future depends on drawing from the largest pool of creative talent, making diversity a number one priority. Welcoming women into the workplace is a shared responsibility for every senior decision-maker, hiring manager and employee. Change isn’t easy but like every groundbreaking innovation the rewards are epic.

Want more insight on HR best practices? See 5 Bad Habits HR Needs to Break in 2015.

Comments

Marina Simonians

About Marina Simonians

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

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Daniel Schmid

About Daniel Schmid

Daniel Schmid was appointed Chief Sustainability Officer at SAP in 2014. Since 2008 he has been engaged in transforming SAP into a role model of a sustainable organization, establishing mid and long term sustainability targets. Linking non-financial and financial performance are key achievements of Daniel and his team.

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Michael Laprocido

About Michael Laprocido

Mike Laprocido serves as a Strategic Industry Advisor for SAP. He is responsible for developing thought leadership and driving SAP solution adoption in the chemical and oil and gas industries. With over three decades in various executive roles at BP Oil, BP Chemicals, Kuraray America, Panda Energy and IBM prior to joining SAP, Mike has gained a broad and deep industry knowledge base that he leverages to help his clients to innovate and transform their business through the application of digital technology.

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Joerg Koesters

About Joerg Koesters

Joerg Koesters is the Head of Retail Marketing and Communication at SAP. He is a Technology Marketing executive with 20 years of experience in Marketing, Sales and Consulting, Joerg has deep knowledge in retail and consumer products having worked both in the industry and in the technology sector.

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Rob Meikle

About Rob Meikle

Rob Meikle is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Toronto, Canada's largest city, sixth largest government and home to a diverse population of about 2.7 million people.

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Jason Bloomberg

About Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is founder and president of the agile digital transformation analyst firm Intellyx. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top digital transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists. Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books, including The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Lane Leskela

About Lane Leskela

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

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Jennifer Scholze

About Jennifer Scholze

Jennifer Scholze is the Global Lead for Industry Marketing for the Mill Products and Mining Industries at SAP. She has over 20 years of technology marketing, communications and venture capital experience and lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Matt Wilkinson

About Matt Wilkinson

Matt Wilkinson is the General Manager, Consumer Industries for SAP ANZ. Having operational roles in consumer industries organisations combined with 20+ years of professional services in both delivery and sales roles with cloud and on premise solutions, provide him with a unique insight to help organisations achieve effective digital transformation.

Why Social Selling Is Not About Selling

Jim Fields

Social selling is a hot topic in the worlds of sales and marketing these days.  At its most Man Shopping Onlinebasic, social selling is a way to use social networks to establish and further relationships with influencers and decision-makers within organizations that are prospects for your products or services. By building a strong personal brand within the online places and communities that your prospects frequent, you can make connections and open doors in ways that traditional sales tactics like cold-calling cannot.

I recently participated in a great conversation about social selling on Game Changers Radio.  One point I made during the broadcast is that the term “social selling” is actually a bad name for what we are talking about. Yes, at the end of the day social selling strategies and tactics can help sales people gain access to accounts and spawn relationships and conversations with executive contacts they may not have had otherwise.  But if the implication of the term is that we are always “selling” in our online engagements, then we are violating one of the core principles of digital discourse: Authenticity.

Nothing damages your online brand faster than parroting a party line, prematurely pushing your relationships into a transactional conversation, or joining an affinity group solely so you can chase its members for business.  I don’t know how many times I’ve joined a group or accepted a LinkedIn connection, only to have people immediately descend like locusts, pushing their products and services.

To me, social selling done well is about four things: Listening, Voice, Content, and Network.

  • Listening. Would you walk into a room full of strangers and start shouting? Of course not. The best sales and marketing professionals have always done their research and listened closely to the customer before talking. The same goes for social selling. In fact, 80% of effective social selling is using social and digital tools to gather rich insights about prospects and customers. Once you master the art and science of listening with social media, you will be better able to engage with insights, improve meeting outcomes, and share content based on the interests and priorities of the individuals and groups within your network.
  • Voice. Your ability to be an effective social influencer is largely determined by the voice you bring to the conversations you have in online engagements.  You must be authentic, open, and transparent.  You are an ambassador of your brand, yes, but you must also be an expert in your own right and have a point of view that stands on its own within the context of the conversations that your network is having. Over time, an authentic and relevant voice will drive more and deeper engagement that leads to business opportunities than trying to quickly turn new relationships into transactions.
  •  Content. Content is king, and the need for great content only grows over time.  This is one of the great challenges of scaling a social selling program and in my opinion is where marketing organizations will deliver the greatest value once the social selling wave moves past the missionary phase into the mainstream. Content is more about curation of other people’s great content that your creation of your own. To me, the right mix is probably 90/10 or 80/20 curated vs. original.
  • Network.  Despite claims to the contrary, size doesn’t matter when it comes to your personal network.  Quality matters. The level of engagement matters. The ability to reach the right people and have them react to your content, share or challenge your POV, and give you access to their networks is more important than sheer numbers.  The key here is if you do Listening, Voice, and Content right, the size and quality of your network will grow in response.

This blog first appeared in SAP Business Trends.

Want more sales and marketing strategies that work? See How to Create Better Marketing Stories: Find the Heroism.

Comments

Marina Simonians

About Marina Simonians

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

The Blockchain Solution

By Gil Perez, Tom Raftery, Hans Thalbauer, Dan Wellers, and Fawn Fitter

In 2013, several UK supermarket chains discovered that products they were selling as beef were actually made at least partly—and in some cases, entirely—from horsemeat. The resulting uproar led to a series of product recalls, prompted stricter food testing, and spurred the European food industry to take a closer look at how unlabeled or mislabeled ingredients were finding their way into the food chain.

By 2020, a scandal like this will be eminently preventable.

The separation between bovine and equine will become immutable with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which will track the provenance and identity of every animal from stall to store, adding the data to a blockchain that anyone can check but no one can alter.

Food processing companies will be able to use that blockchain to confirm and label the contents of their products accordingly—down to the specific farms and animals represented in every individual package. That level of detail may be too much information for shoppers, but they will at least be able to trust that their meatballs come from the appropriate species.

The Spine of Digitalization

Keeping food safer and more traceable is just the beginning, however. Improvements in the supply chain, which have been incremental for decades despite billions of dollars of technology investments, are about to go exponential. Emerging technologies are converging to transform the supply chain from tactical to strategic, from an easily replicable commodity to a new source of competitive differentiation.

You may already be thinking about how to take advantage of blockchain technology, which makes data and transactions immutable, transparent, and verifiable (see “What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?”). That will be a powerful tool to boost supply chain speed and efficiency—always a worthy goal, but hardly a disruptive one.

However, if you think of blockchain as the spine of digitalization and technologies such as AI, the IoT, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and drones as the limbs, you have a powerful supply chain body that can leapfrog ahead of its competition.

What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?

Here’s why blockchain technology is critical to transforming the supply chain.

Blockchain is essentially a sequential, distributed ledger of transactions that is constantly updated on a global network of computers. The ownership and history of a transaction is embedded in the blockchain at the transaction’s earliest stages and verified at every subsequent stage.

A blockchain network uses vast amounts of computing power to encrypt the ledger as it’s being written. This makes it possible for every computer in the network to verify the transactions safely and transparently. The more organizations that participate in the ledger, the more complex and secure the encryption becomes, making it increasingly tamperproof.

Why does blockchain matter for the supply chain?

  • It enables the safe exchange of value without a central verifying partner, which makes transactions faster and less expensive.
  • It dramatically simplifies recordkeeping by establishing a single, authoritative view of the truth across all parties.
  • It builds a secure, immutable history and chain of custody as different parties handle the items being shipped, and it updates the relevant documentation.
  • By doing these things, blockchain allows companies to create smart contracts based on programmable business logic, which can execute themselves autonomously and thereby save time and money by reducing friction and intermediaries.

Hints of the Future

In the mid-1990s, when the World Wide Web was in its infancy, we had no idea that the internet would become so large and pervasive, nor that we’d find a way to carry it all in our pockets on small slabs of glass.

But we could tell that it had vast potential.

Today, with the combination of emerging technologies that promise to turbocharge digital transformation, we’re just beginning to see how we might turn the supply chain into a source of competitive advantage (see “What’s the Magic Combination?”).

What’s the Magic Combination?

Those who focus on blockchain in isolation will miss out on a much bigger supply chain opportunity.

Many experts believe emerging technologies will work with blockchain to digitalize the supply chain and create new business models:

  • Blockchain will provide the foundation of automated trust for all parties in the supply chain.
  • The IoT will link objects—from tiny devices to large machines—and generate data about status, locations, and transactions that will be recorded on the blockchain.
  • 3D printing will extend the supply chain to the customer’s doorstep with hyperlocal manufacturing of parts and products with IoT sensors built into the items and/or their packaging. Every manufactured object will be smart, connected, and able to communicate so that it can be tracked and traced as needed.
  • Big Data management tools will process all the information streaming in around the clock from IoT sensors.
  • AI and machine learning will analyze this enormous amount of data to reveal patterns and enable true predictability in every area of the supply chain.

Combining these technologies with powerful analytics tools to predict trends will make lack of visibility into the supply chain a thing of the past. Organizations will be able to examine a single machine across its entire lifecycle and identify areas where they can improve performance and increase return on investment. They’ll be able to follow and monitor every component of a product, from design through delivery and service. They’ll be able to trigger and track automated actions between and among partners and customers to provide customized transactions in real time based on real data.

After decades of talk about markets of one, companies will finally have the power to create them—at scale and profitably.

Amazon, for example, is becoming as much a logistics company as a retailer. Its ordering and delivery systems are so streamlined that its customers can launch and complete a same-day transaction with a push of a single IP-enabled button or a word to its ever-attentive AI device, Alexa. And this level of experimentation and innovation is bubbling up across industries.

Consider manufacturing, where the IoT is transforming automation inside already highly automated factories. Machine-to-machine communication is enabling robots to set up, provision, and unload equipment quickly and accurately with minimal human intervention. Meanwhile, sensors across the factory floor are already capable of gathering such information as how often each machine needs maintenance or how much raw material to order given current production trends.

Once they harvest enough data, businesses will be able to feed it through machine learning algorithms to identify trends that forecast future outcomes. At that point, the supply chain will start to become both automated and predictive. We’ll begin to see business models that include proactively scheduling maintenance, replacing parts just before they’re likely to break, and automatically ordering materials and initiating customer shipments.

Italian train operator Trenitalia, for example, has put IoT sensors on its locomotives and passenger cars and is using analytics and in-memory computing to gauge the health of its trains in real time, according to an article in Computer Weekly. “It is now possible to affordably collect huge amounts of data from hundreds of sensors in a single train, analyse that data in real time and detect problems before they actually happen,” Trenitalia’s CIO Danilo Gismondi told Computer Weekly.

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will change Trenitalia’s business model, allowing it to schedule more trips and make each one more profitable. The railway company will be able to better plan parts inventories and determine which lines are consistently performing poorly and need upgrades. The new system will save €100 million a year, according to ARC Advisory Group.

New business models continue to evolve as 3D printers become more sophisticated and affordable, making it possible to move the end of the supply chain closer to the customer. Companies can design parts and products in materials ranging from carbon fiber to chocolate and then print those items in their warehouse, at a conveniently located third-party vendor, or even on the client’s premises.

In addition to minimizing their shipping expenses and reducing fulfillment time, companies will be able to offer more personalized or customized items affordably in small quantities. For example, clothing retailer Ministry of Supply recently installed a 3D printer at its Boston store that enables it to make an article of clothing to a customer’s specifications in under 90 minutes, according to an article in Forbes.

This kind of highly distributed manufacturing has potential across many industries. It could even create a market for secure manufacturing for highly regulated sectors, allowing a manufacturer to transmit encrypted templates to printers in tightly protected locations, for example.

Meanwhile, organizations are investigating ways of using blockchain technology to authenticate, track and trace, automate, and otherwise manage transactions and interactions, both internally and within their vendor and customer networks. The ability to collect data, record it on the blockchain for immediate verification, and make that trustworthy data available for any application delivers indisputable value in any business context. The supply chain will be no exception.

Blockchain Is the Change Driver

The supply chain is configured as we know it today because it’s impossible to create a contract that accounts for every possible contingency. Consider cross-border financial transfers, which are so complex and must meet so many regulations that they require a tremendous number of intermediaries to plug the gaps: lawyers, accountants, customer service reps, warehouse operators, bankers, and more. By reducing that complexity, blockchain technology makes intermediaries less necessary—a transformation that is revolutionary even when measured only in cost savings.

“If you’re selling 100 items a minute, 24 hours a day, reducing the cost of the supply chain by just $1 per item saves you more than $52.5 million a year,” notes Dirk Lonser, SAP go-to-market leader at DXC Technology, an IT services company. “By replacing manual processes and multiple peer-to-peer connections through fax or e-mail with a single medium where everyone can exchange verified information instantaneously, blockchain will boost profit margins exponentially without raising prices or even increasing individual productivity.”

But the potential for blockchain extends far beyond cost cutting and streamlining, says Irfan Khan, CEO of supply chain management consulting and systems integration firm Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group company. It will give companies ways to differentiate.

“Blockchain will let enterprises more accurately trace faulty parts or products from end users back to factories for recalls,” Khan says. “It will streamline supplier onboarding, contracting, and management by creating an integrated platform that the company’s entire network can access in real time. It will give vendors secure, transparent visibility into inventory 24×7. And at a time when counterfeiting is a real concern in multiple industries, it will make it easy for both retailers and customers to check product authenticity.”

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials. Although the key parts of the process remain the same as in today’s analog supply chain, performing them electronically with blockchain technology shortens each stage from hours or days to seconds while eliminating reams of wasteful paperwork. With goods moving that quickly, companies have ample room for designing new business models around manufacturing, service, and delivery.

Challenges on the Path to Adoption

For all this to work, however, the data on the blockchain must be correct from the beginning. The pills, produce, or parts on the delivery truck need to be the same as the items listed on the manifest at the loading dock. Every use case assumes that the data is accurate—and that will only happen when everything that’s manufactured is smart, connected, and able to self-verify automatically with the help of machine learning tuned to detect errors and potential fraud.

Companies are already seeing the possibilities of applying this bundle of emerging technologies to the supply chain. IDC projects that by 2021, at least 25% of Forbes Global 2000 (G2000) companies will use blockchain services as a foundation for digital trust at scale; 30% of top global manufacturers and retailers will do so by 2020. IDC also predicts that by 2020, up to 10% of pilot and production blockchain-distributed ledgers will incorporate data from IoT sensors.

Despite IDC’s optimism, though, the biggest barrier to adoption is the early stage level of enterprise use cases, particularly around blockchain. Currently, the sole significant enterprise blockchain production system is the virtual currency Bitcoin, which has unfortunately been tainted by its associations with speculation, dubious financial transactions, and the so-called dark web.

The technology is still in a sufficiently early stage that there’s significant uncertainty about its ability to handle the massive amounts of data a global enterprise supply chain generates daily. Never mind that it’s completely unregulated, with no global standard. There’s also a critical global shortage of experts who can explain emerging technologies like blockchain, the IoT, and machine learning to nontechnology industries and educate organizations in how the technologies can improve their supply chain processes. Finally, there is concern about how blockchain’s complex algorithms gobble computing power—and electricity (see “Blockchain Blackouts”).

Blockchain Blackouts

Blockchain is a power glutton. Can technology mediate the issue?

A major concern today is the enormous carbon footprint of the networks creating and solving the algorithmic problems that keep blockchains secure. Although virtual currency enthusiasts claim the problem is overstated, Michael Reed, head of blockchain technology for Intel, has been widely quoted as saying that the energy demands of blockchains are a significant drain on the world’s electricity resources.

Indeed, Wired magazine has estimated that by July 2019, the Bitcoin network alone will require more energy than the entire United States currently uses and that by February 2020 it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

Still, computing power is becoming more energy efficient by the day and sticking with paperwork will become too slow, so experts—Intel’s Reed among them—consider this a solvable problem.

“We don’t know yet what the market will adopt. In a decade, it might be status quo or best practice, or it could be the next Betamax, a great technology for which there was no demand,” Lonser says. “Even highly regulated industries that need greater transparency in the entire supply chain are moving fairly slowly.”

Blockchain will require acceptance by a critical mass of companies, governments, and other organizations before it displaces paper documentation. It’s a chicken-and-egg issue: multiple companies need to adopt these technologies at the same time so they can build a blockchain to exchange information, yet getting multiple companies to do anything simultaneously is a challenge. Some early initiatives are already underway, though:

  • A London-based startup called Everledger is using blockchain and IoT technology to track the provenance, ownership, and lifecycles of valuable assets. The company began by tracking diamonds from mine to jewelry using roughly 200 different characteristics, with a goal of stopping both the demand for and the supply of “conflict diamonds”—diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance insurgencies. It has since expanded to cover wine, artwork, and other high-value items to prevent fraud and verify authenticity.
  • In September 2017, SAP announced the creation of its SAP Leonardo Blockchain Co-Innovation program, a group of 27 enterprise customers interested in co-innovating around blockchain and creating business buy-in. The diverse group of participants includes management and technology services companies Capgemini and Deloitte, cosmetics company Natura Cosméticos S.A., and Moog Inc., a manufacturer of precision motion control systems.
  • Two of Europe’s largest shipping ports—Rotterdam and Antwerp—are working on blockchain projects to streamline interaction with port customers. The Antwerp terminal authority says eliminating paperwork could cut the costs of container transport by as much as 50%.
  • The Chinese online shopping behemoth Alibaba is experimenting with blockchain to verify the authenticity of food products and catch counterfeits before they endanger people’s health and lives.
  • Technology and transportation executives have teamed up to create the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for developing blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.

It’s likely that the first blockchain-based enterprise supply chain use case will emerge in the next year among companies that see it as an opportunity to bolster their legal compliance and improve business processes. Once that happens, expect others to follow.

Customers Will Expect Change

It’s only a matter of time before the supply chain becomes a competitive driver. The question for today’s enterprises is how to prepare for the shift. Customers are going to expect constant, granular visibility into their transactions and faster, more customized service every step of the way. Organizations will need to be ready to meet those expectations.

If organizations have manual business processes that could never be automated before, now is the time to see if it’s possible. Organizations that have made initial investments in emerging technologies are looking at how their pilot projects are paying off and where they might extend to the supply chain. They are starting to think creatively about how to combine technologies to offer a product, service, or business model not possible before.

A manufacturer will load a self-driving truck with a 3D printer capable of creating a customer’s ordered item en route to delivering it. A vendor will capture the market for a socially responsible product by allowing its customers to track the product’s production and verify that none of its subcontractors use slave labor. And a supermarket chain will win over customers by persuading them that their choice of supermarket is also a choice between being certain of what’s in their food and simply hoping that what’s on the label matches what’s inside.

At that point, a smart supply chain won’t just be a competitive edge. It will become a competitive necessity. D!


About the Authors

Gil Perez is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

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

Hans Thalbauer is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Dan Wellers is Global Lead, Digital Futures, at SAP.

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology.

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

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CEO Priorities And Challenges In The Digital World

Dr. Chakib Bouhdary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dr. Chakib Bouhdary

About Dr. Chakib Bouhdary

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