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The Future Of Enterprise IT: 30 Executives Share Their 2013 Predictions

Brian Rice

The Future of Enterprise ITIn 2012, we saw four major trends evolve: 1) a shift towards the “cloud” 2) the need for processing/analyzing “big data” 3) an increased reliability on mobile technology 4) the consumerization of IT.  As we head into 2013, these four trends will play an even larger part in enterprise IT according to the 30 executives that shared their 2013 predictions with us.

1. Oliver Bussmann – Global CIO at SAP@sapcio

In the next 12-18 months, we will see the Consumerization of IT become the norm in the enterprise. If CIO’s and IT organizations weren’t able to contend with this reality in 2012, they will need to meet it head-on in 2013. Gartner talks about the Era of Nexus and I like this because it describes the coming together of big data, constant access and connection through mobile and social and new delivery capabilities through the Cloud. The new Era is here; in order for IT organizations to stay relevant, they will have to adapt by building organizational competencies that exude speed, flexibility, security and closer ties to the business.

I predict that machine to machine communication will become a reality in the enterprise in 2013, so it will be exciting for IT to play an active role in this innovation area. I’m also hearing about “wearable” electronics but let’s check back in on this one 12 months from now.

2. Mounil Patel, North American Director, Professional Services, Mimecast

The past several years can arguably be considered the year of the cloud, during which IT began seriously planning and implementing strategies to control costs by leveraging cloud technologies, with a major trend being cloud based email. The cloud offers more than just a way to do something cheaper or easier and I expect 2013 to be the year that IT begins leveraging their cloud footprint to deliver new capabilities that are difficult to provide on premise. I also expect to see cloud solutions expand in order to provide better ways of collaborating and sharing data between employees, partners, and customers. The best cloud platforms will solve the old IT problems while providing the average worker a breadth of new features to work more efficiently on a daily basis.

3. Marc Price, CTO, Americas, Openet

Enterprises and small businesses will increasingly enable employees to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to the workplace into 2013. BYOD is shown to increase productivity, reduce a financial burden on the business, and with subsidies eroding on mobile handsets, the market is ripe for increased BYOD penetration. Appropriate policies and security measures will have to be put in place over the next year in order to enable employees to use these devices securely and smartly, in a workplace appropriate manner while on the clock. Client software coordinated with network software from service providers will assist in enabling employees to use the devices of their choice in alignment with company policies and goals.

4. Don Keane, Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy, Angel

As mobile devices continue to be favored by customers, this is quickly growing into a major channel and form of communication between brands and its customers. Keeping this in mind, designing a seamless mobile customer experience should be the number one concern for businesses in 2013 to not only help businesses better communicate with their customers, but also enable their employees to work more efficiently.

Speech capabilities in mobile apps will increase productivity for both employees and customers while providing an intuitive on-to-go mobile experience that allows people to speak their commands instead of manually typing and navigating through applications. As more and more devices compete in the mobile marketplace, users will continue to expect new emerging devices to offer better and more productive technology into 2013.

Voice integration within mobile applications has become a huge differentiator for consumer applications over the past year, however there is still a huge market opportunity for businesses. I expect to see more businesses win customer loyalty and improve their customers’ experience through voice technology integrated in mobile devices and applications in 2013.

Also, with contextual applications on the rise, mobile applications will continue to get smarter by learning the users preferences through analytics, making the mobile customer experience faster and more enjoyable. Marketers especially need to lead this effort and encourage their businesses to develop mobile applications that put the user’s needs first, especially if the app includes transactional features.

5. Dwayne Melancon – Chief Technology Officer at Tripwire, Inc. – @ThatDwayne

Tight budgets in 2013 will force organizations (public and private sector) to become more innovative, as they are required to get their job done with limited resources. This will drive the move toward more automation, as well as the search for more “proactive” projects. For example, I believe we’ll see a surge in cloud adoption, SaaS offerings, and vendor consolidation. The one area of aggressive investment will be information security, where the focus will be on system and application hardening (reducing the attack surface), as well as tighter identity and access management in an effort to protect data more effectively with less effort. We will also see a stronger move to connect security to the business to enable better prioritization of security spending and resource allocation.

6. Timothy Garcia, founder and CEO of Apptricity Corporation – @apptricity

CEOs often invest in getting their hands on “Big Data,” only to realize they don’t know what to do with it. With all of the hype surrounding Big Data, I see a huge need for applications that actually make sense of it all and help C-levels view everything within their organizations.  Additionally, with our current economy, companies now more than ever need to focus on supply chain issues to solve problems in 2013. The margin for error is smaller than it’s ever been and software applications that solve such issues are going to become increasingly important to the success of any company.

7. George Mashini, CEO of Catavolt – @CatavoltInc

Cloud technology and mobile technology are converging to deliver a completely new opportunity for enterprises to efficiently deliver enterprise data to mobile workers.

BYOD, recognized to be an industry trend due to consumerization rather than innovation, will become mainstream as IT departments are forced to deal with the useful and aesthetically-appealing applications that consumers use every day to make their personal tasks more productive.

There will be consolidation in the field of enterprise mobility. A shift away from mobilizing expensive, complex all-encompassing ERP applications will lead to more cost-effective extension of enterprise data, applications and content. This downward shift in the cost of enterprise mobility and increased efficiency will lead to increased adoption among companies actively looking for a mobile strategy. Onlookers, comprising mostly of the mid-market and up, will most likely remain onlookers and wait for a leader or two to emerge in the space.

8. Jens Karstoft, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Zmags – @Zmags

The holiday season has proven that the mobile shopping is here to stay, in particular the tablet. For marketers, this solidifies the channel as an effective way to communicate with consumers and more importantly, a powerful tool for data collection. In 2013, marketers will be tasked with combining this data with that of more traditional channels such as point-of-sale and ecommerce to effectively reach the growing number of mobile shoppers. Those marketers that can streamline this data to better target mobile shoppers with personalized catalogs, magazines and overall experiences as a result of the data will come out on top moving into 2013 and onward.

9. Brian Reagan, VP of Product Marketing at Actifio – @Actifio

The cost of managing copies of data will exceed the cost of managing production, forcing companies to rethink their strategy for Copy Data management. The need for multiple copies of data for various purposes (backup, business continuity, disaster recovery, test & development, analytics, etc) remains mission critical, yet as data volumes continue to accelerate, the ability to meet service levels at a reasonable cost is challenged. New disruptive innovations will become mainstream to address these challenges.

10. Rob May, CEO of Backupify – @RobMay

2013 will be the year of the cloud security middleware explosion. We will see middleware that sits over various levels of the cloud stack to provide enhanced security, and it will be adopted by both sides – the customer (CIO) side, and the ISV side. By the end of next year most cloud companies will be discussing the security offerings with which they are compatible.

Enterprises will start to move to public clouds, but will use a multi-cloud strategy including niche cloud offerings. 2013 will be the year when cloud moves beyond the innovator and early adopter companies to the early majority. While you will hear about how many large companies keep significant data and applications on premise, you will hear the first stories of Fortune 1000 companies going all cloud by embracing major public clouds like Amazon, Rackspace, and Azure for most of their needs, and specialized clouds for things that have heavy and unique compliance or security requirements.

The first whispers of the need for SaaS data to be discoverable and subject to legal holds will arise. E-discovery always lags the tech industry a bit because lawsuits are typically backward looking, so now that we have witnessed several years of rapid SaaS adoption, it will soon be time for some SaaS application to be an important part of a major lawsuit.

11. Andrew Graf, Lead Analyst at TeamDynamix

Many IT organizations are searching for identity. The rapid pace of changing business needs and technologies has created an environment where managing infrastructure, support and projects isn’t enough to avoid the commoditization of IT. 2013 and beyond will see those IT organizations who will thrive focusing on how they help the business achieve it’s strategic objectives and how they help their clients resolve problems with IT solutions not on the IT solutions themselves. Leading IT organizations have to manage technology well. That is requisite. The best will truly understand the organizations goals and problems and offer creative solutions to successfully addressing both.

12. Nathan Spoonts, Vice President of Technology at HomeFinder.com – @HomeFinder1

The use of mobile devices as a primary Internet source will continue to increase. Users are becoming less interested in downloading an app to access a site/upgrading to use new functionality, so companies benefit by not having to support multiple versions of the app and having the functionality from the current web release available to mobile users.

There will continue to be an upsurge in migration to cloud computing. With the increase in the range and reliability of cloud services, this can be a sound option for smaller companies that don’t have the resources to build out and maintain their own infrastructure. It can also be a more affordable way to store data, particularly of the volume required by big data analysis.

13. Dave Laurello, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board at Stratus Technologies – @stratus4uptime

This will be the year of ‘community cloud computing,’ which I like to call the affinity cloud. Large groups with shared business challenges will create or subscribe to a cloud service that meets their unique computing, security and business needs. For example, think of a few dozen community hospitals that want an electronic health records system with assured HIPPA compliance. Large organizations also can create clouds for subsets of their client bases. A charity, for example, sets up a transaction management site for micro-lenders to third-world nations, with the necessary safeguards to protect Personally Identifiable Information (PII). As with public clouds, affinity clouds provide the cost savings and scalability of compute-on-demand with the added advantages of better control and security, prevention of unplanned downtime, and a true understanding of its user community.

14. Irad Carmi, CTO at TOA Technologies – @iradcarmi

I believe that in 2013, businesses will look to the applications they have to better use this real-time data in new ways – such as enabling better social connections and making in-the-moment decisions.  For example, think about the benefits to people like service employees, out in the field, trying to get to the right customer at the right time – if they could easily know which coworkers were nearby, and with what inventory, more appointments could be completed within the allotted wait time promised to customers.

15. Carlos Montero-Luque, Chief Technology Officer at Apperian

CIOs will reach a level of comfort with mobile BYOD in the enterprise that enables broad deployments to happen in the largest companies. Access will remain somewhat restricted to very sensitive apps and content while vendors work to ensure that the mobile environment is as secure as traditional behind the firewall environments.

Mobile collaboration for specific business tasks will be a driver for innovation in enterprise apps. The ability to share content securely and temporarily across work teams will change how people interact with their mobile devices and with each other by making the enterprise mobile experience less individual and more shared across teams.

Mobile device management will be replaced by a broader view of enterprise mobility management that incorporates a holistic view of apps, content, access to backend services, as well as networks and devices that comprehensively addresses all aspects of mobility within an enterprise. Hardware vendors will integrate more MDM capabilities within their devices, to enable their easier integration into broader mobility management suites.

16. Robert E. Stroud, CGEIT, CRISC, a member of ISACA’s Strategic Advisory Council and Vice President of Innovation and Strategy and Service Management/Cloud Computing and Governance evangelist at CA Technologies – @RobertEStroud

2013 will be a year significant challenges for the IT organization, as IT continues to become more complex with the acceleration of the consumerization of IT combined with the ability to embed IT into everything, along with the growth of technology outside of IT. This will be led by a number of trends including the continuing proliferation of devices, as employees supplement employer-allocated devices with their own and organizations move to allow employees’ use of these for business.

Big Data will be a key topic and continue the growth in data and, more importantly, the use of the information for business value through linking analytics and pattern recognition. Exploitation of the information will be the business requirement, while protecting the privacy of the individual will become the subject of concern for many individuals.

Additionally, the CIO will have to cope with the proliferation of IT outside of CIO’s and IT’s span of control. In line with the ISACA mantra, “Trust in and value from IT,” 2013 is going to be a year in which security, privacy and effective enterprise governance of IT will be critical for the CIO to ensure value is delivered from IT, with an acceptable level of risk and appropriate security and privacy concerns taken into account.

17. Sven Hammar, Co-Founder and CEO of Apica – @apicasystems

By 2014, mobile Internet usage is expected to exceed desktop Internet usage. That means that in 2013 developers and marketers will be hard at work fine-tuning their mobile apps and websites to capitalize on this audience. Performance testing will become more complex as mobile features will need to be considered in all test case scenarios. As a result, application testing tools will evolve to support any type of device with dynamic HTML versus device-specific code. Special protocols like WebSocket and SPDY will also become mainstream.

As mobile Internet usage steadily increases to exceed desktop usage, and as web applications become more complex, application monitoring and more specifically the ability to detect and locate the origin of performance problems will be a challenge for IT organizations. 2013 will be the year when performance monitoring will shift focus from just “Is it up or is it down?” to provide agile support for performance status and optimization of applications both in the cloud and on local enterprise networks.

18. Lou Guercia, CEO of Scribe Software – @LouGuercia

The hybrid environments will be the leading IT infrastructure in 2013.  Although customer-facing systems such as CRM are increasingly migrating to the cloud, ERP systems, housing sensitive record information, will remain mostly on-premise. Hence, nimble data integration between cloud and on-premise systems will be a key IT trend in 2013.

19. Deepak Kumar, CTO at Adaptiva

With the integration of non-traditional IT and the deterioration of enterprise tech spending in recent years, 2013 will demand a different approach from IT departments in companies around the globe, as they will have to adapt to evolving technology and outside influences now more than ever before. This will change the industry’s focus to distributed IT network solutions, creating cost-savings and less of a demand for desktop virtualization. Also, because of the outside, consumer-based influence on enterprises today, 2013 will bring the need for lightning quick deployment cycles in the IT world, and the demand from workers for simple integrated solutions and technologies that will make their lives easier. For example, one such technology is cloud computing, as we continue to see a turn towards cloud-based systems in 2013 companies will be able to reduce their overall technology costs without losing key functionality, allowing for a more efficient management of traditional and mobile workforces.

20. Joel Bomgar, CEO of Bomgar Corporation – @JoelBomgar

With cloud solutions that can be purchased with the swipe of a credit card, departments outside of IT will continue to select and purchase their own technology solutions with little or no involvement from IT. But when employees experience issues with these solutions, the first place they’ll turn is IT support. The support center will need to equip their staff with the tools and information that allow them to collaborate with each other and external vendors to access information about these various solutions and assist their end-users.

21. Tiemo Winterkamp, SVP Global Marketing at arcplan – @arcplan

Big Data will, again, be a buzzword in 2013. There is no doubt that modern technology and social media will continue to provide even more data, nonetheless there are still questions to be answered. CIOs will need to determine the value of all this big data and for whom will it be necessary to structure these multi-terabytes and petabytes of information.

The delays associated with IT will be brushed aside in favor of the speed, control, and rapid access that comes along with self-service business intelligence (BI). BI users will become more self-sufficient so they can optimize and accelerate their decision making processes.

The democratization of information will become increasingly important. Organizations will prioritize collaborative platforms as a way to eliminate information silos between users and departments that do not currently integrate unstructured information into the decision-making process.

Accessing data anytime and anywhere will become an even more prominent business need in 2013. Mobility will be a key factor in all things IT, from business intelligence (BI) to enterprise computing.

22. Jonathan McCormick, Chief Operating Officer at  Intermedia – @intermedia_net

In 2013, we will continue to see the evolution of IT and cloud computing, in line with several important advancements in technology. Driving the business evolution are new versions of key Microsoft offerings, including Windows 8, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office 2013. This will be a significant driver of upgrade-based sales, as well as reconsideration of existing underlying technologies, such as on-premise versus cloud. Additionally, there will be a continued increase in the move to tablets and smartphones, which will drive the adoption of synchronization technologies like ActiveSync, File Synching and BES, along with cloud storage.

23. Raghu Bala, CTO of Source Interlink Media, Board Member of Fanggle

Big Data and Cloud computing will combine to explode the amount of data stored in the cloud 4-fold or more. Smart devices will begin to emerge with the easy reach of cloud via high bandwidth wireless protocols like 4G.  Private and Public cloud adoption will boom and tablet adoption will explode with more thick apps and thin apps using HTML5.

24. Michael Rapp, President at En Pointe Technologies

One of the most common pushbacks about transitioning to the cloud is whether or not the customer is properly educated about its benefits and features. In 2013, we can expect vendors to find better ways to help VARs offer a feature-rich cloud solution. Service providers will take a more active approach by teaching the channel how to position their services properly, and not only sell a particular hosted service, but sell the cloud.  Additionally, distribution is struggling to move beyond product shipments, so we’ll also see increased adoption of managed services and subscription-based pricing. Consequently, we’ll begin to see business models slowly changing as fewer companies buy hardware and move more to the cloud – it won’t be a huge change, but it will start becoming more prevalent. The data center and/or service provider will be the larger customer in the coming years.”

25. Saad Shahzad, SVP Sales and Chief Strategy Officer at dinCloud

There has been a major shift in the business world, from the use of simple public cloud storage to a more advanced hosted computing infrastructure reserved for business continuity and back up in the cloud. In 2013, we will continue to see companies increasingly renting as a service, not just storage in the cloud, but reserving the use of computing infrastructure to host their applications and data until their primary site can be brought back up in the case of a disaster or an event that could create downtime at the primary site. Due to the high cost of downtime, most companies will continue to, or look to, work with back up in the cloud providers in the future and not have in-house or second site backup that they manage themselves.

26. Andre Pascal, CEO at Nia Technologies – @NiaTech

I predict that IT will become a utility model as per use and cloud storage and processing power become ubiquitous.   In addition technical support as we know it will be increasingly relegated to 3rd and fourth level and eventually eliminated completely as bots (algorithms) replace help desk staff.  Finally cloud computing will be adopted by a growing class of independent consultants who will leave their desktops and laptops and opt by and large for the security and dependability of virtual machines housed on cloud servers.

27. Robert Jenkins, CTO at CloudSigma – @CloudSigma

In 2013, vendors will leverage 100gig networking to offer premiere storage in the cloud through reduced latency, faster I/Os and greater performance. And, because 100gig networking uses standardized protocols, it can be implemented with the flip of a switch to offer instantaneous high performance to customers in which speed is pivotal, such as the financial sector.

Throughout 2013, software-defined networks (SDNs) will become widely adopted in the public cloud market, allowing vendors to create an optimized network between VMs. This, coupled with optimized routing, will allow for greater performance, efficiency and infrastructure control.

When the cloud first hit the mainstream, some shied away from it, more comfortable housing mission-critical data in their own data centers. But, now, as clouds become more flexible, we will increasingly see companies using the cloud as a major component of their disaster recovery strategy. By choosing a cloud vendor that places no restrictions on existing software, organizations can easily mimic their own data center in the cloud to seamlessly manage their disaster recovery process while leveraging the cloud’s innate HPC capabilities.

28. Ditlev Bredahl, CEO at OnApp

The market is polarizing: you have commodity utility computing that is now pervasive, and can be bought one-size-fits-all from providers like Amazon. But then, on the other end, you have service providers adding value with innovative services, platforms and applications.

This value-added cloud layer is the future of the industry, but how will it work? Providers engage in a global cloud marketplace, where they gain access to resources beyond the capabilities of their local infrastructure. This allows them to innovate, localize and focus on customers.

With computing provided on a utility basis, and service providers customizing it for end users rather than being mere workhorses, the cloud is no longer the cloud. It is a seamless, global computing environment that can be used for anyone, anything and anywhere.

29. Nikki Garg, COO of Icreon- @IcreonTech

In 2013, the physical and digital worlds will fuse. From the RFID tags on a runner’s bib to the real time camera feed from traffic lights that informs driving routes, the physical world is becoming an information system.

There is no such thing as an IT project; there are only business projects that are enabled by IT. IT professionals are becoming more attentive than ever to business and the role end-users play in the ultimate success of the software. 2013 will involve businesses setting aside more time and budget, towards intangibles around IT; communication plans, continuous user training and implementation support..

As 2012 comes to a close, consumers are increasingly relying on their smartphones for just about everything. From researching purchasing decisions to mobile commerce, expect to see more brands start to innovate and cater to the needs of mobile audiences, both customers and staff, that allows for more seamless use and integration of smartphones into our daily lives.

30. John Marshall, CEO at AirWatch

The next wave in the Consumerization of IT is the Consumerization of Corporate Content. BYOD and consumer devices on corporate networks have become commonplace. Employees are familiar with the iOS and Android user interface since many already use them at home and are now bringing them to work. The key for businesses is providing a similarly seamless and secure experience for accessing corporate content.

What do you think?  Share your predictions in the comment section below.

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About Brian Rice

Brian Rice is a Sr. Manager on the SAP Global Social Media Marketing Team. Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianSRice

Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers

Ralf Kern

compelling shopping momentsOn a recent morning, as I was going through my usual routine, my coffeemaker broke. I cannot live without coffee in the morning, so I immediately looked up my coffeemaker on Amazon and had it shipped Prime in one day. My problem was solved within minutes. My Amazon app, and my loyalty account with that company, was there for me when I needed it most.

It was in this moment that I realized the importance of digital presence for retailers. There is a chance that the store 10 minutes from my house carries this very same coffeemaker; I could have had it in one hour, instead of one day. But the need for immediate access to information pushed me to the online store. My local retailer was not able to be there for me digitally like Amazon.

Retail is still about reading the minds of your customers in order to know what they need and create a flawless experience. But the days of the unconnected shopper in a monochannel world are over. I am not alone in my digital-first mindset; according to a recent MasterCard report, 80% of consumers use technology during the shopping process. I, and consumers like me, use mobile devices as a guide to the physical world.

We don’t need to have an academic discussion about multichannel, omnichannel, and omnicommerce and their meanings, because what it really comes down to for your consumers, or fans, is shopping. And shopping has everything to do with moments in your customers’ lives: celebration moments, in-a-hurry moments, I-want-to-be-entertained moments, and more. Most companies only look for and measure very few moments along the shopping journey, like the moment of coupon download or the moment of sales.

Anticipating these moments was easier when mom and pop stores knew their customers by name. They knew how to be there for their shoppers when, where, and how they wanted it. And shoppers didn’t have any other options. Now it is crucial for companies to understand all of these moments and even anticipate or trigger the right moments for their customers.

In today’s digital economy the way to achieve customer connection is with simple, enjoyable, and personalized front ends that are supported by sophisticated, digital back ends. Then you can use that system to support your customer outreach.

Companies around the world are using creative and innovative methods to find their customers in various moments. Being there for customers comes in many different shapes and forms. Consider these examples:

Chilli Beans

A Brazilian maker of fashion sunglasses, glasses, and watches, Chilli Beans has a loyal following online and at over 700 locations around the world. Chilli Beans keeps its customers engaged by releasing 10 limited-edition styles each week. If customers like what they see, they have to buy fast or risk missing out.

Bonobos

Online men’s fashion retailer Bonobos reaches its customers with its Guide Shops. While they look like traditional retail outlets, the shops don’t actually sell any clothes. Customers come in for one-on-one appointments with the staff, and if they like anything that they try on, the staff member orders it for them online and it is shipped to their house. The 20 Guide Shops currently open have proven very successful for the company.

Peak Performance

Peak Performance, a European maker of outdoor clothing, has added a little magic to its customer experience. It has created virtual pop-up shops that customers can track on their smartphones through CatchMagicHour.com, and they are only available at sunrise and sunset at exact GPS locations. Customers who go to the location, be it at a lighthouse or on top of a mountain, are rewarded with the ability to select free clothing from the virtual shop that they have unlocked on their phones.

Shoes of Prey

The customer experience is completely custom at Shoes of Prey, a website where women can design custom shoes. From fabric to color, the customer picks every element, and then her custom creation is sent directly to her house. Shoes of Prey has even shifted its business model based on customer feedback. Its customers wanted to get inspiration and advice in a physical store. So Shoes of Prey made the move from online-only to omnicommerce and has started to open stores around the world.

While the customer experience for each of these connections is relatively simple – a website, a smartphone, an online design studio – the back end that powers them has to be powerful and nimble at the same time. These sophisticated back ends – powering simple, enjoyable, and personalized front ends – will completely change the game in retail. They will allow companies to engage their customers in ways we can’t even begin to imagine.

Technology will help you be there in the shopping moment. The best technology won’t annoy your customers with irrelevant promotions or pop-up messages. Instead, like a good friend, it will know how to engage with customers and when to leave them alone – how to truly connect with customers instead of manage them. Consequently, customer relationship management as we know it is an outdated technology in the economy of today – and tomorrow. Technologies that go beyond CRM will help retailers to differentiate. Aligning your organization and those technologies will be the Holy Grail to creating true and sustainable customer loyalty.

Learn more ways that business will never be the same again. Learn 99 Mind-Blowing Ways The Digital Economy Is Changing The Future Of Business.

Find out how SAP can help you go beyond CRM and support your retail business.

Ralf Kern is Global Vice President Retail for SAP and a retail ambassador for SAP. Interested in your feedback. You can also get in touch on Twitter or LinkedIn

This blog also appeared on SAP Customer Network.

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Ralf Kern

About Ralf Kern

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

IoT Can Keep You Healthy — Even When You Sleep [VIDEO]

Christine Donato

Today the Internet of Things is revamping technology. IoT image from American Geniuses.jpg

Smart devices speak to each other and work together to provide the end user with a better product experience.

Coinciding with this change in technology is a change in people. We’ve transitioned from a world of people who love processed foods and french fries to people who eat kale chips and Greek yogurt…and actually like it.

People are taking ownership of their well-being, and preventative care is at the forefront of focus for both physicians and patients. Fitness trackers alert wearers of the exact number of calories burned from walking a certain number of steps. Mobile apps calculate our perfect nutritional balance. And even while we sleep, people are realizing that it’s important to monitor vitals.

According to research conducted at Harvard University, proper sleep patterns bolster healthy side effects such as improved immune function, a faster metabolism, preserved memory, and reduced stress and depression.

Conversely, the Harvard study determined that lack of sleep can negatively affect judgement, mood, and the ability retain information, as well as increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even premature death.

Through the Internet of Things, researchers can now explore sleep patterns without the usual sleep labs and movement-restricting electrode wires. And with connected devices, individuals can now easily monitor and positively influence their own health.

EarlySense, a startup credited with the creation of continuous patient monitoring solutions focused on early detection of patient deterioration, mid-sleep falls, and pressure ulcers, began with a mission to prevent premature and preventable deaths.

Without constant monitoring, patients with unexpected clinical deterioration may be accidentally neglected, and their conditions can easily escalate into emergency situations.

Motivated by many instances of patients who died from preventable post-elective surgery complications, EarlySense founders created a product that constantly monitors patients when hospital nurses can’t, alerting the main nurse station when a patient leaves his or her bed and could potentially fall, or when a patient’s vital signs drop or rise unexpectedly.

Now EarlySense technology has expanded outside of the hospital realm. The EarlySense wellness sensor, a device connected via the Internet of Things, mobile solutions, and supported by SAP HANA Cloud Platform, monitors all vital signs while a person sleeps. The device is completely wireless and lies subtly underneath one’s mattress. The sensor collects all mechanical vibrations that the patient’s body emits while sleeping, continuously monitoring heart and respiratory rates.

Watch this short video to learn more about how the EarlySense wellness sensor works:

The result is faster diagnoses with better treatments and outcomes. Sleep issues can be identified and addressed; individuals can use the data collected to make adjustments in diet or exercise habits; and those on heavy pain medications can monitor the way their bodies react to the medication. In addition, physicians can use the data collected from the sensor to identify patient health problems before they escalate into an emergency situation.

Connected care is opening the door for a new way to practice health. Through connected care apps that link people with their doctors, fitness trackers that measure daily activity, and sensors like the EarlySense wellness sensor, today’s technology enables people and physicians to work together to prevent sickness and accidents before they occur. Technology is forever changing the way we live, and in turn we are living longer, healthier lives.

To learn how SAP HANA Cloud Platform can affect your business, visit It&Me.

For more stories, join me on Twitter.

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About Christine Donato

Christine Donato is a Senior Integrated Marketing Specialist at SAP. She is an accomplished project manager and leader of multiple marketing and sales enablement campaigns and events, that supported a multi million euro business.

Running Future Cities on Blockchain

Dan Wellers , Raimund Gross and Ulrich Scholl

Building on the Blockchain Framework

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


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

The City of the Future

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

For example:

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

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


Welcome to the Next Industrial Revolution

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

Download the executive brief Running Future Cities on Blockchain.


Read the full article Pulling Cities Into The Future With Blockchain

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About Dan Wellers

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

Raimund Gross

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

Ulrich Scholl

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

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

Vivek Bapat

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trait #1: They see digital transformation as truly transformational

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital leadership is a practice of balance, not pure digitization

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

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

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

Follow me on twitter @vivek_bapat 

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

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About Vivek Bapat

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