90% Of Businesses To Utilize The Private Cloud Network In The Next Decade

Andre Smith

Public clouds (e.g., Google Cloud, Amazon Cloud Drive) are financially efficient, easy to manage, pay-as-you-go cloud services available to all members of the public, either for free or for a small monthly cost. The public cloud has given individuals and businesses, big and small, resources for storing and sharing data.

PMC Telecom, trading since 1991, has noticed considerable demand for cloud-based services. Luke Cropper, head of hosted, says PMC Telecom’s customers have always required phone systems; but they are no longer happy with simple plug-and-play handsets. They want services available only through cloud-based services, such as the freedom to use any device to answer a call. New technology such as hosted VoIP enables customers to advance their telecom solutions in a way that traditional systems cannot rival.

The public cloud has paved the way for the future of telecommunications and data technology and has the benefit of being available to multiple businesses and members of the public, but it’s limited by being a one-size-fits-all model. As the cloud-based technology hype dies down and it is no longer seen as an exciting, innovative novelty, businesses are beginning to request more to suit the needs of their specific company.

The private cloud – much like the public cloud – offers numerous benefits, including scalability, flexibility, and security, with the added bonus of being solely dedicated to one specific company or business. This means that companies can take full advantage of a tailor-made cloud service.

Businesses can gain by utilizing the private cloud network through faster ROI, offsite backup, complete mobility, and higher data security.

A global survey conducted by cloud solutions provider QualiSystems revealed that 30% of workplace cloud data usage is managed through private cloud systems, with a further 10% predicted to switch from public to private in the next year.

The initial cost of using a private cloud network is higher than that of its public counterpart. However companies can save up to 50% on long-term costs by opting to go private, with operating expenses often significantly lower than public cloud costs (as seen in this case study in the International Journal of Computer Science & Information Technology).

The capital expenditure on switching to a private cloud service is high compared to the initial switch to public cloud, which is often free of charge. However, as the case study above shows, the operating expenses of a private cloud network over a three-year period are nearly a quarter of the costs of public cloud operating expenses, bringing the three-year total cost of using the private cloud to almost half of the cost of using the public cloud.

Cost is a huge influence when it comes to decision making for big businesses, however the leading drawback of using a public cloud service is the security risk potential that comes with a shared environment. Logically, a private network is far more security efficient that a shared public one. Therefore, more big businesses with sensitive data are making the switch to private in order to tighten security of their data.

The requirements of the ever-growing development and operations field are becoming greater all the time, with cloud providers struggling to keep up. The QualiSystems survey revealed that cloud service providers don’t have the ability to meet the demand of IaaS (infrastructure as a service) within an efficient timescale.

Seventy-five percent of those questioned fail to deliver IaaS within the same day that it is required; with the majority of companies needing almost a week to meet the requirements of their users.

Over 90% of businesses now use a type of cloud-based service for their company needs, an impressive statistic considering that the cloud only really became popular in 2002 thanks to Amazon Web Services and furthered by Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud in 2006. Its popularity is unsurprising since the technology comes with so many benefits that companies would be foolish not to adapt their systems to maximize business potential. The private cloud is simply the new wave of technology that is heavily weighted with numerous benefits.

From this, its predictable that (just like with the first generation of cloud-based services), 90% of businesses will be utilizing a private cloud network in the next decade.

IoT and Industry 4.0 may have more impact on the future of your business than anything else on earth. Learn what the experts this means for business in Myth-Busting: The Networked Economy.

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About Andre Smith

An Internet, Marketing and E-Commerce specialist with several years of experience in the industry. He has watched as the world of online business has grown and adapted to new technologies, and he has made it his mission to help keep businesses informed and up to date.

How To Choose A Winning Supplier Management Solution

Tanya Bragg

Many companies today face the nearly impossible task of managing a large supplier base that has become increasingly diverse and potentially global. Traditional supply chain management and procurement practices just can’t keep up. Procurement teams are faced with too many suppliers and too few answers. The need for a centralized repository of supplier information to mitigate risk and assist in the evaluation and selection of suppliers has become paramount. This why so many companies are now looking into digital supplier management solutions.

The digital transformation of the supplier management process is long overdue. Faced with an inconsistent onboarding process, fragmented performance reporting, inaccurate risk assessment, and out-of-date information, many companies are seeking a better way to do business and manage their supply chain.

Why use a supplier management solution?

Today’s supplier management process often comes up short. It’s often a redundant, disconnected process from onboarding to engagement that creates greater risk with every decision. Fragmented supplier records and assessments make it impossible to collaborate with stakeholders and make appropriate choices regarding preferred suppliers. And when preferred suppliers aren’t used, the costs and risks tend to soar. Traditional, manual risk scoring and segmentation often misses critical signals, making timely action difficult. And because they aren’t part of a large, established network, suppliers can’t easily update their information in one place, which creates inaccurate vendor records.

A supplier management solution can solve these problems and streamline the process. All technology has a function, but the best technology has a purpose as well. The purpose of a supplier management solution, at its most basic, is about knowing your suppliers inside and out and managing them day-to-day. But it can be so much more. The right solution can help you be proactive rather than reactive. It can help you think strategically and add value to your company instead of just filling orders. The right supplier management solution can make your supply chain more reliable, more ethical, and ultimately, unstoppable.

Finding a winning solution

A successful supplier management solution often hinges as much on managing expectations and priorities as it does on the technology. Proper planning and evaluation is necessary. A poor process, plus new technology, often leads to nothing more than a poor, expensive process. This is an equation that has sunk many technology implementations. Your plan for success needs to be as good as the solution you find.

Finding a winning solution begins with making sure everyone is on the same road to same destination. Developing a plan that takes into account everyone’s expectations and priorities requires collaboration, and a clearly defined process consists of determining a starting point, defining a finish line, and finding technology that will enable you to create supplier management with a purpose through an integrated, end-to-end procurement processes.

Greater integration for better decision-making

A holistic view of supplier information, performance, and risk, along with the largest network of suppliers, can guide decisions all along the source-to-settle continuum. A winning solution works vertically, allowing you to deal with every supplier, at every tier, based on the criteria most relevant to you. Whether it’s in one category or region or many, it also works horizontally, granting you insights that allow you to make smarter choices, from your ERP backend all the way to your sourcing and procurement applications. But most of all, a winning solution connects seamlessly, eliminating holes in the process by providing all of your source-to-settle technology in one package, from one company.

Imagine using supplier management and risk insights when you need them, at key decision points in the process. Imagine being able to check supplier onboarding status, halt purchases, or switch out non-performing suppliers, renegotiate contracts based on risk and performance, and get alerted to changes in supplier risk so you can drive the right supplier relationships all with one integrated solution. A winning solution is driven by a powerful network, improving your business from end-to-end.

Keeping supplier information in sync

A unified source of truth for supplier information is the foundation of an effective supplier management solution. No matter what the task, the ability to view the most current, most accurate version of supplier information is critical. A winning supplier management solution achieves just that. With the right solution, your sourcing, procurement, and supplier management applications and backend ERP systems are connected and share the same information. So, when information is changed anywhere, it’s changed everywhere.

On the ground, this means information about supplier lifecycles, performance, and risk is the same whether someone is at a desk in Denver or in a factory in Saigon. Data needs to be entered into the system just once, and it is changed throughout. Suppliers can even update information themselves, which saves them time, saves you time, and results in more current information to make more accurate risk and performance decisions.

Intelligent flexibility

Every business, and every part of it, is unique. A winning-supplier management solution is designed to accommodate those differences from the beginning of the supplier lifecycle to the end. A winning solution recognizes the differences within your business, and then builds functionality with the purpose of making supplier management work your way. Intelligent flexibility is key.

When it comes to evaluating suppliers, one size does not fit all. Onboarding and qualifying suppliers, questionnaires, risk assessments, and approval processes should be customizable by category, location, and business unit. Such flexibility in a winning solution allows you to easily designate preferred suppliers based on specific needs and parameters. Sharing that information across all sourcing and procurement applications means more people will use preferred suppliers more often.

Knowledge is the key

Not all supplier information is created equal. A winning supplier management solution provides the most relevant data, from the best sources, delivered in the easiest way possible. It’s the best aggregator of content, rather than a creator of content. It includes a robust ecosystem of data and service providers to get and verify a wide range of information, focused application interfaces (APIs) that reach out to hundreds of thousands of sources for the most relevant data, and APIs targeted to different industries and issues like financial solvency, slave labor, and cybersecurity. A winning supplier solution uses artificial intelligence (AI) so that the information is easy to consume, predictive, actionable, and customizable to region, business unit, and category. The most relevant, most reliable, most accessible information is the most valuable.

Predicting the future, at least when it comes to your supply chain, is actually possible. A solution with proactive risk due diligence and automated supplier monitoring can make potential issues known before they impact your business. A winning supplier solution provides a 360-degree view of your suppliers, including risk insights that allow you to see the entire picture for all active supplier engagements. Insights tailored to your priorities, and delivered at the right times, lead to more proactive decisions.

In the end, a winning supplier solution can help bring your supply chain into the 21st century. With the right solution, you have the power to make an impact, to think more strategically, operate more proactively, and work more ethically so you can change your company… and the world.

For more insight, download How to Choose a Winning Supplier Management Solution.

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About Tanya Bragg

As a product marketing manager on the SAP Ariba Integrated Marketing team, Tanya Bragg creates content designed to help customers gain greater value from the supplier management solutions they use. Her areas of expertise include supply chain, sustainability, sourcing, and procurement.

Why Four Weeks Of Design Thinking Offers Better Digital Transformation

Derek Klobucher

Digital transformation can do a lot to help the mining industry, such as improving onsite operations and decision making. Design thinking can optimize those improvements – if properly utilized.

Metals and mining corporation Vale has a compelling story of a successful implementation that took only four weeks. The result was a completely new process, according to Vale’s IT innovation manager at SAP Leonardo Live in Chicago.“The mining sector has embraced the introduction of new technologies, which have resulted in significant productivity benefits,” professional services firm EY stated in a recent mining update. “But there is the gap between the potential from digital transformation and the poor track record for successful implementations.”

Management assets across a global supply chain

The mining industry is on the upswing, enjoying growth in the U.S., Europe, and China, according to EY. Vale has been growing too, investing more than $120 billion during the last decade and expanding to 27 countries, according to Vale’s Helio Mosquim.

This growth brought a lot of challenges, such as managing new assets across the globe, according to Mosquim; intelligent maintenance would help the company increase uptime, boost productivity, and cut costs. Supply chain was also a big concern for the Rio de Janeiro-based multinational, which produces iron ore, copper, and more.

“Imagine producing ore in the middle of the Amazon, and transporting it all the way to the ports, and going through the distribution centers in Malaysia and Oman – and on to China,” Mosquim said. “Optimizing production, optimizing logistics and shipping … it’s a big challenge for us to optimize the whole chain.”

Saving time by automating critical tasks

Workforce effectiveness was another challenge for Vale, which has about 110,000 employees, according to Mosquim. Inventory is about $1.6 billion of Vale’s $11 billion annual spend, so the company automated purchasing processes to make them more intelligent.

For example, maintenance workers used to ask someone else to create a purchase requisition before acquiring a new part for damaged equipment, according to Mosquim. This completely manual process often overlooked parts that were already available (perhaps the previous shift ordered the same thing), and finding the missing information required searching through multiple screens.

These steps often resulted in a lot of redundant work and wasted time.

“Between 25% to 40% of rejections of all the purchase requisitions [occurred] because [the part] was either available on contract or in inventory,” Mosquim said. “And the equipment was out there waiting for the part.”

A “totally different approach” in just four weeks

Vale only expected to enhance its legacy platform, as opposed to taking full advantage of innovation services. But Vale’s vendor helped the company connect APIs directly to its system and use everything in the cloud – and implement it quickly.

“We set up a plan to innovate in four weeks,” Mosquim said. “And that was an amazing experience.”

Vale put its procurement team through a design thinking session to sort major pain points. They had a draft prototype by week one; by the following week, they had feedback – and were making adjustments.

“The result was very effective, very impressive,” Mosquim said. “When we saw the totally different approach, we were very confident that it was going to be able to deliver.”

“We had an opportunity to have a totally new process … we had other managers come in saying, ‘We would like to invest in this innovation,’” Mosquim said. “In the end, we got a little bit from each solution, and we put it in the cloud.”

Design thinking helped Vale digitally transform its supply chain, asset management, workforce effectiveness, and more. Digital technologies – including Internet of Things and machine learning – could also help mining companies improve safety, optimize site-wide operating systems, and more, according to a smart mining conference last week.

“You can only truly achieve a sustainable productivity improvement by adopting an integrated end-to-end business approach from market to mine,” as the EY mining update stated.

Design thinking could be your key to a successful implementation.

Learn more about SAP’s approach to design thinking.

This story originally appeared on SAP Business Trends. Follow Derek on Twitter@DKlobucher

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About Derek Klobucher

Derek Klobucher is a Brand Journalist, Content Marketer and Master Digital Storyteller at SAP. His responsibilities include conceiving, developing and conducting global, company-wide employee brand journalism training; managing content, promotion and strategy for social networks and online media; and mentoring SAP employees, contractors and interns to optimize blogging and social media efforts.

Human Skills for the Digital Future

Dan Wellers and Kai Goerlich

Technology Evolves.
So Must We.


Technology replacing human effort is as old as the first stone axe, and so is the disruption it creates.
Thanks to deep learning and other advances in AI, machine learning is catching up to the human mind faster than expected.
How do we maintain our value in a world in which AI can perform many high-value tasks?


Uniquely Human Abilities

AI is excellent at automating routine knowledge work and generating new insights from existing data — but humans know what they don’t know.

We’re driven to explore, try new and risky things, and make a difference.
 
 
 
We deduce the existence of information we don’t yet know about.
 
 
 
We imagine radical new business models, products, and opportunities.
 
 
 
We have creativity, imagination, humor, ethics, persistence, and critical thinking.


There’s Nothing Soft About “Soft Skills”

To stay ahead of AI in an increasingly automated world, we need to start cultivating our most human abilities on a societal level. There’s nothing soft about these skills, and we can’t afford to leave them to chance.

We must revamp how and what we teach to nurture the critical skills of passion, curiosity, imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and persistence. In the era of AI, no one will be able to thrive without these abilities, and most people will need help acquiring and improving them.

Anything artificial intelligence does has to fit into a human-centered value system that takes our unique abilities into account. While we help AI get more powerful, we need to get better at being human.


Download the executive brief Human Skills for the Digital Future.


Read the full article The Human Factor in an AI Future.


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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.

Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation.

Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu

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Finance And HR: Friends Or Foes? Shifting To A Collaborative Mindset

Richard McLean

Part 1 in the 3-part “Finance and HR Collaboration” series

In my last blog, I challenged you to think of collaboration as the next killer app, citing a recent study by Oxford Economics sponsored by SAP. The study clearly explains how corporate performance improves when finance actively engages in collaboration with other business functions.

As a case in point, consider finance and HR. Both are being called on to work more collaboratively with each other – and the broader business – to help achieve a shared vision for the company. In most organizations, both have undergone a transformation to extend beyond operational tasks and adopt a more strategic focus, opening the door to more collaboration. As such, both have assumed three very important roles in the company – business partner, change agent, and steward. In this post, I’ll illustrate how collaboration can enable HR and finance to be more effective business partners.

Making the transition to focus on broader business objectives

My colleague Renata Janini Dohmen, senior vice president of HR for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, credits a changing mindset for both finance and HR as key to enabling the transition away from our traditional roles to be more collaborative. She says, “For a long time, people in HR and finance were seen as opponents. HR was focused on employees and how to motivate, encourage, and cheer on the workforce. Finance looked at the numbers and was a lot more cautious and possibly more skeptical in terms of making an investment. Today, both areas have made the transition to take on a more holistic perspective. We are pursuing strategies and approaching decisions based on what delivers the best return on investment for the company’s assets, whether those assets are monetary or non-monetary. This mindset shift plays a key role in how finance and HR execute the strategic imperatives of the company,” she notes.

Viewing joint decisions from a completely different lens

I agree with Renata. This mindset change has certainly impacted the way I make decisions. If I’m just focused on controlling costs and assessing expenditures, I’ll evaluate programs and ideas quite differently than if I’m thinking about the big picture.

For example, there’s an HR manager in our organization who runs Compensation and Benefits. She approaches me regularly with great ideas. But those ideas cost money. In the past, I was probably more inclined to look at those conversations from a tactical perspective. It was easy for me to simply say, “No, we can’t afford it.”

Now I look at her ideas from a more strategic perspective. I think, “What do we want our culture to be in the years ahead? Are the benefits packages she is proposing perhaps the right ones to get us there? Are they family friendly? Are they relevant for people in today’s world? Will they make us an employer of choice?” I quite enjoy the rich conversations we have about the impact of compensation and benefits design on the culture we want to create. Now, I see our relationship as much more collaborative and jointly invested in attracting and retaining the best people who will ultimately deliver on the company strategy. It’s a completely different lens.

Defining how finance and HR align to the company strategy

Renata and I believe that greater collaboration between finance and HR is a critical success factor. How can your organization achieve this shift? “Once the organization has clearly defined what role finance and HR must play and how they fundamentally align to the company strategy, then it’s more natural to structure them in a way to support such transformation,” Renata explains.

Technology plays an important role in our ability to successfully collaborate. Looking back, finance and HR were heavily focused on our own operational areas because everything we did tended to consume more time – just keeping the lights on and taking care of our basic responsibilities. Now, through a more efficient operating model with shared services, standard operating procedures, and automation, we can both be more business-focused and integrated. As a result, we’re able to collaborate in more meaningful ways to have a positive impact on business outcomes.

In our next blog, we’ll look at how finance and HR can work together as agents of change.

For a deeper dive, download the Oxford Economics study sponsored by SAP.

Follow SAP Finance online: @SAPFinance (Twitter)LinkedIn | FacebookYouTube

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Richard McLean

About Richard McLean

Richard McLean, regional CFO for SAP Asia Pacific Japan, oversees all key finance and administrative functions for field and regional headquarters, supporting more than 16,000 employees. He has more than 20 years of experience in senior finance roles with leading global companies across a range of industries, including financial services, investment banking, automotive, and IT. He joined SAP in 2008.