How High Tech Supports Other Industries With Digitalization

Judy Cubiss and Ginger Shimp

When we look at digitalization, we see many industries taking part in societal changes and being affected by those changes. Yet we see the high-tech industry as the backbone of the digitalization process, providing the infrastructure that helps all the other industries move forward with digitalization, while at the same time using these capabilities itself.

What is the high-tech industry? We consider it the industry full of software companies, high-tech semiconductor companies, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). These are the companies creating and selling the products that are changing our world and enabling other industries to change our world.

Recently, Brian Fanzo and Daniel Newman, co-hosts of the popular S.M.A.C. Talk (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud) Technology Podcast, caught up with Jeff Howell, vice president, High-Tech Industry Business Unit, SAP, on an episode of an extraordinary series entitled Digital Industries, which examines how digital transformation is affecting 16 different industries.

High tech’s influence in digitalization

High-tech companies don’t end up staying within a limited space. Instead, they are able to adapt their technology to wide applications within other industries, creating progress in many areas of our day-to-day lives.

Amazon challenges the idea that IT cannot be a profit center

Howell points to how high tech has moved into the automobile industry. Not only is technology embedded into the cars themselves but tech companies such as Google and Apple are creating their own cars. As Howell points out, “The car is basically a computer on wheels.”

The high-tech industry is affecting countless other industries that are integral to society. Howell says that with technology, “there’s a lot of opportunity to fix some things that are sort of broken in society right now.”

One example that has used high-tech solutions successfully is healthcare, which has switched over to a digitized system. Other industries, such as education, may still need better technology to move forward with the modern world. While the education world has witnessed marginal progress such as using electronic white boards, S.M.A.C. Talk Technology Podcast co-host Daniel Newman envisions a paradigm shift. He opines that it’s no longer necessary to memorize facts in school when technology allows that information to be at your fingertips.

In addition, other industries tend to look to the high-tech industry to figure out how to enable them to move forward. They rely on high tech not only to tell them the best way of progressing, but also to provide the tools to do so.

Where is the high-tech industry heading?

Howell foresees changes in the high-tech workforce over time. He points to the void left by retiring baby boomers and anticipates a different way of working. He suggests that millennials will engage in parallel employment, a phenomenon in which members of the workforce offer different professional skills through job boards rather than having a specific career with a single company. Newman agrees, adding that we’ll also see changes through new job opportunities that didn’t exist in the past. For example, data scientist, chief data officer, and chief digital officer are new jobs that have emerged as the industry has developed. Newman and Howell also note that some jobs are being replaced by machines. For example, Panera Bread has started using a machine to take orders, robots are delivering pizza, and Amazon is rolling out its program of employing drones for deliveries.

SMAC podcast

As for the industry itself, Howell sees a large focus on machine learning, or computers that can adapt to different kinds of information without new programming. He predicts that machine learning and data scientists will be able to work together, with computers processing large quantities of data and mundane tasks while people interpret that data and use it to solve problems.

High tech can help other industries move forward

 icon representing moving forward With the right tools, companies in any industry can keep up and move forward in an ever-changing world. High-tech companies provide the tools that help industries meet the demands of digitalization—tools such as a digital core that can help companies connect the different parts of their businesses to work better in a digital world.

To listen to this episode of Digital Industries for the high-tech industry, co-produced by SAP and S.M.A.C. Talk Technology Podcast, click here.

Transforming into a truly digital business involves much more than just implementing new technology to meet the demands of a digital age. It requires more than simply keeping up with the deluge of transformation happening all around us. Digital transformation is about understanding how to harness these changes and incorporate them into your business strategy. It’s about driving agility, connectivity, analytics, and collaboration to run a Live Business. A digital core empowers you with real-time visibility into all mission critical business processes inside your “four walls” and in your interactions with customers, suppliers, workforce, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.

For more on how SAP can help you drive your own digital transformation in the high-tech industry, visit us online.

1“Amazon – challenging the idea that IT can’t be a profit center”, Business Insider,

2“Amazon Web Services is a $5 billion business, and it’s growing 50% a year” Quartz, Apr, 2015,

Judy Cubiss

About Judy Cubiss

Judy Cubiss is Global Marketing Lead for Industrial Machinery and Components and Automotive at SAP. She has worked in the software industry for over 20 years in a variety of roles, including consulting, product management, solution management, and content marketing in both Europe and the United States.

About Ginger Shimp

With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, Ginger Shimp has been with SAP since 2004. She has won numerous awards and honors at SAP, including being designated “Top Talent” for two consecutive years. Not only is she a Professional Certified Marketer with the American Marketing Association, but she's also earned her Connoisseur's Certificate in California Reds from the Chicago Wine School. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA in marketing and managerial economics from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Personally, Ginger is the proud mother of a precocious son and happy wife of one of YouTube's 10 EDU Gurus, Ed Shimp.