A brand-new year is in high gear, and one of the more enjoyable things that happens at the start of the year is the array of film awards shows worldwide. From the Golden Globes and the British Academy Film Awards to the Berlin International Film Festival and the Academy Awards, these celebrations (and more) showcase incredible talent in stunning fashion.
Although SAP is not known for Oscar-worthy cinematic genius, we do produce short films that showcase our customers’ success, especially those that represent the world of small and midsize business. Every one of these shorts highlights amazing stories of growing companies that are overcoming market adversity, competition hardship, and internal struggles to achieve great things in today’s digital economy.
Drawing on my experience in managing a small (really small) business early in my career, I can relate to the challenges of growing companies. Every day, they put their reputations on the line as they convince customers to take a chance on them; ensure that every employee is making a significant impact; and maintain steady cash flow to make payroll, pay bills, and invest in the future. But more inspiring is their drive to impact their customers, partners, and the entire world around them.
To this day, I am still awestruck by their stories. So in the spirit of this year’s film awards season, I offer my nominations for the best of this year’s shorts on the digital transformation success of small and midsize businesses.
Best romance: Qalo
As a leading brand in the functional wedding ring industry, Qalo is sparking a global movement of commitment, which is redefining the value of non-material possessions and the importance of appreciating the small things in life.
In just over three years, QALO has grown from a need recognized by two recently married friends to a lifestyle brand embraced by people who value quality, athletics, love, and the outdoors. The company makes silicone rings and sells them through an e-commerce site and a network of 500 retailers supported by automated and streamlined sales and distribution processes.
Best sound: Devialet
French company Devialet is revolutionizing the audio industry in a way that is invoking delight and intense human emotion among its customers.
Fearless, curious, and relentlessly passionate, the manufacturer of high-end speaker systems is powered by a firm belief in the possibilities of tomorrow and an obsession in encasing the world with beautiful music. This mindset convinced Devialet to adopt technology that unifies every area of the business and scales along its trajectory toward becoming “a big deal in the audio industry.”
Best family values: Snow Peak
Outdoor gear retailer Snow Peak is guided by two fundamental principles: Family happiness is everything – and the joy of the outdoors is an excellent way to achieve it.
From a humble start in the mountains of Japan to a multinational enterprise powered by 198 employees, Snow Peak attributes much of its success to understanding its customers well and offering products that closely meet their needs. But the company wanted to ensure that every customer leaves its 100 stores happy by using an in-memory computing platform to track and analyze purchase histories. This digital strategy is delivering appropriate recommendations for future purchases, optimized inventories, and productive sales teams.
Best scenery: Elephants, Rhinos, and People
The backdrop of South Africa’s majestic landscape is a battlefield for Elephants, Rhinos, and People (ERP) as it fights to save wild elephants and rhinos from the brink of extinction. And the clock is ticking as approximately 96 elephants and five rhinos tragically die every day at the hands of poachers looking to earn 40 times more than the national average annual household income of US$1,700.
The mostly employee-owned group of companies, nonprofits, and impact investment organizations is disrupting the traditional operating model of promoting corporate social responsibility, charitable giving, and wildlife protection. With a combination of the Internet of Things, drones, a cloud platform, and in-memory computing, ERP is ensuring the sustainable preservation of at-risk elephants and rhinos, while uplifting the economic conditions of rural people living in surrounding areas.
Best production design: New England Biolabs
Committed to advancing scientific discoveries, top molecular biologists from New England Biolabs (NEB) are developing enzymes to support breakthrough treatments and cures for cancer, viruses, and more.
NEB is using the combined power of next-generation ERP software and in-memory computing to automate production planning, document product formulations, and manage final costs to meet increasing global demand. By moving from manual processes to full digitalization, NEB is helping to solve some of the world’s most urgent healthcare challenges.
I hope you find these stories as inspirational as I do. As these short films prove, small and midsize businesses have a tremendous capacity for turning their passions and dreams into reality with today’s latest technology.
Now, let’s go make some popcorn to get ready for the next award show!
For more on the technologies influencing tomorrow’s business, see More Than Noise: Digital Trends That Are Bigger Than You Think.