What's New

SAP Gives ABAP Developers a Future in the Cloud

SAP News - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 10:15

When SAP made history earlier this fall with the release of the SAP Cloud Platform, ABAP environment, I put a demo at the top of my SAP TechEd video interview agenda.

Onsite in Barcelona, Karl Kessler, vice president of Product Management for ABAP Platform at SAP, stepped up to show me how developers worldwide can now build and run ABAP code in SAP Cloud Platform.

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“Using SAP Cloud Platform, ABAP environment, you can build extensions to the digital core without changing the core processes,” said Kessler. “This really resonates with our large community of ABAP developers who have made significant investments in legacy on-premise environments. We are giving them a future in the cloud.”

New Opportunities in the Cloud

Calling it ABAP platform-as-a-service, Kessler said the new solution was designed to help companies transition to the cloud.

“We have a huge customer base with millions of ABAP developers with hundreds of thousands of applications running on top of an ABAP stack,” said Kessler. “They need to extend applications with an enterprise-ready solution that’s reliable, robust, and scalable. Now they can use their existing ABAP skills, but write completely new, cloud-native applications for scenarios that use latest technologies.”

The SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment also answers one the biggest questions customers have, namely, what to do with the custom code they’ve created over the years.

“Customers see SAP S/4HANA as a strong consolidation point for their on-premise ERP solutions like finance,” said Kessler. “Our digital core has all the essential business processes running inside SAP S/4HANA. The ABAP environment is a logical side-by-side extension, allowing people to easily tailor extensions on top of our platform. All the while, SAP manages the infrastructure ─ SAP HANA, ABAP platform ─ in the background as upgrades happen.”

Easy Way to Create Services

According to Kessler, feedback to date has been very positive. Developers, partners and customers are equally excited because they see SAP providing a path to the intelligent enterprise, helping move people’s skillsets to the cloud.

“It’s all about service definition and consumption, building those pieces and elements that make up a cloud-based application,” said Kessler. “We’re providing stable, whitelisted APIs that developers can rely on, so they can easily create connected services on the SAP Cloud Platform. This is important because services are how companies differentiate and innovate in a digitalized world.”

Follow me: @smgaler

 This story originally appeared on the SAP Community.

Categories: What's New

Americans Like to Buy Online, But Also Expect In-Store Experiences, SAP Study Says

SAP News - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 10:00

WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced that seven out of 10 U.S. consumers purchase fashion products online but miss some of the experiences traditional brick-and-mortar retailers provide, such as fitting rooms.

These are some of the findings of SAP’s recent Consumer Propensity Study that polled 1,000 American consumers about their attitudes toward online shopping experiences.

“The survey indicates that shoppers like the convenience of online shopping, but higher than expected shipping costs or a clunky return process quickly changes that sentiment,” said Chris Hauca, head of Strategy, SAP Commerce Cloud, SAP. “Retailers should consider how they can eliminate unpleasant surprises to the consumer. To ensure experiences are positive and last beyond the purchase, brands need to connect customer-facing processes with the back-end supply chain.”

Additional insights from the survey that could help to avoid shopping cart abandonment and drive additional purchases include:

  • Providing free shipping: U.S. consumers most frequently abandon their online shopping carts due to shipping costs (62 percent).
  • Providing more options to consumers so they can seamlessly switch between digital and physical channels: One in three consumers believes the online shopping experience would be improved by having a physical store to try or test products before purchasing them.
  • Offering more information to consumers to help them make informed choices: 47 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed believe online shopping experiences would be improved by comparison tools that analyze price and specification differences between similar products. According to the survey, 40 percent of respondents already use the shopping cart as a way to compare prices with other Web sites and brands.

For more information, see this infographic. Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

Media Contacts:
Stacey Hoskin, SAP, +1 (816) 337-7476, stacey.hoskin@sap.com, CT
Nikki Festa or Jenny Radloff, PAN Communications, +1 (617) 502-4300, SAPCX@pancomm.com, ET

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
© 2018 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see https://www.sap.com/copyright for additional trademark information and notices.

Categories: What's New

Accenture Life Insurance and Annuity Platform Wins Two XCelent Industry Awards

Accenture News - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 08:59
NEW YORK; Nov. 14, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has received two XCelent awards for its life insurance and annuity platform in a recent report from research and advisory firm Celent.
Categories: What's New

Accenture Helps Carlsberg Transition to the Cloud as Part of its Strategy to Accelerate Growth and Improve Margins

Accenture News - Wed, 11/14/2018 - 01:01
NEW YORK; Nov. 14, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has helped Carlsberg transition its information technology (IT) infrastructure to the public cloud as part of Carlsberg’s strategy to be an intelligent, digitally enabled and connected enterprise. The transition is providing Carlsberg with a modernized, dynamic and agile platform for its enterprise solutions, enabling digital innovation and helping the company gain more visibility into its IT operations.
Categories: What's New

Accenture Opens Innovation Hub in Seattle, Adding 300 Jobs to City's Tech Community

Accenture News - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 14:29
SEATTLE; Nov. 13, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) today opened a new innovation hub in the heart of Seattle’s business, financial and tech district. It is an immersive environment in which clients co-innovate with their Accenture teams to design solutions for the digital economy. 
Categories: What's New

SAP Design Apphaus in Korea: Culture Eats Digital Transformation for Lunch

SAP News - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 13:30

SAP empowers companies to master digitalization. At the SAP Design AppHaus in Korea, visitors also learn how they can change their work culture.

Christopher Han’s employees address him by his first name; that’s not really unusual at SAP. But it is for the colleagues in South Korea, because, according to Christopher, who is vice president of the SAP Design AppHaus for Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ), “If you talk to your boss or an elder in Korea, you must use the honorific form and you address the person by their title.”

I meet Christopher in the SAP Design AppHaus in Korea. In July 2016, SAP opened its third AppHaus worldwide and its first in the APJ region,which is also responsible for Greater China, here on the Pangyo Startup Campus in the South Korean capital Seoul. We sit on stylish bar stools. Behind us is a kitchen. In front of us, designers are working at big Apple computer screens. The rooms are open and snazzily furnished.

Christopher tells me: “We designed this AppHaus ourselves and began by asking what kind of interactions and experiences would our customers and colleagues want in a working space where we conduct projects for days, weeks, or even months.”

The 15 employees at the SAP Design AppHaus have so far received more than 7,000 guests. They have held workshops with customers, partners, and representatives from universities and public administration, and familiarized their visitors with the concept of design-led development.

“People’s first reaction when they come in here is always: ‘Wow, this is SAP?’” says Christopher.

New Forms of Communication

There’s no doubt that the SAP Design AppHaus is changing SAP’s image in Asia. However, Christopher soon realized: “We can do more than use our solutions to support companies in their digital transformation. We can show companies how they can change their work culture and ways of working, so that they can continue to be successful in the future.”

To do this, a different form of communication had to be established at the SAP Design AppHaus, too.

Christopher explains that the traditional Korean way of interacting very respectfully with people in more senior positions, or with elders, isn’t constructive in an establishment that’s about innovation and groundbreaking change. He’s convinced that language affects how you think: “I wanted to create a working culture where everyone communicates with each other as equals, where the boss’s suggestion doesn’t automatically carry more weight. It’s about innovative ideas, and it shouldn’t matter who thought them up.”

Since then, the colleagues at the SAP Design AppHaus have been on first-name terms, using titles is off-limits. And that doesn’t go unnoticed by visitors.

“We’re increasingly being asked by companies whether we can show them how to foster such an open and creative working atmosphere,” Christopher reports. This is because there’s a growing realization among Korean executives that a work culture based on principles that worked during the past 30 or 40 years won’t necessarily take them forward – at least not fast enough.

Open Dialog Replaces Authoritarian Structures

In the past, Christopher says, it was possible to be very successful in South Korea as a “fast follower” or by increasing operational efficiency. For such business models, hierarchical, command-and-control structures in companies worked. “But today, in many fields, companies need to be first to innovation. Second place isn’t much use in a winner-takes-all economy,” he adds. “And that’s why companies need a culture that fosters open dialog and effective collaboration in order to pursue innovation.”

Using this approach, Christopher and his colleagues in the SAP Design AppHaus work on customer projects using the SAP Fiori design language to increase the adoption of the SAP solutions, and helping customers develop new business models by applying design thinking principles. They make it clear to their business partners that it’s important to give all employees the opportunity to contribute ideas, that it’s acceptable to build rapid prototypes that are not perfect, and that — crucially — it’s also okay to admit to errors and, if necessary, pull the plug on a project if it’s going in the wrong direction.

Of course, the Korean economy is influenced by cultural aspects other than language; for example, the values of Confucianism, including respect for authority and the desire for harmony, which makes it difficult for people to disagree with opinions of their superiors. Nevertheless, Christopher finds that the visitors to the SAP Design AppHaus in Korea are very keen to learn what adjustments they can make so that employees work and interact with each other differently.

“Customers view SAP as a strategic partner that helps companies pursue digital transformation with our solutions,” says Christopher. “With our expertise in design thinking and doing, we’re helping companies to foster an organizational culture to enable successful digital transformation.”

In the kitchen behind us, some of the employees are preparing their lunch. I remember the quote attributed to Peter F. Drucker, the influential pioneer of management consultancy, and I wonder: Is it true today that culture eats strategy for breakfast – and digital transformation for lunch?

Categories: What's New

Multicloud: An Integrated Portfolio Benefits Your Cloud Strategy

SAP News - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 10:45

More and more enterprises are running several solutions in multiple cloud environments. As such, the ability to constantly implement intelligent capabilities quickly is becoming a matter of course.

Access to solutions from any device, the ability to scale quickly, and the reliable performance and constant availability of the services are the main reasons why companies are currently using public cloud solutions – to some extent, the most extreme form of cloud software because it is the most standardized. Two out of three companies already use cloud solutions, the majority (51 percent) in private cloud and just under one-third (31 percent) in public cloud. KPMG’s 2018 Cloud Monitor report also confirms that the cloud is becoming more popular every year. As such, the demand for multicloud architecture is also growing.

Multicloud Means More Complexity Initially

“If you have several cloud systems working together,” says Ramin Mirza, head of Cloud Business at SAP Deutschland, “you already have a multicloud setup.” It doesn’t matter whether they are used in combination with on-premise systems or not. “As it stands, very few companies are ready to move all their systems to the cloud.”

But using multiple cloud systems is becoming more common at enterprises. This creates new challenges: “The cloud represents simplification and standardization, but the more cloud systems that need to interact with each other, the more complex things can become,” explains Alexander Kläger, COO of Middle and Eastern Europe (MEE) at SAP and head of Cloud Business in the region since July 2018. This is because often solutions from several different providers are in use, and these solutions need to connect to each other. “What’s more, you have to make sure that the data reconciliation is reliable so that your data is processed securely.”

SAP’s Multicloud Environment: The Intelligent Suite

In an ideal world, a multicloud environment is already integrated and you already have interfaces with common cloud services.

“SAP has gone through some major changes over the last five to seven years,” explains Kläger. After acquiring market leaders such as SuccessFactors, Ariba, hybris, Concur, and Fieldglass, it embedded the solutions “in a seamless integrated portfolio from which our customers now benefit,” he says. SAP’s intelligent enterprise suite already features an integrated multicloud environment.

In addition, SAP has partnered with Google, Amazon, and Microsoft to make SAP solutions available on Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. “Our development and product management teams work closely with each other to ensure the benefits of this integration are felt by our customers,” explains Mirza.

The advantages of SAP’s multicloud environment are already visible. The cloud business has significantly changed how the IT department and business divisions work together. A few years ago, the IT department was responsible for keeping the business running and for installing the latest releases — at increasing cost; it has since become more of a consultant for business divisions.

“The IT department is the enabler that gives the business divisions an understanding of functionalities and innovations, and helps them react to market changes more effectively,” says Mirza. The cloud was one of the drivers behind this change. Today, the IT department sets the scope for cloud use and only modifies solutions when absolutely necessary.

The following examples demonstrate how business divisions benefit:

  • With machine learning, a computer can go through several hundred job applications and produce a shortlist of candidates. Recruiters are then able to concentrate on interviewing those candidates with a real chance of getting the position.
  • A machine is also able to check incoming invoices – and does so faster and with fewer errors than a human. SAP Cash Application software uses machine learning models to help automatically match payments to invoices as reliably as possible.
  • A high-resolution camera is able to check for tears in newly manufactured rolls of paper at a paper company, for example. By recognizing patterns, it can identify defects at an early stage before the product is shipped.
SAP Digital Boardroom: Real-Time Data from Multicloud

“The cloud enables us to continually build smart functions into solutions quickly,” explains Kläger.

No other solution is better proof of what the multicloud infrastructure is capable of today than SAP Digital Boardroom. Users can make informed business decisions by running ad-hoc analyses of sales, HR, and other business data, regardless of whether the data is stored in an SAP data source or not, or whether that data is structured or not.

“It’s a type of console that takes real-time data from the multicloud and presents it interactively,” says Kläger.

Categories: What's New

SAP Study Shows Residents Are Requesting Digital Transformation in Civic Services

SAP News - Tue, 11/13/2018 - 09:30

BARCELONA — City residents demand smarter innovations when it comes to their government services, but only on the condition their data remains secure and private, according to the global Citizen.e Survey conducted by sentiment research firm sensation.io and SAP SE (NYSE: SAP).

The survey was designed to provide insight into how people perceive, interact with and prioritize public services and how they value trust and transparency.

Today, people embrace digital transformation and want innovations that provide value daily. When engaging with government, they expect easy-to-use self-service tools that offer the same level of convenience found in their consumer experiences. Key highlights from the study include:

  • Thirty-eight percent of U.S. residents surveyed cited saving time as their primary reason for digital adoption; this number rises to 47 percent for Europeans.
  • Generation Z is the most connected, educated and sophisticated generation yet, but their adoption is dependent upon trust and transparent value propositions.
  • While there are local differences in the data, residents in every country surveyed said they were optimistic about a majority of smart tech innovations in their cities.

According to the study, smart cities that invest in intelligent digital solutions will see rapid rates of adoption provided that there is a foundation of trust between the authority and the resident, because “users will not share their data if they do not believe it will be taken care of in a secure manner and reused for purposes other than which it has been asked for.”

“Government officials can simultaneously improve quality of life and foster economic growth with intelligent digital solutions,” said Peter Maier, co-president of SAP Industries. “By investing in innovative solutions that align with strategic livability and prosperity goals, public services and urban sustainability can be reimagined in a way that residents increasingly expect and appreciate.”

The Citizen.e Survey results will be featured November 13–15 at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. Join the conversation by following SAP on Twitter at @SAPIndustries, visit SAP.com and watch live presentations in SAP’s booth (Hall 2, Level 0, Street C, Stand 349).

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

Media Contact:
Stacy Ries, +1 (484) 619-0411, stacy.ries@sap.com, ET

Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “should” and “will” and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations. The factors that could affect SAP’s future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP’s filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including SAP’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.
© 2018 SAP SE. All rights reserved.
SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE in Germany and other countries. Please see https://www.sap.com/copyright for additional trademark information and notices.

Categories: What's New

Intelligent Enterprise Makes Drugs Safer Through Improved Patient Outcome Analysis

SAP News - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 12:30

Pharmaceutical drugs are designed to work wonders — alleviating pain and curing illnesses. But a lot can go wrong without a complete understanding of all the side effects a drug can have on each person.

It’s a problem that’s long plagued the pharmaceutical industry. Nearly one-third of all drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration between 2001 and 2010 had a safety event after reaching market, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. Clinical trials can only measure so much, so pharmaceutical companies rely heavily on analyzing patient outcomes after a drug goes to market to make necessary adjustments along the way.

Today, all that is changing. SAP partner Deloitte has developed an innovative new platform with SAP HANA, ConvergeHEALTH Safety, that monitors patient outcomes and provides drug makers with early detection of potential anomalies that may necessitate further action from the companies.

“We can deliver advanced analytics that make treatments and drugs in the market much more beneficial,” said Monali Kamadolli, vice president of Product Management for Deloitte. “Deloitte provides the tools and analysis — the Intelligent Enterprise — necessary to improve the quality of a patient’s life and make sure they are taking a safer product.”

Protecting Patients, Improving Drugs

While clinical trials are designed to test for a wide variety of patient outcomes and conditions, it’s impossible to cover every possible scenario. For that reason, pharmaceutical companies continue to monitor their products in the market.

The result of that monitoring can lead to anything from changing the labeling, adding information about side effects, to pulling the drug from the market in extreme cases. In recent years, several longtime drugs on the market increased their warnings after new adverse effects were detected. An example of an extreme instance is when Vioxx was removed from the market in 2004.

“That’s the scenario everyone wants to avoid,” said George Pushchinsky, senior manager and ConvergeHEALTH safety solution owner at Deloitte. “Every product has a risk profile. No product has zero risk. We help pharmaceuticals understand what is a true risk profile and what action they should be taking.”

“Reacting to an unexpected outcome in the market historically has been a relatively slow process for drug makers. It takes time to investigate and determine an appropriate reaction. ConvergeHEALTH is helping to transform the way data is collected and processed, accelerating response time and providing more accurate information,” Kamadolli said.

ConvergeHEALTH allows users to identify early indicators of an issue with a specific drug or set of users, quickly identifying the factors that could cause an adverse effect.

“Today, it’s a ‘one size fits all’ approach with how analysis is done. Companies spend millions on safety monitoring, but they’re not spending in the most efficient way possible,” Kamadolli said. “Our clients’ objective is to increase safety, faster, which actually results in saving money.”

“One Deloitte ConvergeHEALTH client has streamlined its process from four disparate systems into a single global platform that provides improved efficiencies and a global view of safety monitoring. Deloitte expects the company to realize 20 to 30 percent savings while making its drugs safer,” Pushchinsky said.

Transformational Approach to Data Analysis

ConvergeHEALTH can also help pharmaceuticals accelerate the process to get drugs approved for alternative or secondary purposes than their original intent, Pushchinsky said. After all, Rogaine was originally used to treat high blood pressure.  Then it was discovered that hair growth was a side effect. Meanwhile, after hitting the market Viagra was found to help with some heart issues.

“Today, if you want to get reapproved for secondary indications, you have to go through a costly and time-consuming process. But if you can take data you’ve already collected and repackage it and go back to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, you may not need to do three more years of clinical trials,” Pushchinsky said. “You already have real-world data to effectively demonstrate the secondary indication, along with the safety data to back it up.”

“That is a fundamental shift in data analysis and gets us from a reactive mode to a predictive mode,” Kamadolli said. “ConvergeHEALTH identifies new insights that lead to better patient outcomes, health care providers and drugs. Ultimately, this can benefit all of us as we are all patients at some time in our lives.”

SAP and our partners. Improving lives. That is our purpose.

Categories: What's New

SAP and Migros Group Prototype Smart Ice Cream Freezer

SAP News - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 11:15

After two weeks at SAP Switzerland’s Mode-2 Garage, Midor created a prototype of a smart chest freezer for ice cream using the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning.

Ueli Eggenberger, head of IT at Midor, a subsidiary of Swiss retailer Migros, which manufactures ice cream and cookies, was in for a surprise: He and a team from SAP had met at SAP Switzerland’s Mode-2 Garage, a rapid prototyping space, to discuss how to create an innovative chest freezer that orders more ice cream when supplies are low.

But the owner of a Swiss outdoor swimming pool was now saying that he wasn’t really interested in that idea. For him, a freezer that could analyze product sales at all pools and make suggestions on products to purchase based on that information would be more useful, he said. This insight was very significant for the teams from Midor and SAP at their design thinking workshop as they wanted to find out whether there was a market for their smart freezer idea.

The Mode-2 Garage, where companies work with SAP to go from idea to prototype in one week Ueli Eggenberger (second from left) and his team hone their idea in the design phase IoT and Machine Learning: Better Control Over Freezers and Sales

Midor leases between 4,000 and 5,000 freezers to customers. But until now, it had no way of knowing how they use them or even if they use them at all.

“What’s more, every year, Midor has to visit the customers as part of an inventory check, which is really time-consuming,” explains Daniel Kölsch, senior solution architect at SAP, who was the SAP coach overseeing prototype development.

The inventory revealed that a number of freezers were standing unused in the basement or were being used to sell other manufacturers’ products. The team wanted to find a technical solution to track the location of the freezers and identify the temperature and humidity inside them, and the ice cream products they store.

Not only would Midor then know where their freezers were, they could also tell whether they were switched on, whether the doors had accidentally been left open, and when stock needed replenishing.

The build phase begins on day two, and a team of three Midor employees and three SAP colleagues get to work. From left: Ivan Casanova (UX developer, Midor), Jennifer Kamphenkel (ML consultant, SAP), Eggenberger (at the front), Oliver Vollenweider and Filip Henggeler (both on the trainee program at SAP Switzerland), and Jan Reichert (IoT consultant, SAP) Machine Learning: 84 Percent of Images Recognized

Whenever somebody takes an ice cream out of the smart freezer, a sensor registers the movement and a camera takes five photos to identify the product. There are other sensors that record increases in temperature and humidity as this suggests that the freezer has been left open. A GPS system saves geodata in the cloud.

Working on a prototype at this stage means training the machine to recognize only three products. After the first round of training with a batch of just 100 images, the machine correctly identified products in 84 percent of cases. In the next phase of development, more data will be used to train the algorithm, which should see its accuracy improve even further. All the information recorded is aggregated and presented on a dashboard. This means that outdoor pool businesses always know which ice creams are selling well and which ones to reorder.

“This information becomes more important as more customers use the service,” explains Kölsch. The data can be used to create benchmarks to identify which products sell best.

Sensors and a camera in the freezer track which products customers choose Integration: Using Cloud Data in the Back-End Software

Another advantage here is that the back-end software, SAP S/4HANA, also uses this data. SAP S/4HANA saves the master data, sets prices, calculates discounts, schedules stock replenishment, and forecasts sales.

“We only need to activate two integration components to be able to create such scenarios. Afterward, you have a secure connection with your back-end system in the cloud,” explains Kölsch. These components are the connectivity service in SAP Cloud Platform and the cloud connector in SAP S/4HANA. Through the cloud, managers at Midor are able to access the dashboard, view the latest sales data, adjust forecasts, suggest the best product range to customers, and develop a forecast algorithm that draws on, for example, current weather forecasts when predicting demand. From a technical perspective, SAP software enables the user to access the back end and the dashboard. Plus, if Midor captures the freezers it leases in SAP Cloud for Customer, it won’t have to travel around checking inventory.

By hooking the smart freezer up to SAP S/4HANA, it can generate prices, discounts, replenishments, and sales information itself. Left: Casanova; right: Reichert. The show phase on the final day features a demo of the prototype. Next Steps: Test the Freezer, Validate the Business Case

It didn’t take long for news of the prototype to spread and generate interest from within the Migros Group. Soon, a roadshow will get underway during which Midor will offer the freezer to other companies in the industry, such as Micarna and Chocolat Frey. Midor’s marketing team is also considering putting the prototype on show at a mall to generate more curiosity at its next product launch. But before that, the prototype is being tested to make the system more stable and to gain feedback on its performance.

According to Kölsch, that is exactly the purpose of the Mode-2 Garage: “We work in short cycles, during which we develop prototypes to validate the future trends identified by our customers. This enables us to quickly identify where to invest.”

An important part of the process is finding a business case that makes taking the project further worthwhile. If the cost of checking the inventory outweighs the cost of piloting and operating the new system, then it shouldn’t be long before Midor goes live with its smart freezer.

For more information, contact SAPGARAGE@sap.com.

Categories: What's New

Learning to Code at the Snap! of a Finger

SAP News - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 10:00

Learning to code shouldn’t be something exclusive to tech experts or math geniuses. And with the evolution of programming languages, the skills associated with computer science are now more attainable (and fun!) than ever.

Programming languages have come a long way from complicated combinations of symbols, letters, and numbers — and Snap! is a prime example. With its drag-and-drop interface, this visual programming language breaks down the barriers of different cultures, backgrounds, and dialects, and brings coding back to basics.

Snap! takes a on block-based structure versus a text-based approach to programming, meaning that processes stays the same for learners whether they’re an eight-year-old living in Bangkok, or an 80-year-old living in Texas. Not only does this help make programming and coding fun for learners of every ability level – it builds a global community of creators.

Using Coding to Collaborate

Blocks and shapes are the same no matter what language you’re speaking or country you’re living in, and this equitable factor is helping to spread an awareness of the beauty of computer science across geographic and social boundaries.

With its open-source model and easy-to-digest format, Snap! has been used to teach coding to everyone from elementary-level students at summer camps, to college students, to the teachers that these students learn from. However, if I had to pick my favorite user stories, the experience that immediately comes to mind is one that shows the truly collaborative nature of our language.

Ninth grade is hard – especially for someone on the autism spectrum. One of our learners was in this exact position, and mostly kept to himself – until he was introduced to Snap! This young learner began learning Snap! as part of his curriculum, and after quickly picking it up, he began collaborating with four classmates to code their own game based on the language.

The simplicity of Snap!’s approach to programming leveled the playing field between this boy and his peers, and gave them a space where their creativity would do the talking. The teamwork facilitated through Snap! resulted in a fully functioning game that the classmates had coded on their own, but more importantly, it helped this user overcome the social barriers holding him back.

More Than a Language, a Movement

Building on its ability to resonate with a breadth of users, Snap!’s inclusive nature encourages it to be taught in a group-oriented way. Through activities like SAP Young Thinkers’ Go Digital Nights and college courses, Snap! has completely transformed coding and programming from an individual experience, to a collaborative one – and it’s helping to make the subject of computer science more inclusive as a whole. The Snap! community has grown to over a quarter of a million users, with more than two million apps coded and projects built through the language to date.

Although the skills associated with programming and coding are often thought of as difficult to attain, visual programming languages like Snap! are helping to change that. As the SAP research team continues to build on Snap!, and SAP presents more opportunities for learners to innovate through the language, I’m excited to watch this way of programming continue to bring people together. Snap! is also part of SAP’s Learning for Life initiative.

Ready to learn how to code yourself? Check out the free Snap! dedicated course now available through openSAP here.

Jens Mönig is a research expert at SAP.

Categories: What's New

Accenture Deploys New Software License Management Application on Digital Asset's Distributed Ledger Platform

Accenture News - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 09:59

NEW YORK; Nov. 12, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has completed its first transactions using a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based application that delivers enhanced enterprise software asset management capabilities. The new application uses Digital Asset’s smart contract language, DAML, to model and enforce software license events throughout their lifecycle, from origination to purchase, which simplifies tracking, usage and audit functions.


Categories: What's New

SAP Named a Leader in Gartner November 2018 Magic Quadrant Report for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites

SAP News - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 08:30

WALLDORF SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced it has been positioned by Gartner Inc. as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites report.*

According to the report, configure, price and quote (CPQ) application suites enable sales organizations to automate and optimize the creation of quotes and orders for complex, configurable products and services. SAP is a leader due to its completeness of vision and ability to execute.

The integrated quote-to-cash SAP CPQ solution includes CPQ, contract lifecycle management, sales performance management and billing and revenue management. This offering, together with the SAP Sales Automation solution, is part of the SAP Sales Cloud portfolio.

“Customers are more demanding than ever and expect every interaction with a sales person to be amazing. They want the best price and the best product bundle every time,” said Giles House, general manager, SAP Sales Cloud, SAP. “SAP CPQ and the SAP Sales Cloud portfolio do this while bridging the demand and supply chains. We are turning the buying experience on its head and building the foundation for more personal, trusted and lasting relationships, not one-off transactions. This is the key to winning the customer.”

To learn more, access a complimentary copy of the 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites report here.

Visit the SAP Customer Experience News Center and SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

Media Contacts:
Stacey Hoskin, SAP, +1 (816) 337-7476, stacey.hoskin@sap.com, CT
Jenny Radloff or Nikki Festa, PAN Communications, +1 (617) 502-4300, SAPCX@pancomm.com, ET
SAP News Center press room; press@sap.com

*Gartner, Magic Quadrant for Configure, Price and Quote Application Suites, Christina Klock, Mark Lewis, Melissa Hilbert, 5 November 2018.
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.
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Categories: What's New

Accenture Interactive Acquires Swedish Customer Relationship Management Firm Kaplan

Accenture News - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 07:59
STOCKHOLM; November 12, 2018 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has acquired Stockholm-based Kaplan, a provider of data-driven customer relationship management services, that transforms customer experiences through strategic, analytical, technology, and creative solutions. The acquisition strengthens Accenture Interactive’s ability to provide customers with end-to-end experience transformation services in the Nordics.
Categories: What's New

Outsmart and Outlast the Competition with SAP S/4HANA Cloud

SAP News - Mon, 11/12/2018 - 04:00

As global markets become more competitive and customer expectations rise, companies are under pressure to find new ways to surpass their competition while traversing an increasingly complex marketplace.

November release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1811 continues to deliver on the intelligent promise for customers

Companies need an intelligent ERP solution that empowers them with AI-enabled automation and next-generation business processes. This will help them view their organization and interact with customers and partners in real time.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud is the most intelligent ERP solution in the market today. We were recently named leader in the Nucleus Research 2018 ERP Value Matrix, reflecting the great strides we’ve made in delivering intelligent capabilities to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Building on our promise to help customers become intelligent enterprises, especially within the manufacturing and professional services industries, SAP S/4HANA Cloud is taking an even bigger step forward with the November 1811 release. Below are two prime examples of how SAP S/4HANA Cloud is helping customers stay ahead of their competition:

Manufacturing Scenario Leveraging New Warehouse and Transportation Capabilities

A toy manufacturer discovers it has the hottest toy of the upcoming holiday season. The manufacturer is by no means a new company – it’s been ironing out processes for a while now – but has a few manual connections within their core processes, including managing a suddenly-high volume warehouse.

What’s possible
With warehouse and transportation capabilities in SAP S/4HANA Cloud, the manufacturer can gain complete visibility into an important piece of its supply chain. From inbound/receiving processes to outbound/delivery — and everything in between —  the manufacturer is aware in real time how much inventory is available and where. As sales orders come in, a freight unit can be automatically created and sent to a transportation management solution, such as SAP S/4HANA or a third party, for planning. With the resulting plan completed, a delivery confirmation is generated.

Incredible transparency — mixed with automation along a fully connected supply chain — results in better supply/demand matching, increased order fulfillment and accuracy, more efficient operations, and ultimately higher profit.

Professional Services Scenario Leveraging New Resource Management Capabilities

A professional services firm is poised to perform a highly profitable engagement for a client once available staff with the right skills are identified quickly. The plan is to get the project started before year-end. However, like too many organizations, the formally maintained staff-skills catalog is not up to date.

What’s possible
With resource management built into SAP S/4HANA Cloud, the firm can now consider previous project experience when creating a staffing plan. Using a combination of maintained skills and past experience, the firm can identify resources that have the experience necessary, as well as the availability, to work on the project.

Happy customers – thanks to the enhanced speed and accuracy at which the professional services firm can deliver results. Meanwhile, the firm is able to take on a highly-profitable engagement with its staff fully utilized.

In addition to the above, the 1811 release of SAP S/4HANA Cloud further enables next-generation business processes with the following:

Better Insight — Increased visibility into complex operations so that businesses know what they are doing and where they need to go, enabled by functionality such as:

  • Supplier performance prediction: Enables purchasers to more accurately predict the delivery lead time at time-of-purchase, and project the arrival time of raw material shipments. This allows for intelligent production planning, such as reduced production downtime and lower inventory levels.
  • Actual cost analysis: Identifies the costliest maintenance activities, allows users to compare preventative and corrective maintenance spend and analyzes critical costs from different perspectives.
  • Finance and professional services content for SAP Analytics Cloud: Provides transparency across these business domains.

Greater Connectedness — Companies can react to market changes more quickly based on insights gained through the following:

  • Warehouse management: Provides support for inbound and outbound processes, as well as storage management and internal processes.
  • Transportation: Connects SAP S/4HANA Cloud with a transportation management solution for order-based transportation planning.
  • Integration of SAP S/4HANA Cloud with SAP Ariba Guided Buying: Increases people productivity through self-requisitioning using a simple guided buying experience within SAP Ariba.

To help customers gain easier access to additional microvertical innovation, we recently launched a partner innovation program. This encourages the robust SAP partner ecosystem to build and go to market with new applications that extend the capabilities of SAP S/4HANA Cloud within priority industries, such as manufacturing and professional services.

We also recently announced the SAP Cloud ALM solution, a cloud-based application lifecycle management (ALM) tool that helps track and manage the needs of customers of cloud solutions from SAP — starting with an implementation portal to ease and speed up the activation and implementation of SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Don’t Get Left Behind in a Dynamic Marketplace

The pressure to support modern business needs for better insight and greater connectedness increases every day. Companies must keep up in order to remain profitable. The SAP S/4HANA Cloud 1811 release work hand-in-hand, enabling companies to be more responsive and better equipped to operate in today’s complex, rapidly shifting world.

Interested in leveraging our technology today? Check out the SAP S/4HANA Cloud features page to learn more and visit the Cloud ERP website for additional information.

Sven Denecken is senior vice president of Product Management for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Categories: What's New

Experience Management Changes the Game

SAP News - Sun, 11/11/2018 - 19:00

It’s been an exciting time here at SAP with news of our agreement to acquire Qualtrics. We believe that the combination of Qualtrics’ Experience Management (XM) Platform with SAP’s enterprise software and cloud services is a game changer for companies to measure, monitor, and act on the feedback of key audiences in real time.

What is Experience Management?

Qualtrics has pioneered an entirely new category: experience management, or XM. With Qualtrics, data collected about an experience (X-data) – whether it is about customer, product, employee, or brand – provides a richer, more immediate, and more salient understanding of the quality of an experience than traditional data sets. Make no mistake, we’re not talking about a simple surveying tool. The Qualtrics XM platform helps businesses know what is happening in the moment, with customers, employees, or any mission-critical audience. This is significant in an “I want satisfaction now world,” because businesses or organizations can use X-data to course correct or double down based on what they’re hearing in real time.

Simply put, Qualtrics helps companies close experience gaps. When a consumer or employee expects a certain experience, but a brand or employer falls short, that creates an experience gap. A negative gap requires immediate attention to prevent detrimental consequences, such as lost customers, employee turnover, diminished competitiveness, and opportunities for businesses to be disrupted.

Think about the typical consumer environment. You purchase an item only to return it. What is the process to understand why it was returned? Was it the consumer, the quality of the product, or unmet expectations of it? When you have experience data on your products taken from multiple channels, you can begin to connect the customer sentiment to the reason behind returns, to detect patterns. These real-time patterns can lead you to make immediate changes to your production, manufacturing, or engineering processes that have never before been possible.

Conversely, great experiences drive customer loyalty, employee engagement, improved retention, and referrals. Companies can use experience data to more quickly assess how their customers feel about their products or services. If a product being tested or developed is an unexpected hit with customers, a company has the right data to make fast decisions on how to act, such as increasing production, inventory, or adjusting marketing to better capitalize on demand. This is what Qualtrics’s XM Platform enables.

The Key is Speed

Speed is essential. Period. Businesses that lag in transformative decision-making become obsolete. Let’s not be fooled. If it can happen to some of the biggest, most notable brands, it can happen to any business in any industry. Speed is the key ingredient that makes the union between SAP and Qualtrics so incredible. Unlike typical feedback and survey mechanisms, Qualtrics’ XM Platform provides a real-time aggregation of feedback from any engagement method — direct customer survey feedback, social, web, in-app, email, and more.

With this union, we are poised to combine more than 1 billion records of experience data together with operational data from 77 percent of the world’s transactions that SAP systems touch. These are two of the global economy’s richest data sets: experience data (X-data) from Qualtrics that tells you why and operational data (O-data) from SAP that tells you what is happening. Together they paint a complete picture that fuels intelligent enterprises so they can deliver superior experiences, creating a virtuous cycle.

This is a very transformative moment. The next evolution of enterprise applications has begun with a real-time connection between the X-data in the system of action and the O-data within the system of record. Our ability to apply intelligence and machine learning atop these co-joined data sets unleashes the unprecedented power of the new experience economy.

Think about ways that companies try to understand their customers or employees. Most tools show broad feedback but lack precision and speed. The timely process of surveys and manual feedback collection can take months to collect and analyze data. By the time decisions are made and products fixed, the world has moved on. A quintessential case of “too little, too late.”

Consider the feedback airlines most frequently ask about: the condition of the plane, the boarding process, ticket purchase, seat location, timeliness of arrivals. How do those insights connect to paint a broader picture? Can airlines decipher whether customer service feedback is related to how the airline or its personnel operate? Can they analyze the data for commonalities of the most amazing passenger experiences down to a single flight attendant, gate agent, or process? In today’s world, it’s impossible.

Take my own recent experience with a newly offered delivery service. Circumstances led me to pay more for delivery of items than I’d typically ever consider. Was my experience fast and easy? Yes. But am I a repeat customer candidate? Unlikely. Had this company attempted to garner more insight on my complete experience, they would have learned that small adjustments to the experience — customer incentives, delivery price point incentives, or loyalty advantages — could have completely changed my perspective. If only they had the insight and the ability to act.

In the experience economy, your advantage is how quickly you can respond to feedback and trends — positive or negative. In the experience economy, it’s not just about what you know, but your ability to act on that insight with confidence and speed.

The Whole World Becomes Interactive

Think about it: Like an orchestra that builds a following because of its finely mastered group precision producing melodious masterpieces, businesses create loyalty based on holistic, end-to-end experiences. With the addition of Qualtrics, SAP continues to shatter the wall between the front office and the back office, understanding that the greatest experiences require a foundation built on an intelligent enterprise.

Together, SAP and Qualtrics will deliver the only end-to-end experience and operational management system. Will your company be ready for the realities for newly interactive world?

Read the press release

Robert Enslin is president of the Cloud Business Group and a member of the Executive Board of SAP SE.

Categories: What's New

SAP SE to Acquire Qualtrics International Inc., Sees Experience Management as the Future of Business

SAP News - Sun, 11/11/2018 - 19:00

WALLDORF, Germany, PROVO, Utah, SEATTLE, Wash. SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) and Qualtrics International Inc. (Qualtrics) today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which SAP SE intends to acquire Qualtrics, the global pioneer of the experience management (XM) software category that enables organizations to thrive in today’s experience economy.

  • Together, SAP and Qualtrics to accelerate the new XM category by combining experience data and operational data to power the experience economy
  • Creates a highly differentiated offering for businesses to deliver superior customer, employee, product, and brand experiences
  • Ryan Smith to continue to lead Qualtrics; Qualtrics to maintain dual headquarters in Provo, Utah, and Seattle, Wash.

Under the terms of the agreement, SAP will acquire all outstanding shares of Qualtrics for US$8 billion in cash. SAP has secured financing in the amount of €7 billion to cover purchase price and acquisition-related costs. The purchase price includes unvested employee incentive compensation and cash on the balance sheet at close. Subject to customary closing conditions and attainment of regulatory clearances, the acquisition is expected to close in the first half of 2019. The Boards of Directors of SAP and Qualtrics have approved the transaction. Qualtrics’ shareholders have also approved the transaction.

SAP CEO Bill McDermott said: “We continually seek out transformational opportunities – today’s announcement is exactly that. Together, SAP and Qualtrics represent a new paradigm, similar to market-making shifts in personal operating systems, smart devices and social networks. SAP already touches 77 percent of the world’s transactions. When you combine our operational data with Qualtrics’ experience data, we will accelerate the XM category with an end-to-end solution with immediate global scale. For Qualtrics, this introduces a dynamic new partner with the belief, passion and scale to bring experience management to millions of customers around the world.”

McDermott added: “The combination of Qualtrics and SAP reaffirms experience management as the groundbreaking new frontier for the technology industry. SAP and Qualtrics are seizing this opportunity as like-minded innovators, united in mission, strategy and culture. We share the belief that every human voice holds value, every experience matters and that the best-run businesses can make the world run better. We can’t wait to stand beside Ryan and his amazing colleagues for the next chapters in the experience management story. The best for Qualtrics and SAP is yet to come!”

Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics, said: “Our mission is to help organizations deliver the experiences that turn their customers into fanatics, employees into ambassadors, products into obsessions and brands into religions. Supported by a global team of over 95,000, SAP will help us scale faster and achieve our mission on a broader stage. This will put the XM Platform everywhere overnight. We could not be more excited to join forces with Bill and the SAP team in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to power the experience economy.”

SAP and Qualtrics Will Together Deliver the Transformative Potential of Experience Data (X-Data) Combined with Operational Data (O-Data)

XM focuses on obtaining and tapping the value of outside-in customer, employee, product and brand feedback. Combining Qualtrics’ experience data and insights with SAP’s unparalleled operational data will enable customers to better manage supply chains, networks, employees and core processes. Together, SAP and Qualtrics will deliver a unique end-to-end experience and operational management system to power organizations.

SAP Will Accelerate Qualtrics’ Growth and Further Its Mission by Offering Global Scale, Reach and Resources

Leveraging SAP’s more than 413,000 customers and global salesforce of around 15,000, Qualtrics will be able to scale rapidly around the world. SAP has a strong track record of accelerating growth for the innovative companies it acquires, as exemplified by the rapid success of SAP’s recent acquisitions.

Qualtrics expects full-year 2018 revenue to exceed US$400 million and projects a forward growth rate of greater than 40 percent, not including potential synergies of being part of SAP.

Following the closing of the transaction, Qualtrics is expected to maintain its leadership, personnel, branding and culture, operating as an entity within SAP’s Cloud Business Group. Ryan Smith will continue to lead Qualtrics, and Qualtrics is expected to continue to maintain dual headquarters in Provo, Utah, and Seattle, Washington.

Qualtrics was advised on the transaction by Qatalyst Partners and Goodwin Procter, LLP. J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisor and Jones Day acted as legal advisor to SAP.

SAP and Qualtrics will host a joint conference call for financial analysts and investors on November 12, 2018, at 7:00 a.m. CET (1:00 a.m. ET, November 12 / 10:00 p.m. PT, November 11) regarding this transaction. The call will be available to international callers at +44 330 336 9411, to U.S. callers at +1-929-477-0402, conference code: 9656637, and via webcast at https://broadcast.co.sap.com/go/investor. A replay will be provided later on http://www.sap.com/investor.

For more information, please click here. For an investor presentation, please click here.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @sapnews.

About Qualtrics

Qualtrics is the technology platform that organizations use to collect, manage, and act on experience data, also called X-data™. The Qualtrics XM Platform™ is a system of action, used by teams, departments, and entire organizations to manage the four core experiences of business—customer, product, employee and brand—on one platform. Over 9,000 enterprises worldwide, including more than 75 percent of the Fortune 100 and 99 of the top 100 U.S. business schools, rely on Qualtrics to consistently build products that people love, create more loyal customers, develop a phenomenal employee culture, and build iconic brands. To learn more, and for a free account, please visit www.qualtrics.com.

About SAP

As the cloud company powered by SAP HANA, SAP is the market leader in enterprise application software, helping companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables more than 413,000 business and public customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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Categories: What's New

The Man Who Swims to Work

SAP News - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 11:30

Train, car, bicycle, even running to work is not unheard of. But swimming? Find out more about water-loving SAP employee Jef Solvsteen.

When Jef Solvsteen is at his home base in Copenhagen and not out visiting SAP customers, he likes to take the opportunity to leave his car in the garage and enjoy his six-kilometer fresh-air commute to work on his bike – come pouring rain or radiant sun. As regional head of SAP Digital Business Services for EMEA North, Jef lives and works in Denmark.

Since he is also an excellent swimmer, one day in July this year he came up with the idea to swim to work. That is a pretty crazy idea, as Jef himself admits. Crazy because we are talking about the open sea — the Øresund, to be precise, the strait of water that separates Denmark from Sweden.

The idea of swimming was not new to Jef. Some people start off their day drinking coffee, Jef swims. This is the time when he gathers inspiration and new ideas, and they come fast, especially when he is circled by stinging jelly fish and needs to react quickly.

Jef started swimming at the age of eight and ended up competing in national swimming competitions. Often, youth sports habits slip away as we grow older and take on family and work responsibilities. Not so with Jef. Though he has a tremendously busy schedule at work and at home, Jef not only retains his passion for swimming but it is also part of his family’s daily agenda. His son has stepped in his footsteps and joined the national swimming team.

Staying fit is important to Jef. It is also important to him that his team of 456 dedicated players keep healthy as well. That is why the team set up a step challenge called through the a Fit@SAP program: “Warming up to Q4 Together – Keeping the Pace.” This fun competition is one way Jef ensures that his team feels as one.

“When you do something together, you are going to be amazing, and there are no limits to your ability to master the elements or to reach the shared goals for furthering the success of our customers and reaching the business targets for SAP,” says Jef.

Categories: What's New

Machine Learning Study Points to Lack of Strategic Clarity

SAP News - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 10:30

A few years ago, machine learning was virtually unheard of outside the geek press; now it’s blasted past cutting-edge to the top of the strategic agenda. In fact, in a recent study by SAP and the Economist Intelligence Unit, “Making the Most of Machine Learning: 5 Lessons from Fast Learners,” 68 percent of companies surveyed are using machine learning in some form; among procurement companies, it is about 65 percent. These companies are on a path toward automation.

Social psychologist and Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff said, “Everything that can be automated should be automated.” (“In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power,” New York: Basic, 1988.)  Zuboff’s viewpoint is particularly true for what we call “knowledge worker” tasks. Knowledge workers typically make tactical decisions such as extending a warranty period, determining replenishment levels when stock ratios suddenly drop, and focusing on the opportunities that are most likely to lead to winning a new customer.

As we think about automating such decisions, we can see an obvious fit of machine learning as a part of artificial intelligence, working in conjunction with human decision-making. Today, decisions and the different steps they incur are constantly adjusting based on real-time availability, data, and algorithms. The underlying information for these knowledge workers is more readily available, from data points that inform these processes.

“Artificial intelligence is not one thing but merely the orchestration of a set of knowledge-embedded technologies that when used together augment or automate a complete task of a specialist or a professional knowledge worker.”

This new data creates shortcuts that drive digital (process) transformation, which is creating new value. Artificial intelligence (AI) will help answer data questions. And when AI utilizes machine learning (ML), it means that software does not need to be continually updated or reprogrammed. ML works in tangent with AI to apply changes based upon the continual learning gathered from updated data points. In fact, a crucial understanding is that data changes everything, especially automation.

Before continuing, it is essential to share the definition of AI. For the record, AI is not “one” technology.  It’s process knowledge, or a combination of different techniques, technologies, tools, and sets of training data. Think ML, blockchain, data intelligence, Big DataIoTpredictive analytics, process automation, and conversational UI flows. A good definition of AI is “the orchestration of a set of knowledge-embedded technologies that, when used together, augment or automate a complete task of a specialist or a professional knowledge worker.”

AI, powered by data science and ML techniques, can be used to have the machine make decisions or provide strong recommendations for actions. This is why we can safely say that a fair portion (say 50 percent) of business processes will be fully automated in the coming three years. Once existing processes are automated, new processes will be created as we move from a process-driven world to a data-driven world. Based on the insights from data, businesses will create new processes, reshuffle existing processes, and digitize the process experience.

For example, think about customers buying products. In the old days, this was a fairly linear process. I see an ad, I go into a store, I make a purchase. Today, research and shopping may be completely distinct from a purchase decision. The rise of social content has changed how we shop and leaves the purchase decision to a price point.

How can we address this? Within the stack of technologies, machine learning may be the strongest starting point, followed by conversational bots, especially if you want to conquer the millennial market, as studies show that the best way to engage millennials is by chat, social, and messaging. The worst way is to try to call them.

The question arises, like with every foundational change centered around a new technology: “Where does one start with machine learning, and does it pay off?”

Fast Learners Edging Ahead in Machine Learning

Recently, SAP and the Economist Intelligence Unit released a first-of-its-kind report on ML. The good news is ML is leading to revenue and profits within companies and giving them a competitive edge. In “Making the Most of Machine Learning: 5 Lessons from Fast Learners,” early adopters, whom the authors dub “fast learners,” are realizing better business outcomes:

  • 48 percent cite increased profitability (six percent revenue growth) as the top benefit gained from ML
  • 36 percent are implementing ML into customer-facing and product development functions, such as contact center, marketing, data processing and analytics, and R&D
  • 41 percent say ML translates into higher levels of customer satisfaction

Clearly, based on these solid numbers, ML is having an impact on early adopters, and they see ML having a long tail. Cliff Justice, principal for innovation and enterprise solutions at KPMG and one of the participants, even went so far to say, “AI and machine learning impact the business model in a much more significant way than… any of the disruptions we’ve seen in our lifetimes.”

Machine Learning: Three Low-Hanging Fruit Criteria

  • Machine learning requires a great deal of high-quality data. In most organizations, this data is in existing business applications such as finance, logistics, and sales. The data in these systems has already been collected, cleansed, and stored over a long period of time, so there’s plenty of data available to create meaningful, useful predictive models.
  • Machine learning works best where there’s a tightly defined decision to be made, thousands of times a day, and using a small number of variables, and where errors are clear and can be quickly corrected to further improve the algorithm.
  • Machine learning is easiest to implement when the decision can be seamlessly automated as part of an existing business process, rather than a moonshot requiring new processes or cultural changes.

One of the most remarkable (and disheartening) aspects of organizational change efforts, however, is their low success rate. Substantial evidence shows that some 70 percent of all categories of change initiatives fail.

According to a 2011 article in the Journal of Change Management, the significant reason for the failures is a lack of alignment between the value system of the change intervention and of those members of an organization undergoing the change. Strategic clarity seems to be the differentiator.

Digging deeper into the research behind the ML report, what is especially interesting are the gaps between the fast learners and everyone else. One striking difference is around “lack of clarity on strategy.” There’s a 10-point variance linked to strategic clarity compared to a mere two-point gap for internal AI and ML expertise. Interestingly, technology is less problematic than strategy.

Those that display a higher level of strategic clarity seem also to be better informed and have more realistic expectations on the possibilities, merits, and limitations of technology.

When we continue digging deeper into the belief systems of the fast learners, we see they realized early into their journey that machine learning works best where there’s a tightly defined decision to be made thousands of times a day using a small number of variables, and where errors are clear and can be quickly corrected to further improve the algorithm. For example, “Which of these bank payments correspond to this invoice?” is much easier to implement using ML than “How can we improve long-term lung cancer survival rates?” Solving a small recurring problem can lead to a big win (see “Machine Learning: Three Low-Hanging Fruit Criteria,” above).

Interestingly, change doesn’t always damage pre-existing structures. A common misbelief is that AI will automate the economy and put people out of work. The reality is, historically, technological change has initially dipped but later boosted employment and living standards by enabling new industries and sectors to emerge. Think about how the internet created new jobs.

AI is at its best when a decision can be seamlessly automated or augmented to support an existing business process, rather than a moonshot requiring net new processes or radical cultural change. Unfortunately, most calamitous warnings of job losses confuse AI with automation, and that overshadows the greatest AI benefit – AI augmentation, a combination of human and artificial intelligence where both complement each other. AI augmentation will free up capacity for employees to actually be more human within service processes and use their talents to create value (see “Examples of Automatable Tasks,” below). The report highlights this trend, describing how fast learners are retraining employees to focus more on higher-value tasks within their organization when their work tasks are displaced by machine learning.

Examples of Automatable Tasks Through AI and ML

  • Extracting relevant payment or order data from unstructured invoices, forms, or emails (such as product names, amount, currency, payee, address, etc.)
  • Classifying transactions for tax compliance
  • Predicting when contracts based on usage will need to be renewed
  • Predicting and acting on stock-in-transit delays
  • Calculating the optimal length of time between physical inventories to ensure that it’s in line with automated systems
  • Routing customer service requests to the most appropriate teams
  • Comparing new regulatory documents with process or product descriptions, classifying and highlighting the nature, changes, and impact
  • Redlining, or comparing two or more contracts with each other and identifying contrasting or conflicting terms and conditions

As one hotel owner said when his front-desk team was relieved from the daily barrage of questions like “What is the WiFi password?”: “AI helps humans to be more human, AI returns humanity back to the business.” ML doesn’t do their job, but rather, humans have to decide when to tell ML to do the work. This is a prime example of the human component of ML and the importance of creativity when ML is in play.

In other words, let the robots process and the humans think! Retrain employees who have tasks displaced by machine learning to learn higher-value tasks within their organization.

“We believe that if men have the talent to invent new machines that put men out of work, they have the talent to put those men back to work.” 

– John F. Kennedy

Learn More

Embrace AI, ML, advanced analyticsblockchain, and other emerging technologies to solve specific business problems before they are packaged for non-early adopters to procure later on. Get the insight you need by downloading the Economist Intelligence Unit study, “Making the Most of Machine Learning: 5 Lessons from Fast Learners,” sponsored by SAP. And explore SAP Leonardo, which is designed to allow businesses to take advantage of emerging technologies and merge them with their business data to innovate faster and transform their business more quickly – with less risk.

Marc Teerlink is global vice President of SAP Leonardo, New Markets, and Artificial Intelligence at SAP.

This story originally appeared on the Digitalist.

Categories: What's New

Empowering Young Women as Business Leaders and Social Change Agents in Turkey

SAP News - Fri, 11/09/2018 - 09:30

To inspire a global audience of marketing and communication creatives on the strategic impact of linking a brand to the 17 UN Global Goals, including Goal #5 – Gender Equality, the SAP Next-Gen program delivered a clear message from the main stage at Brand Week Istanbul.

“We are on a mission to make innovation and technology work better for young women and girls, to empower young women as business leaders and social change agents in Turkey and globally, and to make quality education available to all,” Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen, told brand and marketing leaders from around the world.

The global audience of marketing influencers at Brand Week Istanbul also heard Rosenberg share a preview of the new book, “Science Fiction: A Starship for Enterprise Innovation,” which describes Innovation 4.0 as the use of science fiction thinking to create disruptive concepts for how exponential technologies can accelerate achieving the UN Global Goals. The book, a guide from SAP Next-Gen to inspire bold and purposeful innovation in the Intelligent Enterprise, is expected to be published early next year.

SAP Next-Gen is accelerating its engagement in Turkey to both support academia in educating SAP skilled graduates and to connect Turkey’s academic thought leaders and researchers, students, startups, accelerators, and tech community leaders to the global network around the SAP Next-Gen initiative.

“We are helping the next generation in Turkey to reimagine the future of their country as a regional leader in innovation with purpose,” said Rosenberg. “Enabled by the latest SAP technologies as well as new mindsets such as Innovation 4.0, we are fostering skills for digital futures among Turkey’s next generation of purpose-driven innovators.”

The SAP Next-Gen program also hosted a #sheinnovates university meetup in Istanbul, where students, faculty, startups, and industry partners heard how the global #sheinnovates movement aims to make innovation and technology work better for women and girls and to support them to thrive in their future careers and create meaningful change in the workplace.

During the meetup, Marmara University announced that its campus is opening the first SAP Next-Gen Lab location in Turkey.

“Marmara University shares a joint vision with SAP Next-Gen to open new channels to connect industry with academic thought leadership on the technologies and innovation methodologies driving the digital transformation of industries,” said Onur Bekmezci, lecturer in the Faculty of Business Administration at Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. “The opening of our SAP Next-Gen Lab at Marmara University will highlight new opportunities for industry partners to recruit SAP skilled graduates as tomorrow’s digital leaders and social change agents.”

More than 130 SAP Next-Gen Lab locations at universities, partner, and SAP locations foster connections between academia and the SAP ecosystem, including companies, startups, accelerators, tech community partners, venture firms, and purpose-driven partners and institutions. Universities that open an SAP Next-Gen Lab location have the opportunity to:

  • Open new channels to share thought leadership and collaborate with other thought leaders in academia and industry on the technologies and innovation methodologies driving the digital transformation of industries
  • Connect companies recruiting next-generation leaders with purpose-driven students and graduates who have digital transformation knowledge and skills
  • Showcase startups with corporates seeking to seed in disruptive innovation
  • Conduct projects with SAP Next-Gen, where industry partners can work with the mindset of young people to reimagine the future of their industry and intelligent enterprises

While in Istanbul, the SAP Next-Gen program also announced a monthly series of “Girls’ Lounge on Campus” virtual board meetings that aim to support the growing global network of universities joining forces with the SAP Next-Gen program and The Female Quotient to foster the next generation of female digital leaders and entrepreneurs. Universities, startups, accelerators, purpose-driven institutions, and activist citizens are welcome to join the first virtual meeting on November 19, 2018.

Learn more about the SAP Next-Gen program

Categories: What's New
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