SAP is known for its world-class software that helps companies around the globe run their businesses better. Now the company has its eye on a bigger goal — to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Very unlike the usual ambitions of large-scale enterprises.
Jim Hagemann Snabe, SAP’s co-CEO, recently visited Johannesburg, South Africa to announce the launch of a skills development program called “Skills for Africa.” The program is designed help develop information and communications technology skills for African students, giving them opportunities that were previously out of reach. More so than just empowering students, the larger goal is to improve Africa’s economic growth and infrastructure development.
Since many areas do not have access to fast Internet speeds (or have an Internet connection at all), the majority of Skills for Africa training will take place in the classroom and through e-learning materials. The program is predominately designed for self-study so students can learn on their own time and in the way that works best for them.
The program’s pilot phase successfully kicked off in Kenya in the fall of 2012, with over 100 students enrolled. Over the next few years, SAP will roll out the program to students in South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, and Angola. Some of these countries have unemployment rates as high as 48%, so the hope is the program will bring those numbers down dramatically.
Skills for Africa sets SAP apart from its competitors. It will be very exciting to see what effects the program will have over the next few years.
SAPPHIRE NOW and the ASUG Annual Conference are right around the corner. By now, most of you have probably already seen the monstrous list of sessions — over 2,000 courses and demos with an incredibly vast range of topics from SAP HANA to sustainability to the basics of SAP ERP. That’s a lot to take in! Unfortunately, since it is physically impossible to attend every session — if you can, please call me so we can start a superhero task league! — it is important to take a breath and decide which topics are the most beneficial to your company.
I’m of the mindset that new is always better, so I was excited to see a lot of sessions focusing on SAP HANA, and specifically SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA. While SAP HANA has been something of a black box to business users, now they will be able to see how it impacts their daily tasks directly. Read what some of the early adopters of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA are saying in the April 2013 issue of insiderPROFILES.
If you’re interested in learning about all SAP HANA can do, then the half-day, pre-conference seminar titled “SAP HANA 101” may be worth your while. SAP HANA experts and experienced customers will lead you through several SAP HANA topics including:
The SAP HANA solution roadmap — What’s available now and in the near future
SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA
SAP HANA Analytics Foundation
Key project lessons learned
And many more
If half-day seminars are a little much for you, there are also shorter theater presentations (e.g., “Customer ‘Safe Passage’ to SAP Business Suite Powered by SAP HANA”), panel discussions, and education sessions that cover the business value of SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA.
It might also be a good idea to go to SAPPHIRE NOW armed with knowledge on SAP HANA so that you’ll have a clear idea of what you’d like to accomplish while on campus. The publishers of SAPinsider and insiderPROFILES have released a special edition magazine on SAP HANA titled “A Holistic Guide for Your SAP HANA Journey.” Visit HANAmagazine.com to download your complimentary copy.
SAPinsider’s feature stories focus on 3D visualization in the business. SAP executives, like Hans Thalbauer, Senior Vice President of LOB Solutions for Supply Chain and R&D, discuss the acquisition of Right Hemisphere and how you can transform your company into a visual enterprise. The articles go even further to describe how 3D visualization can be used outside of PLM and benefit the entire value chain. In the executive Q&A, “How Visualization Will Transform the Enterprise,” Thomas Ohnemus shows how this technology can streamline sales and marketing processes.
3D visualization is a great example of how business technology is continually evolving. While the benefits are clear, there are also many challenges that come with innovation — and the responsibility to succeed often lies solely with CIOs. SAPinsider’s Special Report, “Solutions for the CIO” takes a look at how SAP partners such as BackOffice Associates, HP, and NTT DATA have adapted to the latest trends in the market, such as SAP HANA, big data, and mobility.
Though SAP’s in-memory database technology, SAP HANA, is not the only one of its kind in the market, SAP is taking strides to make sure that it stays ahead of the competition. In a recent OVUM blog, Warren Wilson reported on SAP’s plan to expand the capabilities of SAP HANA. At last month’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference, SAP announced that eight new applications have been built on HANA to be used across the organizational value chain, including sales, supply chain planning, and collections. SAP HANA is also being utilized in diverse industries such as oil and gas and healthcare.
Another way SAP is proving the power of SAP HANA is by taking advantage of the solution in its own walls. “SAP runs SAP” has been a successful motto of SAP, showing that the company is confident enough to run its own solutions. SAP HANA is no exception, and the recently acquired company, SuccessFactors recently announcedthat it will adopt SAP HANA as its in-memory database technology for big data.
The term “consumerization of IT” seems to be overused at this point, but it is by no means something that can be ignored or pushed aside for later contemplation. The newest technology gives employees around the world opportunities like the ability to telecommute as well as faster and easier access to business networks from personal devices. Enterprises need to act now when it comes to mobilizing their businesses, including determining whether a BYOD (bring your own device) methodology is a feasible option.
Several surveys have been taken in recent months to see how enterprises are dealing with consumerization of IT and the results may surprise you. For example, a survey based on more than 1,400 telephone interviewscompleted by Robert Half Technology found that 67% of CIOs responded “no” when asked if they “allow employees access to corporate networks via personal laptops, smartphones, or tablets?" Among the 33% that do encourage personal devices, only 28% offer full technical support (66% offer limited support and 6% offer no support).
In response John Reed, Senior Executive Director of Robert Half Technology says, "Companies are balancing the desire to provide flexibility to employees with potential security risks, as well as logistical issues such as providing support for non-standard devices." Though it is difficult to find this balance right now, Reed is sure this will change in the immediate future as the way employees want to conduct their work is changing. "Professionals increasingly want to stay connected while using their device of choice for both work and personal communication," he said. "Companies recognize this and are actively looking for secure solutions."
In a recent press release, Gartner reports on the change from company-owned to employee-owned device support and discusses ways businesses can successfully make this change. Terrence Cosgrove, Research Director at Gartner, advised, "With the unabated growth of consumerization, IT leaders need to implement MDM (mobile device management) to manage corporate and employee-owned devices, and assign responsibilities inside IT departments for the service, application, and security of all these devices." An MDM strategy helps organizations deal with the complexity between operations and security and ensures that corporate policy is strictly upheld.
Gartner analysts believe that without a strong MDM strategy in place, organizations will mostly likely see increased cost for three main reasons:
A decrease in user productivity
Less trust in IT, prompting users to support themselves
Users going around IT policies and standards
As the trend leans more strongly toward consumer-oriented devices, organizations will be continuously pressured to replicate the success of personal technology within the business. However, they are not alone in making this happen. A recent article in the April-June 2012issue of insiderPROFILES shares advice on how to let employees use their personal devices and applications in a business context. Read ”Are You Ready for BYOD” by Sam Lakkundi, Vice President of Kony Solutions, to see how your organization can successfully deploy a BYOD methodology while at the same time mitigate security risks and development costs.
SAPPHIRE NOW, the world’s largest SAP user conference, is set to kick off next week in Orlando, Florida along with the ASUG Annual Conference, allowing SAP customers the advantage of attending both events in one location. The combined conference is a plethora of knowledge with over 600 ASUG member-driven sessions, nearly 260 exhibitors, and countless demonstrations. With all of these resources available, how will you know where to begin?
Avoid being overwhelmed with help from the SAPinsiderand insiderPROFILES April-June 2012 magazines. Go into SAPPHIRE NOW’s 5 Learning Campuses (Analytics, Cloud, Database and Technology, Mobile, and Run Better) with knowledge that will help you ask the right questions about the most important topics.
SAPPHIRE NOW is also an opportunity to meet with exhibiting partners to see how their solutions can help your company thrive. To get a better idea of how partner solutions have already aided companies, check out these SAP customer case studies in the insiderPROFILES April-June issue:
“High Expectations, Lower Downtime at CSR”: Building products supplier CSR details how a solution from Cisco helped reduce SAP system outages and automate IT processes, ultimately making CSR a more stable and successful company.
“Data Storage at McCormick”: The flavorings maker discusses how the company was able to reduce its database size by 50% with help from IBM, allowing the company to save time and money.
insiderPROFILES was fortunate to interview Greg Tomb about SAP’s newest cloud-based applications, how they differ from familiar solutions, and the fundamentals that the SAP customer base needs to understand. Part of SAP’s overall success has to do with the fact that SAP runs SAP, and it is no different for the cloud-based solutions:
“Mobile devices are my main conduit to the business, so I use either my smart phone or tablet to access all of these cloud applications, which enable me to actively collaborate with my global team and easily monitor and analyze the business areas I lead,” says Tomb.
Tomb shares insights in this Q&A not only from his role as President of SAP Cloud Applications, but also as an experienced user of the solutions.
Hasbro used the Way to Work initiative — a broad transformation effort to harmonize global processes — to combine a variety of elements, such as upgrading to SAP ERP 6.0 and standardizing processes within the core ERP system, into one business-driven and IT-supported project. The initiative was very successful and resulted in many benefits, such as:
Provided one view forward for Hasbro’s planning teams
Improved data consistency
Enabled the business to move to a shared-services model in Europe
“Traditionally, SAP transformation projects are viewed as huge undertakings. Our goal, however, is to transform the way our customers think about these deployments into a series of more tightly scoped implementations that can drive value quickly, for a greater return on investment — and we’re doing it every single day,” says Ross Wainwright, COO of SAP North America. In this article, he explains how the SAP Services organization can help customers simplify their next SAP project to promote growth and utilize innovations. He sums it up in three best practices:
Since Nu Skin was founded in 1984, putting people first has always been a top priority — not only the customers, but also the independent distributors and employees. This is clearly shown in the approach Nu Skin took to implement a centralized HR system. The project leaders made sure to think of the “people” aspects of the project before the IT considerations and had representatives from both HR and IT to ensure the right system was implemented. Collectively, the project team decided to implement SAP ERP Human Capital Management (SAP ERP HCM). The project leaders even visited different Nu Skin sites to ascertain their individual data and reporting needs.
Read the full article to discover how Nu Skin is already benefiting from a people-first implementation project and see how Symphony Management Consulting helped create a customizable HCM software solution.
The new issue of SAPinsider launched earlier this month and is full of the latest news from SAP. Listed below are five reasons why you don’t want to miss out on this issue. To read all of the articles, visit sapinsider.wispubs.com/Current-Issue.
5. Enterprise Support
One of the best things about SAP software is the ability to customize the solutions to create a perfect fit for your organization. However, the wide range of options can be slightly intimidating, and so much customization can lead to confusion. Luckily, SAP offers many support services that can help organizations optimize the solutions to their full extent. In the article “Maximize Your Support Engagement,” Dr. Heike Laube discusses SAPEnterpriseSupportAcademy and the resources it offers, such as Expert Guided Implementations, Meet-the-Experts Webinars, and the Best Practices Library for Operations.
The latest issue of SAPinsider also discusses the benefits of participating in the SAP Enterprise Support Advisory Council (ESAC). By participating in the ESAC, you can be an early adopter of new SAP Enterprise Support innovations, work directly with SAP development experts, and join the annual event to speak with other customers and learn from their experiences.
4. Cloud Technology
An issue of SAPinsider would not be complete without a couple of articles focusing on one of this year’s hottest topics: the cloud. This issue includes an overview of SAP Business ByDesign, taking a look at three components that SAP has built out — the application, the platform, and the cloud service. Companies of all sizes can now leverage SAP Business ByDesign to help grow and profit.
SAP Business ByDesign isn’t the only exciting cloud offering from SAP. In the article “2012's Top Cloud Solutions,” Paige Leidig discusses eight cloud solutions that can help organizations respond to quickly changing market conditions:
SAP Business ByDesign
SAP Sales OnDemand
SAP Travel OnDemand
SAP Sourcing OnDemand
SAP Carbon Impact OnDemand
SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand
SAP Information Interchange OnDemand
3. Mobility and Social Networking
Another hot topic this year is mobility, which is strongly tied to social networking. In his article, Oliver Betz describes the right way to implement a successful enterprise mobility strategy, starting with evaluating the business value — not all processes should be mobilized just because they can be. He goes on to discuss SAP’s co-innovation approach that helps companies customize their mobility strategy.
Social networking has also changed the way employees wish to interact with their colleagues in the workplace. In “Talent Management in the Social Networking Age,” David Ludlow discusses this trend and looks at why a next-generation talent management solution should be people-centric, encourage networking and collaboration, and provide insight for everyone.
2. Special Reports
There are two special reports featured in this issue. The first, Innovations, focuses on SAP and partner solutions to utilize big data and mobile functionality. Hear how HP, Dolphin, Cisco, and Capgemini can optimize your SAP investment with their newest solutions.
The consumerization of IT in organizations can no longer be ignored as employees are taking matters into their own hands and using personal mobile devices for work-related tasks. In fact, according to a recent study conducted by the Accenture Institute for High Performance, one in four (27%) employees surveyed worldwide regularly use personal consumer devices and applications for work-related activities (54% among IT executives). This puts many companies in an awkward position, needing to decide how exactly to give employees what they want — the ease of mobility to improve productivity — while ensuring security simultaneously; no easy undertaking.
Many companies are implementing a BYOD (bring your own device) policy as opposed to providing mobile devices for their employees. This creates potential security problems since employees will be using the same device for critical business functions as well as personal tasks such as shopping. So how can companies control the chaos that comes with implementing this policy?
A Special Report sponsored by Hewlett-Packard gives several tips on how to manage employee’s use of personal mobile devices in the workplace, the first of which is end-user education. It is increasingly important to make sure that employees keep security up to date and can recognize signs of an infected device. The HP report also recommends keeping a detailed inventory of all authorized devices and installing remote “kill” capabilities so administrators can wipe potentially risky data if the device is lost or stolen.
Another option companies can choose is taking a managed-adoption approach when dealing with the consumerization of IT. Accenture points out four possible tactics:
Broadening the scope of allowable devices and applications
Promoting technology choice
Proactively advocating consumer technologies
Segmenting consumer IT needs by role
Jeanne Harris, executive research fellow and senior executive at the Accenture Institute for High Performance says “IT consumerization will be one of the biggest tests for organizations in the next five years, but resisting it is simply not an option and is tantamount to capitulation. A good first step is to learn just how extensively consumer IT has embedded itself into your workforce: Consider how to manage the risks and opportunities, and experiment with ways to channel employees’ enthusiasm for consumer technology. The goal is to develop pragmatic strategies regarding consumer IT that will attract the best employees and make the company more competitive in the marketplace while protecting enterprise information.”