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I was one of the nearly 100,000 people who tuned in remotely to catch Bill McDermott’s opening keynote at SahhpireNOW 2013 on May 14. My
watching the keynote remotely is a hallmark of the always on always connected world in which we now work, live, purchase and play. This keynote has me
thinking around a few things. The first is how does SAP help companies rethink how they think and imagine what they have never imagined they would imagine. Yes SAP has 40 years of collaboration with Fortune 500 enterprises across 36 industries and lines-of-business, and has the right experience to offer Design Thinking to help re-invent business. And SAP may well have helped another organization with a very similar situation and be able to lever this. But how can you lead someone to someplace neither of you has ever been? We are being told to turn the world upside down.

 

You need analogies to start the dialogue and open the thought processes – and these analogies do not have to be directly related to the business or  problem. They just need to be out there, thought provocative and cutting edge, to get businesses into a mind set to discover the new possible, to go outside of the box and head toward that blue ocean. How SAP has helped McLaren use Big Data to monitor, gain insight, predict, react and get maximum performance on the fly out of their drivers and race cars is one good analogy. (http://www.sap-tv.com/video/#/8098). Let’s humanize this a bit and use the analogy of a product Kevin Plank, Under Armour CEO, mentioned during the keynote. Under Armour’s Armour 39 product, that measures human physiometrics (Big Data) as well as real-time intensity and will power to gain insight, predict, react and maximize human athletic performance on the fly. Just as in sports, businesses need to optimize performance from every team member and every process, every step of the way, all along their value chain. Organizations need to be flexible, reactive, pivoting and changing on a dime, reading an offence or a defense and adjusting with an audible. SAP provides solutions that are this reactive and adaptable and can revolutionize your business. Think outside of the box and cast away the chains of “reality” and just imagine how your business could benefit by looking at, and monitoring in real-time, all the data points. Nothing is too ‘out there’.

A while back, I was out in the middle of almost nowhere sitting around a campfire with my wife – checking some sports stats for a pool we were both in my mobile device. My wife looked at me and said imagine what my dad, who lived for the outdoors and taught me to love them, would have said if I had ever told him that at some point in the future I would be able to do what I was doing. He likely would have laughed and told me I had had too much sun that day. Dick Tracy’s watch was once the futuristic fantasy of comic strips – now we have Google Glasses. (And Kevin Plank thought he was dating himself by using Buck Rogers references.) 

We all need to imagine and discover the new possible – so let’s go there together.

Missed Bill McDermott’s keynote – watch the replay here: http://www.sap.com/events/ 

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