At SAP’s ‘Innovation for a better world’ event in London, Tim Minahan, CMO SAP Cloud and Sven Denecken, VP Cloud Strategy (SAP AG) explain why total cost of ownership (TCO) and IT efficiencies are no longer the benefits businesses are interested in discussing when it comes to cloud computing.

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Globalisation, new business models and an empowered customer and workforce have accelerated the pace of business beyond what seemed possible just five years ago. There are officially more than 15 billion web-enabled devices connecting us to the people and information we need to share and consume. To get and stay ahead of the competition companies must not only sense the present, but see the future and proactively shape it to their advantage. They must anticipate risks and trends in the market, developing plans and adapting processes to execute on them before anyone else. This is what the cloud inspires organisations to do. This is the value in becoming a predictive business.

The cloud has transformed the very nature of business and engagement. And while some companies view it as just another deployment option, savvy organisations like Kaeser Kompressoren and Expro Group see it for what it really is: a requirement for success in today’s fast-moving world where agility and innovation are at the top of the agenda. Combining this with the power of social collaboration, in-memory computing and predictive analytics and you have developed a whole new way of operating your business and of living.

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Global oil and gas management company, Expro Group runs SAP HCM solution, SuccessFactors in order to gain insight between different regions with regards to the workforce. This not only makes it easier to transfer staff but allows Expro Group to deploy employees in different locations dependent on skills requirements and workloads. A crucial factor in the accessibility of cloud technology and business applications today is that a lot of investments now made are often decided on by different departments, not necessarily IT. Empowering LOBs to make decisions is crucial. In the case of Expro Group, the implementation was largely handled by the HR department itself without much requirement for specific technical skills.

Beyond the practical usage of cloud computing to enable businesses to become more agile and innovative, the business applications themselves which run on the cloud must be intuitive and easy to use. Applying gamification to business applications enables the entire workforce to use predictive analytics without the need to employ data scientists.

At SAP, we are working with our customers to introduce analytics into the context of the business, for example the sales cycle. Closing deals in a fast-paced economy needs to be faster, pre-emptive and detailed. By developing specific applications which allow members of the sales team to be more agile in their daily business through the use of informed predictive analytics applications will greatly increase the performance of the team.

The only constant in a fast-paced world is change. In order to survive, businesses must constantly innovate and adapt and for that they need a cloud first mentality. We live in an “always on” culture in which everyone is digitally empowered and so the future of business lies in the concept of the predictive business. To be competitive, companies need to predict the future with accuracy – leveraging input from real-time marker dynamics and historical market trends from a network of partners and peers. They must assess myriad potential actions and identify those with the highest propensity for success.

So what is in your cloud? Let us know by tweeting #inmycloud. Follow SAP Cloud on Twitter @SAPCloud, and follow the experts @tminahan @SDenecken.

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