Much has been said about why businesses need to run simpler and embrace the Digital Economy. And more times than not, these discussions have been mutually exclusive. In reality, the contrary is true – hyperconnectivity and simplification are intertwined.

As I prepare for this year’s Innovation Showcase at SAPPHIRE NOW, I am excited to see that more companies understand and follow this very point. Here’s a glimpse into four innovative examples that show how embracing the Digital Economy can lead to greater simplification.

Precision Farming: Feeding a population that’s getting bigger with greater simplicity

Precision agriculture is set to become the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture. Respecting ecological, economic, and social limitation, this method is regarded as a sustainable and effective way to feed a world population that will require 70% more food in 2050. For farmers, this is becoming the new normal when it comes to operating a 21st-century farm.

By leveraging data and connections within the agriculture value chain, farmers gain a greater understanding of how to increase overall quality and yield from its fields – while conserving natural resources. By connecting and analyzing information such as local weather data; GPS data; and specifications for seeds, fertilizer, and crop protectant, farm managers can run long- and short-term scenarios in response to events such as weather changes, market needs, and rain levels. As a result, the farm operator can determine how to achieve the best yield and revenue growth while maintaining the health of their land.

Kaeser Kompressoren: Supporting simplified customer services and innovation

Traditionally, products are sold, and services are regarded as a non-essential value-add. Thanks to hyperconnectivity,

services are now part of the package deal – and a customer expectation. Take Kaeser Kompressoren, for example. The 96-year-old, German-based compressed-air system supplier is aligning its operations with business processes transformed by the Digital Economy.

Sensors embedded in Kaeser Kompressoren’s systems alert its tech team when a breakdown is looming and even track how much compressed air is used. Kaeser Kompressoren is building trust with its customers by delivering what customers value most – great customer service, ease of interactions, responsiveness, and fair pricing.

On the other side of the business, the data retrieved from these sensors are collected, compiled, and analyzed. This information enables engineers to pinpoint areas for improvement, innovation for new products, and new opportunities to maximize the sales of existing product lines.

Port of Hamburg: Increasing capacity without expansion through simpler communication

When there’s congestion, most ports resort to funding large capital projects and hiring surges. However, the Port of Hamburg found a way to increase its capacity without expanding at all. When economic forecasts predicted a 150% growth in future capacity, Port of Hamburg knew that it had no choice – this additional volume must be accepted within the confines of its 7,200-hectare area.

Capturing and uniting data from trucking companies and parking-lot operators allow truck drivers to access direct information about current parking and traffic situations at the port on a mobile device. As a result, wait times are shorter, trucking routes are more effective, and communications are better and streamlined.

The port is also planning to include information about cargo ship locations, containers, and terminal operators to further optimize – and simplify – cargo handling. With an accurate picture of port activities, personnel can determine when to close bridges to allow ships to pass, how to divert traffic and avoid jams, and which factors could lead to disruption.

SAP and Concur: Bringing Run Simple to business travel

Whenever I fly on business, I am reminded of how far we have come from the days of constant re-routing due to events caused by nature. Through hyperconnectivity, pilots can heroically steer their plane out of harm’s way to avoid a volcano eruption in Chile or a major snowstorm in Boston. All at a moment’s notice!

However, there is something I dread more than my flight – it’s the tedious task of gathering my receipts and filling out a travel reimbursement form. Thankfully, the Digital Economy is now taking care of that for me. I can now “work” on my report as a go with my smartphone. All I have to do is take a picture of my receipts throughout the trip, and click a button to submit the report when I return. No more worries about lost or damaged receipts. I can actually come home and enjoy the ones that mean the most to me – my family.


My take

The more data we collect, there’s always a potential to become paralyzed and more complex. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. Data should drive, not hinder, you. Rather, you should be able to move flexibly, swiftly, innovatively, and simply. The opportunity is there – seize it.


Explore the possibility of business simplification in the Digital Economy. Check out the Innovation Showcase at SAPPHIRE NOW.

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  1. Dinesh Sharma Post author

    Renato, we think business networks are an integral part of the digital economy, not an addition. Businesses today need to extend process/collaboration beyond their borders and business networks allow that to happen. Run Simple!

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