I’m a big fan of my colleague and friend Kerry Brown, vice president of User Adoption  in the SAP Education organization.  Besides being a great thought leader and subject-matter expert, she’s Canadian and I can always talk hockey with her. (Do you sense a common thread yet?) And as we say in Boston, she’s “wicked smart” and a tremendous asset to SAP.

So when I learned that Kerry was presenting at SAPPHIRE NOW, and I was providing “virtual coverage”, I knew her session, “Discover the Simplified Future of Work” was a must-see. In her discussion, Kerry explained the findings of the Workforce 2020 study conducted by Oxford Economics and commissioned by SAP.


The call for simplification in the Future of Work

Kerry echoed some well-known themes – massive technological change, the growth of the contingent workforce, and the need for better employee engagement (sadly, only 13% of employees are truly engaged – yikes!).  However, she positioned them in a way that truly shows what’s stake in

KB SANOW.jpgthe Future of Work such as the emergence of social business and the connected workforce enabled by the connected workplace.

The simplification of leadership is core to pulling this together. In fact, the Oxford Economics study found that less than 50% of employees feel they have skills needed to be successful within the next three years. According the Kerry, leadership needs pour applicable metrics and incentives over their people resources to help them prepare for the Future of Work.


In the end, it’s all about managing the talent of today and the future

Kerry mentioned the trend of reverse mentoring among five generations of employees and likened the concept of a golf handicap to a new concept of digital tourism. In addition, the ubiquitous mention of millennials included how engagement will change. Personally, I was surprised that the reality of annual performance reviews will become the monthly feedback millennials want as a true dichotomy!

And then, there’s the importance of knowledge networks. As someone who is barely at the end of the baby boomer generation, I loved her analogies of the “silver tsunami.” As my generation continues to exit the workforce, we will be replace by the “digital literati.”


Read my Storify virtual trip report that highlights my parallel social media coverage and commentary during the event.


About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is Senior Marketing Director for SAP Services & Support Marketing for Thought Leadership, Demand Management and Planning for the worldwide Services & Support Marketing team. A 15-year veteran of SAP, he formerly led SAP Global Services Marketing Field Engagement, the North American SAP

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Services regional marketing team and SMB Channels Marketing for the SAP Small and Midsize Business team. Prior to SAP, he held a variety of senior solutions, services, and partner marketing roles with Compaq and Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC). Fred is an honors graduate of Yale University with a BA in Economics and Political Science, and has an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business where he was a Fuqua Scholar. A passionate sports and hockey fan/player, he is a MA/USA Hockey advanced patch coach and includes coaching and playing hockey with his three kids among his favorite moments in life.

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