ElviraSAPActivate.pngSo the world’s gone digital, and this transformation is impacting all aspects of how business is run. It’s inevitable and irreversible. Or so says Dr. Bernd Welz (EVP and Head of Scale, Enablement & Transformation at SAP) in a convincing keynote address given a couple weeks ago at the Technology Services World (TWS) 2015 Service Transformations conference. So what does it mean and how is SAP responding?

Elvira Wallis (SVP and Chief Product Owner, Packaged Solutions) also took to the stage to introduce SAP Activate, an innovation adoption framework for SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s next-gen business suite. The good news? The entire 40-minute keynote (including both Bernd and Elvira) is now live and available on YouTube (also embedded below). It’s definitely worth a watch, but if you want more info before diving in, here are some quick highlights:

Bernd started off by reviewing five key technology trends driving the digital economy: cyber security (data, interactions, identities), hyper-connectivity (social, mobile, Internet of Things), super computing (In-memory, big data), a smarter world (sensors, AI, 3D printing), and cloud computing (software/platform/infrastructure as a service). He then showed how this is accelerating technology change and adoption. While it took 38 years for the radio to reach 50 million users, it took Twitter less than one year.

So then around the 6:50 mark, Bernd shows what SAP is doing to help you simplify and innovate your business through this digital transformation and accelerated rate of change. SAP has a digital framework made up of SAP S/4HANA or the “digital core” (core processes of a company, big data enabled, mobile enabled, social aware, etc.), which is interconnected with products and services that enable digitization across 5 business pillars to help you rethink how you manage your workforce, engage with your suppliers, and engage with your customers: Workforce Engagement (SuccessFactors, FieldGlass, Fiori), Supplier Collaboration (Business Networks like Ariba and Concur), Assets & Internet of Things (HANA Cloud Platform), and Customer Experience (Cloud for Customer and Hybris).

Fast forward to the 17:40 mark, and you’ll see Elvira introduce and explain how SAP Activate works. SAP Activate accelerates the initial implementation of S/4HANA and the ongoing adoption of innovation throughout its lifecycle in the cloud as well as on-premise. She walks through some of the different options of where to start (it’s flexible) with the key being: put the customer front and center.

It’s no secret that companies often have a lot of obstacles from the past that can get in the way of change. But Elvira explains how SAP Activate works to minimize those obstacles:

“We put the customer at the center. And we have model companies… It is really a reference solution. It is reference business models, reference business processes of how you should run certain businesses. How you should run marketing in the cloud. How you should do digital selling in the Cloud. How you should do central finance in a global world with certain regulatory standards. So we provide these model companies for different aspects of the business. It enables business and IT to speak in a common language.”

She then wraps up by highlighting the new guided configuration as part of SAP Activate, essentially a content lifecycle management tool that logs, tracks, and checks every piece of configuration that is happening to the system.

But enough of the highlights, check it out below and also check out this short paper that walks you through SAP Activate in even more detail. And, as always, feel free to leave feedback or ask questions in the comments below.

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